Sand

When Suzy was born, her parents filled her mouth with sand. But this is normal and natural and the way things are always done.
And if she finds it uncomfortable to keep it there, to eat with it there, to talk with it there, she’s just going to have to learn to live with it.

“Sand” is a heart-wrenching tale about generational trauma and healing.

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A Shadow of Things to Come: Andre Norton’s Huon of the Horn

Between Huon of the Horn (1951) and Rogue Reynard (1947), I almost wonder if Andre Norton had some thought of making a career, or at least part of one, translating or adapting medieval texts. The two are very close in structure, style, and storyline. Huon seems a little less stiff and a little more comfortable with its yea-verily-and-forsooth prose, but it’s still a fair plod to get through.

The two texts (I won’t call them novels) share quite a few elements. Rulers with anger-management issues holding councils and demanding the presence of nobles who have stayed home for Reasons—bad ones for Reynard, justifiable for Huon. Royal favorites murdered both accidentally and intentionally. Royal messengers subjected to a range of adventures and tortures, and sometimes a combination of both. Impossible demands and impossible quests, and wicked villains scheming to destroy the moral and the good.

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Star Trek: Voyager Rewatch: “Natural Law”

“Natural Law”
Written by Kenneth Biller & James Kahn
Directed by Terry Windell
Season 7, Episode 22
Production episode 268
Original air date: May 2, 2001
Stardate: 54827.7

Captain’s log. Voyager has arrived at Ledos, a world primarily occupied by a spacefaring people. Chakotay is taking Seven to a four-day conference on warp theory via shuttlecraft, and he’s taking the scenic route, as Ledos has some beautiful countryside. However, they collide with a force field and crash.

[We wouldn’t be stranded at all if you hadn’t insisted on admiring the view.]

Series: Star Trek: Voyager Rewatch

Moviegoing During a Pandemic

The debate about going out to movies during what is still very-much-ongoing pandemic keeps spiking every time Denis Villeneuve or Christopher Nolan gives an interview, and every time a movie trailer ends with the proud declaration: “Only in Theaters.”

Because obviously, it’s not quite as simple as: “don’t go to in-theater movies yet, it still isn’t safe”—the way we experience art is important, the communal nature of moviegoing is important, and supporting the work of artists, especially marginalized artists, is important. As the months have gone on, the three of us have talked endlessly about our relationship with movies in general and theatergoing in particular, and after the one-two punch of seeing The Green Knight and Shang-Chi together we decided to hash out some thoughts.

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Reading the Wheel of Time: An Oath and a Grudge in Robert Jordan’s New Spring (Part 11)

Welcome friends, to Part 11 of our read of New Spring. Today is a long-awaited moment here in Reading the Wheel of Time—we finally get to see the almost mythic first meeting of Moiraine Damodred Sedai and al’Lan Mandragoran. Does anyone besides me get tripped up occasionally over Lan’s name? It’s so close to being Man-dragon, and some silly part of me always wants to type it that way. I guess it’s understandable that I’d have dragons on the brain in this series, especially since I’ve always wondered where and why the word Dragon became a title, and if it was ever, in some long-ago turn of the Wheel, used for anyone other than the Wheel’s personal champion of the Light. But enough of my silly musings. It’s time for the recap.

[If that was humility, kings were the most humble men on earth.]

Series: Reading The Wheel of Time

Moving Beyond Binaries in Gender-Based Magic Systems: The Wheel of Time and Iron Widow

I can’t look at the cover of The Eye of the World by Robert Jordan without flashing back to my thirteen-year-old self. I would devour the pages on the bus ride to and from school, tuning out the chatter around me to focus on the stubborn characters from the Two Rivers and their place in the Pattern. And I wasn’t the only one; I spotted other classmates toting the giant books around as well. The Wheel of Time was formative to my understanding of the fantasy genre, and I particularly loved the magic system. At the time, I didn’t see anything problematic about it.

[Take Nynaeve, for example…]

Doctor Who: Flux Is Just a Few Weeks Away

“The Flux is coming.” With a tiny teaser, the BBC has upped the stakes for Jodie Whittaker’s final Doctor Who season. It’s a short one, but in the span of twenty seconds, Whittaker’s Doctor has a lot to say. The Sontarans, the Weeping Angels, the Ravages (not Ravagers)—they’re all on their way. And something is stressing out the two companions behind her: Yaz (Mandip Gill) and new companion Dan (John Bishop).

Thankfully, we don’t have long to wait to find out what’s stirring up trouble this time (or who the Doctor is trying to contact!). The premiere of Doctor Who: Flux, as they’re calling this season, is on October 31st.

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Horror Recommendations for Every Mood

As an avid horror reader who’s quick to recommend books to anyone who stays still long enough, I’ve gotten very used to fielding follow-up questions like “But how scary is it really?” and “I can’t watch horror movies at all—should I still read this?” Obviously fear is highly subjective—what slaps my “turn all the lights on, you’re not sleeping tonight” buttons may be entirely snooze-worthy for you—but I’ve come to have a pretty accurate understanding of how people are going to respond to a given book.

While the name of the genre tends to imply a uniformly high scare density, horror is a very broad genre, and there really is something for everybody—whether you’re a horror pro who likes the gore and tension dialed up to 11 or a gentle soul who can’t deal with even a light dismembering.

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Your Guide to the Fantastical Worlds of Rebecca Roanhorse

In June 2018, Rebecca Roanhorse put her stamp on the SFF world with Trail of Lighting, a post-apocalyptic saga about monster hunters. That was just the beginning. Since then she has ventured into middle grade, comics, the Star Wars universe, and short stories. Centering Black, Indigenous, and queer characters, there is no one doing it quite like Roanhorse. I’ve had the immense honor of working with several authors in my career as a colleague and as a short story editor, and Rebecca Roanhorse is one of them. With such an expansive body of work, there is a book for every reading mood and occasion.

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Reading Steven Erikson’s The God is Not Willing: Prologue

Welcome back as we take our first plunge into the actual text of Steven Erikson’s The God Is Not Willing—we’ll be covering the prologue and first two chapters of the novel, and if you want to read along, you can find the prologue here. And in case you missed it, I put together a refresher on everything readers will need to know heading into the book, which takes place roughly a decade after the events of The Crippled God. And now, without further ado, let’s join the four Teblor standing on a sloping, ragged ridge high in the mountains…

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