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. The Language of Knives February 4, 2015 The Language of Knives Haralambi Markov They share the rites of death, and grief.
From The Blog
February 26, 2015
Introducing the Star Trek The Original Series Rewatch
Keith DeCandido
February 23, 2015
Oh No, She Didn’t: The Strong Female Character, Deconstructed
Ilana C. Myer
February 20, 2015
Evil Eighties: The Paperback Horrors of Lisa Tuttle
Grady Hendrix
February 19, 2015
The Pinocchio Factor
Jen Williams
February 17, 2015
The Mummy was the Indiana Jones Successor that We Deserved
Emily Asher-Perrin
Showing posts by: Leah Schnelbach click to see Leah Schnelbach's profile
Tue
Feb 24 2015 2:00pm

Time Flies, and So Do Heads! Sleepy Hollow: “Tempus Fugit”

Sleepy Hollow Tempus Fugit

So. There was a scene, in Season One, that made me love this show. It was a scene in “The Sin Eater” (Remember? When we met Henry?) and in it Ichabod agreed to poison himself for the greater good, and tried to get Abbie to leave him, so she’d be spared watching him die. But she refused to let him die alone, and held his hand, with every intention of staying there to the end. This was a great moment for many reasons: the show opened itself up in a way to see the depth of love and trust between these two characters, and allowed you to imagine an entire world around them in the process.

Last night’s episode, “Tempus Fugit,” gave us another moment like that.

[The show is finally good again!]

Fri
Feb 20 2015 7:00am

Terror on a Deadline: Remembering Richard Matheson

Richard MathesonIn writing some of the On This Day features for Tor.com, I’ve been privileged to learn more about some of the greatest writers in the SFF canon. One thing that has continually impressed me is the way these people treated writing as a job. They didn’t wring their hands over their genre’s marginalization, or complain about writers block—they just told stories. Sometimes the stories hit, sometimes they didn’t, but these writers knew there’d always be another one to tell, and in the meantime the rent was due and the kids needed to be fed. Richard Matheson, whose birthday we celebrate today, is an excellent example of this old school work ethic.

[Cue evil Zuni doll cackling]

Tue
Feb 17 2015 2:00pm

Where We’re Going, We Won’t Need Roads. Sleepy Hollow: “Awakening”

Sleepy Hollow "Awakenings"

Sleepy Hollow only has one episode left in this season, Sleepyheads! And after last night’s “Awakenings,” I am desperately hoping for a Season 3. I guess if you’re going o do something to reinvigorate your show, the penultimate episode is a good place to do it, but I’m not sure how they can wrap that final twist up in one episode.

[LEFTENANT!!!!]

Mon
Feb 16 2015 11:00am

Spoons, Hammers, and Mighty Pogo Sticks! Favorite Superhero Parodies

I’ve spent a lot of time over the last few years studying heroes, and what our cultural heroes say about society. Much is made of gritty vs. fun, Man of Steel vs. Guardians of the Galaxy. But one thing that is often overlooked is the importance of parody superheroes to this discussion. I think that that parodies serve just as much as a dismantling of the superhero archetype as anything Frank Miller wrote. Not to belabor this too much, but clearly the people behind these parodies were commenting on the pervasive hero-worship of characters like Supes and Cap, and often jabbing the broodiness of Batman and Punisher. There is also a very real message in many of these books: normal people can be heroes, too.

So here’s a by-no-means exhaustive list of some superhero parodies—be sure to join the discussion in the comments!

[SPOOOOOON!]

Thu
Feb 12 2015 10:30am

SFF Sexier Than Fifty Shades of Grey

SFF sexier than Fifty Shades of Grey Sex Criminals cover

Fifty Shades of Grey opens this weekend, with many audiences worried that the movie will repeat the mistakes of the book in depicting an unrealistic, unhealthy BDSM relationship. But it doesn’t have to be this way—after all, sci-fi and fantasy authors have written believable power exchanges and sexual agency into their books and comics for decades. Instead of headdesking over Christian and Ana once again, pick up these books by Samuel R. Delany, Octavia E. Butler, Matt Fraction, and more.

[Read more]

Tue
Feb 10 2015 12:15pm

Let’s Rewrite the Declaration of Independence! Sleepy Hollow: “What Lies Beneath”

Sleepy Hollow What Lies Beneath

So much happened in this one! We met yet another of Ichabod’s beloveds, learned more about his past, and had an all-too-short glimpse into Frank Irving’s soul, plus we got a wonderful cold open, a slightly convoluted moral dilemma, and maybe best of all, met a truly intriguing new character!

Guys! There are only two more episodes after this! I don’t know how to feel!

[Why does this show turn me into Gene Belcher?]

Mon
Feb 9 2015 12:00pm

Jupiter Ascending is a High-Concept Sci-Fi Explosion (And This is a Good Thing!)

Jupiter Ascending

Have you ever asked a five-year-old to tell you a story? Because if you see Jupiter Ascending, and I truly hope that you do, you are essentially asking a super-creative five-year-old to tell you a story. What if a werewolf who’s also an angel and, like, a space warrior had to fight Lord Voldemort and Dorian Gray for the love of Cinderella? Well, add in some fabulous eyeliner and a suspicious amount of crystal, and you’ve got Jupiter Ascending.

This movie is for sci-fi fans who enjoy their class critique and rickety world building to be well-cushioned in loud, fun, explody action sequences. Did you like Pacific Rim? You’ll probably like this movie. Did you feel that The Fifth Element was, at times, almost too restrained? You’ll definitely like this movie. Do you think Karl Marx had some swell ideas? You’ll like this movie. Do you want to see a big Hollywood movie that’s all about the evils of anti-aging schemes? You’ll looooove this movie.

[LOVE IT.]

Wed
Feb 4 2015 11:30am

Why Do Reboots Cause Such Mass Hysteria?

Ghostbusters Reboot Panic

A few weeks ago I was showing a friend of mine Kevin Feige’s Marvel Phase 3 announcement, and we got to talking about identification, privilege, and how changes to characters affect fans. His specific point was that as a kid he always identified with She-Ra more than He-Man, so he assumed growing up that girls also identified with male characters I had always provided a helpful example for him, since, as a kid stuck in a town I didn’t much like, craving adventure and excitement, I identified wholly with Luke. Leia, the beautiful, self-assured royal diplomat, was not someone I felt in tune with, despite our similarities in name and gender.

So he was a bit taken aback at my excitement for the upcoming Black Panther and Captain Marvel films. He certainly isn’t against them, but he was surprised when I talked about how important it was that superhero movies, and SFF in general, was finally becoming more diverse. And the more we talked, the more I realized that I always identified most with characters like Indiana Jones, Peter Venkman, Raphael (the turtle, not the painter), Al Calavicci, Arthur Dent... I spent most of my childhood thinking my way into perspectives that were all male, and usually white. Of course, I’ve thought about this before, but the conversation put it back in the front of my brain. And then Paul Feig announced his Ghostbusters reboot cast.

[But...busting used to make me so happy.]

Tue
Feb 3 2015 12:30pm

Plot Twist Theater! Sleepy Hollow: “Spellcaster”

Sleepy Hollow "Spellcaster"

Well, this one was a cavalcade of twists and turnarounds! But do they add up to anything? After my optimism of the last few weeks, gentle Sleepyheads, I’m just not sure. I think if these character shifts had been set up a half a season ago, and Hawley had at best been a cameo role, and we’d gotten at least one more Abbie and Jenny episode, I’d feel more confident than I do.

On the other hand—the twists we get work for me, and we finally get a few more fun Crane moments. And once again, Sleepy Hollow proves itself the true successor to “The X-Files Cold Open.”

[The Truth is Out There]

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.]

Tue
Jan 27 2015 2:00pm

Don’t Stop Believin’! Sleepy Hollow: “Kali Yuga”

Sleepy Hollow Kali Yuga

Oh what is this emotion? Could this be happiness? Or relief? I think it’s relief! Gentle reader, I think Sleepy Hollow might be back! It was pretty good! There was wit, and chemistry, and the Hawley subplot actually worked as part of a larger arc, and it was like the show that I used to love had returned to me! Which was also commented upon multiple times by the episode itself!

[More Sleepy Hollow comeback joy!]

Tue
Jan 20 2015 2:00pm

We Paint A Happy Little Serial Killer in Sleepy Hollow: “Pittura Infamante”

Sleepy Hollow Pittura Infamante

So the Sleepy Hollow team is talking about the fact that Season 2 has not been as good. Apparently some execs feel that it became too serialized, but I would argue that they added too many side characters, when the central relationships were squandered. People started saying “Ichabbie” for a reason. They practically kicked Captain Irving, a great, a compelling twist on the cliché of the Angry Black Police Chief, most of the way off the show. Finally, and most problematic, they ignored the mystery of the Mills sisters and their mother (the thing that produced the most compelling hour of the season, “Mama”) to focus on the Crane’s marital troubles, with an extra dose of Headless angst.

I’m not sure that last night’s Katrina-centric episode is the right move, but, it mostly worked as a tense, Monster-of-the-Week entry, and we did get some great Mills sister banter.

[Plus more Irving, and no Hawley!]

Tue
Jan 13 2015 10:00am

Samuel Delany Pukes on a Baby: Authors Can Be Art, Too!

Saga

There have been many storied cameos in comics history: KISS, Barack Obama, Stephen Colbert, and the entire 1977 cast of Saturday Night Live. There are also plenty of instances of comic writers appearing in their own books, and a giant fabulous example of fictional characters adventuring together.

But what about comics that feature other authors? I spent some time recently looking for cameos by writers homaged in comic books and found a vampire Neil Gaiman, an alien Samuel Delany, and the mighty she-god Isaac Asimov?!? Take a look.

[He did write a sestina about vampires...]

Tue
Jan 6 2015 1:00pm

Better to Reign in Sleepy Hollow Than Serve in Heaven. Sleepy Hollow: “Paradise Lost”

Sleepy Hollow Paradise Lost

So where were we? Abbie, Ichabod, and Katrina are tied to trees. Henry just knifed Moloch. Abraham is chained up in the warded room, and Hawley is guarding him. Oh yeah and Captain Irving is DEAD, because apparently life sucks now. (I’m holding out hope that he comes back in another form, however. You don’t just waste the walking embodiment of charm that is Orlando Jones.) So obviously we have questions. Is Henry going to free our Witnesses and Witch? Is Hawley going to forge a bromance with Abraham? Will Henry be good now, or he going to step up and become a freelance Horseman?

Are any of these questions answered in Sleepy Hollow’s latest episode? Or will we meet a new character instead? There is only one way to be... well, you could actually watch it. But there’s only one totally immediate way that’s already right in front of your eyes!

[Read More]

Fri
Jan 2 2015 4:00pm

Tattoos Speak Louder Than Words: SFF Characters with Ink

Popeye

Tattoos are pretty socially acceptable nowadays, but there was a time when just having interesting ink marked you as an outsider, a rebel, or even a criminal. Writers have used them for years to literally mark their characters, either to push them toward the edge of society, or to mark them as special, mystical, in touch with a magical word invisible to others.

We asked on Twitter for the best tattooed SFF characters, and we’ve collected some of the responses below. See if your favorite is here, and let us know who we missed in the comments!

[Read More]

Wed
Dec 31 2014 8:00am

Need to Read Something Not So GrimDark? Check Out These 13 Optimistic Fantasies

optimistic fantasy

Now, before we get started, allow me to be clear: grimdark is great! It has its place in the fantasy spectrum, and many works that fall under the grimdark or gritty heading are classics. Obviously, we here at Tor.com love our Abercrombie and Martin—which, really, they need to also be a vaudeville team—but sometimes we want a fantasy that’s more optimistic. Just a little, guys! C’mon, we’re not asking for much...

[Read More]

Fri
Dec 26 2014 4:00pm

Why Do We Want More MST3K?

Yesterday Wired published an exhaustive oral history of the Greatest Show of All Time, Mystery Science Theater 3000, and in the last two paragraphs dropped the bombshell that Joel Hodgson is planning to resurrect the show. Already plenty of pop culture sites have weighed in, and obviously the consensus has been YES WE WANT THIS NOW. And there is already a gleeful reddit debate about who could host. And while I am one of those jumping up and down in Muppet-like enthusiasm, the reaction has also made me ask: why? Why are we still debating Joel vs. Mike after all these years? Why is this show the one that continues to speak to us, even to people who were infants when the show started?

Why, in 2014, with so many options, do we keep returning to the Satellite of Love?

[This may just be a show, but I can relax when I’m dead.]

Tue
Dec 23 2014 12:00pm

Christmas in the Stars: Aliens Encounter the Holidays!

He-Man and She-Ra: A Christmas Special

Lots of shows decide they need a little Christmas come December, but they’re not quite sure how to do it. Do you talk about the big Jesus-shaped elephant in the room? Do you just focus on Santa? Do you, I don’t know, cast Juliana Hatfield as an angel or make miracles happen on Walker, Texas Ranger?

This late-December urge becomes extra fun when sci-fi shows try it—they don’t actually want to deal with the religious aspect of Christmas, but they still have to find a way to explain Santa and presents (and maybe just a dash of Christianity) to aliens who are already confused enough just trying to deal with humans. So most of them fall back on humans teaching aliens about “goodwill” or “being kind to others.” This leads to some amazing moments, as we’ll see.

[Click through for special holiday times with ALF!]

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.]

Fri
Dec 19 2014 11:00am

A Complete Ranking of Every Adaptation of A Christmas Carol

A Muppet Christmas Carol

Did you know that there are roughly 12 BILLION adaptations of A Christmas Carol? Seriously, go look at the Wikipedia page for “Adaptations of A Christmas Carol and you’ll see I’m rounding down. So, in light of that, I’m not actually covering all of them in this post. I should also mention that I always had issues with A Christmas Carol growing up. A horrible person is shown visions of his own personal Hell, and we’re supposed to believe it’s somehow miraculous when he decides to be nicer? Wouldn’t it be more miraculous if he stayed a jerk? But as I’ve gotten older, and lived long enough to see myself become the villain... well, the story’s grown on me.

I’ve also become something of a connoisseur of different adaptations, so I’ve decided to give an absolutely definitive ranking of ACC adaptation, from worst to best. I’ve used many factors to create this list, including use of repertory cast, faithfulness to source material, inventiveness, and my own constantly-shifting mood.

[Festively redemptive drumroll, please.]