Swords and Spaceships

Swords and Spaceships Aug 7

Hello elves and extraterrestrials, and welcome to the first installment of our new twice-a-week Swords and Spaceships edition! On Tuesdays going forward you can expect adaptation news, upcoming releases, and deals, while Friday will continue to bring interesting links from in and around the SF/F world. And, of course, two reviews a week; today’s is for Temper by Nicky Drayden. Engage!

This newsletter is sponsored by Dynamite Entertainment and Skin & Earth Volume One by Lights.

Caught between romance and cults, gods and mortals, and just trying to find a good borscht, Enaia Jin is lead down a dark path by new lovers that reveal a twisted fantasy world and her own true nature.

Let’s kick things off with some adaptation news:

Ken Liu’s stories have been optioned by AMC! This is fantastic news! And it also means that this trend of TV anthology series (Black Mirror, American Horror Story, Electric Dreams etc.) continues, and I’m really into it.

Daniel H. Wilson (whose Guardian Angels & Other Monsters I recently reviewed) dropped some big news about his story “Special Automatic,” which has been optioned. That was one of the most intense stories in the collection, and I’m very curious to see how it will translate. There’s also a Robopocalypse film update in there!

Harry Potter will be back in theaters in August for its 20th anniversary. (How is it 20 years already?!)

Where my Terminator fans at? This photo from the upcoming film have me FREAKING OUT, it’s everything I never knew I wanted. It also has me pondering a dive into the franchise’s books — but only if I can find one specifically about Sarah Connor.

There are updates regarding The Passage‘s TV adaptation, including that they plan on focusing on just the present-day timeline in the first season.

io9 did a deep dive into SF/F movies released in August, in honor of The Darkest Minds adaptation coming to theaters. Side note: Should I go see Darkest Minds? I haven’t read the books but this trailer makes me feel like the answer is yes.

If you need even more adaptation news, I recommend you bookmark this post from

And now: book news, new releases, and deals! 

Charlie Jane Anders has a new book coming! The City in the Middle of the Night will be out in February 2019, and you can check out the cover reveal.

Books coming out this week that I am particularly excited about:

Rogue Protocol by Martha Wells — the return of Murderbot!

The Year’s Best Science Fiction and Fantasy 2018, edited by Rich Horton, which includes a lot of great names: Yoon Ha Lee, Samuel Delaney, Charlie Jane Anders, and Kameron Hurley, bestill my heart.

Temper by Nicky Drayden, obviously; read more in the review below.

This month in ebook deals: Laline Paull’s The Bees (which inspired this flowchart of bugs in literature) is on sale for $1.99. Last Call at the Nightshade Lounge by Paul Krueger is on sale for $1.99, and it’s a fantastic summer read — full of magic alcohol-fueled hijinks. And for the most bang for your buck, Samuel Delaney’s epic Dhalgren (836 pages in print) is also $1.99.

Here’s your reminder to enter our Recommended giveaway, which includes several great SF/F titles.

Your Tuesday review is a science fantasy like no other:

Temper by Nicky Drayden

Trigger warning: sexual assault.

an illustration of a young black person with symbols tattooed on their armThis book is a bananapants shake with extra bananas on top — which I should have been expecting from the author of The Prey of Gods, but Temper goes even farther down the rabbithole of weird.

Set in an alternate Cape Town, South Africa, Temper introduces us to teenaged twins Auben and Kasim. Everyone in this world is a twin, and when they’re young the seven vices and virtues are divided between them. Auben got saddled with six vices and one virtue, while Kasim got the reverse — it’s a stacked deck, and it’s stacked against Auben. He makes the most of his vices (after all, why not?) until the day that he starts to hear a voice urging him to go farther, and be more evil, than he would have imagined by himself. And then there’s the blood lust…

This book is a little bit camp, a lot horror, a little sci-fi, and a bunch fantasy. Drayden invents a religion only to turn it inside out and back to front; she gives us twins who need each other to live but might destroy each other anyway; there is loads of body humor; and her world includes new genders, underground societies, flying librarians, and so much more.

This book is a rollercoaster from start to finish, not just in learning the world of the novel but in following the different characters. Good becomes bad, up becomes down, yes becomes no, and I was continually revising my opinions of and sympathies with the characters. There are no heroes here, and a whole lot of villains — but as we know, each villain is the hero of their own story, and Drayden wouldn’t have it any other way. If you love the feeling of having your brain shaken until it hurts, then pick this up immediately.

And that’s a wrap! You can find all of the books recommended in this newsletter on a handy Goodreads shelf. If you’re interested in more science fiction and fantasy talk, you can catch me and my co-host Sharifah on the SFF Yeah! podcast. For many many more book recommendations you can find me on the Get Booked podcast with the inimitable Amanda.

Live long and prosper,