Ridley Scott Needs to Stop: Why We Don’t Need Any More Alien Prequels

Someone needs to talk to Ridley Scott. They need to tell him he’s George Lucas-ing, before it’s too late.

Don’t get me wrong. The British director has given us genre fans some great gifts over the years. Blade Runner alone would have been enough, but 1979’s Alien forever changed science fiction. The horror flick explored the notion that there was more to space than shiny starships and Roddenberryesque utopias. Space was also hostile, dark, grimy, and potentially full of slime-dripping creatures whose only goal was infestation.

Given the indelible mark Scott made on scifi and horror with Alien, you’d think it would be a good thing that he’s planned an entire series of films explaining how and why the dreaded, acid-blooded xenomorphs came to be. So far we’ve already gotten 2012’s divisive Prometheus and this year’s Alien: Covenant—already out for home release, faster than a chestburster’s gestation time. But in trying to walk us through the steps of the titular Alien’s genesis, Scott is making the same mistake George Lucas did when he decided to tackle the Star Wars prequels.

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Time Travel Could Save the Planet in Kelly Robson’s Gods, Monsters, and the Lucky Peach

We’re excited to share the cover for Kelly Robson’s Gods, Monsters, and the Lucky Peach—a far-reaching, mind-bending science fiction adventure that uses time travel to merge climate fiction with historical fantasy. Robson is an Aurora Award winner, Campbell, Nebula, and Theodore Sturgeon finalist, and the author of “Waters of Versailles”—available to read here on Tor.com.

Learn more about the new novella below, and check out the full cover—complete with mind-bending eco-tech—by artist Jon Foster!

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This Logan Sequel Is Taking a Weird Turn

So we all agree that the only thing better than tiny children cosplay is when the tiny child in question is cosplaying as a grumpy older gentleman, say, Wolverine? Wonder Women author Sam Maggs found what may be the greatest cosplay of all time—a very tiny, very serious Wolverine. Gaze upon this, ye mighty, and try not to “awwww”!

But that isn’t enough! We have a second special bonus cosplay—click through!

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Enter the Vast and Beautiful World of JY Yang’s Tensorate Series!

There are so many ways to build worlds in a story. Personally, I love JY Yang’s method, which is to drop you into the story at a crucial point, and then trust you to catch up with the mechanics of the world as you read. Because Yang has a precise control of their world, it creates a wonderful feeling of expansion as you read, because you know that just around the corner characters are living their lives, completely separate from the trials of the protagonists. We learn about subterfuge and uprisings, religious rivalries and government schisms, in exactly the way the characters do: through scraps of conversation, significant glances, official memos. There are no infodumps, so you learn the world through the characters actions and reactions.

Now, having said all of that, I know that some people are more comfortable with a primer before embarking on a new fantasy world. And since the world of the Tensorate series is vast and full of wonders, there are plenty of vital facts to share.

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Oathbringer by Brandon Sanderson: Chapters 13-15

Start reading Oathbringer, the new volume of Brandon Sanderson’s Stormlight Archive epic, right now. For free!

Tor.com is serializing the much-awaited third volume in the Stormlight Archive series every Tuesday until the novel’s November 14, 2017 release date.

Every installment is collected here in the Oathbringer index.

Need a refresher on the Stormlight Archive before beginning Oathbringer? Here’s a summary of what happened in Book 1: The Way of Kings and Book 2: Words of Radiance.

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Series: Oathbringer by Brandon Sanderson

The Dam Keeper

Life in Sunrise Valley is tranquil, but beyond its borders lies certain death. A dangerous black fog looms outside the village, but its inhabitants are kept safe by an ingenious machine known as the dam. Pig’s father built the dam and taught him how to maintain it. And then this brilliant inventor did the unthinkable: he walked into the fog and was never seen again.

Now Pig is the dam keeper. Except for his best friend, Fox, and the town bully, Hippo, few are aware of his tireless efforts. But a new threat is on the horizon—a tidal wave of black fog is descending on Sunrise Valley. Now Pig, Fox, and Hippo must face the greatest danger imaginable: the world on the other side of the dam.

Based on the Oscar-nominated animated short film of the same name, The Dam Keeper is a lush, vibrantly drawn graphic novel by Tonko House cofounders Robert Kondo and Dice Tsutsumi—available September 26th from First Second.

[Read an Excerpt]

The SFF Community Mourns the Loss of Kit Reed

Following the sad news of Kit Reed’s death yesterday at the age of 85, the community of science fiction and fantasy readers, fans, editors, and authors have made it clear how much she will be missed, expressed grief at the passing of a legend and celebrating an extraordinary life and career. Jen Gunnels, Reed’s editor at Tor Books, penned the following tribute to the author:

Several years ago, I met Kit Reed for the first time at the International Conference for the Fantastic in the Arts. It was… an intimidating moment. I mean, Kit Reed. She was the most gracious, elegant, suffer-no-fools woman I had ever met, and I adored her for it. Over the years, we became better friends, and when I stepped in as her editor after the death of David Hartwell, we started the editor/author relationship. It was all too brief.

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Another Life, Another Geas: Andre Norton’s ’Ware Hawk

I’m glad my whim and the vagaries of my bookshelves brought me to ’Ware Hawk after The Gate of the Cat, though it was published earlier (1983 versus 1987) and falls earlier in the chronology of the Witch World books as well. It was no problem to move back in time to a period soon after Trey of Swords, years after the Witches of Estcarp moved the mountains against Karsten, and this is a much better book. I can mercifully forget the adventures of—who was that again? What adventures?

[Ah. Relief.]

Exploring a New Corner of the Universe: Provenance by Ann Leckie

It is difficult for me to write this review without simply gushing READ THIS NOW. (But seriously: read this now.)

It’s true that I have been a fan of Ann Leckie’s work since first reading Ancillary Justice, and that Ancillary Sword and Ancillary Mercy only deepened my appreciation for Leckie’s ability to tell a story. The Imperial Radch trilogy impressed a lot of people, as witnessed by the array of awards and award nominations it took home. But after such a successful debut—after such a lauded debut trilogy—there is always going to be a question when the author moves on to something new. Can the next book live up to the quality of what has gone before while breaking new ground? Or will they spend their career telling different versions of the same story?

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Putting Archaeology to Work in Fantasy Fiction

“Getting the archaeology right” doesn’t actually matter that much when it comes to fantasy. The fact is, when it comes to secondary worlds, a lot of the absolutely basic assumptions don’t make any sense. Why are there people in this world, whose history—whose natural history—is so different from ours? If dragons and elder gods and all that were around for hundreds of thousands of years, why are the horses and carrots and stews and pie in that world exactly the same as ours?

Once you’re willing to swallow that horses are the same despite gryphon-related predation pressures, why strain at faceted diamonds a few centuries too early?

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How Science Fiction Explores the Autonomy of Bodies that Are Also Machines

As a human being, it is odd to try and calculate where you “exist.” There are philosophers who argue about this very issue constantly. But if you’re an artificial intelligence, there is a verifiable place where you are. And that place, be it a positronic brain or a handful of code or a weird red box, is likely capable of being transferred to another location. Which means that your “body”—your physical casing—is not necessarily a limitation. But what does it mean to be able to exchange, renew, or even completely alter your body?

The real question becomes whether or not you have a say in that change… and why.

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“We come in peace” — Star Trek Discovery‘s “The Vulcan Hello” and “Battle at the Binary Stars”

Let us discuss a new Star Trek that people have to pay for instead of watching for free. One in which the Klingons have been completely redesigned, one in which the technology looks completely different from what we would expect, as do the uniforms—all without a word of explanation. One in which one of the main characters has to reconcile human and Vulcan values. And one in which the production was fraught with behind-the-scenes difficulties.

I am, of course, talking about Star Trek: The Motion Picture in 1979.

[THERE BE SPOILERS HERE for the first two Star Trek Discovery episodes………]

Kit Reed, 1932-2017

We are saddened by the news that author Kit Reed has died.

Over the course of Reed’s long career, she was nominated for the Hugo Award for Best New Author after publishing the story “The Wait” in 1958. She ranged over genres, publishing an early, mainstream novel before her first genre novel Armed Camps, which came out in 1969. She published horror and detective novels under the pseudonyms Shelley Hyde and Kit Craig, respectively. Where was nominated for the John W. Campbell Memorial Award in 2016, and she won the Alex Award for Thinner Than Thou in 2005. Her final novel, Mormama, was published last May.

Reed also published ten collections of short fiction including 1967’s Mister Da V and Other Stories, 2013’s The Story Until Now: A Great Big Book of Stories in 2013. A story, “Bride of Bigfoot,” and two books, Weird Women, Wired Women, and Little Sisters of the Apocalypse, were shortlisted for the James Tiptree, Jr. Award. her “transgenre-ism” is displayed in the variety of her publications, including  The Yale Review, Asimov’s SF, The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, Omni, The Norton Anthology of Contemporary Literature and The Kenyon Review. She was also a Guggenheim fellow, and the first American recipient of an international literary grant from the Abraham Woursell Foundation.

Reed’s son, Mack Reed, said of his mother:

She loved like a child, worked like a stevedore, cursed like a sailor and traveled and sampled the world with Twainian zest. She was the most two-fisted woman I have ever known, never completely happy unless she was in motion, juggling too many things.

You can read his personal remembrance here. Kit Reed was an incredibly important member of the SFF community, and she will be greatly missed.