New Star Trek: Picard Trailer Gives Us Whoopi Goldberg, Brent Spiner, and a Whole Lot of Excitement

Just days after we found out Star Trek: Picard’s release date (it’s March 3, if you haven’t marked your calendar yet), we get an amazing trailer that not only sheds light on what season two might be about, but also gives us a look at Whoopi Goldberg reprising her role as Guinan and evidence that Brent Spiner is back!

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12 SFF Tales Told From Second-Person Perspective

Writing in second person—forgoing I or she/he/they of other perspectives in favor of that intensely-close, under-your-skin you—can, ironically, be rather alienating. Often it feels too intimate for the reader, or it distracts them from the story unfolding with questions of who is actually telling it. But when a writer commits to telling a story to you, about you, through you, the result can often be masterful—an extra layer of magic surrounding a sci-fi/fantasy/speculative tale and embedding the reader in the protagonist’s journey more intensely than even the most self-reflective first or closest-third could achieve.

Enjoy these dozen SFF tales, ranging from cheeky epistolary novella to intricate manifestations of grief to choose-your-own-adventure Shakespeare, that take on the trickiest perspective and make you (that’s you, the reader) forget you were ever skeptical.

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Godzilla Is Headed to Apple TV+ in a Series Co-Created By Matt Fraction

No modern-day franchise can be complete without at least one related live-action streaming series, and now Legendary’s Monsterverse is taking the inevitable step in that direction. Apple TV+ has ordered a series focusing on Godzilla and the Titans—one that picks up where the recent Godzilla vs. Kong (pictured above) leaves off.

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A Book Full of Juju: Akata Woman by Nnedi Okorafor

The third in the award winning Nsibidi Script series by Nnedi Okorafor, Akata Woman brings us back to a teenage Sunny, now a young woman on the cusp of adulthood, both as a person and as a powerful juju-working warrior witch. Like the earlier books, this one too makes no bones about what it will be, starting with a straight up warning—

‘Beware. Shine your eye, If you fear juju. If you are uncomfortable around powers that zip, buzz, creep, swell on this planet and beyond., If you don’t want to know. If you don’t want to listen. If you are afraid to go. If you aren’t ready. If. If. If. You are reading this. Good. This book is full of juju.’

And full to the brim it is. With Akata Woman, Okorafor does what she does best, drawing on African mythology and folklore, being free with her rhythm and language, telling a classic hero’s journey set far from the Western canon of fantasy, while always staying readable, aware, intelligent and playful.

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Five Books That Use Wormholes to Fix Plot Holes

Wormholes and other means of providing instant access between distant fixed points are narratively convenient. They make it possible to get characters from point A to point B without dying of old age en route. Wormholes (or their equivalent) constrain interstellar travel so that, for example, people cannot simply flee combat by going FTL, nor can they emerge above a planet before their photons arrive to carry out an unstoppable bombing run. From an authorial perspective, such constraints are very, very useful.

Once their attention had been drawn to wormholes some time in the 1980s, authors leapt on the chance to use them in fiction. See, for example, how frequently the phrase appears in American English.

Which isn’t to say that all authors have used the same kind of wormholes to fix plot holes. Consider these five examples:

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Five Books With Magical Transformations

Transformations wield power. That thrill of changing is part of the reason why I love all kinds of transformation scenes, from the frosted ball gown swirling around Cinderella to Jacob Black ripping off his shirt and going full wolf.

But my favorite transformations are often quieter. The changes the character undergoes are more or less reflective of an emotional state. How the characters appear—either by choice or curse—becomes illustrative of their psychological plane. Sometimes the character’s transformation foreshadows who they will be or how they will one day see themselves. In these five books, transformations range from the benign and the charming, to the conniving and powerful.

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A Philosophical Take on Parallel Universes in Gunnhild Øyehaug’s Present Tense Machine

Gunnhild Øyehaug’s Present Tense Machine, translated by Kari Dickson, is a novel about parallel universes. In that way, it’s like a host of other novels—some long and others short, some intimate in their scope and others focusing on the largest possible canvas. What makes Øyehaug’s novel stand out is the relative modesty of its scale, along with a tone that’s at once playful and philosophical.

Early in the novel, its narrator (who seems to be Øyehaug herself, or at least a similarly omnipotent presence in the narrative) cites one character’s argument around several films that “are based on the idea of parallel universes”—in this case, Interstellar, Arrival, and Doctor Strange. And while those works don’t necessarily have a lot in common, they do end up serving as an early point of contrast to the narrative of Present Tense Machine.

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Life’s But an Existentialist Shadow in Joel Coen’s The Tragedy of Macbeth

How do I even write about this? Joel Coen has created a stunning, often terrifying, German Expressionist-ish take on Macbeth that, when it chooses to be, tips into full horror. While it isn’t my favorite take on the play (that would Akira Kurosawa’s Throne of Blood) this is the first time I’ve seen a Shakespeare adaptation and immediately wanted to rewatch it before the credits were even done rolling.

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Wallace and Gromit Are Headed to Netflix—Along With a Chicken Run Sequel

Netflix must have plenty of cheese. The streaming platform is teaming up with Aardman Animation to bring us the first Wallace & Gromit story in more than a decade, which is just far too long to go between incredibly charming animated films about a man, his dog, and the importance of cheese.

But the Aardman/Netflix partnership extends beyond a love of Wensleydale and into the barnyard: A sequel to Chicken Run is also in the works!

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