Ambiguity Machines: An Examination April 29, 2015 Ambiguity Machines: An Examination Vandana Singh A test for Junior Navigators of Conceptual Machine-Space. The Pauper Prince and the Eucalyptus Jinn April 22, 2015 The Pauper Prince and the Eucalyptus Jinn Usman Malik He will inherit the Unseen. The Ways of Walls and Words April 15, 2015 The Ways of Walls and Words Sabrina Vourvoulias Can the spirit truly be imprisoned? Ballroom Blitz April 1, 2015 Ballroom Blitz Veronica Schanoes Can't stop drinking, can't stop dancing, can't stop smoking, can't even die.
From The Blog
April 30, 2015
The Folklore Origins of The Avengers
Caitlyn Paxson
April 28, 2015
Five Books Where Music is Practically a Character
Sabaa Tahir
April 27, 2015
Message Fiction: Politics in Sci-Fi and Fantasy Literature
The G
April 24, 2015
5 Extremely Accurate Predictions For Star Trek Beyond
Ryan Britt
April 22, 2015
Daredevil, Catholicism, and the Marvel Moral Universe
Leah Schnelbach
Tue
May 5 2015 8:00am

Morning Roundup: The Stormtroopers Never Find the Luggage They’re Looking For

Darth Vader at the luggage carousel

We approve of airports that celebrate our favorite holiday! The Denver International Airport got into May the 4th this year and posted some new photos to their Facebook page, including this one of Darth Vader picking up his luggage. This photo is startling in several ways. Why does Vader need so many stormtroopers to help pick up a couple of bags? And, maybe more important: why the hell would Darth Vader check luggage? We’re guessing that if he tells the flight attendant he wants extra carry-on bags, they don’t argue...

Morning Roundup brings you enough Age of Ultron reactions to fuel an entire internet! Plus a few last May the 4th moments, and an account of a Marvel movie marathon that left us both queasy, and really wanting to watch the movies again? Weird.

[Oh, and flaming bagpipes.]

Mon
May 4 2015 3:15pm

Take a Peek at Concept Art from Tomorrowland!

Tomorrowland Stephan Martiniere concept art

Who’s excited about Tomorrowland? This fabulous piece of concept art showing the film’s futuristic city comes from Stephan Martinière. We’re digging the sleek, scuptural design of the architecture, and we’d love to know how all the floating bits work—are they stationary buildings, or perhaps large parts of the transport system? And the sphere above the center of the city—is that some sort of hi-tech CCTV? Check out the trailer for more glimpses of the city, including its unique greenspaces and walkways.

We’ve featured much of Martinière’s amazing work over the years, including the covers for Cixin Liu’s Three-Body trilogy. Check out the art for the final book in the series, Death’s End.

Thu
Apr 30 2015 4:00pm

#ClickbaitBooks Will Change How You Look at Your Favorite Books Forever

#clickbaitbooks Harry PotterTwitter is having a lot of fun today with the hashtag #clickbaitbooks, which reimagines classic book titles as the annoying-but-alluring kinds of headlines you can’t resist clicking.

This joke has existed since at least 2014, when the Internet hit peak Upworthy-esque headlines. But clearly someone has started it up again, with authors, publishers, and other websites getting in on the fun.

Not that Harry Potter (props to Waterstones and BuzzFeed on that one) or these other SFF classics need the additional incentive to click—er, open up—but it’s a fun game for those who have already read the books.

[What happened next will restore your faith in humanity]

Thu
Apr 30 2015 2:00pm

Smoking and Heroism: Disney’s Pinocchio

Pinocchio

Buoyed by the success of his first full length animated film, Snow White, Walt Disney decided to plunge ahead with more animated films, despite (justified) concerns about their expense and continued profitability. Far from worrying about tiny issues like budgets—at least at this point—the new movies, he decided, would not merely follow Snow White’s success and innovative filming techniques, but be even more innovative and lavishly detailed. Starting with Pinocchio.

[Heavy smoking and an adorable kitten.]

Tue
Apr 28 2015 1:30pm

Afternoon Roundup: Heeeere’s I-Rex!

Jurassic World Indominus Rex I-Rex first look photo

After skulking through several Jurassic World trailers, the big bad of the new movie finally bares its face. Meet the Indominus Rex. While this genetically-engineered dino resembles the T-Rex, its scaly head and, you know, unquenchable thirst for blood sets it apart. (Hat-tip to Blastr and Empire for this first photo.) Here’s more info on the I-Rex!

Afternoon Roundup misquotes Disney, pulls out the leg warmers, and practices Shakespeare with Brian Cox.

[Read more]

Mon
Apr 27 2015 1:30pm

Afternoon Roundup: Batman Takes Inspiration from the Joker’s New Look

Joker meme Batman tattoos

After seeing the Joker’s supposed new look for Suicide Squad, Bruce Wayne obviously felt like he needed to up his game. We’re just imagining Alfred sighing and pulling on the latex gloves (“Are you absolutely sure you want me to write ’I’m Batman’ over and over on your ribcage, Master Wayne?”). Though we’re surprised he forgot the most obvious recent one—“Do you bleed?”

In actuality, the tatting up of the Dark Knight by Twitter user @DrinkingQuest is just one of many wonderful memes that the Internet dreamed up in reaction to this first look at Jared Leto’s Joker. (Related: “What if other cinematic characters had forehead tattoos?”) According to some insiders and on-set photos, that image was just a promo shot and does not depict the actual Suicide Squad Joker.

Now that that’s cleared up, Afternoon Roundup brings you Hannibal spoilers, Disney’s staggering film slate, and Stephen Hawking using his powers for the well-being of teenage girls everywhere.

[Read more]

Thu
Apr 23 2015 1:00pm

Afternoon Roundup: Jaime Lannister’s House Sigil Should Be a Party Animal

Game of Thrones behind the scenes photos

When he’s not getting his hand chopped off, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau proves that House Lannister knows how to party. During downtime at what would come to be known as the Purple Wedding, the actor had some fun with special musical guest Sigur Rós. Entertainment Weekly has a whole gallery of similarly funny and interesting behind-the-scenes photos, including another great Jaime one where he gets a birthday cupcake while in jail.

Afternoon Roundup is flailing over the new take on The Muppets, pondering the beginning of Spectre, and enjoying a world where Weird Al and Patton Oswalt nerd out together.

[Read more]

Thu
Apr 23 2015 11:00am

Djinnthology Joy

Aladdin Genie

By way of The Book Smugglers, Mahvesh Murad of the kickass Midnight in Karachi podcast and Jurassic London’s Jared Shurin (never forget The Folding Knife reread!) announced yesterday that they’d signed up with Solaris—the purveyors of so very many of the best genre anthologies in recent years that it’s getting a little ridiculous—to curate and co-edit “the first-ever anthology of original fiction inspired by the Djinn.”

It’s, em... ages away. Expect to see it sometime in spring 2017. But hey, that just means we’ve got all the more of time to get excited.

[Read More]

Thu
Apr 23 2015 10:00am

The Disney Read-Watch: Carlo Collodi’s The Adventures of Pinocchio

Pinocchio Carlo Collodi Enrico Mazzanti

Italian author Carlo Collodi had gained a minor name for himself as a satirist and translator of fairy tales when he was asked to write a serial novel for children. It was a rather odd choice: Collodi, bitter and angry over Italian politics—he fought in two different independence wars, but was unhappy with the resulting unified government, a feeling many of his fellow citizens shared—was perhaps not the first person most would have chosen to write an adorable, child-friendly book, especially since many of the fairy tales he had translated were those aimed at an adult audience. But he needed either the money, or the distraction, or both, and sat down to write a quick story about a puppet.

Somewhere along the way—that is, by page two—it turned into a the sort of story that demonstrated just why Collodi was not the sort of person anyone would hire to write an adorable, child-friendly book, but would hire to write the sort of tale where everyone hits each other a lot, suffers a lot, and dies horribly. With the occasional “Oh, right, I need a moral message for the kiddies.”

[If you hate donkeys, then guys, do I have a book for you. Also, mean things done to puppets.]

Wed
Apr 22 2015 8:00am

Morning Roundup: The Code That Launched at Least One Ship!

Boing Boing shared this shot of Margaret Hamilton standing next to her Apollo 11 code! Her handwritten Apollo 11 code. The code that got us to the moon. The code that opened the universe to humanity. We might cry… but we’re too busy being awe-inspired by this woman’s patience. We get frustrated when we forget the little slashy thing in our html and accidentally italicize too many words…

Morning Roundup brings you the parenting styles of Westeros, a definitive list of the wishes that have been made by the hearts of Disney princesses, and a comparison between different versions of the X-Men!

[Plus, a scepter fit for a Trickster God!]

Tue
Apr 21 2015 2:30pm

Get a Load of All the Crazy Gadgets in the New Tomorrowland Trailer

Tomorrowland trailer ray gun robot gadgets

After the most recent trailer for Disney’s Tomorrowland made it clearer why retired/exiled inventor George Clooney and tough kid Britt Robertson are teaming up, we haven’t gotten much more in the way of plot. And that’s good, as it implies that the movie itself (out May 22) will likely still have some plot surprises.

But in the meantime, there are still new trailers. And so, we get to see some of the gadgets and other technology that must have made Clooney’s character so celebrated-slash-dangerous.

[Read more]

Mon
Apr 20 2015 8:00am

Morning Roundup: HND>JFK>DGB

Star Wars airplane

Among the many fabulous premieres at Star Wars Celebration 2015, All Nippon Airways found a way to stand out. Who cares about a new toy when you can fly somewhere in R2-D2? This new Boeing 787 Dreamliner is part of a whole fleet of Star Wars-themed planes designed to bring ANA to a larger audience. We’re assuming that their next one will be a real-live working Millennium Falcon, ’cause we need that to exist.

Morning Roundup has found the freakier side of Disney, and discovers that it’s the best side. Plus we delve into the mind of Ada Lovelace and share some newly-discovered moments from a classic work of sci-fi!

[Plus Vin Diesel.]

Thu
Apr 16 2015 10:00am

The Disney Read-Watch: Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs Disney

By the early 1930s Walt Disney faced a dilemma: his popular cartoon shorts about Mickey Mouse were starting to lose money. His competitors could afford to produce cartoons at a loss as lead-ins to their live action films; Disney, who did not have a movie studio, could not.

But he had another idea: he could produce a full-length film of his own. Only, instead of making a live action film, he could produce a full-length cartoon feature, running, say, for about 88 minutes. Good length. Sure, it might cost as much as $500,000. (Cue gasps.) He would need 300 artists. It had never been done before.

It’s safe to say that very few people thought this was a good idea. And that $500,000 turned out to be a very wrong estimate. It’s also very safe to say that this idea is why we have the entertainment megacorporation of Disney as it exists today.

[The very first Disney princess, and the most heartwarming element of the film: a little tortoise.]

Wed
Apr 15 2015 8:00am

Morning Roundup: He’s Especially Good At Instagramming

Disney selfies Gaston Instagram

Italian artist Simona Bonafini has set Disney characters loose on Instagram, with hilarious results! Aladdin and Jasmine should probably ease up on the PDA, Anna seriously needs to stop ruinng all of Elsa’s pics, and Hercules... well, he had better never run for political office. But our favorite was Gaston, who clearly thrives in the age of the selfie. [via BoingBoing!]

Today’s Morning Roundup will tell you a tale of how Ultron nearly claimed Joss Whedon as his first victim! We’ll listen to Cixin Liu talk about Chinese science fiction! And we’ll climb up a water tower to sound the barbaric yawp of our appreciation for Daredevil!

[And we turn our cranks to Frank!]

Thu
Apr 9 2015 10:00am

Disney Read-Watch Part One: A Grimm Snow White

Snow White Grimm Walter Crane

Welcome to the Disney Read-Watch, in which we’ll be reading the texts that inspired classic Disney films, then watching the films. Today we’re starting with the prose story of Disney’s very first feature-length film: Snow White, by the Brothers Grimm.

You know the story, right? Girl flees evil stepmother for a life of unending housework with seven little men before falling over from an overconsumption of apples and placed in a coffin until finally a prince swings by to rescue her from all this crap.

Or do you?

[In which I proceed to destroy more childhoods. Spoilery for a story published way back in the early 19th century.]

Fri
Apr 3 2015 8:00am

Morning Roundup: The Rock Calls a Meeting with The Mouse

The Rock at Disney

Since all major entertainment news is announced via Instagram or Twitter now, we were excited to see the next step in The Rock’s career. And as if The Rock + Disney wasn’t awesome enough, there will be singing. We are now tingling with anticipation for Moana.

Morning Roundup brings you the next step, er, fin flap, for Aquaman! Plus news on X-Men: Apocalypse and Godzilla, and reading suggestions for the GRRM fans among you!

[Plus, K-9 is one step closer to being real!]

Tue
Mar 31 2015 2:00pm

Afternoon Roundup: Waka Waka Your Way Across Google Maps

Pac Man Google Maps April Fools

Google has rolled out one of their April Fool’s pranks early (which makes us wonder what else is coming tomorrow!), where you can play Pac Man on Google Maps. As Kotaku demonstrates, you’ll have the most fun in cities, where Pac Man can chase Inky, Blinky, Pinky, and Clyde over crisscrossing streets and distract you from work until the next bit of Internet April Fool’s fun goes up.

Afternoon Roundup contemplates wizard-born children’s advantages over Muggleborns; imagines Helen Mirren and Vin Diesel in conversation; and gets down to business to defeat the Huns.

[Read more]

Mon
Mar 30 2015 1:30pm

Afternoon Roundup: Flash Dance... What a Feeling

The Flash dance set photos Grant Gustin Tom Cavanagh

Well, isn’t this delightful: While shooting an episode of The Flash earlier this month, Grant Gustin and Tom Cavanagh (in-costume as The Flash and Reverse Flash) realized they had attracted an audience. What better reaction than to break into an impromptu waltz! Check out the whole gallery at ImageBam (via The Flash Spoilers).

Afternoon Roundup brings you a new Spock documentary; what happens when “the cloud” bursts; and the most badass deer to get caught in your headlights.

[Read more]

Mon
Mar 16 2015 1:30pm

Afternoon Roundup: The Power Within Mjolnir Doth Rage Upon This Nail

Thor iPhone photo Les Photos de Francois

All through the Thor and Avengers movies, Thor has wondered if he is truly worthy to carry Mjolnir to its true purpose... hammering this nail. Or so you would think in Francois Dourlen’s photo series (via PopSugar), in which he juxtaposes famous movie images on his iPhone with mundane settings. The rock-climbing/Spider-Man kiss snap is just as inspired.

Afternoon Roundup gives you the secret to plundering silver screen treasures; a catalogue of Tom Cruise’s deaths; and your key to complete dominion over all things Disney.

[Read more]

Mon
Mar 16 2015 12:00pm

Courage and Kindness: A Familiar, Charming Look at Cinderella

Disney Cinderella movie review

In the current slew of reimagined traditional Disney tales, Kenneth Branagh’s Cinderella is next in line. And you might be asking—what does this tale have to offer us anew?

The answer is: practically nothing. But it is an enchanting film nonetheless.

[You have more kindness in your little finger…]