Tor.com content by

Sarah Tolf

Here’s Where Everyone in Game of Thrones is Before Season 5

What, you don’t remember that time Trogdor helped Daenerys burninate Meereen? With so many characters and plot lines (not to mention major deviations from books) it’s easy to lose track of the finer details from Game of Thrones—like how did Stannis get all the way over there, and who the heck is Hizdhar zo Loraq, anyway? So with the new episodes just over the horizon, here’s a handy refresher guide to where all the key characters are before the start of season 5.

Spoilers ahead, naturally.

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Our Favorite Eleventh Doctor Episodes of Doctor Who

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]

Series: Doctor Who on Tor.com

Disney’s Most Magnificent Bastards

Villains in animated films tend to have a bit of an edge in the whole Magnificent Bastards department. All the best villainous actors of stage and screen do a fair amount of scene chewing (I’m looking at you, Tim Curry), but animated villains can take things to a whole other level. Disney villains in particular have a way of worming their way into our hearts, thanks in no small part to campy theatrics, quippy dialog, and the occasional musical number. And they often have the sartorial chops to carry it off courtesy of some fantastic design work.

But in order to truly rise to the ranks of magnificent bastardry, a villain needs substance—some motivation or believable character flaw an audience can connect with. We don’t have to actively root for the bastards (though sometimes we do), but we do need to understand their point of view. I mean, we may love to hate Cruella de Vil, but it’s hard to actually sympathize with her end game of acquiring a puppy-coat. So which Disney villains make the grade?

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Series: Magnificent Bastards on Tor.com

Labeling Kurt Vonnegut: From Science Fiction Writer to Pornographer

In Back to School, Rodney Dangerfield’s character Thornton Melon is assigned a paper on Kurt Vonnegut’s novels. Melon shirks responsibility and instead pays Vonnegut himself to write the essay. Unfortunately, the paper earns an F for the obvious forgery and the following critique from Melon’s professor: “Whoever did write this doesn’t know the first thing about Kurt Vonnegut.”

And perhaps Professor Turner is right. After all, Vonnegut didn’t even know he was a science fiction writer until reviewers got hold of his first novel, Player Piano. Two decades (and several novels) later, Vonnegut cheekily admitted, “I didn’t know that [it was science fiction]. I supposed that I was writing a novel about life.”

[So it goes]

Series: Banned Books Week 2013

Divided, It Fails: Defiance‘s Multiplatform Narrative Strategy Doesn’t Quite Work

The Syfy original series Defiance just wrapped its first season last week, and I have… opinions.

Defiance takes place in 2046 on the former site of St Louis. In 2013, the Votanis Collective, comprised of several alien species, came to Earth in search of a new home after their own star system collapsed. During the “Pale Wars” that followed, a terraforming accident transformed the Earth into a strange new landscape. After the war, several Votan species integrated into human society while others remained in the badlands.

The show is a pretty straightforward interpretation of science fiction in a western style, and I was initially intrigued by the idea that Earth itself is recast as the unknown frontier. Shoshana Kessock has already discussed Defiance’s somewhat problematic adherence to western tropes here on Tor.com, but I think the show suffers most from its haphazard approach to world-building and storytelling.

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