| Science fiction. Fantasy. The universe. And related subjects.

Our Flag Means Death’s Vico Ortiz Shares Jim’s Fear of a Certain Haunted Jacket

The second season of Our Flag Means Death ended a month ago, and if you’re caught up, you know that the found family of pirates had quite a journey over the course of its eight episodes.

One of those pirates is Jim, played by Vico Ortiz. Ortiz’s character is no longer simply the revenge-focused assassin we met in the first season—they’ve had the opportunity to explore different sides of themselves. “Jim has this opportunity to explore who they are finally, outside of their own individual revenge identity,” Ortiz told me in a recent interview. “They get to engage more emotionally with the crew and be like, ‘Who am I aside from knives? Who am I outside of killing?’”

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A Zelda Fan Created a Short Godzilla Movie in Tears of the Kingdom

In The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom, there’s basic-level building stuff, which the game makes you do: Make a cart! Make a sled! Make a really really really long bridge so you don’t have to figure out the Fire Temple!

But then there is truly next-level stuff, from creating Pacific Rim or Apocalypse Now homages to terrifyingly creative ways to kill bokoblins and lynels to… creating a whole short film featuring an impressively designed Godzilla-like behemoth.

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Five Books Featuring Sudden, Unexpected Calamities That Change Everything

Every morning, many humans wake up to the soothing sound of songbirds amidst verdant forests, confident that another sixteen hours of Earthly paradise await before returning to perfect, untroubled sleep. But what if that weren’t true? What if something unpleasant, perhaps even catastrophic, were waiting? Terrible news for the people about to have a very bad day. Excellent news for readers… as these five books prove.

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Stephen R. Lawhead’s Robin Hood Books Have Been Optioned for Film and Television

The next semi-historical semi-mythological epic may be on its way. Variety reports that filmmaker Brent Ryan Green has picked up the film and television rights to Stephen R. Lawhead’s King Raven trilogy—three books that invent “a historically plausible origin story for Robin Hood,” setting the outlaw’s story in Wales in the 11th century.

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Because Nobody Demanded It… — R.I.P.D. 2: Rise of the Damned

From August 2017 – January 2020, Keith R.A. DeCandido took a weekly look at every live-action movie based on a superhero comic that had been made to date in the Superhero Movie Rewatch. He’s periodically revisited the feature to look back at new releases, as well as a few he missed the first time through. Today he’s covering the rather inexplicable sequel/prequel to R.I.P.D., R.I.P.D. 2: Rise of the Damned.

The 2013 adaptation of Peter Lenkov, Lucas Marangon, & Randy Emberlin’s 2001 comic book R.I.P.D. tanked like a big giant tanking thing, despite having an impressive cast (Jeff Bridges, Ryan Reynolds, Kevin Bacon, Mary Louise Parker). However, in 2011, while the movie was being filmed, Dark Horse Comics put out a second R.I.P.D. miniseries, Rise of the Damned by Jeremy Barlow & Tony Parker, that was an extended flashback to Roy Pulsipher’s first mission for the Rest In Peace Department in the nineteenth century.

For reasons passing understanding, a loose adaptation of that miniseries was released as a direct-to-home-video film in 2022.

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Series: 4-Color to 35-Millimeter: The Great Superhero Movie Rewatch

A User’s Guide to Michael Swanwick: Short Fiction, Novels, and Beyond

In the film Being John Malkovich (1999) it becomes possible to inhabit the actor’s mind by going up to the 7½th floor of the Mertin-Flemmer Building, opening a small hidden door and crawling through a tunnel. Fortunately for me, the wonders of modern video calling made it much easier to pick Michael Swanwick’s brain.

Over the course of about a year and a half, I asked him endless questions about his fiction, his impressions of the genre and its key players, and his thoughts on writing. With saintly patience and notebooks brimming with useful information, he indulged me as I proceeded to work my way through all of his short stories in chronological order. I hope that the result of our conversations, Being Michael Swanwick, will not only act as a guide to a fantastic career, but also be of interest to those curious about genre history and the craft of storytelling.

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Revealing Navigational Entanglements, a Romantic, Found-Family Space Opera From Author Aliette de Bodard

Award-winning author of The Red Scholar’s Wake, Aliette de Bodard, comes for your heart with a compelling tale of love, duty, and found-family in an exciting new space opera that brings xianxia-style martial arts to the stars…

We’re thrilled to share the cover of Aliette de Bodard’s Navigational Entanglements, a romantic, found-family space opera arriving July 30, 2024 from Tordotcom Publishing.

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Prime Video Offers a First Real Look at Next Year’s Fallout

The world ended… again. Prime Video’s adaptation of the post-apocalyptic video game Fallout is coming next year, and we finally have a real look at the series (as opposed to the single image they bestowed upon us a year ago). Walton Goggins (Justified), Ella Purnell (Yellowjackets), and some very large power armor suits feature heavily in the just-released images, which tease a world very, very changed.

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Wheels Within Wheels: In the Country of the Blind by Michael Flynn

In this bi-weekly series reviewing classic science fiction and fantasy books, Alan Brown looks at the front lines and frontiers of the field; books about soldiers and spacers, scientists and engineers, explorers and adventurers. Stories full of what Shakespeare used to refer to as “alarums and excursions”: battles, chases, clashes, and the stuff of excitement.

Today I’m looking at In the Country of the Blind, the first book by one of my long-time favorite science fiction authors, Michael F. Flynn. Since Flynn passed away in September of this year, I have been intending to review one of his books in this column, but had been torn deciding which one. But once I realized I am not bound to a single tale, I decided to start with his first novel. And it’s a good one, about the discovery of a secret society of mathematicians who perfected the mechanical computing devices envisioned by Charles Babbage in the early 1800s, and since then, have been using their research to dominate the world from behind the scenes. The book fits into the category that is sometimes called a techno-thriller, set in the present, but with a plot that focuses on science and technology.

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Spielberg’s Jurassic Park Reshaped Our Dance With the Dinosaurs

There’s a meme going around of late. There may be variations, but the one I’ve most frequently seen features a tableau by Russian paleoartist Vasily Vatagin portraying a few of the more well-known dinosaurs—brontosaurus, stegosaurus, etc.—in the wild. It’s accompanied by the following text, which I’ll transcribe with the dodgy punctuation intact, just to give you the full flavor of the thing: “The dinosaurs didn’t ‘rule the Earth’, they were just alive. Stop giving them credit for administrative skills they almost certainly did not have.”

It bugs me, that meme. I get the semantics game that’s being played, and if you’ve been reading my pieces, you know I’m no stranger to that kind of snark myself. But in this case, there’s something so dour, so unromantic about the thing that it gets my hackles up. Whenever that meme manifests in my Facebook feed, I always post the same comment: “Ask any eight-year-old whether dinosaurs rule. You’ll have your answer.”

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Doctor Who Spinoffs I’d Love To See

Doctor Who is back! Last Saturday, we got the first new episode in absolute yoinks, and there’s tons more to come. Returning showrunner Russell T. Davies has said that one of his goals is to make more Who spinoffs, the same way RTD’s previous stint was accompanied by Torchwood and The Sarah Jane Adventures. (Full disclosure: RTD gave a very generous cover blurb to my novel Victories Greater Than Death.)

As someone who thinks about Doctor Who all the time (it’s true!) I’ve been musing about spin-offs I’d like to see. Here’s a bunch. (Warning: Spoilers for old Doctor Who stories ahead…)

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