The Shape of My Name March 4, 2015 The Shape of My Name Nino Cipri How far can you travel to claim yourself? 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.
From The Blog
March 4, 2015
Writing Women Characters as Human Beings
Kate Elliott
March 2, 2015
A Ranking of 1980s Fantasy That Would Please Crom Himself!
Leah Schnelbach
February 27, 2015
Goodbye, Mr. Nimoy — What Spock Meant to One Geeky 12-Year-Old Girl
Emily Asher-Perrin
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
Showing posts by: Ryan Britt click to see Ryan Britt's profile
Apr 21 2014 12:00pm

Transcendence: Resistance to Johnny Depp is Futile!

Transcendence Johnny Depp

I waited until the movie theatre lights were turned on after Transcendence ended with the hope that a secret post-credit sequence would reveal this movie to be a surprise prequel to either the impending rebooted-Battlestar Galactica, a movie version of Doctor Who, or even another new Star Trek. This isn’t to say I was offended by the derivative premises of Transcendence at all, instead, like the A.I. version of Dr. Castor (Johnny Depp) himself, I wanted the movie to expand outward and take over other movies!

Artfully unpacked, the film offers a classic (and suddenly urgent) science fiction question: when consciousness exceeds particular established mores, at what point do we freak out? Or to put it another way: when does an all-powerful computer brain cease to be benevolent?

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Apr 17 2014 10:00am

When Being Rogue Isn’t Rogue Enough: X-Wing #4 The Bacta War

Star Wars X-Wing The Bacta War Michael A StackpoleThough he wanted to love it, an old friend of mine grew irritated with the N64 version of Rogue Squadron because after getting bombarded with unseen TIE Fighter missiles, he threw up his hands saying the game was “way too hard.” For him, a Nintendo Star Wars experience should be more like the films: fun, with action and adventure that’s easy to experience and quick to digest.

And because Rogue Squadron (the entity) exists in that 1996 video game and also in this 1997 novel, my friend’s frustration might be the most perfect metaphor for how to think about the X-Wing novels. They’re fun, and chocked full of great Star Wars stuff, but after a while, they start to seem like a lot of hard work.

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Apr 10 2014 10:00am

Go Ahead, Touch Wedge’s Face! X-Wing #3: The Krytos Trap

In the first half of X-Wing: The Krytos Trap, Wedge Antilles, the commander of Rogue Squadron, hails a cab, goes to a hanger bay, and gets his faced touched by an insect-man. If there is anything better to be reading right now, I’d like you to really think about the case you’re making. For all you aspiring writers out there, the next time you’re in a workshop talking about someone’s story or poem or essay, you might want to ask them if they’ve considered putting a scene in there where an insect-man delicately touches someone’s face. It’s just a suggestion.

The Krytos Trap is my favorite of these books so far. I originally read these when they were new and I was between 13 and 14-years-old. Rereading them as an adult (non-insect) person and professional writer, I’ve got to say, wow, these books sure knew how to have fun.

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Apr 7 2014 2:30pm

Aliens Don’t Eat Chocolate Cake: Under the Skin and the Science Fiction Art Film

In my favorite scene in Jonathan Glazer’s new thriller/satire/science fiction film—Under the Skin—Scarlett Johansson’s unnamed protagonist (she had a name in the novel!) tries to eat a piece of chocolate cake in a crappy restaurant and nearly chokes. Every head in the place turns to look at her like she’s a crazy person, but in fact, she’s just an alien and can’t eat cake, or really anything. This, I’m guessing is the split on how most viewers will regard the relative quality of this movie: you’re either the “regular” people staring in disbelief, or you’re the alien wondering what the hell is wrong with everyone.

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Apr 3 2014 9:00am

Out of the Cockpit and Into the Black Sun: X-Wing #2 Wedge’s Gamble

I really like the contemporary remake of Ocean’s 11 and its various sequels because I like complicated schemes with lots of moving parts which only make sense in a certain fictional context.

The second Michael A. Stackpole book in the X-Wing series is very much like one of those movies, and if you picture George Clooney as Wedge Antilles, Brad Pitt and Tycho Celchu and Matt Damon as Corran Horn, it really, really works. The Rogues are up for covert action and this time, they’re letting some scum and villainy run amok!

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Mar 27 2014 8:30am

Even More Kids on the Playground: X-Wing #1 Rogue Squadron

Star Wars X-Wing Rogue Squadron When children played Star Wars in the late 1980s and throughout the 1990s it wasn’t as fun to pretend to be Luke Skywalker as you might think. By the end of the movies, Luke is kind of detached, to the point of being almost anti-social, and when you’re in a big gaggle of kids wishing you were in that galaxy far, far away, an easier, vaguer surrogate seems missing.

That is, until the secret lives of Rebel pilots opened up to fans via the games, comics, and novels. And Michael A. Stackpole nailed every little fan’s desire with the first X-Wing book, because after reading this, you didn’t really want to be Luke Skywalker; you would settle to just join Rogue Squadron.

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Mar 25 2014 11:15am

Have Severed Robot Head, Will Travel: 5 Ways a Prometheus Sequel Could Work

20th Century Fox has announced that an “untitled Ridley Scott project” is set for release in March 2016, and The Wrap reports that multiple sources have confirmed it will be a follow-up to Scott’s ambitious sci-fi movie Prometheus. But considering everything that happens by the end of Prometheus, what would that sequel actually be about?

Here are five plot directions the sequel could take. Obviously spoilers for Prometheus and all the Alien movies ahead!

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Mar 20 2014 9:00am

7 Credible Ways The Incredibles 2 Could Work

Yesterday, news broke that Brad Bird and Pixar will develop a sequel to the beloved Pixar superhero/super family movie; The Incredibles. Despite its popularity and genuine heart, this Pixar film never got a sequel, owing largely to creator/director Brad Bird’s fear of not being able to live-up to the quality of the first story.

So, it’s been 10 years since we’ve seen the family Parr and their super-friends (Like Frozone!) in action. But was it better to leave a good thing alone? No! The Parrs are the best Pixar thing ever and a sequel would be amazing. Here’s seven totally reasonable directions a sequel could take.

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Mar 11 2014 9:00am

Harry Potter 3 is a Better Alfonso Cuarón Movie than Gravity

Deservedly cleaning up at the Academy Awards and elsewhere, Gravity is a correctly praised film. Its compelling heart-pounding narrative drive is as relentless as the tone of the film is comfortingly sweet. If you haven’t seen it, you should, and in IMAX 3D and nowhere else. I loved the movie a lot and get pissed by those who dismiss it and/or snub its real-life inspirations.

And yet. I can’t help but feel that this is not Cuarón’s best film, in an all-around-kind of way. If Gravity is some kind of enraged dementor hovering in to deliver the death kiss, then my patronus here is definitely Harry Potter & The Prisoner of Azkaban. Or as I like to call it: a more watchable, better written, more complex and multi-layered film than Gravity in (almost!) every single way.

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Mar 3 2014 1:20pm

What the Oscars Didn’t Talk About When They Talked About Gravity

Gravity Oscars

Clocking in with a running time on par with one of the Hobbit films, last night’s 86th Academy Awards was a fairly short affair, considering its epic (bloated?) length and pacing in previous years. Though less overt geeky references were made by this year’s host—Ellen DeGeneres—than Seth McFarlane last year, the former brought some class and wit the latter sadly squandered. It was a good, watchable, pleasant Oscar night. Except for one thing: Hollywood doesn’t seem interested in thanking any of the real heroes who travel in space.

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Feb 26 2014 4:20pm

Adam Driver Cast as the Star Wars Episode VII Villain

Adam Driver Star Wars villain

As if the casting of Jesse Eisenberg as a younger (maybe social media savvy-er?) Lex Luthor wasn’t enough for you, now you’ve got the latest in surprise villain casting: according to Variety, Adam Driver of Girls and Inside Llewyn Davis is in “final talks” to play the brand new villain in the Star Wars Episode VII and probably beyond.

[You should be so happy Adam Driver is about to break down the Star Wars door]

Feb 20 2014 11:40am

The Tick-Tock Man Cometh, But Should He?

Shocking no one, the near-centuries old bromance between Babylon 5 creator and all-around-pop-culture-influencer, J. Michael Straczynski and the tempestuous Harlan Ellison has resulted in a movie option for the (probably) most famous Ellison short story, ever. But, now that JMS is being allowed to pitch a movie version of “‘Repent, Harlequin!’ Said the Tick-Tock Man,” should we take it seriously? Will this SF classic ever really get turned into a film? More importantly, should it be?

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Feb 17 2014 2:00pm

Lady Sybil Trapped in Weird Colin Farrell Zombie Movie Called Winter’s Tale

Talking to strangers is totally fine, especially if those strangers are amnesiac Colin Farrells. With a friendly and dopily disarming gaze, Colin made us believe he was a brainwashed victim in 2012’s Total Recall. Now in 2014’s romantic zombie comedy—Winter’s Tale—he plays a totally convincing angel-zombie, who also isn’t sure what his name is or if he’s any good at robbing people. Here, Farrell with the help of Jessica Brown Findlay (Lady Sybil) brings home the most romantic Valentine’s Day message of all: Will Smith is Satan!

[Spoilers Ahead]

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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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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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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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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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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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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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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