We’re a little thin on the ground today, but here goes!

On this day in 1981, Donkey Kong debuted and the world was introduced to everyone’s favorite Italian plumber, Mario.

Writing, Editing, and Publishing:

Art by Alexander McQueen

Art by Alexander McQueen

Two pieces today by writers, about writing, both from Tor.com. First, Mary Pearson wrote this article about using ancient history to inspire new fantasy worlds, citing George R. R. Martin and Robin LaFevers as examples. Second, Ellen Klages writes about the collaborative writing process and laments that short fiction gets no love (‘cept here, right, FanLit?).

J.K. Rowling wrote a new Harry Potter story, in the voice of Rita Skeeter, and it’s really great. It’s available on Pottermore, which requires a subscription.

The Chesley Awards, for excellence in fantastic arts, announced the 2014 nominees. Can’t wait to check out some of these artists!

Art by Alexander McQueen

Art by Alexander McQueen

Movies and Television:

 Guillermo del Toro’s film adaptation of Lovecraft’s At the Mountains of Magic is still a possibility, bumped down from an R-rating to a PG-13 rating. If you want to see Del Toro’s concept art, check it out here, along with art from some of his other films.

Joining all of the other Disney live action films coming out soon and/or recently (Maleficent, Cinderella, The Little Mermaid), there will be a live action version of Dumbo. I’m with the io9 crowd in feeling a little skeptical of this.

And in other Rowling news, here are some images of magical creatures created for the upcoming Potter spinoff film, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.

Internet Stuff:

Look at these awesome skyscrapers planned for Wuhan, China, that will help clean polluted water and air, as well as a bunch of other environmentally-friendly tasks. The future is here . . . well, in China.

Art by Alexander McQueen

Art by Alexander McQueen

Check out this short Muppet-y film by the baby from the Labyrinth (whose actual name is Toby Froud). So cute!

 Artist Feature:

Fashion designers may not fit into everyone’s idea of “artist of the fantastic,” but hear me out. Despite how much I hate endless descriptions of character’s clothing in many fantasy novels (cough cough Robert Jordan cough), I get a lot of world-building inspiration from looking at haute couture, especially designers like Jean Paul Gaultier, Valentino, Manish Arora, and the late, great Alexander McQueen. Clothing, as authors like Jordan so clearly know, speaks about culture. What kind of materials are available to this culture? What does the culture find attractive, repulsive, or immodest? What symbols does it cherish? And, in some cases, what is the clothing for?

The images this week come from McQueen’s final posthumous show, entitled Angels and Demons. The designs are inspired by medieval and Byzantine art, Old Master paintings, and altar pieces such as Bosch’s Garden of Earthly Delights, which was printed on one of the dresses.

To me, though, they open a door to another world. I’m not sure who lives there, but they look regal. Otherworldly. Robotically medieval. And I guess they like mohawks?

Art by Alexander McQueen

Art by Alexander McQueen


  • 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.