The Shape of My Name March 4, 2015 The Shape of My Name Nino Cipri How far can you travel to claim yourself? The Hell of It February 25, 2015 The Hell of It Peter Orullian What will he wager? Schrödinger’s Gun February 18, 2015 Schrödinger’s Gun Ray Wood Maybe in some other timeline it would have gone smooth. Acrobatic Duality February 11, 2015 Acrobatic Duality Tamara Vardomskaya The two of her are perfectly synchronized.
From The Blog
March 4, 2015
Writing Women Characters as Human Beings
Kate Elliott
March 2, 2015
A Ranking of 1980s Fantasy That Would Please Crom Himself!
Leah Schnelbach
February 27, 2015
Goodbye, Mr. Nimoy — What Spock Meant to One Geeky 12-Year-Old Girl
Emily Asher-Perrin
February 26, 2015
Introducing the Star Trek The Original Series Rewatch
Keith DeCandido
February 23, 2015
Oh No, She Didn’t: The Strong Female Character, Deconstructed
Ilana C. Myer
Showing posts by: ryan britt click to see ryan britt's profile
Wed
Feb 11 2015 10:00am

When Originality Isn’t So Original: The Matrix, Jupiter Ascending, and the Wachowski Conundrum

Jupiter Ascending

I feel guilty talking trash about the Wachowskis’ new film Jupiter Ascending. It feels like mocking a family member or old friend who has fallen on hard times. The sibling duo of Lana and Andy Wachowski have produced precisely one classic science fiction epic—1999’s The Matrix—which is something most people don’t even dream of doing.

Now they’re back and the reviews of their latest—Jupiter Ascending—are mostly awful. And yet, should we feel guilty about disliking it? If we don’t like Jupiter Ascending, we may be in of danger hating on the idea “original” science fiction films and making said kinds of movies extinct. But is this supposedly original movie original at all?

[Read more]

Thu
Jan 15 2015 1:38pm

If Science Fiction Can’t Be the Enemy, Then Your Movie Doesn’t Deserve Recognition? On the Interstellar Oscars Snub

Interstellar Oscar snub

The 2015 Oscar nominations are out and everybody is delighted and upset. Some actors, like Selma’s David Oyelowo, were obviously slighted just as some actors, like Eddie Redmayne’s performance as Stephen Hawking in The Theory of Everything, were honored. Meta-fictional genre-blending film Birdman also got plenty of nominations, which should make people happy who love movies about Raymond Carver and comic books. But there's a planet-sized hole in the nominees list and that is the exclusion of one of the best and most heartfelt science fiction film in years: Interstellar. The reason why this movie didn’t get nominated for anything other than “Original Score,” is because mainstream media gatekeepers and a big portion of audiences still don’t really care for a science fiction movie about science fiction.

[Read more]

Mon
Jan 5 2015 9:00am

Most Citizens of the Star Wars Galaxy are Probably Totally Illiterate

Most Citizens of the Star Wars Galaxy are Totally Illiterate

Not once in any Star Wars movie does someone pick up a book or newspaper, magazine, literary journal, or chapbook handmade by an aspiring Jawa poet. If something is read by someone in Star Wars, it’s almost certainly off of a screen (and even then, maybe being translated by a droid), and it’s definitely not for entertainment purposes. As early as the 1990s-era expanded Star Wars books and comic books, we’re introduced to ancient Jedi “texts” called holocrons, which are basically talking holographic video recordings. Just how long has the Star Wars universe been reliant on fancy technology to transfer information as opposed to the written word? Is it possible that a good number of people in Star Wars are completely illiterate?

[It seems likely!]

Fri
Jan 2 2015 7:00am

A Science Fiction Halo Rests Slantedly Over Isaac Asimov’s Amiable Head

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's calculations? Happy birthday, Professor Asimov!  

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Wed
Dec 31 2014 12:00pm

7 Credible Ways The Incredibles 2 Could Work

Earlier this year, news broke that Brad Bird and Pixar will develop a sequel to the beloved Pixar superhero/super family movie, The Incredibles. Despite its popularity and genuine heart, this Pixar film never got a sequel, owing largely to creator/director Brad Bird’s fear of not being able to live up to the quality of the first story.

So, it’s been 10 years since we’ve seen the family Parr and their super-friends (like Frozone!) in action. But was it better to leave a good thing alone? No! The Parrs are the best Pixar thing ever and a sequel would be amazing. Here’s seven totally reasonable directions a sequel could take.

[Read more]

Tue
Dec 23 2014 10:00am

God Bless Pastiche! The 7 Best Non-Traditional Christmas Carols of Film and TV

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]

Mon
Dec 22 2014 5:00pm

I’ll Just Have a Little Lava, Thanks: The Top of the Volcano: The Award Winning Stories of Harlan Ellison

The Top of the Volcano Harlan Ellison A few weeks ago, I participated in a big marathon reading of Moby Dick in New York City and while many people read from ornately bound editions of the giant novel, I was thrilled to be using my dog-eared paperback copy with totally pulpy cover art and a corny plot summary to match—a MADMAN DRIVEN INSANE BY A WHALE!

What I’m saying is, I’m not crazy about “classy” reissues, so I’ve had a hard time with the new Harlan Ellison omnibus: The Top of the Volcano. It’s such a freaking tome. Ellison is the bomb, and I love (most) of these stories. But should he be read like this? All fancy?

[Read more]

Thu
Dec 18 2014 7:00am

The Man Who Demolished Boring Science Fiction: Alfred Bester

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 102nd 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]

Tue
Dec 16 2014 7:00am

Philip K. Dick Scanned Our Brains, Darkly

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 86th 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]

Tue
Dec 16 2014 7:00am

Celebrating Arthur C. Clarke’s Odyssey

Today we mark what would have been the 97th 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]

Fri
Dec 12 2014 12:00pm

5 More Crossovers that Make as Much Sense as Jump Street/MIB

Pacific Rim Night at the Museum mash-up

Everyone’s very excited about the leaked Sony e-mails featuring foul language, cinematic events that never were, and occasionally the bagel preferences of Andrew Garfield. Aside from the brutal news that you’ll likely not see Spider-Man in Captain America 3 (but we can still hope!) the most bizarre news is that Sony has plans for a possible crossover between the so-wacky-you-can’t-handle-them-oops-they’re-cops franchise Jump Street and the aging who-cares-nobody-anymore-that’s-who ’90s alien-hunter franchise, Men in Black.

What you didn’t know is that there are (probably) even more comedy films mashed-up with beloved genre films that totally make just as much sense.  

[Read more]

Sat
Nov 29 2014 8:00am

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.

 

[Read more]

Thu
Nov 20 2014 9:00am

Are Slowed-Down Songs in Movie Trailers Getting Played-Out?

No strings on me

There’s much to love about the last few trailers for Avengers: Age of Ultron, but is the use of “I’ve Got No Strings” from Pinocchio really all that great? Slowed down-familiar songs being used “eerily” in movie trailers are becoming an epidemic, threatening to replace the oppressive single-note BRAAAM noise-fad which found its inception in the trailers for, well, Inception in 2010. And while those brassy-slams were bad, are these slowed-down creepy songs any better?

[Read more]

Mon
Nov 17 2014 12:45pm

The Harbinger of Fun: Celebrating the Work of Glen A. Larson

Glen A. LarsonOver the weekend, television producer, writer, and behind-the-scenes pop culture taste-maker Glen A. Larson passed away at 77. His surviving legacy is largely his impressive contributions to television. From Knight Rider, to Magnum P.I., to The Six Million Dollar Man to Buck Rogers In the 25th Century, and most famously; Battlestar Galactica, Larson produced and created a serious swath of television candy that we’ve been hooked on for decades.

[Read more]

Tue
Nov 11 2014 9:00am

The Well-Lit Knight Rises: How 1960s Batman Shaped Our Bat-Thoughts Forever

1960s Batman Adam West

Loving 1960s Batman TV show sometimes seems like counter-intuitive nostalgia. We tend to praise it as camp, or kitsch, while buying into the assumption that it somehow got Batman “wrong” by portraying the character and themes in terms of comedy, rather than the brooding drama it’s “supposed” to be. But with the long-awaited release of the entire series on DVD/Blu-ray this week, it’s time to recognize that Batman and its intentionally zany zap-pow tone is so much smarter than you remember. And even if you don’t think of Adam West’s most famous character as “real Batman,” I’d argue that West’s Batman set the bar for the way all of us think about any and every on-screen version of The Dark Knight since...

[Read more]

Tue
Nov 11 2014 7:00am

Listen, Kurt Vonnegut Changed Your Life

Today would have been the 92nd 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]

Mon
Nov 10 2014 12:30pm

Stephen Hawking Biopic The Theory of Everything Is a Guiltless Pleasure

The Theory of Everything movie

If this year’s Oscar-bait films are any indication, the thing to do next year will be to play a black hole. For now, the big movies are content with talking about black holes a lot—McConaughey and company in the epic Interstellar—or more conventionally down-to-Earth; Eddie Redmayne and Felicity Jones in the Stephen Hawking/Jane Hawking biopic The Theory of Everything.

If you’re a science fiction fan or science enthusiast, you might assume (like I did) that The Theory of Everything is a saccharine, manipulative tear-jerker of the Lifetime original movie ilk, and you’re probably not wrong. Which is exactly why you should see it.

[Read more]

Fri
Nov 7 2014 10:00am

Is it Even Possible for Star Wars: Rebels to Feel Like Real Star Wars?

Star Wars: Rebels

Is the new Disney cartoon show Star Wars: Rebels more than a Star Wars cartoon? Is it worth your time, and why does that one guy have a little soul-patch beard? For answers to these questions and more, here’s a look at the first five episodes of Rebels, and what they say about why we care about tie-in media and the rising interest in Star Wars thanks to the forthcoming sequels.

[Read more]

Wed
Oct 29 2014 12:30pm

Has Tom Hanks Written a Cautionary SF Story? On “Alan Bean Plus Four”

Alan Bean Plus Four Tom HanksSuper-famous non-writers who turn to writing for fun are undeniably irrating to the rest of us. We might love William Shatner in science fiction circles, but that doesn’t mean we’re crazy about his TekWar books or his fanfic-y Star Trek novels.

So is it possible to take seriously a science fiction story written by Tom Hanks that was just published in The New Yorker? Here’s what happens when we try.

[Read more]

Tue
Oct 28 2014 9:00am

Fairy Tale No More: Doctor Who is a Science Fiction Show Again

Doctor Who science fiction

If Doctor Who was like the psychic paper used by the Doctor—meaning we would only see the show we wanted to see—what would it look like? From seasons five through seven, it might have been superficially close to exactly what we thought we wanted: the adventures of a romantic, dazzling, fairy tale hero who is handsome, quirky, and a snappy-dresser. But now, the Doctor is grumpy and the stories he inhabits are more screwed up, because this season the show has gotten real by ditching fairy tales in favor of moodier science fiction.

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