Announcing the 2017 Nebula Awards Winners!

Presented in May 2018, the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America are pleased to announce the 2017 Nebula Awards winners, as well as the winners for the Ray Bradbury Award for Outstanding Dramatic Presentation, and the Andre Norton Award for Young Adult Science Fiction and Fantasy.

The winners were announced at the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America’s 52nd Annual Nebula Conference in Pittsburgh, PA, which took place from Thursday, May 17th through Sunday, May 20th at the Pittsburgh Marriott City Center.

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What Stories Could An Aragorn-Driven Amazon Series Tell?

The Tolkien fan site recently reported on Twitter that the eventual Amazon-acquired Lord of the Rings-based television series “will open its first season centered on a young Aragorn.” It cites this information as coming “from many sources” but offers none of them, which to me means this isn’t exactly absolute. But nothing has popped up to contradict and any chance to discuss the matter is fun, so…

Let’s roll with this. I’ve speculated on a few possibilities before, but with young Aragorn as the protagonist of at least the first season, we can sharpen our focus, take a look at what we know about Aragorn’s upbringing, and home in on some prospective plotlines.

[Let’s hunt some earlier orc!]

Into Hell Itself: Armed In Her Fashion by Kate Heartfield

Armed in Her Fashion is Kate Heartfield’s debut novel, and what a strange, compelling, genre-bending debut it is. Part horror, part fantasy, part history, and part epic, it combines all of its elements into a commentary on gender, power, and patriarchy. It centres around several women (and one man) who want in their own ways to have their due.

That makes it sound deeply serious. Actually, it’s enormously fun.

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Deadpool 2 is a Breakneck Action Comedy About Found Families

How do you up the ante on arguably the world’s biggest surprise superhero hit since 1989’s Batman? Well, on any other film, you’d probably have bigger set pieces, better CGI, and a villain that appears infinitely more powerful than the last.

But this is Deadpool. Which means that our meta jokes are just gonna get more meta.

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More Bland Girl Than Bad Girl—Witchblade

While strictly speaking, Image Comics is a comics publisher, in truth, it’s an artist’s collective loosely banded together to publish comics. Each of the founders has his own little corner of it—and some of them split off, with Rob Liefeld and Jim Lee both parting ways with Image at various points. (Lee’s WildStorm imprint became its own company, and then later it was bought by DC.) Others have been brought in, most notably Robert Kirkman, the writer of a comic you might have heard of, The Walking Dead. (I hear there’s a TV show based on it that some folks may have seen…..)

One of Image’s imprints is Marc Silvestri’s Top Cow Productions, which produced a number of superhero comics—but it was their “bad girl” comic, Witchblade, that was their biggest hit, not only as a comic, but also an anime series, a manga adaptation, a Japanese novel, and, most relevant to this rewatch, a 2000 pilot that got picked up for a TV series.

[“What is the witchblade?” “A mystery, wrapped in a riddle, and cloaked in a conundrum.” “That doesn’t help very much…”]

Series: 4-Color to 35-Millimeter: The Great Superhero Movie Rewatch Publishing & Tor Books’ Nebula Finalist Sweepstakes!

Tor Books and Publishing are offering readers a chance to get all of their 2017 Nebula Award finalists for free!

That bundle includes:

All Systems Red (MURDERBOT) by Martha Wells
The Black Tides of Heaven by JY Yang
Autonomous by Annalee Newitz
Passing Strange by Ellen Klages
River of Teeth by Sarah Gailey
Amberlough by Lara Elena Donnelly

So it’s pretty wild.

To enter, sign up through the Nebula Finalists sweepstakes page here.

11 Sitcoms With Delightfully Nerdy Characters

While plenty of sitcoms have nerdy premises, there has been something of a renaissance recently in comedies that showcase geeks as characters—and not simply as cruel stereotypes. And they also offer a much broader scope of nerdery, from con-goers to fanfic writers to tabletop game-builders! Here are a bunch of our favorites, in case you need to add a few more giggles to your evening viewing.

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The Perfect Chaotic Worlds of Diane Duane

In all her genres, Diane Duane is one of my favorite writers.

She spreads her talents around, too. She writes in multiple genres and forms—scripts to novels, tie-ins to original fiction, young adult urban fantasy to historical fantasy to science fiction to second-world fantasy. And whether she’s writing Y.A., as with her Young Wizards series, or Star Trek media tie-ins, she always brings an inimitable playful voice and a startling sense of “Yes; that’s right; that’s just like people.” to her work.

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I’m Your Venus, I’m Your Fire—The Expanse: “Immolation”

The Expanse may have been cancelled, but we still have seven episodes left! And I for one am still hoping that if enough of the audience watches the show live (gasp!) and tweets along, either Syfy itself or a Streaming God will hear our pleas. This week’s episode, “Immolation,” gave us some amazing action, a few resolutions, and—dare I say it?—at least one happy ending.

At least, it’s happy for now.

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It’s a Nice Day for a White Wedding on The Handmaid’s Tale

After last week’s crisis of faith, The Handmaid’s Tale engineers an emotional reset with a more low-key, worldbuilding-centric episode. That is not to say that it lets up on any of the dystopian horror, because that would be too gentle. But while June retreats into Offred, other female characters from both sides of Gilead’s hierarchy get to move the needle on their respective storylines. And what better way to look into women’s minds and hearts than with a double wedding??

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Outcasts of Order

Beltur, an Order mage, discovers he possesses frightening powers not seen for hundreds of years. With his new abilities, he survives the war in Elparta and saves the lives of all. However, victory comes with a price. His fellow mages now see him as a threat to be destroyed, and the local merchants want to exploit his power.

There’s only one way he can remain free and survive—he’s going to have to run.

L.E. Modesitt, Jr. continues his bestselling Saga of Recluce with his 20th book in the long-running series. Beltur began his journey in The Mongrel Mage and continues with Outcasts of Order—available June 19th from Tor Books!

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A Tale of Artistry and Unfairness: Hans Christian Andersen’s “The Ugly Duckling”

I may tell you unpleasant truths, but that is a proof of my friendship.

Most of Hans Christian Andersen’s fairy tales deal with some sort of magic—witches, or fairies, or mermaids, or tiny girls who can fit inside a flower and set off for adventures. But a few of his stories contain realistic settings—including one of his most famous and influential tales, “The Ugly Duckling,” originally published in 1843.

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Announcing The Test, a New Novella from Sylvain Neuvel Publishing Senior Editor Lee Harris has acquired author and linguist Sylvain Neuvel’s new novella The Test, a thrilling, timely exploration of a dystopian near future where the road to citizenship is harrowing—and carries a price.

Said the author:

I’m thrilled to be working with Publishing to bring The Test to readers. It’s a story that comes from a visceral place and I hope it resonates with people and sparks conversation. I wrote it at a time where I felt particularly vulnerable to the current political climate. There seemed to be nowhere to escape. Somehow, that feeling of being trapped in world gone mad turned into The Test. I can’t wait to share it.

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Fishing for Love: The Mysteries of The Pisces

How does our knowledge of genre play into our expectations of a narrative? Imagine the same book under two different conditions. This is a novel in which the supernatural element doesn’t make itself known until halfway through. Add a “fantasy” tag on the back cover, and that delayed release might feel like effective management of narrative tension; have that tag be something more neutral, and the shift out of outright realism can feel more like a shock.

I once got into a heated debate concerning the speculative elements of Kazuo Ishiguro’s Never Let Me Go with someone who hadn’t expected them to be present, and who was frustrated by the novel’s shift into a more science fictional realm. Going back even further, there’s the Robert Rodriguez film From Dusk Till Dawn, which appears to be a tense crime drama until 75% of the way through, at which point it turns out to be a horror film featuring an abundance of vampires. And much of John Wray’s The Lost Time Accidents leaves the reader ambiguous as to whether a device constructed for traveling through time actually works. Clarity regarding genre elements can make some narratives click, even while others grow more obfuscated.

[Which is a very roundabout way of bringing us to Melissa Broder’s first novel…]

It’s Time to Talk About Marvel’s Gamora Problem

I find myself, for the most part, in the minority of people who didn’t quite enjoy Avengers: Infinity War.

To be clear, this is not me saying that that the movie is bad, or unenjoyable in a general sense. The action was engaging for the most part, and there are some character progressions that I think elicited real dramatic effort from the film. I like how it sets up Tony Stark’s pained, traumatic franchise-long journey from selfish, egotistical brat to responsible, self-sacrificing, if conflicted leader, which I hope they go all in on in upcoming installments. Thor, being my absolute favourite character from the franchise in general, has one really committed throughline, from losing everything that ever mattered to him in two back-to-back genocides to literally taking a beam of white-hot suffering through his body just to regain trust in his own heroic potential. Individual moments, like when Captain America, Black Widow, and Falcon have their first fight with Thanos’ Black Order goons in Scotland, are delightful to look at, visually. And some of the more unlikely on-screen team-ups, like Tony with Doctor Strange, or Thor with Rocket, actually make room for really interesting dialogue.

But ultimately, there’s one aspect of the film that I simply can’t get past. We need to talk about what happens to Gamora.

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