Natasha Ngan’s Girls of Paper and Fire is a stunning young adult novel, the first in a new trilogy, where girls show their heart and strength in a world that seeks to crush them beneath its feet. I thoroughly enjoyed reading it, although this book does come with accompanying trigger warnings: There are several scenes of violence and a few scenes of sexual abuse in this novel. There is also violence against a dog. Please take care of yourself while reading this book. [Read more…]
When you think about science fiction and fantasy TV shows, you might think about series like Star Trek and Doctor Who, or Adventure Time and Game of Thrones. You might not, however, think about Korean dramas. Yet there are many Korean dramas with science fiction and fantasy elements. Most of these shows might be more accurately classified as paranormal romances due to their focus on a relationship between the main characters, but that focus certainly doesn’t take away from the fact that there are cursed goblins, comic book heroes coming to life, and aliens from another star galore in these Korean dramas.
You Who Came from the Stars is one such Korean drama. It ran from December 2013 to February 2014 (Korean dramas typically only run for one season) and garnered success both domestically and internationally. The series influenced fashion and food trends in Korea as well as China, and in 2014 ABC announced that there was an American remake under development. Arguably, it was in large part the actors who propelled the drama to fame: Kim Soo Hyun was already a heartthrob due to his previous drama roles, and Jun Ji Hyun was a veteran actor returning to the small screen for the first time in 14 years.
The adjectives that come to mind when I start describing the stories in Jamie Lackey’s latest collection — “graceful”, “elegant”, “accomplished”, “economical”, “beautiful” — all trouble me a bit, because they all come straight out of the 19th century’s idealization of Womanhood, but I just can’t help it. They all apply, and to every one of these tales.
Priest of Bones imagines what would happen if the Godfather had gone off to war in an early Renaissance world, only to return home to find the “family businesses” have been taken over by others. He takes this rather badly.
This month I have five stories to recommend, and each story is pure and simple fun. First, I loved “The House on the Moon” by William Alexander, which appears in Uncanny Magazine‘s recent Disabled People Destroy Science Fiction special issue. In this story, Ana, a disabled girl living on the moon, goes on a field trip to a Welsh castle that’s been moved onto the moon. Ana is a delightful, witty narrator who has a lot to say about the politics and constructedness of (dis)ability. Second, I recommend “Jump” by Cadwell Turnbull, which appears in Lightspeed Magazine Issue 100. In “Jump,” a couple accidentally teleports home one day, but they are unable to recreate the experience. Turnbull’s story starts with a fun science fictional “what if” and then explores its repercussions in a fascinating way. Third, do you enjoy Victorian era lost world adventure stories, but want one that deftly avoids the problematic tropes that often underlie those stories? If so, then don’t miss Carrie Vaughn’s “Harry and Marlowe and the Secret of Ahomana,” which also appears in Lightspeed Magazine Issue 100. Next, we have “Nation Building and Baptism” by Octavia Cade, which appears in Capricious Issue 10. It’s a moving tale about rebuilding and welcoming refugees after the catastrophes of climate change. If the news has you feeling down, you really should read this warm and gentle story. Lastly, if you love stories about magical books and bookstores, then you simply must check out “The Secret History of the Clockwork King” by Heather Morris, which also appears in Capricious Issue 10.
Corey J. White’s Static Ruin and Spencer Ellsworth’s Memory’s Blade each willingly bring to a conclusion a space opera trilogy started in the flush of Tor.com’s season of space opera two years back. [Read more…]
“Don’t forget, a believing is your magic!”
In this world, magic and witches are no secret, nothing is ordinary. For Akko, being a witch is what she has always dreamed about. Being the first human to enter the prestigious witch academy of Luna Nova, Akko faces many challenges to become a great witch, just like her beloved idol, Shiny Chariot. Making friends and changing hearts, Akko goes through her school years always with a smile and with the belief that she will meet Chariot again one day.
(Caution: some spoilers ahead – read at your own discretion) [Read more…]
The minute you dive into Alphaland, you’re transported to a surreal world swirling with mystery, terror, and the inexplicable. Dead fathers come back to haunt their tortured daughters; prostitutes turn out to be horrifying, human-devouring alien intelligences; spaceships function as nurturing mothers. Basically, when Cristina Jurado is telling you a story, you should really listen. [Read more…]
Nicky Drayden’s second novel, Temper, is a skillfully crafted twist of virtue, vice, and tense sibling relationships. I devoured it in a single day, scrolling through the pages on my Kindle as fast as I could read them. Drayden’s engrossing world pulled me in and left me reeling from a vivid world filled with fascinating characters and a complex and engaging universe. There are twists and turns in Drayden’s intricate plots, but there are no dead-ends in this maze. [Read more…]
“Imagination,” says Cristina Jurado, editor of this fifth edition of The Apex Book of World SF, “recognizes any language while walking on the paths of all nations.” In no genre is this more evident than in science fiction, and in no anthology series is it so vividly realized as in this ongoing project, originally developed by Lavie Tidhar, showcasing short fiction from authors around the world. [Read more…]