Swords and Spaceships

Swords and Spaceships for October 4: Raising the Dead

Happy Friday, me hearties. Everyone got a good book or three queued up for the weekend? If not, here’s Alex, with some news and a random assortment of books that you might find interesting.

My favorite non-SFF thing all week: This reminder about the Dutch Police putting a bird in jail. I mean, it’s technically not SFF but someone should totally write this book. Second place in my heart and also, weirdly, bird-related is the new trailer for Birds of Prey.

News and Views

This week’s SFF Yeah! is about fashion in fiction.

Dark Horse Comics is releasing a collection of Neil Gaiman’s short fiction. You can pre-order on Amazon now.

Exciting adaptation news! Michael B. Jordan’s production company has acquired Rena Barron’s Kingdom of Souls.

The Wheel of Time on Prime Twitter account has a quick little video from a table read of the show.

io9 has a first look at the new series from M.R. Carey, author of The Girl With All the Gifts.

JY Yang (author of The Black Tides of Heaven) drew some absolutely gorgeous fanart for Ursula K. Le Guin’s The Left Hand of Darkness.

An in-depth review of The Dark Fantastic: Race and the Imagination from Harry Potter to the Hunger Games.

Annalee Newitz on time travel stories and how they reflect on our current timeline. has a preview of some of the gorgeous art from the new illustrated edition of Robin Hobb’s Assassin’s Apprentice.

SyFy Wire has an interview with Wesley Chu about his The Walking Dead novel, Typhoon.

Star Wars Resistance has the franchise’s first on-screen actually gay couple, according to the producers. (It’s an alien couple. I have conflicting feelings about this.)

Some casting news for Netflix’s Shadow and Bone adaptation.

Netflix has also confirmed there will be a fourth season of Stranger Things.

There’s a new, live-action version of Treasure Island coming, helmed by the writer/director of How to Train Your Dragon.

Some cool science! Swedish biologists are using footprints to track polar bears and map their genetics.

Free Association Friday

Last week my brain was filled with Pokémon. I regret to inform you that this week, my brain is now full of Destiny, since the newest expansion released. It’s creepy, it’s filled with nightmares, there’s giant, deathless, chitinous monsters with swords that want to murder you and utterly destroy your soul for the glory of their disturbing death-and-torture-cult. Honestly, it’s a perfect start for October.

So let’s talk necromancers: generally bad news people bringing the dead back to life for their own nefarious purposes.

gideon the ninthThe most appropriate book for this free association is Gideon the Ninth. It’s a perfect fit in the sense that not only are there necromancers, they’re… IN… SPACE! And there’s a haunted gothic palace, which is basically what I’ve spent all night running around and shooting things in via an Xbox controller.

Urban fantasy-wise, there’s several examples of books narrated by necromancers who have to deal with the dead, the undead, and mysteries while often dodging their own demise. Arranged in order of most to least grim: Dead Things by Stephen Blackmoore, Guilty Pleasures by Laurell K. Hamilton, Grave Witch by Kaylana Price, and How to Save an Undead Life by Hailey Edwards (contains an undead parakeet). That’s just a taste from urban fantasy; there’s a lot of necromancy going on out there in the wild streets.

Three Parts Dead by Max Gladstone starts off his Craft Sequence, which has quite a bit of necromancy in it. In the first book, Tara, who is an associate at an international necromantic firm, has to bring a murdered god back to life in order to keep an entire city alive. For a more historical and gothic turn, but with a good dash of humor, there’s Johannes Cabal the Necromancer. Johannes sold his soul to Satan to learn necromancy, and now if he wants to get it back, he has to convince 100 other people to sign theirs over instead. It’s a soul pyramid scheme, really.

Into more pure fantasy, The Bone Witch by Rin Chupeco starts a YA series about a girl named Tea, who accidentally raises her brother from the dead and is then ostracized from her community. The Wolf of Winter by Paula Volsky has a prince far down in the line of succession learning the forbidden art of necromancy–which he intends to use to reshape the kingdom.

Honorable not-quite-necromancer-but-still-in-with-the-god-of-death-but-in-a-totally-non-evil-way book: Servant of the Underworld by Aliette de Bodard. It’s a fantasy historical crime procedural…and the main character is an Aztec priest.

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.