A 318-Year-Old Hologram Tells Us About the Future of Love in Monica Byrne’s Riveting TED Talk

In the footnotes for her recent TED Talk, The Girl in the Road author and Tiptree Award winner Monica Byrne writes, “I started thinking about constraints because of the constraints of my TED talk: I had only twelve minutes. In those twelve minutes, I’d get across…what!? The Biggest Viral Idea in Narrative Form Ever!?” For all of the wide-ranging topics that TED Talks take, there is a certain formula: a charismatic speaker with a headset and, often, visual accompaniment in the form of a PowerPoint presentation. So, for her TED Talk, Byrne—also a short story writer, playwright, essayist, traveler, and lover of fancy dresses—made herself the visual: Dressed in a lavish gown from Kambriel (recommended by Neil Gaiman) that evokes an Egyptian priestess from the future, she transformed into a 318-year-old hologram projecting into the Vancouver of 800 years from now. And for twelve minutes, she told us in the Vancouver of the past (that is, 2016) about eternal life and eternal love. As Navid, the wife of our narrator Pilar, says, “Creation needs constraint.”

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Holy Rewatch Batman! “Hizzoner the Penguin” / “Dizzoner the Penguin”

“Hizzoner the Penguin” / “Dizzoner the Penguin”
Written by Stanford Sherman
Directed by Oscar Rudolph
Season 2, Episodes 17 and 18
Production code 9719
Original air dates: November 2 and 3, 1966

The Bat-signal: The Penguin foils a robbery of a blind news vendor, right in front of a cop. (Said cop was way more concerned with Penguin than the poor blind dude.) He then saved a baby and donated money to the Gotham City Charity Fund. A very confused Gordon and O’Hara immediately go to the red phone…

[There will be no mudslinging in this campaign…]

Series: Holy Rewatch Batman!

What Happens in Helsinki Does Not Stay in Helsinki: Orphan Black, “From Instinct to Rational Control”

I’m not sure we quite make it all the way to rational control on this week’s Orphan Black. We certainly start with instinct—namely, Sarah’s instinct to stay alive, even if that means hastily patching things up with Felix so he can infiltrate a fertility clinic for her, making hacker Dizzy an honorary member of the Clone Club Sidekicks Union, bringing in Mrs. S to defuse a bomb, giving Ferdinand valuable information (everything short of the location of their safe house), and snapping at Alison and M.K. to get with the program. Fittingly, the most rational character in this episode is Rachel, who is considering different (but equally daunting) stakes when it comes to genetics and cures, and who is called upon to make an unemotional choice.

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The Vagrant Sweepstakes!

We want to send you a copy of Peter Newman’s The Vagrant, available May 10th from Harper Voyager!

The Vagrant is his name. He has no other. Years have passed since humanity’s destruction emerged from the Breach. Friendless and alone he walks across a desolate, war-torn landscape. As each day passes the world tumbles further into depravity, bent and twisted by the new order, corrupted by the Usurper, the enemy, and his infernal horde.

His purpose is to reach the Shining City, last bastion of the human race, and deliver the only weapon that may make a difference in the ongoing war. What little hope remains is dying. Abandoned by its leader, The Seven, and its heroes, The Seraph Knights, the last defences of a once great civilisation are crumbling into dust. But the Shining City is far away and the world is a very dangerous place.

Comment in the post to enter!

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The Flying Eyes: They Fly, They Drip, And They Hate America

Welcome to Freaky Fridays, that time when you can relax after a hard week of keeping America moving forward into the future, and read about killer babies, flying eyeballs, and black time travelers.

1962. America. Land of the free, home of the brave. A college football game on a crisp Autumn day in a small town in the heartland. Lincoln Hosler (“Linc” to his friends) is enjoying this wholesome display of good sportsmanship with his best pal, Wes, and the girl they both have a shine for, Kelly, when something swoops out of the sun. Is it a flock of birds? Some kind of high-tech jet plane? No, it’s…oh, god, it’s eyes. Giant, flying eyes. “The skin of the lids was a monstrous rubbery mass, the pores visible holes, and the lashhairs were as big around as matchsticks at the roots.” What sicko thinks up this kind of thing?

This book’s Norman Rockwell Americana is revealed to be but a thin crust masking an oozing core of tarry depravity, like Blue Velvet, only instead of a disembodied ear at the heart of horror it’s a disembodied eye. That flies. And talks. And batters people to death with its long, curly lashes. Did you just throw up in your mouth a little? Well, turn up the Paul Harvey, pour yourself a Budweiser, and pull up a pew. There’s more where that came from.

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Malazan Reread of the Fallen: Blood and Bone Chapter Fourteen Part One

Welcome back to the Malazan Reread of the Fallen! Every post will start off with a summary of events, followed by reaction and commentary by your hosts Bill and Amanda (with Amanda, new to the series, going first), and finally comments from Tor.com readers. In this article, we’ll cover Chapter Fourteen (Part One) of Ian Cameron Esslemont’s Blood and Bone.

A fair warning before we get started: We’ll be discussing both novel and whole-series themes, narrative arcs that run across the entire series, and foreshadowing. Note: The summary of events will be free of major spoilers and we’re going to try keeping the reader comments the same. A spoiler thread has been set up for outright Malazan spoiler discussion.

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Series: Malazan Reread of the Fallen

Five Addictive Books Featuring Sci-Fi Drugs

Whether it’s a pill that allows you to access the (entirely fictional and troperiffic) untapped 90% of your brain’s potential, or a soporific hallucinogen designed to maintain the blissful equilibrium of an imagined utopia, fictional drugs have long allowed sci-fi writers to tap into freaky times and far out powers while exploring themes such as the power of perception, the limits of societal control, and the cycle of addiction. The following are five such stories I’ve been both addicted to and inspired by.

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Series: Five Books About…

Alden Ehrenreich Cast as Young Smuggler-to-Be Han Solo

Haaan Solooo!! We’re pulling out our Maz Kanata voice, because there’s big news: The Star Wars Han Solo standalone film has found its scruffy-looking nerfherder in Alden Ehrenreich. You might know him from the supernatural YA romance Beautiful Creatures, or his recent critically hailed turn as a dopey cowboy in the Coen brothers’ Hail, Caesar! Now, he’s beat the other frontrunners (including Miles Teller, Ansel Elgort, and others) to star in the upcoming Star Wars “Anthology” film.

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The Dragonlance Chronicles Reread: Dragons of Spring Dawning, Chapters 5 and 6

Welcome back to the Dragonlance Chronicles Reread!

Last time, things got dark as Raistlin gave in to the power of the dragon orb and his own selfish desires, and Tanis was carried off on a dragon by Kitiara. This week, Raistlin seeks help from a super-librarian, and Laurana gets no respect from the nobles of Palanthas.

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Series: Dragonlance Reread

Cabaret with a Touch of Fantasy: Revealing the Cover for Amberlough

We’re excited to show off Victo Ngai’s stunning cover art for Lara Elena Donnelly’s debut novel Amberlough, publishing February 2017 from Tor Books. A fantasy/espionage thriller, Amberlough has been described as Le Carré meets Cabaret as a double-agent schemes to protect his smuggler lover during the rise of a fascist government coup.

Check out the full cover and learn more about the novel below!

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Ayesha, White as Snow: H. Rider Haggard’s She and Walt Disney’s Evil Queen

There are few Disney villains more iconic than the Evil Queen from the 1937 animated feature Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. She was the first, after all, and persists as a vivid and malignant presence in the studio’s pantheon to this day. Perhaps this is unsurprising when one plumbs her little-explored lineage, traceable to another of film and literature’s most enduring villainesses: Queen Ayesha of H. Rider Haggard’s 1887 novel She: A History of Adventure, a timeless, deathless being of unsurpassed beauty—the fairest in the land—who reigns cruelly over a lost African kingdom.

The indelible image of Disney’s Evil Queen adorned in her trademark crown, prominent bejeweled necklace and, most strikingly, severe black wimple is on display in countless Disney Studios spin-offs, all the way up to last year’s Disney Channel movie Descendants. It is, however, first seen in the 1935 film adaptation of She from producer Merian C. Cooper, the creative force behind King Kong (whose personal life reads like that of the Haggard hero Allan Quatermain from King Solomon’s Mines).

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The Harry Potter Reread: The Deathly Hallows, Chapters 31 and 32

The Harry Potter Reread found some old holographic temporary tattoos from, like, 1999 and brought them into work. Someone is bound to have a desperate need for them, after all. It’s the way of the world.

This week we’re going to talk to the Grey Lady and then have a really awkward conversation with Voldemort. It’s chapters 31 and 32 of The Deathly Hallows—The Battle of Hogwarts and The Elder Wand.

Index to the reread can be located here! Other Harry Potter and Potter-related pieces can be found under their appropriate tag. And of course, since we know this is a reread, all posts might contain spoilers for the entire series. If you haven’t read all the Potter books, be warned.

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Series: The Harry Potter Reread

Commemorate the War of 1996 with the New Independence Day: Resurgence Trailer

While previous trailers for Independence Day: Resurgence have crashed alien motherships into Washington, D.C., and made London Bridge fall down (and then some), we’ve been seeing mostly destruction instead of, you know. worldbuilding. After all, this sequel comes 20 years after the original’s release date and 20 years later in the world of the movie itself. And what a world it has become, since humanity wrested its autonomy back from creepy aliens with knee-knockingly-scary laser weaponry. Thankfully, the latest trailer-slash-featurette—a United World News special, naturally—fills in the gaps of the last two decades, starting with the War of 1996.

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