I can put Murder Schoolgirls everywhere

Okay, so this isn’t TECHNICALLY about murder schoolgirls. Over at Tor.com, I’ve got a list of book & anime pairings for anyone looking for a great school story.

As a long-time fan of both speculative fiction and anime, one common thread I’ve noticed in both media is the enduring presence of The School Story. Plenty of fantasy readers make their grand entrance to the genre via a school fantasy story; for teens, who spend more time at school than at home, what other setting could tie the fantastic world to mundane reality?

You can find out what murder schoolgirls go best together what anime go best with your favorite school books over at Tor.com!


Some of the coolest women in SF/F are moms

My newest at The Portalist lists 8 of my favorite moms of speculative fiction:

These women come in many forms, from the women who raised us to the teachers and role models we’ve found in the world around us—even in fiction.

While I couldn’t possibly fit them all on one list, here are eight genre fiction mother figures I’m grateful for this Mother’s Day.

Find out who else (besides The General) is on the list, and tell me about some of YOUR favorite moms in sci-fi.

Throwback Thursday: Quidditch Player Cosplay Jackets

Cosplay is a geek hobby I never really got into. Part of it was because I didn’t have access to my mom’s sewing machine while living in the college dorms. Part of it was the expense. (Because materials cost money.)

But last summer, I got a secondhand sewing machine that belonged to my grandmother, and when my publishing program hosted a Hogwarts Banquet, I decided it was time to break out the sewing machine and asked some friends if they wanted to go as Quidditch players – and make uniform jackets ourselves.

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Banned Books Week 2011: Name Your Poison

Banned Books Week, an observation held each year by the American Library Association, starts today and lasts through October 1, the end of this week, to raise awareness of books that are currently or have been banned from schools, libraries, and more simply because they were controversial.

Some books that have been banned include J. K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series, perhaps most famously; classic novels such as J. D. Salinger’s Catcher in the Rye and John Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men; and children’s stories such as Madeleine L’Engle’s A Wrinkle in Time and Dav Pikley’s Captain Underpants series.

These books have been challenged by parents and community members for many reasons, from offenses to religious beliefs to the idea that children and teens shouldn’t be exposed to the ideas inside the books.

Are these reasons appropriate?  I say no.

Books exist to help people expand their horizons past what they normally experience, and by banning books from children and teens, these horizons are held in stasis.

This year for Banned Books Week, please take some time to visit the ALA’s page on Banned Books.  Pick one out of the list – maybe one that’s already in your library – and read it, share it, and talk about it with your friends and family members.  If you have children, read one of the books on the list to them and talk to them about it.

Closing books closes out ideas.  Keep ideas alive this year by opening a book and giving it the good old once-over.

What Banned Book are you reading this week?  I’ll be reading Margaret Atwood’s post-apocalyptic novel A Handmaid’s Tale.

It Ends Tonight

…no, not the song by the All-American Rejects.

Usually, I don’t write personal posts on my blog, but as it commemorates one of the most momentous events of my twenty-year life, I believe this will be okay just this once.

At midnight tonight, as many may know, the eighth and final film in the Harry Potter series, based on J. K. Rowling’s seven-book series about the boy wizard, will be released in the United States.  For many, this is just another film premiere for another series of movies.

For many of my generation, though, this is the symbolic end of an era of childhood magic.

I bought my first Harry Potter book, a paperback copy of The Sorcerer’s Stone, when I was eight years old at a school book fair in third grade.  After my first read-through – though I thought the first chapter was really boring – I was in love.

In fact, even though I didn’t tell anyone, I waited for three years to get a letter from Hogwarts and I was very disappointed when not even a slip of parchment came back.

For years, Harry and his world were companions for me in my own world, which I found terribly boring.  I wanted the towering castle of Hogwarts and the mystical landscapes surrounding it, not the small brick building I sat in for 11 years of pre-school and elementary or the weird-looking building that housed my high school.  I wanted adventure and danger, not a mundane life filled with homework and duties.

(Incidentally, I never did figure out how Harry managed to pass all his classes despite never seeming to do any homework at all and missing his exams from being in the hospital wing.)

I realized recently that I have spent most of my life waiting for the next Harry Potter adventure: the next book, the next film. I’ve attended midnight premieres and midnight book releases.  I’ve counted down days, hours, minutes until I could get my hands on the next part, to dive into the next chapter in J. K. Rowling’s world.

And after tonight, there will never be a next adventure.

That is, for me, one of the strangest and most difficult ideas to cope with.  I actually started to cry when I wrote it, and each time I re-read that line – each time it sinks in just that little bit more – the more it feels like something inside me is just shrinking up.

Harry Potter is a part of me.  He has been part of me for years, just like thousands of others in their late teens and early twenties across the world.

A girl on Facebook created an event called I Solemnly Swear that I am Up to No Good.  The instructions are simple: after seeing the movie, all you need to do complete the charm on the Maurauder’s Map with the words “Mischief Managed.”  The event encourages fans to write it as their Facebook status as well.

If you’re a fan of the series and the movies, I encourage you to join in, too.

I’ll be right there with you.