A Long Spoon December 18, 2014 A Long Spoon Jonathan L. Howard A Johannes Cabal story. Burnt Sugar December 10, 2014 Burnt Sugar Lish McBride Everyone knows about gingerbread houses. Father Christmas: A Wonder Tale of the North December 9, 2014 Father Christmas: A Wonder Tale of the North Charles Vess Happy Holidays from Tor.com Skin in the Game December 3, 2014 Skin in the Game Sabrina Vourvoulias Some monsters learn how to pass.
From The Blog
December 9, 2014
The Eleventh Doctor’s Legacy Was Loss and Failure
Emily Asher-Perrin
December 9, 2014
Tor.com Reviewers’ Choice: The Best Books of 2014
Tor.com
December 8, 2014
How Fast is the Millennium Falcon? A Thought Experiment.
Chris Lough
December 8, 2014
Tiamat’s Terrain: Tales of the Marvellous and News of the Strange
Alex Mangles
December 4, 2014
Potential Spoiler Leak for Star Wars: The Force Awakens Reveals Awesome Details
Emily Asher-Perrin
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Thu
Dec 18 2014 2:00pm

The Harry Potter Reread: The Goblet of Fire, Chapters 9 and 10

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, coverThe Harry Potter Reread has never mastered the art of gift wrapping, but enjoys fancy wrapping paper. This is a problem. It is a waste of fanciness. Unacceptable.

We’ve arrived at the place where everything actually gets scary! It’s Chapters 9 and 10 of The Goblet of Fire—The Dark Mark and Mayhem at the Ministry.

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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Wed
Dec 17 2014 2:00pm

What of the King Under the Mountain? The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies

The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies, Thorin, Bilbo

It was a cue that the overall tone of the final Hobbit film had been altered when it’s subtitle was changed from There and Back Again to The Battle of the Five Armies. And while the film has its fair share of dazzling moments, it does prove what many fans had bemoaned from the very start of this enterprise: it should have been two films, not three.

Minor spoilers for the film (and book) below.

[Tea is at four. Don’t bother knocking.]

Thu
Dec 11 2014 12:30pm

The Harry Potter Reread: The Goblet of Fire, Chapters 7 and 8

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire coverThe Harry Potter Reread has this problem where every time someone asks it what part of the Metropolitan Museum of Art they should visit, it automatically says “The Egypt stuff!” And then everyone gives it the side-eye and asks about paintings, and the Reread sadly mutters, “But… Egypt stuff…” to itself for the next hour.

This week we’re going to try playing with matches and watch a very important game. It’s Chapters 7 and 8 of The Goblet of Fire—Bagman and Crouch and The Quidditch World Cup.

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.

[Read more]

Wed
Dec 10 2014 12:00pm

We Need a Kink in Our Stories: BDSM Characters in Your Favorite Genre Fiction

Farscape, Scorpius, John Crichton

Look at a beloved genre TV show, movie, or comic book. Is there simmering sexual tension marked by shifting power and the exchange of control? Do the characters strut around in leather corsets and wield whips? Does someone get tied up? You’re looking at BDSM (variously standing for bondage and discipline, dominance and submission, sadism and masochism) at play. Which really doesn’t come as a surprise, because geeks are kinky as all get out.

Older, more conservative narratives would have us believe that people who engage in BDSM are somehow wrong or depraved. But the sheer presence of kinky characters across so many stories—whether hiding in children’s shows as jokes for the parents, or in the case of Farscape’s Scorpius, hiding in plain sight—simply proves how universal the notion of power exchange is.

Remember your safe words, ’cause it’s time to meet our favorite fictional kinksters!

[Read more]

Tue
Dec 9 2014 2:00pm

The Eleventh Doctor’s Legacy Was Loss and Failure

Doctor Who, Eleven, Matt Smith

“Why did you say five minutes?”

Whovians have only had one season away from the Eleventh Doctor, and it’s rough for some to remember that this year isn’t a brief reprieve before his return. Fans are missing his childlike wonder, his comforting cadence, his attractive-science-professor fashion sense, his undeniable sweetness in the face of a universe worth of terrors.

Is that his legacy, though? Safe to say that he will be thought of fondly, but that’s not what made his run remarkable.

[Help me save Amy and Rory.]

Thu
Dec 4 2014 2:20pm

Potential Spoiler Leak for Star Wars: The Force Awakens Reveals Awesome Details

j.j. abrams, r2-d2

Okay, so if you want to know nothing at all about what’s coming for Star Wars: Episode VII, you should steer clear of all this. But someone claiming to be a Lucasfilm employee got on 4chan last night and dumped a bunch of info about the film.

Meaning it is by no means accurate. But some of these rumors do sound frightfully legit. And excellent.

[Spoilers below. Lots of ’em.]

Thu
Dec 4 2014 11:00am

The Harry Potter Reread: The Goblet of Fire, Chapters 5 and 6

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, coverThe Harry Potter Reread has come upon its first sampling of holiday cookies. If it is difficult to understand, that’s probably because it’s talking with its mouth full. Shame on the Reread.

We’re going to have a nice dinner and some shouting and eventually take a hike at dawn. It’s Chapter 5 and 6—Weasleys’ Wizard Wheezes and The Portkey.

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.

[Read more]

Wed
Dec 3 2014 2:00pm

Peter Pan’s “Greatest Pretend” is Heroism

Peter Pan, Jeremy Sumpter

Peter Pan is one of the greatest children’s stories in western literature, as its constant revival proves. But what makes the Pan so inspiring, so worthy of our adoration? Why do we cling to this tale with every childlike corner of our hearts, and dread its bittersweet end? Why does the tale of Peter and Wendy attract child and adult alike, long past the point of growing up?

This may come as a surprise to you, but it’s probably because the Boy Who Won’t Grow Up is—in actuality—a terrifying protagonist.

[Oh, the cleverness of me!]

Tue
Dec 2 2014 9:00am

You Cannot Tell if Star Wars: Episode VII is Good or Bad From 90 Seconds of Footage

do you like new lasersword? Star Wars: Episode VII

It’s amazing that there are so many opinions about 1/120th of a single film.

Yes, it’s Star Wars, but it’s distressing to see so much anguish erupt over our very first taste on the big screen in a decade. A lot of bile and ridiculous overstating in the works—so I thought I’d get to the bottom of why most of this weird nay-saying is unfounded at best and detrimental/depressing at worst.

And then talk about what the trailer actually reveals. Because that is exciting.

[All I know is that the fandom is awakening…]

Mon
Dec 1 2014 9:00am

Songs That Did (and Didn’t) Work in Genre Movies and TV

Seal Kiss From a Rose Batman Forever

An animated girl-power narrative undermines its entire message with a cringingly cheesy soundtrack. A way-modern band shatters the illusion of a period film. Two superheroes decide to consummate their relationship in-costume, only for the mournful strains of Leonard Cohen to completely kill the mood. Music choice is everything, but especially in genre stories where you have a specific world and tone to match.

Many unsuitable songs are shoehorned into genre movies and television series, the worst ones coming off so anathema to the scene being set that they make viewers say “huh?” Below, we list songs that did that for us, but we also list instances where the music paired with a movie absolutely kills it. Relive the greatness and badness of these songs! (And add your own!)

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Wed
Nov 26 2014 3:00pm

Evil Couture, Inc. — The Best Fashionable Villains!

Villain Fashion, White Witch, Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe, Tilda Swinton

One of the perks of being evil—you can dress however you like. From fine couture to outrageous false eyelashes, many villains express their freedom from wholesome heroics by creating wardrobes that match their inner diabolical divas. Here are some of the best dressed baddies from across genre.

[If she doesn’t scare you, no evil thing will.]

Mon
Nov 24 2014 2:00pm

Dear, Star Trek — Please Pay Attention to Doctor McCoy Now

McCoy, Spokc, Star Trek, Wrath of Khan

With the third Star Trek reboot film on the way, fans have their fingers crossed hard. Everyone has been pushing for a film that does what Star Trek has always said on the tin—explore the final frontier. And fans have been promised exploration is part of the bargain. But you know what I’ve been holding out for?

More Doctor McCoy. Because if McCoy is important to the film, then all those other problems kind of solve themselves automatically.

[Just once I’d like to land someplace and say “Behold, I am the archangel Gabriel!”]

Fri
Nov 21 2014 12:00pm

Fire is Catching: The Hunger Games: Mockingjay: Part I

Hunger Games, Mockingjay, Jennifer Lawrence

While the choice to split Mockingjay, the final Hunger Games book, into two movies was clearly a move to make more money (ala Harry Potter and The Hobbit), the real question was always going to be whether or not Mockingjay had enough material to create two films. Interestingly, the filmmakers seem to have pulled it off with very little effort—simply by focusing on the fire that stokes a rebellion.

[And if we burn, you burn with us.]

Thu
Nov 20 2014 11:00am

The Harry Potter Reread: The Goblet of Fire, Chapters 3 and 4

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, coverThe Harry Potter Reread will survive the dark hours of winter by pretending it’s still summer and wearing sunglasses all the time. (This is inadvisable. Do not listen to the reread.)

We are going to eat a slice of grapefruit for breakfast and then blow up someone’s living room! It’s chapters 3 and 4—The Invitation and Back to the Burrow.

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.

[Read more]

Tue
Nov 18 2014 9:30am

But How Do You Make Mjolnir Like You, Though? — Being Worthy of the Power of Thor

Thor, mjolnir

Heroism is an interesting thing. What makes one person good can be drastically different than what makes another person good. There are a multitude of ways to embody goodness, just as there are many ways to embody evil. But we don’t often talk about the subtleties of goodness the way we do with villainy. You’re either good or you’re not.

Which brings me to a question: what specifically makes Thor good enough to hoist Mjolnir?

[What does being “worthy” entail exactly?]

Thu
Nov 13 2014 2:00pm

The Harry Potter Reread: The Goblet of Fire, Chapters 1 and 2

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire coverThe Harry Potter Reread wants to know why sometimes when you hold your breath to get rid of hiccups it works, and sometimes it doesn’t. It seems as though this reveal might be incredibly relevant to the human race’s advancement.

We’ve made it to the middle book! Everything’s about to get crazy! And long! And full of dragons! So let’s start out with Chapters 1 and 2 of The Goblet of Fire—The Riddle House and The Scar.

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.

[Read more]

Wed
Nov 12 2014 12:00pm

“My heart is maintained by the Doctor.” Thoughts On Doctor Who’s Female Master

The Master, Doctor Who

When “Missy” first debuted in sneak peek pictures of Doctor Who’s season eight, fandom was quick to point out that she looked like pretty much every other femme fatale that Steven Moffat has put on television in a past few years: dark-haired updo, pale, bright lipstick, cheekbones ablaze. Yet while those complaints may be valid, some of the ire directed toward the character is gendered in a distinctly uncomfortable manner.

[I couldn’t very well keep calling myself…]

Tue
Nov 11 2014 12:30pm

Supernatural’s Greatest Moments of Meta

Supernatural, television

Supernatural’s 200th episode is coming up (tonight!), and the creative team has promised that it’s going to be a meta extravaganza with musical interludes aplenty. It’s not really any surprise that the show has chosen to go that route; meta is one of the things that Supernatural does better than practically any genre show out there.

Here are some of their bests.

[There’s no such thing as unicorns?]

Thu
Nov 6 2014 11:00am

The Harry Potter Reread: Rewatching The Prisoner of Azkaban Film

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban film

Okay. This is a rough one. Because, on the one hand, Alfonso Cuarón created perhaps the most artful Potter film. One that expanded the universe on screen with a depth of character that no one really managed after him. It’s a beautiful piece of work.

On the other hand, this movie makes exactly 0% sense.

[Why don’t you run along and play with your chemistry set?]

Tue
Nov 4 2014 9:00am

Is Loki Canonically Genderfluid Now?

Loki, Original Sin: Thor & Loki: The Tenth Realm, female lady Loki

Loki’s current exploits in the Marvel universe have been fun for sure, ranging from heists and cons to discovering that he and Thor have an extra sibling they never knew about. Writer Al Ewing made a splash even before his run with the character began by stating that Loki is bisexual, and that he would shift from male to female on occasion as well. The announcement was met with a flutter of interest and many questions—had Loki always been bisexual? What would the swapping mean for his gender identity? Would this add dimension to the character, or come off hollow?

It seems as though Ewing has done more than make Loki bisexual, however; with the Original Sin arc (by Ewing and Jason Aaron), it looks like Loki has been established as genderfluid as well. Which is awesome.

[Read more]