Tor.com content by

Chris Lough

Fiction and Excerpts [1]
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Fiction and Excerpts [1]

Does The Geek’s Guide to Dating Work on a Real Date?

, || Finding someone to date shouldn't be like trying to party up in an MMORPG: running around, repeatedly spamming chat channels for a group, and anxiously seeking a random encounter. (Random casual encounters are for Craigslist. This isn't that kind of book.) No, seeking out Player Two is more like an old-school RPG: a gradual progression that, with the right walkthrough, becomes much, much easier.

This is How it Feels to Read Cixin Liu’s The Dark Forest

Cixin Liu’s epic “Three-Body Problem” science fiction trilogy is a mind-expanding read. It has to be, in order to prepare you for the first contact that occurs between humanity and the Trisolaran people.

But even then, words fail. Filmmaker Ren Wang felt the same, and assembled “Waterdrop,” a short tribute that captures the aural, visual, scientific, and historical weight behind this moment from Cixin Liu’s The Dark Forest, depicting how everything we know, everything we can perceive, can become but a shadow cast by the light of an alien intelligence.

Watch…and listen…to Ren Wang’s “Waterdrop.” (Don’t worry. The film doesn’t spoil any of the plot from the book.)

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Jarvelous! Agent Carter: “Smoke & Mirrors”

About this time last season we got the creepy backstory behind Dottie, Agent Carter‘s Black Widow-esque villain, while re-connecting with Peggy’s past through a team-up with the Howling Commandos. This week’s episode, “Smoke & Mirrors,” follows that same structure, and while it’s still interesting, Agent Carter‘s peek into the past isn’t nearly as successful the second time around.

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Elizabeth Banks Cast as Rita Repulsa in New Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers Movie

Someone out there is definitely still trying to make a big-budget Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers movie, as evidenced by today’s announcement that actress and movie producer Elizabeth Banks will play the villainness Rita Repulsa.

Kids who grew up in the U.S. in the early 90s will remember Rita as the crackly-voiced lady who popped out of a hole in the ground, announced “After 10,000 years I’m free! It’s time to conquer Earth!” only to then be upstaged by weird teenagers in aggressively bright colors. For many of us, Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers was our first direct exposure to Japanese children’s entertainment and you really either loved it or hated it.

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The Earth Isn’t Flat, But Middle-earth Is

Those who believe the Earth is flat may truly desire to live in a fantasy world.

In late January of this year, rapper B.o.B. took to Twitter seriously wanting to know why everyone thought the Earth was a sphere. Neil deGrasse Tyson, designated king of space, let B.o.B. know several ways that he could observe the Earth’s curvature for himself. For a man who can sometimes be a little overzealous in trying to apply science to character-based fantasy narratives, Neil took it pretty easy on B.o.B. Perhaps he knew that B.o.B. willingly dropped out of high school in the ninth grade, and probably missed the basic education in science that would have given the rapper the deductive tools needed to understand the mechanics of his world.

Neil probably also knows that one of our most beloved sagas, J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings, begins on a flat [Middle-]earth, and that there is considerable mystique in the idea of a flat planet.

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Better Infrared Than Dead. Agent Carter: “Better Angels”

It’s the first episode after the premiere and it’s already party time down at Peggy Carter Central. Now that we know what the threat is, and now that it has taken a life, Peggy and Jarvis waste no time in calling in the experts, and also Jack Thompson. With everyone back in the mix (well, except Angie but presumably Peggy doesn’t need a sad automat in L.A., sorry Angie) the plot moves forward pretty rapidly, and some surprising drama emerges. Agent Carter is done goofing off, but “Better Angels” still manages to be a ton of fun.

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How to Make the Devil Boring. Lucifer.

Mike Carey’s Lucifer is a great comic book. Fox’s TV adaptation has nothing in common with it.

The initial trailers for the show made this realization impossible to ignore. It’s the devil! But he’s a COP. And he says things like “Let’s go to pound town.” And he’s going to rip the veneer off this crazy world we call Los Angeles! Despite the presence of Lux, Mazikeen, and Amenadiel, it was clear that Fox’s Lucifer was going to be an entirely new thing.

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Book Narrative Chart for The Wheel of Time Shows Why The Series is So Appealing

Reddit user ryeinn recently posted a rough draft of a narrative chart of Robert Jordan’s The Eye of the World, the first book in The Wheel of Time fantasy series. Inspired by XKCD’s narrative character-based charts, ryeinn’s chart reveals an interesting look back on the series’ beginnings. As sprawling and complex as The Wheel of Time becomes, its beginning is just as unified, if not more so, as Tolkien’s The Fellowship of the Ring.

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Everything Is Different, Nothing Has Changed. Agent Carter Season 2 Premiere

Agent Carter is back and, somehow, even more sure of itself after a solid first season. What’s interesting is that the first two episodes of this second season, “The Lady in the Lake” and “A View in the Dark,” offer a flurry of new developments without making it seem as if everything has changed. Nothing feels different, even when everything looks different, and the opening episodes of the second season play with this expectation to devastating effect.

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Surprise! Cloverfield Sequel Out in March. Watch the Trailer.

Watch the terrifying trailer for 10 Cloverfield Lane, a surprise sequel to Cloverfield that J.J. Abrams and company are putting out in only two months!

Wired has the story here, but basically: Bad Robot was assembling this movie under the white hot publicity cover of the run-up to The Force Awakens and that’s how we missed it but also they’re sneaky so don’t feel bad. P.S. – I LOVE CLOVERFIELD AND IT IS ACTUALLY MY BIRTHDAY TODAY THIS IS THE BEST.

Check out the trailer. It’s terrific. I have never been more scared by Ramona Flowers assembling a puzzle.

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How Could The Winds of Winter Be Published In Only Three Months?

If publishing a book takes one year, then why do George R. R. Martin’s publishers only need three months? Learn how blockbuster novels can change the book production process.

George R. R. Martin’s New Year’s update on the progress of The Winds of Winter, while noting that the novel currently has no projected completion date, contained an interesting detail regarding production of the book:

[My publishers] already had contingencies in place. They had made plans to speed up production. If I could deliver WINDS OF WINTER by the end of the year, they told me, they could still get it out before the end of March.

Book production, from the delivery of the manuscript to the book arriving on shelves, typically takes nine months to one year, so how is it that Bantam and Martin’s non-U.S. publishers could turn around an undoubtedly massive work like The Winds of Winter in less than three months? Learn about the typical book production process below, along with how unique marquee titles like The Winds of Winter can circumvent, compress, and alter that process.

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The Winds of Winter Will Not Be Published Before Game of Thrones Season 6

George R. R. Martin has posted an update on the completion status of The Winds of Winter, the awaited sixth book in his Song of Ice and Fire series, announcing that he has not yet completed the manuscript. With the sixth season of HBO’s Game of Thrones set to debut in mid-April 2016, this means that the television show will officially exceed the progress of the book in regards to the series’ overall storyline.

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What We Learned About the Star Wars Universe From The Force Awakens

“There has been an awakening. Have you felt it?” As Emily said in her non-spoiler review of The Force Awakens, the title refers in a big part to us, the fans, waiting for the start of a new Star Wars trilogy. But just as the Force got awakened on-screen, so did a greater understanding of the Star Wars universe off-screen. And The Force Awakens laid out a lot of new canonical groundwork. So, what do we know now that we didn’t know before we went into that theater?

SPOILERS for Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens.

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Series: Star Wars on Tor.com