Catherynne M Valente's Deathless
is a beautiful Russian fairy-tale set in the Stalinist era, brilliantly conceived and executed. Masha is the youngest of four sisters in Petrograd and, over the years, she has watched the birds come for her sisters. They thump against the windows and fall to the ground and spring up as soldiers and thump again on the door and beg to be wed to the girl in the window.
When the Soviet nationalizes her home and moves 11 other families into it, Masha becomes a girl with 12 mothers, and no bird comes for her, but the house elf, the domovoi, reveals itself to her, and brings her to the Domovoi's Committee, where all 12 families' house-elves have formed a congress to decide how best to run their shared home. With their advice, she finds a witch, who gives her a book and tells her where to find a hairbrush, and these, at last, conjure a husband for her.
But Masha's husband is no soldier: he is Koschei, the Tsar of Life, and he spirits her across the steppes to his kingdom, where he is locked, as always, in fierce battle with his brother, the Tsar of Death. There, Masha becomes a consort and dreams of becoming a queen, but she cannot, not until she has completed the quests of Baba Yaga, the sister of the Tsar of Life, who now styles herself Chairman Yaga.
From this unflowers a lyrical, beautiful story about the war between lovers, the war over life, the beauty and the terror of revolutionary dreams. Valente's prose is transporting, and her instincts for when to draw a section to a close and insert a gap of years or decades for best effect is flawless. This is a book that broods but never stoops to cynicism, a book full of dream-logic and eros. Valente is a major talent, and this is some of her best work.
Deathless excerpt (tor.com)
The house that starred as Marty McFly’s home in the Back to the Future trilogy is at 9303 Roslyndale Ave in Arleta, California. While “Back to the Future Part III” was in production, a neighbor shot the home video above of the actors on set. (via Reddit)
One of Princess Leia’s slave bikinis she actually wore in Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi sold for $96,000 at auction yesterday. No news on who bought it. The costume came complete with the collar and several links in the chain Leia used to strangle Jabba the Hutt. A 16″ model of Leia’s […]
Apparently, next summer “we’ll finally find out why the birds are so angry.”
The Lytro Illum dares to be different, boasting even more robust features than its first generation predecessor and a sleek design reminiscent of professional DSLRs. What’s so cool about it? Most cameras capture the position of light rays, producing a statoc 2D image.
SitePoint Premium is the ultimate e-learning library for web developers, designers, and digital professionals. Famous for their web development books written by industry leaders, they’ve expanded their content library to include in-depth video courses and short, handy screencasts partnering with A Book Apart and UX Mastery. Whatever you want to achieve in your web career, […]
Skip the technical jargon and get right to taking amazing, professional-quality photos with this complete training. The Hollywood Art Institute Photography Course includes 22 modules filled with tutorials on how to profit off of your photography, or simply capture your memories in the manner they deserve.Accredited by the Photography Education Accreditation CouncilDive into this 22 […]