Halle Berry Is On Board Netflix’s The Mothership

Halle Berry is getting extraterrestrial again: Deadline reports the actress will star in and executive produce Netflix’s The Mothership. Berry plays Sara Morse, who finds an alien object under her home one year after her husband’s mysterious disappearance.

The Mothership is written by Oscar-nominated screenwriter Matthew Charman, who will also direct the film. Charman was nominated for an Oscar for his Bridge of Spies screenplay, but his more relevant work here may be Oasis, the adaptation of Michel Faber’s The Book of Strange Things that never got picked up as a series.

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Exploring the People of Middle-earth: Elanor Gamgee

In this biweekly series, we’re exploring the evolution of both major and minor figures in Tolkien’s legendarium, tracing the transformations of these characters through drafts and early manuscripts through to the finished work. This week’s installment takes a look at Elanor Gamgee, the eldest daughter of Samwise and Rosie.

Elanor Gamgee, eldest daughter of Sam and Rose, gets little enough exposure in The Lord of the Rings. We know she is born on March 25, the first day of the new year according to the Gondorian calendar, and of course the date of the Fall of Sauron. Her name is Elvish in origin. In fact, Sam and Frodo name her together, after the “sun-star” flower they saw in Lothlórien, because (as Frodo says) “Half the maidchildren in the Shire are called by” flower names. Sam hints that he wanted to name her after someone they met in their travels, but admits that such names are “a bit too grand for daily wear and tear.”

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Meet Some Adorable Sea Monsters in the Trailer for Pixar’s Luca

Disney and Pixar’s next film, Luca, promises a sun-kissed Italian summer for a couple of totally ordinary-looking kids… who aren’t ordinary at all.

It’s very nice of Disney to give us this trailer in dreary February; all that gorgeous warm light is exactly what those of us in the northern hemisphere need right now. And the movie—directed by La Luna creator Enrico Casarosa—looks as charming as you’d expect from Pixar.

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The Avatar: The Last Airbender Co-Creators Will Return to Animate Their Franchise

Long ago (around seven years ago), Avatar: The Last Airbender fans thought the animated adventures of this elemental universe had come to an end with the Legend of Korra finale. But everything changed when Nickelodeon announced Avatar Studios, helmed by series co-creators Bryan Konietzko and Michael Dante Dimartino, with more animated tales in the Avatarverse on the way. Although the journey here wasn’t an easy one, fans hope this decision will bring balance to their beloved world.

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Five SFF Books About Memory

As children, with our lives ahead of us, we wonder ‘what if?’—what if that squirrel could talk, what if I had wings, what if Mommy and Daddy disappeared and I could live in my house all alone and eat dessert any time I wanted. As time passes and the past comes to trail behind we turn this sense of fantasy away from the present back to the past. ‘What if’ becomes ‘what if I had’—moved to Panama, quit smoking, walked away that night, told him I loved him. No child ever wished for a pony half so hard as your average adult wishes to have the chance to rectify an error, supplement a conversation, salvage some lost portion of our lives.

It is no wonder, then, that genre fiction has always been interested in memory—which, after all, has a far closer kinship with fantasy than fact. The Seventh Perfection is a book about a woman with perfect recollection seeking to untangle truth from the twisted strands of history (both personal and societal), and the consequences which spring from this single minded obsession.

Here are five other books likewise fascinated (tormented?) by memory.

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Series: Five Books About…

It’s a Zombie Casino Party in the Teaser for Army of the Dead

The first teaser is here for Zack Snyder’s other 2021 release, Army of the Dead, in which a group of mercenaries venture into a zombie-infested Las Vegas to pull off not just any old heist, but—per the very brief synopsis—”the greatest heist ever attempted.”

Heists, of course, are never simply “done,” always “pulled off,” and clearly this one isn’t going to go off without some undead shenanigans.

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Revealing All of Us Villains by Amanda Foody and Christine Lynn Herman

This is a story that must be penned in blood…

We’re thrilled to share the cover for All of Us Villains, the start of a dark tale of ambition and magick co-authored by Amanda Foody and Christine Lynn Herman—publishing November 9th with Tor Teen.

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Rhythm of War Reread: Chapter Twenty-Five

Good morning, Cosmere Chickens! This week’s chapter might be a little triggering for anyone who suffers from depression or has been “treated” for a mental illness (I put this in quotes because of stories shared with me from friends that were institutionalized, which even today can be shockingly similar to the treatment plan the ardents use here). Please be aware of this and proceed accordingly.

The Stormlight Archive in general does a lot of work in regards to representation of those who are neurodivergent, and this chapter is a very good example of such. We’ll be discussing some pretty heavy topics with historical precedent, the echoes of which resonate through the real world even today.

[He saw not a few gloomspren around.]

Series: Rhythm of War by Brandon Sanderson

What Walks Alone: Final Thoughts on The Haunting of Hill House

Welcome back to Reading the Weird, in which we get girl cooties all over weird fiction, cosmic horror, and Lovecraftiana—from its historical roots through its most recent branches.

This week, we wrap up our discussion Shirley Jackson’s The Haunting of Hill House, including final thoughts from both of us and a little from Anne on the screen adaptations. Spoilers ahead.

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Series: Reading the Weird

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Reread — Original Sin

Original Sin
David R. George III
Publication Date: September 2017

Timeline: February-March 2380, approximately one year prior to the 2381 section of Typhon Pact: Rough Beasts of Empire, and March 2386, following Ascendance and The Long Mirage

Progress: The bulk of this novel consists of chapters that alternate between 2380 and 2386. Here are the essential events of these two plotlines told sequentially:

2380: A Bajoran named Radovan, who’s been dealt some tough blows, falls in with the Ohalavaru, the religious followers of the texts of Ohalu (see Unity and more recently Sacraments of Fire).

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The Looming Horror and Magic of What It Is To Be Alive: Isabel Yap’s Never Have I Ever

There are worlds within the cutthroat music of Isabel Yap’s debut short story collection Never Have I Ever, and they are wondrous and vicious and true. Yap’s work spans the speculative, weaving fantasy, horror, and sci-fi and wielding each with deft expertise. Here, Filipino folklore breathes through the cruelties and magic of the contemporary, infused with history and legend. Each story is a cleverly crafted gem, resonant and surprising and deeply profound. The collection as a whole establishes Yap firmly as one of the sharpest masters of the form.

As a Fil-Am reader, I found so much of myself in these stories. That specific cadence and tension of family, the rich folklore of my childhood that I so rarely see represented or imagined in contemporary American writing. Whether Yap’s writing about a diaspora experience or a story rooted in Manila, that sense of place and complex identity is drawn so vividly. She carves out details clever and true. 

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Not All Worldbuilding Needs to Be Meticulous to Be Effective

The goal of building a fictional world isn’t to build a world. It’s to build a metaphor. And the success of the world you build isn’t measured by how complete or coherent or well-mapped the world is. It’s measured by whether the world and the meaning map onto each other.

Arguments about worldbuilding in SFF don’t generally focus on metaphors. Instead they often focus, somewhat paradoxically, on realism. How can you best make a world that feels as detailed and rich and coherent as the world you’re living in now, complete with impeachment trials, global warming, pandemics, pit bulls, and K-pop? Should you, in the manner of Tolkien, systematically construct every detail of your fantasy realm, with maps and histories and even complete languages? Or should you leave spaces to suggest vast uncharted bits? Maybe sometimes it’s more evocative not to tell your readers what lives on every part of the map, or what the Elvish means. As China Mieville says, “A world is going to be compelling at least as much by what it doesn’t say as what it does. Nothing is more drably undermining of the awe at hugeness that living in a world should provoke than the dutiful ticking off of features on a map.”

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Tehanu: Le Guin’s Return to Earthsea — and Her Best Novel

The Ursula K. Le Guin Reread explores anew the transformative writing, exciting worlds, and radical stories that changed countless lives. In this final week, we’ll be covering Le Guin’s novel Tehanu (1990).

Last year I embarked on a quest: to reread all of Ursula Le Guin’s works, including story and essay collections, and write about them for Tor.com—a dream come true for any SFF critic. I’ve written about Le Guin for a year, covering her novels, stories, and essays from the beginning of her career (some truly just OK stories) to her first novel of the 1980s, the strange anti-Narnia novel The Beginning Place. That’s nearly two decades of powerful, inquisitive writing that racked up awards and made Le Guin into a household name, an undisputed master of the genre. 

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Series: The Ursula K. Le Guin Reread

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