Short and Sublime: The Awakened Kingdom by N.K. Jemisin

27 Feb The Awakened Kingdom by N K Jemisin

The Awakened Kingdom, a 2014 fantasy novella by N.K. Jemisin released both as part of The Inheritance Trilogy omnibus and as a standalone e-book, is told from the point of view of a baby god. And as adorable as the central premise is, the execution is enough to sorely tempt me to quote large swaths of the text in lieu of a real review.

The novella opens thus: Continue reading

Indy Genre: Shorts Directed by Women

27 Feb YouMe&Her-screenshot

I thought I’d start off this year with a few short films — and since we’re doing women and non-binary people in genre, how about some short films directed by women? Well, my friends, easier said than done. It probably shouldn’t be a surprise (consider for example that only 6% of top Hollywood features were directed by women in 2013, and films with female directors are often chronically underfunded) that it’s already slightly more challenging to find films directed by women, let alone trans-women or non-binary people. But most of those short films tend to be documentary (women filmmakers often gravitate toward documentary, actually), drama, or romance. Looking specifically for sci-fi and fantasy short film — already only a small percentage of all short films made — directed by women is even more challenging. I actually had a much easier time finding genre short film done by African directors.

After a mighty amount of googling, I’ve found a couple of excellent full short films for you, and two trailers that I wish I had the full films for!

Continue reading

Mining the Genre Asteroid: Mary Renault

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Jo Walton’s Among Others works as an interesting reading list of novels and authors that the author herself read and thought about growing up. Much of the matter of the book is her protagonist reading, and thinking about the many writers whose work she discovers. One of those writers mentioned by Mori that she discovers in the course of growing up and reading is somewhat different than the more familiar science fiction and fantasy authors in her self-created curriculum: Mary Renault.

Mary Renault was a mid-century British writer. In 1948, after her novel Return to Night won an MGM prize worth $150,000, Renault and her lifelong lover Julie Mullard immigrated to South Africa, where they remained for the rest of their lives. Starting in the 1950s, Renault turned from writing contemporary fiction, to ancient historical fiction.

The King Must Die (1958) is the second of her ancient historical fictional novels, and the first that tackles a character straight out of ancient myth and legend: Theseus.  Continue reading

The Disquieting Guest — Ruth Rose

25 Feb

February is Women in Horror Month (details about which can be found here), and in the spirit of that celebration, let me say a few words of appreciation for Ruth Rose, the screenwriter to whom all giant apes owe a great debt. Her most celebrated contribution to horror film is her re-writing of the script for King Kong, though she also wrote Son of Kong (1933) and Mighty Joe Young (1949). I want to pause on her contribution to King Kong, though, because what she did with an already existing story gave it a sophistication and a depth that the film’s remakes, no matter how ambitious, have failed to equal.

King Kong’s original script was by the mystery novelist Edgar Wallace, who died before he could revise the initial draft. This was extensively reworked by James A. Creelman, and then his script was, in turn, reworked by Rose. Ray Morton’s King Kong: The History of a Movie Icon from Fay Wray to Peter Jackson describes Ruth’s specific contributions, such as streamlining the plot and improving the dialogue, but what I find most interesting is this: Continue reading

My Superpower: Kristi Charish (Owl and the Japanese Circus)

24 Feb Owl and the Japanese Circus by Kristi Charish

My Superpower is a regular guest column on the Skiffy and Fanty blog where authors and creators tell us about one weird skill, neat trick, highly specialized cybernetic upgrade, or other superpower they have, and how it helped (or hindered!) their creative process as they built their project. Today we welcome Kristi Charish to talk about how the power of molecular biology relates to Owl and the Japanese Circus.


Don’t worry, I’ll save you! I’m a Molecular Biologist.

That’s right. Sit back and let me tell you about the highly underrated profession known as molecular biology. First and foremost, our degrees start with a modest BSc — note the B and S are capitalized (as Erik Williams pointed out while back, an expert ranking in BS is an essential skill set for becoming a writer).

Want to survive the imminent apocalypse burgeoning on the horizon? While everyone else is stockpiling weapons, ammo, and canned goods us molecular biologists have everyone beat. We’ll be figuring out how to purify water, grow food, and synthesize antibiotics…Heck, with our collective minds, we’ll have a fully functional biodome up and running in no time, distillery and all (we’re talking about molecular biologists after all). A collective of highly educated researchers and molecular engineers living in peace and harmony while the apocalypse rages on outside… Continue reading

Around the Podosphere: Podcasts of Note for 2/23/15

23 Feb

As always, a lot of nifty stuff is going on in the podcasting world.  Below, you’ll find some of the things our crew has been enjoying in the last few weeks!

On Television:

On Movies:

On Writing:

On Literature:

On Conspiracies:

The New:

What have you been enjoying?  Let us know in the comments!

#30. Jupiter Ascending (2015) — A Shoot the WISB Subcast

23 Feb

Space princesses, dog boys, and capitalism, oh my!  The crew conspires together to discuss the latest Wachowski film, Jupiter Ascending.  We tackle the good and the bad and even have a little fun with impersonations.

We hope you enjoy the episode!

Note:  If you have iTunes and like this show, please give us a review on our iTunes page, or feel free to email us with your thoughts about the show!

Spoiler Alert:  the following podcast contains spoilers for the film being reviewed; if you wish to see the film without having it ruined for you, download this podcast and save it for later.

Jupiter Ascending

Download the Episode here.

Show Notes:.

Mike recommends the following videos on action, comedy, and the problem with action movies today:

Our new intro music is “Time Flux” by Revolution Void (CC BY 3.0).

That’s all, folks!  Thanks for listening.  See you next week.


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