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
Showing posts by: ryan britt click to see ryan britt's profile
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.

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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?

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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.

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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.  

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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.

 

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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?

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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.

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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...

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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.”

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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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Tue
Oct 14 2014 9:00am

Vampire Powers, On! Dracula Untold

Dracula Untold review

If Universal is building a new Marvel-style multi-film-universe for monsters, then it’s a little bit of a bummer that there’s no unifying Nick Fury character waltzing out from the shadows, slow-clapping, to commend the latest Dracula on the excellent use of his vampire powers. I waited and hoped for such a post-credits sequence in Dracula Untold, but it never came.

This doesn’t mean the movie was bad, because if turning Dracula into a superhero is something that sounds cool to you, then this movie totally nails it.

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Fri
Oct 10 2014 9:45am

“Bring Something New Every Day” — Adam West at NYCC

Frustrating a certain variety of Bat-fans among us, it’s been nearly impossible, for years, to get your hands on all the original 1960’s Batman episodes at the same-Bat-time. But next month, the entire series will finally be made available on Blu-Ray/DVD, and it’s been given a Bat-makeover! Don’t worry, Adam West hasn’t been digitally replaced by Christian Bale (seriously though, someone do that, NOW) but the episodes have been remastered for HD-viewing. When he presented this new Blu-Ray set to adoring fans at New York Comic Con this Thursday, Adam West noticed that he “never looked lovelier.”

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Fri
Oct 3 2014 1:00pm

Worth the Risk: Lemony Snicket’s Shouldn’t You Be in School?

If melancholy can actually be cured with books, Lemony Snicket is the prescription you want. But just as real inocculations often contain strains of the virus you’re fighting, Snicket books contain weird faux-melancholia which come through as not-so-secret messages of hope.

The latest book in All the Wrong Questions is titled Shouldn’t You Be in School?, but the real question is: how subversive can a book be before it’s actually just really sweet?

[Spoiler-Free Review]

Thu
Sep 25 2014 11:15am

The Aliens from Alien Won’t Be in Prometheus 2 (And That’s Okay!)

Prometheus 2 xenomorph

If you’re still upset about 2012’s Prometheus not quite-being-the-Alien-prequel you’d hoped for, this news might not help much. Direct from director Ridley Scott, the sequel to Prometheus will not contain the xenomorph aliens from the film Alien, which started this whole thing to begin with.

But maybe that’s okay?

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Wed
Sep 17 2014 9:00am

How Goldfinger Bound Sci-Fi to James Bond

Goldfinger James Bond

When Q (Desmond Llewelyn) tells James Bond (Sean Connery) about his new car being equipped with an ejector seat, Bond is incredulous. “Ejector sh-eat! You’re joking!” Q isn’t, and 1964’s Goldfinger wasn’t messing around either. The first Bond blockbuster, released 50 years ago this week, was when the whole 007 jamboree permanently became a series of pseudo sci-fi flicks.

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Mon
Sep 8 2014 12:00pm

This is Not Nancy: Watching “The Man Trap” As Your First Star Trek Ever Is Bonkers

Some prissy dude with a dorky bowl haircut repeatedly punches a creepy middle-aged lady in the face right before she pushes him into a pile of books while some other older dude watches and another guy screams a scream which seems like it’s supposed to be a fake scream. It’s not a David Lynch movie; it’s the first aired episode of Star Trek, ever, and if it were everyone’s first exposure to Star Trek today, then, honestly, no one would like Star Trek.

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Thu
Aug 28 2014 9:00am

Darth Vader is Kind of a Time Traveler

Even though Han never leaps through a donut-shaped pulsating portal, Luke doesn’t twirl a cool hourglass necklace around, and Leia never hits 88 mph in a Delorean; time travel might still exist in one specific way in the Star Wars galaxy. Clairvoyance—that wonderful ability to see or sense the future—totally does exist, and in three specific incidents impacts the plots of the films. And if you can send messages into the past from the future, then clairvoyance (or precognition) in Star Wars suddenly becomes a timey-wimey plot device that (kind of?) brings balance to the Force.

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