From Modern Mythcraft to Magical Surrealism

Category Archive for ‘Non-Fiction’ rss

Non-Fiction

Films of High Adventure: The NeverEnding Story

They look like good, strong hands, don’t they?

Non-Fiction

Ares Express by Ian McDonald

SF master Ian McDonald knows that any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic realism. And, with humor, poetic grace, and an abundance of Big Ideas, he embodies that truth in Ares Express. Artificial intelligences manipulate mortals with the casual power of gods; prophecies come true; quantum realities erase railroad tracks with a slice of terrain from an alternate Mars—and that’s just for starters.

Non-Fiction

Author Spotlight: Desirina Boskovich

Loaning a cup of sugar is one of those banal things that neighbors do for one another–or at least promise to do for one another. I wanted to find something prosaic to balance out the surreal events of the story.

Non-Fiction

Four New Australian Anthologies

Baggage, Belong, Legends of Australian Fantasy & Scary Kisses: four 2010 anthologies, three from small presses and one from a major publisher. Not all of the books are restricted to Australian authors by any means, but in the way of things the majority of stories here are from that continent. I’ll state upfront that not one of these books fully satisfies. Each is ambitious in its own way, and each has some nice work, but across the board I’d say there are two many minor stories, and indeed occasionally some very weak work. But for all that, there is, as I said, some nice work in each of these books: Let’s celebrate that.

Non-Fiction

Ten Cheesetastic Fantasy Flicks for Summer

The days might be getting shorter, but the mercury is rising (and rising, and rising…). Sometimes it’s just too hot to handle anything serious-minded; all you want is a fun fantasy flick. We’ll, we’re here to oblige! We’ve rounded up ten cheesy old favorites that go perfectly with a few good friends and a few gallons of iced tea.

Non-Fiction

Author Spotlight: Tracy Canfield

Many people today believe in the existence of the ifriit, so when I wrote “The Seal of Sulaymaan”, I tried to make the supernatural elements consistent with these beliefs—what djinn eat, where they live, what they can do.

Non-Fiction

Augmented Reality: Now You Can See Like a Cyborg

Augmented Reality (AR) is one of those science fiction technologies that is on the verge of becoming the hot new trend in reality. What is Augmented Reality? Imagine how the world looks to the Terminator or a robot – whatever object or person they look at gets highlighted and little info windows pop up about them. And environmental information, instructions, compass, guidance markers to their next destination, they all appear in the field of vision like a heads-up display in a video game. Well, now you can see the real world that way too, and without pesky cybernetic implants. There are apps for smartphones and forthcoming visor-like devices that allow you to see a virtual world overlaid on reality. But will Augmented Reality be a good thing or bad?

Non-Fiction

The Third Bear by Jeff VanderMeer

The back cover text for Jeff VanderMeer’s short fiction collection The Third Bear makes it very clear that this ain’t your daddy’s short story collection. The contents are explicitly called out as “surreal and absurdist”, and the stories live up to this billing. No good versus evil here, no heroes or villains or tidy endings pop up amongst the talking rockhopper penguins and symbiotic flying manta rays and alternate 9/11s. Even the title of the collection, drawn from the lead story, is a warning not to expect the obvious. The piece isn’t the meditation on Goldilocks that one might expect, instead being a brutal examination of the awful consequences of mob logic, fear, escalation, and vengeance. It also stands as a stark warning to the reader: Your expectations will not be catered to here, so leave them at the door.

Non-Fiction

This Is All Indisputable: Rachel Swirsky

Eagles are solitary and the dragons flock. I don’t know how multiple animals flying in a circle would affect the wind–would it hinder flight or help it?

Non-Fiction

Master of None by Sonya Bateman

Sonya Bateman’s debut novel, Master of None, is an entertaining diversion, with likeable good guys (especially fierce getaway driver Jazz) and a very scary bad guy. From the perspective of an experienced urban fantasy fan, the novel throws few curveballs. But one of those breaking pitches is Bateman’s use of djinni as a fascinating magical race.