Down Among the Sticks and Bones: The Broken Bond Between Two Sisters

An image of a desolate, gray, and rocky landscape with an opening chest and a leaf-less tree. Words read "A jewel of a book that deserves to be shelved with Lewis Carroll's and C.S. Lewis' classics, even as it carves its own precocious space between them." - NPR on Every Heart a Doorway; "Down Among the Sticks and Bones, Seanan McGuire, New York Times Bestselling Author."
Image: Tor

Genre: Contemporary Fantasy/ YA Fantasy

Synopsis: Jack and Jill are twins, two young girls suffocating under the strain of living their parents’ expectations. Then they walk through a portal into a world of monsters and mad science, a dark, dangerous place–where they somehow belong. But their upbringing has shaped them, and they carry the consequences of that with them, even as they start to build new lives. Separate lives, nonetheless entwined together, for better or for worse. Continue reading “Down Among the Sticks and Bones: The Broken Bond Between Two Sisters”

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Comment on American Gods, a Strange and Violent Contemporary Fantasy

I could’ve sworn I’d written a post on American Gods back when I watched the first two episodes of it, but I can’t find any evidence of that post existing. So I guess I never actually did it?

I didn’t get a chance to continue the show since then, but I did want to mention my first impressions.  Continue reading “Comment on American Gods, a Strange and Violent Contemporary Fantasy”

Terrestrial Magic Goes Live

I maybe, kinda, sorta am posting an urban fantasy/post-apocalyptic web serial online. So…surprise?

The first chapter has just gone up, it will post on Thursdays, and here’s the premise:

Most sensible people avoid fire-breathing carnivores that prey on humans. But Jordan has built a career out of studying such legendary animals, creatures thought mythological until their reemergence in the world three decades ago. She and researchers like her believe that knowledge is the key to reclaiming the land they’d lost back then, when humanity retreated into designated safety zones.

But when the humans moved out, the legends moved in. They were the descendants of mythical heroes, inheriting the powers of their ancestors, and they weren’t afraid of the monsters. Jordan never expected to run into a legend, but when a field expedition turns into a trap for her team, she realizes that one deliberately tried to kill her. It’s a diplomatic nightmare the Roman authorities might happily sweep under the rug. But if Jordan doesn’t figure out who attacked her and why, they could try again. Yet even if she does solve the mystery, what could one stubborn scientist possibly do to stop a powerful legend?

For those of you who know something about me, you’ll notice the premise incorporates a lot of elements that rely on my own particular knowledge: my scientific background, my semester abroad in Rome, and my study of ancient history. Hopefully, I’ve managed to take all of that and tie it into a decent story.

Black Panther: A Futuristic Wakanda Inspired by African Cultures, Tackling Responsibility

This was a great movie that paired Marvel’s style of adventure and humor with a fresh feeling. The setting and costumes were absolutely gorgeous, blending a futuristic/sci-fi feel and inspiration from numerous African cultures for its aesthetic–from the Maasai people in East Africa, to the Zulu people in Southern Africa, to the Akan people of West Africa. (Waris @diasporicblues details several in a Twitter thread; Lynsey Chutel and Yomi Kazeem wrote Marvel’s ‘Black Panther’ is a broad mix of African cultures—here are some of them for Quartz Africa, which I was super excited to see mention Dahomey’s historical female warriors.) Black Panther is quite feminist as well, including black women as both major characters and a substantial chunk of the background characters. Continue reading “Black Panther: A Futuristic Wakanda Inspired by African Cultures, Tackling Responsibility”

The Gifted: An X-Men Series Embracing the Mantle of An Embattled Minority

Synopsis: The Struckers live in a world where mutants are heavily policed in the interests of public safety. Like most people, they never really think about it–not even the father, whose job is to prosecute mutants for using their powers. But then they find out both of the Strucker children are mutants, who will face the scrutiny their own father has turned on people just like them. Continue reading “The Gifted: An X-Men Series Embracing the Mantle of An Embattled Minority”

Sense8 2: Psychic Espionage, Fighting Back, and Finding Acceptance

Genre: Sci-fi

Synopsis: Eight people all born on the same day are able to communicate across great distances and access each others’ skills–they are a cluster of sensates, sharing a psychic link. A powerful organization hunts them, using their own kind to do so. And they must cooperate to stay free and alive, even while navigating their own personal challenges. Continue reading “Sense8 2: Psychic Espionage, Fighting Back, and Finding Acceptance”

New Campaign for Critical Role Off to an Exciting Start

Genre: Fantasy RPG

Synopsis: An assorted group of adventures meet, set out to have a good time at a carnival…only for trouble to find them. Continue reading “New Campaign for Critical Role Off to an Exciting Start”

We’ve Seen Friends Team Up. We’ve Seen Rivals Team Up. But Now We Finally Get a Superhero Team-Up of…Reluctant Acquaintances? (The Defenders)

Four people standing in front of the New York City skyline.
Image: Netflix via ComicBook

Genre: Superhero

Synopsis: New York vigilantes Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, and Iron Fist all team up–quite reluctantly–to combat an old organization of immortals who will destroy the city to get what they want. (Reluctantly, except for Iron Fist. He just wants friends.) Continue reading “We’ve Seen Friends Team Up. We’ve Seen Rivals Team Up. But Now We Finally Get a Superhero Team-Up of…Reluctant Acquaintances? (The Defenders)”

Science in Media: Handling Medicines Without the Proper Understanding of Dosage

Haven’t done one of these in a while. But there’s this scene, in Stranger Things 2, that struck me enough that I had to talk about it.

Basically, you have a character with no medical or pharmacological experience whatsoever, filling up a syringe with an unspecified drug (to put patients to sleep) and injecting a child with it. (At least twice in about a day, actually.) My immediate thought upon seeing that was, “well, if it were real life, she’s probably just killed this kid.” Continue reading “Science in Media: Handling Medicines Without the Proper Understanding of Dosage”

Galavant: Fun, Ridiculous, and Optimistic Medieval Musical Comedy

Genre: Fantasy/Comedy/Musical

Synopsis: Galavant is a knight happily in a relationship with the love of his life, Madalena–until King Richard abducts her to become his queen. Naturally, he embarks on a rescue. But by the time he gets to the castle, Madalena has decided to accept Richard’s offer of her own free will, leaving Galavant heartbroken. So Galavant gives up on his knighting, while Madalena quickly becomes a force to be reckoned with… Continue reading “Galavant: Fun, Ridiculous, and Optimistic Medieval Musical Comedy”