Jessica Jones is Her Own Worst Enemy

Hot off her Alias reread, Tansy Rayner Roberts reviews Netflix’s Jessica Jones. In this post: “Episode 6—AKA You’re a Winner.” Spoilers for season 1.

AKA You’re A Winner!

Written By: Edward Ricourt
Directed By: Stephen Surjik

Malcolm is now in recovery from drug addiction, and he’s being a model patient. He’s attending group therapy far more often than Jessica, and after some soul searching he is all aboard the Anti-Kilgrave Committee with an unprecedented amount of enthusiasm.

[“I preferred your brain on drugs.”]

Pull List: Pretty Deadly

At this point, if Kelly Sue DeConnick is involved, I’m guaranteed to be there front and center. She could reboot the phonebook and I’d have it in my pull list the second it was announced. It’s more than just being a fan of her work. Yes, she’s a feminist icon and a comic book powerhouse, but more than that she uses an old medium to tell new stories, well, maybe not new per se but overlooked and ignored. Her take on Carol Danvers reinvigorated a wasted character into a truly amazing run on Captain Marvel. By blending the lost art of Blaxploitation and age-old fears of a patriarchy run wild she created Bitch Planet, a high watermark graphic novels will spend decades trying to match. And with the hook of a genderbent Spaghetti Western, Pretty Deadly came roaring onto shelves.

[“Am I a monster?”]

Peter Jackson Announces He’s Directing an Episode of Doctor Who in the Silliest Way

In 2012, when asked if he would ever direct an episode of Doctor WhoLord of the Rings director Peter Jackson said, “I’m a huge Doctor Who fan… Just name a time and place, and I’ll be there!” Looks like that time and place will become clear very soon, as evidenced by this tongue-in-cheek video Jackson posted to his Facebook page over the weekend.

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Need a Ride? BITE by K. S. Merbeth

Back in the distant past, when Mad Max: Fury Road was still a big hit in cinemas, Orbit announced—not coincidentally, I think—that it had acquired “a dark debut” complete with “an amazing world” and a “strong female main character” sure to prove perfect for fans of George Miller’s movie.

The book in question was BITE by Kristyn S. Merbeth, “the stark and darkly comedic story of a young girl who joins a crew of bandits in a lawless, post-nuclear world,” and last week, its publisher showed it off properly.

[Cover art coming up!]

Series: British Fiction Focus

Return of the Ham. Watching Return of the Jedi for the First Time

Oh, Lucas. What have you done?

What have you done?

Last time, you showed me what you (or at least, you in cooperation with others, possibly?) could do with The Empire Strikes Back. And the result was a wonderful movie that knocked my socks off and sold me on Star Wars forever.

I trusted you, or at least past you, a bit more than I should have. Fortunately, some warnings kept me from getting my hopes up too much, but goodness.

I’ll be blunt: I don’t think Return of the Jedi is as good as The Empire Strikes Back or A New Hope.

And yet… despite not being as good as its predecessors, Return of the Jedi still strikes a chord in me.

[“There is good in him.”]

Syfy’s Childhood’s End Updates a Classic to Ask Big Questions

Childhood’s End is coming to Syfy as a three-night event beginning December 14th and starring Mike Vogel, Charles Dance, and Colm Meaney. I was fortunate enough to see an early screening of the first episode, and I’ve tried to gather a few non-spoilery thoughts about it, as well as a few of the highlights from the panel that followed the screening. While I found it a little choppy at times, I thought this opening episode set up an intriguing premise that will be compelling for those who haven’t read the book, as well Arthur C. Clarke fans who have wanted to see this story brought to the screen. Check out our non-spoiler review!

[Would you trust an alien who sounded like Charles Dance?]

Happy Birthday, Madeleine L’Engle!

Today marks the birthday of an author who forever changed the way we feel about time travel, alternate dimensions, and dark and stormy nights. Madeleine L’Engle was born on November 29th in New York City and started writing almost right away. Her first story was composed at age 8, and she went on to pen a universe of novels, poems, and non-fiction throughout her amazing and inspirational career.

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Series: On This Day

C.S. Lewis: Moral Fantasist

C.S. Lewis had three different lives professionally. He was an academic, a medievalist who taught at both Oxford and Cambridge and published extensively in his field. (His book Allegory of Love still considered a classic). He was also a Christian Apologist and lay-theologian, with works like Mere Christianity, Miracles, and The Screwtape Letters exploring faith and doubt. Finally, the career that made him famous and became his lasting legacy was that of a fantasy and science fiction author. His Chronicles of Narnia are classics of children’s literature, and have sparked devotion and serious exploration from authors like Philip Pullman, Neil Gaiman, and Lev Grossman.

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Series: On This Day

Fiction Affliction: December Releases in Paranormal Romance

Ready for romance in December? Read slowly. There might be only eight new releases, but look from reader favorites from, among others, J.R. Ward, Thea Harrison, Kresley Cole, Ryannon Byrd, and Eve Langlais.

Fiction Affliction details releases in science fiction, fantasy, urban fantasy, paranormal romance, and “genre-benders.” Keep track of them all here.

Note: All title summaries are taken and/or summarized from copy provided by the publisher.

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The Ghost of Hayden Christensen: Why Anakin MUST Appear in Episode VII

The very end of the super-duper 2004 special edition of Return of the Jedi finds Luke gazing out to see Obi-Wan smiling, Yoda smiling, Anakin smiling, and the audience freaking out. Instead of Sebastian Shaw as an old Anakin, Hayden Christensen suddenly shimmered into view, smirking awkwardly, complete with his big Jedi mullet. And the haters began to hate. But, now with Episode VII so close to release, there’s paradoxically one person I don’t think they can leave out, and that person is Hayden Christensen! Here’s why the ghost of Hayden must return!

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Pathfinder Tales: Bloodbound Sweepstakes!

We want to send you a galley of Pathfinder Tales: Bloodbound by F. Wesley Schneider, available December 1st from Tor Books!

Larsa is a dhampir: half vampire, half human. In the gritty streets and haunted moors of gothic Ustalav, she’s an agent for the royal spymaster, keeping peace between the capital’s secret vampire population and its huddled human masses. Yet when a noblewoman’s entire house is massacred by vampiric invaders, Larsa is drawn into a deadly game of cat-and-mouse that will reveal far more about her own heritage than she ever wanted to know.

From Pathfinder co-creator and noted game designer F. Wesley Schneider comes a dark fantasy adventure of murder, intrigue, and secrets best left buried, set in the award-winning world of the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game.

Comment in the post to enter!

NO PURCHASE NECESSARY TO ENTER OR WIN. A purchase does not improve your chances of winning. Sweepstakes open to legal residents of 50 United States and D.C., and Canada (excluding Quebec). To enter, comment on this post beginning at 12:00 PM Eastern Time (ET) on November 27th. Sweepstakes ends at 12:00 PM ET on December 1st. Void outside the United States and Canada and where prohibited by law. Please see full details and official rules here. Sponsor:, 175 Fifth Ave., New York, NY 10010.

Pictures With a Thousand Words: Thing Explainer by Randall Munroe

It is tempting to take a page from Randall Munroe’s Thing Explainer: Complicated Stuff in Simple Words, and try to write this entire review in, as Munroe puts it, the ten hundred most common words in the English language. It’s an intriguing challenge, because one of the charms of this new book is that it imbues everything between its covers with a childlike and unpretentious sense of delight in humanity’s intellectual achievements.

Still, somehow it makes me want to bust out a thesaurus and get all polysyllabic on you guys.

[Thing you use to go read more about Thing Explainer]

Getting to “The End.” Standalone Fantasy Books That Came Out in 2015

Sometimes you just want to curl up with a fantasy tale that won’t let you get to the back cover without concluding the story, and judging from all of these suggestions (here) for standalone fantasy books (and here), you’re not alone!

Maybe you’re looking for something a little more recent, though? Below, we’ve rounded up a list of standalone fantasy books that have come out in 2015. It is not comprehensive (or even complete since the year itself isn’t), so if we skipped a favorite of yours, mention it in the comments!

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