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Blog: Strange Charms

Ahhh… summer. Lazy days by the pool, or at the beach. Lemonade, hot dogs, and watermelon. Flirting with that certain someone who’s wearing a lot fewer clothes than usual, and maybe even stumbling into a hot new fling in an exotic vacation spot.

This classic imagery is easy to lose yourself in. But be careful, because at QFT, all is not what it seems. That hunky new beau who takes you apple picking just might have a tale. Or your favorite video game that you escape to in the heat of the day might lead you to do things you never dared do before. The sweet babe you hold in your arms may even be the one to decide when you take your last breath.

It’s been one crazy summer here at QFT, we hope yours has been relaxing. If not, we hope you take the time to write to us about it. And we hope you enjoy the adventures that await in this issue.

Yours in caution,
Clockwork Gnome

Blog: HeroesCon Report

… only a month late.

So in June Ninja Monkey went to Charlotte, NC because his wife had a business meeting there and they thought they’d have some time alone. Then the meeting was cancelled but they still had reservations and a babysitter. So they went with no agenda, and looked for something to do. Here’s what happened.

Blog: And the Haiku Winner is….

Thank you to everyone who sent us their sci-fi movie haikus this month. It was a really fun way to get to know some of our readers. There were a lot of great haikus and a lot of great movie references. You guys are the best! But, unfortunately, there can be only one winner. No more blathering from me…

The winner of the $25 ThinkGeek.com gift card is:


Congrats Angela! You’ll be getting an email shortly with instructions on how to claim your cashola! Your winning poem is featured below, on twitter and our facebook page.

Happy writing, reading, drawing, painting, and general putzing about gnomies!


Blog: Drawing from Reference

A little behind-the-scenes work that went into painting Avalanche Callers!Avalanche_Callers_Reference_ErikaBaird

“So…you want me to…?”

Blog: Partway Review of The Way of Kings

Normally when I write a review of a book, I wait until I’ve completed it before posting any of my thoughts. With Brandon Sanderson’s The Way of Kings, however, I’m presenting this partway review while I wait for the copy I had from the library to make its trek back to me.

In Sanderson’s preface to the novel, he discusses the many years and thousands of pages of notes that went into The Way of Kings, beyond the manuscript itself. That sort of Tolkien-level world-building is something that I don’t think as many writers do today – myself included, for several of my projects – but the value (more…)

Blog: Gruesome Fairy Tales

As part of our nightly ritual, my 2-year-old daughter and I read books together. A couple weeks ago, Rumpelstiltskin made its way into our reads for the night. I’ve heard the story a hundred times, but this time around, I was creeped out more than usual by this story—maybe because I have a child now and could sympathize with the miller’s daughter. If I lived in a mythical fairy land, the thought of having a little imp-man take my child away would pretty much be one of my biggest nightmares.

Well, Rumpelstiltskin sparked my interest and lead me to do a little research on it. On my search I found out that in the 1857 Brothers Grimm edition of the story, when the miller’s daughter/queen reveals Rumpelstiltskin’s name, he goes all crazy and the story tells that he got so mad that he “drove his right foot so far into the ground that it sank in up to his waist; then in a passion he seized the left foot with both hands and tore himself in two”(source). Yikes!

After reading this gruesome version, I decided to look into original/alternate versions of other fairy tales and came across an interesting article that talked about these stories. From reading this article, here are a few stories that I will never look at the same again: (more…)

Blog: Expansion for Expansion’s Sake? A Review of The Cassandra Project, by Jack Devitt and Mike Resnick

Have you noticed that movie trailers today tend to summarize the core of a movie, including the ending? More and more, Hollywood seems to have decided to reveal the best parts of the story ahead of time, taking away any possibility for surprise when you watch the whole thing. Unfortunately, reading The Cassandra Project by Jack McDevitt and Mike Resnick was like seeing a movie after watching today’s trailers. As an expansion of McDevitt’s short story of the same name, published in 2011, there just isn’t enough new material to maintain intrigue for the reader. Further, a significant shift in plotting causes irreparable harm to a story that presents itself initially as largely character-driven.

Though this is the first (more…)

Blog: Lies, All Lies!

I have four kids. I lie to them all the time. I take my job as a parent and liar very seriously where they are concerned. I’m responsible for building their imaginations, of filling their brains with wonder and awe and all kinds of impossibilities come true.

We also like to burn stuff. Last night we took all of our paper recycling out in the back yard and set it on fire (in a safe place). They danced and sang and threw small branches in and watched the flames rise higher and higher. Then little bits of ash started to float up into the air and drift all around us. They glowed bright red before they turned grey and disappeared into the haze of dusk and the branches high above us. (more…)

Blog: The Next 11 Months in Speculative Fiction Movies

The staff of QFT gives their impressions of 22 movies coming out in the rest of 2014. The list isn’t every speculative fiction movie coming out this year (no one had anything to say about Transcendence, for example), but it’s a good starting point.

LEGO Movie – February 7


Blog: The Magic of Santa

The Scientific Theory of Santa’s Magic: How Santa Visits Every House in One Night and How Santa Gets Down the Chimney

Disclaimer: Usually, this blog features a work of fiction – a made-up story designed for entertainment purposes with a bit of science thrown in. Today, I’m not going to do that. I’m putting on my scientist hat to present a work of non-fiction – truth to the best of my ability – my theory of Santa’s so-called magic.

Everyone thinks that Santa Claus uses some form of mystical magic to travel the world in a single night and to fit his big ol’ belly down everyone’s skinny chimney. But let’s face it, is magic best explanation we can come up with? People have long used magic as an excuse to explain things they don’t understand. The sun used to be pulled on a golden chariot. Love was attributed to potions and spells. Weather was more a function of supernatural temperaments than meteorology. Just because we don’t understand how Santa gets around or squeezes himself down the chimney doesn’t mean we should relegate his miracles to some unexplained phenomenon. Santa is, after all, a resident of our physical universe, and as such, is subject to the same physical laws as the rest of us.