Midway Relics and Dying Breeds September 24, 2014 Midway Relics and Dying Breeds Seanan McGuire Between the roots and the sky. The Golden Apple of Shangri-La September 23, 2014 The Golden Apple of Shangri-La David Barnett A Gideon Smith story. Selfies September 17, 2014 Selfies Lavie Tidhar Smile for the camera. When Gods and Vampires Roamed Miami September 16, 2014 When Gods and Vampires Roamed Miami Kendare Blake A Goddess Wars story
From The Blog
September 25, 2014
After Paris: Meta, Irony, Narrative, Frames, and The Princess Bride
Jo Walton
September 23, 2014
It’s All About the Benjamins in Sleepy Hollow: “This is War”
Leah Schnelbach
September 23, 2014
The Death of Adulthood in American Culture: Nerd Culture Edition
Lindsay Ellis
September 22, 2014
Five Brilliant Things About Doctor Who “Time Heist”
Paul Cornell
September 19, 2014
“WCKD is Good,” But The Maze Runner is Bad
Natalie Zutter
Showing posts by: chris lough click to see chris lough's profile
Jul 24 2014 8:00pm

George R. R. Martin Makes a Pretty Stunning Daenerys

George R. R. Martin Daenerys San Diego Comic Con

Ran into George R.R. Martin at comic-con... he really gets into his characters” said Reddit user justbeingfrank, who managed to snag a pic of the author at San Diego Comic Con, revealing his stunningly accurate Daenerys impression.

Don’t think it was really GRRM? It was. Everyone go home. justbeingfrank has won the Iron Throne.

All of our ongoing San Diego Comic Con 2014 coverage can be found here.

Jul 24 2014 6:41pm

Benedict Cumberbatch Really Can’t Tell Us If He’s Doctor Strange, Okay?

Benedict Cumberbatch Doctor Strange

Cheekboned Sherlock spirit vise Benedict Cumberbatch is at San Diego Comic Con this year to promote Penguins of Madagascar, the third Hobbit movie, and...Doctor Strange?

At least, that’s the rumor, and SDCC goers have wasted no time asking him flat out whether he’s going to be announced as Stephen Strange during Marvel’s Phase 3 panel on Saturday.

[How many ways can I say maybe?]

Jul 24 2014 5:18pm

Jack Black Dragged Away by R. L. Stine’s Monsters During Goosebumps Panel

Sony Goosebumps Jack Black San Diego Comic Con 2014

This year’s Sony panel at San Diego Comic Con was primarily a showcase for the forthcoming movie adaptation of R. L. Stine’s Goosebumps book series, starring Jack Black and debuting in August of 2015. (Chris Colombus also video’d in to apologize for not having any Pixels footage for anyone, especially after that awesome action shot with Peter Dinklage.)

Sony also headed off any Marvel Universe news at the pass by announcing the day before that Amazing Spider-Man 3 and Sinister Six were moving, prompting to Marvel Studios to immediately hoover up the vacated movie premiere dates.

But anyway, here’s what a Goosebumps movie could possibly be about!

[Sony and Goosebumps at San Diego Comic Con 2014]

Jul 23 2014 1:00pm

According to Lock In, How You Feel About the Internet Now is How You’ll Feel About Robots Later

Asimo robot Lock In John Scalzi

It’s funny, although John Scalzi’s Lock In is primarily a crime procedural thriller it features a very detailed future, with a complexity of worldbuilding that is normally reserved for high fantasy and hard sci-fi. You find out more than just how the tech works. You see how it has impacted our culture legally, socially, and financially. And most importantly you see how it would alter the mundane details of our day to day lives. This sense of the future is an extremely important aspect of Lock In. After all, you need to know what the future is like for there to be any stakes to the story. What dramatic use is there to saving something the reader doesn’t understand?

In essence, Lock In needs to make you care about the maintenance and existence of robots and the humans who require them. Scalzi bridges this gap by subtly evoking another technological leap that has shaped our lives in the present day: the internet.

[Read more]

Jul 22 2014 2:06pm

Will Netflix’s Daredevil Merge Two Different NYCs?

Daredevil Netflix series gritty 1970s New York feel Steven S. DeKnight Matt Murdock Charlie Cox Iron Fist Luke Cage Jessica Jones The Defenders Marvel

At the Guardians of the Galaxy premiere red carpet, Daredevil showrunner Steven S. DeKnight dropped some hints for what we could expect of Netflix’s upcoming Marvel series. Though he couldn’t talk specifics, he and the other producers do have a clear idea of what the tone of the series will be.

[Read more]

Jul 17 2014 4:10pm

Hail Pie-dra!

Behold! One of the running jokes from the Tor.com Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. recaps forged into delicious life courtesy of Tumblr user hobwicki!

Oh, and the second season returns to menace us on Tuesday, September 23rd in an unbroken 10-episode block which then gets switched out with Agent Carter for 8 episodes, then back to AoS for another 12 episodes which means we’ll be watching the Marvel universe non-stop right up to Avengers: Age of Ultron or until the sun grows cold, whichever comes first.

Jul 10 2014 7:00am

Nikola Tesla Was a Great Scientist, But a Greater Nerd

Nikola Tesla by David A. JohnsonToday marks the 158th birthday of Nikola Tesla, a man so bizarre and scientifically curious that it’s easy to imagine him figuring out a method to cheat death and live to see this year, if only Thomas Edison or his suspected OCD weren’t interfering....

Tesla brought true advancements to the fields of electrical engineering, mechanical engineering, and talking about death ray urban legends while tipsy at parties. And although his scientific achievements are vital to the way we live today, I don’t think it’s a stretch to say that what we as fans of science fiction truly laud him for is for being a wildly imaginative outsider.

[And a snappy dresser]

Jul 9 2014 3:45pm

Isaac Asimov’s Predictions for the Future Respond to Tyra Banks’ Predictions for the Future

In a recent editorial in the Wall Street Journal Tyra Banks made 10 predictions about what the future will hold.

Granted, she was speaking in regards to how we will perceive beauty and how it will be achieved in The Future A.D. but I couldn’t help but be reminded of another famous prognosticator and his vision of the year 2014 as relayed from the 1964 World’s Fair. Both Banks and Asimov’s lists stem from a healthy diet of science fiction, knowingly or not, and extrapolate current technologies and societal norms while adding a dash of imagination and a peppering of insanity. Don’t believe me? Behold the comparison.

[Read more]

Jun 13 2014 12:10pm

What Are the Odds This is the Justice League Movie Line-Up?

JL8 by Yale Stewart

Hollywood tipster Nikki Finke has posted a list of the Justice League slate of movies that Warner Bros. is expected to announce at this year’s San Diego Comic Con. (Which is only in a month? Geez.) The list of films is extensive and seems to introduce an Avengers-style shared movie universe, but is it accurate?

[Justice League slate of films]

May 28 2014 4:12pm

Removing Roadblocks to Community: Tom Doherty on DRM at Book Expo of America

Tom Doherty Book Expo America 2014

“Ultimately it comes down to the desire to be where our customers are, to play fair with them in the assumption that they’ll play fair with us. And you know something? It’s worked.”

Tor Books president and publisher Tom Doherty had a lot to say during his speech at the International Digital Publishing Forum at this year’s 2014 Book Expo of America, but the main item on the agenda was Tor/Forge Books’ decision to strip Digital Rights Management software from the ebook versions of their titles and whether, two years later, that decision has had any negative impact.

In the case of Tor Books it appears that it hasn’t, but as Doherty pointed out in today’s speech, the implications of DRM go beyond the financial impact to publishers, authors, and readers. Insidiously, it chips away at the very connectivity that the entire publishing community has always relied upon.

[More information and one big announcement]

May 14 2014 3:20pm

Oh Brave New World, That Has Such Monsters In It. Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: “The Beginning of the End”

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. season finale: The Beginning of the End

This is the story of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., the TV show that remembered it is a comic book.

The first season finale “The Beginning of the End” was a boppy little adventure filled with near-future technologies, alien powers, and small heartfelt admissions of love and justice. In many ways it hearkened back to the very first “Pilot” episode of the show, and it left us with the same sunny mission statement: there is a brave new world emerging all around us and it needs to be protected from those who would seek to plunder it.

[Read more]

May 7 2014 3:00pm

Don’t Shoot the Dog. Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: “Ragtag”

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. season one, episode 21: Ragtag

We are promised The Back Story of Ward in this week’s episode of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and “Ragtag” gets right to it, kicking off the episode by showing us a pouty Teen Ward in prison scrubs. He has every reason to be pouty, we learn. It’s 1997 and Ward has just learned that the Smashing Pumpkins’ follow-up to Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness will be an electronica album*. On top of that, he’s in juvenile detention for arson and attempted murder and his parents are threatening to get him tried as an adult.

*I had to do a relatively ludicrous amount of research for that joke. I’m not proud of that, but I’m not not proud.

[Read more]

Apr 30 2014 2:40pm

A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Grievance. Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: “Nothing Personal”

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. season 1, episode 20: Nothing Personal

This week’s episode of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., “Nothing Personal,” or as I like to call it “Let’s See How Skye Gets Out Of This One,” is a middle of the road affair, but a necessary one all the same. With the panic of Hydra beginning to fade, the series was bound to need a pause for breath before plunging into the season finale.

In a roundabout way, “Nothing Personal” makes a point of having our agents earn that pause, both emotionally and physically. As opposed to the cliffhangers of the last few episodes, this episode peters out with the agents hanging out glumly by the pool in a crappy L.A. motel. It’s a credit to the show that, as a viewer, you just want to cuddle up with them.

[Read more]

Apr 23 2014 3:00pm

Too Much Love Will Kill You: Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., “The Only Light in the Darkness”

Agents of SHIELD season 1, episode 19: The Only Light in the Darkness

As supervillain powers go, “turning off the lights without having to get out of bed” is dubious. You can jazz it up like this week’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. episode did and claim that what Blackout is really doing is absorbing energy, but that still means your villain’s greatest weakness is A Bunch of Flashlights. Thanks for the takedown, trick-or-treating group of kids! We’ll call you next time he escapes.

If this was earlier on in the season, I feel like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. would have tried to hang its entire episode on this monster chase in an attempt to dazzle the viewer with the concept alone. It’s a sign of the continued growth of the show that “The Only Light in the Darkness” now pushes that to the margins in favor of spending its time with our non-super-powered—but more interesting by the week!—team of agents.

[Read more]

Apr 16 2014 3:00pm

It’s Not Given, But Discovered. Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: “Providence”

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., season 1, episode 18: Providence

“Providence,” this week’s episode of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., is what it looks like to see a new show commit to itself. No more jumping-on point or one-off episodes for viewers this season. The rollercoaster is no longer boarding, you’re either familiar with the show or not.

This isn’t a bad thing for any show to do, and the embrace of serialization seems to be making Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. downright playful. (This might also be because the show doesn’t have to wait for Captain America: The Winter Soldier anymore. Thom Dunn expertly points out the crumminess about that.) And although we seem destined to bonk around in the Marvel Universe toy box until the end of the season, “Providence” provides hints that we may be seeing more of a transformation than a serialization.

(Spoilers ahead for Captain America: The Winter Soldier.)

[Read more]

Apr 10 2014 11:45am

I Just Lost Hours Reading This Geological History of Westeros

Game of Thrones geological history of Westeros

The Stanford geologists at Generation Anthropocene are my new favorite people. They recently assembled a presentation that extrapolates from clues in the books how the continent of Westeros in A Song of Ice and Fire / Game of Thrones came to be formed, from the salt flats of Dorne to the granite of Winterfell, and it is an exceptionally clever work that breathes new color into George R. R. Martin’s world.

They also nail down precisely how big the planet is—an attempt I made myself last year with less precise methods—figure out where the tectonic plates are, find missing volcanoes, and discover a period in the planet’s history where winter thoroughly won the fight.

Check out the full thing here. Don't fret over not knowing anything about geology. The writing in the presentation presents everything very clearly and concisely, allowing anyone to follow the progression of Westeros from southern hemispheric lump to its jagged current-day self. Here’s hoping they publish an update that folds Essos and the Known World into the mix!

Apr 9 2014 3:35pm

A Twist Saved is a Twist Earned. Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: “Turn, Turn, Turn”

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. season 1 episode 17 recap: Turn, Turn, Turn

Spoiler warning: This episode is a direct response to the events of Captain America: The Winter Soldier. There will be immediate spoilers for the movie. Go see the movie it’s really good.

BOOM! I feel like so many of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.’s weaknesses were directly addressed in last night’s episode. There were twists! And turns! Turns! Turns! And nary a crappy Deathlok costume in sight.

Which means I get to talk about all the things I liked, because the episode was pretty much non-stop Things To Like.

[In which the Clairvoyant turns out to be pretty good at seeing things coming]

Apr 8 2014 4:30pm

I Seriously Doubt Kate Mulgrew Believes the Sun Revolves Around the Earth

Kate Mulgrew Captain Janeway Star Trek

Hey, guess what? Kate Mulgrew took a voice-over gig that has turned out to be narration for a documentary made by a Holocaust-denier that is titled The Principle, which claims that the sun revolves around the Earth. So now we know, for sure, that the Captain Kathryn Janeway that we (sort of) grew up with believes something that was disproved hundreds of years ago.

[Or, more likely, she doesn’t]

Apr 4 2014 2:15pm

The Age of Heroes is Here. Captain America: The Winter Soldier

Captain America: Winter Soldier Bucky

Note: This review is spoiler-free, with a separate section below for spoilers. There will be a warning before the spoilers begin. The comments will also contain spoilers.

If you’ve read any other reviews of Captain America: The Winter Soldier then you’ve essentially been told everything you need to know. 1.) It’s a must-see if you’re invested in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. 2.) Even if you’re not, it’s still a lot of fun. Did you see Iron Man 3 or Thor: The Dark World? Whatever reaction you had to those movies is what you’ll have to Winter Soldier.

[Read more]

Apr 2 2014 3:20pm

One Hand Washes the Other. Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: “The End of the Beginning"

Agents of SHIELD season 1, episode 16: The Beginning of the End recap

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. show runners Jed Whedon and Maurissa Tancharoen recently gave an interview to The Hollywood Reporter that leads off with a warning that people watching the show shouldn’t expect a Marvel movie every week. The warning seems a bit misguided. We’re not disappointed in the lack of superpowered characters or derring do—Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. has provided that in abundance, really—it’s more that the show hasn’t demonstrated that it has a grip on how to fully explore the characters and world that it has inherited.

This week’s episode “The End of the Beginning” is a solid response to that. It’s not a Marvel movie (although one character does leave to go be in a Marvel movie) but the episode utilizes the world that the show has hurriedly built this season in nicely varied and exciting ways. The show is finally beginning to cohere.

[Read more]