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: ryan britt click to see ryan britt's profile
Wed
Jan 15 2014 12:00pm

In mainstream movies, if you want someone to play the quasi-love interest of a time traveler, your go-to person is always Rachel McAdams. She’s played the girlfriend of a time traveler in three films in just four years! But what does this kooky typecasting reveal about how culture sees women in time travel? And are there any other weird time-travel type-castings?

[Read more]

Thu
Jan 2 2014 9:00am

Isaac AsimovNo one knows the exact date of Isaac Asimov’s birth...not even the amazing Asimov himself! In Memory Yet Green, citing dodgy birth records, the author writes that his birthday could be as early as October 19th, 1919, but that he celebrates it as January 2nd, 1920.

Who are we to argue with Asimov? By his calculations, today would have been his 94th earth year, so happy birthday, Professor Asimov!  

[Read more]

Tue
Dec 31 2013 1:00pm

Mark Hamill muppets

Does the entire canon of the Muppets fall into the genre of science fiction? When you consider the various alternate universes the Muppets seem to inhabit, the answer might be yes. If meta-fiction is the handmaiden of science fiction, then there are certainly some SF sensibilities pervading our favorite gang of witty and colorful creatures. Throughout the years, this sensibility has been somewhat acknowledged by the Muppet-verse via specific crossovers from science fiction celebrities. Here are six instances of science fiction icons hanging out with the Muppets!

[Read more]

Mon
Dec 23 2013 12:00pm

Rose, I’m Trying to Resonate Concrete: The Greatest, Smallest Moments of Doctor Who

The new series of Doctor Who and loud melodrama are best friends. Since the show began again in 2005, you can count on any season delivering at least one explosion, one moment of universal peril, and/or one tragic character twist. The new show has filled the skies with Daleks, set Gallifrey aflame, torn the Doctor from everyone he loves, killed Rory, and kissed Kylie Minogue. Doctor Who has no qualms about going straight for our panic button and pressing it hard.

And we enjoy it, otherwise we wouldn’t be watching. But lost in all the noise are small, lovely moments that are just as impactful; that portray just as much in only seconds. Below is a collection of our favorite, greatest, smallest moments from Doctor Who.

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Fri
Dec 20 2013 12:00pm

Best Doctor Who episodes Eleventh Doctor

Doctor Who has been one hell of a rollercoaster under Matt Smith and Steven Moffat’s reign. The quality of the episodes themselves has been markedly variable, as reflected in our own reviews, and for a little while the staff here was worried that we’d always be down about the show, or that we were chronicling the decline of the series.

Even if that had been the case (the 50th anniverary episode and its surroundings celebration did a huge, wonderful job at rejuvenating the series), Doctor Who is still the best damn sci-fi show on television. As we stand here, mere days from the fall of the Eleventh, we’re feeling thankful for all the sheer oddity that his episodes have added to the series as a whole. We pick our favorites below!

[Come along, honorary Ponds]

Fri
Dec 20 2013 11:30am

If I had a pet reindeer, or any kind of creature that resembled a fawn or Bambi-style animal, I’d name it Dickens. Come on. How adorable would it be to have a little pet deer named Dickens? Here Dickens! Come have a sugar cube! That’s a good little Dickens. What’s your favorite story? What’s that you say, “A Christmas Carol?” Well, I don’t feel like reading to you, because you’re a little deer, so let’s watch a movie or a TV special instead. Whatyda say?

And then, as a gift to Dickens, I would have to compile a list of movie and TV adaptations of Charles Dickens’s awesome book—A Christmas Carol—and I’d want those adaptations to be somehow a little bit different from their source material, because deers like stuff that’s new.

What are the best non-traditional versions of A Christmas Carol? These.

[Read more]

Thu
Dec 19 2013 11:00am

A Muppet Christmas Carol

When I say A Muppet Christmas Carol is sweet, I don’t only mean the movie is heartwarming and saccharine. It’s those things, too, but it’s also a film that delivers a uniquely badass adaptation of Charles Dickens’ ridiculously famous novella.

Darker and less goofy than other Muppet flicks, A Muppet Christmas Carol manages to capture the phantasmagorical texture of the source material while at the same time turning out a bonafide family film, though not necessarily a kid’s movie. While you might read a child A Christmas Carol aloud, you probably wouldn’t give them the original novella for them to read on their own. And it’s the same with this movie. Despite its Hallmark Card exterior, A Muppet Christmas Carol might be the most adult of the Muppet films.

[Read more]

Wed
Dec 18 2013 8:00am

Alfred Bester art by David A. JohnsonThinking about telepaths when telepaths are in the room is hard because they know you’re thinking about them. This is why—on most days—I’m glad I never actually had the chance to meet science fiction legend Alfred Bester, because my thoughts about him would have been disgustingly gushing and I’m sure he would have heard those thoughts because he was likely a real deal telepath and I would have been embarrassed. I’m kidding. I’m super sad I didn’t get to meet him! (But he was probably a real telepath.)

Today would have been Bester’s 101st birthday. He won the first Hugo award for a novel ever, and made everything in SF way more fun. Here’s why he’s still the best.

[Read more]

Mon
Dec 16 2013 1:00pm

Other than maybe Han Solo, in the universe of sci-fi fashion, most leading men have let us down. Captain Kirk is cool, sure. But you can’t go out dressed like him without getting some serious pit-stains. I always loved the outfits from Logan’s Run, but it gets cold in big cities sometimes. Battlestar Galactica? Come on. T-shirts and ugly wifebeaters? What is that?

All in all there’s only one hero of time and space out there who knows how to dress. And his name is the Doctor.

[Read more]

Mon
Dec 16 2013 10:00am

If you’re going to watch a heart-string tugging Christmas special with children on or around the holidays, why you’re not watching the 1966 animated adaptation of How the Grinch Stole Christmas! is beyond me. Hell, I used to babysit for twins who liked watching it in the middle of August, and why not? The original 1957 picture book and the ‘66 cartoon version are genius and showcase Theodore Geisel at possibly the tippy-top of his powers. Not only does The Grinch story make Christmas vaguely secular with a snap of its fingers, it does so without offending anyone and with silly amounts of originality.

But just what are the Whos down in Whoville? Are they human? What is the Grinch? What’s the connection between these Whos and the Whos living on the speck-of-dust planet in Horton Hears a Who!? Are those Whos who Horton heard the same species of Whos of which Cyndi Lou Who (who was not more than two) is a member?

[Read more]

Mon
Dec 16 2013 8:00am

In his afterword to a 1977 paperback collection called The Best of Philip K. Dick, PKD writes about the notion of questioning reality. At one point, Dick says the world made “sense” to him:

“I used to dig in the garden, and there isn't anything fantastic or ultradimensional about crab grass...unless you are a sf writer, in which case, pretty soon you're viewing crabgrass with suspicion. What are its real motives? And who sent it in the first place? The question I always found myself asking was, What is it really?”

Looking back on his work today, on the 85th anniversary of Dick’s birthday, the escape from the conspiracy of the mundane is a concept that certainly dominates the oeuvre of perhaps the most famous science fiction author ever. And why not? Don’t we all wish our lives were a little more interesting, a little more fantastic than perhaps they are?

[Read more]

Mon
Dec 16 2013 8:00am

Today we mark what would have been the 96th birthday of the great Arthur C. Clarke. Often credited with making fantastic predictions in his science fiction that actually came true, Clarke is among the most recognized and celebrated authors of the previous century. Perhaps the hardest of “hard science fiction” writers, Clarke was the authority on futurism and concepts both mind-bending and fascinatingly plausible. Known best for the novel 2001: A Space Odyssey and the epic film of the same name, Arthur C. Clarke is probably the writer most responsible for making futuristic space travel look realistic in our mind’s eye.

[Read more]

Mon
Dec 9 2013 3:00pm

Is Liev Schreiber cursed? No matter how likeable the actor is, it seems he’s always stuck in some weird soulless movie which makes you wish he could escape and find his way into a better movie. This makes his new film—The Last Days on Mars—a fitting metaphor for his career: soulless space zombies (analogs for terrible films) try to kill poor Liev, while he endures anxiety-inducing flashbacks to a mistake he made on a space station (the rest of his career) before the film began. What’s frustrating about The Last Days on Mars? Well, sadly, it’s not that it could have been good. With a script like this, there’s no way it even orbits the planet “good.” Instead, what’s rough about the Last Days on Mars, is you keep wishing it was actually worse.

[Read more]

Fri
Nov 29 2013 10:00am

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.

L’Engle is probably best remembered by science fiction fans and children throughout the world for A Wrinkle in Time and its many sequels in both the Kairos and Chronos series. These books set an impossibly imaginative standard for children’s fantasy adventure books. In A Wrinkle in Time, L’Engle appropriated the opening line “It was a dark and stormy night” from an 1830 novel Paul Clifford by Edward Bulwer-Lytton. But truly, in the same way Sherlock Holmes hijacked “the game’s afoot!” from Shakespeare, “a dark and stormy night” now completely belongs to A Wrinkle in Time. Whether you’re a little kid or a grown-up cynical reader, that opening line tells you one thing: get ready!

Madeline L’Engle was a deeply spiritual writer who effortlessly blended her faith with her science fiction. Perhaps her greatest gift to us was the mainstreaming of The Tesseract, or more simply: the wrinkle in time. When Mrs. Who explains the concept to Meg, the latter gets very excited about her newfound comprehension of this awesome spacetime warp: “I got it!” Meg says. “For just a moment I got it! I can’t possibly explain it now, but there for a second, I saw it!” This is how readers of Madeline L’Engle will always feel. We glimpse these beautiful adventures in our mind’s eye, but to fully explain their brilliance is almost impossible.

 

This post originally ran on November 29, 2012

Mon
Nov 25 2013 10:00am

Ghostbusters

In our view, Ghostbusters is still one of the most perfect films of all time, and easily the best science fiction comedy. But sometimes what happened behind the scenes on a great film like this is almost as interesting as what we ended up seeing. Derived from the excellent director’s commentary track on the Ghostbusters DVDs, here are seven things you might not know about the boys in grey and the strange things going on in your neighborhood.

[Read more]

Fri
Nov 22 2013 12:00pm

Batman Adam West

“Same bat-time, same bat-channel” is so firmly implanted into the cultural storehouse of catchphrases for a very good reason. The two-part cliffhanger format of the 1960s Batman is a big part (along with how it’s perfect in every way) of why this kitschy show worked. But even serious Batman fans might not be aware of some of the more ridiculous methods of doom super villains cooked up throughout the years...

[Bat traps]

Mon
Nov 18 2013 5:00pm

Life Magazine Thunderball Sean Connery James BondIf you tell strangers in a bar that Kim Basinger was in a James Bond film, most will be shocked, and not just because after three rum and cokes you’re randomly talking about Kim Basinger. (Again!) Instead, the confusion comes because poor Kim occupies a quasi-fake 1983 James Bond movie called Never Say Never Again, which, outside of Highlander 2, is the saddest Sean Connery performance in our dimension. (Though somehow directed by Irving Kershner!) Never Say Never Again is also randomly a remake of the “real” James Bond film Thunderball, and came into existence because a guy named Kevin McClory kind of owned aspects of the story, and 007, too. Over several decades, an epic legal battle between McClory and MGM was waged, which as of just last week has been seemingly, finally, resolved. Thunderball is now totally owned by the “legit” James Bond studio, MGM.

So, with director Sam Mendes coming back for a sequel to Skyfall, could MGM’s recent Thunderball acquisition mean Daniel Craig’s James Bond is headed back underwater?

[Read more]

Mon
Nov 11 2013 4:30pm

Richard Curtis About Time Rachel McAdams Domhnall Gleeson

Silently weeping while watching one of the films of Richard Curtis doesn’t make you a sap, loser, or hopeless romantic; it makes you human. While the carbon copies of his overly sugary work (read: Garry Marshall’s New Year’s Eve, Valentine’s Day, et al.) are totally insulting to a normal person and should only be watched while drinking Mountain Dew spiked with Captain Morgan and eating a bag of Cheetos, real-deal rom-coms like Love Actually, or Four Weddings & a Funeral demand to move you to tears of feel-good joy. It’s not an option with these movies. You. Will. Cry. So, does Richard Curtis’s latest—About Time—accomplish the same moments of laugh-out-loud chortles coupled with involuntary sobs?

Of course the answer is yes, but I’m not really sure why, nor do I know what the movie is really about.

[Read more]

Mon
Nov 11 2013 9:30am

Today would have been the 91st birthday of beloved author Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. Throughout his career as a writer and a human being, Vonnegut shouldered many labels: sci-fi writer, satirist, humorist, humanist, political activist, and cranky old man. Luckily for us, he was all of those things and more. But best of all, Kurt Vonnegut was a man who reminded us that our primary function on Earth is to “fart around, and don’t let anyone tell you any different.”

[Read more]

Wed
Oct 23 2013 9:30am

Some days, before boarding the subway, I like to grab an old book from my shelf that I’ve never read, and randomly open it to any odd page. Last week, it was a dog-eared Ace paperback called World’s Best Science Fiction 1965, which contained a bunch of great science fiction stories published in the previous year. The story I opened to was called “A Niche in Time” by William F. Temple. As I began reading, I gasped. Was a time traveler visiting Vincent Van Gogh and was it reminding me very much of the 2010 Doctor Who episode “Vincent and the Doctor?” In the words of the tenth Doctor…OH YES!

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