Sleep Walking Now and Then July 9, 2014 Sleep Walking Now and Then Richard Bowes A tragedy in three acts. The Devil in the Details July 2, 2014 The Devil in the Details Debra Doyle and James D. Macdonald A Peter Crossman adventure. Little Knife June 26, 2014 Little Knife Leigh Bardugo A Ravkan folk tale. The Color of Paradox June 25, 2014 The Color of Paradox A.M. Dellamonica Ruin, spoil, or if necessary kill.
From The Blog
July 3, 2014
Gaming Roundup: Elite: Dangerous Gives You A Universe
Pritpaul Bains and Theresa DeLucci
July 3, 2014
Flintlocks and Freedom: Check Out these Revolutionary War Fantasies!
Leah Schnelbach
June 30, 2014
The YA Roundup: With News from the Capitol!
Kat Kennedy and Steph Sinclair
June 30, 2014
Queering SFF: Wrapping Up Pride Month Extravaganza (Redux)
Brit Mandelo
June 30, 2014
Change is in the Air on The Legend of Korra!
Mordicai Knode
Showing posts by: Chris Lough click to see Chris Lough's profile
Thu
Jul 10 2014 7:00am

Nikola Tesla Was a Great Scientist, But a Greater Nerd

Nikola Tesla by David A. JohnsonToday marks the 158th birthday of Nikola Tesla, a man so bizarre and scientifically curious that it’s easy to imagine him figuring out a method to cheat death and live to see this year, if only Thomas Edison or his suspected OCD weren’t interfering....

Tesla brought true advancements to the fields of electrical engineering, mechanical engineering, and talking about death ray urban legends while tipsy at parties. And although his scientific achievements are vital to the way we live today, I don’t think it’s a stretch to say that what we as fans of science fiction truly laud him for is for being a wildly imaginative outsider.

[And a snappy dresser]

Wed
Jul 9 2014 3:45pm

Isaac Asimov’s Predictions for the Future Respond to Tyra Banks’ Predictions for the Future

In a recent editorial in the Wall Street Journal Tyra Banks made 10 predictions about what the future will hold.

Granted, she was speaking in regards to how we will perceive beauty and how it will be achieved in The Future A.D. but I couldn’t help but be reminded of another famous prognosticator and his vision of the year 2014 as relayed from the 1964 World’s Fair. Both Banks and Asimov’s lists stem from a healthy diet of science fiction, knowingly or not, and extrapolate current technologies and societal norms while adding a dash of imagination and a peppering of insanity. Don’t believe me? Behold the comparison.

[Read more]

Fri
Jun 13 2014 12:10pm

What Are the Odds This is the Justice League Movie Line-Up?

JL8 by Yale Stewart

Hollywood tipster Nikki Finke has posted a list of the Justice League slate of movies that Warner Bros. is expected to announce at this year’s San Diego Comic Con. (Which is only in a month? Geez.) The list of films is extensive and seems to introduce an Avengers-style shared movie universe, but is it accurate?

[Justice League slate of films]

Wed
May 28 2014 4:12pm

Removing Roadblocks to Community: Tom Doherty on DRM at Book Expo of America

Tom Doherty Book Expo America 2014

“Ultimately it comes down to the desire to be where our customers are, to play fair with them in the assumption that they’ll play fair with us. And you know something? It’s worked.”

Tor Books president and publisher Tom Doherty had a lot to say during his speech at the International Digital Publishing Forum at this year’s 2014 Book Expo of America, but the main item on the agenda was Tor/Forge Books’ decision to strip Digital Rights Management software from the ebook versions of their titles and whether, two years later, that decision has had any negative impact.

In the case of Tor Books it appears that it hasn’t, but as Doherty pointed out in today’s speech, the implications of DRM go beyond the financial impact to publishers, authors, and readers. Insidiously, it chips away at the very connectivity that the entire publishing community has always relied upon.

[More information and one big announcement]

Wed
May 14 2014 3:20pm

Oh Brave New World, That Has Such Monsters In It. Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: “The Beginning of the End”

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. season finale: The Beginning of the End

This is the story of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., the TV show that remembered it is a comic book.

The first season finale “The Beginning of the End” was a boppy little adventure filled with near-future technologies, alien powers, and small heartfelt admissions of love and justice. In many ways it hearkened back to the very first “Pilot” episode of the show, and it left us with the same sunny mission statement: there is a brave new world emerging all around us and it needs to be protected from those who would seek to plunder it.

[Read more]

Wed
May 7 2014 3:00pm

Don’t Shoot the Dog. Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: “Ragtag”

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. season one, episode 21: Ragtag

We are promised The Back Story of Ward in this week’s episode of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and “Ragtag” gets right to it, kicking off the episode by showing us a pouty Teen Ward in prison scrubs. He has every reason to be pouty, we learn. It’s 1997 and Ward has just learned that the Smashing Pumpkins’ follow-up to Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness will be an electronica album*. On top of that, he’s in juvenile detention for arson and attempted murder and his parents are threatening to get him tried as an adult.

*I had to do a relatively ludicrous amount of research for that joke. I’m not proud of that, but I’m not not proud.

[Read more]

Wed
Apr 30 2014 2:40pm

A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Grievance. Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: “Nothing Personal”

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. season 1, episode 20: Nothing Personal

This week’s episode of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., “Nothing Personal,” or as I like to call it “Let’s See How Skye Gets Out Of This One,” is a middle of the road affair, but a necessary one all the same. With the panic of Hydra beginning to fade, the series was bound to need a pause for breath before plunging into the season finale.

In a roundabout way, “Nothing Personal” makes a point of having our agents earn that pause, both emotionally and physically. As opposed to the cliffhangers of the last few episodes, this episode peters out with the agents hanging out glumly by the pool in a crappy L.A. motel. It’s a credit to the show that, as a viewer, you just want to cuddle up with them.

[Read more]

Wed
Apr 23 2014 3:00pm

Too Much Love Will Kill You: Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., “The Only Light in the Darkness”

Agents of SHIELD season 1, episode 19: The Only Light in the Darkness

As supervillain powers go, “turning off the lights without having to get out of bed” is dubious. You can jazz it up like this week’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. episode did and claim that what Blackout is really doing is absorbing energy, but that still means your villain’s greatest weakness is A Bunch of Flashlights. Thanks for the takedown, trick-or-treating group of kids! We’ll call you next time he escapes.

If this was earlier on in the season, I feel like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. would have tried to hang its entire episode on this monster chase in an attempt to dazzle the viewer with the concept alone. It’s a sign of the continued growth of the show that “The Only Light in the Darkness” now pushes that to the margins in favor of spending its time with our non-super-powered—but more interesting by the week!—team of agents.

[Read more]

Wed
Apr 16 2014 3:00pm

It’s Not Given, But Discovered. Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: “Providence”

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., season 1, episode 18: Providence

“Providence,” this week’s episode of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., is what it looks like to see a new show commit to itself. No more jumping-on point or one-off episodes for viewers this season. The rollercoaster is no longer boarding, you’re either familiar with the show or not.

This isn’t a bad thing for any show to do, and the embrace of serialization seems to be making Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. downright playful. (This might also be because the show doesn’t have to wait for Captain America: The Winter Soldier anymore. Thom Dunn expertly points out the crumminess about that.) And although we seem destined to bonk around in the Marvel Universe toy box until the end of the season, “Providence” provides hints that we may be seeing more of a transformation than a serialization.

(Spoilers ahead for Captain America: The Winter Soldier.)

[Read more]

Thu
Apr 10 2014 11:45am

I Just Lost Hours Reading This Geological History of Westeros

Game of Thrones geological history of Westeros

The Stanford geologists at Generation Anthropocene are my new favorite people. They recently assembled a presentation that extrapolates from clues in the books how the continent of Westeros in A Song of Ice and Fire / Game of Thrones came to be formed, from the salt flats of Dorne to the granite of Winterfell, and it is an exceptionally clever work that breathes new color into George R. R. Martin’s world.

They also nail down precisely how big the planet is—an attempt I made myself last year with less precise methods—figure out where the tectonic plates are, find missing volcanoes, and discover a period in the planet’s history where winter thoroughly won the fight.

Check out the full thing here. Don't fret over not knowing anything about geology. The writing in the presentation presents everything very clearly and concisely, allowing anyone to follow the progression of Westeros from southern hemispheric lump to its jagged current-day self. Here’s hoping they publish an update that folds Essos and the Known World into the mix!

Wed
Apr 9 2014 3:35pm

A Twist Saved is a Twist Earned. Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: “Turn, Turn, Turn”

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. season 1 episode 17 recap: Turn, Turn, Turn

Spoiler warning: This episode is a direct response to the events of Captain America: The Winter Soldier. There will be immediate spoilers for the movie. Go see the movie it’s really good.

BOOM! I feel like so many of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.’s weaknesses were directly addressed in last night’s episode. There were twists! And turns! Turns! Turns! And nary a crappy Deathlok costume in sight.

Which means I get to talk about all the things I liked, because the episode was pretty much non-stop Things To Like.

[In which the Clairvoyant turns out to be pretty good at seeing things coming]

Tue
Apr 8 2014 4:30pm

I Seriously Doubt Kate Mulgrew Believes the Sun Revolves Around the Earth

Kate Mulgrew Captain Janeway Star Trek

Hey, guess what? Kate Mulgrew took a voice-over gig that has turned out to be narration for a documentary made by a Holocaust-denier that is titled The Principle, which claims that the sun revolves around the Earth. So now we know, for sure, that the Captain Kathryn Janeway that we (sort of) grew up with believes something that was disproved hundreds of years ago.

[Or, more likely, she doesn’t]

Fri
Apr 4 2014 2:15pm

The Age of Heroes is Here. Captain America: The Winter Soldier

Captain America: Winter Soldier Bucky

Note: This review is spoiler-free, with a separate section below for spoilers. There will be a warning before the spoilers begin. The comments will also contain spoilers.

If you’ve read any other reviews of Captain America: The Winter Soldier then you’ve essentially been told everything you need to know. 1.) It’s a must-see if you’re invested in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. 2.) Even if you’re not, it’s still a lot of fun. Did you see Iron Man 3 or Thor: The Dark World? Whatever reaction you had to those movies is what you’ll have to Winter Soldier.

[Read more]

Wed
Apr 2 2014 3:20pm

One Hand Washes the Other. Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: “The End of the Beginning"

Agents of SHIELD season 1, episode 16: The Beginning of the End recap

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. show runners Jed Whedon and Maurissa Tancharoen recently gave an interview to The Hollywood Reporter that leads off with a warning that people watching the show shouldn’t expect a Marvel movie every week. The warning seems a bit misguided. We’re not disappointed in the lack of superpowered characters or derring do—Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. has provided that in abundance, really—it’s more that the show hasn’t demonstrated that it has a grip on how to fully explore the characters and world that it has inherited.

This week’s episode “The End of the Beginning” is a solid response to that. It’s not a Marvel movie (although one character does leave to go be in a Marvel movie) but the episode utilizes the world that the show has hurriedly built this season in nicely varied and exciting ways. The show is finally beginning to cohere.

[Read more]

Mon
Mar 24 2014 4:00pm

That Galaxy is Shooting Lasers. The Science of Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey Episode 3: “When Knowledge Conquered Fear”

Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey episode 3 science Isaac Newton

Want to know more about the Really Cool Things behind the science and history revealed in this week’s episode of Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey? This must be the place!

This week we’ll dig deeper into episode 3, “When Knowledge Conquered Fear” and look at the constellations of Middle-earth, galaxies that SHOOT LASERS, how awesome-not-awesome Isaac Newton was, and the galactic cataclysm pinwheeling towards us right now.

[Read more]

Mon
Mar 24 2014 12:00pm

Who Actually Deserves to Win the Game of Thrones...After Season 3?

Game of Thrones iron throne who deserves to win

When you play the game of thrones, so goes the saying, you win or you die. Mostly you die.

While we root for the characters that we want to see take the throne, the show and the books have gone to great lengths to show us the kind of ruler each candidate might be, should they emerge triumphant. We might want Daenerys to take the crown, but would she actually make a good ruler of Westeros?

[Who actually deserves to win the game of thrones?]

Mon
Mar 24 2014 10:00am

This is Indeed a Disturbing Universe. Muppets Most Wanted

Muppets Most Wanted movie review

Straight away I can tell you that I enjoyed Muppets Most Wanted far more than 2011’s revival The Muppets, but the reasons for that comprise a movie that is probably not what High Disney, Lord of All may have preferred film director James Bobin and writer Nicholas Stoller present to an audience of children.

Though as a member of the other portion of the audience being courted—nostalgists, basically—I found the film’s antagonistic creepiness and lack of sentiment pretty amazing.

[“You can quit being a Muppet?”]

Wed
Mar 19 2014 11:00am

SUPER CORN! The Science of Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey Episode 2: “Some of the Things That Molecules Do”

Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey episode 2: Some of the Things That Molecules Do

As a mostly educational program Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey is meant to inspire a sense of wonder in its viewers, regardless of their background, along with a desire to explore the worlds around them in the same curious manner as host Neil deGrasse Tyson’s Ship of the Imagination.

Towards that end, instead of simply recapping and reviewing each episode, I’ll be assembling a list of Really Cool Things behind the science. Want to learn more about what you saw in the program? Come this way!

This week we’ll dig deeper into episode 2, “Some of the Things That Molecules Do” and meet some adorable foxes, raise an eyebrow at What We’ve Done To Corn, and see a map of Titan that could double as an epic fantasy world.

[Read more]

Wed
Mar 19 2014 8:45am

Marvel Studios Gives Us a First Look at Avengers: Age of Ultron

Avengers: Age of Ultron concept art Scarlet With Elizabeth Olsen

In place of last night’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., ABC aired Marvel Studios: Assembling a Universe, a hour-long informercial laying out for the casual viewer the next steps for the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Along with the Ant-Man test footage leaked last year, the special gave us a quick look at Guardians of the Galaxy and some exciting concept art for 2015’s Avengers: Age of Ultron, including our first look at Quicksilver, Scarlet Witch, and...well, you’ll see!

[Avengers: Age of Ultron sneak peek. Spoilers ahead.]

Mon
Mar 17 2014 12:00pm

Marvel’s Next Cinematic Experiment is Hiding in the Guardians of the Galaxy Trailer

Guardians of the Galaxy Infinity Gauntlet

The first trailer for Guardians of the Galaxy, the dark horse of the Avengers Cinematic Universe is so much fun! (OOGA CHAKA OOGA OOGA) For those unfamiliar with the Guardians of the Galaxy comic book—and that’s most of us as the comics were never popular enough to stave off cancellation—the movie represents a quirky new direction for the Avengers universe, one only hinted at through the delightfully batty Thor films.

But for those who are familiar with Marvel’s cosmos line of books in the 1980s, 90s, and 2000s, the Guardians of the Galaxy trailer is hiding a lot of clues about a larger struggle that will consume the Marvel movies after Avengers: Age of Ultron.

Read on for a layman’s guide to Guardians of the Galaxy. (Warning! Spoilers ahead for pretty much every Marvel movie that has come out, plus some for Guardians of the Galaxy and one for Avengers: Age of Ultron.)

[What’s hiding in the Guardians of the Galaxy trailer]