Hugh Laurie Captains a Doomed Space Cruiser in a New Trailer for HBO’s Space Comedy Avenue 5

HBO’s next big comedy from the creators of Veep is Avenue 5, a series about a luxury space cruiser that runs into a myriad of problems: entitled passengers, incompetent crew members, and a sky-high rescue bill from NASA. HBO has released a new trailer for the series, as well as a release date: January 19th.

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Ryan Reynolds Discovers He’s an NPC in the First Trailer for Free Guy

Non-player characters (NPCs) are a staple of video games: the anonymous members of a crowd that make up the background of the story you’re playing. At São Paulo’s Comic Con Experience (CCXP) today, 20th Century Fox unveiled a first look at Free Guy, about such a character who realizes that the world he inhabits isn’t what it seems.

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Disney is Developing an Aladdin Spinoff for Disney+ about Prince Anders

Disney’s live-action remake of Aladdin earned just over a $1 billion at the box office this year, and with the launch with its streaming service Disney+, it looks as though the company is looking to continue the franchise into television. According to The Hollywood Reporter, the company is in the early stages of developing a spinoff series about Prince Anders, the character played by Billy Magnussen.

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John Crowley’s Reading Backwards Offers More Than a Decade of Brilliance

John Crowley’s readers have great capacities for patience. Twenty years passed between the first volume of his Ægypt series in 1987 and its last entry in 2007; after his realistic historical novel Four Freedoms appeared in 2009, Crowley’s fans waited seven years for another major publication. With the 2016 publication of The Chemical Wedding, Crowley’s translation of an obscure seventeenth-century hermetic allegory, something changed. Whatever the cause — Perhaps the author’s retirement from teaching at Yale — Crowley has become prolific. A year after Wedding, he published Ka, a thick historical fantasy, alongside Totalitopia, a slim volume that combined fiction, essay, and criticism. And this month Crowley has released two thick hardbacks. The first, story collection And Go Like This, I reviewed a few weeks ago. Now Subterranean Press has released Reading Backwards: Essays & Reviews, 2015-2018

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The Calm After the Storm — Spider-Man: Far From Home

After making his Marvel Cinematic Universe debut in Captain America: Civil War (a movie that made over a billion dollars), Spider-Man starred in three MCU movies—his own Homecoming as well as the next two Avengers movies, Infinity War and Endgame—and also was the subject of a hugely successful non-MCU animated film, Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse.

A second MCU film was inevitable, especially since it was a moneymaker for both Disney (who control the MCU) and Sony (who control the film rights to the web-head). The hype on the movie started late due to Marvel Studios wanting to avoid spoiling Endgame (recall that Spidey was one of the ones who turned to dust at the end of Infinity War).

[It’s my Blip Beard…]

Series: 4-Color to 35-Millimeter: The Great Superhero Movie Rewatch

To Understand Anakin Skywalker’s Full Story, You Need to Watch the Star Wars Animated Series

In Star Wars, Episodes I-IX are wrapped around the Skywalker family like a fluffy, strangling blanket of expectations and betrayal. This journey begins with one person in particular: Anakin Skywalker, the supposed Chosen One of the Jedi, later best known as the Emperor’s right hand, Darth Vader. The problem with this very dramatic arc is that the first three films—meant to show us exactly why Anakin becomes one of the galaxy’s most infamous tyrants—doesn’t actually give us much by way of explanation on his actions. We’re told things rather than shown them. We don’t know how he gets from Point A to Point K(ill-All-the-Younglings). And that’s kind of important, given that his actions set the entire saga in motion.

Don’t worry. Television’s got you covered.

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Jo Walton’s Reading List: November 2019

November began with a trip to Utopiales, a huge French SF festival in Nantes, followed by a lightning trip to the UK to see King John at Stratford and Henry VI at the Globe in London, then back to Paris for some bookstore events and the Louvre. Then I came home to find winter had set in: 20cm of snow and -10C on the day I got back. I had the proofs of Or What You Will to do, but otherwise plenty of time to read and little desire to go out of the house. I read 22 books in November, and here they are.

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Creating Gods Through Science and Magic

To (mis)quote Russian Cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin, “I looked and looked but I didn’t see God.” Humans are cunning little monkeys, though, so even if at present we assume there are no gods as such, it’s within the realm of possibility that we might someday build something (or somethings) functionally equivalent to gods.

We could even turn ourselves into gods (via tech assist or magic). Would this be an unmixed blessing? Um, not really. We already know that humans can be monumental dicks; deified humans could be just as nasty.

[Some examples…]

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