Miles Morales Can’t Be Grounded in the First Trailer for Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse (Part One)

It’s been three long years since the stunning and delightful (and Oscar-winning) Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse swung into theaters in December 2018, a date that sounds almost fake. (Was there a time before 2020? Are we sure?) The gorgeously animated feature introduced not just one but many new spider-folks, from Shameik Moore’s Miles to Hailee Steinfeld’s Spider-Gwen to Nicolas Cage’s Spider-Man Noir (and let’s never forget Kathryn Hahn’s excellent Doc Ock).

We finally, finally have a look at the spider-sequel—and what a look it is. There are two important details here: One is that Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse is just “Part One” of the story. And the other is that a seemingly throwaway joke from the Into the Spider-Verse post-credits scene was nothing of the sort.

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Some of the Best Articles on Tor.com in 2021

As 2021 draws to a close, it’s time once again to look back and reflect on some of our favorite non-fiction articles from the last year: celebrations of favorite authors and characters, deep dives into the cultural and historical inspirations that inform new and classic SFF, essays about superheroes, epic fantasy, anime, and why we will never stop being grateful for the existence of Terry Pratchett and his work. These articles have made us laugh, occasionally tear up, and think about books, movies, TV, and fandom in new ways, convincing us to broaden our horizons and explore new perspectives we’ve never considered before.

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From Pravic to Palp-Semaphore: Seven Ingenious Languages in Speculative Fiction

Anyone wishing to learn Quenya, one of the Elvish languages, will have to get to grips with its staggeringly detailed grammar. Each noun has forty possible endings, from yulma (the cup) to yulmannar (towards the cups). It’s a perfect example of a fictional language taking on a life of its own, and becoming as linguistically complex as any organic language. Tolkien is the grandfather of these “conlangs” (constructed languages), and the tradition has continued with Duolingo adding Klingon to their stable of languages; and the publication of HBO-approved Dothraki dictionaries and courses. And yet, although the act of creating and developing them is undeniably impressive, they remain variations of human, typically European languages—with twists on morphology or phonology, but variations all the same. You can plausibly imagine Quenya or Dothraki evolving in some corner of the Baltics, just as Basque has done in south-western Europe.

My favourite languages in SFF are instead the ones that require a leap of the imagination—humans, creatures or aliens who communicate in an ingenious or unusual manner. Here are seven of the best:

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The Wheel of Time Says Goodbye to Dear Friends in “Blood Calls Blood”

We say goodbye to Kerene, meet some new friends, and have a few reunions this week on The Wheel of Time, in an all-in-all very emotional episode.

(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.)

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15 SFF Books That Deserve Their Own Soundtracks

There are two main obsessions in my life: books and music. You can usually find me hunched over a book with a pair of headphones slapped securely over my ears. Both obsessions have lead me to wonderful things; I am an avid writer and a truly abysmal guitar player. They’ve also started to mix together in my weird, wormy brain. Books have begun to take on soundtracks of their own as I read them. Words become notes and chords, narrative themes become bands, and soon I can’t read a certain book without having to pair it with an album or playlist, like pairing wine with a specific dish.

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Peacemaker Thinks Maybe He’s a Grower, Not a Shower In a New Trailer

The slow drip of Peacemaker content is turning into a steadier stream as the Suicide Squad spinoff’s January premiere date approaches, and DC’s latest offering is a full-length trailer that makes it clear this isn’t a story about your average heroic dude. “That guy is a clown” Emilia Harcourt (Jennifer Holland) says of John Cena’s Peacemaker. And she’s not wrong. But as her colleague Leota Adebayo (Danielle Brooks) replies, “There’s something about him that’s… sad.”

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Five Novel Approaches to Powering Interstellar Travel

Science fiction often assumes particular bundles of technology, even when the components of that bundle are not causally linked and might not appear at the same time. For example, authors generally assume energy-generating technology will keep pace with propulsive technology. To put this less obscurely, they assume that by the time faster-than-light drives show up, so will cheap, affordable, reliable fusion power plants. No doubt this is only partly driven by narrative convenience. We’ve been told fusion is only thirty years away for sixty years now. One can forgive authors for believing what turned out to be hopelessly optimistic predictions…although I am not sure why said authors also seem to expect fusion plants to be conveniently low mass, extremely efficient, and aneutronic.

However, some authors eschew the dream of commercial fusion (at least, of the variety that can be crammed into a spaceship hull) without abandoning the dream of interstellar travel. Not many, admittedly, but enough that five examples can be found.

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Destinies Entwined in Girls of Fate and Fury by Natasha Ngan

When I first read Girls of Paper and Fire in 2019, I was in awe of the intricately built fantasy world and the compelling narrative of two queer girls falling in love and fighting against patriarchal oppression. The final book in the trilogy, Girls of Fate and Fury, brings these characters’ journeys and the revolutionary conflict to a dramatic and emotional close. Lei discovers the insidious plans the Demon King has for her, while Wren is thrust into sudden leadership positions as part of the rebellion. The book further develops ideas of power and strength, explores the tragic choices which are inherent in war, and demonstrates how love enables resistance, no matter the circumstances.

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Janelle Monáe’s Memory Librarian Collaborators Include Alaya Dawn Johnson & Sheree Renée Thomas

Earlier this year, Janelle Monáe’s The Memory Librarian: and Other Stories From Dirty Computer was announced, marking the blazingly talented singer/actor/songwriter’s first foray into prose writing. The book, the announcement explained, “follows a character named Jane 57821, who breaks free of a worldwide system of thought control ruled by a nebulous group that believes it has the power to decide all creatures’ fates.”

One intriguing detail was mentioned, but not explained: that Monáe would be collaborating with other writers. Now, we know who at least some of those writers are: Alaya Dawn Johnson, Yohanca Delgado, Eve L. Ewing, Danny Lore, and Sheree Renée Thomas.

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