WWWednesday, April 10, 2013

fantasy and science fiction book reviewsSmeagol sings Mad World.

Neil Gaiman is more influential than Kim Jong Un.

What happened to the third acorn? Warwick Davis on Willow.

A beautiful fantasy short illustrated film. Dragons and wizards and true love.

Portrait of the Book As Golem, a poem by Jane Yolen, in honor of National Poetry Month.

Science fiction and fantasy books kids should be reading in school, parts one and two. I know a lot of these are assigned in school, but I think some suggestions, like Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale would get some school boards up in arms.

BBC America is set to co-produce a seven hour mini-series adaptation of Susanna Clarke’s Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell.

Moving beyond Tolkien in your fantasy mythology, Juliette Wade recommends nine authors who mine different cultural backgrounds.

Which books you need to read to prepare for their upcoming screen adaptations. I’m surprised it doesn’t mention Cassandra Clare’s The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones movie, which just had it’s second trailer released last week.

Apple banned the sci-fi comic Saga from being sold in its iTunes store over a gay sex scene. Saga by Brian K. Vaughn and Fiona Staples has earned lots of positive reviews, including from our own Brad. ETA the resolution, in which apparently the internet causes communication problems.

And don’t forget to vote in The Book Smuggler’s Old School Wednesday Readalong” for what to read in May.

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RUTH ARNELL (on FanLit's staff January 2009 — August 2013) earned a Ph.D. in political science and is a college professor in Idaho. From a young age she has maxed out her library card the way some people do credit cards. Ruth started reading fantasy with A Wrinkle in Time and The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe — books that still occupy an honored spot on her bookshelf today. Ruth and her husband have a young son, but their house is actually presided over by a flame-point Siamese who answers, sometimes, to the name of Griffon.

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  1. I am so hopeful, and so anxious, about the Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norell mini-series; much the way I feel about the upcoming adaptation of American Gods.

    I fear you are right about The Handmaid’s Tale; it’s already on the list of books that have been banned. A little to close to home for some, I guess.

    • I’m hopeful as well. BBC Radio did a great job of adapting Neverwhere, I thought. I know that BBC America is completely different, but I trust the BBC more than I would trust an American channel. Except maybe HBO.

  2. Abercrombie Fans!!! I just ran across this today and I’m so jazzed I’m telling every Abercrombie fan I know; Joe just went comic books:


  3. I taught The Handmaid’s Tale for years in high school. One year a parent complained and I was called in for a meeting with the principal and the department chair (who was a social studies teacher, not an English teacher), both of whom had already decided to ban it from being taught. The chair had “read” it the night before and highlighted everything she thought might be objectionable. Looking over at her copy from the seat next to her, it looked liked she’d dropped it in a vat of yellow dye. I asked her for it, read through some highlights, and told them both I literally couldn’t tell why she thought some were objectionable (some were obvious–references to sex etc.). They didn’t buy any of my arguments for teaching it (it turns out getting the greatest response ever in the classroom is trivial), until I got to it being on the AP list of approved/recommended titles. They didn’t buy it so I walked down to my room, got the list, and proved it. Game, set, match. But I’ll never forget how depressing that conversation was.

    Also, very, very, very psyched for that Strange miniseries.

  4. Bill, I’m glad you prevailed. I think your story hits the nail on the head; after a complaint, a person “reads” (skims) the book and pulls out sentences and paragraphs that scare them, remembering their sole goal is to avoid litigation or any kind of fuss. I’m disappointed that a social studies major couldn’t appreciate The Handmaid’s Tale.

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