Little Girl Meets a Water Heater, Decides It’s a Robot Friend

If you need a dose of adorable child behavior today, we’ve got you covered! Redditor shadeogreen shared this delightful video of his daughter Rayna—the two were out for a neighborhood stroll when Rayna encountered a water heater, decided it was a robot, and greeted it like a long-lost friend. So now we know who to send as humanity’s ambassador when the uprising comes.

Click through for the cutest video you’ll see this side of the Singularity.

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Why Feminism is Still An Awkward Fit for Disney’s Beauty and the Beast

“It is amazing how complete is the delusion that beauty is goodness.” –Leo Tolstoy

Disney’s live-action Beauty and the Beast hit the cinemas roughly a week ago now, and, if you are one of the very few people in the world (at least judging from the box office receipts) who hasn’t seen it, you should go now. I’ll wait!

(Hums “Tale as old as time,” etc., etc…)

Wasn’t that spectacular? It is beautifully constructed, beautifully acted, the music is everything you hoped that it would be, and, with apologies to Lumiere, Emma Watson is incandescent as Belle. While I loved Maleficent, Disney’s 2014 retelling of Sleeping Beauty, in my opinion this is a much better all-around film. And, in some ways, it might be best if we were to leave our analysis of Beauty and the Beast there.

Unfortunately, the commentary surrounding the film, both from outside and from behind the scenes, has not restricted itself to the music and the costumes and the beautiful people inhabiting the roles. Instead, and for the first time I can recall, we have had an active debate between the media and the film’s principal star, Emma Watson, about the underlying morals and values of the story, and whether the relationship between Beauty and the Beast is dysfunctional.

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Innsmouth Legacy: “The Litany of Earth”

The state took Aphra away from Innsmouth. They took her history, her home, her family, her god. They tried to take the sea. Now, years later, when she is just beginning to rebuild a life, an agent of that government intrudes on her life again, with an offer she wishes she could refuse. “The Litany of Earth” is a dark fantasy story inspired by the Lovecraft mythos.

If you enjoy “The Litany of Earth” you can read more of Aphra’s story in Ruthanna Emrys’ Innsmouth Legacy novel Winter Tide, available April 4th from Tor.com Publishing.

This novelette was acquired and edited for Tor.com by acquiring editor Carl Engle-Laird.

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Celebrate Winter Tide With Ruthanna Emrys!

You may know Ruthanna Emrys from The Lovecraft Reread here on Tor.com, or from her acclaimed short story “The Litany of Earth,” which introduced Aphra Marsh, one of the last children of Innsmouth and survivor of the internment camps into which the U.S. government forced Cthulhu’s followers in the late 1920s. Next Tuesday, Aphra returns in Ruthanna’s debut novel, Winter Tide, the launch of her new Lovecraftian fantasy series! If you’re in D.C. or Baltimore, you’ll have the chance to celebrate Winter Tide with Ruthanna when the book comes out (and you can keep track of Ruthanna’s other upcoming events and convention appearances on her website)!

See full details below.

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Rereading Frank Herbert’s Dune: Dune, Part Eighteen

This week we might get murdered by an old family friend… or that old family friend might play us a pretty song! It really could go either way, though. You know how it is.

Index to the reread can be located here! And don’t forget this is a reread, which means that any and all of these posts will contain spoilers for all of Frank Herbert’s Dune series. If you’re not caught up, keep that in mind.

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Series: Rereading Frank Herbert’s Dune

Sleeps With Monsters: Gender Roles and Logan

Logan is a strange sort of superhero film. It made me laugh for all the wrong reasons, so determined as it was to embrace its postapocalyptic Western mood that it wandered into some fairly ridiculous territory—despite its at-times touching interest in, and commentary on, filial bonds and caregiving.

There are two things about Logan that I want to comment on. One is really interesting, and maybe unprecedented in superhero films; the other falls into an existing pattern that has a track record of annoying me. It’s fascinating to see them juxtaposed.

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Series: Sleeps With Monsters

Middle-earth: A World on the Edge

“Other evils there are that may come; for Sauron is himself but a servant or emissary. Yet it is not our part to master all the tides of the world, but to do what is in us for the succour of those years wherein we are set, uprooting the evil in the fields that we know, so that those who live after may have clean earth to till. What weather they shall have is not ours to rule.” –Gandalf, The Return of the King

Recently, a friend of mine tried to convince me that The Lord of the Rings is a story of good versus evil, a simplistic fable of light triumphing over dark, and that Tolkien liked to write in black and white morality. This is a deep misunderstanding of morality and the nature of conflict in Tolkien’s storytelling: in fact, the pull toward loss and catastrophe is far stronger than the certainty of victory, and the world of Middle-earth is always on the edge of a fall into darkness.

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Peter Parker Faces a Tough Choice in the New Trailer for Spider-Man: Homecoming

New Spiderman: Homecoming trailer! And this one not only gives us more Aunt May and Vulture, and not only updates the “Spidey saves a train-load of people” scene, but implies a really interesting, character-defining plot twist that—and we can’t believe we’re saying this—has nothing to do with an origin story.

Do you hear us? NOT AN ORIGIN STORY.

Click through for the full friendly neighborhood trailer!

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Feminist High Plains Drifter …in Space! Announcing Una McCormack’s The Undefeated

Threatened with annexation by the interstellar Commonwealth, the settlers of the strategically important planet Sienna were able to prolong their independence only by submitting to a never-ending ordeal of intimidation and extortion. Now, with nowhere else to turn, the settlers hire a strange jenjer—a genetically engineered working class—woman to drive off their oppressors…

But a revolution is surging up through the ranks of the jenjers themselves, and what follows is nothing at all like what the settlers bargained for.

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Series: Editorially Speaking

Five Books I Was Thinking Of When I Wrote The Collapsing Empire

So, I have I new space opera series on the way, which starts with The Collapsing Empire, a book which—as the title cleverly suggests—features an empire of planets and habitats, potentially on the verge of collapse.

Now, when I say that the series is “new,” I mean that it’s a story that hasn’t been told before, with characters you’ve never met. But as with so many creative works, The Collapsing Empire has some clear antecedents in literature, in books that inspired me while I was writing my book, and in authors I gleefully borrowed from in order to build out my own new universe.

Which books and authors? Here are five of them.

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Series: Five Books About…

Fighting For Utopia: Revisiting Classic ’90s RPG Phantasy Star IV

Phantasy Star IV: The End of the Millennium is an ambitious JRPG that is the perfect end to the series, taking the best elements of each of the previous games and weaving together a “phantastic” journey. It easily goes toe to toe with its more famous Square contemporaries like Chrono Trigger and Final Fantasy VI. Coming after the radical departure from the series Phantasy Star III was with its medieval setting and art style, PSIV (1993 JP, 1995 US) was a welcome return by Director Rieko Kodama and her Sega team to its science fiction roots. It also exemplifies how to do a sequel, as PSIV doesn’t shy away from its ties to the previous games the way III did, but instead, embraces them.

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Rereading the Vorkosigan Saga: Ethan of Athos

Here’s the thing about Ethan of Athos; I LOVE IT. It had been a long time since I read it, and I didn’t really remember anything about it in any particular way, so I picked it up last week after I finished writing about Cetaganda, and not too long after that I put it down again because I was done. My only regret about the time in between was that there wasn’t more of it. I do not, at this moment, feel equipped to authoritatively state that this is the most lovable book in the Vorkosigan Saga, but it is definitely a very strong contender.

And I know what you’re thinking right now, blog readers—you’re thinking I like it because Elli Quinn shoots stuff. You’re not wrong. She does shoot stuff. She shoots stuff with stunners, and puts trackers on people, and gets people drunk and she’s fearless and I love her. But I do not love this book for her alone, because Ethan is no slouch either, in the fearlessness department. He’s not what I would call traditionally fearless—he has some fear. But he powers through in the service of things that are more important, even when it gets him smacked around. They’re a good pair. And Terrence doesn’t drag them down—he’s brave and self-sufficient despite being all alone in the universe. Plus also good-looking.

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Series: Rereading the Vorkosigan Saga