On this day in 2012, Sally Ride passed away from pancreatic cancer. She was the youngest American astronaut to travel to space, the third woman in space, and a total badass. Lift a glass to Sally Ride today.

The Red Queen questions Alice

The Red Queen questions Alice

Writing, Editing, and Publishing:

Kate Bernheimer writes this essay for NPR on the predicament of immigrant children in the US, and the timely value of fairy tales for today’s young readers. “These aren’t escapist fantasies; they’re stories of kids facing unimaginable terror,” she writes about Maria Tatar’s collection of Grimm fairy tales.

James A. Moore recalls his childhood enjoyment of Lloyd Alexander’s CHRONICLES OF PRYDAIN series in this short essay for Tor.

Chuck Palahniuk is reviving Fight Club fever with Fight Club 2, a 10-issue comic book series released by Dark Horse and illustrated by Cameron Stewart. Palahniuk provides a few tantalizing answers about what the sequel will cover in this short interview. I gotta say, more than a small part of me is pumped about this.

In more comic book news, Aja Romano writes this short essay for the Daily Dot about the revival of Ms. Marvel, Marvel comics’ first Muslim superhero. And Marvel’s next Star Wars comic will feature Leia.

A marvelous blog post by Mary Robinette Kowal about dialect, diversity, and authenticity in her writing. Her collaboration with Antiguan and Barbudan author Joanne Hillhouse on her upcoming book Of Noble Family is the kind of smart, sensitive move that an author hip to nuance would make.


The White King

This article by Xia Jia (translated by Ken Liu) attempts to answer the question, “What makes Chinese science fiction Chinese?” It provides a fascinating look at science fiction’s history in China during and after the Cultural Revolution and reaffirms one of my closely-held beliefs about SFF—its revolutionary potential.

Check out our list of upcoming releases here!

Movies and Television:

Lucy Lawless is joining Agents of SHIELD, I guess in her downtime from being Ron Swanson’s wife? This seems potentially very cool.

Sean Bean does not think that he is Jon Snow’s dad, confirming (maybe?) a popular fan theory about Game of Thrones’ hottest mopey ice-dude.

Close on the heels of the news that he might be making a film based on H.P. Lovecraft’s At the Mountains of Madness, we now get news that Guillermo del Toro will not be making a third Hellboy film.

Alice and the Fawn

Alice and the Fawn

Internet Stuff:

I love dinosaurs, and I love birds of prey, so imagine my squee when I found out that researchers announced the largest four-winged dinosaur fossil ever found. Four wings, you guys. That’s, like, so many wings. I want this animal as a pet/friend/hunter, just like in My Side of the Mountain except with TWICE as many wings.

Japanese filmmaker Koji Yamamura’s version of Franz Kafka’s story “A Country Doctor” is available here. It is only 20 minutes long and it is quirky and bizarre. Definitely something to enjoy over a lunch break.

And for more Japanimation, here is a Sailor Moon episode drawn in over 250 styles. I’m such an animation fan, although I know next to nothing about it—this really gets the geek in me.

Randall from xkcd has done a “What If?” column answering the question on everyone’s mind: “How long could the human race survive on only cannibalism?” For fans of The Walking Dead, etc.

Artist Feature:

John Tenniel is one of the most interesting figures of the Victorian period. An illustrator, graphic humorist, and political cartoonist, he was knighted by Victoria in 1893. Because of his political cartoons featured in Punch, a British satire magazine, he was called the “conscience” of the British people.

Tweedledum and Tweedledee

Tweedledum and Tweedledee

He was approached to do illustrations for Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass. Although he had done no similar work before nor did he illustrate books after, the art he created for the Alice series became his lasting legacy. Even today, Tenniel’s vision of Alice is what inspires countless movie and TV adaptations of the character. His illustrations, drawn by hand but then transformed into engravings for the books, capture the books’ sense of wistfulness and danger. Carroll’s biographers have written at length about the series being a sort of homage to childhood, and that nostalgia for innocence comes through in Tenniel’s image of Alice with her arms around the Fawn’s neck, staring off into the distance. But the books are not without ominous qualities; they abound with jokes about death and catastrophe. In almost all the images of Alice as she wanders through Wonderland, she seems to stand in a beam of light, surrounded by an encroaching darkness.

Tenniel’s background as a political cartoonist comes across in the faces he draws, as well. Both the shock of the White King as he is manhandled by Alice and the sly suspicion of the Tweedles are evident. Tenniel even based some of his Wonderland drawings on contemporary political figures; for instance, his image of the Lion and the Unicorn closely resembles his caricatures in Punch of the politicians William Gladstone and Benjamin Disraeli.

I have not included my favorite image–the Jabberwock–because its detail needs to be seen in a larger format. Check it out for yourself here.


  • Kate Lechler

    KATE LECHLER, on our staff from May 2014 to January 2017, resides in Oxford, MS, where she divides her time between teaching early British literature at the University of Mississippi, writing fiction, and throwing the tennis ball for her insatiable terrier, Sam. She loves speculative fiction because of what it tells us about our past, present, and future. She particularly enjoys re-imagined fairy tales and myths, fabulism, magical realism, urban fantasy, and the New Weird. Just as in real life, she has no time for melodramatic protagonists with no sense of humor. The movie she quotes most often is Jurassic Park, and the TV show she obsessively re-watches (much to the chagrin of her husband) is Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

    View all posts