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Girls Love Comics made our century with this heartwarming drawing of Agent Coulson as a little boy. Do you think Mama Coulson called him Philly? And we bet he and his friends used to play “Cap vs. Hydra” all the time after school, never dreaming that one day grown up Coulson would... well... that things would get so complicated.

Adulthood sucks.

Morning Roundup has a come-to-Kermit moment, Pharrell lends his songsmithing to a spider, and there is yet another rumor about Days of Future Past!

[Plus, the best second best use of wine glasses we’ve ever seen.]

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New Releases British Genre Fiction April

From the fold of the British Genre Fiction Focus comes the British Genre Fiction Hitlist: your biweekly breakdown of the most notable new releases out of the United Kingdom’s thriving speculative fiction industry.

We had more new books than ever before in the last edition of the Hitlist, and late April, I’m afraid, simply can’t compete. At least, not in terms of quantity...

Quality is a whole other question, however, and the next two weeks certainly have their highlights, including the start of a stunning new historical fantasy saga by Mark Adler, a new Destiny Quest—yes!—the third part of Paradox by Rachel Bach, the latest from Lily Herne and the greatly anticipated conclusion of Laini’s Taylor Daughter of Smoke and Bone series.

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Episode 1028: Breathing Space

Episode 1028: Breathing Space

One can hardly blame Chewbacca. Talking is a free action, after all. May as well get plenty in before someone dies horribly.

Justine Larbalestier and I have started a book club to talk about bestselling women’s fiction of the 20th century. We’re both curious about the whole idea of the publishing category of “women’s fiction,” particularly how and when that label started. And, of course, we also wanted to see how well the bestselling and most long lasting of the books with that label stand up. Because usually books like Valley of the Dolls (1966) and Rona Jaffe’s The Best of Everything (1958) and Grace Metalious’s Peyton Place (1958) are considered to be, at best, middle brow. Yet now some of these books are being taught in university and they’re all back in print or have remained in print.

Last month we started with Jacqueline Susann’s Valley of the Dolls. You can find the post and the discussion on Justine’s blog.

This month we’ll be reading The Best of Everything by Rona Jaffe, which happens to have been published the year I was born! Bonus excitement!

The Best of Everything (1958) is Rona Jaffe‘s first novel. It is the story of five young employees of a New York publishing company.

PLEASE JOIN US on April 28/29 (that pesky international date line): in the evening on Monday April 28 in the USA and Tuesday April 29 in the Oz/NZ; morning April 29 in the UK/Europe.

The primary focus of the discussion will be here, on my blog, but there may be some spillover onto Twitter.


Mirrored from I Make Up Worlds.

The Music Will Never Stop 36

Only six cassette tapes left after today’s project, which was “More of the Best of Science Fiction and Fantasy,” from Dove Audio. Four cassettes, six hours, nine stories.

I’d never listened to some of these. I’d played my own story, of course, and one or two others sounded familiar, but that’s it.

Mostly good stories read well, but I think it was a mistake to not tell the reader of “Permafrost” how to pronounce “Zelazny.” I’d never heard it garbled quite that way before.

I also wouldn’t have picked “Permafrost” as the best available Zelazny story, but maybe that’s just me. (I’d have maybe gone for “Devil Car,” or “Home is the Hangman.”)

And while “The Poplar Street Study” is interesting, I wouldn’t have chosen it, because the ending (as much as it has one) is so weak.

There were odd little glitches here and there, such as a reader who mispronounced “nascent,” and a few seconds of dead air in the middle of “Permafrost,” but mostly it was good.

This was the anthology where Wil Wheaton read “Why I Left Harry’s All-Night Hamburgers,” and he did a fine job, except that he gave Joe a Brooklyn accent, probably because of the way I wrote his dialogue, but he’s supposed to be from Pittsburgh, so Brooklyn sounded a bit odd to me.

Nana Visitor did a very nice job with Kris Rusch’s “Skin Deep,” too. None of the other readers really stood out for me.

Anyway. That’s done. That leaves one anthology, one convention panel, and my father’s memorial service on cassette.

And then there are the four VHS tapes I turned up. I’ve recorded one of those, which turned out to be longer than I expected, so we now have two hours and twenty minutes of video of the kids, covering 1984 to 1990, on DVD. But it’s not finalized and I’ve only chapter-stopped about the first fifteen minutes.

One of the other three may be a copy of it, I’m not sure. Then there’s my sister’s memorial service, and I don’t know what the last one is. We’ll find out.

Got the reel-to-reel tape recorder out of storage, but I haven’t hooked it up yet. Don’t know if it still works.

And a sidelight: Remember the guy who sent me those “Various Artists” tapes back in ’92? Well, we’re still in touch, and in today’s mail I got, without any warning, a couple of CDs of female singers he thought I might like. He was right about one of them: Hayley Reardon. Lauren Frost isn’t bad, but doesn’t quite push the right buttons.

a poll

Poll #1964868
Open to: All, detailed results viewable to: All, participants: 37

What's the minimum necessary number of dead innocent bystanders needed for a proper adventure film?

View Answers
2 (5.1%)
2 (5.1%)
3 (7.7%)
0 (0.0%)
2 (5.1%)
0 (0.0%)
0 (0.0%)
0 (0.0%)
0 (0.0%)
Gonna need a bigger pile of corpses
4 (10.3%)
Some other answer
18 (46.2%)
I would like to complain about this poll
8 (20.5%)

Dog bites man

Woman writes an article about a lousy cover, gets rape threats.

On an issue raised in the original article, why are so many comic book artists so terrible at drawing human breasts? Don't we live in a research-friendly environment these days, what with the interwebs?

Also posted at Dreamwidth, where there are comment count unavailable comment(s); comment here or there.

"Bread and circuses"

Spoilery thoughts on Winter Soldier. I keep meaning to turn these into some sort of coherent post, but I haven't done that, and having a tab I can't close is annoying me, so here, have a bunch of paragraphs.

SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS if you haven't seen the movie and don't want spoilers then CLOSE THE TAB this is your FINAL WARNING EJECT EJECT EJECT etc.

Did I mention SPOILERSCollapse )

You're welcome to comment on LJ, but I'd rather you leave a comment on the Dreamwidth version of this entry. The current comment count is comment count unavailable.


Originally published at Sarah Rees Brennan. You can comment here or there.

Long have I promised an Unmade snippet, and been bribed with kittens and readers’ tears and all the things I enjoy for one, which is much appreciated!

So here it is.

It is hiiiiighly spoilery for the end of Untold. I’m just warning you. It’s also a little… it’s a little bit… it’s not right is what I’m telling you. I’m not right.

Unmade Snippet--Jared PoVCollapse )

"Few and far between"

Fun things, Apr 15: took possession of the new apartment!
Apr 16: ate tasty Seder leftovers

The apartment remains amazing. I cannot wait to move in. Sooooooon.

After several days of my ear being very blocked and loud, I woke up at 5:40 a.m. today with mild vertigo. Blah blah details blahCollapse ) Nine days since the last bout. They're getting further apart and milder. Still lasting an obscenely long time, but I don't mind so much as long as I'm reasonably functional.

We're moving in ten days. X has a "what if R gets vertigo on moving day" plan all ready, which means I don't have to worry about it, so I am doing my best to think about anything else. Like culling and packing. Once I can move my head again.

You're welcome to comment on LJ, but I'd rather you leave a comment on the Dreamwidth version of this entry. The current comment count is comment count unavailable.

I will be totally, absolutely honest with you here. I wasn’t really expecting to like Mary Robinette Kowal‘s Shades of Milk and Honey [Amazon | B&N | Mysterious Galaxy].

It’s nothing to do with Kowal or her writing. I’ve adored other things I’ve read by her. I’ve nominated and voted for some of her work for various awards. She’s a good writer. But this one just didn’t look or sound like my kind of book. The description, “Like Jane Austen wrote a fantasy novel” didn’t hit any of my buttons, and I’m afraid the cover art didn’t help. (The newer editions of this series have different and much improved artwork, in my opinion.)

I tend to prefer more action in my plots, more humor and fun in my fiction … which I’m sure comes as a tremendous shock to anyone who’s read my stuff. So it took me a while to pull this one off of Mount ToBeRead…

…at which point I devoured the story, finishing the book in three days, and sacrificing a bit of sleep in the process.

Here’s the publisher’s description:

…an intimate portrait of Jane Ellsworth, a woman ahead of her time in a world where the manipulation of glamour is considered an essential skill for a lady of quality. But despite the prevalence of magic in everyday life, other aspects of Dorchester’s society are not that different: Jane and her sister Melody’s lives still revolve around vying for the attentions of eligible men.

Jane resists this fate, and rightly so: while her skill with glamour is remarkable, it is her sister who is fair of face, and therefore wins the lion’s share of the attention. At the ripe old age of twenty-eight, Jane has resigned herself to being invisible forever. But when her family’s honor is threatened, she finds that she must push her skills to the limit in order to set things right—and, in the process, accidentally wanders into a love story of her own.

There are a few action-type scenes toward the end, but for the most part, this is a relatively quiet book. And I loved it. I loved the characters. I loved the relationships between them, and the way Jane’s insecurities crashed into those of her sister, and the conflicts that ensued. I loved the language, which was careful and formal without ever feeling stilted or stuffy.

The magic was particularly enjoyable. In a genre that includes Gandalf and Dumbledore, the glamours of Kowal’s world are relatively limited in scope: the manipulation of light and sound to craft illusions. It’s seen as a lady’s skill, like painting watercolors or playing a musical instrument. But Jane is very skilled and passionate about her art, and it draws you in until a scene about crafting an illusory birch grove is as thrilling as any battle between heroes and goblins.

Certain elements and twists in the story felt a little predictable, but I wasn’t reading for the plot twists. I was reading for the sheer enjoyment. And I was kicking myself for not reading it sooner.

You can read the first two chapters at Kowal’s website, and I strongly encourage you to do so.

Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.,35804/

The question of whether life was intelligently designed or evolved over billions of years has been a major point of contention since Darwin’s On The Origin Of Species was first published in the mid-19th century.

Robot Uprisings, Cabbages, and Some Dolls

April is vanishing (it's terrifying!), and so I've fallen behind on news. Let's play catch-up before Reign tomorrow, when my entire brain will fill with lace bolero jackets and wild character swings and Megan Follows nibbling scenery with careless panache.

Last week, Robot Uprisings came out, co-edited by Daniel H. Wilson and John Joseph Adams, and it does what it says on the tin. My story is a road trip of questionable means entitled "Eighty Miles an Hour All the Way to Paradise," and I'm in the TOC in some fine company. [There's more information at the official site, including buying information and slightly spoilery author interviews. That link goes to mine, in which I was extremely honest about what I'd do in the event of an actual robot uprising, except I omitted "and cry a lot" from the final.]

My recaps of Turn continue! This week, the show taunted me by being even busier than last time but somehow doing even less, though I appreciate that the arson of Abe's crop allowed me to finally link to the Last Airbender "MY CABBAGES!" business, because that was looming and we all knew it. "Who By Fire" also includes a bunch of actors in the position of knowing they're too good for their material but determined to commit. I look forward to more episodes, only so my data points of "attempted political parallels," "dramatic character study," "adrift spy story," and "pulpy dark humor about pickled corpses" can start to smooth out into a more defined trend.

And lastly, a sale to The Doll Collection, edited by Ellen Datlow! My story's titled "Visit Lovely Cornwall on the Western Railway Line" (Spring 2014: A Fistful of Trochees), and it's also got an aces Table of Contents.,35803/

Amid rising tensions in San Francisco between native residents and wealthy tech entrepreneurs gentrifying the city, more reports have surfaced of anti-tech protesters targeting Google Glass wearers with physical attacks and verbal assaults like “Gla...

Mona Al Marzooqi, a photographer for The National, shared this image from the set of Star Wars Episode VII, which has begun filming without the benefit of a full cast. So, look closely at the image—what do you see? We see a large round pedestal rolling out of a tent... and some people are speculating that it’s the foot of an Imperial Walker! But the National itself is arguing that it’s “a giant, round, grey disc, which bears a striking resemblance to parts of an escape pod on which C3P0 and R2D2 crash-landed on Tatooine in the original, 1977 film.”


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Subterranean Press has has more news of the signed, limited edition of the “Unlocked” novella — and if you pre-order in the next couple of days, US shipping will be free. Free, I tell you! SubPress does excellent versions of my work, and this one will be no exception — I’ve already seen the layout and it’s lovely.

Remember that the printed version of “Unlocked” actually is limited, as in, once this signed edition is all gone, there will be no more. So if you want one, move fast. Here’s the pre-order page.

Also, for those of you interested in getting a signed version of Lock In, but are uncertain if you will be able to track me down on my tour, SubPress is also offering pre-orders of signed versions of the novel  – i.e., I will haul my carcass to the SubPress offices, sign a bunch of copies of Lock In, and then they will ship a copy to you, should you be inclined to have one. And you do! I know you do. I can see it in your eyes.,35801/

PEORIA, IL—Just over three weeks into his new position at local brokerage firm The Bentley Group, coworkers of junior analyst Ryan Cueva confirmed today that the 26-year-old is still enthusiastic enough about his job to consistently pick up the slac...,35800/

NEW YORK—Saying that he doesn’t like to let dust and clutter pile up for too long, area man Justin Buntz informed reporters Wednesday that he gives his one-bedroom apartment a thorough cleaning once every relationship.,35802/

BRUNSWICK, OH—Announcing his intentions to pick up his 13-year-old daughter at 6:30 sharp, local dad Phil Cobb clearly and concisely outlined his plan to honk when he’s out front, sources confirmed Wednesday.

Second Star (Excerpt)

Alyssa B Sheinmel Second StarAlyssa B Sheinmel’s Second Star is a modern summer romance based on J. M. Barrie’s Peter Pan. It publishes May 13th from Farrar, Straus & Giroux.

A twisty story about love, loss, and lies, this contemporary oceanside adventure is tinged with a touch of dark magic as it follows seventeen-year-old Wendy Darling on a search for her missing surfer brothers.

Wendy’s journey leads her to a mysterious hidden cove inhabited by a tribe of young renegade surfers, most of them runaways like her brothers. Wendy is instantly drawn to the cove’s charismatic leader, Pete, but her search also points her toward his nemesis, the drug-dealing Jas. Enigmatic, dangerous, and handsome, Jas pulls Wendy in even as she’s falling hard for Pete.

[Read an Excerpt]

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promotional literature (The Goblin Emperor)

I will be at C2E2 on Saturday (April 26), doing a panel, All Things Fantastic, and an autographing session, both with Mary Robinette Kowal, C. Robert Cargill, Douglas Hulick, Steve, Bein, and Simon Green.

Guest post for Daniel Libris on worldbuilding.

Guest post for the Tor/Forge Blog on rules vs. guidelines.

Guest post for Speculative Book Review about The Goblin Emperor and the Wars of the Roses.

And guest post for No More Grumpy Bookseller about The Goblin Emperor and Elizabeth I.

I also did a live interview with Dungeon Crawlers Radio and a guest post for SF Signal, but neither site will talk to me at the moment.

goodreadsSocial reading platform Goodreads will soon let users add their Amazon book purchases to their Goodreads shelves.

The capability is part of a new feature called “Add Your Amazon Books.”  Using the tool, Goodreads members in the U.S., Canada and Australia will soon be able to add books that they’ve bought on Amazon, including print and Kindle, to their Goodreads shelves.

The goal of the tool is to help friends better share what they are reading and to help readers keep track of all of the books that they have purchased. Check it out: “More books added to your Goodreads shelves means better recommendations to help you find more great books to read. The super-smart algorithm powering our recommendations engine analyzes the books you rate to come up with the best book suggestions for your unique reading tastes.”

New Career Opportunities Daily: The best jobs in media.

A group of New York City natives hope to raise $15,000 for their coffee table book, New York Pizza Project. The collaborators have visited more than 100 pizza shops throughout the five boroughs.

The contents of the book will feature photographs, interviews, and stories. We’ve embedded a video about the project above. Here’s more from the Kickstarter page:

“A few years ago, the five of us were sitting around eating pizza and talking about the pizza shops we grew up in. Aside from the always heated debate about the best slice in New York, we found ourselves reminiscing about the little things — the Icees, the orange booths, the pizza guy who never smiles — stuff like that. We started discussing the idea of a book that encapsulates all of those little things we love about New York City pizza.”


New Career Opportunities Daily: The best jobs in media.

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., season 1, episode 18: Providence

“Providence,” this week’s episode of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., is what it looks like to see a new show commit to itself. No more jumping-on point or one-off episodes for viewers this season. The rollercoaster is no longer boarding, you’re either familiar with the show or not.

This isn’t a bad thing for any show to do, and the embrace of serialization seems to be making Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. downright playful. (This might also be because the show doesn’t have to wait for Captain America: The Winter Soldier anymore. Thom Dunn expertly points out the crumminess about that.) And although we seem destined to bonk around in the Marvel Universe toy box until the end of the season, “Providence” provides hints that we may be seeing more of a transformation than a serialization.

(Spoilers ahead for Captain America: The Winter Soldier.)

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thinks to do

make bread
fill out paperwork
do something at the big computer what was that
desc the Regency
crap what else
ANSWER @loncon3 EMAIL!
find contract
debate contract terms
perhaps sign contract
wut else
write ch 10 of magic & manners

gosh that should take me through tomorrow

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(x-posted from The Essential Kit)

Sex and the Swamp Thing

Swamp Thing Alan Moore DC ComicsAlan Moore likes sex. This makes him something of an anomaly in the world of comic book writers. I’m not saying that other scribes don’t enjoy the pleasures of the flesh in their off hours, but relatively few are interested enough in the erotic as a subject to make it a part of their writing.

Of course, there are all kinds of reasons for this prudishness—not the least of which is industry censorship—but the result is that comic books are largely a sex free zone. To the degree that sex does appear in comics, it mostly takes the form of suggestively drawn female characters. At best, that’s an adolescent way of dealing with sex, and at worst it’s something darker—with the sex drive either implicitly rejected or sublimated into violence.

[Alan Moore is the great exception.]

Read the full article,35797/

LOS ANGELES—Saying they were excited to take their pop-punk sound in new and barely audible directions, Maryland-based rock band Good Charlotte revealed Wednesday that the group is hard at work on an album that will be played at low volume in P.F.

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