What If… “Thor Were an Only Child?” Turns Earth Into a Party Planet

After two darkity dark dark What If…?s, it’s a giant relief to get an episode that’s purely fun. In this week’s episode, Thor is fully the frat bro we met in his first movie, and he comes to Midgard to throw a planet-wide party.

Several days later, the party’s still jumping ’cause Frigga ain’t home, and things begin to go awry.

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Colonization, Empire, and Power in C.S. Lewis’ Out of the Silent Planet

I was going to start out this article by saying that early science fiction was shaped by colonialism, but that’s probably understating it. Many of the tropes of science fiction and—going even further back—adventure novels are centrally located in colonialism. It’s not a huge surprise given that many of the authors were from colonizing culture or, as science fiction spread, in countries that were doing their best to get in on the colonization game. Out of the Silent Planet is no exception to this and, in fact, the book is largely shaped around a critique of H.G. Wells’ The First Men in the Moon.

Lewis doesn’t disguise this at all. He lays all the cards out on the table that this is a novel about imperialism, colonialism, and seeing others as subhuman. We get some indications of this early on. Weston and Devine, the main antagonists are practically colonialism incarnated. Weston’s name comes from Old English, meaning “settlement.” Devine says he doesn’t care a bit about science or first contact (later we will learn he’s all about the abundant gold), but he does pay lip service to “the white man’s burden” and the “blessings of civilization” (encouraged by Kipling and critiqued by Twain).

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Series: The Great C.S. Lewis Reread

Five Superpowers That Just Aren’t As Fun as They Sound

Who among us has not dreamed of having superpowers? We are urged thereto by the avalanche of comics, movies, novels, and roleplaying games featuring abilities beyond mortal ken. Yet not all superpowers are created equal. Some superpowers require secondary superpowers to survive.  Other abilities have disquieting consequences for their possessors.

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Announcing The Mimicking of Known Successes, an SFnal Murder Mystery by Malka Older

Tordotcom Publishing is thrilled to announce that Brent Lambert has acquired the novella The Mimicking of Known Successes—a science fiction gaspunk murder mystery pitched as A Master of Djinn meets The Tea Master and the Detective—by Malka Older, author of the Hugo-nominated Centenal Cycle.

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Disney Is Developing an Adaptation of Carlos Hernandez’s Sal & Gabi Break the Universe

Disney has tapped John Wick and Grand Hotel producer Eva Longoria and Grand Hotel producer Ben Spector to develop an adaptation of Carlos Hernandez YA novel Sal & Gabi Break the Universe, about a teenager named Sal who can reach through time and space to retrieve things, and his new friend Gabi, who is determined to put that power to good use.

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The Bittersweet Hug of TJ Klune’s Under the Whispering Door

Those who’ve read Klune’s other works know that his stories are full of heart. His latest work, Under the Whispering Door, also has heart, but differs from his previous works; it’s a story about grief, a tale suffused with love but also tinged with sadness.

That’s not to say the story is a tragic one. It’s still uplifting, but it hurts at times, the very definition of bittersweet. Those coming to the story expecting something similar to his last adult novel, The House in the Cerulean Sea, will find something different here. Where Cerulean Sea is like a friend giving you a warm fuzzy hug, Under the Whispering Door is a friend hugging you while you’re in the middle of a cathartic cry.

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Meet Katrina, the Violin Prodigy in Ryka Aoki’s Light From Uncommon Stars

The lives of three women—Katrina, Shizuka, and Lan—become entangled by chance and fate in Ryka Aoki’s Light From Uncommon Stars, a defiantly joyful adventure publishing September 28th with Tor Books. From the author:

Katrina is my favorite character because although she is a young trans woman fleeing trauma and abuse, she still yearns to find a way to express who she is, and the music she contains. She may deny herself, and even sell herself to survive, but she is always aware of her music, and she has never lost the hope that her music will guide her home.

We’re thrilled to share an excerpt below—meet Katrina, and check back later this week for additional excerpts!

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David Lynch’s Dune Kept Science Fiction Cinema Strange

Welcome to Close Reads! In this series, Leah Schnelbach and guest authors will dig into the tiny, weird moments of pop culture—from books to theme songs to a single television episode—that have burrowed into our minds, found rent-stabilized apartments, started community gardens, and refused to be forced out by corporate interests.

Everyone knows that David Lynch’s 1984 adaptation of Dune is bad. Hell, this film—dubbed “worst movie of the year” by Roger Ebert—was such a disaster it basically drove Lynch from mainstream films. It’s one of SFF’s most famous flops. A disaster. So please believe me that I’m not trolling or looking for a controversial “hot take” when I say that Lynch’s Dune is one of my all-time favorite science fiction films, and perhaps the SF movie that influenced me more than any other.

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Series: Close Reads

Seven Things I Want to See in a Quantum Leap Reboot

Reboots, expansions, and continuations are everywhere these days on television. In recent years, genre properties from Mystery Science Theater 3000 to Star Trek have made small-screen comebacks, and now there’s news of another a sci-fi classic returning: Quantum Leap!

Theorizing that a Quantum Leap reboot could once again tackle social issues and provide hours of thought-provoking television, while also providing nostalgia-trips for the Millennial generation, Leah Schnelbach stepped into this article… and wrote a list of things she’d like to see in a new Quantum Leap.

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A Time Traveler’s Work Is Never Done, So Quantum Leap May Get Rebooted

Not for the first time, we’re thinking about what a Quantum Leap reboot might look like—but this time we’re talking about it because of star Scott Bakula, who told Bob Saget (on Saget’s podcast) that “significant conversations” are happening about a new version of the series.

Bakula also noted that he’s not sure what the state of the rights to the show are. So maybe this will never happen. But maybe it will.

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Reading The Wheel of Time: Moiraine Makes a Run for It in Robert Jordan’s New Spring (Part 8)

Welcome back friends to our read of New Spring, here on Reading The Wheel of Time. Last week I suggested that we would cover Chapters 14 and 15, but I had so much to say about Moiraine and the White Tower that we’re only going to get through Chapter 14, which is called “Changes,” which means I’ve had the David Bowie song stuck in my head for the last few days.

Oh, and I normally try not to use the words “read” and “time” too frequently, since they seem to come up a lot. Today I thought I’d lean in and see what the opposite intention looks like, which unfortunately didn’t come out as amusingly as I had hoped. But I’m feeling a bit punchy today, so that is the energy I’m going to be bringing to my recap and analysis. Let’s do this!

[Long goodbyes would have turned to tears, and she could not risk that..]

Series: Reading The Wheel of Time

Beauty Inspired by Horror: Creating Jewelry for Cassandra Khaw’s Nothing But Blackened Teeth

In the publishing industry, we see all kinds of swag created for books, from enamel pins to tote bags, art, custom teas, and more. But Cassandra Khaw, author of Nothing but Blackened Teeth (October 19, Nightfire) wanted to do something different to celebrate their book. This necklace was designed by Sofia Ajram, founder of Sofia Zakia jewelry in collaboration with Khaw. We chatted with both of them to find out more about the process!

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Howard Shore Is Reportedly Joining Amazon’s Lord of the Rings Series

Ever since Amazon announced that it would produce a series set in J.R.R. Tolkien’s Middle-earth, a big question that’s hung over the production has been how well it will line up with the existing adaptations of the classic novels. Peter Jackson’s New Zealand-shot films have undoubtedly cemented the image of Middle-earth in the minds of many viewers, and the studio has filmed its first season in the country, which should provide some visual continuity for viewers.

Jackson isn’t involved in the series, although he did take some meetings with Amazon, but the studio has apparently courted another major figure who helped define the series: Howard Shore, the composer who produced the scores for all of Jackson’s Middle-earth-set films.

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