June 28th, 2017

Posted by Charles Pulliam-Moore

When he isn’t staying perpetually employed, Rob Lowe spends a lot of time thinking about how much he loves his kids and how fascinated he is by paranormal creatures like the Loch Ness Monster. It was only a matter of time before he brought these two passions of his together as a reality TV show.


Posted by Emily Asher-Perrin

Children of Dune cover, Frank Herbert

It’s the third book! Things are about to get weird…er. Yeah, they were already weird. And we get another decade-jump!

Index to the reread can be located here! And don’t forget this is a reread, which means that any and all of these posts will contain spoilers for all of Frank Herbert’s Dune series. If you’re not caught up, keep that in mind.


Summary (up to “I hear the wind blowing across the desert and I see the moons of a winter night rising like great ships in the void.”)

Stilgar is watching Paul’s children sleep—they are nine years old. He thinks of what his planet used to be like and the many ways that it has changed, and he thinks of his hand in all of this. Stilgar wonders if he shouldn’t kill Paul’s children, if that would put an end to this new way. He thinks of dissident groups against Muad’Dib that he has brought down, even when he did not want to. Leto and Ghana dress in Atreides colors and clasps to meet their grandmother, the Lady Jessica, for the first time. They are both nervous about it, and Alia clearly is as well; this is the first time that Jessica will visit Arrakis since she left when Paul took power. Alia cannot figure out why her mother would want to come now, and cannot see the future to understand how things will go. It is rumored the Jessica has gone back to her Bene Gesserit roots.

Leto and Ghanima are still young enough that they have difficult separating out their previous lives from their own persons, and Alia is determined to lure Leto into a spice trance even though he and his sister both believe that they are too young. Gurney is arriving with Jessica and there are rumors that the two are lovers now. Alia wonders what he would think if he knew that they were related to the Harkonnens. Duncan told her that Jessica arrived to claim the twins for the Sisterhood and educate them herself. There are Sardaukar secretly training under the Emperor’s grandson Farad’n to eventually remove the Atreides and restore the Emperor’s house to its throne.

Jessica arrives and knows that Alia has become the Abomination that the sisterhood feared just by looking at her. Everyone is uncertain of how to behave around her, and Irulan does not trust Jessica despite their common sisterhood. Jessica meets a priest named Javid and finds the whole reunion disturbing. She wants to see her grandchildren, who are still at Sietch Tabr. Leto breaks through to an understanding about the history of Arrakis, that it was once a planet with water and the sandtrout were brought there and eventually got rid of all the water so that they could morph into the sandworms. Leto knows that if the sandtrout go away, there will be no more worms, and he knows that Alia knows it as well and is keeping it from the tribes. The twins know that no one will believe them if they say so. Leto wants to meet the man in the desert at the legendary Sietch Jacarutu, the one people call The Preacher. They both wonder if he might be their father, not truly dead, but they also fear it.

Gurney warns Jessica of the dangers about them. He has questioned some Fremen and found that under interrogation, they brought up the name Jacarutu and instantly died. The Preacher himself is a man who is led around by a young Fremen without a tribe of his own. He has burned out eye sockets as Paul Atreides did. He wandered one day through the many believers and cursed at them for being idolaters, and his commanding presence led many to wonder if he was indeed Muad’Dib, but he would only say the he was speaking for the Hand of God.

Princess Wensicia, mother of Farad’n, the daughter of Shaddam IV is plotting to get back the throne of House Corrino for her son. She has her Sardaukar working with Javid against Alia, and then she wants her mean to embrace the religion around Muad’Dib to better dismantle it. She is also training Laza tigers to hunt the Atreides twins. She talks to the head Sardaukar, a man named Tyekanik, who is uncertain of her methods. Wensicia tells him to send a planned gift to their cousins, plotting on Farad’n’s behalf without his knowledge; the Emperor’s grandson is a sensitive young man.

Jessica meets with Ghanima alone; she excludes Leto because while she does not perceive Abomination about the twins, she believes that he is concealing something. After realizing that she fears for her grandchildren and having a moment of connection with Ghanima, she lets her guards down completely for the first time since Duke Leto was alive, and Ghanima knows in that moment that her grandmother loves her. But she also knows that if they do not bear out “human” in the Bene Gesserit sense, her grandmother would still destroy them. Jessica admits that she believes that Ghanima is human, but that she is not sure about Leto. Ghanima insists that Leto is not… yet. Then she shares their theory that their decision not to enter the spice trance is what prevents them from going down Alia’s path to Abomination. They talk of the Preacher and the possibility of him being Paul, and their mutual distrust of Javid. Ghanima admits that she worries because Leto keep studying Alia and may empathize with her too much. She tells her grandmother that he has mentioned Jacarutu, and thinks that Alia wants Leto to look for it. Jessica sense a sweetness to Ghanima despite her concern for her grandchildren, and thinks that the twins must be separated and trained as the Sisterhood wants.


There is a new status quo in this empire, and it didn’t take us long to get there.

This is an interesting point of contention I find often when I talk with fellow fans; how long should it take the universe to change? Because it has been a little over two decades since Paul Atreides assumed the throne, but everything is new. It prompts very interesting questions about cultural memory and how easily change can sweep over us. When you read Lord of the Rings, you’re told point blank that generations upon generations pass before history is legend and legend is myth and we forget things that we shouldn’t. It’s been literal ages.

Then you get a narrative like Star Wars, where people think that the Jedi are fairy tales a mere two decades after their destruction. The Emperor’s rise to total domination is a plan that only really takes him about fifteen years. It’s all so quick. Or seemingly so.

With both Star Wars and Dune, I think it is important to remember that you’re looking at vast universes where collective experience is a scattered thing at best. People will not have a unified version of events no matter what you do or how good your information systems are. But moreover, I think that both stories—Dune more consciously than Star Wars—are deliberately drawing attention to how short cultural memory is. In the opening of this book, Stilgar laments the change in his people already, the water discipline that has grown lax over this short span of time. Twenty years is long enough for a new generation to be brought up, one that has never known a world without Muad’Dib, never known an Arrakis that was totally devoid of water. That’s long enough for everything to have changed.

We have some of Herbert’s favorite tropes here, in that the twins are like Alia; children that both are and are not children. It’s almost as though he wants to make up for not writing enough of Alia as a child in Dune, and I find myself enjoying it because there are some genuinely fascinating concepts about the isolation of self that they embody quite well. Their ability to be their own people, only to get that lost in the mire of their ancestry and mental inheritance is a great place to begin with these characters. In many ways, I find it more interesting than Paul’s fight with prescience. This is even more true when you take into account the ways in which the twins are finally separating out as individuals and how confusing that is for two people who have essentially always been mentally connected to one another—Leto’s concern over how to explain something to Ghanima that only he has experienced speaks to a completely different form of communication.

The rest of the opening of this books is devoted to placing the players on the board and giving us an idea of what the trials of this story will focus on. So we know that the status of the twins is up in the air, we know that Alia is considered largely lost by those around her, we know that Jessica is reattached to the Bene Gesserit and hoping to bring her grandchildren into the fold. We also know that House Corrino is hoping to regain their throne due to the scheming of one of Shaddam’s daughters, Irulan’s sister Wensicia, but we also know that the son she wants to install is not the scheming sort. Stilgar is becoming disillusioned more and more each day, but is still undecided for what he will do. Then there is the relationship between Jessica and Gurney, which is an excellent turnaround from their journey in Dune itself. Being two people who loved Duke Leto so dearly, it makes sense to see them hanging on to one another.

There are a few things here that don’t ring quite true, and Irulan is the biggest glare coming off this opening. As I said at the end of Dune Messiah, the idea that she suddenly realized that she loved Paul just seems like a very convenient device for the story to do what it will with her. It still sits awkwardly.

The Preacher is brought to our attention, as is Jacarutu, which are both issues that will be expanded upon later. We’ll have to wait and see what they bring.

Emily Asher-Perrin is going to have to talk a lot about the term Abomination later, so that should be interesting. You can bug her on Twitter and Tumblr, and read more of her work here and elsewhere.

Posted by Beth Elderkin

Geek Actually is a weekly book series about women; specifically, female geeks. It follows five gals who bond online over their love of nerd culture... when they aren’t dealing with stressful jobs, sexist assholes, and Tinder hookups. It’s refreshing because it’s saucy yet relatable. No surprise, considering it’s…


wolfpurplemoon: childfree community logo (childfree)
Let’s just get this out of the way: I've been married for 13-plus years and don't have kids. My husband and I don't want them, but there’s a lot more to it than that. Before you judge us, or say, "There's still time to change your minds," there are a few things I want you to know about my child-free marriage.

(Read more)

Posted by Luke Plunkett on Kotaku, shared by Katharine Trendacosta to io9

Star Wars Armada is a great game to play every once in a while. But committing to play a lot of it in the name of an organised campaign is another story.


ilanarama: profile of me backpacking.  Woo. (hiking)
posted by [personal profile] ilanarama at 08:26am on 28/06/2017 under , ,
I was looking through my journal for one of our backpacking trips last year, and realized that I somehow never got around to posting photos/stories about quite a few of our great excursions. I'm determined not to repeat this error, in part because it's so dang fun re-reading my past adventures, so even though our backpacking trip this weekend was just a short overnight you get to read about it and see a ridiculous number of photos. ;-)

Verde basin and Elk Creek

I mean, if you want to. But don't you want to? )

23 photos [these and more] at Flickr, none of the rambling

Posted by James Whitbrook

It’s always the same with blockbuster movie marketing these days—the closer you get to release, the more and more footage comes out to the point you could piece together everything chronologically and come away with a huge chunk of the actual movie. Sometimes the studios themselves do it for you in the form of…


Click here to go see the bonus panel!

Just kidding. They're not *all* dead. Some of them are just servants of the dead.

New comic!
Today's News:

Posted by Michael Livingston

A reader suggested I review the 2003 movie Timeline. I agreed, mostly because I couldn’t remember anything about the film.

That should have been a clue.

Let me start with the conclusion: Don’t watch this movie. In fact, you’d probably do well not to even bother reading this review. Because it’s bad, people. (The movie, not the review. I hope.)

I wanna put that tag line on all my syllabi every fall.

And it’s a bummer. Timeline should be a good movie. I recall the 1999 book by Michael Crichton being decent enough, the director was usually solid (Richard Donner), and the film had a pretty terrific cast on paper. Plus, you know, the Middle Ages.

But oh how it fails.

Here’s the setup:

It’s the present day, and Professor Edward Johnston (played by the ever-wonderful Scotsman Billy Connolly) is running an archaeological dig near the village of Castelgard, France. He’s got a group of students and fellow archaeologists with him, including Marek (Gerard “This is Sparta!” Butler) and Kate (Frances O’Connor). His son Chris (Paul Walker) is also visiting. The dig is sponsored by a super-rich dude named Robert Doniger (David “Lupin” Thewlis), who seems to know way more about the site than he should. The good professor heads to Doniger’s headquarters to find out why, and a few days later the archaeologists find the professor’s eyeglasses in a previously undisturbed part of the dig, along with a note from him asking for help … dated 1357.

Adventure ensues, as it turns out that Doniger has built a machine that opens a wormhole back to Castelgard in 1357: a village caught between French and English armies in the middle of the Hundred Years War, just at the moment before there’s a big climactic battle. The professor has gone back in the machine and been trapped there. When the students head back to save him all hell breaks lose.

See? That should be a really great movie.

Yet it totally and positively is not.

Time-travel via hair blowers. Wish I was kidding.

I’ll get into the history issues in a moment, but first I have to say this movie fails in every way a film can fail. The acting is wooden. The pacing is uneven. The cinematography is often ill-conceived. The lighting is bad. The tone ranges wildly from cheesy humor to solemnity, often within the same scene. The foreshadowing is of the beat-over-the-head variety. The time machine—which should totally be a cool effects thing in a movie like this—consists of two-way mirrors and actors screaming in slow-mo. The “timeline” of their “fixed” wormhole is a plothole. Hell, the crew couldn’t even manage consistency with their own terms: on at least one computer screen early on Castelgard is misspelled “Castlegard.”

The history is terrible, too, even though it’s supposed to be set in our very real past. Castelgard isn’t a real place. It’s intended to fit more or less (mostly less) into the real Dordogne Valley in France, but Crichton (and thereby the filmmakers) decided to just make it all up. The castle isn’t real. Nor is the abbey or the battle or the characters or…look, this isn’t a movie for history buffs.

The only (semi-)redeeming part of the film is a big climactic siege/battle at night. And the best part of that sequence is unquestionably when both sides send up volleys of flaming arrows. (Flaming arrows were way less common than Hollywood would have you think, FYI.) Donner and company film the volleys passing each other against the night sky and some of the arrows actually hit each other and fall out of the sky (here’s a short clip of the scene). Despite the used-up burning arrow trope, it’s a moment of physical truth that serves as a reminder to how the purity of CGI can lose some of the randomness of real life.

Still, as fun as the big fight (sorta) is, it looks almost silly compared to the magnificence of such scenes in Lord of the Rings.

Speaking of that semi-decent barrow scene, you’ve heard of the “butterfly effect,” yes? (If not, you should probably go review Ray Bradbury’s 1953 short story “A Sound of Thunder” right now.) This movie, more than any non-spoof time-travel movie I’ve ever seen, completely and totally disregards this most basic principle of time travel: don’t mess things up, because little changes can have big effects. Instead of walking softly, our (ahem) “heroes” waltz around swinging big sticks. In fact, a major plot point (spoiler alert, though it doesn’t matter since you will not be watching this film), hinges on the fact that Professor Johnston has been captured by Lord Oliver d’Vannes (played by Michael Sheen); in order to save his life, the professor creates Greek Fire for the English to use against the French in the big battle at the end.

Greek friggin’ Fire.

Real Greek Fire at work.

I’ll set aside the fact that it’s highly improbable that your average archaeologist bloke knows how to make Greek Fire on the fly in 14th-century France—scholars are still not sure what recipe the Byzantines really used—because that issue almost doesn’t matter when set beside the butterfly effect problem. Ol’ Professor Johnston isn’t accidentally stepping on a butterfly here. He’s stepping on the butterfly and then setting it on bloody fire, along with a whole host of French fellows who otherwise might have lived, thank you very much.

And even that wasn’t the thing that bothered me the most.

If you’ve read my review of The 13th Warrior (also based on a Crichton novel), you know that I was tremendously pleased with how that film dealt with the very real language issues of the Middle Ages.

Timeline makes a gesture at this problem when our (ahem) heroes encounter medieval French folks and have to speak with them in French. That’s great, except that, well, they’re all talking in Modern French as if everything is hunky-dory.

It ain’t.

There’s a world of difference between the languages of the 14th century and their modern equivalents, and the film just blithely ignores it.

At least they got the sword basically right. #littlevictories

I mean, it’s bad enough that they really ought to be doing a particular medieval dialect given where they are, but it’s oh-so-much worse that the film just ignores language change over so many years. It’s especially noticeable when our heroes are in the camp of the medieval English folks and they talk just like modern English folks.

Oh, they all have British accents of one variety or another, but that’s not the same thing, Mr. Director.

For crying out loud, Chaucer is a teenager when this is happening. Do you think he and surfer-boy Paul Walker could have just chatted without any translation issues at all?

Walker: Like, what’s up, Geoff?

Chaucer: If ye art spekynge to me, ich understond ye noght.

Speaking of Paul Walker, he delivers the line that almost made me choke on the liquid I was imbibing through this movie:

“The way I see it, we’ve got what, we’ve got 650 years of knowledge on these guys. If we put our heads together, there’s no reason why we shouldn’t be able to get out of here and home in 20 minutes.”

Hahahaha. Yep. Because your ability to use a phone or drive a car is gonna be soooo applicable in the fourteenth century.

Also, Paul Walker’s character is creepy-grabby in this film.

In conclusion, Timeline is one of those movies that’s so bad that it actually inspires critics to entertain themselves—so they don’t blind themselves by ballpoint in the theater, I imagine—by creating great pull-quote descriptions. Here are two of my favorites:

Resembles a Star Trek episode by way of Scooby-Doo. —Ann Hornaday

It’s like Back to the Future without the laughs. —Richard Roeper

Seriously: I do not suggest you see this film. It’s not even a good bad movie. (For that, see my review of The Norseman, which is still my leading contender for worst Viking film ever made.)

gates-hellMichael Livingston is a Professor of Medieval Literature at The Citadel who has written extensively both on medieval history and on modern medievalism. His historical fantasy series set in Ancient Rome, The Shards of Heaven and its sequel The Gates of Hell, is available from Tor Books.

Posted by James Whitbrook and Gordon Jackson

The new Hellboy film will be rated R. The next season of iZombie has a peculiar political inspiration. The Supernatural spinoff has found another cast member. A Star Trek legend will go behind the camera for Discovery. Plus, new pictures from the set of Deadpool 2, and more Game of Thrones featurettes. Spoilers Get!


mific: (team AR1)
Fandom: Stargate Atlantis (AUs)
Characters/Pairing/Other Subject: Teyla, Rodney, John, and Ronon 
Content Notes/Warnings: none
Medium: digital painting
Artist on DW/LJ: n/a
Artist Website/Gallery: Randommindtime's art on tumblr
Why this piece is awesome: These are portraits for a New York-based detective (Law and Order) AU where the team are in law enforcement - John and Ronon are cops and Teyla and Rodney are lawyers. They all look very cool and determined! It's really lovely work with nifty details, excellent likenesses and great colouring.
Link: Depart and Act Conceptual Portraits

Posted by Alasdair Stuart

Laura Lam’s newest novel, Shattered Minds, is a journey to the exact sort of utopia that I like—namely, a complex, untidy one. Her Pacifica novels explore a future that’s ideal but not idealized and what happens when people fall, or sometimes, jump, between the cracks.

I talked to her about Shattered Minds, Pacifica, the Micah Gray books, and more…

Alasdair Stuart: How did you get started writing?

Laura Lam: I grew up one of the biggest bookworms, and I kept starting various things but never finished. The furthest I got was about 30,000 words of a fantasy based on feudalism. The first line was “The sunset was as red as blood.” It didn’t improve from there.

I started it at 15 at the same time as I met a Scottish boy online in 2002. We fell in love while discussing books and writing those somewhat awful early efforts. I ended up going to university for English Literature and Creative Writing, which taught me to finish work to a deadline. When I moved to Scotland after marrying the Scottish dude in 2009, I had a boring job filing and photocopying, as that was the only job I could get with my English degree at the time. I decided to become more serious about writing and finished a book (Pantomime) in 2011 and sold it in 2012. My method was mostly trial and error.

AS: Which authors inspired you? And continue to do so?

LL: Anyone who knows me at all knows Robin Hobb is my favourite author. False Hearts and Shattered Minds are very different genres to her fantasy (though in Micah Grey, the influence is more obvious), but I think her approach to characterization has stayed with me. I also love cyberpunk, so Gibson and Stephenson mainly, and psychological thrillers are another big inspiration. I read all genres and try to read 100 books a year, though I don’t always make it. As a writer, I feel like reading is such a vital component of my job. I need to know the market, and to see all sorts of ways of putting together stories. I teach on the Creative Writing Masters at Napier in Edinburgh now, too, so I’m also looking at stories from a craft viewpoint for lecturing. Every book I read inspires me in some way, even if it’s not always obvious.

AS: Tell us a little about the Micah Grey books.

LL: The Micah Grey trilogy is Pantomime, Shadowplay, and Masquerade. Short pitch: an intersex, genderfluid, bisexual daughter of a noble family runs away and joins the circus presenting as a male aerialist’s apprentice named Micah Grey. Set in a gaslight fantasy world vaguely based on Victorian Scotland with some Greek mythological influence. Magic that might just be advanced tech in disguise. Stage magic. Court magic. The growing threat of civil war. Returning beings from myth. Found families, friendship, and some romance.

AS: How do the Vestigial Tales series tie in?

LL: They’re largely prequels. “The Snake Charm” is about one of the secondary characters, Drystan, in the Circus of Magic before Micah joins. “The Fisherman’s Net” is a short fable about a mermaid and the dangers of greed. “The Tarot Reader” is another character, Cyan’s, story in the circus she worked in before she’s introduced in Shadowplay, book two. “The Card Sharp” is another story about Drystan, about him being a Lerium drug addict and card sharp before joining the Circus of Magic. “The Mechanical Minotaur” I released this year, and it’s sort of like a non-racist Indian in the Cupboard meets Boy Cinderella, and doesn’t really feature any characters from the main series (but is still best read after Masquerade as a cap to the series).

AS: How did you find the process of producing the Vestigial Tales? How did your process change for the shorter work?

LL: I initially wrote the Vestigial Tales to learn about self-publishing. Pantomime and Shadowplay originally came out through Strange Chemistry, which was the YA imprint of Angry Robot Books. But Strange Chemistry shut down in 2014, and I wasn’t sure what the fate of the series was going to be. I thought it was likely I’d have to release the third myself (I ended up not needing to do this—the rights reverted to me and my agent re-sold them to Tor UK). But before I knew that, to keep myself in the world of Micah Grey, I wrote the stories and had friends help me edit them, another friend made the covers (Dianna Walla, who was my childhood pen pal!), and I formatted them myself. Shorter work obviously requires different plotting and skill. “The Tarot Reader” and “The Snake Charm” are novellas of around 30k, whereas the others range from 5-10k. I really enjoy writing novellas though, as it’s nice and meaty but it’s something that can be read in an afternoon. I’d like to do more of them sometime. The first Vestigial Tale is permanently free if anyone wants to check it out, and it can be read before Pantomime.

Acting as your own publisher is an interesting experience. I already had appreciation for my publishers, but it gave me more. So much goes on behind the scenes, and I think it’d be good for more authors to give self-publishing a go. Hybrid publishing is going to become more popular—I like knowing now that if I have a project I believe in but for whatever reason isn’t appropriate for a trade publisher, I can do it myself and get stories out there. There’s so many ways of doing it now, too. Self-publishing via Amazon and other retailers, releasing work through Patreon, putting things up on Wattpad. It’s an interesting time for publishing.

I didn’t make a huge profit from the short stories, but some money still trickles in every month, and helps me buy lattes when I work in cafes. It was a great experience. I offered two more short stories set in Pacifica for free if readers pre-ordered Shattered Minds this time, and I’ll put them up on Amazon in a few months, too.

AS: Let’s chat about Pacifica. How does the world of Shattered Minds and the first book, False Hearts, differ from the present day?

LL: False Hearts and Shattered Minds are standalones in the same world. They’re set roughly 100 years in the future. Climate change came to a head in 2030-2050, resulting in everyone having to put aside their differences to save the world. That’s the sort of “ghost from the past” that is mentioned but not dwelled on a lot within the books. After the Great Upheaval calmed down, tensions were still high in the U.S. and it fractured. Pacifica is now California, Oregon, Washington, and Hawaii. There’s also the South, The Great Plains, and Atlantica on the East Coast.

Technology is now zooming onwards. People can order pretty much anything from a replicator (yes, stolen from Star Trek. No, no one orders Earl Grey. Not yet at least). Climate change is under control. Self-driving hover cars are common, as well as orchard skyscrapers or glowing algae that makes the Bay shine green at night. People can walk into flesh parlours and change their face and body at will, yet mostly people choose to look blandly beautiful. Crime is very low now and poverty has been eradicated. It should be a utopia in many ways. But it’s not. Scratch the surface and the shine is gone.

AS: There’s a definite kind of Californian futurism which I see in those books—that combination of positivity and hope and almost sun-drenched noir. Where do you think that comes from?

LL: I love the idea of “sun-drenched noir!” It does fall into that a bit.

I don’t think our future will be a complete dystopia. I think it will somewhat like now—lots of good things, lots of terrible things. There’s more equality in this world, monetarily, but those who control data have the most power. Sure, in Pacifica life expectancy is longer, they’ve cured a lot of genetic diseases, and people work fewer hours. But people are still hungry to have more than others, just in different ways. Lots of people will work towards bringing light into others’ lives, but there’ll still be those who thrive on darkness.

Plus, straight up utopias are a lot harder to write about.

AS: Tell us a little about Shattered Minds.

LL: I tend to describe Shattered Minds as female Dexter with a drug problem meets Minority Report. Serial killer becomes addicted to dream drugs so she only kills people in her imagination. When a colleague sends a bunch of encrypted information into her brain before he’s murdered, she’s forced to return to real life and take down an evil corporation with a group of ragtag hackers. It’s about addiction, identity, and overcoming the darkness within.

AS: How does it tie into False Hearts?

LL: False Hearts tends to get the pitch of Orphan Black meets Inception. That one is about formerly conjoined twins. They were raised in a cult, escaped when they were 16, and separated, each fit with a mechanical heart. Ten years later one twin is accused of murder and the other twin has to go undercover into the organised mob, prove her sister’s innocence, and save her life.

Both books are set in Pacifica. False Hearts is in San Francisco and Shattered Minds is in Los Angeles. So same world, a minor crossover character, but otherwise completely self-contained stories, each looking at a different facet of darkness in Pacifica.

AS: How are you finding working in a sandbox rather than a series?

LL: It’s a really nice compromise. I really like the world so I get to keep playing with it, but each story is its own creation. There’s some fun Easter eggs to link them, but otherwise you should, theoretically, be able to pick up any of them and dive right in. If you read Shattered Minds, you will pick up a few things that happened as a result of False Hearts, so it’s probably still best to read them in order, but not essential. It also means there doesn’t have to be a set number, or if there’s a bit of a gap between releases, people aren’t kept hanging like they were with the third book of my trilogy when it changed publishers. That was disappointing for them and vaguely traumatic for me. This is less stress and more fun.

AS: What’s next for you? And for Pacifica?

LL: At the moment, my response is “no comment.” I’m working on a bunch of things, but don’t have any clear idea of what’s happening next. Which is scary, but all I can focus on is the words, so I do that.


Shattered Minds is out now in hardback with the previous novel in the Pacifica sequence, False Hearts, available in paperback. Also available in paperback are Pantomime, Shadowplay and Masquerade. Find Laura online at her website and on Twitter @LR_Lam

Alasdair Stuart is a freelancer writer, RPG writer and podcaster. He owns Escape Artists, who publish the short fiction podcasts Escape Pod, Pseudopod, Podcastle, Cast of Wonders, and the magazine Mothership Zeta. He blogs enthusiastically about pop culture, cooking and exercise at Alasdairstuart.com, and tweets @AlasdairStuart.

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June 28th, 2017next

June 28th, 2017: I am Kickstarting a new book! It's called WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE PUNCHES A FRIGGIN' SHARK and/or other stories and it's gonna be great, in my not-at-all-biased opinion!!

– Ryan

james_davis_nicoll: (Default)
posted by [syndicated profile] cakewrecks_feed at 01:00pm on 28/06/2017

Posted by Jen

Brides, have you ever had a lofty cake dream...


...fall flat?


Or have you ever wished for pretty-as-a-picture polka dots...


...only to get gravity-defying cow patties?


How about something that should have been simply sublime...


...that turned terrifying?


Perhaps your "something blue"...


...has you seeing red?


Have you ever wanted creamy lace and bows...


...only to get "AAAAUUUGGHH!!"

Well, have you?


Oh, good!

Then send me a picture, won't you?

This stuff cracks. me. up.


Thanks to brides Ashley B., Emily K., Lara A., Christie S., & Kathleen M. for sharing their private pain with us. So that we may laugh. And then feel kinda bad about it. But not enough to stop laughing.


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And from my other blog, Epbot:

truepenny: artist's rendering of Sidneyia inexpectans (Default)
Q1: More about Jack the Ripper! Who do you think did it?
Q2: Research -- do you plan your approach, or is it more freeform/serendipitous/falling down rabbit holes?
Q3: Are you exclusively reading true crime? If so, what's that been like? If not, what else are you reading?
[each from a different and lovely reader]

Read more... )
liv: Bookshelf labelled: Caution. Hungry bookworm (bookies)
posted by [personal profile] liv at 01:42pm on 28/06/2017 under ,
Recently read: Too like the lightning by Ada Palmer. I borrowed [personal profile] jack's copy to read this for the Hugos. It's thinky and original, but also rather unpleasant.

detailed review )

Currently reading: All the birds in the sky by Charlie Jane Anders. Partly because it's Hugo nominated and partly cos several of my friends were enthusiastic about it. I'm a bit more than halfway through and finding it very readable and enjoyable. Patricia and Laurence are really well drawn as outcast characters and their interaction is great. It feels very Zeitgeisty, very carefully calculated to appeal to the current generation of geeks. The style is sort of magic realist, in that a bunch of completely weird fantasy-ish things happen and nobody much remarks on them. I find that sort of approach to magic a bit difficult to get on with, because it appears completely arbitrary what is possible and what isn't, so the plot seems a bit shapeless.

Up next: I'm a bit minded to pick up Dzur by Steven Brust, because I was enjoying the series but very slowly, and it's been really quite a few years since I made progress with it.
location: San Francisco
Music:: Placebo: Nancy boy
Mood:: 'content' content

Posted by ScienceBlog.com

Go Easy on the Avocado Toast: ‘Good Fat’ Can Still Be Bad for YouWhen it comes to the fat in your diet, the line between good and bad just got blurrier. Liberal consumption of so-called good fats – like those found in olive oil and avocados – may ... Read more

Posted by ScienceBlog.com

Reptile skin grown in lab for first time, helps study endangered turtle diseaseScientists, including Tina Weatherby with the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa (UHM) School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology (SOEST), published a study wherein they reconstructed the skin of endangered green turtles, marking the ... Read more