This week’s word for Wednesday is syzygy, a noun, meaning the alignment of three celestial objects (traditionally the sun, the earth and the earth’s moon). Syzygy is a good word to use if you play Hangman because of the three Ys. It is believed to be of Greek/early Latin origin.

Fortune's Favored (c) Julie Dillon, 2014

Fortune’s Favored (c) Julie Dillon, 2014


Bob Dylan won the Nobel Prize for Literature.

(Here is a link to an article.)

Books and Writing:

Open Road Media has launched The Portalist, an online community for fans of speculative fiction.  Carolyn Cox, formerly of the Mary Sue, and Betsy Miller who was Editor-in-chief at Del Ray books for ten years, will helm this new project, which looks at the fan experience of all aspects of SFF. I have to love a site with a story about “Five Times Sailor Moon Taught Me the Difference Between Empowerment and Strength.”

L.M.Montgomery is best known for Anne of Green Gables and the other books in that series, but she also published a spooky ghost story in Weird Tales in August,1935. Here, Ross Lockhart, Publisher and Editor-in-Chief at Word Horde, performs a live reading of “The House Party on Smoky Island.” He is ably assisted by Eleanor, his canine co-star. The video runs about 25 minutes. (Here is a link to a site with the text of the story, for us visual types.)

Maybe Calvin and Hobbs should win the Nobel Prize for Literature?
Gabrielle Bellot discusses the contribution, and influence, of the beloved comic for Lit Hub. This originally posted in July, 2016, but Bob Dylan’s win brought it back into circulation. Thanks to File 770 for the link.

Buzzfeed found 19 beautiful bookstores we would all want to visit.  Thanks to Kat for the link.

If you happen to be in Germany this week, check out the historic and globally famous Frankfurt Book Fair. This year the fair includes discussions of virtual reality. Publishers’ Weekly adds a list of US published books the publishers hope will sell big at the fair.

New Yorker Magazine has a wonderful profile and interview with literary legend Ursula K. LeGuin. (Thanks to Ryan.)

Movies and TV:

Wired got President Obama to list his favorite science fiction movies (and TV shows) and they’re good ones.  Someone, however, had to step and claim the conspiracy theory territory, so IO9 rebutted the list. This is not the real list, they opine. It’s the safe, political list.  Rob Bricken goes on to theorize what movies would be on Obama’s super-secret real SF favorites list.  Thanks again to File 770.

I loved Syfy’s adaptation of The Expanse, and I’m delighted to see that Season Two is getting some special attention. This article at The Verge discusses what viewers can expect in Season Two.

Seeking Without (c) Julie Dillon 2015

Seeking Without (c) Julie Dillon 2015

USA has a new show this fall, Falling WaterGoldderby gathered a group of bites from various critics about the show.  I love the casting, and the imagery is breath-taking, sometimes channeling the paranoiac quality of Mr. Robot, which it is being compared to. Personally, my only concern is that the character of Tess seems lifted directly out of a William Gibson novel. I don’t mean she’s a Gibsonesque character, I mean she’s a lot like Cayce from Pattern Recognition. Now that I’m thinking about it, Boerg is a bit like Bigend. Hmmm. Variety didn’t like it. Based on the review, I would venture a guess that Variety didn’t understand it.

On a minor note, thanks a lot, USA, for naming a show after a famous Frank Lloyd Wright house, thus making searches on the title a tad more challenging.


While I was browsing stories about Harry Houdini I can across the name “Rose Mackenberg.” Mackenberg worked for Houdini debunking spiritualists. Before hiring on with the escape artist and magician, she had already been working as a private detective. Mackenberg’s journey went from believer to skeptic. The memoir she is believed to have written has never been published although she published numerous articles in her lifetime. Is this the next historical character to be borrowed by a writer for good fictional paranormal fun? I can think of a lot of possibilities – like maybe skeptic Rose hooks up with a ghost? Well, there may not be fantasy with Rose in a starring role, but it appears there are a couple of historical works (and maybe a novel?)

It’s nearly Halloween, time once again for that family favorite, underwater pumpkin carving. This roughly 12-minute video does show stalwart divers carving their jack-o-lanterns while underwater. Please do not attempt this yourself unless you are a certified diver. If you are a diver, this link shows you how to prepare your pumpkin before you go underwater.

Hang in until the end of the video to see the finished products.


NASA’s spacecraft Juno is experiencing some problems, and may fly fewer orbits around Jupiter.


Yokainoshima loosely translates, in Japanese, to “island of monsters.” That’s not completely accurate since Yokai are not monsters but supernatural folkloric creatures. Journalist photographer Charles Freger has a new book memorializing the many handmade costumes worn at Japanese festivals, celebrating the Yokai. The book is titled Yokainoshima, Island of Monsters. There is no literal Yokainoshima; Freger visited 20 islands over five years to collect these photographs.

Peter Richards and the San Francisco Exploratorium collaborated on an interesting musical instrument, the “wave organ,” situated on the end of jetty next to the city’s yacht club. It sounds like an interesting experiment, but since the article describes the sound produced as a cacophony, I’m thinking maybe it’s not the choice for a musical evening.

Faerie Garden (c) Julie Dillon 2012

Faerie Garden (c) Julie Dillon 2012


Today’s art is from the incomparable Julie Dillon, who has won multiple Hugo awards and added a Locus award to her collection this year. Go to her website here to peruse and purchase her art.


  • 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.