What to read, what to watch in SciFi and Fantasy
The Lampworks Lamplighter SF & Fantasy News & Reviews
It appears that your email client isn’t displaying the newsletter correctly. Please view the web version for the best experience.
No, not summer attire. I’m talking about stories that can be told in less than a page, perhaps even in a few lines. Condensing a thought to its essentials is a help to even longer writing. Short writing relies on imagery and emotion, while a longer piece lets a writer be lazy and merely describe.
A group that I’m in has seven-word story challenges. The moderator throws out a topic and the group responds with stories of exactly seven words. Here are a few of my recent attempts.
The Flintstones are actually Jurassic Park survivors
Captain Malaprop blamed the evil Escape Goat
I am cursed. I’m allergic to fur.
At night, the faeries switched test tubes.
After reading an article about SETI (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence) and exoplanets, I wrote this little tale.
We received an exquisite poem from the tenth planet of Beta Orionis, the day before it went nova.
What would it be like getting confirmation that we weren’t alone and at the same time know that they were now gone?
What We’re Watching
Since my last notes on shows seemed popular, here’s some more. We just finished Blue Period, an anime about a high school student who suddenly finds his passion for art, and throws himself into preparing for the grueling entrance exams to the best school in Tokyo. We’ve also just watched After Yang, an atmospheric movie about a family that has an android as an older sibling for their adopted daughter. When the android stops working one day, they learn about the history of this second-hand sentient being, and also themselves. Every shot is taken through a pane of glass, or in a reflection, or at a distance down a hallway, half-obscured. There’s as much nuance and meaning conveyed by the cinematography as by the very sparse dialog. Finally, Picard seems to have found its balance and is moving forward, though the motives of several of the characters haven’t been revealed yet. Oh, and Q has a business card in the previous episode. Call the number on the card! It’s a hoot. (323) 634-5667
Sellenria: The Starship and the Citadel
Chuck Boeheim, Daniel Elswit
It came as a shock to archaeologist Stenn Gremm to find that his ancestor had been a warlock.
As a scientist, Stenn didn’t believe in magic. But when a monster from legend ground his equipment into dust, Stenn was forced into roles for which he hadn’t prepared. Apprentice to an assassin for one, advisor to the heir to the throne for another. When archaeological digs were conducted via telepresence, he didn’t expect to get dirt under his nails and blood on his hands. Now his fate hinges on his ability to embrace his greatest role: the new warlock.
Readers have called this a cross between Star Trek and Lord of the Rings, as well as a tale of self-discovery, set in a journey through a fantastic land. All legends have a kernel of truth, but the full story can be surprisingly different.
What We‘re Reading
Visit our archive of reviews and recommendations on the Books We Like page of our website. You‘ll find over one hundred recommendations in Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Non Fiction.
Walter Jon Williams
A secret affair with the Queen. A vengeful goddess. A court resentful of his meteoric rise. Quillifer lives a dangerous life.
In the third installment of Quillifer’s saga, this son of a butcher has risen higher in the court than he had dreamed possible. Poison, daggers, duels, and grudges arise at every turn, aimed either at Quillifer or the Queen he loves. At the same time, a rival kingdom is invading, and leadership of the armies and navies have gone to those with influence rather than competence. When the Queen sends Quillifer to break a siege, is it a vote of confidence or a stratagem to remove him from court?
By now, you know you can count on Quillifer to do the unexpected and to rely on wit and cunning (and his silver tongue) to defeat his enemies. Almost.
The Seventh Bride
Lord Crevan makes a surprising offer of marriage to Rhea, a miller’s daughter. Rhea is a commoner, and rather plain. Crevan is a friend of the prince, creepy, and a reputed sorcerer. It’s hard to say “no” to such a person.
When Rhea arrives at Crevan’s manor house, she finds that six women had previously made this bargain, and are bound in service to Crevan and the house. The house may have its own opinions about this.
Dead Lies Dreaming
Britain is under New Management – an undead Pharaoh from the eldritch realms to be exact. Justice is fair and impartial and usually involves a beheading. Superheroes and supervillains emerge daily as the breakthrough of Lovecraftian powers through the aegis of ubiquitous computing spills over into everyday people. (Magic is nothing but higher mathematics after all, and computers can do a LOT of math.)
Against this backdrop, a ragtag band of lost boys squatting in an old London mansion finds a hallway that shouldn’t be there. It leads through rooms that would fill many mansions, all in earlier and earlier periods, back to a plague-infested era that is better off forgotten. An unscrupulous billionaire commissions them to pull off the heist of the century. Steal the Necronomicon from an occult library hundreds of years in the past.
This is a new arc in the Laundry series of sci-fi/occult novels, with a new set of characters in play. There should be enough backstory here for new readers to jump in. Anyone who’s been following it since the Atrocity Archives should be right at home.
You may also enjoy…
Erryn Kolheim is the best damn freighter pilot this side of the core worlds. She was born in space, bred in it. She’s one of the best, but even the best fear pirates.
On a routine run across the galaxy, Erryn’s ship is stopped by Pegg pirates. While small, the nasty creatures make up for their size with a love for violence.
Erryn can go around them. Space is big, after all. But it ain’t safe. Avoiding one danger might mean another, if they can even avoid the first danger at all.
But Erryn’s a damn good pilot, and she won’t give up her ship without a fight.
Free via StoryOrigin
One King, One Rule
War on Nibiru has caused environmental damage resulting in climate disaster. The cities on the surface have moved underground, and a search for the means to restore the climate is beginning. Two brothers have entirely different ideas of how to rule the planet and save the people. Only one of them can be right.
Anu wants to use the planet’s resources to further develop the infrastructure of the underground cities, whereas Alalu wants to search for the legendary planet, Tiamat. The legends tell of it having deep veins of gold. If he can find it, the gold can be used to create an atmospheric shield, and life can return to the surface.
Free via StoryOrigin
Wedding of the Torn Rose
Saving the princess was only the start.
When you’re down on your luck, you’ll do what it takes to make ends meet. For Kaine, that meant gathering mushrooms in the forest, a dull but safer job than his previous life on a merchant ship. The woman’s screams were the last thing he expected. Dashing to her rescue, Kaine finds himself face to face with a monster that should not even exist, fighting for his life as well as hers.
His world only gets crazier from there. Kaine returns with Lydia, the daughter of the king, to her father’s castle where he unexpectedly finds himself in the king’s good graces. Confused and leery, Kaine reluctantly agrees to remain and help with Lydia’s younger siblings. Life could not have thrown him more.
Kaine is plunged into a world of magical intrigue, unrest, and political maneuvering. Each new event leaves him feeling out of place and, worse, dangerously exposed to a growing threat. The Darian Kingdom stands at the crossroads. Lydia’s upcoming wedding to the prince of the Throatian Kingdom will soon become the defining moment in Kaine’s life.
With the threat of war looming on the horizon, it is going to take every ounce of guile, cunning, and willpower for Kaine to survive, and, if he is fortunate, prevent the fast approaching storm from burning his world to the ground.
Buy via StoryOrigin
T. L. Ryder
Ran Shaipur is the epic story of a forgotten colony’s struggle for self-determination on an isolated planet.
Set on the colony planet D’Abraxas, Ran Shaipur is the story of Ran, a commoner who’s managed to break into the insular society of genetically engineered warlords who rule the fractured provinces of his planet. After years of hard work and help from friends in high places, Ran feels he is finally on track to make D’Abraxas a better place for all.
But then General Union Space Corp comes calling. They claim they have come to help reintegrate D’Abraxas into galactic society– for a price. One thing is certain: D’abraxas’s in-atmosphere fighter planes no match for the General Union’s massive starship. Can Ran keep his world safe? Or will the General Union overthrow Ran and seize control of D’abraxas for its own ends?
Buy via StoryOrigin
The Magic Wakes Book 1
Talia has a secret that will save her world or rip it apart.
Scientist Talia Zaryn has always dreamt of an alien invasion and her own death. She’s kept it secret, hoping it is nothing more than childish nightmares. However, when the face in the mirror matches that of her dreams, she fears she’s out of time.
Talia’s work at the Space Exploration Foundation leaves no time for relationships, but Landry Sutton isn’t looking for a friend. He’s looking for a traitor. His ability to sense emotions convinces him Talia is the traitor until a touch sizzles between them. In an instant, their minds are connected telepathically.
Together they must uncover the secrets of Sendek’s past if they hope to defeat the terrifying creatures descending on their world. Talia is the key–if she can learn to trust the magic coursing through her veins.
Buy via StoryOrigin
Discovering Your Neighbor
Baldwin Tavares is called up by the Admiral Pitch to join in their expedition to the planet Allende 1-b, also known as Neighbor. Baldwin and his team were requested for their very specific skill set, as they are the best in their individual fields. Eager to be part of something bigger than himself, Baldwin, aka Win, convinces his team to go on the expedition. They aim to find some remnants left behind of the once inhabited planet Neighbor in the hopes of studying and preserving whatever knowledge about them that they find.
Win begins to realize the expedition to Allende 1-B is not entirely scientific. He suspects the Pacific Ocean World Mining Organization, or POMO, have sunk deep into the pockets of the ship’s commanding officers, with the hopes of mining Allende 1-B for its rich mineral reserves as soon as they arrive. As such he immediately starts investigating the ship to confirm his suspicions. When Win finds out he was right, he races to convince the crew against any mining expeditions before it’s too late. However, little does he know something even more pressing will require his attention before he even gets the chance to tell anyone.
Free via StoryOrigin
If you no longer want to receive emails from us you can unsubscribe.
Please feel free to forward to others who might enjoy it.
If you would like to be added to the list signup here .
Disclosure: We are affiliates of Bookshop.org and Amazon and will
earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase.