Five Books About Extreme Worlds

The essence of a great science fiction or fantasy novel is the world. There, I said it. Feel free to disagree. But I haven’t fallen in love with a novel without first falling deep into the author’s imaginary world. So naturally it was the most extreme worlds that became my favorites. And in the hands of the best authors those unique worlds produced not only memorable places and stories, but fertile ground for things like social and political commentary as well. There is something to be said for taking things to their limits. In each of these novels the author has taken ideas about our humdrum world and pushed them to the extreme (as if I hadn’t already overused that word). In doing this, in seeing these exaggerated versions of our world, we are allowed glimpses of possible futures or of alternate versions of the present or even the past.

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Series: Five Books About…

Simon & Schuster Launches SFF/Horror Imprint Skybound Books with Robert Kirkman

Simon & Schuster’s Atria division is launching a new imprint: Skybound Books, a partnership between Atria and multi-platform entertainment company Skybound Entertainment, best known for the TV adaptation of Robert Kirkman’s The Walking Dead. Skybound Books will focus on science fiction, fantasy, and horror stories.

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Five Murders: Adam Christopher’s Killing Is My Business

Ray Electromatic, the robot hitman, is back in the latest entry in Adam Christopher’s pulpy murder mystery series, Killing Is My Business. It’s been a while now since Ada, his former secretary now boss who also happens to be a room-sized super computer, reprogrammed Ray from a run-of-the-mill metallic detective to a murderer for hire. Business is booming and the cash is piling up. Ray is eerily good at what he does.

Ada sends Ray on a cryptic stakeout, which leads to an even more cryptic hit and a series of increasingly convoluted and seemingly counterproductive cons, schemes, and shenanigans. The less Ada reveals, the more Ray suspects something’s up, and the deeper he’s pulled into the tangled web of the Italian mafia, Hollywood high rollers, and conspiracy coverups.

[“We’ll make a detective out of you yet, chief.”]

Canadian Prairie Futurism: Looking at Tomorrow without Forgetting the Past

On a lazy evening in Regina, Saskatechwan, you can go to a bar called The Fat Badger, grab a beer, and put a little money into the jukebox if you want to hear an old country song about the prairies. Except the jukebox is my cousin, a soft-spoken guy named Marshall Burns, strumming guitar with his band The Alley Dawgs and singing as many classics as they know (and there are a lot). It’s the kind of thing you might have seen here 80 years ago. Or that you might see 180 years from now.

Two summers ago, when I was finishing the first draft of my novel Autonomous, I watched Marshall play and thought about the future. Back then he was at Leopold’s Tavern, and I’d come to the crowded bar with a bunch of family after a long dinner full of conversations about politics and art. This is the sort of thing we might do more often if there were an apocalypse, I mused. We’d gather in some communal shelter, after a day of hunting and gathering in the trashed wastes. Then somebody from our family would start to sing. We’d raise our voices too, to take our minds off the famine and plague and wildfires.

[But it’s also the exact kind of thing we’d do in a Utopian future.]

Game of Thrones Season 7, Episode 2: “Stormborn”

So, taking the Iron Throne isn’t going to be as easy as striding into King’s Landing and demanding it, now is it?

This week saw some hard lessons for the ladies of Game of Thrones, just when it seemed they were going to be on top. (Exempt from this turnabout: Missandei.) Littlefinger’s gonna leer, Spider’s gonna keep swimming, and Theon’s gonna… Reek.

Spoilers for the currently published George R. R. Martin novels are discussed in the review and fair game in the comments. We highly suggest not discussing early preview chapters, but if you must, white it out. Have courtesy for the patient among us who are waiting and waiting (and waiting) for The Winds of Winter. Play nice. Thanks.

[“You are a dragon. Be a dragon…”]

Series: HBO’s Game of Thrones

The Sacred and the Equinoid: Horses, Spirituality, and Space

This part of the thought experiment is going to be tough, because if it was hard to set aside human assumptions about sex and violence, the ones about religion can be downright intractable. Just as it’s a given that sex must be an obsession and mass violence must be inevitable in a sentient species, it may be argued from the (Western, patriarchal) human model that every sentient species must worship some sort of god.

But is it a given?

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Adrian Tchaikovsky’s Children of Time Optioned for Film

Summit Entertaiment and Lionsgate Pictures will bring Adrian Tchaikovsky’s science fiction novel Children of Time, with its Arthur C. Clarke Award-winning imagination and its shudder-inducing sentient-spiders premise, to the big screen. A recent press release from Pan Macmillan announces that the film rights have been optioned.

“I couldn’t be happier about this,” said Bella Pagan, Editorial Director at Pan Macmillan. “Adrian’s fabulous book has been optioned by a fabulous production company with an incredible reputation.”

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Summer 2017 Anime Preview: Anime Strikes Out

Something is happening in the anime fandom, and anime fans aren’t pleased.

If you’re someone who likes to watch anime, you may have been hearing the backlash against Amazon’s new channel, Anime Strike. The service has angered fans by snapping up exclusive licenses to many of the most anticipated shows and putting them behind a steep paywall. Meanwhile, this season sees Netflix continue its practice of exclusively licensing shows, then locking them away until they can release a season at time—long after the show has already finished airing in Japan.

[Why does this matter?]

George R.R. Martin Teases “A Westeros Book” in 2018 That May or May Not Be The Winds of Winter

George R.R. Martin’s most recent blog post, concerning release dates for his various “fake histories” of Westeros, also included an update for The Winds of Winter, the highly anticipated sixth volume in A Song of Ice and Fire. Although he had said in January of this year that he thought the book could be out in 2017, now it looks as if late 2018 will be the earliest that readers might be able to obtain Winds—perhaps even later than that.

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“I Knew I Could Rely on Thor!” Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency Gives us a Sneak Peek of Season 2

The first season of Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency turned out to be a delightful surprise, and this Season 2 preview clip already has us excited for the show’s return!

Max Landis’ adaptation of Douglas Adams’ book took some genuinely weird turns, but remained grounded in human emotion…for the most part. This clip seems to show us the aftermath of Season One’s cliffhanger ending, so beware of spoilers!

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The Cast of Black Panther Talk about Character and History at San Diego Comic-Con!

Black Panther director Ryan Coogler was joined on the San Diego Comic-Con stage by Chadwick Boseman, Lupita Nyong’o, Michael B. Jordan, Daniel Kaluuya, Andy Serkis, Forest Whitaker, Danai Gurira, and Letitia Wright, who discussed their characters and their work on the film.

The SDCC trailer isn’t being released yet, but we’ve rounded up some panel highlights below!

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