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.
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Showing posts by: ryan britt click to see ryan britt's profile
Mon
Oct 21 2013 12:00pm

Even though Star Trek was on a notable roll of excellence in the early 90s, nobody told the playground bullies. Being made fun of for constantly talking about Star Trek isn’t something I’m bitter about at all, mostly because, in the end, I proved to be an early adopter of what everyone would soon realize is possibly the greatest thing EVER.

But, I still remember a few teary moments when I wanted to be beamed up by Scotty, Chief O’Brien, or whoever-was-running the beaming on Deep Space Nine—and that’s because I wanted to escape and be accepted and nurtured by all the nice Star Trek people. And even as an adult, I still have teary moments, and occasionally find myself wordlessly whispering that I want to be “beamed up,” to be saved from it all.

Until the terrible epiphany hit me recently. Actually living on the Enterprise would be really depressing.

[Read more]

Tue
Oct 15 2013 4:00pm

There’s a very real chance that the Lemony Snicket books are too smart for their own good. If you can detect every single literary allusion contained in any of Snicket’s book, but specifically in When Did You See Her Last? then I want to meet you! Smarts and friendship are still the real currency of the Snicket universe and the latest in the new series both continues the mysteries and adventures laid out by the previous volume, while still managing to be its own stand-alone romp.

[Read more]

Tue
Oct 1 2013 9:30am

Ursula Le Guin

Being effortlessly wise is a quality we generally associate with mystics, gurus, and people called The Dude. But if you’ve had a chance to hear what Ursula Le Guin has to say about genre writing, writing in general, or just the act of being a person in the world, you’ll feel like you’ve found your guru.

The latest issue of The Paris Review contains a fantastic interview with Le Guin, conducted by the author John Wray. A fan of genre literature and an equally big fan of Le Guin herself, Wray seemed to Socratically draw out some gems from Le Guin. Here are some highlights:

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Wed
Sep 25 2013 5:00pm

If a child dressed as Dr. Frankenstein for Halloween or Purim, all the other children would label that costume “mad scientist.” The recognizable thing about the story of Frankenstein is its Frankenstein-ness, not the actual book itself. Like the creature of the novel, it’s as though Mary Shelley’s awesome book became a problem all on its own. Why has it been banned in the past? Probably because of a very specific misreading of the book. But the weird thing about this book is how even people who would never think of banning it are wrong about it, too!

[Read more]

Wed
Sep 18 2013 12:30pm

MaddAddam Margaret Atwood

Dystopian fiction might seem hot now thanks to The Hunger Games, Divergent, and other post-some-kind-of-cataclysm tales, but the subgenre is far more complex than a simple trend. And while Margaret Atwood doesn’t want you to call her a science fiction writer, she has been showing humanity how to get down in the muck of it for a good portion of her career. With the release of MaddAddam, Atwood is wrapping up a trilogy of sorts which began with 2003’s Oryx and Crake. What makes Maddadam and its previous installments so unique though is the way Atwood treats dystopia not just as a metaphor but as a real, complex, and ultimately human event.

[Read more]

Fri
Sep 6 2013 11:30am

A.C. Crispin passed away obituaryFollowing a heartfelt announcement to her fans, beloved SFF author Ann Carol Crispin passed away today, succumbing to a long battle with cancer. Sensing she was nearing the end, Crispin posted on her Facebook page on September 3rd, saying “I’ve been hesitant to make this post, but it’s time…” A former vice-president of SFWA and a cofounder of the watchdog group Writer Beware, Crispin was admired for her prowess in the business of writing as well as the art of storytelling. She was 63.

[Read more]

Wed
Sep 4 2013 10:00am

In Simon Pegg’s brilliant sitcom Spaced his character Tim declares certain things he knows to be universally true including the acknowledged fact that “every odd-numbered Star Trek movie is shite.” And yet, Star Trek (2009) was technically the eleventh Star Trek film, and Into Darkness the twelfth. And like post-Phantom Menace trauma, it’s probably taken too long to admit this, but Into Darkness was complete and utter shite.

So, the odds versus evens of Star Trek films certainly no longer applies, but maybe never has. Instead, look at the subtitle, and you’ll know everything!

[Read more]

Mon
Sep 2 2013 12:00pm

Austenland Philip K. Dick

Most Philip K. Dick stories feature loners who get themselves into conspiracy situations seemingly, at first, for no reason. Such was my experience with the new Jane Austen-inspired/Keri Russell literary rom-com, Austenland, which purports to feature a plucky young woman immersing herself in a faux Jane Austen-style summer camp.

Except she, and the audience, are really inside some kind of Battlestar Galactica/Philip K. Dick pastiche.

[Read more]

Fri
Aug 30 2013 9:00am

Discussing Jungian archetypes and the Joseph Campbell hero arc might be a fun way for a lot of people to talk about Star Wars. But these broad strokes aren’t all there is to why people love Star Wars so much. One element I always find missing from the “why do we love Star Wars so much?” conversation is humor. When making jokes about dicey material, we’ll often ask the question “too soon?” But if everything was a long time ago in a galaxy, far, far away, then it’s never too soon!

Here are the ten funniest lines in all the Star Wars films, according to me.

[Read more]

Fri
Aug 23 2013 11:00am

Harlan Ellison 7 Against ChaosWhen I told a poet friend of mine I was reading a new Harlan Ellison graphic novel, she raised an eyebrow and said, “I respect that,” and then, “he’s still writing?” The idea that a new Harlan Ellison graphic novel exists, much less could be relevant, is a damn dubious. Though he is one of the pioneers of New Wave SF, Harlan Ellison hasn’t been new for awhile and “probably is the most contentious person now walking the Earth.”

That last tidbit isn’t slander, as it comes straight from Ellison’s bio on the dust jacket of 7 Against Chaos, the new graphic novel from Ellison and artist Paul Chadwick (and Ken Steacy). And like Ellison himself, there’s something both angry and original about what’s contained within. It’s also totally engrossing.

[Read more]

Mon
Aug 19 2013 5:00pm

Kick-Ass 2

In the first 45 minutes of Kick-Ass 2, Mindy Macready—AKA Hit-Girl—(Chloë Grace Moretz) is embroiled in a cartoonish, Mean Girls-style sleepover. The teenage Queen Bee forces Mindy to do “girly things” which includes watching a fictional music video from a fictional boy band, “Union J.” But wait, is Hit-Girl really getting hot and bothered by this? Is this a joke?

[Read more]

Mon
Aug 12 2013 9:00am

Han Solo Princess Leia Empire Strikes Back

Essayist Ashley Cardiff makes an astute observation about Star Wars in her new book Night Terrors. In an essay titled “Nightmares,” she points out how, as children, we go from loving Luke Skywalker to loving Han Solo. Cardiff writes:

“But right about 10 or so, I started thinking Han Solo was the more charming and interesting of the two. This is because Luke represents chastity and virtue while Han Solo represents cock.”

Yes! We love Han Solo because he is sexy, but we think Han’s pervasive appeal might be even more interesting than that. The real reason Han Solo is so well loved is because he’s a very realistic character, way more realistic in fact than anyone else in all the films. Here’s why.

[Read more]

Fri
Aug 2 2013 9:00am

There was a long and winding line last Friday at the AMC Empire in Times Square for the 8:35 showing of The Wolverine. It nearly obscured the entrance to the 7:35 showing of Stranded, a new science fiction thriller starring Christian Slater.

It came out last Friday, and a lot of people don’t know that!

When I walked into the theatre all the lights were still on as the previews were playing. The only other person in the theatre—a grumpy looking man with a cane—got up and told an attendant to turn off the lights. Did anyone know this movie was out? Is it possible I’m the only one who has seen it?

[A review of Stranded]

Mon
Jul 15 2013 1:30pm

James Bond Sam Mendes Bond 24 Skyfall 2

Last week, defying expectations, Academy Award-winning director Sam Mendes confirmed that James Bond producers Barbara Broccoli and Michael G. Wilson want him back for the franchise, and they’re willing to wait. Instead of a 2014 release date for the next James Bond film, the film will be released in 2015, with Mendes calling the shots. Most moviegoers and diehard 007 fans alike agree that Skyfall was the best James Bond film in years. Now that Mendes is really returning, here’s a brief wishlist for the next Bond film.

[Read more]

Tue
Jul 9 2013 9:00am

Hayden Christensen Anakin Skywalker

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 in full development, complete with casting calls, 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!

[Read more]

Fri
May 31 2013 1:30pm

Ryan Britt regenerates!

As of today, May 31st, 2013, I am putting on my space helmet, opening the airlock and leaving the stubby rocketship of Tor.com. In pursuit of various projects, I will, after today, no longer be the staff writer at Tor.com, a position that I’ve been in since February of 2011! I also started on Tor.com as a freelance blogger in August of 2010, making my association with the site just shy of three years. In addition to the 300+ pieces I’ve written here, I’ve also frequently been the voice of Stubby the Rocket (many of us are, but I’ve done the vast majority of the Morning Roundups and several news posts) and also the curator of Genre in the Mainstream, and the organizer of a bunch of theme weeks including Holmes for the Holidays, Monster Mash, Tor.com Goes Ape, Sea Monster Week, Countdown to Prometheus, Ghost Week, and Dinosaur Week.

You’ll see me around the blog again from time to time, but as I head out into the nebulous future, here’s a list of the best stuff I learned.

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Thu
May 30 2013 10:00am

Tales from the Mos Eisley CantinaI totally love the fact that the 1995 Star Wars short story anthology Tales from the Mos Eisley Cantina bothers to mention the fictional city in which the cantina is located. Like we would be confused if they didn’t say “Mos Eisley.” Oh, that cantina. Got it.

The existence of this book raises a weird question: why are we so obsessed with this low-budget parade of rubber masks and weirdo costumes glimpsed only for a second in the original movies? I think it’s because we might identify with these weirdos more than the “real” Star Wars characters.

[Read more]

Mon
May 27 2013 9:00am

Harlan EllisonIn the 1990s I was watching a promo documentary about Babylon 5—likely playing out its 5th season on TNT at the time—and in it J. Michael Straczynski related the best piece of writing advice his friend Harlan Ellison ever gave him, which was something to the effect of “stop sucking.” This might be one of those fuzzy memories where the meaning I derived from it is more real than the actual quote, but it stuck with me. Harlan Ellison inspired a lot of writers and provided a gateway for many of us into New Wave science fiction. And he did it with a lot of personality. Today is his 79th birthday, and I’m sending him this birthday card.

[Read more]

Wed
May 22 2013 10:00am

There’s a lot that has been written and said about the inspirational power of Star Trek. From astronauts to social workers, engineers and beyond, do-gooders galore have been borne out of Trek. Good for them! Surely, aspects of Star Trek may have taught me how to be a better person, but that’s not the most profound impact on my adult life. Instead, Star Trek is partially responsible in inspiring me to read great books and become a writer.

And it did this by sneaking classic literature into my silly sci-fi any chance it got. So, it is with a heavy heart I complain about the biggest oversight that I saw in Star Trek Into Darkness: it’s not literary!    

[Read more]

Tue
May 21 2013 10:00am

Neil Gaiman Harlan Ellison

Tor.com’s ongoing pin-the-tail-on-the-donkey-esque attempt to define Neil Gaiman and/or his work has read his most well-known epic, made a mixtape out of another, and looked at his habit of creating his own world inside of the worlds of others. Now, we look at his penchant for constant collaboration with other artists, writers, and musicians. Collaborations that more often than not end up further honing the author’s unique style.

They say that behind every great writer, is that writer’s bro. And by “bro,” we mean an artistic equal whose work brings new definition to yours and a friend who otherwise has your back. A bro can be any gender and the bonds between you can feel like they were always meant to be. Neil Gaiman has a lot of bromances, and though we love the man and his writing, where would he be without these seven essential bros?

[Read more]