The Fantastic in the Fine Arts: "Sing"

What would you do if you received a red envelope, sealed in gold, containing a CD and a card, upon which was written one word: SING? Would you listen to the music? Would you join in the song?

That envelope is the conceit around which the video for "Sing" by The Dresden Dolls (from their album Yes, Virginia...) is built.

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Hugo Week: The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms

The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms coverYeine Darr is a barbarian from a backwater kingdom.  She is also the daughter of an outcast Arameri, the all-powerful rulers in the The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms.  When her mother dies suspiciously, Yeine is summoned back to her family’s seat of power, the city of Sky. In Sky she hopes to discover the truth of her mother’s death, but her investigation is complicated when she is named heir to the king, setting off a power struggle with her vicious cousins.

About now you are thinking that you have read this book before.  Orphaned child: check.  Royal heritage: check.  Courtly intrigue: check.  Fallen gods who function as weapons and sadomasochistic lovers: wait..what?  Sorry, I forgot to mention those.  You see, the Arameri are able to rule the world, because they have gods to smite their enemies whenever their enemies need smiting and the populace needs to be kept in check.  Or simply because the Arameri are bored.  They also have sex with these gods.  Kinky sex.  This took me by surprise, because the book has a fast plot that feels like a YA novel that I expected to fall into normal cliches.  Just when you expect the heroine to fulfill her destiny, whammo, sex with deities.

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Midweek Fiction: Kat Howard, "Sweet Sixteen"

Editor's note: Our apologies--this post originally ran without the interview section.  Our technical difficulties have been fixed, and we thank you for your patience.

Last week, we launched a new weekly feature where we highlight a speculative short story that is available on the Internet.  Our first feature was Kelly Link's "Valley of the Girls," and this week, we feature a story by Kat Howard, our own content editor!

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Exercising your right to vote

If you are anything like I was for most of my reading life, you might have been a bit surprised this week to discover that you could vote for the Hugo awards. Surprise again - you can vote for the Locus awards, too. If you already know that, and know how to vote, then this isn't the post for you. 

But for everyone else, please keep reading. Voting on these awards is important - it means something, not only to the people who are nominated, and who win, but to the shape of the field in general. And it's a very easy thing to do.

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Hugo Week: Connie Willis' Blackout/All Clear

BlackoutI'm a sucker for time travel stories. Doctor Who is on my list of must-watch television, I consider the Back to the Future trilogy to be a scifi masterpiece, and the scene of the Heroes episode “Five Years Gone” showing Hiro Nakamura's plan to change the past gave me chills from its sheer awesomeness. That's why when I heard about Connie Willis' time travel novel Blackout/All Clear, I knew that I should take a look, despite the daunting total of over a thousand pages.

Blackout/All Clear tells the story of a number of history students from the University of Oxford in the year 2060 who use time travel to research key events in World War II England. Merope Ward is observing evacuated children in the English countryside. Michael Davies plans to experience the Dunkirk evacuation from the safety of the Dover docks. Polly Sebastian's dream research project involves traveling to London during the Blitz. Their advisor, Mr. Dunworthy, is concerned about the dangerous nature of their assignments, and even more worried that time travel may be more problematic than previously thought.

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