On this day in 1926, J. Gordon Whitehead punched Harry Houdini so hard that it killed him. (Okay, the actual story is more complicated, but still bizarre: check it out here.)

fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviews

Beetilda, by Paulina Cassidy

Writing, Editing, and Publishing:

This Guardian article about catfishing in the book-blogging world is both fascinating and frightening. Kathleen Hale writes about her experience as an author in a flame war with a book blogger; both the blogger and Hale exhibited some bad behavior, and Hale reflects on what she learned from this experience.

Cory Doctorow‘s short story, “Anda,” is being adapted into a comic called In Real Life by Doctorow and Jen Wang. This story follows a girl gamer as she learns more about herself and the real world through gaming. Lauren Davis interviews the writing duo here about the adaptation and its relation to GamerGate. You can also read Brad’s review of In Real Life here.

Neil Gaiman writes this tribute to Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein as part of the Guardian’s promotion of “Terror and Wonder: The Gothic Imagination,” an exhibition at the British Library this fall and winter.

Speaking of gothic, check out this new anthology, Nevermore, being funded here by Indiegogo. It is almost all the way funded, and the content—mystery, horror, dark fantasy, and anything in the spaces in between—sounds great.

SF Signal posted this essay, by Alma Alexander, on the collision of high science with high fantasy. She writes about her history as a science graduate student turned fantasy author.

One of our favorites around here, Robert Jackson Bennett, author of the recent City of Stairs, was featured last week on the Functional Nerds podcast. Also, don’t miss this video featuring Bennett—it is hilarious. (And RJB, dude, you can sleep on my couch any ol’ time.)

Jamie Schultz guest-posted at Fantasy Book Critic, writing about what makes magic “feel like magic.” I’m fascinated with magical systems, and Schultz’s way of codifying them makes for an excellent read.

Finally, Ursula K. LeGuin writes about her experience of gender over the years in her essay “Introducing Myself,” selections from which appear here. It is smart, funny, and well worth a read. My favorite line: “But I’m too old now for show jumping, and as for sex, who knows? I do; you don’t.”

fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviews

Halloween Desires, by Paulina Cassidy

Movies and Television:

So, the first name of Emperor Palpatine was revealed this week in a new Star Wars novel. Can you guess it? Is it . . . Felder? Jedwan? Ringo? Put your best guess in the comments, and then read this article for the full story.

Vince Gerardis, the producer behind Game of Thrones, is working with Spike TV to create a series based on Kim Stanley Robinson’s MARS TRILOGY. I haven’t read these; perhaps with this show coming out, it’s time to start.

Internet Stuff:

Last week I posted a few pictures of Jupiter’s moons but, as this io9 article reminds us, we shouldn’t overlook some of the pleasures and wonders of our own moon.

Break out your Kleenex, or off-brand facial tissue, because this essay ‘bout to make you cry. Or possibly sneeze. Judith Newman writes about how Siri, the “intelligent personal assistant” that comes with all newer iPhones, has become her son’s BFF. Her son struggles with autism and Siri’s relentless answering of his questions, combined with its “kindness,” has made it . . . her . . .an excellent companion for the boy.

And Kat shared this with us: On Monday The Guardian reported that a Polish medical team has successfully re-grown the spinal nerves of a man who was paralyzed after his spinal cord was completely transected, something that many people thought was impossible. Neuroscientists have been attempting this for decades and it’s probably the biggest breakthrough in neuroscience history. If their technique continues to prove successful, they’ll surely be up for the Nobel Prize in Medicine.

fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviews

Watching Skullflowers Grow, by Paulina Cassidy

Artist Feature:

Paulina Cassidy is a Canadian-born artist who currently lives in Chattanooga, TN. She creates whimsical images of fairies and other fantastic creatures using watercolor, ink, and watercolor pencils. She draws inspiration from all forms of art, however, including dance, music, film, and books; the SFF books that have influenced her creativity the most are The Wizard of Oz  and Alice in Wonderland. Like another artist we featured, Elisabetta Trevisan, Cassidy also loves tarot, having created 4 distinct tarot decks.

Her art on her website is divided into 5 “realms,” each of which seems to inhabit a different area of Fairyland. Today’s art from Cassidy is Halloween-themed. My favorite is Beetilda, who looks so uncanny yet friendly at the same time.


  • 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.