11 Sitcoms That Embrace Their Nerdy Characters

While plenty of sitcoms have nerdy premises, there has been something of a renaissance recently in comedies that showcase geeks as characters—and not simply as cruel stereotypes. And they also offer a much broader scope of nerdery, from con-goers to fanfic writers to tabletop game-builders! Here are a bunch of our favorites, in case you need to add a few more giggles to your evening viewing.

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“Stupid reptiles!” — Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows

Despite critical drubbings and despite the huge fan controversies surrounding it, the 2014 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles did very well at the box office, and so Nickelodeon and Paramount green-lighting a sequel was pretty much a foregone conclusion. In addition to bringing back Shredder and Karai (both played by different actors), this sequel brought in several other familiar characters from the comics and previous screen versions.

[Why aren’t we going with the Turtles? When something bad happens, you want to be with the Turtles!]

5 Fantasy Books About Human and Dragon Friendships

Dragons. The word brings to mind a flood of images from movies, books, and art. Most of the adults I know love dragons. They would happily become one, or befriend one that appeared to them. Most of the kids I know want their own Toothless. (On the other hand, not many want a full grown Norwegian Ridgeback.)

This fascination with dragons might be an outgrowth of the common childhood love of dinosaurs. And of course, there’s an element of wish fulfillment in the thought of hiding out with heaps of treasure and shooting flames at people who annoy you—not to mention how amazing it would be to have a magical friend who might take you for a ride, or even fly you to wherever you’d like! For these, and many other reasons, fantasy books are filled with human-dragon interactions.

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“You brought that hope back with you” — Star Trek: Discovery’s “The Sound of Thunder”

One of the most problematic aspects of the general Star Trek oeuvre over the past 53 years has been General Order #1, a.k.a. the Prime Directive. First mentioned in “Return of the Archons” on the original series, it has been interpreted, reinterpreted, ignored, misrepresented, and generally been a bane to writers and viewers alike for five decades.

And it gets quite the workout in “The Sound of Thunder,” as Saru pretty much bullies the crew into stepping on several butterflies

[“A delicious slice of galaxy pie!”]

Read a Deleted Scene From Nebula Awards Finalist Blackfish City

Please enjoy this deleted scene from Sam J. Miller‘s Blackfish City, a 2018 Nebula Awards finalist for Best Novel.

A little about Blackfish City, out now from Ecco Publishing:

When a strange new visitor arrives—a woman riding an orca, with a polar bear at her side—the city is entranced. The “orcamancer,” as she’s known, very subtly brings together four people—each living on the periphery—to stage unprecedented acts of resistance. By banding together to save their city before it crumbles under the weight of its own decay, they will learn shocking truths about themselves.

Blackfish City is a remarkably urgent—and ultimately very hopeful—novel about political corruption, organized crime, technology run amok, the consequences of climate change, gender identity, and the unifying power of human connection.

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Film Adaptation of Tomi Adeyemi’s YA Fantasy Children of Blood and Bone in the Works

Fox 2000 will adapt Children of Blood and Bone, Tomi Adeyemi’s West African-inspired YA fantasy debut, for the big screen, according to The Hollywood Reporter. Temple Hill, the production company behind Love, Simon and the Maze Runner movie adaptations, will produce a script adapted by David Magee (Life of PiMary Poppins Returns) and directed by Rick Famuyiwa (DopeThe Mandalorian). Published in 2018 by Henry Holt & Co, Children of Blood and Bone follows young maji Zélie as she struggles to restore magic to the kingdom of Orïsha following its eradication.

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Complex Sword-and-Sorcery: The Afterward by E.K. Johnston

Every so often, a book comes along that I fall in love with entirely. A book that hooks its fingers into my heart and soul and nests there. Last year the novel that did that to the most precise, complete point was Aliette de Bodard’s In the Vanishers’ Palace. Although they’re very different books, this year it looks like E.K. Johnston’s The Afterward is a strong contender.

Johnston is perhaps best known at this point in her career for her Star Wars work (Star Wars: Ahsoka, with Star Wars: Queen’s Shadow forthcoming), but her original fiction has included both the critically-acclaimed contemporary novel Exit, Pursued by a Bear, and the striking science fictional That Inevitable Victorian Thing (which, certain elements of its worldbuilding aside, presents a deeply compelling story of self-discovery and the intersection of romance with responsibility). With The Afterward, she ventures into the territory of sword-and-sorcery, and casts a nod towards the epic fantasy of the late 1980s. The Afterward is set in the aftermath of a successful quest to vanquish an ancient evil, when the fellowship has disbanded and returned to the lives that the quest interrupted, and the responsibilities that come with those lives.

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The Vela: A Leisurely Extinction

In the fading light of a dying star, a soldier for hire searches for a missing refugee ship and uncovers a universe-shattering secret…

Orphan, refugee, and soldier-for-hire Asala Sikou doesn’t think too much about the end of civilization. Her system’s star is dying, and the only person she can afford to look out for is herself. When a ship called The Vela vanishes during what was supposed to be a flashy rescue mission, a reluctant Asala is hired to team up with Niko, the child of a wealthy inner planet’s president, to find it and the outer system refugees on board. But this is no ordinary rescue mission; The Vela holds a secret that places the fate of the universe in the balance, and forces Asala to decide—in a dying world where good and evil are far from black and white, who deserves to survive?

We’re excited to share an excerpt from the first season of The Vela, a new Serial Box series co-written by Yoon Ha Lee, Becky Chambers, Rivers Solomon, and SL Huang after a concept created by Lydia Shamah. Episode 1—SL Huang’s “A Leisurely Extinction”—will be released on March 6th.

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Jin Yong’s Fantastical Wuxia Epic–Legends of the Condor Heroes–is Finally Coming to the U.S.

One of the most celebrated and beloved literary epics in China, Jin Yong’s Legend of the Condor Heroes has been the country’s premier wuxia—a blending of history, martial arts action, and fantasy—for more than half a century. Now, St. Martin’s Press is proud to publish the first English-language translation of the classic saga for U.S. readers, starting with A Hero Born.

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Exploring the People of Middle-earth: Nerdanel, Called the Wise

In this new biweekly series, we’ll be exploring the evolution of both major and minor figures in Tolkien’s legendarium, tracing the transformations of these characters through drafts and early manuscripts through to the finished work. In this first installment, we’ll focus on Nerdanel, the Noldorin sculptor, wife of Fëanor, and mother of seven strapping sons.

In the published Silmarillion, Nerdanel exists as little more than a background figure. We’re told that she is “the daughter of a great smith named Mahtan,” and that she, like her husband Fëanor, is “firm of will.” For a while, Fëanor is content to seek her counsel, though he isolates himself in all other respects (58), but as she is “more patient than Fëanor, desiring to understand minds rather than to control them,” they soon become estranged. Fëanor’s “later deeds grieved her.” Though she gives him seven sons, and some of them apparently have her temperament, she is left out of any further mention of the family thereafter, except in one instance, when Fëanor is referred to as “the husband of Nerdanel” because the text is specifically interested in that moment with the relationship between Mahtan and Fëanor (61). Nerdanel herself is given no voice.

But who is this Nerdanel? What were her motivations and passions, and why (and how!) does she not fall under the spell of Fëanor’s compelling voice and charismatic spirit? Tolkien does not mention her in his letters, but he does give her quite a bit more attention than we’d originally suspect, if we relied only on the published Silmarillion.

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Fun With Ancient, Squishy Complex Life Forms

SF writers frequently send their protagonists back in time. Quite often, they send their characters to a time when said characters might be stalked by a dinosaur. If sent to an even earlier time, characters might be menaced by a Gorgonopsid (though I am unaware of any such excursions; perhaps someone needs to write one). The earliest fauna that might endanger protagonists would have to be Cambrian. Perhaps a swarm of ferocious thirty-centimeter Peytoia nathorsti?

Ah, the Cambrian. 541 million years ago. Brings back memories. Not that I was there, mind you. Memories, rather, of the olden days when we believed that the Cambrian Explosion was the very fons et origo of complex life. Now we know that while the Cambrian Explosion was definitely a significant event, it doesn’t seem to have been the only time the planet dabbled with complex life vaguely analogous to modern forms.

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Wormholes and Carnivorous Furniture: Announcing Finna, a New SF Novella from Nino Cipri

I’m very pleased to announce that Tor.com Publishing has acquired Finna, a new science fiction novella from Nino Cipri. When an elderly customer at a big box furniture store slips through a portal to another dimension, it’s up to two minimum-wage employees to track her across the multiverse and protect their company’s bottom line. Multi-dimensional swashbuckling would be hard enough, but our two unfortunate souls broke up a week ago.

Can friendship blossom from the ashes of a relationship? In infinite dimensions, all things are possible.

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