Two things that the wonderful people at Rebellion Publishing (Solaris) offered for me to try for my book-launch week was: a listicle for SciFi Now on any topic of my choosing, and a short piece of Gizmoda’s i09.
Other than blogs–and that one article I wrote for Apex a few months ago–I rarely write non-fiction. It’s this whole new world for me! It takes hours!
For my listicle, I wanted to do something more than “Five Books About Necromancers I’ve Loved” which, you know, has already been done. And also, I don’t read that many books about necromancers. But I do recognize, in my long relationship with fantasy novels, games, and movies, that there were acts of “death magic” (or death-adjacent magic at least) that have come to influence me in ways I haven’t even begun to parse!
So I wrote “Five Death Magics I Have Loved” first, though it came out second! In fact, it just went live today!
Luminaries mentioned: Tamsyn Muir’s Gideon the Ninth, certain cantrips in Dungeons and Dragons, Marisha Ray’s character Laudna in Critical Role (campaign 3), Garth Nix’s Sabriel, Ilona Andrews’ necromancer George in The Edge series, Raistlin Majere in the Dragonlance Chronicles, the board game Mysterium, & MORE!
After that, I wrote something called “A Map of Ladies Death,” which just went live yesterday at Gizmodo. This one took longer, and I deleted a lot and rewrote a lot, and I still feel I have left too much out, and I have so much more to say, and really, I wish I were a cartographer!
Taking a page from Rebecca Solnit’s “City of Women” (and with the help of many of YOU), I pieced together an imaginary subway map of female Death figures in fantasy. Everything from Niki de Saint Phalle’s Death sculpture, to Nnedi Okorafor’s Onyesonwu Ubaid in Who Fears Death to Neil Gaiman’s Death of the Endless in The Sandman, from Terry Pratchett’s Susan Death in Soul Music to Seanan McGuire’s Nancy in Every Heart a Doorway to Garth Nix’s Old Kingdom books, etc. I had so much fun writing it!
In the comments of the article, someone mentioned “Come Lady Death,” by Peter S. Beagle, which I wish I had known about to mention, so I’ll do that here.
Oh, and while I’m here, may I direct you to a very lovely and celebratory reading that John O’Neill at Black Gate Magazine hosted? It includes SFF writers Martha Wells, James Engle, Sarah Avery, Zig Zag Claybourn, and Howard Andrew Jones–as well as yours truly, C. S. E. Cooney! Watch here!