Cold Wind April 16, 2014 Cold Wind Nicola Griffith Old ways can outlast their usefulness. What Mario Scietto Says April 15, 2014 What Mario Scietto Says Emmy Laybourne An original Monument 14 story. Something Going Around April 9, 2014 Something Going Around Harry Turtledove A tale of love and parasites. The Devil in America April 2, 2014 The Devil in America Kai Ashante Wilson The gold in her pockets is burning a hole.
From The Blog
April 19, 2014
Announcing the 2014 Hugo Award Nominees
April 18, 2014
Wings Gleaming Like Beaten Bronze: Elizabeth Bear’s Eternal Sky Trilogy
Liz Bourke
April 17, 2014
Gaming Roundup: PAX East Edition
Pritpaul Bains and Theresa DeLucci
April 16, 2014
Victorian-era Magical Societies, Telepathy, and Interplanetary Space Travel
Felix Gilman
April 13, 2014
Game of Thrones, Season 4, Episode 2: “The Lion and the Rose”
Theresa DeLucci
Showing posts by: Ryan Britt click to see Ryan Britt's profile
May 22 2013 10:00am

There’s a lot that has been written and said about the inspirational power of Star Trek. From astronauts to social workers, engineers and beyond, do-gooders galore have been borne out of Trek. Good for them! Surely, aspects of Star Trek may have taught me how to be a better person, but that’s not the most profound impact on my adult life. Instead, Star Trek is partially responsible in inspiring me to read great books and become a writer.

And it did this by sneaking classic literature into my silly sci-fi any chance it got. So, it is with a heavy heart I complain about the biggest oversight that I saw in Star Trek Into Darkness: it’s not literary!    

[Read more]

May 21 2013 10:00am

Neil Gaiman Harlan Ellison’s ongoing pin-the-tail-on-the-donkey-esque attempt to define Neil Gaiman and/or his work has read his most well-known epic, made a mixtape out of another, and looked at his habit of creating his own world inside of the worlds of others. Now, we look at his penchant for constant collaboration with other artists, writers, and musicians. Collaborations that more often than not end up further honing the author’s unique style.

They say that behind every great writer, is that writer’s bro. And by “bro,” we mean an artistic equal whose work brings new definition to yours and a friend who otherwise has your back. A bro can be any gender and the bonds between you can feel like they were always meant to be. Neil Gaiman has a lot of bromances, and though we love the man and his writing, where would he be without these seven essential bros?

[Read more]

May 16 2013 1:00pm

Best Doctor Who episodes Eleventh Doctor

The most recent season of Doctor Who has been one hell of a rollercoaster, dramatic within and without. First it was split in two, then Clara showed up early, then Amy and Rory left, then news about the 50th anniversary started overshadowing the season, then the show’s producer abruptly quit, then the Tenth Doctor came back, then the Ninth Doctor didn’t, then the final episode leaked early....

The quality of the episodes themselves has been markedly variable, as reflected in our own reviews, and it’s getting harder and harder not to feel so down about the show. But Doctor Who is still the best damn sci-fi show on television, so before the season closes we thought we’d get back in the spirit and comment on our favorite Eleventh Doctor episodes from the Moffat era.

[Come along, honorary Ponds]

May 16 2013 11:00am

Star Wars Shadows of the Empire

I have a special emotional attachment to the comic book mini-series Shadows of the Empire. Issue #4 sports a beautifully painted Hugh Fleming cover featuring Leia and Chewie in their bounty hunter disguises but it ALSO contains, in the editorial section, a letter from a young fan complaining about stuff that happened in issue #1. This young fan felt like Rogue Squadron’s dialogue was “forced and unrealistic,” and his name was Ryan Britt. (The Dark Horse people were nice enough to publish my letter, and I’ve forever believed the improved dialogue in the X-Wing: Rogue Squadron series must have been a direct result of my complaining.)

But listen. The comic version of Shadows of the Empire was a town of space-crazy, populated by characters with insane names. What? You don’t remember Big Gizz? Let’s remember together.

[Read more]

May 15 2013 1:00pm

Like the Kool-Aid man busting through a space wall, declaring “Oh yeah,” Star Trek Into Darkness arrives tomorrow, and Cumberbatch is our king. I’m not going to tell you if he is or is not playing a certain someone, but if you’ve seen  one second of any trailer, you already know this movie is borrowing heavily from the uber-popular and successful Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan. It’s about revenge! Explosions! Maybe sacrifice! Things you like about a movie!

But, as great as The Wrath is, did it unintentionally ruin Star Trek films forever?

[Read more]

May 13 2013 3:00pm

Let’s face it: Captain James Tiberius Kirk has a reputation as a guy who will sleep with anything female—making him, in the pantheon of Star Trek, one of the least likable characters. In one of the trailers for Star Trek Into Darkness, Kirk confusedly says, “I have a reputation?” Yes you do, Kirk. And it isn’t a good one! And whether he’s in his Shatner or Pine guises, he is a difficult character to nail down in terms of cultural appeal. Does his “sluttiness” make him a creep? Do we even like this guy? And if we don’t, how do our brains find ways of continuing to root for him?


[Read more]

May 13 2013 11:45am

Jessica De Gouw as Mina with Dracula

The first images for NBC’s sexy TV reboot of Dracula have emerged, along with a new synopsis and I think (against conventional wisdom) that it might not (pun intended) suck. Here’s why.

[Read more]

May 7 2013 1:40pm

Ray Harryhausen dies at age 93

Visual effects maestro and stop-motion pioneer Ray Harryhausen passed away today, on May 7th, 2013. His family issued a statement earlier today. He was 92.

Best known for his work in creating stop-motion creatures in films like Clash of the Titans, Jason and the Argonauts, Mighty Joe Young, The 7th Voyage of Sinbad and countless others, Harryhausen initially apprenticed under Willis O’Brien, who was responsible for the stop-motion effects on the classic King Kong. From the motion of dinosaurs, to skeletons, to the snakes on Medusa’s head, Harryhausen defined our collective imaginations, giving movement to a variety of fantastic beasts. Generations of special effects filmmakers were influenced and inspired by Harryhausen, with reverberations of his style present in everything from Star Wars to The Nightmare Before Christmas.

[Read more]

May 6 2013 12:00pm

Some of the most beloved episodes of Doctor Who from across its entire run have been moody gothic numbers, evoking a Sherlock Holmes meets monster-centric sci-fi vibe. In the Tom Baker adventure, “The Talons of Weng-Chiang,” the Fourth Doctor even dons a full on Sherlock Holmes costume, echoed in the recent Christmas special by Matt Smith parading around in a deerstalker and cape. But these days, the detecting in a Victorian setting is done by the reptilian Madame Vastra and her gal pal Jenny. Along with the Sontaran Strax, they’re back for the latest Who goes gothic adventure. All the ingredients are there for a classic by-the-numbers Doctor Who story. Did it work?

[Read more]

May 3 2013 3:00pm

Star Trek 2009, Spock

Secrecy about the upcoming film, Star Trek Into Darkness, is at a crazy level. With the film now released in some parts of the world, a few spoilers about major plot developments are already out there in the blogosphere, but only a few months ago you’d have had to forcefully mind-meld with Orci, Kurtzman, Lindelof, or J.J. Abrams to get ANYTHING out of them.

Other than boldly going where no people/aliens/plot points have gone before, Star Trek does like to surprise us. Here are seven times when the final frontier pulled the space rug out from under us.

[Read more]

May 2 2013 1:00pm

Neil Gaiman bubble universe Doctor Who

The pervasively magical stories of Neil Gaiman are everywhere these days, which often makes us wonder if hundreds of years from now he won’t be regarded in mythical, legendary tones, like Hans Christian Andersen, or the Grimm Brothers. Just like those guys, Neil Gaiman was inspired by existing stories, too, but interestingly enough, when Gaiman plays in other sandboxes, he frequently employs a kind of “bubble universe” where his unique sensibilities are free to roam, relatively unconstrained by the rules of the world he’s visiting.

Here are four instances of Gaiman setting up shop in a familiar world and making it his own.

[Read more]

Apr 30 2013 6:00pm

Doctor Who Clara Oswin Mystery solved

A lot of Whovians around the net have noticed that Clara Oswin Oswald has something in common with a previous Doctor Who character we may have forgotten about!

Click below the link for a possible, totally speculative spoiler.

[Read more]

Apr 25 2013 9:00am

I was barely 20 and when I first met Harlan Ellison in the too brightly lit cafeteria of South Mountain Community College in Phoenix, Arizona. I had driven with a posse of fellow booksellers to see the infamous SF legend speak at the college, and after what can only be described as Ellison doing stand-up comedy, I made him sign my copy of Troublemakers, got my picture taken with him and then arrogantly told him to remember me. He responded, “Sure kid.”

And more than a decade later, I’m happy to report Harlan Ellison still calls me “kid,” and is just as charmingly outrageous as ever.

[Read more]

Apr 24 2013 1:15pm

I'm Probably Going to Have to Break Up With Doctor Who

Contemporary Doctor Who has been like a relationship for me. It’s charmed me, won me over, tested its boundaries, accompanied me through several changes, let me down and picked me back up again. Since 2006, my memories of what happened in my life are often linked what was going on in Doctor Who at the time. It’s become a bit of personal clock, with each big plot reveal, finale, premiere or regeneration burned into my mind like the Time War is burned into the Doctor’s.

But, you know what? Some relationships have to come to an end, usually because one party isn’t getting what they want. This show hasn’t been giving me what I want for a while now and, sadly I’m probably going to have to break up with Doctor Who.

[Read more]

Apr 22 2013 10:30am

Oblivion Review Tom Cruise Morgan Freeman Olga Kurylenko Nikolaj Coster-Waldeau

There’s some fairly hefty literary commentary in the board game Clue. By simply shuffling some cards, an entire murder plot is decided, sending the players on a quest to answer the basic questions of who? what? and where? And while this might emulate the basic shape of most whodunits, constantly wondering what the hell has happened might not be the emotional response you want to elicit in a science fiction action film. And while somewhat aesthetically pleasing, Oblivion’s constant need to tease the audience makes you wonder if certain plot elements from other movies weren’t just shuffled around at random.

[Read more, spoilers unavoidable!]

Apr 17 2013 10:00am

The bicycle guy character from Portlandia exemplifies the bizarre compulsion that some overly snobbish people have in regards to defining what is and is not hip. So when too many people or the wrong people are doing a thing, soon that thing is OVER. And while I hate to be labeled a hipster snob, I think there’s one thing sci-fi movies and television need to stop doing; and that’s having everything be all about Earth. Listen up everyone: having Earth be a big deal in your sci-fi movie or TV show is sooo OVER.

[Read more]

Apr 16 2013 3:00pm

Star Trek: Insurrection

If I were to re-title the third Next Generation film—Star Trek: Insurrection—I’d call it Insurrection: The Search For Star Trek. And that’s because this movie is the embodiment of Trek’s ongoing identity crisis. Is this Star Trek thing all about thoughtful ethical dilemmas in a science fiction setting? Or does there need to be a bunch of shooting and explosions to get everyone else to care? In the case of Insurrection, Star Trek tried to split the difference, but this time with a little bit more philosophy, and a little bit less killing.

[Read more]

Apr 4 2013 9:00am

Star Wars Dark EmpireThis is going to sound like something someone’s parents would say; but when I was a kid, you had to go to the comic book store to get your Star Wars fix. Other than some bonkers Marvel back issues, and the hot-off-the-press Zahn novels, in 1991, there was no new Star Wars other than this creepy, nearly gothed-out comic series called Dark Empire. If there ever was a piece of tie-in media that deserved to be promoted with the line “Not your daddy’s Star Wars,” it was Dark Empire. More like a Trainspotting-in-space than A New Hope, here’s how this whole shadowy green and purple-colored comic impacted Star Wars.

[Read more]

Apr 2 2013 3:00pm

Star Trek fan diary All Good ThingsLike everyone else’s diary, my childhood journal is utterly terrifying. Full of awkward cursive letters, run-on-sentences, and way too much speculation about girls who barely knew I existed, it’s hard to believe the person I am today emerged from this goopy mess of over-earnestness and crippling insecurity. Oh wait. Maybe it’s not that hard to believe! Tucked in the pages of my journal, near the end of 1994, is my brief review of the final episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation, written a few days after it originally aired. The scanned pages are below, complete with the transcription.

[Read more]

Mar 31 2013 12:30pm

Doctor Who The Bells of Saint John

Way back in the 2007 third season premier of Doctor Who, David Tennant’s Tenth Doctor reminded us that you can never cross your own time-stream, except of course, “for cheap tricks.” And now, six years and four seasons later, the Doctor is still dropping time travel jokes, like they’re never going out of style, which thanks to time travel, they never will. The mid-season premiere of Doctor Who, “The Bells of Saint John” finds the show returning with a light-hearted sci-fi romp which is mostly concerned with having a good time at the expense of contemporary culture.

[Read more. Spoilers for the episode.]