Top 10 Most Horribly Mistreated First Wives In Gothic Fiction

In Gothic fiction, it never pays to be the first wife. The things these women go through are awful, and are made worse by the fact they usually end up as the backdrop of someone else’s story. Here’s our ranking of the 10 Gothic first wives who suffered the most — and what you can learn from them. » 4/22/15 1:27pm 4/22/15 1:27pm

Robin Givhan’s New Book: A Night Fashion Stumbled Into Racial Progress

American conversations on race tend to cluster around singular events: The Emancipation Proclamation, Brown vs. The Board of Education, the election of Barack Obama. They become historical signposts used to demonstrate how race—here black vs. white—has progressed in the country. Robin Givhan’s book The Battle of… » 4/21/15 4:30pm 4/21/15 4:30pm

From Metropolis To Ex Machina: Why Are So Many Robots Female?

The new movie Ex Machina has been pushing people’s buttons. It features a seemingly vulnerable robot named Ava, who’s as beautiful as she is mysterious. But Ava’s just the latest in a long line of artificial seductresses, girlfriends and mothers. Why are so many thinking machines female? » 4/21/15 4:27pm 4/21/15 4:27pm

Remembering Kim Gordon's Awesome '90s Side Project Free Kitten

Kim Gordon's memoir, Girl in a Band, chronicles five decades of her extraordinary life and career in Sonic Youth. Obviously, that includes endless compelling and varied stories: how her first job in the art world was hawking cheap frames for a then-unknown Larry Gagosian; how she dealt with having a brother with… » 3/31/15 5:45pm 3/31/15 5:45pm

The No-Stilettos Rule: My Approach As A Woman Creating Scifi Book Covers

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How do you create a book cover that really sells the story to its audience? How do you package a book with a badass woman protagonist without relying on bare midriffs and spiky heels? Muddy Colors columnist Lauren Panepinto explains how she approaches cover art in her role as Orbit Books' Creative Director. » 3/20/15 3:20pm 3/20/15 3:20pm

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5 Game Of Thrones Book Plots We're Glad The TV Show Is Skipping

The Game of Thrones TV series has been a remarkably faithful adaptation of George R.R. Martin's fantasy series so far, but that will change when season 5 debuts on April 12th. But not every alteration from the books is a bad thing! Here are five storylines from the novels we won't miss at all. » 3/16/15 3:26pm 3/16/15 3:26pm

The Great Internet Debate Over Not Reading White Men

Hello, dear reader, and welcome to The Kerfuffler! I'm your host, fantasy writer, essayist, and mad tweeter, Saladin Ahmed. Every other week I'll be looking at America's seemingly endless culture wars playing out online, tracing their fault lines, and wading hip-deep into comment sections so you don't have to. » 3/11/15 3:42pm 3/11/15 3:42pm

10 Books That Will Change How You See History

History doesn't have to be the stultifying grind you remember from high school. It can be shocking, and funny, and sad — and even if you don't remember all the dates and faces, it can leave you knowing more about the world. Here are 10 popular history books that will change your view of reality. » 2/24/15 2:13pm 2/24/15 2:13pm

Jonathan Franzen Accuses Jennifer Weiner of 'Freeloading' on Sexism

Serious Male Novelist Jonathan Franzen would like you to know he still has zero respect for Jennifer Weiner, a popular writer whom he admits he hasn't read but considers insufficiently serious for his manly tastes. This time, Franzen accused Weiner—who talks often about sexism in the book world—of "freeloading on the… » 2/13/15 2:30pm 2/13/15 2:30pm

This Is Your Brain on the Fifty Shades of Grey Trilogy 

Gleefully shitting on Fifty Shades of Grey became its own pastime as soon as the books started climbing up bestseller lists. But as easy as it is to lambast a trilogy of books written from the standpoint of a sexual idiot savant with a fifth-grade reading level, there's something smarmy and inauthentic about knocking… » 2/12/15 11:50am 2/12/15 11:50am