Legendary Science Fiction Author Ben Bova Has Passed at the Age of 88

Scientist, Hugo Award winner, and prolific science fiction author and editor Ben Bova passed away on Sunday, November 29, 2020 at the age of 88, Tor.com is able to confirm. The author of more than one hundred books, Bova also edited some of the genre’s best-known publications and served as the president of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America.

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The Taming of Felaróf, Father of Horses in The Lord of the Rings

It’s reader question time at SFF Equine, and commenter srEDIT has a good one:

We read in Book Three and Appendix A [of The Lord of the Rings] about the “father of horses,” Felaróf, who was captured as a foal by Léod, Eorl’s father. This is the horse who later sired the race of Mearas horses raised by the Rohirrim.

My question(s): Tolkien tells us of Felaróf that “no man could tame him.” But he also says Léod is established as a successful “tamer of wild horses.” How long would Léod likely have waited before attempting to mount this stallion? That is, how young a horse (who presumably began his life as a colt in the wild) might be ready to be mounted? How old are “real” horses before an experienced tamer might try to mount and ride an “untamable” stallion? We’re told that Léod actually rode for some (unmeasured) distance before Felaróf threw him. What might this distance be? Assuming the best of intentions by both human and animal characters, was this a case of irresistible force meets immovable object?

In your own mind, what sort of circumstances surrounding the taming of Felaróf had you imagined?

First of all, a bit of a disclaimer. I’m a LOTR/Silmarillion geek but not a Tolkien scholar. I haven’t delved deep into the lore and I have not read most of the exhumations and continuations published over the years. What I am is a longtime horse person, a rider and a onetime breeder. That’s the framing of the question, and that’s how I’ll answer.

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Four Stories That Subvert the Cosy Catastrophe Genre

Given our recent discussion of such tales, I should note that I quite dislike one particular subset of lifeboat stories: the ones in which a small group of plucky pioneers somehow escape the dying Earth and reach a new world they can call their own. But in the meantime, the unlucky masses who could not make their way onto the flotilla die with their homeworld.

Why this distaste? Well…

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Star Trek: Voyager Rewatch: “Retrospect”

Written by Andrew Shepard Price & Mark Gaberman and Bryan Fuller & Lisa Klink
Directed by Jesús Salvador Treviño
Season 4, Episode 17
Production episode 185
Original air date: February 25, 1998
Stardate: 51658.2

Captain’s log. Voyager has traveled to Enthara, where they have been negotiating with a weapons dealer named Kovin, trying to beef up Voyager‘s tactical specs in light of the ongoing Hirogen threat. Once they settle on terms, Janeway and Chakotay agree to let Seven out of the penalty box so she can help Torres and Kovin install the systems.

[I want the cannon.]

Series: Star Trek: Voyager Rewatch

5 Books That Are Pulpy in All the Right Ways

It’s no secret that horror is making a comeback. But what about the pulp? The sensational and fantastical imagery that gives us nightmares as kids and can make even the toughest of adults squirm? That’s exactly what my co-author Darren Wearmouth and I tried to harness in our latest thriller, Don’t Move. Set in the woods of West Virginia, the story follows a church group from the Bronx on their annual camping trip. But this year, the group has made a fatal navigational error that’s left them stranded in an uninhabited portion of canyon untouched by humans for centuries. The only thing that has survived there all this time? A giant, terrifying prehistoric arachnid that’s desperate for a meal. The novel itself draws on inspiration from the classic 80s and 90s slasher movies that captured my attention as a young teen, and as the thriller genre matures and leans more towards the cerebral, that doesn’t mean a good romp around in the pulp isn’t welcomed.

So if you’re looking for a gory, creepy page-turner that still offers the best of modern storytelling, here are five books that are pulpy in all the right ways…

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Series: Five Books About…

The Vegetarian Vampire: Unpacking the Metaphor of Modern Vampire Stories

I don’t want to shock you, but Edward Cullen wasn’t the first Vegetarian Vampire to take a seat at the table. In fact, Edward comes from a long, storied line of ethically minded bros of the undead who all have one thing in common: while they might want to suck your blood, they’re really gonna try not to.

The Vegetarian Vampire, or leo lamia if you want to get fancy with it, is the one who either abstains from drinking human blood or finds alternative ways of getting it. And it turns out, they’re a staple of the Western Vampire Canon, a trope in their own right!

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Darth Vader Actor David Prowse, 1935-2020

When George Lucas worked to cast the role of his lead villain for Star Wars, he needed someone with an impressive physical presence on set, and turned to six-foot-eight English actor and bodybuilder David Prowse for the role. For the next three films, Prowse played the body of Darth Vader, terrifying generations of viewers.

Prowse died over the weekend at the age of 85 due to complications from COVID-19, leaving behind not only his legacy as one of cinema’s most iconic villains, but for promoting safety for millions of children.

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All of Tordotcom Publishing’s Books From 2020

In 2020, Tordotcom Publishing published over 30 novels, novellas, anthologies, and collections, including the first full-length novel entry in Martha Wells’s  Murderbot Diaries series, the New England Book Award-winning novella Riot Baby by Tochi Onyebuchi, the mind-melting sequel to the necromantic space opera Gideon the Ninth (now with even more bones!) and so much more!

We are tremendously proud of our authors, illustrators, and editors for creating such wonderful works this year. We hope that you will nominate your favorites for the Hugos, Nebulas, and other upcoming awards which honor outstanding works of science fiction, fantasy, and horror—but most of all, we hope that you have enjoyed reading these stories as much as we have!

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Spock’s Legacy — Star Trek: Discovery‘s “Unification III”

I suspect that the events of this latest episode of Discovery are going to prompt a lot of discussion amongst Trek fans. There are two plots going on here. There’s an A-plot that picks up threads from season two of Discovery and season one of Picard, along with the title-implied references to the arc Spock went on starting in TNG‘s “Unificationtwo-parter through to the 2009 movie. And then a B-plot about the new acting first officer on Discovery.

[Oh, did I miss the cool “say yes” part?]

Gingerbread Bricks, Cherry-Stealing Cats, and Other Culinary Disasters

I’ve been asked if I cook as well as I write about cooking.

It’s a fair question: I’ve been cooking almost as long as I’ve been writing. Writing was something I fell into, much like Alice down the rabbit-hole, when I was fourteen. I sat down one day to write myself a story instead of reading one, and thirty-two pages later—pencil and lined paper tablet—I finished my tale and realized that my predictable world had expanded wildly, enormously, with endlessly diverging and intriguing paths running every which way into an unknown I suddenly knew existed. Having ended one story (which is locked away, guarded by dragons and evil-eyed basilisks, and will never see the light of day if I have anything to say about it), I wanted to start all over again on another.

When or why I decided I needed to inflict culinary disasters on my long-suffering family and others, I don’t remember.

[My most vivid cooking memory is setting my brother on fire with my Cherries Jubilee.]

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