Damage January 21, 2015 Damage David D. Levine Concerning a spaceship's conscience. And the Burned Moths Remain January 14, 2015 And the Burned Moths Remain Benjanun Sriduangkaew Treason is a trunk of thorns. A Beautiful Accident January 7, 2015 A Beautiful Accident Peter Orullian A Sheason story. Kia and Gio January 6, 2015 Kia and Gio Daniel José Older Seven years ago, they went on a secret mission.
From The Blog
January 21, 2015
Don’t Touch That Dial: Midseason SFF
Alex Brown
January 21, 2015
Agent Carter, I Think I’m in Love
Liz Bourke
January 21, 2015
The Illogic of Fairy Tales
Genevieve Cogman
January 16, 2015
Birdman is Actually Just a Muppet Movie
Max Gladstone
January 15, 2015
What Are Your Favorite Non-Sci-Fi/Fantasy TV Shows?
Stubby the Rocket
Showing posts by: Leah Schnelbach click to see Leah Schnelbach's profile
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.]

Wed
Dec 10 2014 12:00pm

We Need a Kink in Our Stories: BDSM Characters in Your Favorite Genre Fiction

Farscape, Scorpius, John Crichton

Look at a beloved genre TV show, movie, or comic book. Is there simmering sexual tension marked by shifting power and the exchange of control? Do the characters strut around in leather corsets and wield whips? Does someone get tied up? You’re looking at BDSM (variously standing for bondage and discipline, dominance and submission, sadism and masochism) at play. Which really doesn’t come as a surprise, because geeks are kinky as all get out.

Older, more conservative narratives would have us believe that people who engage in BDSM are somehow wrong or depraved. But the sheer presence of kinky characters across so many stories—whether hiding in children’s shows as jokes for the parents, or in the case of Farscape’s Scorpius, hiding in plain sight—simply proves how universal the notion of power exchange is.

Remember your safe words, ’cause it’s time to meet our favorite fictional kinksters!

[Read more]

Wed
Dec 10 2014 10:30am

What Happens When You Strip a Story of Its Morals and Purpose? Ridley Scott’s Exodus

So, what do you expect to see when you watch an Exodus movie? (1) A Pillar of Fire, (2) A Burning Bush that Talks and is Also God, (3) the Parting of the Red Sea, (4) pre-Freudian rods that turn into pre-Freudian snakes, and (5) at least a couple plagues. This version of Exodus has some of those things, but not all—we’ll get into what it leaves out in a minute. But it also adds a few things that are just fascinating.

[Spoilers for the entire film are sprinkled throughout the post, so beware.]

Tue
Dec 2 2014 12:10pm

God said to Abraham, Kill Me a Son? Sleepy Hollow: “The Akeda”

All right, Sleepy Hollow. We’re going to have to have a conversation. You can’t… you can’t keep doing this. Look, I’m putting a lot of time and work into this relationship. I care about you. I look forward to the time we spend together. But sometimes I wonder if you care as much as I do.

Let’s take tonight, for instance. I cleared my schedule for you. Do you know, I missed two different events to be with you! But it was all OK. It was all fine, until some serious spoilery-ass stuff happened that I’ll talk about below.

[read more]

Mon
Dec 1 2014 9:00am

Songs That Did (and Didn’t) Work in Genre Movies and TV

Seal Kiss From a Rose Batman Forever

An animated girl-power narrative undermines its entire message with a cringingly cheesy soundtrack. A way-modern band shatters the illusion of a period film. Two superheroes decide to consummate their relationship in-costume, only for the mournful strains of Leonard Cohen to completely kill the mood. Music choice is everything, but especially in genre stories where you have a specific world and tone to match.

Many unsuitable songs are shoehorned into genre movies and television series, the worst ones coming off so anathema to the scene being set that they make viewers say “huh?” Below, we list songs that did that for us, but we also list instances where the music paired with a movie absolutely kills it. Relive the greatness and badness of these songs! (And add your own!)

[Read more]

Sat
Nov 29 2014 8:00am

C.S. Lewis: Moral Fantasist

CS Lewis Artwork by David A. Johnson

Today would have been C.S. Lewis’ 116th birthday.

C.S. Lewis had three different lives professionally. He was an academic, a medievalist who taught at both Oxford and Cambridge and published extensively in his field. (His book Allegory of Love still considered a classic). He was also a Christian Apologist and lay-theologian, with works like Mere Christianity, Miracles, and The Screwtape Letters exploring faith and doubt. Finally, the career that made him famous and became his lasting legacy was that of a fantasy and science fiction author. His Chronicles of Narnia are classics of children’s literature, and have sparked devotion and serious exploration from authors like Philip Pullman, Neil Gaiman, and Lev Grossman.

[Read More]

Wed
Nov 26 2014 12:00pm

Learning Empathy From Robots: How MST3K Explained My Parents

Mystery Science Theater 3000 Thanksgiving marathon

This week marks a milestone for all of humanity—Sunday was the 25th anniversary of the first broadcast of Mystery Science Theater 3000. The first ever episode, “The Green Slime” was shown on a small Minneapolis cable-access channel called KTMA on November 24, 1988. This is also the 22nd anniversary of the Turkey Day Marathon, which aired annually on Comedy Central from 1991 until 1995, and which will be returning this year! Joel Hodgson is curating an online marathon that will be available this Thursday starting at noon Eastern Time.

[In the not-too-distant past]

Wed
Nov 26 2014 7:00am

Frederik Pohl Made Doing Literally Everything Look Easy

Frederik Pohl David A Johnson

Frederik Pohl was one of those people who seem to make up the constellations of science fiction, a man who seemed to live five or six different lives in the time most of us only live one.

He was born in 1919, and his family travelled constantly in his early childhood, before his family settled in Brooklyn. He co-founded The Futurians, and belonged to that group as well as the Young Communist League during the 1930s. He left the Communists in 1939, joined the Army in 1943, and remained a sci-fi fan throughout. After World War II he worked as a writer, editor, and SF literary agent. He was married five times and had four children. He did, almost literally, everything.

[Read More]

Tue
Nov 25 2014 12:15pm

I’ll Be Your Mirror. Sleepy Hollow: “Magnum Opus”

Sleepy Hollow Magnum Opus

So, I was going to begin this piece with an apology for the disjointedness to follow. But, you know what? No. My writing is disjointed because while I was watching one of the most racially diverse shows on TV, a show that puts a black family in the center of a battle between good and evil, the Ferguson indictment reports came in.

[Pop culture as mirror]

Tue
Nov 18 2014 2:00pm

How We Met Abbie and Jenny’s Mother: Sleepy Hollow, “Mama”

Oh man a lot happened in this episode! Like a lot! There was a huge misdirection, a lot of healing, some possible resolution of a giant plot arc from last year, setup for the second half of this season, and a Captain Irving-based twist! But that’s not even the thing that impressed me the most. You know what impressed me the most? Everybody loves a good abandoned mental hospital. They are probably the greatest modern horror setting, having handily replaced cemeteries and abandoned carnival grounds. Well, Sleepy Hollow just gave us a whole episode of “abandoned mental hospital” vibe within a currently functional mental hospital.

[Read More]

Fri
Nov 14 2014 10:00am

An Uncut and Non-Remastered List of Star Wars Editions!

Star Wars Uncut

The thing that makes Star Wars truly great is Greedo shooting first. Wait, come back, I’m being serious! The original Star Wars trilogy was an incredible cultural touchstone, and obviously Star Wars merchandise and expanded universe novels created a whole world for fans to inhabit. However, the moment when Star Wars became truly great was the moment in 1997 when a generation of fans had to examine what this film meant to them, and why it was so important that Han shoot first. This moment galvanized an already fervent fandom to, if you don’t mind me mixing my geek metaphors, play Sam Beckett in the SWU, going back to earlier prints of the films to put right what Lucas had made wrong.

Using the sort of film tech popularized by Lucas himself, the fandom dove in and started making new editions of the original trilogy, and then turned their scalpels on each of the prequels. Rather than accepting anything as “canon,” they made their own. Now, as a flurry of new films loom, causing hope, fear, and trembling, I’ve rounded up nine different ways you can experience Star Wars into one handy list!

[Read More]

Tue
Nov 11 2014 11:00am

The Coldest Story Ever Told: Sleepy Hollow, “Heartless”

After the perfect mix of character building and taut action last week, “Heartless” felt a little slack to me. But, the show continues building layers into Katrina’s character, and ends on a note that made me truly worry for Ichabod’s poor tortured heart. Plus its hard to go wrong when you send Ichabod into a nightclub.

[Sadly, he never picks up a glow stick...]