Cold Wind April 16, 2014 Cold Wind Nicola Griffith Old ways can outlast their usefulness. What Mario Scietto Says April 15, 2014 What Mario Scietto Says Emmy Laybourne An original Monument 14 story. Something Going Around April 9, 2014 Something Going Around Harry Turtledove A tale of love and parasites. The Devil in America April 2, 2014 The Devil in America Kai Ashante Wilson The gold in her pockets is burning a hole.
From The Blog
April 13, 2014
Game of Thrones, Season 4, Episode 2: “The Lion and the Rose”
Theresa DeLucci
April 11, 2014
This Week’s Game-Changing Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Was Exactly The Problem With The Show
Thom Dunn
April 8, 2014
Let’s Completely Reimagine Battlestar Galactica! Again. This Time as A Movie!
Emily Asher-Perrin
April 4, 2014
The Age of Heroes is Here. Captain America: The Winter Soldier
Chris Lough
April 3, 2014
A Spoonful of Music Makes the Nanny: Disney’s Mary Poppins
Mari Ness
Showing posts by: chris lough click to see chris lough's profile
Thu
Apr 10 2014 11:45am

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!

Wed
Apr 9 2014 3:35pm

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]

Tue
Apr 8 2014 4:30pm

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]

Fri
Apr 4 2014 2:15pm

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]

Wed
Apr 2 2014 3:20pm

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]

Mon
Mar 24 2014 4:00pm

Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey episode 3 science Isaac Newton

Want to know more about the Really Cool Things behind the science and history revealed in this week’s episode of Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey? This must be the place!

This week we’ll dig deeper into episode 3, “When Knowledge Conquered Fear” and look at the constellations of Middle-earth, galaxies that SHOOT LASERS, how awesome-not-awesome Isaac Newton was, and the galactic cataclysm pinwheeling towards us right now.

[Read more]

Mon
Mar 24 2014 12:00pm

Game of Thrones iron throne who deserves to win

When you play the game of thrones, so goes the saying, you win or you die. Mostly you die.

While we root for the characters that we want to see take the throne, the show and the books have gone to great lengths to show us the kind of ruler each candidate might be, should they emerge triumphant. We might want Daenerys to take the crown, but would she actually make a good ruler of Westeros?

[Who actually deserves to win the game of thrones?]

Mon
Mar 24 2014 10:00am

Muppets Most Wanted movie review

Straight away I can tell you that I enjoyed Muppets Most Wanted far more than 2011’s revival The Muppets, but the reasons for that comprise a movie that is probably not what High Disney, Lord of All may have preferred film director James Bobin and writer Nicholas Stoller present to an audience of children.

Though as a member of the other portion of the audience being courted—nostalgists, basically—I found the film’s antagonistic creepiness and lack of sentiment pretty amazing.

[“You can quit being a Muppet?”]

Wed
Mar 19 2014 11:00am

Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey episode 2: Some of the Things That Molecules Do

As a mostly educational program Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey is meant to inspire a sense of wonder in its viewers, regardless of their background, along with a desire to explore the worlds around them in the same curious manner as host Neil deGrasse Tyson’s Ship of the Imagination.

Towards that end, instead of simply recapping and reviewing each episode, I’ll be assembling a list of Really Cool Things behind the science. Want to learn more about what you saw in the program? Come this way!

This week we’ll dig deeper into episode 2, “Some of the Things That Molecules Do” and meet some adorable foxes, raise an eyebrow at What We’ve Done To Corn, and see a map of Titan that could double as an epic fantasy world.

[Read more]

Wed
Mar 19 2014 8:45am

Avengers: Age of Ultron concept art Scarlet With Elizabeth Olsen

In place of last night’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., ABC aired Marvel Studios: Assembling a Universe, a hour-long informercial laying out for the casual viewer the next steps for the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Along with the Ant-Man test footage leaked last year, the special gave us a quick look at Guardians of the Galaxy and some exciting concept art for 2015’s Avengers: Age of Ultron, including our first look at Quicksilver, Scarlet Witch, and...well, you’ll see!

[Avengers: Age of Ultron sneak peek. Spoilers ahead.]

Mon
Mar 17 2014 12:00pm

Guardians of the Galaxy Infinity Gauntlet

The first trailer for Guardians of the Galaxy, the dark horse of the Avengers Cinematic Universe is so much fun! (OOGA CHAKA OOGA OOGA) For those unfamiliar with the Guardians of the Galaxy comic book—and that’s most of us as the comics were never popular enough to stave off cancellation—the movie represents a quirky new direction for the Avengers universe, one only hinted at through the delightfully batty Thor films.

But for those who are familiar with Marvel’s cosmos line of books in the 1980s, 90s, and 2000s, the Guardians of the Galaxy trailer is hiding a lot of clues about a larger struggle that will consume the Marvel movies after Avengers: Age of Ultron.

Read on for a layman’s guide to Guardians of the Galaxy. (Warning! Spoilers ahead for pretty much every Marvel movie that has come out, plus some for Guardians of the Galaxy and one for Avengers: Age of Ultron.)

[What’s hiding in the Guardians of the Galaxy trailer]

Fri
Mar 14 2014 7:00am

It’s not hard to idolize Albert Einstein on his pi day birthday, or any day. The man is responsible for the general and special theories of relativity, a cornerstone of physics and a way of understanding our universe that has proven so consistently reliable that it is probably the closest humanity will ever get to a decisive cosmic capital-T Truth. He’s the scientist you first learn about when you are introduced to the very concept of science. Mere decades after his death, his name is synonymous with the term “genius.” Even if you don’t know who Einstein is, you’ve still heard the term “Einstein.”

And how he came to that point is by exploring the world in exactly the same way we do when we write or talk about science fiction and fantasy.

[Read more]

Wed
Mar 12 2014 5:00pm

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. season 1, episode 15 "Yes Men" recap

Last night’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. episode “Yes Men” saw the world of Asgard intersect once more with our puny Midgardian pebble and the results were catastrophic, although probably not in the way viewers had hoped they would be. The fill-in-the-blanks plot was a parade of missed opportunities, one of which was particularly egregious, and what resulted was one of the lowest points in the show’s struggling first season. Let’s recap where it went wrong.

[Read more]

Tue
Mar 11 2014 2:10pm

Daenerys and her dragons Game of Thrones season 4

Depending on how far along you are with Game of Thrones you may not know that Theon Greyjoy’s storyline in season 3 doesn’t actually occur in A Storm of Swords, the Song of Ice and Fire book that seasons 3 and 4 of the shows are based upon.

[Note: This article will be referencing events from Game of Thrones season 4 and the ensuing books. Spoilers ahead for the whole series, basically.]

[Read more]

Mon
Mar 10 2014 4:00pm

Cosmos A Spacetime Odyssey

It’s funny; I didn’t expect to be the wrong audience for Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey.

I love space. It’s vast and full of dramatic extremes and it contains every story there is to tell. All you have to do is get me in the right mood (re: brunch) and I’ll relay how we could build a warp drive right now if we only had a type of matter that doesn’t exist, or how disappointed I’ll be if we don’t find evidence before I die of an exoplanet actively harboring life.

To be sure, Neil deGrasse Tyson’s renewed Cosmos mini-series conveys that same awe and excitement clearly and gorgeously. But its debut episode “Standing Up In the Milky Way” certainly made me feel alone in the universe, in ways both intended and not.

[Comes a time to step aside]

Wed
Mar 5 2014 6:00pm

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. recap of season 1 episode 14 T.A.H.I.T.I.

That was the weirdest Dr. Manhattan reference ever.

Although ostensibly about saving Skye’s life, “T.A.H.I.T.I.” circles the show back around to the mystery behind Coulson’s resurrection, diving deeper into the tangled world of S.H.I.E.L.D.

[Read more]

Thu
Feb 13 2014 10:00am

RoboCop 2014 movie review

Good news! The future is hilarious.

In some ways, the 2014 RoboCop reboot is better and more vibrant than you would expect. There’s a self-aware quality to the story and its actors that is absolutely key to making its setting, America and Detroit in the year 2028, fully believable. Even 14 years away, this is a not-too-distant future that you can readily imagine RoboCop emerging into, with all the benefits and drawbacks that this entails.

At the same time, you can’t take RoboCop too seriously.

[Robo-phobics, all of you!]

Tue
Feb 11 2014 2:30pm

Winter's Tale Mark Helprin

This book. Did you know it was a book? Did you know it’s going to be a questionable movie this week? There’s a magic horse in it.

Mark Helprin’s Winter’s Tale is such an odd brick of a thing. It’s essentially a fantasy novel set in a New York City that isn’t New York City, except actually it’s a character drama steeped in magical realism and the actual character you’re following is the coming and going of New York City itself. And maybe not even that.

I think the magic horse is supposed to represent God?

[You can’t truly know it until you’ve regretted reading it.]

Fri
Jan 24 2014 11:50am

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Mike Peterson Deathlok

CALLED IT. (Sorry, that's obnoxious, I know. But I get so few victories over this show.)

Marvel announced on Thursday that kidnapped super soldier Mike Peterson will be revealed as Deathlok in the next episode of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., which will also feature a train job, Stan Lee, and Coulson begging someone not to die. What a packed episode! Do you think Stan Lee gets to name Mike Peterson after he wakes up? I hope so. Then I hope he goes around naming everyone silly things.

Marvel also had some words about Sif's upcoming cameo.

[So confused]

Fri
Jan 17 2014 4:18pm

Lady Sif Jamie Alexander Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.

Executive Director of Marvel TV Communications, Arune Singh just announced that Lady Sif (Jaimie Alexander) will be appearing on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. this spring in an “integral role”!

Singh and The Mary Sue also talked about what else is forthcoming in the latter half of the show’s first season. And I think I know why Sif might be showing up... Spoilers ahead!

[Asgardian vacation!]