Nicola Griffith’s Hild and the Joy of Giant, Perfect Novels

I became a writer on, and for, the internet. I wrote blog posts before I wrote novels, or even short stories. When I wrote, I did so conscious that my reader might at any moment get bored and close the tab. I wrote with a sense of urgency that bordered (not unreasonably) on panic.

This internet affect is palpable, I think, in my first novel, Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore. In my second, Sourdough, it’s faded—but it’s still there. The point is, I have always tended towards brevity. I have never barfed out 150,000 words, only to cut them back to 75K. I have never, ever written long.

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Zombie Drama All of Us Are Dead Appears to Have a Very Accurate Title

Is there a better name for a zombie show set in a high school than All of Us Are Dead? It’s accurate, where zombies are concerned, and it also accurately represents the drama levels of high schoolers. The Korean series is based on “Now at Our School,” a webtoon by Joo Dong-geun that ran from 2009 to 2011, and the trailer involves a lot of screaming and blood. As zombie stories tend to do.

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Good Hunting, Rocinante: The Expanse Ends With “Babylon’s Ashes”

The Expanse is over; long may the Rocinante fly. The too-short season six winds things up with “Babylon’s Ashes,” which wraps up as much as it can—and teases stories it seems like The Expanse is never going to get to tell. But as endings go, this one is smart and stacked and satisfying.

Spoilers for the entire show follow!

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There Are No Heroes or Villains in Station Eleven, Just Fans

The play’s the thing, in Station Eleven, wherein they’ll catch the conscience of the king Prophet. Or could you say the comic’s the thing—Station Eleven the book absolutely terraforming two vulnerable kids’ post-pandemic worldviews? Or the play adaptation of the comic that elevates a man’s death scene from subtext to supertext? Or the ancient Lisa Loeb karaoke track unearthed by the Museum of Civilization, performed by a post-pan teenager devoid of any context? Or the Independence Day speech that endears an aspiring actor to his idols? Or the rap rendition of A Tribe Called Quest’s “Excursions” that brings more joy than awkward Christmas carols?

Patrick Somerville’s TV miniseries based on Emily St. John Mandel’s novel is a near-perfect adaptation. It very much gets its own source material, yet isn’t precious about intersecting some plot lines and excising others. The end result is imbued with both the spirit and specificity of the book, a credit to Somerville and his collaborators assigning Station Eleven the comic its appropriate level of reverence in the universe of the show, but also echoing that love of art across all of the aforementioned media. Every single song, page, or video is attached to a human life, which is what makes it survive beyond the end of the world.

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David Ramsey May Star In a New Arrowverse Show

What are they doing with John Diggle? When Arrow ended two years ago, it was suggested—very strongly—that Diggle (David Ramsey), Oliver Queen’s bodyguard turned buddy, found a Green Lantern ring. The hints continued with Diggle’s appearances on the other Arrowverse shows, but the whole thing went a little bit sideways when, on Supergirl, Diggle seemed to say that maybe he’d turned the hero thing down in order to stay on Earth with his wife and kids. But maybe not?

Now, David Ramsey is set to star in a new Arrowverse show that’s in development at The CW: Justice U, in which Diggle would train a new generation of superheroes. But why tease the Green Lantern thing only to sideline it?

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Oh Boy: A New Quantum Leap Is One Step Closer to Actually Happening

The rumors were true. In September, Scott Bakula told Bob Saget (RIP) that “significant conversations” were happening around a possible reboot of Quantum Leap, the beloved ’90s time-traveler series (pictured above) that starred Bakula and Dean Stockwell (also RIP).

As it turns out, it’s not exactly a reboot—it’s a sequel series, and NBC has ordered a pilot for it!

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‘Tis the Season: R.L. Stine’s Silent Night Trilogy

Holiday horror has a long and illustrious history, from traditional Victorian Christmas ghost stories like Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol (1843) to more contemporary examples like Black Christmas (1974), Silent Night, Deadly Night (1984), Krampus (2015), and A Christmas Horror Story (2015), among others.

R.L. Stine’s first Silent Night (1991) Fear Street novel combines the traditions of the Christmas slasher film with the redemptive transformation of Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, with mean girl Reva Dalby as the Scrooge character in this variation.

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Dice, Damage, and Destiny: Five Top-Notch Superhero RPGs

Tabletop roleplaying games seem to be enjoying something of a golden age at present. So is the superhero genre—it seems impossible to channel-surf without running into some crime-fighting masked archer, gadget-wielding teen, or omnipotent extraterrestrial. It follows, therefore, that someone out there might want to cross the streams and roleplay superheroes. What superhero roleplaying games (SHRPGs) might they consider?

There are a lot of SHRPGs available. I have not played all of them, but of the ones I have sampled, here are five I would recommend, each with its own strengths and drawbacks.

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Tessa Thompson Talks About Valkyrie’s “Erotic” Powers, Making Us Question Everything

Thor: Love and Thunder, the fourth Thor movie in the MCU, is set to come out this July, with Tessa Thompson on board to reprise her role as Valkyrie, the new King of Asgard.

We know a few things about the movie already (space sharks, anyone?)!, but little about Thompson’s character other than her comment at 2019’s San Diego Comic-Con that her character “needs to find a queen.” In a recent interview, however, Thompson talked about Valkyrie’s powers, which include abilities we haven’t seen from her before.

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’80s Nostalgia Worth Revisiting: Gillian Rubinstein’s Space Demons Trilogy

I thought it might be fun to talk about one of my beloved childhood books, which—long before Ernest Cline’s Ready Player One—centers on life inside a video game. Press enter for Gillian Rubinstein’s Space Demons!

Here’s the first paperback edition’s back copy:

They came pouring across the screen like alien and menacing insects. Excitement hit him like a fist in the pit of his stomach. Life suddenly seemed more interesting. He re-set his watch and began to play Space Demons again.

The description emphasizes the visceral reaction evoked by the game, and implies its habit-forming power, both of which the novel develops in memorable detail.

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Five More Reasons Aliens Are Avoiding Planet Earth

I once pointed out to Fred Pohl that if FTL is possible and if it does (as the math says it would) facilitate time travel, then the paucity of alien visitors suggests that not only is Earth not interesting to aliens of the current era, but it is also not interesting to aliens of any era.

Pohl said that was the most depressing thing he’d ever heard. I am happy to have enriched his life.

The idea that Earth is simply not worth bothering with may seem counter-intuitive to us. However, our perspective is highly skewed by the fact that we come from Earth. Aliens may have good reason not to bother with the planet. Way back in 2021, I discussed five reasons why aliens might not have visited us. Here are five more reasons.

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