Swords and Spaceships

Swords and Spaceships for October 9: A Few of GdT’s Favorite Reads

Happy Friday, shipmates! We’re one week in to the best month and… well, heck of a year this week has been, huh. It’s Alex, with some genre news and a few month-appropriate books picked out. I’ve been trying to brighten my outlook with some horror movies (no, really) and judicious viewings of The Addams Family films… and oddly thematically appropriate round of disaster heteros in Tasha Suri’s Realm of Ash (look, ash made out of dead people and living nightmares is very October-appropriate). Stay safe out there, space pirates, and I’ll see you soon!

Need something to smile about? Fat Bear Week has a winner! LOOK AT THE SIZE OF THIS LAD.

Looking for non-book things you can do to help in the quest for justice? and The Okra Project.

News and Views

3 Black women authors won MacArthur Foundation “Genius Grants”—and one of them is science fiction powerhouse N.K. Jemisin.

Nibedita Sen: Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Excellence

Fernando Sdrigotti: What We Talk About When We Talk About Magical Realism

Another cool events from the Carl Brandon Society: Asian Diaspora: How Colonization and Migration Changes Cuisine

CW for transphobia (and, frankly, nonbinary-phobia): Akwaeke Emezi shuns Women’s prize over request for details of sex as defined ‘by law’

Alex Brown has recommendations for must-read speculative short fiction from September

Author Claire O’Dell is running a Kickstarter to republish her River of Souls Trilogy

The Nobel Prize in Physics this year is all about black holes. A little more about their research here.

On Book Riot

6 of the best friendships in YA fantasy

8 epic friendships in sci-fi and fantasy books

4 more YA books about aliens and the unknown

Why the medieval girl in the tower trope still exists in YA lit

This week’s SFF Yeah! podcast is about a few of our favorite things

This month, you can enter to win a $250 Barnes & Noble gift card.

Free Association Friday: Happy Birthday, Guillermo del Toro

In keeping with the glorious month belonging to Halloween, October 9 is Guillermo del Toro’s birthday! As you would imagine, he’s got some weird, spooky, fantastic, and gothic taste. He’s also co-written some books, but today we’re looking at a sampling of six (rather dark) books the birthday boy has recommended on his Twitter feed over the years.

The Buried Giant by Kazuo Ishiguro cover

The Buried Giant by Kazuo Ishiguro

In an ancient Britain where the wars between the Saxons and Britons have finally ended, an elderly couple journey to visit their son. But a strange mist covering the land is causing mass amnesia, and they barely remember the person they are traveling to see. Joined by a Saxon warrior, a knight, and an orphan, the small party begins to remember together the dark past they all share.

Japanese Tales of Mystery & Imagination by Edogawa Rampo, translated by James B. Harris

A short story collection from Japanese mystery writer Edogawa Rampo (actually the pen name of Tarou Hirai), but there’s plenty of the perverse and fantastic to be found in here. One of Edogawa’s literary heroes was Edgar Allan Poe (note the play on the name) and it definitely shows.

The Vampire Tapestry by Suzy McKee Charnas

Edward Weyland is a different kind of vampire. His condition is biological, rather than supernatural, and he’s also a respected anthropology professor who spends decades in hibernation and survives these days by stealing blood from laboratories. Maybe he’s still a monster, but he’s a monster who has to live and cooperate with his prey if he wants to survive.

The Lottery and Other Stories by Shirley Jackson

Everyone is familiar with The Lottery, hopefully—though if you’re not, this is a good season to get started with this disturbing delight. There’s also 24 more stories of the occult (and horror, not going to lie: that was mostly her thing) in this collection. A bit more horror than I normally like to get on my space ship, but I always make an exception for Shirley Jackson.

The Decapitated Chicken and Other Stories by Horacio Quiroga, translated by Margaret Sayers Peden

Another short story collection, perhaps more to the horror side and filled with tales of madness, death, morality, and, yes, fantasy. Horacio Quiroga was a Uruguayan writer and poet who had a massive influence on magical realism.

Frankenstein by Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley

Look, this is Guillermo del Toro we’re talking about. Did you think for one minute that this wasn’t one of the first books he listed as a favorite?

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.