The Marvel logo that introduces the company’s movies (and their respective trailers) is a pretty sharp piece of work. That flipping by of comic book images primes the viewers, gesturing toward the history of all that came before. I bet that many viewers feel a bit of a thrill the moment that logo appears, even if — when seeing a trailer for the first time — they don’t know what movie is coming up after those images.
I have much the same reaction to the new Hammer logo, which you can check out here. Hammer Studios are a storied institution. They brought Quatermass to the big screen and revived Gothic horror with 1957’s The Curse of Frankenstein. That first pairing of Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee has a hallowed place in horror history, as do the films that followed. But the late-sixties and early-seventies brought difficult times to Hammer. Films such as Rosemary’s Baby, Night of the Living Dead, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and The Exorcist changed the face of the horror film. Hammer’s period pieces, which had been so radical with their colour, gore and sexuality (tame though those elements appear today), now seemed quaint. Attempts to modernize (Dracula A.D. 1972) were met with mixed success (to put it kindly). The last theatrical hurrah was To the Devil… A Daughter in 1976, an attempt both to follow up the earlier success of The Devil Rides Out and mimic The Exorcist. Continue reading
While not quite Dozois-sized in the number of stories and pages it contains, The Best Fantasy and Science Fiction of the Year Volume 8 edited by Jonathan Strahan does have one major advantage over its counterpart. Strahan, unlike Gardner Dozois’s own yearly tomes, boldly mixes both science fiction and fantasy into one volume, rather than trying to figure out what belongs in Science Fiction and what is firmly in the domain of fantasy. Eight volumes in, Strahan’s editorial voice in selecting the best of the year from both SF and fantasy together is distinctive and strong.
The stories are: Continue reading
Sri Lanka, erotica, and world sf futures, oh my! Mary Anne Mohanraj and Cecilia Tan join Julia and Shaun at ICFA to discuss a whole lot of amazing things. We cover the history of Circlet Press, the nature of erotic sf/f, Mary’s incredible The Stars Change, Sri Lankan politics, sexuality and genre, immigration from South Asia and assimilation in the West, and so much more.
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!
Here’s the episode (show notes are below):
Episode 205 — Download (MP3)
You can also support this podcast by signing up for a one month free trial at Audible. Doing so helps us, gives you a change to try out Audible’s service, and brings joy to everyone.
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.
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 James L. Sutter to talk about how the power of talking about the important things relates to The Redemption Engine.
When asked what my superpower is, I’d usually talk about sneezomancy. For reasons unbeknownst to me, my sneezes are a reliable indicator of my general health. One sneeze means I’m getting sick. Two sneezes means I’m fine. Three or more sneezes means “wow, it’s dusty in here!” Not exactly the sort of thing that gets one onto the X-Men, right? So in getting ready for this article, I started rifling frantically through other powers. The ability to bend my thumb back, like, really far. The ability to eat several pounds of blueberries in a sitting without Serious Gastronomic Distress. The ability to consistently hit the high note in “Take On Me.”
And then I realized that I actually have a superpower that permeates every aspect of my life.
I can talk to people about things that matter. In fact, I adore it. Continue reading
(Edit: this post was actually written by Adam Callaway. I forgot that WordPress would use my ID to indicate the author if I was the one who created it. Sorry for any confusion.)
I am both pleasantly surprised and just a little disappointed with this year’s batch of nominees. There were no short stories I found to be of poor quality. In my opinion, there was one mediocre story, two good ones, and one very good one. I wish there had been a full ballot of short stories to read through. I also wish there had been more diversity in terms of theme and content.
In the end, I feel like these are incredibly mature stories that show the changing face of speculative literature in the 21st century. In many ways, they share more in common with fiction published in the New Yorker than Amazing Stories. Instead of ray guns and magic swords, you have metafiction and magical realism. Regardless of the quality of these stories, this is a Good Thing for the future of the genre.
But are these really the best stories genre produced last year? Hmm…
Here are my brief thoughts on each of the nominees: Continue reading