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Images via Sokka’s Cactus Juice

The first two seasons of The Legend of Korra were problematic for a few reasons. Chief among these is its lack of an identity and defined set of goals. Avatar: The Last Airbender established its goal in the first episode: save the world from the machinations of the Fire Nation and its power-hungry leader. The Legend of Korra, on the other hand, can’t decide if it’s a coming-of-age story, an exploration of social and political revolution, a buddy-cop comedy, or an epic fantasy. Instead of dedicating itself to a tight focus, it splits its attention between all of these themes and doesn’t do any of them particularly well. Read More »

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While fans wait patiently for The Doors of Stone, the third volume in Patrick Rothfuss’ massively popular Kingkiller Chronicles, the author has been busy on several projects, including work on the final volume, The Doors of Stone. The most imminent of these, due for release in November, is The Slow Regard of Silent Things, a novella announced by Rothfuss in April, 2014.

If there’s anything that Rothfuss wants to make clear about The Slow Regard of Silent Things, however, it’s that the novella is not the third volume in the Kingkiller Chronicles. “It’s not a mammoth tome that you can use to threaten people and hold open doors,” Rothfuss explained in his announcement post. “It’s a short, sweet story about one of my favorite characters. It’s a book about Auri.”

In the announcement post, Rothfuss revealed an early synopsis for the novella:

The Slow Regard of Silent Things is set at The University where the brightest minds work to unravel the mysteries of enlightened sciences, such as artificing and alchemy. Auri, a former student (and a secondary but influential character from Rothfuss’s earlier novels) now lives alone beneath the sprawling campus in a maze of ancient and abandoned passageways. There in The Underthing, she feels her powers and learns to see the truths that science—and her former classmates—have overlooked.

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On Fanzines and Hugo Noms

Voting for the 2014 Hugo Awards opened on Friday, June 6th. I’m using this opportunity to reprint the introduction to A Dribble of Ink’s collection included in the voter packet provided to all eligible voters. Whether you’re a voter or not, you can download the collection below -ed.

Over the past several years, vast change has come to many of the fan categories at the Hugos.

The “Best Fanzine” category has seen a dramatic shift in the past two years, since SF Signal’s first nomination, and traditional zines are being replaced by blogs and online magazines. “So never the twain shall meet…,” said Mike Glyer, of the many-times nominated File 770, describing the seemingly impassable gulf that exists between the online community and the traditional fan community. I don’t believe Mr. Glyer. While this divide between the two fan communities is undeniable, genre fandom is ripe with opportunity for creating a global fan community that embraces diversity—of voice and publishing platform—and challenges readers, authors, and publishers to become more inclusive and welcoming than ever before. Read More »

Rising from the Sea of Smoke by Julie Dillon

After I finished writing Cold Steel, the third and final book in the Spiritwalker Trilogy, I knew I wanted to add a coda. The trilogy is narrated in first person by Cat Barahal, but her close friendship with her cousin Beatrice is the central relationship in the series.

Bee happens to be an artist who carries a sketchbook with her everywhere, and I conceived of the idea of writing a journal as from Bee’s point of view, in which she relates the adventures she had as she sees them, since in the trilogy everything is seen through Cat’s eyes. Such a journal would necessarily need illustrations “as drawn by” Bee.

Because the story is set in an alternate history 19th century, the illustrations would need to have a realistic style (rather than a comics or manga style) of art. To that end, I commissioned Julie Dillon to create a set of 29 illustrations to accompany the story I wrote. Read More »