SFF Equines Horse Breeds: “And I Want a Pony.”

Ponies are iconic. Ponies are a legend. They’re a catch phrase for the impossible dream. “Sure, and I want a pony.”

There’s history there. Horses have been solid working partners in many regions of the world, working on farms, in mines, in the woods, and in war. Ponies—who are not baby horses; they’re born small and mature small, sometimes very much so—have made notable contributions, for example in mines in the Britain and elsewhere, and as all-around working animals in the Shetland Isles. They’ve lived wild, too, in the Dales and on the Fells, and on the other side of the Atlantic, famously on the barrier islands of Chincoteague and Assateague. [Read more]

Catfishing on Catnet Sweepstakes!

How much does the internet know about YOU? Catfishing on CatNet by Naomi Kritzer is a thought-provoking near future YA thriller that could not be more timely as it explores issues of online privacy, artificial intelligence, and the power and perils of social networks – and we want to send you a copy!

Because her mom is always on the move, Steph hasn’t lived anyplace longer than six months. Her only constant is an online community called CatNet—a social media site where users upload cat pictures—a place she knows she is welcome. What Steph doesn’t know is that the admin of the site, CheshireCat, is a sentient A.I.

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The Joker Can Fit Any Story You Prefer to Tell

As the song goes, “Everybody Loves A Clown”… Well, everybody except the Batman. And all the Robins. And the GCPD. And Gotham City. But the clown keeps coming back, regardless of who wants him hanging around. He always will. The Joker is now starring in his own origin film, so audiences can have another glimpse at the Clown Prince of Crime. His legacy is nearly as old as Batman’s cape and cowl.

Questions surrounding the character’s enduring popularity have raged for decades, but his appeal perhaps isn’t so hard to reconcile when we note what separates him from other DC villains—namely, in a universe where all the bad guys build their personas on schticks, the Joker is a cipher. The clown getup stays the same, but who he is entirely depends on what the story requires.

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Hot Girl Summer Is Over, Long Live Hot Nerd Fall

Hot Girl Summer was a blast, but now as the air cools and the leaves turn, we’re tipping our collective chapeaux to Megan Thee Stallion and looking forward to a glorious new season: HOT NERD FALL. (Or uh, thot-umn, if you will.) We’ve compiled a list of Hot Nerd characters for you. Perhaps you’re wondering about our criteria? Well, simply put, we wanted to gather up our favorite fictional adult* characters from the SFF spectrum who are hot because of their nerdiness. People whose passion, whether for magic or math or philosophy, makes them crackle with allure and who we can’t stop loving.

Like, you know, an autumn leaf or something. We’re still working on the metaphors here, but you get our point! Now join us in a celebration of the hotness that can only come when a person lets their nerdiness shine through.

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The James Tiptree, Jr. Award Will Become the Otherwise Award

The James Tiptree Jr. Literary Council has announced that the James Tiptree, Jr. Literary Award will be renamed the “Otherwise Award”.

The organization explains their decision in an in-depth breakdown/FAQ within the initial announcement on their website. Quoting both supporters and opponents of the name change at length, the organization explained that ultimately, there was “too much discomfort over this history for many of us to feel joyous about this name” and that “keeping the joy is more important than keeping the name.”

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Harry Potter and the Conspiracy of Queers: Discovering Myself in Fandom and Roleplay

When I was fourteen, my friends—all of us with conservative, religious, Southern parents—used to smuggle makeup into school: lipsticks hidden in jeans pockets, little tubes of foundation shoved in their pencil cases. They’d apply their makeup in bathroom mirrors and purse their lips to kiss their own reflection. Growing up in a culture that was determined to convince young girls their sexuality was shameful and sinful made secrecy not only the obvious choice, but the necessary one. This was a matter of gender expression and reclamation, of establishing agency over a body that had recently begun to sexually develop, to hold the reins of their own sexuality in a society determined to commodify their femininity.

I didn’t sneak makeup into school. My backpack was full of a different kind of contraband, and in the bathroom before first period I would change out of my emo uniform du jour and into oversize cargo pants and the mens’ shirt I’d stolen from my dad’s closet. I went to an arts high school, which meant that when I showed up to meet my friends on the library steps where we always hung out before class and told them I think I’m a guy, actually, their response was just: “Cool.”

This phase, if you want to call it that—my parents certainly would have—lasted about a week and a half. It was the fear that I couldn’t deal with, the slow-rising dread that my family would find out, that I was making a mistake, that because another part of me still liked wearing skirts and lipstick that meant I was just lying to myself about the gut-deep need to have someone call me a nice boy.

I took off my men’s clothes and took my queerness underground. And by ‘underground’ I mean, of course, to the internet.

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Watch the First Trailer for Robert Downey Jr.’s Doctor Dolittle Reboot

After iconically inhabiting both Tony Stark and Sherlock Holmes, Robert Downey Jr. is ready to take on another beloved character: Doctor Dolittle. Over the weekend, Universal Pictures dropped the first trailer for its adaptation of Hugh Lofting’s children’s books. Called simply Dolittle, it looks to be another lavishly CGI’d blockbuster that takes after Disney’s live-action remakes.

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5 Frankenstein-Inspired Stories That Recontextualize the Monster

No sympathy may I ever find. […] The fallen angel becomes a malignant devil. Yet even that enemy of God and man had friends and associates in his desolation; I am alone.

Frankenstein’s monster—the miserable creature that Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley dreamed up before she even envisioned his maker—has always felt misunderstood. Shunned by society, turned bitter by rejection and fear, denied his request of a mate, this creation feels truly alone in the world—a theme that has resonated through two hundred years’ worth of updates and adaptations.

From the formula of a family-friendly sitcom to the pages of a comic book, whether drawing from Shelley’s original text or riffing upon the archetypal Universal Pictures monster, these five stories recontextualize Frankenstein within contemporary conversations about war and annihilation, sexuality and gender identity, artificial intelligence and humanity. In some retellings, the “monster” yearns for acceptance, while others reject the entire systems in which they are written—all doing their part to keep Mary Shelley’s horror story relevant today.

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Music, Mayhem, and the Making of an Audiobook: The Future of Another Timeline by Annalee Newitz

Question: What happens when you combine a book about feminist time-travelers, a punk-rock narrator, and an enthusiastically nerdy audiobook production team?

Answer: One kick-ass, geoscience fiction audiobook adventure.

Annalee Newitz’s novel The Future of Another Timeline is an exhilarating science fiction adventure about time-travel, murder, Riot Grrrl punk bands, and so much more. When it came to translating Annalee’s world into an audiobook, the team at Macmillan Audio jumped on the opportunity to make it special.

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Ragnarok and Ruin — Thor: Ragnarok

After buggering off at the end of 2015’s Avengers: Age of Ultron, Thor had been conspicuously absent from the next appearance of the Avengers as a team, 2016’s Captain America: Civil War (which we’ll cover next week). This was, in fact, a minor plot point, as Secretary Ross pointed out the absence of both Thor and the Hulk.

Thor finally showed up in the other 2016 release, Doctor Strange, and that was to set up his third movie, released in 2017.

[“I don’t know how to fly this thing!” “You’re a doctor, you have PhDs, you should figure it out.” “None of them are for flying alien spaceships!”]

Series: 4-Color to 35-Millimeter: The Great Superhero Movie Rewatch

Them’s Good Eatin’! — Star Trek’s “The Trouble with Edward”

In 1967, Star Trek aired “The Trouble with Tribbles.” Written by David Gerrold, the episode quickly attained legendary status, as pretty much any list of best episodes of the original series is likely to have the numbers one and two spots occupied by some combo of it and “The City on the Edge of Forever.” It’s one of the funniest episodes of Star Trek, and remains beloved to this day, with the image of Kirk being buried in tribbles falling out of the storage compartment one of the most iconic visuals in Trek history. When Deep Space Nine celebrated the franchise’s thirtieth anniversary in 1996, they celebrated it via that episode.

The latest Short Treks is the secret origin of the tribbles. It features H. Jon Benjamin—Sterling Archer his own self—so you know much wackiness will ensue.

[I’m not dumb.]

Is Gemini Man a Movie? Or Something New?

Gemini Man might be a movie? It’s definitely an experiment. It’s about a covert government sniper named Henry Brogan who (heavy sigh) thinks retiring is a good idea, and gets into all manner of scrapes after he hits send on his resignation email. Brogan is played by Will Smith. He is soon being targeted by a younger sniper, who knows all of his moves, looks exactly like him, and is played by a CGI-de-aged Will Smith.

Ang Lee directed, using a very, very old script that was worked over by David Benioff, Billy Ray, and Darren Lemke, and he shot it in digital, at the higher-than-normal frame rate of 120 fps, in 3D, on ARRI Alexa M cameras that were adapted for the purpose. The result is a simulacrum of a movie. An echo of a movie shouted into a well. A video game that occasionally reaches out an stabs you in the eye. Instead of spending your money on this you could just watch Looper and then all three John Wicks.

I will say in its favor, though, that the audience I saw it with seemed pretty invested in a certain third-act twist, so, YMMV. Also, this movie made me really really want a rocket launcher.

[Read more]

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