Live-Action How To Train Your Dragon Feature Casts Its Astrid and Hiccup

Live-action remakes of classic animated films are in vogue right now, and not only at Disney. We’ve known for a few months that Universal was getting in on that live-action, um, action with a flesh-and-blood reimagining of 2010’s How To Train Your Dragon. That project is steadily moving forward, and today we found out what human actors will take on the leading human roles in the movie.

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Read an Excerpt From The Light at the End of the World

Delhi, the near future: Bibi, a low-ranking employee of a global consulting firm, is tasked with finding a man long thought to be dead but who now appears to be the source of a vast collection of documents.

We’re thrilled to share an excerpt from The Light at the End of the World by Siddhartha Deb, a kaleidoscopic, genre-bending novel connecting India’s tumultuous 19th and 20th centuries to its distant past and its potentially apocalyptic future—out today from Soho Press.

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Star Trek: Enterprise Rewatch: “Damage”

Written by Phyllis Strong
Directed by James L. Conway
Season 3, Episode 19
Production episode 071
Original air date: April 21, 2004
Date: unknown

Captain’s star log. Enterprise is picking up where they left off last time, getting the shit kicked out of them by Reptilian ships, but suddenly the attack ceases. This is only a minor reprieve, as they have no propulsion or weapons, systems failures all over the ship, tons of hull breaches, and many casualties.

We find out that the Xindi Council ordered the Reptilian ships to back off, to Dolim’s annoyance. The Aquatics will transport Archer to the council chambers so he can be interrogated by the council. Dolim is even more pissed about that.

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Series: Star Trek: Enterprise Rewatch

Being & Loving The Monster in The Salt Grows Heavy by Cassandra Khaw

Cassandra Khaw’s new novella, The Salt Grows Heavy, begins with death and consummation. On its very first page, a mermaid’s daughters clean gore from their fingertips after devouring the face, eyes, and brain of a thing that used to be human. They are, their mother muses as she watches them, “the best of their parents.” We as readers are thrown into the deep-end, as unmoored and unsteady as a sea creature on land.

In its brief and horrible 100 pages, The Salt Grows Heavy continues its assault: murder and dismemberment are commonplace, children are awash in blood, and, most importantly, love (familial, romantic, and otherwise) is present in abundance. With gorgeous prose and tender, meaty detail, Khaw guides us through an unreal fable of love and body horror. They introduce us to a mermaid and her plague doctor companion as they traverse a bleak landscape to find humanity and monstrosity irrevocably intertwined. And never once does Khaw explain the abominations we’re witnessing—our unknowing, after all, is part of its allure.

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Making Science Fiction Respectable: Tiger by the Tail by Alan E. Nourse

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.

In the latter part of the 20th century, the science fiction community began to move past its lurid pulp origins and become part of respectable culture. The genre began to leave behind covers featuring bug-eyed monsters and scantily clad maidens and turned toward plots that depended thoughtful scientific extrapolation rather than simply generating thrills. Of course, as Alan E. Nourse shows in the collection Tiger by the Tail, those stories can still be fun and compelling.

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Shifter Romances, Dragon Style: Elva Birch’s Royal Dragons of Alaska

Shifter romances are a thing. A big, exuberant, all the fun and hot sexy shifter guys (and gals and even nonbinaries) you can eat thing. They’re usually written by pseudonymous authors—and some of those pseudonyms may actually be a consortium of writers writing in the same universe with interconnected characters.

Like shifter cozy mysteries, shifter romances feature one or more shifters per novel and per universe. Romances, unlike cozies which can stretch out the attraction through a whole series, traditionally wrap up the love story within a single volume. The point of the story is the relationship, and it must end in “HEA”—Happy Ever After.

That doesn’t mean there can’t be series set within the same universe. Think Bridgerton. Each member of a family gets their own story and their own romance. The rest of the family will move in and out and even play major roles in the overall plot, but again, the relationship is the focus.

Shifter romances can feature any human-to-animal transformation you can imagine, and maybe a few you can’t. Real-world or mythical, anything goes. As witness Elva Birch’s six-book series (with book 6 coming out this summer), Royal Dragons of Alaska.

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Reading The Wheel of Time: The Unexpected Skill of the Current Age in The Path of Daggers (Part 2)

This Week in Reading The Wheel of Time, we are covering Chapters One and Two of The Path of Daggers. These are from Aviendha’s perspective, which is nice because we get fewer chapters from her than we do from Nynaeve or Elayne. Min and Aviendha are central characters in the story, but slightly less main characters than Elayne and the Two Rivers folks. Aviendha is so interesting as a character, too, and she is undergoing a lot of changes in short order, rather like the Two Rivers crew did in the first few books.

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Series: Reading The Wheel of Time

The Biggest Character of the Summer Arrives in Boots Riley’s I’m a Virgo

First: Did you watch Boots Riley’s Sorry to Bother You? Because if you didn’t, you should. It might—might—give you some idea what you’re in for with I’m a Virgo, the writer-director’s new series about a 13-foot-tall Black man from Oakland who, after spending much of his life hidden, ventures out into the world for the first time.

Also Walton Goggins plays a superhero who seems like a real pain in the ass? If this combination of details isn’t enough to pique your interest, I’m not sure what to say.

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5 SFF Road Trip Stories to Fuel Your Wanderlust

To my mind, a road trip is not an exodus or a flight from danger. It can start with one of those things but only transcends to “road trip” status when the danger is over, and the participants are looking for the next thing. Road trips are exploratory and often recreational, more ‘let’s see what’s around the next bend’ and less ‘if we don’t keep moving, we’ll have to eat grandpa.’

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The Pain, Humanity, and Ascension of Hans Christian Andersen’s “The Little Mermaid”

Hans Christian Andersen’s earliest years were marked by extreme poverty. His parents did not live together until nine months after his birth, leading Andersen and others to wonder if his father of record—also named Hans Andersen, a shoemaker—was indeed his father. Highly dubious legends later insisted that Andersen was the illegitimate scion of noble, even royal blood, but if so, noble and royal money was distinctly absent in those early years. His maternal grandmother died in a poorhouse, as did his mother. His (probable) paternal grandfather became mentally ill later in life, and also landed in a poorhouse, leaving his wife and children in desperate financial straits. A cousin landed in jail for begging.

What saved Andersen’s soul, then and later, were fairy tales about magical things like little mermaids.

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