This week’s word for Wednesday is anfractuous, an adjective, meaning winding or circuitous. The 16th century word comes from the Latin noun anfractus, meaning a bending.


The MacArthur Foundation Fellowships were announced this week, and 23 Fellows were named. The group includes a civil rights lawyer, historians, art historians, linguists, poets, microbiologists, video artists and writers. Of the 23, ten are women. (Thanks to File 770.) lists the British Fantasy Award winners here.

Books and Writing:

Ruth Franklin has published a new book about Shirley Jackson, and she shares eleven facts you might not have known about one of America’s premiere writers. Publisher’s Weekly has the article.

On Whatever, John Scalzi announced that on November 2, 2016, people can download his new audiobook novella The Dispatcher for free. The novella is narrated by Zachary Quinto, which seems like a bonus.

We see a lot of articles about books that get optioned for films. Which ones actually make it? This article takes a look at the movie shuffle. Whether it’s popularity or technical requirements, (like the advances that allow for digital special effects for some of our genre favorites,) various factors come into play in determining which works make the jump, and it’s still a toss-up. provides a cover reveal for Ellen Klages’s new novella Passing Strange. It’s beautifully moody!

Charlie Stross talks about the “in media res” opening; the first chapter or paragraph that slaps us right down in the action with no context or build up. Car chase! Starship battle! Running from the bad guys! Stross acknowledges criticism that this is manipulative writing and gives us, the reader, nothing to invest in, and then shows the ways it can work, by adding emotional stakes at the onset.

TV and Movies:

Thanks to IO9 for this great French animated feature, created by Leo Ferrier, a twist on the familiar Snow White.

Enjoy the 2nd trailer for Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children.

In the 50th anniversary year of Star Trek, GQ shares observations about Star Trek fandom. I was pleasantly surprised to see quotes from John and Bjo Trimble, founding fans, whom I actually met once, decades ago.

Blair Witch did not do well at the box office its opening weekend, but the movie’s two creators did not let that rattle them. Instead, they went on Twitter to show off their sardonic wit. I appreciate their “good sport” attitude and their humor. I still have no desire to see the movie.

Glancing Back:

We’re now almost in the final quarter of the year, and after the winter holidays, everyone will be talking about awards and “best of” lists. We’ve been swamped by some exceptional books in that past couple of months (I’m not complaining), and that means it’s easy to forget some of the great ones we read in the first half of the year. Over the next few months I’m going to include a couple of books, with links to reviews, that we read and loved in the first half of 2016.

Bill loved Ken Liu’s story collection The Paper Menagerie. “Startling originality, heartbreaking impact,” he says.

Jana says that Lee Kelly’s A Criminal Magic is a “richly described imagined novel that overflows with creativity and fun.


In the spirit of messing with classics, Brach’s candy company is tweaking candy corn to offer “brunch-flavored” candy corn. I’m holding out for Bloody Mary-flavored myself.


In Ben H. Winters’s latest novel Underground Airlines (Kat reviewed it), the protagonist, Victor, is told about an underground river, which later plays a part in the story. In his afterword, Winters states that Pogue’s Run is a real thing. Atlas Obscura gives us a little more information about the history of this stream.

Ars Technica discusses the latest theory of humanity’s migration from Africa.


Last week I wrote about the telescope array ALMA; this week I have some photos from ALMA. ALMA allows us to look deeper than ever into space. (Thanks to IO9.)


I think our Giveaways are current through September 15, so if you are waiting to see if you’ve won, go check! Our finalist for the Self-Published Blog-Off will be announced tomorrow at noon!


  • 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.