Clawing Toward Hope: Andre Norton’s No Night Without Stars

No Night Without Stars was a formative novel for me. It came out in 1975, and I read it while it was still new. It gave me ideas, and a few names that I loved the sound of and adapted for my own work in the following decade or two.

All that was left of it when I picked it up again, decades later, was a memory of names and a dim recollection of the plot. Unlike, say, Moon of Three Rings or The Crystal Gryphon, it hadn’t stayed with me. It read almost like new, but through the lens of 2021 rather than 1975.

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The Kyo Come to Visit: Clearing Up Some Important Questions in CJ Cherryh’s Foreigner Series

When we last left our heroes, they had brought a handful of Reunioner kids from the station to the planet to visit Cajeiri. During their visit, all hell breaks loose (because of course it does), and Tatiseigi, the notorious human-hating curmudgeon, develops a fondness for the human kids when they admire his collection of artefacts.

At the beginning of this duology (Tracker, Visitor), the kids and Jase go back up to the station, where politics awaits. In the middle of an extremely messy intra-human conflict, the kyo show up. Because they know so little about the kyo, everyone decides that it’s best if they send the same three people as last time up to the station to meet the envoys, so Bren, Cajeiri, and Ilisidi venture up to the station. The human conflict comes to a head while they’re there, and they have to fix it before the kyo arrive. They do so, and Bren can get back to the important task of figuring out how the kyo language works. [Read more]

Luca Should Have Owned Its Accidental Allegory and Become Pixar’s First Queer Film

Made during the 2020 quarantine, Luca is Pixar’s next attempt to make adults and children alike cry with tender tales of family, friendship, and love. The story of a young sea monster named Luca (Jacob Tremblay) and his unlikely friendship with fellow sea monster Alberto (Jack Dylan Grazer), Luca had the opportunity to do beautiful and unexpected things. But the Pixar method is wearing thin these days, and there’s not enough uniqueness in the film to make it stand out among their offerings.

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Star Trek: Voyager Rewatch: “Ashes to Ashes”

“Ashes to Ashes”
Written by Ronald Wilkerson and Robert Doherty
Directed by Terry Windell
Season 6, Episode 18
Production episode 238
Original air date: March 1, 2000
Stardate: 53679.4

Captain’s log. A Kobali shuttle manages to escape from a larger Kobali ship and then seeks out Voyager. After speaking entirely in the Kobali language, the pilot, Jhet’leya, suddenly speaks English when she contacts Voyager.

[Resume your disorder.]

Series: Star Trek: Voyager Rewatch

When We Have Come to This Place: The Aliens Series as Cosmic Horror

As a sweeping generalization, I’m scared of horror (as discussed). “Isn’t that the point of—” The kind of scared where I can’t consume it, I mean, not the enjoyably or cathartically scared that the creators of said horror intend to elicit. The other kind of scared.

All the same, I’m drawn to certain types of horror in both writing and reading. With my novels Beneath the Rising and its sequel A Broken Darkness (as well as a couple dozen short stories), I told everyone I was simply writing fantasy with monsters and gods; ‘dark fantasy,’ probably. “Nope,” people told me again and again. “These are horror.” As I began to read more about it, I realized that swathes of my writing might not only be horror, but fall into a specific sub-genre of horror: cosmic horror.

[Soon afterwards, I started to think of my favourite film franchise as cosmic horror]

Henry Golding Faces the Three Challenges of the Warrior in the Latest Snake Eyes: G.I. Joe Origins Trailer

The first words spoken in the latest trailer for Snake Eyes: G.I. Joe Origins are “Fish boy!” which is not exactly an auspicious start. But this trailer has a lot more to offer than the brief first teaser, including a little bit of story and longer glimpses at some other G.I. Joe characters who turn up in Snake Eyes’ movie.

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MGM Is Revamping Blacula

When Amazon announced that it was acquiring MGM last month, it said that it would be working to “reimagine and develop that IP” that the studio already has. Lots has been made of the fact that MGM is responsible for properties like James Bond and Stargate, but it has many other films in its library as well.

Case in point: the 1972 film Blacula and its sequels. According to Variety, the studio is looking to revamp the franchise with a “modern reimagining” that will take place after 1973’s Scream Blacula Scream.

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Mars Is the Wild West in the First Trailer for Settlers

Science fiction has utilized the idea of space being the next frontier, and in his feature debut, Settlers, Wyatt Rockefeller turns the Red Planet into a hostile one.

IFC Films released the first trailer for Settlers last week, and it shows off the plight of a family trying to survive on their remote homestead, only to run into some significant problems when bandits arrive.

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Five SFF Characters To Help You Execute the Perfect Caper

No doubt, we’ve all experienced the urge to recover something lost, whether it was money, a family heirloom, a damning letter, or just an eldritch tome that haunts our nightmares. One solution: assemble a team of experts to retrieve the lost item.

The core members of such a team might include a mastermind (to plan the heist), a thief (to get past any security devices), the driver (to orchestrate exfiltration), the muscle (in case something goes horribly wrong), and of course, the distraction (because it is much easier to get away with stuff if everyone is looking in the wrong direction). Speculative fiction offers numerous candidates who would combine the required expertise with the necessary moral flexibility. Here are the five SFF characters I’d pick for my retrieval team.

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Doomsday and the Old Lie: Announcing Emily Tesh’s Debut Novel, Some Desperate Glory

Tordotcom Publishing is thrilled to announce that Ruoxi Chen has acquired World Fantasy Award winner Emily Tesh’s debut novel, Some Desperate Glory, pitched as Vorkosigan meets Gideon the Ninth set in a world inspired by Mass Effect, in which Kyr, a young soldier of Gaea Station, trains to avenge the murder of Earth at the hands of an all-powerful, reality-shaping alien weapon before discovering she might have to take everything into her own hands.

The two-book deal, for North American rights, was brokered by Kurestin Armada at Root Literary.

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White Bears in Sugar Land: Juneteenth, Cages, and Afrofuturism

We resist enclosure. Deer roam forests. Vines colonize abandoned Coliseums. A human being held in solitary confinement will self-harm, scream, plead, kick doors, smear feces on their cell walls, and refuse food if there exists even the promise of seeing the sun for fifteen minutes of their day. There are many words in English for what that human being quests for: liberty, emancipation, freedom, independence. So much of the American project has been dousing its cultural fabric in these colors. No mention of brotherhood and precious little of equality. Justice is nowhere to be found. Peace, somewhere far off in the distance. Over the horizon, in fact. Those messy words presume an After, and they presume that this After is other than post-apocalypse. Liberty, emancipation, independence, without brotherhood or equality or justice or peace, presume utopia. Any alternative imagining can only be fiction.

An episode in the second season of Black Mirror, titled “White Bear,” dramatizes precisely this conundrum. The protagonist, a woman played by Lenora Crichlow, awakens with amnesia, haunted by a symbol that flickers on the television screen in her room and hunted by unreasoning pursuers. People on the street catch sight of her and immediately raise their cameraphones to record. Even as her pursuers shoot at her and those who have decided to aid her, the spectators remain just that. Spectators. They’re being held captive by a signal from a transmitter at a facility called “White Bear.” Get to White Bear, destroy the transmitter, and free the world from their stupor. When she and her confederate reach the transmitter, two hunters attack. In what is supposed to be the episode’s climax, she wrestles a shotgun away from one of her assailants, aims, and pulls the trigger.

Out comes confetti.

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Arrowverse Recap: This DC Universe Shines with a Strong Week of Stories

The CW’s robust lineup of DC Comics-based shows—oft dubbed the Arrowverse—can be a lot to keep up with. Join us weekly as Andrew Tejada keeps you current on all that goes on in their corner of TV Land!

The Legends have some extremely close alien encounters, the new Batwoman races to save the previous one, The Flash helps Cecile confront a dark truth, and Superman and Lois get a visit from dangerous family members on…

This Week in the Arrowverse!

[Spoilers Ahead]

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