It’s the same old story. Take a chance and pick up a hitchhiker. But only after midnight and only when you need some company. Of course, the hitchhiker will disappear. That’s the way the story goes, right? But this time you are the hitchhiker. And there’s a tunnel up ahead.
Syfy has released the first teaser trailer for The Expanse Season Three, along with a shiny new release date of April 11th! And it asks: Will our heroes allow their pasts to define them? But here’s what we’re really excited about…since The Magicians are allowed real swears now, will Chrisjen Avasarala’s gloriously dirty mouth finally be allowed its full power?
Click through for the teaser!
Brandon Sanderson is one of the spotlight guests at Emerald City Comic Con 2018, his first time at the convention! But he is far from the only Tor author attending ECCC from March 1-4: While Sanderson will be on a panel about writing magical stories that make sense, R.A. Salvatore will be discussing the darker side of fantasy, and Seanan McGuire will be in attendance to discuss the happily-ever-after in SFF. Plus, Myke Cole will lead the charge to draft the best fantasy party to tackle every adventure, while Annalee Newitz will remind us that it’s OK to root for the bad guys sometimes. Click through for the complete schedule of panels and signings.
The Strange Bird is a new kind of creature, built in a laboratory—she is part bird, part human, part many other things. But now the lab in which she was created is under siege and the scientists have turned on their animal creations. Flying through tunnels, dodging bullets, and changing her colors and patterning to avoid capture, the Strange Bird manages to escape.
But she cannot just soar in peace above the earth.
With The Strange Bird, Jeff VanderMeer has done more than add another layer, a new chapter, to his celebrated novel Borne. He has created a whole new perspective on the world inhabited by Rachel and Wick, the Magician, Mord, and Borne—a view from above, but also a view from deep inside the mind of a new kind of creature who will fight and suffer and live for the tenuous future of this world. Originally available only as a digital release, a paperback edition publishes February 27th from Farrar, Straus and Giroux.
We’re thrilled to share the cover for Thin Air from Richard K. Morgan, author of the award-winning science fiction novel Altered Carbon. An atmospheric tale of corruption and abduction set on Mars, Thin Air is available October 9th from Del Rey.
On a Mars where ruthless commercial interests violently collide with a homegrown independence movement, as Earth-based overlords battle for profits and power, Hakan Veil is an ex-corporate enforcer equipped with military-grade body tech that’s made him a human killing machine. But he’s had enough of the turbulent red planet, and all he wants is a ticket back home—which is just what he’s offered by the Earth Oversight organization, in exchange for being the bodyguard for an EO investigator. It’s a beyond-easy gig for a heavy hitter like Veil … until it isn’t.
When Veil’s charge, Madison Madekwe, starts looking into the mysterious disappearance of lottery winner, she stirs up a hornets’ nest of intrigue and murder. And the deeper Veil is drawn into the dangerous game being played, the more long-buried secrets claw their way to the Martian surface. Now it’s the expert assassin on the wrong end of a lethal weapon—as Veil stands targeted by powerful enemies hellbent on taking him down, by any means necessary.
Check out the full cover and read an excerpt from the novel below!
The X-Men were not, initially, one of Marvel’s successes. Part of the wave of superheroes created in the early 1960s by Stan Lee, Jack Kirby, and Steve Ditko, the X-Men never quite captured the reading public’s imagination the way the Fantastic Four, Thor, Iron Man, the Hulk, the Avengers, and Spider-Man did.
In 1975, that changed. Len Wein & Dave Cockrum provided a new team of X-Men in Giant-Sized X-Men #1, and then Chris Claremont took over writing duties with the following Uncanny X-Men #94, and a legend was born. Providing a multiethnic team of mutants along with founding member Cyclops, the title quickly became one of Marvel’s most popular (it’s almost like diversity sells or something!), particularly once Claremont was joined by artist/co-plotter John Byrne, with whom he’d also had successful runs on Iron Fist, Star-Lord, and Marvel Team-Up.
By the late 1980s, there were no comic book heroes more popular than the X-Men. That was when they started the process of trying to bring them to the big screen, but it took a while.
I’m honestly not sure what to say about Annihilation. The best I can come up with is: what if the worst parts of Contact had a child with the best parts of Arrival, which then had a torrid affair with The Fountain? The resulting progeny might look a lot like Annihilation. Which is to say: the parts I loved I really loved, and the parts that didn’t work for me nearly jarred me right out of the film.
An attempt at a non spoiler review lurks below.
Joss Whedon has stepped away from the Batgirl movie, citing the fact he just didn’t have a story to tell. It’s an interesting moment of honesty but, regardless of your overall opinion of him, Whedon doesn’t matter in this instance. What does matter is that one of DC’s most iconic characters is in need of a director and scriptwriter, and DC have a massive opportunity to use that need to signal a sea change in their approach.
It’s not concrete, not yet, but in the wake of Wonder Woman’s success, DC finally seems intent on bringing some variety to their movie universe. We’ll see for sure when the first stills from Shazam! hit—those are due any day now, apparently. Regardless, there’s a real sense—embodied within the movie universe itself by the return of Superman—of hope coming to the DCEU for the first time in a while. A major change, for sure, and a welcome one at that. Batgirl is the perfect character to be in this pivotal position: a fundamentally hopeful, pragmatic heroine with one yellow Doc Marten in noir and the other in action adventure.
The Walking Dead, which returns for the second half of its eight season this Sunday, finds itself in the midst of interesting times. Yet again. It feels like overly familiar territory, at this point. The Walking Dead is a show that excels at pushing its luck, knowing full well that there is fertile ground out beyond its viewers’ comfort zones—and trusting them to follow it loyally, out and back again.
In the first half of this season, for the first time, it may genuinely have gone too far.
Black Panther is still kicking ass in theaters, but we already get a taste of the DVD commentary! For Vanity Fair’s wonderfully in-depth Notes on a Scene video series, director and co-writer Ryan Coogler gamely breaks down one of the film’s most memorable fight scenes, in which T’Challa, Nakia, and Okoye throw down in a South Korean casino. You know the one—it was one of the first pieces of Black Panther footage teased nearly a year before the movie’s release, with the cast looking incredible and wig-throwing in a Marvel superhero movie fight.
Even if you’ve already seen the film a half-dozen times, there’s so much to get out of this ten-minute video, because Coogler breaks it down beat by beat, word by word, Wakandan-word-as-dress-pattern by dress pattern. It’s clear how much thought went into a fast-paced sequence like this, from representing the Pan-African flag in costume design to the 3D-printed set (complete with action figures!) that Coogler kept at his desk during the shoot.
Ambiguity Machines and Other Stories is the first North American collection from physicist and writer Vandana Singh, published by Small Beer Press. Of the fourteen stories, all but one are reprints collected from across the past several years; the final piece, “Requiem,” is a novella original to this book.
The effect of this collection is something like a tessellation. The stories are variations on a theme, marrying individual humanist intervention with the sweeping reach of scientifically-based extrapolation. Singh’s worlds are delineated within a rigorous framework that nonetheless leaves edges that either interlock or fade into each other. The titular story, itself originally published on Tor.com in 2015, is a peak example.
In 1996, I was a history graduate student on the fast-track to burning out. When I looked across my professional horizon, I saw only frustration and defeat. I had been on the path to becoming a professor for a while and had one remaining hurdle—my dissertation. But my research in Italy had foundered upon the rocks of the Byzantine system that predated online searches. It was the good old days of hands-on archival work—dusty books in dimly lit recesses of moldering libraries. My research bordered on archeology as I shifted and sorted through papers, looking for the clue that might lead me to documents crucial to my dissertation.
After months of searching, I had, with the help of a librarian at the National Library in Florence, finally unearthed the documents I needed about Anna Maria Mozzoni, an Italian suffragist and feminist. They were in Turin. But the archive was closed until the first week in September. They would open four days after I was scheduled to return home. I had neither the funding nor the personal resources to prolong my trip. I left Italy without ever seeing the documents I had spent months looking for. Without them I would have to rewrite my entire thesis.
Back in California, I was at loose ends. The academic year would not start for another month, and I was stuck. For long hours, I sat at my desk, staring at the books and papers I had accumulated, wondering if I could write my dissertation without those documents in Italy, slowly coming to terms with the fact that I would need to come up with a new topic. I shifted from my desk to the couch and sat with my failure, unwilling to admit I no longer had the drive to continue. My housemate, concerned about me, returned one evening from her job at the local bookstore and handed me a book.
“Read this,” she said. Her tone and expression made it clear she would brook no argument. The book was Kate Elliott’s Jaran.
Oh my god.
Did you know that in 2015 John Cusack and Adrien Brody made a movie with Jackie friggin Chan about a missing Roman legion along the fabled Silk Road?
Hell yeah it exists. It’s called Dragon Blade (dir. Daniel Lee). It is, as the opening titles say, a story “inspired by true events.”
Which means, of course, it is going to be entirely bonkers.
Series: Medieval Matters
We’re all fairly familiar with the tale of the girl who meets her prince at a ball. But what if the princess just happens to already be legally and religiously married—to an ogre? And is having just a few issues with her current personal appearance, by which I mean “sometimes she looks like a bear, although the sort of bear that collects flowers in the wood, not the sort of bear that eats people, although frankly, given the sort of story she’s in, she probably should be eating more people.”
You’d have the French salon fairy tale, “Bearskin.”
Confession time: I don’t read much.
Some of the reasons I don’t read much will be familiar. For example: I don’t have time. I find the only real time I have to get reading done is the 30-40 minute subway ride from Brooklyn to One Police Plaza and back each day. When you factor in interruptions for spontaneous breakdance shows, or subway-car religious preaching that rips you out of your reverie, it’s even less time than you think.
Well, hello again! Good to see you all back with us today, as we travel back in time to the early days of the Kholin campaign to unify Alethkar. Today we’re reading Dalinar’s first flashback, when he was a terrifying teen. We’ll meet an old friend for the first time, as well as one who was a friend and became an enemy. Oh, and we’ll see where Dalinar got the nickname Blackthorn.
Reminder: we’ll potentially be discussing spoilers for the ENTIRE NOVEL in the reread and the comments. If you haven’t read ALL of Oathbringer, best to wait to join us until you’re done.