Where the Trains Turn November 19, 2014 Where the Trains Turn Pasi Ilmari Jääskeläinen His imagination runs wild. The Walk November 12, 2014 The Walk Dennis Etchison Creative differences can be brutal. Where the Lost Things Are November 5, 2014 Where the Lost Things Are Rudy Rucker and Terry Bisson Everything has to wind up somewhere. A Kiss with Teeth October 29, 2014 A Kiss with Teeth Max Gladstone Happy Halloween.
From The Blog
November 28, 2014
Star Wars: The Force Awakens Teaser Trailer is Live
Stubby the Rocket
November 21, 2014
Never Wait for a Sequel Again: 17 Standalone Fantasy Novels
Stubby the Rocket
November 18, 2014
The Hollow Crown: Shakespeare’s Histories in the Age of Netflix
Ada Palmer
November 17, 2014
In Defense of Indiana Jones, Archaeologist
Max Gladstone
November 14, 2014
An Uncut and Non-Remastered List of Star Wars Editions!
Leah Schnelbach
Showing posts by: Ryan Britt click to see Ryan Britt's profile
Mon
Feb 17 2014 10:00am

RoboCop Tried to Take Over the Federation. Twice! 4 Weird RoboCop/Star Trek Connections

This past week, the latest incarnation of our favorite cyborg cop showed up in movie theaters, alongside an all star cast of Batman (Michael Keaton), Sirius Black (Gary Oldman) and Samuel L. Jackson (Ray Arnold). The connection between RoboCop and other science fiction worlds can make you dizzy if you think about it too long, or if you’ve even attempted to read Frank Miller’s RoboCop. So for the sake of a bit of focused insanity, let’s stick to the original RoboCop and Star Trek.

A few Star Trek people feature in the 1987 original Paul Verhoeven joint, but that’s not all! Some of the roles of these Star Trek actors are thematically linked to their RoboCop roles, too.

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Fri
Feb 14 2014 10:00am

“As You Wish...” Eight Unabashedly Romantic SF/F Love Stories

Though we know in our heart of hearts that the true meaning of Valentine’s Day is all about brutal martyrdom, it’s a little disheartening that the common reaction to the holiday is often kind of cynical and negative. While we’re not recommending that you go read a Nicholas Sparks novel or spend a bunch of money on bad chocolate or greeting cards, we do wonder: what’s so bad about romance? Or to put it another way, aren’t we allowed to love good love stories? In that spirit, here are eight love stories in science fiction or fantasy narratives that still make us weak in the knees (even if those knees are robotic).

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Thu
Feb 13 2014 2:00pm

Seven Science Fiction/Fantasy Martyrs Who Give Saint Valentine a Run for His Money

In many ways the conception of Valentine’s Day feels a bit like a science fiction thing, or at the very least, an urban legend. Unlike Saint Patrick, who totally, for real, drove snakes out of Ireland (maybe), details about exactly what Saint Valentine did are dubiously muddled. The essential fact is this: at some point there was a Saint Valentine who was certainly a martyr, so it might as well be for love!

But when you stop to reflect on it, science fiction and fantasy is lousy with martyrs, and we probably know much more about them than we’ll ever know about Saint Valentine. Here are seven martyrs who keep sci-fi and fantasy going, mostly because they seem to always come back after they’ve died!

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Wed
Feb 12 2014 2:00pm

Holy No-Face-Time Batman! The Caped Crusader’s 5 Best Voice-Over Actors

Lego Batman Will Arnett

With The Lego Movie winning over critics and families alike, one little detail seems to be a tiny bit overlooked: Will Arnett is voicing Batman! And while the decidedly comedic take on Gotham City’s silent defender works super-well for his LEGO incarnation, Batman has had a ton of other talented folks not just beneath the cowl, but behind a microphone, too. If you think about it, since the guy hides behind a mask, voicing Batman might be the most legit way for an actor to truly explore the character. Sure, we’re all familiar with Christian Bale’s “bat-growl” and its various parodies, but what about some of the Caped Crusader’s other voice actors?

Here are five of the best.

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Tue
Feb 4 2014 2:00pm

Science Fiction as a Childhood Coping Mechanism? On Gary Shteyngart’s Little Failure

Little Failure Gary ShteyngartI don’t know Gary Shteyngart, but I’ve met him a few times in passing. In each case I was tongue-tied and desperate to remind him I’d written a few science fiction columns on how I think he’s tops. He always smiled shyly, right before making some outrageous statement like: “I should have all the Hugos!”

This one-two punch of self-deprecation with confident hyperbole is not just limited to real-life interaction, but it’s what makes a Shteyngart book a Shteyngart book. And his newest—a memoir titled Little Failure—is no different. Back in the spring of 2012, in a brief correspondence with Gary, I asked him if what he was working on would have science fiction stuff in it like Super Sad True Love Story. His swift response: “It’s a memoir about my childhood. So yeah. Science fiction all the way.”

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Mon
Jan 27 2014 2:30pm

I, Frankenstein is Actually Just a Live Action Version of Disney’s Gargoyles

If you’ve seen a trailer for I, Frankenstein, and you’re even remotely familiar with Mary Shelley’s world-changing novel, then you’ve probably found yourself shaking your fist at the screen when they refer to Aaron Eckhart’s monster simply as “Frankenstein.” It’s not Frankenstein! It’s Frankenstein’s MONSTER! Will the desecration of the classics never end? How does crap like I, Frankenstein even get made?

But if you brought yourself to see I, Frankenstein, you’d realize how horribly wrong you were. Because here is one of the best film adaptations/sequels to a classic work of science fiction literature ever made. I’m here to say it folks: Aaron Eckhart is the best Frankenstein’s monster ever. Yep. That’s right. He’s better than Boris Karloff!

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Mon
Jan 27 2014 10:00am

What Does Doctor Who’s Kooky Past Portend for Its Future?

Doctor Who MagazineWhile browsing through the endless rows of vintage magazines in a giant used bookstore called Bookman’s while visiting my hometown of Mesa, Arizona, I stumbled across a Doctor Who fan’s version of a bizzaro Rosetta Stone: an issue of Doctor Who Magazine dated December 1986!

Featuring an exclusive interview with departing incumbent companion Nicola Bryant and complete with fan letters, original comics and retrospectives on previous eras, this random piece of cultural history gave me an idea on how to predict—crystal ball style—what the future holds for Doctor Who.

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Wed
Jan 22 2014 11:30am

If Her Wins the Oscar for Best Picture, It Could Change Science Fiction Forever

Two of the best and most thoughtful science fiction films in recent memory came out in 2013 and both of them are nominated for best picture at the impending Academy Awards. Better yet, both are original screenplays and also bonafide science fiction. So, between Her and Gravity, why should Her win? Because, in many ways, it’s the first science fiction film that deserves to. Plus it’s a great representative for what science fiction can do for people who think they don’t like this sort of thing.

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Wed
Jan 15 2014 11:00am

Always a Time Traveler’s Girlfriend, Never a Time Traveler: Rachel McAdams and Science Fiction’s Weirdest Typecasting

In mainstream movies, if you want someone to play the quasi-love interest of a time traveler, your go-to person is always Rachel McAdams. She’s played the girlfriend of a time traveler in three films in just four years! But what does this kooky typecasting reveal about how culture sees women in time travel? And are there any other weird time-travel type-castings?

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Thu
Jan 2 2014 8:00am

A Science Fiction Halo Rests Slantedly Over Isaac Asimov’s Amiable Head

Isaac AsimovNo one knows the exact date of Isaac Asimov’s birth...not even the amazing Asimov himself! In Memory Yet Green, citing dodgy birth records, the author writes that his birthday could be as early as October 19th, 1919, but that he celebrates it as January 2nd, 1920.

Who are we to argue with Asimov? By his calculations, today would have been his 94th earth year, so happy birthday, Professor Asimov!  

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Tue
Dec 31 2013 12:00pm

6 Science Fiction Icons Who Hung Out with the Muppets

Mark Hamill muppets

Does the entire canon of the Muppets fall into the genre of science fiction? When you consider the various alternate universes the Muppets seem to inhabit, the answer might be yes. If meta-fiction is the handmaiden of science fiction, then there are certainly some SF sensibilities pervading our favorite gang of witty and colorful creatures. Throughout the years, this sensibility has been somewhat acknowledged by the Muppet-verse via specific crossovers from science fiction celebrities. Here are six instances of science fiction icons hanging out with the Muppets!

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Mon
Dec 23 2013 11:00am

Rose, I’m Trying to Resonate Concrete: The Greatest, Smallest Moments of Doctor Who

Rose, I’m Trying to Resonate Concrete: The Greatest, Smallest Moments of Doctor Who

The new series of Doctor Who and loud melodrama are best friends. Since the show began again in 2005, you can count on any season delivering at least one explosion, one moment of universal peril, and/or one tragic character twist. The new show has filled the skies with Daleks, set Gallifrey aflame, torn the Doctor from everyone he loves, killed Rory, and kissed Kylie Minogue. Doctor Who has no qualms about going straight for our panic button and pressing it hard.

And we enjoy it, otherwise we wouldn’t be watching. But lost in all the noise are small, lovely moments that are just as impactful; that portray just as much in only seconds. Below is a collection of our favorite, greatest, smallest moments from Doctor Who.

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Fri
Dec 20 2013 11:00am

Our Favorite Eleventh Doctor Episodes of Doctor Who

Best Doctor Who episodes Eleventh Doctor

Doctor Who has been one hell of a rollercoaster under Matt Smith and Steven Moffat’s reign. The quality of the episodes themselves has been markedly variable, as reflected in our own reviews, and for a little while the staff here was worried that we’d always be down about the show, or that we were chronicling the decline of the series.

Even if that had been the case (the 50th anniverary episode and its surroundings celebration did a huge, wonderful job at rejuvenating the series), Doctor Who is still the best damn sci-fi show on television. As we stand here, mere days from the fall of the Eleventh, we’re feeling thankful for all the sheer oddity that his episodes have added to the series as a whole. We pick our favorites below!

[Come along, honorary Ponds]

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.

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Thu
Dec 19 2013 10:00am

Candy Caine: The Sweetness of A Muppet Christmas Carol

A Muppet Christmas Carol

When I say A Muppet Christmas Carol is sweet, I don’t only mean the movie is heartwarming and saccharine. It’s those things, too, but it’s also a film that delivers a uniquely badass adaptation of Charles Dickens’ ridiculously famous novella.

Darker and less goofy than other Muppet flicks, A Muppet Christmas Carol manages to capture the phantasmagorical texture of the source material while at the same time turning out a bonafide family film, though not necessarily a kid’s movie. While you might read a child A Christmas Carol aloud, you probably wouldn’t give them the original novella for them to read on their own. And it’s the same with this movie. Despite its Hallmark Card exterior, A Muppet Christmas Carol might be the most adult of the Muppet films.

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Wed
Dec 18 2013 7:00am

The Man Who Demolished Boring Science Fiction: Alfred Bester

Alfred Bester art by David A. JohnsonThinking about telepaths when telepaths are in the room is hard because they know you’re thinking about them. This is why—on most days—I’m glad I never actually had the chance to meet science fiction legend Alfred Bester, because my thoughts about him would have been disgustingly gushing and I’m sure he would have heard those thoughts because he was likely a real deal telepath and I would have been embarrassed. I’m kidding. I’m super sad I didn’t get to meet him! (But he was probably a real telepath.)

Today would have been Bester’s 101st birthday. He won the first Hugo award for a novel ever, and made everything in SF way more fun. Here’s why he’s still the best.

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Mon
Dec 16 2013 12:00pm

From Bow Ties to Sneakers: Fashion Tips from the Doctor

Other than maybe Han Solo, in the universe of sci-fi fashion, most leading men have let us down. Captain Kirk is cool, sure. But you can’t go out dressed like him without getting some serious pit-stains. I always loved the outfits from Logan’s Run, but it gets cold in big cities sometimes. Battlestar Galactica? Come on. T-shirts and ugly wifebeaters? What is that?

All in all there’s only one hero of time and space out there who knows how to dress. And his name is the Doctor.

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Mon
Dec 16 2013 9:00am

All the Whos Down in Whoville are Aliens

If you’re going to watch a heart-string tugging Christmas special with children on or around the holidays, why you’re not watching the 1966 animated adaptation of How the Grinch Stole Christmas! is beyond me. Hell, I used to babysit for twins who liked watching it in the middle of August, and why not? The original 1957 picture book and the ‘66 cartoon version are genius and showcase Theodore Geisel at possibly the tippy-top of his powers. Not only does The Grinch story make Christmas vaguely secular with a snap of its fingers, it does so without offending anyone and with silly amounts of originality.

But just what are the Whos down in Whoville? Are they human? What is the Grinch? What’s the connection between these Whos and the Whos living on the speck-of-dust planet in Horton Hears a Who!? Are those Whos who Horton heard the same species of Whos of which Cyndi Lou Who (who was not more than two) is a member?

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Mon
Dec 16 2013 7:00am

Philip K. Dick Scanned Our Brains, Darkly

In his afterword to a 1977 paperback collection called The Best of Philip K. Dick, PKD writes about the notion of questioning reality. At one point, Dick says the world made “sense” to him:

“I used to dig in the garden, and there isn't anything fantastic or ultradimensional about crab grass...unless you are a sf writer, in which case, pretty soon you're viewing crabgrass with suspicion. What are its real motives? And who sent it in the first place? The question I always found myself asking was, What is it really?”

Looking back on his work today, on the 85th anniversary of Dick’s birthday, the escape from the conspiracy of the mundane is a concept that certainly dominates the oeuvre of perhaps the most famous science fiction author ever. And why not? Don’t we all wish our lives were a little more interesting, a little more fantastic than perhaps they are?

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Mon
Dec 16 2013 7:00am

Celebrating Arthur C. Clarke’s Odyssey

Today we mark what would have been the 96th birthday of the great Arthur C. Clarke. Often credited with making fantastic predictions in his science fiction that actually came true, Clarke is among the most recognized and celebrated authors of the previous century. Perhaps the hardest of “hard science fiction” writers, Clarke was the authority on futurism and concepts both mind-bending and fascinatingly plausible. Known best for the novel 2001: A Space Odyssey and the epic film of the same name, Arthur C. Clarke is probably the writer most responsible for making futuristic space travel look realistic in our mind’s eye.

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