On this date in history . . . well, a lot of cool stuff happened. Alexander the Great conquered Darius of Persia in 331 BC; Thomas Edison opened his electric lamp factory in 1880; a brand-new Model T was selling for $825 in 1908; NASA replaced NACA in 1958, providing the “Space” in the acronym; and my favorite Disney park, Epcot, opened in 1982.

Art by Fabrizio Clerici

Art by Fabrizio Clerici

Writing, Editing, and Publishing:

In publishing news, Angry Robot sold to Etan Ilfeld, the American owner of Watkins Bookshop in London and the editor of Mind Body Spirit magazine. Ilfeld intends to keep all the current Angry Robot staff and to combine it with other existing imprints to create Watkins Media Limited.

Banned Books Week was last week, and io9 ran a piece on the 12 weirdest reasons for banning SFF books such as, for instance, the idea that Alice in Wonderland promotes masturbation, or that James and the Giant Peach promotes communism. Book banning is weird in general, I think, because generally the banned book only becomes more popular.

But of course there are other responses to books one finds unseemly. A story has been making the Internet rounds lately about a mother who has re-written Harry Potter to take out the magic, changing the conflict between Harry and Voldemort to be about Christianity vs. evolution. I have my doubts about the veracity of this story—I’ve read several pages of this book, and it’s too bad to be real—but it is funny nonetheless.

This isn’t strictly publishing, but it is about a book: look at this cute Czech sci-fi book for kids! It has pictures of beetles exploring space. (This is the real difference between me and the other staff members who have done this Wednesday column. When they do it, they have interesting, substantive things to say; I just point and say “Cute!”)

Art by Fabrizio Clerici

Art by Fabrizio Clerici

Movies and Television:

This trailer for Jupiter Ascending is compelling. It’s the Wachowski Brothers biggest blockbuster (fingers crossed) since The Matrix, and it looks rad. Mila Kunis is the titular Jupiter and of course she’s great, but I was stunned by Eddie Remayne, who I knew previously only as Marius from Les Mis, as the haughty clench-jawed villain. (Also in this trailer roundup: a trailer for a new documentary about the space elevator–Neat!)

Cary Elwes has a new book coming out, As You Wish, about the making of The Princess Bride. Here he talks about the book and the film.

Art by Fabrizio Clerici

Art by Fabrizio Clerici

Internet Stuff:

Have you ever wondered what Buffy the Vampire Slayer would have been like if Ayn Rand had written it? Well, wonder no longer, Scoobies/Objectivists.

Ryan shared this with me: a catalog full of items from the future, but mundane things like you might order from SkyMall, not the hoverboards or power-lacing shoes we’re all STILL waiting for. (Next year, guys.)

Speaking of the near future, how accurate are science fiction space battles? It’s Okay To Be Smart answers this question, covering classic issues like sound in space, space flight and maneuverability, and acceleration/deceleration.

Finally, a few Halloween Costume ideas: Do you want to dress like an Outlander character? Here’s your guide. But if you want to dress like a Game of Thrones character instead, here are some really swell ready-made costumes you can purchase. Finally, if you want to dress like the Death Star, don’t even bother: this woman already killed it.

Artist Feature:

Fabrizio Clerici was an Italian artist who worked with many mediums and in many styles. In addition to being a painter, he was also a set designer for several operas, and worked with sculpture, furniture design, and stained glass. The paintings I have chosen exhibit some of his best surrealist work. I couldn’t find out a lot of details about his life, but there is a fabulous online archive of his work here. Unfortunately, many of the pages are either in Italian or under construction.


  • 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.