Magpie Monday

Here are some shiny things that caught my eye recently:

♦ This week’s recommendation for All Hallow’s Read is Dark Dance by Tanith Lee. The first in a trilogy, Dark Dance is a fine gothic piece, and Lee’s elegant and evocative prose raises the novel above the standard fare. I do hope you’ve shared at least one scary or at least darkly moody book with someone this Hallowe’en season. If you’re looking for even more All Hallow’s Read recommendations, check out the picks from’s staff.

♦ The latest issue of Jabberwocky was released into the online wilds last week, and the short story “The Woods, Their Hearts, My Blood” by Mari Ness transfixed from the first line, “I ate my daughter’s heart in the place where the woods formed a perfect circle, their great branches shutting out the sky.” I had to read the rest of the story, which is strange and dark and lovely, immediately. You should, too.

♦ “Only in Silence the Word“: Over at, Jo Walton continues her reflection on Ursula K. Le Guin’s Earthsea books with a thoughtful piece on The Farthest Shore.

♦ Also over at, a trailer for the new documentary, When Harry Left Hogwarts. Apparently, that documentary will be on the 4-disc edition of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2, which is available only at Target. Here’s hoping the documentary will also be released separately.

♦ I watched the pilot of Once Upon a Time tonight. While the episode hadn’t quite found the right rhythm (or, at least, I hope that’s not the rhythm they want for the series), I’m charmed enough to watch a few more eps. The conceit of fairy-tale characters in the real world isn’t fresh by any means, but Once Upon a Time does have its own mythos to set it apart, at least a little. I was taken with the performances of Josh Dallas (dashing as Prince Charming) and Jennifer Morrison (her tough-but-not-too-tough Emma Swan is endearing), but Lana Parrilla (the Evil Queen) tends to steal any scene she’s in. Really, you can’t take her eyes off her. Ginnifer Goodwin does fine as Snow White, sweet but not saccharine, just not a fully fleshed-out character yet. Red Riding Hood and her grandmother make a couple of brief appearances, and I’m not sure yet how I feel about the direction they’re taking with these characters. All in all, not terrible—however, Robert Carlyle (Rumpelstiltskin) is chewing up so much scenery I’m surprised there’s a set left.

♦ io9 has excerpts from two interesting interviews with Colson Whitehead and China Miéville, respectively, about the literary/genre divide. I was going to direct you to the Miéville interview myself, but instead just go read “More Proof that the Book World’s Literary/SF Division is Increasingly Meaningless.” I too would rather be estranged than recognize.

Avanaut likes to photograph his action figures, and, man, those are some fine-looking photographs. Most of his work seems to be with Star Wars figures, but he branches out with some variety, like the image below (chosen to make CBC smile). Yep, that’s really an action figure. Via.

♦ The short film 5:46 a.m. by Olivier Campagne and Vivien Balzi, with music by Brice Tillet, gives us Paris, abandoned and flooded. Why has the City of Lights become thus? No explanation is given, but the film is creepy nonetheless (though, for my part, I could have done without the soundtrack).


The Thorn and the Blossom is the first novel by one of my favorite writers, Theodora Goss. The novel (and I’m applying that term loosely, as you’ll see) is due out in January, and the book trailer reveals how very lovely the book-as-object will be.

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