Meet Graylin in James Rollins’ The Starless Crown

Who will claim the Starless Crown?

An alliance embarks on a dangerous journey to uncover the secrets of the distant past and save their world in a captivating new series from author James Rollins. We’re thrilled to share excerpts all this month from The Starless Crown—publishing January 4, 2022 with Tor Books. Read on below, or head back to the beginning.

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With Three Series Adaptations in the Works, Jules Verne Is Really Hot Right Now

Not a single episode of Around the World in 80 Days, an eight-episode adaptation of Jules Verne’s novel, has aired yet, but it’s already been renewed for a second season. The series, which stars David Tennant as Phileas Fogg, took a seven-month break from filming last year due to the pandemic, but is finally coming to screens in January (on BBC One in the UK and Masterpiece PBS in the US).

But the producers also have a second Verne adaptation on their hands. Slim Film + Television and Federation Entertainment announced they’re also teaming up for Journey to the Centre of the Earth, with Around the World writer Ashley Pharoah (Life on Mars) as showrunner.

And, of course, there’s a third Verne incoming from a different corner: Disney+’s Nautilus, starring Shazad Latif as a Captain Nemo with a frustratingly changed backstory.

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Star Trek: Enterprise Rewatch: “Strange New World”

“Strange New World”
Written by Rick Berman & Brannon Braga and Mike Sussman & Phyllis Strong
Directed by David Livingston
Season 1, Episode 4
Production episode 004
Original air date: October 10, 2001
Date: unknown

Captain’s star log. Crewmen Cutler and Novakovich are eating in the mess hall, the former reading an exobiology text and eating plomeek soup, the latter teasing her about her choice in food. They and everyone else in the mess hall are surprised to see the ship going into orbit around an Earth-like planet, which is a surprise to everyone.

[Are we allowed to squash alien lifeforms?]

Series: Star Trek: Enterprise Rewatch

The Evolution of Brandon Sanderson: How Elantris Planted the Seeds for Future Cosmere Goodness

Every Sanderson fan has an origin story—we’re like superheroes in that way. Some of us come to Sanderson via brute force, recommendations from friends wearing us down until we accept our fate. Others enjoy a more roundabout path, stumbling into the Cosmere by complete accident. No matter the method, Sanderson’s work often finds its way to fantasy-obsessed readers, catapulting the books to a spot on our favorite shelves. And everyone’s experience differs, thanks to the author’s frankly impressive portfolio.

I took the roundabout way. After buying my wife the first Mistborn trilogy as a gift, I ended up reading them first (don’t worry, I got her many other presents that I didn’t commandeer for myself). Enamored, I began devouring Brandon Sanderson’s work, making 2021 the year of the Sanderlanche. To date, I’ve logged Mistborn era one, Mistborn era two (The Wax and Wayne Cycle), The Way of Kings, Elantris, and (as of this writing) about 10% of Warbreaker.

[Though I’ve still a long way to go on my Sanderson journey, I want to talk about Elantris…]

Five Spellbinding Military Fantasy Novels

While skimming the news, I saw a tweet about the popularity of MILFs. I didn’t have time to read the article itself but the headline didn’t surprise me. After all, MilSF—military science fiction—is very popular within science fiction, while fantasy generally outsells SF, so it stood to reason that military fantasy books—thus, MILFs (no need to google it!)—would be popular as well.

In fact, the problem wasn’t coming up with five fantasies about war. The problem was narrowing my list down to just five.

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Celebrating the Sheer Weirdness of Madeleine L’Engle

Madeleine L’Engle was my first sci-fi. Maybe also my first fantasy. I read her before Lewis, Tolkien, Adams, Bradbury. I was 11 when I read A Wrinkle in Time, and I quickly burned through all the rest of her YA, and I even dug into her contemplative journals a bit later, as I began to study religion more seriously in my late teens.

My favorite was A Swiftly Tilting Planet (I’m embarrassed to tell you how often I’ve mumbled St. Patrick’s Breastplate into whichever adult beverage I’m using as cheap anesthetic to keep the wolves from the door over this past year) but I read all of her books in pieces, creating a patchwork quilt of memories. I loved the opening of this one, a particular death scene in that one, an oblique sexual encounter in another. Bright red curtains with geometrical patterns, The Star-Watching Rock, hot Nephilim with purple hair—the usual stuff. But as I looked back over L’Engle’s oeuvre and I was struck, more than anything, by the sheer weirdness of her work.

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Eleven Modern Fantasies Based in Classic Mythology

Who doesn’t love a good myth? Retellings of ancient legends are wonderful ways to bring stories with long histories to new audiences or eras. Authors can reinterpret classic tropes or familiar heroes, bringing different aspects of their personalities to vivid, sparkling life. Below, I’ve highlighted some of the most exciting myth retellings that will be hitting shelves soon, as well as some recent favorites.

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The Wheel of Time Grapples With Uncertainty in “The Dragon Reborn”

We’ve only seen women channel so far in The Wheel of Time. But oh, my friends, that is about to change.

(These reviews might contain some minor spoilers for the Wheel of Time book series. Please note that the comment section may also contain spoilers for those unfamiliar with the book series.)

[Sometimes the wind blows away from the tree.]

Sitting with Pain — Star Trek: Discovery’s “Anomaly”

Star Trek has, historically, been really really terrible with consequences.

On the original series, Kirk was present for the deaths of several important people to him: his best friend, his brother and sister-in-law, and two of the great loves of his life, one of whom was pregnant with his child. Yet he was never seen to feel any trauma beyond the episodes where those things happened.

And it wasn’t much better in the first wave of spinoffs. But if the trend toward serialization has given us nothing else, it’s given us TV writers who are willing to examine long-term consequences.

[Fine—I fly, you scan…]

A Love Letter to Mystery Science Theater 3000

Thirty-three years ago, on November 24, 1988, Mystery Science Theater 3000 premiered on KTMA, a cable access channel in Minneapolis. In human years, the show is out of college by now (probably), maybe trying to buy a home, or start a family. It bristles when Cheers calls it a millennial—it’s always felt like an old soul, with the references to Get Christie Love and Charlie McCarthy, and-three it gets frustrated when other shows consider it shallow. It’s not just a reference factory, after all. There’s real depth and heart here, if you know how to pay attention.

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Gingerbread Bricks, Cherry-Stealing Cats, and Other Culinary Disasters

I’ve been asked if I cook as well as I write about cooking.

It’s a fair question: I’ve been cooking almost as long as I’ve been writing. Writing was something I fell into, much like Alice down the rabbit-hole, when I was fourteen. I sat down one day to write myself a story instead of reading one, and thirty-two pages later—pencil and lined paper tablet—I finished my tale and realized that my predictable world had expanded wildly, enormously, with endlessly diverging and intriguing paths running every which way into an unknown I suddenly knew existed. Having ended one story (which is locked away, guarded by dragons and evil-eyed basilisks, and will never see the light of day if I have anything to say about it), I wanted to start all over again on another.

When or why I decided I needed to inflict culinary disasters on my long-suffering family and others, I don’t remember.

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