Archive by Author

Retro Childhood Review: Firebrat

22 Mar

“It will only be for a month, Molly.”

“Why me?” she wailed, forgetting her vow of silence. “Why not Betty? She’s older.”

“Because I think you’ll do a better job than Betty. You’re the reader in this family. The storyteller… Your grandma’s getting awfully forgetful, Molly. Ever since Grandpa died, she’s been living in the past — she tells the same stories over and over. She needs someone who’ll talk to her and help her organize the shop. You know — keep her in touch with the present.”


“Molly, you’re the one who doesn’t mind a little mess.” He waved his hand at her room. “You’re the lover of mysteries.”

“What’s the big mystery about taking care of Grandma?”

“Making people well is always a mystery,” said her father sadly.

I will forever be indebted to a family that both placed an importance on reading and not only understood how much I loved science fiction and fantasy, but encouraged it with gifts. For my eleventh birthday, my aunt and uncle sent me Firebrat, by Nancy Willard, with illustrations by David Wiesner. I don’t know how they decided on this particular book, but the whimsical cover of fish flying through a forest, showing a young girl and a young boy, with the girl in the lead probably had something to do with it. And where I have read and discarded a hundred other fantastical children’s books, Firebrat has kept its place firmly ensconced on every bookshelf that I have ever owned. Continue reading

Torture Cinema Poll: March Madness!

1 Mar

We truly do HATE to disappoint you, but this has literally nothing to do with college basketball. We just felt like torturing you.


Just kidding. Sort of. Really, it’s just time to pick our next Torture Cinema of 2017! We have a wide variety of total crap for you to choose from. So choose wisely!!

Retro Childhood Review: The Last Unicorn

22 Feb

“I was born mortal, and I have been immortal for a long, foolish time, and one day I will be mortal again; so I know something that a unicorn cannot know. Whatever can die is beautiful — more beautiful than a unicorn, who lives forever, and who is the most beautiful creature in the world. Do you understand me?”

“No,” she said.

The magician smiled wearily. “You will. You’re in the story with the rest of us now, and you must go with it, whether you will or no.”

— The Last Unicorn, by Peter S. Beagle

I couldn’t have been more than 5 years old when The Last Unicorn came out on VHS and I watched it so often that my video store had to replace it within a year. My sister and I were absolutely enthralled by the delicate artistry of the unicorn, terrified of the Red Bull, and befuddled by some of the trippier moments (boob tree, anyone?). I always imagined the film to be more born of the imaginations of the production and animation studios, than of Peter S. Beagle’s writing. That is where I was woefully incorrect. This is the first time that I have ever read The Last Unicorn and, though the movie will always be my go-to, I am well and truly in love with this heartbreaking fairy tale.

Continue reading

The 2017 “Inclusion” Theme Begins: Announcements, Details, and Guest/Author Calls

31 Jan

2017 has arrived. It’s a thing. It’s happening. And it’s not the year many of us hoped for.

When we first set out to create a theme for 2017, we didn’t know that it would become something more than a broad gesture about what we believe is crucial to the continued significance of science fiction and fantasy. As the months following the U.S. election rolled by, it became clear that our call for “Inclusion” would be a manifesto. It would be one of the ways we each would contribute to making this world a better place not just for ourselves, but also for everyone. “Inclusion” isn’t just about diversity. It’s about hearing people for who they are and recognizing the power of their voices. It’s about sharing those voices as far as this little podcast can so that as many of us as possible are heard in the cacophony of terror and rage filling the airwaves in these opening weeks of 2017. It’s about emptying the jar of silence so that this room we call the sf/f community is alive with infinite diversity in infinite combinations (to quote the Vulcan philosophy).

Our mission is resistance through Inclusion. This podcast may not be a Congressman or an ambassador to the U.N. or a prime minister, but we are a voice within a community. We’re going to use that voice to make sf/f a better place.

With that in mind, we’re officially opening up our annual “Call for Contributors.” The following is a description of what we’re looking for, what we’re planning to do, and how you can be involved: Continue reading

Retro Childhood Review: The Neverending Story

27 Jan

Bastian Balthazar Bux’s passion was books. If you’ve never spent whole afternoons with burning ears and rumpled hair, forgetting the world around you over a book, forgetting cold and hunger —

If you’ve never read secretly under the bedclothes with a flashlight, because your father or mother or some other well meaning person has switched off the lamp on the plausible ground that it was time to sleep because you had to get up so early — If you have never wept bitter tears because a wonderful story has come to an end and you must take your leave of the characters with whom you have shared so many adventures, whom you have loved and admired, for whom you have hoped and feared, and without whosecompany life seems empty and meaningless — If such things have not been part of your own experience, you probably won’t understand what Bastian did next.

The Neverending Story, by Michael Ende

When I was 8 years old, my father handed me a book with a magical symbol on the cover, with text in red or green by turn, with a protagonist that for all intents and purposes was ME. I doubt I could ever adequately express what this book meant to me at that particular point in my life, nor in the subsequent years in which I read the book again and again, till the corners of the pages turned soft and the imprint on the cover became something you could only see in the right light at the right angle. I first met the characters of The Neverending Story when the movie was released in 1984. I was enraptured by every aspect of the film, but it was the book that truly captured me. The movie is a near perfect adaptation of the first half of the novel, but it misses some crucial elements that make this book a powerful masterpiece of Children’s fiction.

Continue reading

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