According to Haggard Hawks, the same way a flock of crows is called a murder, the poetic term for a group of salamanders is a maelstrom. And you can find many more cool collective nouns for animal groups here.


This year’s Tiptree Award went to Anna-Marie McLemore for When the Moon was Ours.

Independent horror publisher Word Horde had a very good day at the This is Horror awards. John Langan’s The Fisherman won for best novel, Livia Llewellyn’s creepy tour-de-force collection Furnace won and Word Horde itself won for best publisher. Victor La Valle’s dark, brilliant novella The Ballad of Black Tom also won. Congratulations!

Art (c) Gregory Manchess

Art (c) Gregory Manchess

Giveaways: is offering Brandon Sanderson’s The Way of Kings books (digital) on March 23 and 24th.  (Thanks to Kevin.)

Books and Writing:

The Bodleian displays a previously unseen Tolkien work.

Slate gives us a free time travel story by Emily St. John Mandel. I have heard that Mandel tap-dances around the question of whether she is a speculative fiction writer. I think once you’ve done a time-travel story you’ve stepped out of the genre closet.

An unlikely superhero, the Oxford comma, helped dairy truck drivers in Maine win an overtime pay dispute. (How often do you get to write a sentence like that?)

Passing Strange Final cover, art by Gregory Manchess

Passing Strange Final cover, art by Gregory Manchess

Some writers, especially self-published ones, wonder how they can get interviewed about their work. Having skipped the middle-person in publishing, writer Charon Dunn skipped the middle-person in interviewing, too, creating an Imaginary Interviewer. Dunn is very lucky to have an interviewer who was so thoughtful and asked such good questions.

FIYAH literary magazine conducted a survey of black writers, as a follow up to Fireside Fiction’s report this winter. The report of the survey lays out exactly what data the instrument was looking for and its purpose, which is partly to provide qualitative information about the experience of being an emerging black writer in the USA speculative fiction markets. It’s powerful information, and is already generating backlash, as you’d expect. The point I can’t escape is just how difficult it is to unseat decades/centuries of entrenched unconscious racism.

While our genre has its issues with snobbery about the work (it’s not literary, it’s too literary, etc.), we are not alone. Crime fiction also has its share of snobs. William O’Rourke, while trying to signal-boost the work of his protégée Michael Collins, paused briefly to throw crime writers under the “no talent” bus. A few successful crime writers chose to repond to O’Rourke’s insult in a way that demonstrates, well, talent.


You’ve seen all the Star Wars movies. You’ve watched all the animated features. You saw Lego Star Wars and Hardware Wars. Have you seen the wayang kulit (Mayalasian shadow-puppet) Star Wars? No? Well, here is your chance.  And here is the article that will explain a little more.

Movies and TV:

Beauty and the Beast opened and earned $170 million its first weekend. The Verge thought that the film was a collection of missed opportunities (warning, spoilers.) The New York Times liked it.

Yes, there is a new American Gods trailer.

FX has approved a second season of Legion, so apparently someone is watching it. In the 3/15 episode it seems like we got our first hint about David’s father. I thought it was common knowledge whose son he was, but then I read a review where the reviewer acted as if he didn’t know, so I will just say there was a big hint from Lennie/Bennie.

The Expanse has been renewed, too, as well it should be.

AMC’s martial arts series Into the Badlands premiered Season Two on Sunday. I hadn’t seen it before, but I watched a few episodes of Season One and I’m impressed with the number of women characters and the various roles they play. Probably the female character who is in the ascendancy as Season Two starts is The Widow. You will see some of her moves here in the “fight camp” featurette.

If you’re like me you’ve often wondered why virtually identical movies come out within weeks of each other. This NPR article takes a look at the trend and the couple of flicks that beat that trend—like The Towering Inferno.


Ars Technica scams a scammer.

Ars Technica also has this interesting and disturbing article about the nature of beauty, and the seductive and false theory that you can create an algorithm that will evolve virtual faces into “objective” beauty. (Talk about being unable to unseat centuries/decades of prejudice…)


Polygon posts a feel-good story about one of the only westerners in the credits of The Legend of Zelda, Corey Bunnell, whose goal since he graduated from high school ten years ago was to work in Japan and develop games. It’s nice to see people reach their goals.


This is not funny, and it will probably be controversial, but it is interesting. A UN report released earlier in March states that massive pesticide use is not needed in order to “feed the world.” It is a political article, but once again has some good starting points for world-building and scenario-building.

Art (c) Gregory Manchess

Art (c) Gregory Manchess


Today’s art is painted by Gregory Manchess, who did the cover art for the Ellen Klages novel Passing Strange. Manchess began his freelance career in 1979 and has done work for The Atlantic and National Geographic.You can see more and buy prints here.


  • Marion Deeds

    Marion Deeds, with us since March, 2011, is the author of the fantasy novella ALUMINUM LEAVES. Her short fiction has appeared in the anthologies BEYOND THE STARS, THE WAND THAT ROCKS THE CRADLE, STRANGE CALIFORNIA, and in Podcastle, The Noyo River Review, Daily Science Fiction and Flash Fiction Online. She’s retired from 35 years in county government, and spends some of her free time volunteering at a second-hand bookstore in her home town.