Ian Tregillis's stellar debut novel Bitter Seeds hits shelves today. It's a beautifully written and thoroughly researched alternate WWII history, the twist being that a mad German scientist has discovered a way to endow a group of sociopaths -- raised from WWI orphans -- with X-Men-like powers that have made the Wehrmacht unstoppable.
To counter this, a desperate Great Britain establishes a secret division composed of a tiny number of British warlocks -- shades of Susanna Clarke's Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell -- men who use speech in a mystical Ur-language, accompanied by blood sacrifice, to call up vast, brutal elemental forces. These forces, the Eidolons, loathe humanity and tremble in barely restrained rage at the stain we spread on the universe, but they can be bargained with, blood traded for elemental magick.
Tregillis writes and plots beautifully. The characters -- twisted German psychics, bitter warlocks, the brutal calculators of the British intelligence apparat -- are complex, textured, surprising. The physical descriptions are wonderful. And the plot is relentless, a driving adventure story with intrigue, battle, sacrifice, and betrayal.
I had the extreme pleasure of teaching Ian Tregillis at the Clarion Workshop some years ago, and he was one of my most promising students, a standout in a year of standout writers. So I am unsurprised -- but totally delighted -- to find myself reading such a tremendous debut from him. This is the first volume of the Milkweed Triptych, and I'm extremely eager to read the rest.
It’s not the The New Adventures of Wonder Woman that I grew up with but it does have that Stranger Things/mallwave appeal, and a New Order song. It also has Steve Trevor who most certainly died in the first film but no matter.
“Snowbrawl” is a high-energy 90-second David versus Goliath snowball fight directed by David Leitch for Apple. The commercial is nice, but the real magic is in this mini-documentary, which shows some of the simple tools used to achieve such kinetic shots: Kudos to Apple, the two videos really do a good job of making it […]
Jordan Peele fans (Get Out, Us) rejoice – he has just produced a new Amazon series, Hunters, which comes out sometime in 2020. As an added bonus, it stars Al Pacino.
There are few intellectual exercises better than a good game of chess against a capable opponent, which is why a lot of old hands at the gameplay it online. But there’s still nothing like the tactile thrill of moving a knight into checkmate. (Or sweeping the pieces off dramatically when you lose.) That’s why we’re […]
Got a real music junkie on your list this year? It’s a good bet that they already have a solid pair of earbuds, but probably nothing quite like these Seeds Earphones. Here’s the thing: Wireless earbuds are all the rage right now, and there are a lot of good reasons for that. But for true […]
When it comes to the qualities of a good project manager, you hear a lot of talk about “soft skills” like leadership ability and confidence. And where does confidence come from? It comes from people who are dead certain they know the right steps to take. In other words, you’ve got to master the hard […]