The Shape of My Name March 4, 2015 The Shape of My Name Nino Cipri How far can you travel to claim yourself? The Hell of It February 25, 2015 The Hell of It Peter Orullian What will he wager? Schrödinger’s Gun February 18, 2015 Schrödinger’s Gun Ray Wood Maybe in some other timeline it would have gone smooth. Acrobatic Duality February 11, 2015 Acrobatic Duality Tamara Vardomskaya The two of her are perfectly synchronized.
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Oh No, She Didn’t: The Strong Female Character, Deconstructed
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Showing posts tagged: holidays click to see more stuff tagged with holidays
Mon
Feb 2 2015 9:00am

Groundhog Day Succeeds by Breaking the Rules of Every Genre

Groundhog Day succeeds as a film because of the way it plays with, subverts, and outright mocks the tropes of each of the genres it flirts with. While some people would call it a time travel movie, or a movie about small town America, or the most spiritual film of all time, or a rom-com, it is by breaking the rules of each of those types of films that it ultimately transcends genre entirely.

[It’s cold out there today. It’s cold out there every day.]

Wed
Dec 24 2014 1:00pm

Tor.com Wishes You a Merry Cthulhumas!

Illustration by Scott Brundage. Merry Christmas! May your holidays be free of overwhelming terror.

A quick note: We’ll be posting at a reduced rate over the next week, but we’ll still be offering up great material. Some of your favorite series may be on break until the new year, but we hope you’ll enjoy our encore posts of some of our favorite essays from throughout the year!

Wed
Dec 24 2014 11:00am

Toys Are People, Too

Winnie-the-Pooh, A.A. Milne, e.h. shepard

It’s that time of year when lots of people take their families and loved ones to the ballet and celebrate that relevatory Tchaikovsky work (that he actually didn’t think was all that great), The Nutcracker. Which got me thinking about toys, and how toys are often made into people, or at least people-like beings with thoughts and feelings of their own. And how heartbreaking that can often be.

So I thought I’d count down some of the best. The ones that stayed with us and played with us and made certain that, although we packed them up tight in cardboard boxes, we would never truly leave them behind.

[“He’ll never give up on you… ever.”]

Wed
Dec 24 2014 10:00am

All I Want For Christmas is an Evil Snowman: Christmas Tales of Terror

Christmas Tales of Terror Christ PriestleyBy now, it’s safe to say that some of you might be harboring certain, shall we say, thoughts about the holiday season, and especially Christmas. Irritated thoughts. Cynical thoughts. Angry thoughts. Even—dare I say it—horrified thoughts.

If so, you might be in the mood for Chris Priestley’s Christmas Tales of Terror, where all kinds of terrible, nasty, awful things happen to adorable and not so adorable children on Christmas.

Also, ghosts.

[And, naturally, an evil snowman powered by BLOOD because why not? Spoilers.]

Wed
Dec 24 2014 8:00am

Morning Roundup: All Groot Needs is a Little Love

Peanuts as Guardians of the Galaxy

Artist Lar deSouza created this sweet mashup of Guardians of the Galaxy and Peanuts, and naturally Groot becomes the tree that just needs a little love. A Merry Happy Christmas to those who celebrate! To everyone else, we hope you have a wonderful break to get to the reading and binge-watching you've been promising yourself all year.

Morning Roundup drains another glass of eggnog, and brings you links! We have holiday reading suggestions, a literary pastiche from the 1920s, and reminiscences from Mel Brooks! Plus Tim Burton talks about not being George Lucas, and Björk takes us all to Bethlehem.

[And tips for those of you planning to hunt the elusive Santa!]

Tue
Dec 23 2014 10:00am

God Bless Pastiche! The 7 Best Non-Traditional Christmas Carols of Film and TV

If I had a pet reindeer, or any kind of creature that resembled a fawn or Bambi-style animal, I’d name it Dickens. Come on. How adorable would it be to have a little pet deer named Dickens? Here Dickens! Come have a sugar cube! That’s a good little Dickens. What’s your favorite story? What’s that you say, “A Christmas Carol?” Well, I don’t feel like reading to you, because you’re a little deer, so let’s watch a movie or a TV special instead. Whatyda say?

And then, as a gift to Dickens, I would have to compile a list of movie and TV adaptations of Charles Dickens’s awesome book—A Christmas Carol—and I’d want those adaptations to be somehow a little bit different from their source material, because deers like stuff that’s new.

What are the best non-traditional versions of A Christmas Carol? These.

[Read more]

Tue
Dec 23 2014 8:00am

Morning Roundup: Gracepoint Throws Out Doctor Who Easter Eggs for David Tennant Fans

David Tennant Gracepoint Easter egg Doctor Who

The folks at Gracepoint are rewarding David Tennant for watching the Tenth Doctor growl his way through their remake of Broadchurch. The show’s creator Chris Chibnall—who has also written for Doctor Who—tweeted these great props from the desk of Tennant’s protagonist Detective Carver. The TARDIS phone must get great reception.

Morning Roundup radically reimagines an Octavia E. Butler classic, makes holiday wreaths from old books, cheers over the Empire Strikes Back live read’s special guest, and is super jealous of Bill Gates’ reddit Secret Santa gift recipient.

[Read more]

Mon
Dec 22 2014 12:00pm

Have Yourself a Dark and Terrifying Christmas

Dark Santa

Are you tired of It’s a Wonderful Life? Has the Elf plummeted from the Shelf? I’ve gathered some darker Christmas fare—from Krampus tales to explorations of addiction, from Hideous Laughing Reindeer to machine guns—so allow me to fill your stocking with some twisted holiday classics!

[Ho-Ho-Ho.]

Mon
Dec 22 2014 9:00am

I Hear Santa’s Sleigh: On The Polar Express and What It Means to Believe

The Polar Express

It’s sappy holiday story time! Are you ready? I’m ready….

So, Christmas at my house has always been a decidedly secular affair. In that way, I’m no different from a good portion of North America. My parents and I always loved decorating our tree, drinking cocoa, putting out the cookies and such, but the only time we ever arrived at a Christmas mass it was to hear my piano teacher play the service. I went to see one live nativity display as a teen because a friend’s cousin was playing one of the Wise Men. The only Jesus Christ I was listening to was probably the Superstar kind.

Santa Claus, however, was another matter entirely.

[A single bell…]

Wed
Dec 17 2014 10:00am

‘Twas the Dark Knight Before Christmas: Batman Returns

Batman Returns Christmas

This year marked the 75th anniversary of Batman, so it seems only fitting to close out the year with Tim Burton’s classic Christmas movie, Batman Returns.

When it was released back in the summer of 1992, the movie was greeted as an oddball failure. Sure, it made enough money to warrant another sequel, but it suffered a sharp drop off at the box office after a big opening weekend and it faced a backlash from audiences who found it too dark, too sexual, and too weird. One can hardly blame the good people of ’92, though. Batman Returns is indeed one the strangest blockbusters ever made.

[It’s also one of the most interesting.]

Tue
Dec 16 2014 12:00pm

How Do We Categorize The Nightmare Before Christmas?

Nightmare Before Christmas

Is The Nightmare Before Christmas a Halloween movie, or a Christmas movie? In terms of worldbuilding, it’s obviously both—it’s about a bunch of Halloween-town residents taking over Christmas from Santa Claus.

But worldbuilding elements don’t suffice as genre classifiers, or else black comedies wouldn’t exist. Creators deliberately apply worldbuilding elements from one genre to another for pure frission’s sake. Consider Kiss Kiss Bang Bang (speaking of Christmas movies), which takes a New York noir character, a down-on-his-luck con, and drops him into an LA noir scenario of movie glitz and private eyes; or Rian Johnson’s amazing Brick, a noir story engine driving high school characters. Fantasy literature is rife with this sort of behavior—consider Steven Brust’s use of crime drama story in the Vlad Taltos books, or for that matter the tug of war between detective fiction and fantasy that propels considerable swaths of urban fantasy. If we classify stories solely by the worldbuilding elements they contain, we’re engaging in the same fallacy as the Certain Kind of Book Review that blithely dismisses all science fiction as “those books with rockets.”

[Read More]

Thu
Dec 4 2014 12:40pm

Jon Hamm is a Sinister Cyrano de Bergerac in the Black Mirror Christmas Special Trailer

Black Mirror White Christmas special trailer Jon Hamm Rafe Spall Oona Chaplin

Doctor Who vs. Santa isn't the only geeky Christmas special we're looking forward to this year. Charlie Brooker's eerily prescient dystopian series Black Mirror—which just became available on Netflix—returns for the holidays, with bonus creepy Jon Hamm!

[Watch the trailer for Black Mirror: White Christmas]

Wed
Nov 26 2014 5:05pm

Happy Thanksgiving from Tor.com!

Happy Thanksgiving from Tor.com!

The Tor.com staff is about to pile into Stubby and take off for the Planet of Food and Not Being On The Internet For Once, but we’ll be back to normal on Friday. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Thu
Jul 3 2014 4:00pm

Happy Fourth of July from Tor.com!

Your friends at Tor.com are taking a small break to celebrate Independence Day here in the U.S., (as are our regular features) and in what has become a tradition for us, we like giving our readers a dose of Muppet patriotism courtesy of Sam the Eagle: keeping the world safe from weirdos since 1976.

Enjoy and have a great 4th of July!

Mon
Dec 23 2013 4:00pm

Tor.com Wishes You a Merry Cthulhumas!

Illustration by Scott Brundage. Merry Christmas! May your holidays be free of overwhelming terror.

A quick note: We’ll be posting at a reduced rate over the next week, but we’ll still be offering up great original material. Fans of Doctor Who and Sherlock in particular should keep an eye on us!

Mon
Dec 23 2013 9:00am

Christopher Lee Reads “The Nightmare Before Christmas”

The Nightmare Before Christmas

Sometimes we need a little scare in our Christmas. Enjoy this terrifying reading from the terrifying Christopher Lee of the terrifying poem “The Nightmare Before Christmas,” from the terrifyingly charming movie The Nightmare Before Christmas.

Pleasant dreams. Santa’s on his way.

[We hope.]

Sun
Dec 22 2013 10:00am

Supreme Holiday Weirdness: Rankin, Bass, and L. Frank Baum Ask, Should We Just Let Santa Die Already?

Supreme Holiday Weirdness: Rankin, Bass, and L. Frank Baum ask, Should We Just Let Santa Die Already?

Hearken unto me, little children. I grew up during the 1980s, when something called the Video Cassette Recorder was still the red hot, razor sharp, cutting-edge of technology. While it seems hard to believe nowadays, the bulky black rectangle, perched like a crude, mass-market facsimile of the Monolith from 2001 glowered ominously from the heights of our family entertainment center and was worshiped as a household god, which might be why my brother kept trying to feed it his Cheerios all the time (that did not end well). For me, the VCR was just a magical purveyor of Fraggle Rock and Cyndi Lauper videos; for my father, I now realize, it became a means of ruthlessly hunting down and capturing every single televised holiday special aired in the tri-state area between the late 70s and the mid-90s.

The amazing thing is that most of these tapes still survive to this day, having somehow escaped both the trauma of having soggy cereal dumped into the VCR and my manic Mystery Science Theater taping-sprees of yore (Hey! Joel said to keep circulating the tapes—if that meant recording a Gamera movie over some lesser sibling’s first baby steps, so be it. I have no regrets). The upshot of all this is that my siblings and I have had access to A LOT of really strange, Christmas-themed entertainment, and yet every year we return to one of our collective favorites: the 1985 Rankin/Bass adaptation of L. Frank Baum’s The Life & Adventures of Santa Claus, also known as The World’s Most Bizarre Animated Christmas Special...EVER.

[Below the fold: L. Frank Baum is crazy. So are puppets. Also? Dragons hate Santa.]

Sat
Dec 21 2013 9:00am

Saturday Morning Cartoons: The Christmas Edition

R. O. Blechman CBS spot: Christmas with all the charm you would expect from Mr. Blechman. (1:03 minutes)

The Legend of the Turning Stone: A creepy Christmas tale. (6:38 minutes)

Frosty the Snowman: Oddly manic and sweet. From UPA, as so many good animated shorts are. (2:41 minutes)

[Watch Them All!]

Fri
Dec 20 2013 5:00pm

The Krampus is Coming to Town

Krampus the Yule Lord  Brom

He sees you when you’re sleeping. The Krampus that is. You all know who the Krampus is, right? That diabolical figure covered in black fur, with horns like a goat, cloven hooves and a long red tongue? You better watch out. The Krampus is the legendary Christmas counterpart to Saint Nicholas, who punishes the naughty children while Nick gives the good ones gifts. Sure, he didn’t really make the trip across the pond, but over in Europe he was and still is a popular part of the holiday season. You better not cry, you better not pout. The spooky figure dragging rusty chains who snatches up bad children, swatting the naughty with birch switches, stuffing the worst in his sack to carry off.

[Read more]

Fri
Dec 20 2013 10:30am

God Bless Pastiche! The 7 Best Non-Traditional Christmas Carols of Film and TV

If I had a pet reindeer, or any kind of creature that resembled a fawn or Bambi-style animal, I’d name it Dickens. Come on. How adorable would it be to have a little pet deer named Dickens? Here Dickens! Come have a sugar cube! That’s a good little Dickens. What’s your favorite story? What’s that you say, “A Christmas Carol?” Well, I don’t feel like reading to you, because you’re a little deer, so let’s watch a movie or a TV special instead. Whatyda say?

And then, as a gift to Dickens, I would have to compile a list of movie and TV adaptations of Charles Dickens’s awesome book—A Christmas Carol—and I’d want those adaptations to be somehow a little bit different from their source material, because deers like stuff that’s new.

What are the best non-traditional versions of A Christmas Carol? These.

[Read more]