Tor.com content by

Natalie Zutter

Zachary Quinto to Narrate New John Scalzi Novella The Dispatcher

On October 4, Audible will exclusively release John Scalzi’s new novella The Dispatcher in audiobook form, with Star Trek‘s Zachary Quinto narrating the science fiction thriller. In a near future where people who get murdered come back to life, the eponymous Dispatcher Tony Valdez finds himself distracted from his job—of “releasing” people who are near death for a second chance at life—when a fellow Dispatcher gets kidnapped.

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NASA’s HI-SEAS Crew Has Completed Their Year-Long Mars Simulation Mission

On August 28, six NASA crew members successfully wrapped up the fourth HI-SEAS mission by “returning” to Earth from Mars. Here’s the thing: They never actually left the planet.

The HI-SEAS (Hawaii Space Exploration Analog and Simulation) missions simulate life on Mars by having a crew live in a small dome about 8,000 feet above sea level, on the slopes of Hawaii’s Mauna Loa volcano—the closest approximation to the surface and conditions of the Red Planet. Isolated from Earth, with limited resources and not much space, the crew are guinea pigs for the effects of isolation and confined quarters on future Mars trips. The fourth HI-SEAS mission was the longest yet, with the crew locked away for a full year.

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Enter the Dream of HBO’s Latest Westworld Trailer

HBO has released the latest trailer for Westworld, Jonathan Nolan and Lisa Joy’s adaptation of the 1973 Michael Crichton movie. Set in a retro futuristic theme park that’s like Jurassic Park but for the Wild West, populated by robots who are as much prisoners as Ava from Ex Machina, the series looks to tackle the crossovers between consumerism and artificial intelligence—with a stellar cast, to boot.

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“MEESA BACK!” Rogue Binks is Even More Disturbing Than The Binks Awakens

Almost a year ago, we let the Jar-Jar in with the utterly WTF mashup trailer The Binks Awakens from the brilliant and twisted mind of YouTuber Michael Murdock. But Jar-Jar Binks isn’t the Force; he’s more like Samara from The Ring, as he’s no longer content with taking over just one Star Wars trailer. No—he had to return in Rogue Binks, in which he plays every role in the forthcoming Rogue One. And he’s not alone.

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Joseph Fiennes Joins Hulu’s The Handmaid’s Tale as The Commander

Hulu’s adaptation of Margaret Atwood’s dystopian novel The Handmaid’s Tale is getting its cast together before it commences production this fall. Deadline reports that Joseph Fiennes (Shakespeare in LoveCamelotAmerican Horror Story) will play Commander Fred Waterford—the Fred in Offred, the name of the eponymous handmaid played by Elisabeth Moss.

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Now You Can Watch All of The Ray Bradbury Theater Anthology Series Online

It’s a Ray Bradbury birthday surprise! Yesterday, on what would have been the Fahrenheit 451 author’s 95th birthday, Boing Boing stumbled across a treasure trove in the form of all 65 episodes of 1980s/90s TV series The Ray Bradbury Theater. Like The Twilight Zone, this dark science fiction anthology series put dozens of Bradbury’s clever stories on the small screen—all inspired, he said in the adorable intro for each episode, by an object in his study: “I never know where the next one will take me. And the trip? Exactly one-half exhilaration, exactly-one half terror.”

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Japan Has a Dozen Geeky Reasons Why You Should Look Forward to the Tokyo Olympics

At last night’s closing ceremonies for the Rio Olympics, Tokyo presented a trailer for the 2020 Olympic Games—yes, a trailer—starring a bevy of geeky characters. We don’t know anything about which athletes will qualify for the Olympics four years from now, but we already know that they’ll be competing against greats like Mario (watch out for him in the Kart races), Pac-Man (who interestingly seems to be competing alongside the ghosts, though he’ll probably cross over into their lanes once the starting gun goes off), Hello Kitty, futuristic robot cat Doraemon, and Captain Tsubasa, a.k.a. Flash Kicker. Hoo boy, it’s anyone’s game.

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Zombie Romeo and Juliet Novel Warm Bodies Gets a Sequel

Isaac Marion’s 2010 novel Warm Bodies (and 2013 movie) was Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet with an undead twist: A zombie named R, who still clings to shreds of human memories, falls in love with human Julie. And while their romance bucked the Bard’s formula by ending with life rather than death, their star-crossed love isn’t the only story in that postapocalyptic future. Marion revealed on his website that he’s working on a sequel, The Burning World, picking up right where Warm Bodies left off, which will be published February 7, 2017.

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This Ancillary Justice Fan Trailer is Out of This World

While we’re waiting for the daily cast to find out whether Ancillary Justice becomes a television series, videomaker bironic has created a dynamic fan trailer that does a fantastic job of envisioning Ann Leckie’s novel. And considering the source material—with incredibly detailed worldbuilding and narrated by a former ship AI—that’s a huge achievement.

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The Creators of Gossip Girl and The O.C. to Adapt Marvel’s Runaways for Hulu

The Runaways live to fight another day! Deadline reports that Hulu has ordered a pilot from Josh Schwartz (The O.C.) and Stephanie Savage (Gossip Girl) for a television adaptation of Marvel Comics’ beloved series, with the potential for a full-season order. Created by Brian K. Vaughan (Y: The Last Man) and Adrian Alphona, Runaways followed six teenagers who discover their parents are part of a supervillain crime syndicate, and who unite their various superpowers to combat their evil legacies.

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The Animated Adventures of Firefly Teaser Gives Us All the Gorram Feels

For years, artist Stephen Byrne has teased us with little glimpses of an animated Firefly series that might have been: character sketches, a heartbreaking GIF of Zoe and hologram!Wash, you name it. In the intervening time, he’s also put out videos including animated Buffy the Vampire Slayer opening credits and a truly thrilling (and horrifying) comic sequel to The Force Awakens. And now, Byrne has released a fan-made teaser for The Animated Adventures of Firefly, with an interesting message: “SOON.”

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The First Full Arrival Trailer Reveals the Aliens and Their Language

The first trailer for Arrival is here! And it delivered on last week’s teaser’s promise to make first contact with the alien heptapods, by showing not only their bodies but their intricate, baffling, enthralling language. Amy Adams’ linguist Louise Banks looks badass, as the kind of human who will abandon her hazmat suit in order to give the heptapods “a proper introduction”… and as someone who knows that there can be no room for miscommunication. “We need to make sure that they understand the difference between a weapon and a tool,” she says. “Language is messy, and sometimes one can be both.”

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The WIRED Book Club Brings New and Fascinating Speculation to Sci-Fi, Fantasy, and Speculative Fiction

“Book clubs never last—or if they do, it’s because people show up for drinks and idle chatter about anything other than the book,” the WIRED staff wrote in their announcement that they were kicking off their very own WIRED Book Club. Their solution? To meet online weekly and replace any idle chatter with fun, substantial commentary on that month’s pick—and if there are drinks, they’re thematic, because you know the WIRED staffers were probably drinking tea while discussing Ann Leckie’s Ancillary Justice in June.

Four months in, the WIRED Book Club seems to be going strong, thanks both to the fascinating conversations and highlights from the staff as well as their choice of reading material: They started with N.K. Jemisin’s The Fifth Season, followed it up with Ancillary Justice, then just wrapped up Patrick Rothfuss’ The Name of the Wind.

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