Clockwork Phoenix 4 – review

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Apr 232013
Clockwork Phoenix 4 - review

I am a huge fan of anthologies, and for me, the mark of a good anthology is that every piece should not please every reader. This sounds counter intuitive, but especially when courting the genres of science fiction and fantasy, this method shows that the editor understands that each of these genres have many facets, and each facet has its own set of fans.

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 Posted by at 10:39 am
Mar 252013
The Twelfth Stone - review

The purpose of fairy tales, it can be argued, was to teach lessons to children and communities in order to help them to understand the world and assimilate to a society. Whether or not we agree with the lessons taught by older fairy tales and their interpretations is often up for debate. But it is truly something to read a fairy tale that teaches lessons appropriate for citizens of this century, while still allowing readers to delve into a world far beyond their own.

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 Posted by at 9:35 am
Feb 112013
On Stranger Magic: Charmed States and the Arabian Nights - review

The writing is smart and effective–no academicese found here. Wrapping tales within tales within explanations, Warner stylistically imitates her subject while also making it possible for the reader to draw his own connections between these storytelling patterns and other Western literature. Slowly, the literary Berlin-wall between Eastern/Oriental literature and all that came from the west is deconstructed.

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 Posted by at 8:15 am

Deathless – review

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Sep 042012
Deathless - review

A woman takes a man downstairs, into her basement. She commands him to stand against the wall and ties his hands to a meat-hook. She kisses him, strikes him, gloats over him. The man closes his eyes in ecstasy. Does he want to get away? Deathless is Valente’s first novel set in Russia (the companion volume, Matryoshka, is forthcoming in 2015).

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 Posted by at 4:02 pm

Gramarye – review

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Aug 232012
Gramarye - review

Gramarye is the brand new Journal of the Sussex Centre for Folklore, Fairy Tales, and Fantasy, based at the University of Chichester in England. The inaugural issue appeared in Spring of 2012, and is the issue I’ll be reviewing here. It is 75 full-color pages printed on wonderfully thick paper, and includes illustrations by Brian Froud, Edmund Dulac, Warwick Goble, and more.

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 Posted by at 3:48 pm

The Moment of Change – review

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Aug 152012
The Moment of Change - review

This collection of feminist speculative poetry, featuring work by many talented poets is a long and juicy read like a bush of ripe berries, each poem a delicious bite of bright imaginings, telling of worlds full of flowers, fish-eyes, cauldrons, broken slippers, and much, much more.

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 Posted by at 12:32 pm

Perfection, Control, and Inner Authority: a Black Swan Symbolic Review

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Jul 252012
Perfection, Control, and Inner Authority: a Black Swan Symbolic Review

I’m approaching the film from the viewpoint that the reclamation project Nina is on is basic shadow work, in Jungian terms. Connecting with, understanding, and accepting these hidden and often scary aspects brings them into our lives as creative powers and options that were previously unavailable to us.

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 Posted by at 2:27 pm

Dreamchild: A Film Essay

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Jul 062012
Dreamchild: A Film Essay

That is a beautiful movie poster. Made doubly so by the fact that, in the movie, the moment it illustrates most likely didn’t happen. Dreamchild, the first film made by the Jim Henson Creature Shop without the auteur’s input, is a film about memory. What happened, what we wish had happened, what we wish we could take back. It is also, like the poster, beautiful.

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 Posted by at 1:22 pm

Audio reviews: Soulless, Hounded

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May 302012
Audio reviews: Soulless, Hounded

I was slow to come around to audiobooks. I read really fast. In early days, when my mother and my oldest friend (our friendship has been old enough to rent a car for a while now) tried to convert me, my reaction consisted mainly of eye-rolling, snorting, and heavy sighs. It all seemed so slow. Reading turned into drudgery. How awful! Read how a long journey changed my mind…

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 Posted by at 6:49 am

Mermaid: A Twist on the Classic Tale – review

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Dec 152011
Mermaid: A Twist on the Classic Tale - review

A retelling of the classic “Little Mermaid” tale, this is an interesting, even darker take on the story.

The atmosphere is fantastic, Nordic and stark, a perfect setting for an ocean myth to take hold. There is a nice contrast between the lushness of the ocean kingdom where Lenia, the mermaid, lives.

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 Posted by at 2:14 pm

The Silence of Trees – review

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Dec 152011
The Silence of Trees - review

Fairy tales are fantastical journeys; full of treacherous twists and turns, shadowed forests, unlikely helpers and often unlooked for opportunities. There is always magic of course, and usually love as well.

The Silence of Trees is a tale that contains all of those things.

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 Posted by at 2:14 pm

Skellig – review

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Dec 152011
Skellig - review

I read this book in the Cleveland International Airport and on a flight from Cleveland to Houston. In the middle of the terminal noise, the plane engines’ shriek, the book made a bubble of quiet that I could inhabit. Skellig is about uncertainty, about fear and hope, without one bit of hyperbole.

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 Posted by at 2:14 pm

Let England Shake – review

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Dec 152011
Let England Shake - review

We think we know PJ Harvey, after almost twenty years; we may not be surprised that she has made a concept album about war, since she has always inclined to forbidding themes. Her reputation for somberness would not on its own make it easier for listeners to take her seriously as the creator of Let England Shake. Spooky chicks are supposed to move on to war after having exhausted suicidal heartbreak as a topic, and from them, war isn’t supposed to matter except as a new way to explore suicidal heartbreak.

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A Life in Secrets: Vera Atkins and the Lost Agents of SOE – review

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Dec 152011
A Life in Secrets: Vera Atkins and the Lost Agents of SOE - review

Women who assume the power of life and death over others are often demonized. Failing that, they may be sentimentalized, as has happened in film and print to the thirteen female agents who were sent to their deaths in Nazi-occupied France by a branch of English intelligence, the Special Operations Executive (SOE). Vera Atkins tends to be remembered in sinister terms, in the absence of tangible evidence that her actions were suspect. The aura derives from her personality alone.

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Blue Hour – review

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Nov 102011
Blue Hour - review

Carolyn Forché once saved my life. I would not meet her until almost ten years later, and it would be five years before she published Blue Hour, her greatest book and the one most completely in her own voice. It was Christmas Day and I spent it entirely alone in a basement apartment, reading and rereading The Angel of History and The Country Between Us while listening again and again to sacred harp singing on a cassette by the Word of Mouth Chorus, Rivers of Delight. The circumstances are private, but the experience is universal: at a particularly stressful time, to have been maintained in connection by the repetition of certain words and melodies. Many of the people who grew up with the hymns on the recording would have understood…

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