Swords and Spaceships

A Brit and a Booker Longlist, Kubrick-esque Recs, and More

Happy friday, pirates and privateers! It’s Alex, with your daily dose of news and other SFF book related things. Today, I’m still freaking out about the trailer for Harriet, in which Harriet Tubman gets the total badass movie treatment she deserves. Also, if you want a dose of nostalgia, here’s a litte video with rainbows.

This newsletter is sponsored by TBR: Tailored Book Recommendations.

A Few New Reads

Aliette de Bodard had a book come out on a Thursday instead of a Tuesday! The House of Sundering Flames is the next book in her series about the great magical houses of Paris–which are headed up by fallen angels. (No North American edition yet, sadly.)

Rivers Solomon has an angry story out at Blood is Another Word for Hunger

There’s a new toolkit by Elsa Sjunneson-Henry for the Fate TTRPG system, aimed at helping support players with disabilities in games and add disabled characters: Fate Accessibility Toolkit

News and Views

Here’s the shortlist for the 2019 British Fantasy Awards! There’s so much good stuff on the list, but if I had to tell you to read one book, I’d point straight at Empire of Sand by Tasha Suri.

The Booker Prize longlist has been announced, and it includes several genre titles, including The Testaments by Margaret Atwood and An Orchestra of Minorities by Chigozie Obioma.

This week’s SFF Yeah! podcast is about music in SFF.

A heart-warming cross-over comic about Thor and Mr. Rogers.

Goodbye, Rutger Hauer. “All those moments will be lost in time, like tears in rain.”

Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy is returning yet again, this time as a TV series on Hulu.

Orbit has acquired a fantasy trilogy that draws on Norse mythology and Scandanavian folklore from writer John Gwynne.

If you love blooper reels like I do, you are not going to want to miss the one from Avengers: Endgame.

If you’re not too familiar with the groundbreaking work of Ursula K. Le Guin, don’t feel bad. Here’s a guide to help you get started.

Silvia Moreno-Garcia wrote a cool piece about shape-changing in Mexican folklore (which definitely relates to her new novel Gods of Jade and Shadow).

Free Association Friday

I realized that today is Stanley Kubrick’s birthday–which feels like a big deal, considering the influence he had on science fiction cinema. (At least the sector of science fiction cinema that hasn’t been swallowed by the action blockbuster machine.) 2001: A Space Odyssey and Dr. Strangelove or: How I Stopped Worrying and Learned to Love the Bomb have left massive cultural footprints–and need I even mention The Shining?

annihilationTrying to think of Kubrick-esque books is one heck of a challenge. The first thing that sprang to mind for me was Annihilation by Jeff Vandermeer, and it’s in large part because the movie that came from it was so dang Kubrick-esque. (It’s easier to think of movies than books, probably, because so much of Kubrick’s signature is found in his visual sensibility.)

Thematically, Kubrick was always interested in humanity–where we’ll go in the future, how we hurt each other, and how the collective consciousness of society works. I think Octavia Butler explored a lot of the same concepts, though very much in her own way, particularly in The Patternist series (start with Wild Seed) and The Xenogenesis trilogy (starting with Dawn). Ramez Naam’s Nexus is about a nano-drug that links human minds together. He, She and It by Marge Piercy explores human identity and environmentalism in a post-apocalyptic world. Silently and Very Fast by Catherynne M. Valente has that base uneasiness to it that I tend to associate with Kubrick’s work as well. Glasshouse by Charles Stross is about simulated cultures and some deep, deep, justified paranoia.

See you, space pirates. You can find all of the books recommended in this newsletter on a handy Goodreads shelf. If you’d like to know more about my secret plans to dominate the seas and skies, you can catch me over at my personal site.