Star Trek: Prodigy Is the Best New Trek Series

In the 1970s, Filmation produced an animated Star Trek series that was very much intended not to be a dumbed-down version of the live-action series. The general approach was to treat this like the fourth season of the TV show, and while some concessions were made to the Saturday morning timeslot (not to mention the more limited time frame of a half-hour episode as opposed to an hour), the show generally kept to the spirit of the live-action show that came before it.

The second of Secret Hideout’s animated series, and their fifth overall, Star Trek: Prodigy is specifically designed for children. It’s also the best Trek show of the current slate of Trek productions, and that’s not meant to disrespect Discovery, Short Treks, Picard, or Lower Decks—it’s just that Prodigy is that good.

[Spoilers for the first two episodes ahead!]

The Greatest Halloween Costumes in Pop Culture

Halloween is inarguably one of the best times of year—a holiday where you can become anyone for a whole day? Sign us up! But we’re not the only ones who enjoy passing ourselves off as other people. It’s not at all uncommon for fictional characters to take the time to dress up and party on All Hallow’s Eve, too! With that in mind, here are some favorite moments where science fiction/fantasy characters wore costumes on Halloween….

[Read more]

You Really Don’t Have to Finish Every Book You Start

We’ve all been there. Perhaps you were drawn in by a beautiful cover, hooked by the summary on the back of a paperback, or intrigued by the way a book was being discussed on Twitter. You read a great review; your favorite author was raving about a book; your group chat wouldn’t shut up about a twist. So you started the book. And you knew, whether immediately or 50 pages in, that it wasn’t for you.

A certain stripe of book prescriptivist would hold that you have to finish the book. “To give an author just 20 pages of your time is insulting,” wrote Rupert Hawksley in The Independent recently. Authors, for the most part, seemed indifferent to Hawksley’s defense of their honor. (Quoth John Scalzi: “Lol, no.”) But this idea persists, this notion that once you pick up a book you are locked in, never give up, never surrender!

Please. Please just put down the book.

[Read more]

Eldritch Abominations for the SFF Soul: Five Works of Cosmic Horror

Happy birthday, Call of Cthulhu! Forty years ago on Halloween 1981, the roleplaying world met and grew to love the Lovecraft-inspired game in which characters boldly confront the unknown before being consumed by it! If there’s one thing humans seem to desire, it’s to have their skulls cracked open like walnuts and their minds consumed by entities whose true nature would drive the sanest person mad, were they unlucky enough to understand what had them gripped in its tentacles.

Of course, Lovecraft wasn’t the first author to dabble in cosmic horror nor has he been the last. In honor of Halloween and forty years of Call of Cthulhu, allow me to suggest the following five works of cosmic horror.

[Read more]

Skeletor Has the Power In the Masters of the Universe: Revelation — Part 2 Trailer

This summer’s Masters of the Universe: Revelation was just Part 1; Kevin Smith’s epic new He-Man story continues next month with Part 2, for which Netflix just released an extremely dramatic trailer. Skeletor has the Power, Evil-Lyn has taken control, and Teela thinks the only way they can stop one sorceress… is with another sorceress. Naturally, nothing less than the fate of the entire universe is at stake.

[Read more]

Rhythm of War Reread: Chapter Fifty-Six

Welcome back to the Rhythm of War reread, and another Venli POV. (Stop it with the groans, you! We need her perspective on these things!) As always, her chapter is a mix of doing something good and making some foolish mistake. Not the best at thinking on her feet or seeing the possible ramifications of her words, our Last Listener… Oh, also, cliffhanger. Well, come on in and join the discussion. Let’s see what you make of this one.

[Her eyes were closed, but her face twitched, as if she were in the grip of a terrible nightmare.]

Series: Rhythm of War by Brandon Sanderson

The Low Standards of the Legal Profession: John Connolly’s “The Fractured Atlas,” Part 6

Welcome back to Reading the Weird, in which we get girl cooties all over weird fiction, cosmic horror, and Lovecraftiana—from its historical roots through its most recent branches.

This week, we finish up John Connolly’s The Fractured Atlas, first published in 2015 as part of Night Music: Nocturnes Volume II, with Part V: “And in Darkness Shall We Dwell.” Spoilers ahead.

[“Lionel Maulding never stopped screaming, but he made no noise in that place.”]

Series: Reading the Weird

A Wonderful Use of YA Tropes: Beasts of Prey by Ayana Gray

In the Pan-African inspired fantasy land of Eshōza, a monster known as the Shetani hunts and kills anyone who strays into its jungle. For nearly a century, the citizens of the city of Lkossa have feared the beast, but now two teens from opposite ends of the social hierarchy are teaming up to take it down.

As an indentured servant to the Night Zoo, Koffi tends to and trains strange and dangerous creatures with her mother. The end of their contract is close enough to taste, but a tragic event pushes that deadline far into the future. Staring down a lifetime of being chained to the zoo, Koffi strikes a deal to pay off her and her loved ones’ debts in exchange for capturing the dreaded Shetani. Ekon, the son of one of the most powerful families in Lkossa, is on the verge of becoming a Son of the Six, elite warriors who protect the city and brutally enforce its rules. When his chance at a promotion is stripped away, he decides his best chance at gaining his position back is to do something spectacular: kill the Shetani. 

[Read more]

Step Right Up! Five Recent Fantasy Stories Set at a Circus

Circuses! They seem like such a safe, wholesome source of communal entertainment. Yet, many who’ve ventured under a circus big top have faced unexpected consequences—some quite dangerous for performers in real life. Perhaps it’s no surprise then that the circus provides such a lively—and occasionally treacherous—setting for these five recent fantasies.

[Read more]

Beyond Dark Academia: The Real Horror in Magic School Is Systemic Inequality

Science Fiction and Fantasy are full of magic school stories, from contemporary and urban fantasy colleges to second world universities, private schools, academies, and boarding schools. Many of these tales contain horror elements, even if they aren’t monsters and mayhem through and through. Increasingly, these sorts of stories—especially ones set in some version of higher education—are getting branded as “dark academia,” an aesthetic that uncritically privileges a certain, exclusive sort of scholarly “life of the mind” and mixes that ideal with elements of mystery, crime, danger, and, well, general darkness. And that’s a problem.

There are compelling reasons for “dark” or “gritty” representations of college and grad school, even and especially in a fantasy setting. But as a subgenre, magic school stories tend to skip over those compelling reasons in favor of external monsters and villains. In the process, they miss the fact that the murderer isn’t just calling from inside the house—it is the house. Or, rather, it’s the ivory tower (and its self-appointed gatekeepers).

[Read more]

A Murder Mystery in Space: Far From the Light of Heaven by Tade Thompson

There’s nothing I love more than a good locked-room murder mystery, an eternally beloved subgenre of crime writing that embodies humanity’s dogged need to know. But these can also be, more often than not, one-dimensional narrative dioramas that stick to the basic formula without distinction. This is, unsurprisingly, not the case with Far From the Light of Heaven, Tade Thompson’s newest novel which marries shades of gothic horror with a sleuthing mystery and hard sci-fi rooted in real astronauts’ accounts of living in space.

[Read more]

Pixar’s Lightyear Achieves First Teaser Liftoff

In case you forgot that Disney is making a Buzz Lightyear movie… well, Disney is making a Buzz Lightyear movie. Lightyear isn’t about the toy we know from all the Toy Story movies; it’s about the human test pilot who inspired the toy, and who is now voiced by Chris Evans. Not that Evans says much in this first teaser, which makes unforgivable use of David Bowie’s “Starman” and continues the Toy Story trend of referencing Star Wars … maybe a bit too much.

[Read more]

Pesky Pirates and Purple Prose: Brigands of the Moon by Ray Cummings

In this bi-weekly series reviewing classic science fiction and fantasy books, Alan Brown looks at the front lines and frontiers of the field; books about soldiers and spacers, scientists and engineers, explorers and adventurers. Stories full of what Shakespeare used to refer to as “alarums and excursions”: battles, chases, clashes, and the stuff of excitement.

Today we’re going to look at a book by Ray Cummings, an author who was ubiquitous in the pulps during the period between the World Wars of the 20th century, but who is not well remembered today. It’s a story of action and adventure, set on a space passenger liner caught up in a titanic struggle between worlds—a story where our heroes must contend with the titular Brigands of the Moon!

[Read more]

Telling Our Stories: When Mexican Folklore and Oral Tradition Meet Sci-Fi

When I tell people about my latest book, The Last Cuentista, the first thing they ask is how a story like this even happened. I can see where a merging of Mexican folklore and sci-fi might seem incongruous to most. But to me they’ve always been interlaced.

My love of sci-fi began in black and white. Family holidays were spent with heaping plates of food, and Rod Serling ushering in a Twilight Zone marathon. We’d seen every episode so many times, we all raced to be the first to blurt out,“That’s not fair. That’s not fair at all. There was time now. There was, was all the time I needed…” or… “It’s a cookbook!”

So yeah, science fiction felt like home.

[Read more]

Our Privacy Notice has been updated to explain how we use cookies, which you accept by continuing to use this website. To withdraw your consent, see Your Choices.