Today’s word for Wednesday is the noun poltroon, meaning coward. Its origins appear to be Middle French and/or Middle Italian. It may be descended from a Middle French world for a foal or a baby animal (implying frailty and skittishness?) It first appeared about 1520. It is not to be confused to pontoon, which is a floating structure or part of a seaplane.


This is from February: Charlie Jane Anders won the Crawford Award at this year’s International Conference for the Fantastical in the Arts (ICFA), for All the Birds in the Sky.

City of Miracles by Robert Jackson Bennett

City of Miracles by Robert Jackson Bennett

New Releases:

Here are some books we’re excited to see on our New Releases pages, due out in the next couple of months.

Jana says:

“I am very excited about the upcoming release of Ruthanna Emrys’ April 2017 novel, Winter’s Tide, which builds upon the fascinating Lovecraft-inspired world she created in “The Litany of Earth,” an original short story published by in 2014. I’m interested to see how she’s going to expand upon the existing framework of the story, and how the concept itself will fare after being fleshed out.”

Bill has three:

“Taking a quick look ahead at the many (many, many) books coming out in the next

month or two, three stand out that I’m especially looking forward to:

Tyrant’s Throne by Sebastien de Castell: Because Greatcoats are so much damn fun

City of Miracles by Robert Jackson Benett:  Because books one and two were both 5 stars for me and I don’t expect this one to be any different.

Assassin’s Fate by Robin Hobb:  Because Fitz. Because Fool. Because it’s the end. Because there will be tears.”

Books and Writing:

The strange and brilliant Ray Bradbury once delivered 12 rules for writers. Here they are. Some of these are quite practical: “Don’t expect to make money,” and “Get rid of friends who don’t believe in you,” for example. Some are daunting… Just write one story a week for a year, because out of 52, some are bound to be good?

What kinds of bugs eat books?  Here are five kinds. Creepy, a little disgusting, but useful information.

A trickster(c) Susan Seddon Boulet

A trickster (c) Susan Seddon Boulet

The “Rabid Puppies” opened up some trickster magic last year when they nominated a Chuck Tingle story for a Hugo. As is often the case with tricksters, they ended up tricked. Dr. Chuck Tingle now trolls them occasionally, and now is one of those occasions. The puppies pulled a strange stunt on Amazon a day before John Scalzi’s latest space opera, The Collapsing Empire, came out. You can read about that here. Riding in to save the day? Dr. Chuck Tingle, of course, with his webpage . My favorite part of this is that the puppies, who are tech-savvy geniuses, didn’t reserve the domain name.

Speaking of Scalzi: Word count, does it matter? On Whatever, Scalzi shares a few insights about The Collapsing Empire, its perceived and actual length, and contractual obligations.

The Benson sisters talk about writing comics, especially  cape-and-mask hero comics, The video is about six minutes long. And a shout-out to Leigh Brackett!

TV and Movies:

Missing Mr. Rogers episodes that aired in 1983 and dealt with the defunding of the arts to bankroll military expansion mysteriously appeared on YouTube. Perhaps it’s political (do you think?). I was stunned to discover that there were missing Mr. Rogers episodes.

Grimm will end this week with the final episode of the series. Some of us (Kate! Me!) are not happy with how last week’s episode went, and generally disappointed in the show’s technique of creating a community of characters, many of them traditional “others” (like fairy tale monsters) who exist to shore up the white male “hero,” Nick the Grimm. That said, one of the supporting characters is Sergeant Drew Wu, and Reggie Lee, who played him for six years, gave this interview to Syfy Wire. I think it’s safe to say he felt emotional about the show.

Have you all been pining for an Escape From New York remake? Would you pine more if you knew Robert Rodriguez is probably tapped to direct it?

Han Solo back in the day.

Han Solo back in the day.

In the upcoming STAR WARS film about young Han Solo, we will learn how Solo got his name. Apparently his parents didn’t just invest in a Names for Babies book. Over at, Emily Asher-Perrin speculates on exactly what this means.


There is a Steampunk World’s Fair? How did I not know this? It is held in Piscataway, New Jersey, May 5 through May 7, 2017. Gail Carriger will be one of the guests.


Creating games in Pakistan is not hard; monetizing them is. Polygon shares one successful Pakistani creator’s story.


The Economist’s lifestyle magazine 1843 (the year the Economist first came out) has a spread on exotic apartment buildings. Doesn’t the one in Singapore look like a transformer in mid-morph?

Some days we all need video of a baby pygmy hippo swimming. It’s 1:19 long. I don’t have scientific evidence, but I think this video will lower your blood pressure.


Romanieo Golphin, age seven, got a tour of the Goddard Space and Flight Center this month. Romanieo is a huge (and knowledgeable) fan of science and he charmed he rocket scientists completely.



  • 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.