Cowboys With Phasers: Star Trek’s “Spectre of the Gun” and the Genre of Space Western

“Space: the final frontier.” The opening words of the original Star Trek series intro handily sums up the logic of the space western genre. The Wild West is no longer wild, and has not been for some time. But space is unexplored, untamed, and not fully under the control of a central government, and/or federation. Exchange six-guns for lasers, a horse for a starship, and cattle rustlers for Klingons, and you’re ready to send those old adventure tropes off to the galactic rodeo.

In the original series, Captain Kirk swaggers like a border sheriff through many a lawless outpost. But the episode that most directly shoots at Star Trek’s Western roots is Season Three’s “The Spectre of the Gun,” aired in 1968. Faced with old timey gun fighters, the crew of the Enterprise both lean into the Western genre and try to escape from it—with mixed success. Even at warp speed, it turns out, it’s hard to outride the horse you’re sitting on.

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Never Say You Can’t Survive: Weirdness Gives Me the Strength To Keep Going

Charlie Jane Anders is writing a nonfiction book—and Tor.com is publishing it as she does so. Never Say You Can’t Survive is a how-to book about the storytelling craft, but it’s also full of memoir, personal anecdote, and insight about how to flourish in the present emergency.

Below is the nineteenth chapter, “ Weirdness Gives Me the Strength To Keep Going.” You can find all previous chapters here. New chapters will appear every Tuesday. Enjoy!

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Series: Never Say You Can’t Survive

Reading the Wheel of Time: Death Cannot Be Healed in Robert Jordan’s The Fires of Heaven (Part 5)

This week in Reading the Wheel of Time we get to learn so much more about the One Power. Chapter Seven is the only chapter we will cover today, but like Rand, we’ll have a busy time of it. There will be Darkhounds and balefire, Mat and his foxhead medallion, and Lanfear will show us more of herself than I believe we have seen thus far. I have feelings about Moiraine, and Rand has feelings about death. It’s going to be a real roller coaster.

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Series: Reading The Wheel of Time

Vampires Are the Gentrifiers In the First Trailer for Netflix’s Vampires vs The Bronx

Gentrification has been a long-standing threat to communities of color in neighborhoods around the United States, the result of money and affluent neighbors moving in and forcing out their predecessors.

In Netflix’s new film Vampires Vs The Bronx, a group of friends discover that their neighborhood’s under threat from some supernatural newcomers—vampires.

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The Folio Society Is Releasing a Limited, Special Edition of Frank Herbert’s Dune

Five years ago, the Folio Society began regularly releasing science fiction novels in its lineup of high-end collectors editions, starting with Frank Herbert’s Dune.

With the film adaptation coming out this December, the publisher has announced a new special edition of the book, which goes above and beyond its already beautiful previous edition.

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Five SFF Novels Featuring Disabled Characters Who Know Their Own Worth

As someone with a chronic illness, reading sci-fi and fantasy books that feature characters with disabilities has had a huge impact on me. It’s valuable to see myself as a hero and not just a character on the sidelines who’s too “broken” to go on an adventure. I don’t exist to inspire other people, I’m not useless until I’m healed, and I don’t have to overcome my disability to be worth something. I want the fiction I read to embrace diversity and include characters who are learning to deal with their conditions—just like me.

Each of the books on this list includes a character who has chronic pain or a disability, who plays a significant role in the story. I appreciate how these characters all wrestle with their conditions and learn to value themselves—despite others telling them they’re useless.

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Rhythm of War Read-Along Discussion: Chapter Thirteen

Welcome back to the discussion! Last week, we saw Kaladin’s arc take an abrupt turn into the unknown. This week, assuming you’ve already read the new chapter, we’ll focus on Shallan. As she deals with internal struggles, we see the events of the previous day turning to a set-up of the next part of her journey. Come on in and discuss!

[Answers. All of them.]

Series: Rhythm of War by Brandon Sanderson

Read Rhythm of War by Brandon Sanderson: Chapter Thirteen

On November 17, 2020, The Stormlight Archive saga continues in Rhythm of War, the eagerly awaited fourth volume in Brandon Sanderson’s #1 New York Times bestselling fantasy series.

Tor.com is serializing the new book from now until release date! A new installment will go live every Tuesday at 9 AM ET.

Every chapter is collected here in the Rhythm of War index.

Once you’re done reading, join our resident Cosmere experts for commentary on what this week’s chapter has revealed!

Want to catch up on The Stormlight Archive? Check out our Explaining The Stormlight Archive series!

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Series: Rhythm of War by Brandon Sanderson

Spinning Through Genres in Andre Norton’s Wheel of Stars

To give her full credit (and she surely deserved it), Andre Norton seldom wrote a book that seemed as if she had phoned it in. She played on similar themes, settings, characters, plots, but she made them seem fresh. She managed her tropes with great skill, and kept the pages turning with tireless energy.

Once in a great while however, she missed her usual mark. Wheel of Stars, for me, was a slog to get through. It never quite committed to a particular genre, for one thing. At first blush it seems to be headed toward a classic cursed-village plot, but then it swerves off into a confused melange of time travel (or possibly parallel worlds), Atlantis or Mu or some other undefined sunken world, reincarnation, mind powers and clairvoyance, astrology, and ancient wars between good and evil. And finally, as if that’s not enough, it throws in a cave full of bodies in cold sleep. Topped off by the fastest romance that I’ve seen in the Norton canon.

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Naomi Novik and Christopher Paolini Talk About Their New Books, Old Inspirations, Dragons, and More!

Before these two fantastic authors released their newest novels to the world, they sat down and talked about everything from writing techniques to dragons. We sat in on an interview between Naomi Novik and Christopher Paolini as they discussed their respective books, A Deadly Education and To Sleep in a Sea of Stars, while diving into their inspirations and processes, and of course, dragons.

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Star Trek: Voyager Rewatch: “Scorpion, Part II”

“Scorpion, Part II”
Written by Brannon Braga & Joe Menosky
Directed by Winrich Kolbe
Season 4, Episode 1
Production episode 169
Original air date: September 3, 1997
Stardate: 51003.7

Captain’s log. We get the highlights of Part 1, then pick up with a Borg Cube running very fast away from the Species 8472 ship that blew up a planet, Voyager in a tractor beam. Chakotay tries to get Torres to beam Janeway off the cube, but Janeway herself contacts them and says to belay that order, as she has formed an alliance with the Borg.

[We’re going to war.]

Series: Star Trek: Voyager Rewatch

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