The Star Wars Universe Is Somehow Big Enough for Eight Kloo Horn Players

I’m sure when you were a kid watching Star Wars, you just assumed that the instruments being played by Figrin D’an and the Modal Nodes (note: if you just called them “the cantina band” I’m really not sure what to do with you) were variants on instruments that you have already seen or played upon. Look, it’s an oboe! That one’s a space saxophone! How wrong you were, my young friend. How misguided. That instrument that Figrin D’an is playing is called a kloo horn. It’s totally different from our lousy Earth instruments. (It’s not.) And the Star Wars universe is full of musicians who loved that instrument, at least according to the Legends canon.

Here are eight of their stories. Eight. There are eight whole stories here, somehow. Eight’s gotta be a magic number somewhere, right?

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“Thought everything was supposed to be bigger in America” — Kingsman: The Golden Circle

Kingsman: The Secret Service was a hit in 2015—against some fairly stiff competition all told, as that was the year of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Jurassic World, Avengers: The Age of Ultron, Inside Out, Furious 7, Minions, Mission: Impossible: Rogue Nation, Spectre, and tons more popular movies.

But it still stood out enough for a sequel to be greenlit.

[So you can take your cheap horse piss that you call whisky, which, by the way, is spelled without an “e” and is nothing compared to a single-malt Scotch…]

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

This AskReddit Thread Invites Fans to Pick Their Literary Fighter

If you could pick any (no, seriously, any) literary character and have them show-down with another literary character, Smash Bros-style, who would it be? That’s the premise of a new r/AskReddit thread, posed by u/GayDagger, that has fans picking out foes both farcical and formidable.

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Toy Story 4 Will Love the Humanity Right Into You

The Toy Story saga seemed entirely complete by the gorgeous bookend that was Toy Story 3, so it was strange to hear that Pixar and Disney were teaming up for another go. Yet somehow, with all that history behind it, with the journey over and the toys in a new home—

—they did it again. They made me cry in the theater again.

(Non-spoiler review below)

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Netflix Releases the Final Trailer for Stranger Things Season 3

Looks like it’s going to be one rough summer for Eleven and the gang. Netflix has released the latest and final trailer for Stranger Things Season 3, and this July 4 (or at least the one in 1985 Hawkins, Indiana) is shaping up to be full of psychic nosebleeds, sinister carnival rides, and one very familiar villain.

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We’re Both Thinking of Telepathy: ESP in Genre Fiction

Does anyone have the power of telepathy? I sure don’t. But I always wanted it. I spent hours at childhood slumber parties, hoping to guess whether my friend was thinking of a star or a circle. I was definitely not a telepath, sadly, and my ten-year-old dreams were crushed. Heck, I would’ve been happy to be an anti-telepath: able to predict with 100% accuracy what my friend was absolutely not thinking of.

Telepathy, like many elements of science fiction, is wish-fulfillment. It’s fun to read because it’s fun to imagine. As a power, telepathy is pretty darned useful, depending on how it works and whether the user has control of it.

Here’s a few uses of telepathy in fiction.

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Winning Isn’t Everything, it’s the Only Thing: Welcome to The Gameshouse

Claire North’s The Gameshouse was first published in 2015, as a series of three, interconnected, digital-only novellas. In 2019, at long last, the three are collected into a single volume, and in a format where it can sit snugly on the shelf alongside North’s other works.

In case the laudatory flavour of that introduction is in any way misleading, let me be clear: I wholly believe The Gameshouse is one of the ‘single’ best works of modern fantasy. Nor, thanks to its unusual path to publication, is this recency bias. I’ve had four years to read and re-read The Gameshouse, and it gets better every time.

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8 Sweet, Funny, Thrilling Queer Fiction Podcasts

When Welcome to Night Vale premiered its pilot episode in 2012, there was plenty to hook listeners, as Cecil Baldwin’s mellifluous voice speaking Joseph Fink and Jeffrey Cranor’s distinctive words immediately crafted an eerie atmosphere of familiar but not. But there was something else that made a compelling first impression: Cecil’s loving descriptions of Carlos, the scientist with the perfect hair. Queer representation on the fictional radio, as matter-of-fact as everything else in Night Vale.

Seven years on, queer characters are found in every corner of the expanding audio drama world. So this list of recommendations is by no means exhaustive; it is simply one starting point based on the SFF series I’ve laughed, gasped, and teared up at. From radio-show hosts caught up in romantic fanfic tropes to stories that aren’t about ships but just about being a queer person in the world, these eight fiction podcasts are something to be proud of.

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Noelle Stevenson’s Latest on She-Ra Season 3

For the honor of Grayskull! With season three of She-Ra and the Princesses of Power set to drop on Netflix in August, fans are eagerly awaiting any hints at what’s to come. And Noelle Stevenson is giving the people what they want. While discussing her upcoming graphic novel memoir, The Fire Never Goes Out, with io9, the show’s creator/showrunner/executive producer dropped a few tantalizing details about the upcoming season.

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On the Origins of Modern Biology and the Fantastic: Part 12—Philip K. Dick and Sydney Brenner

“Within him an actual hatred once more manifested itself toward his electric sheep, which he had to tend, had to care about, as if it lived. The tyranny of an object, he thought. It doesn’t know I exist.” —Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? by Philip K. Dick

“What is real?” is the central theme of Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? (1968). In the novel, nuclear fallout led to the collapse of Earth’s ecosystem, turning real animals into status symbols among the remains of humanity, as colonists flock to other planets with the promise of android companionship. But android models are becoming indistinguishable from humans—blurring the line between property and slavery—and when androids escape servitude, bounty hunters like Rick Deckard must use empathy tests to distinguish real from unreal before “retiring” them. The story plays with the nature of objective versus subjective reality as Deckard is forced to reexamine what it means to be human.

While the British New Wave was a reaction to Golden Age American Hard SF trends, the American New Wave began in part as a reaction to the British movement, in part thanks to the publication of the Dangerous Visions (1967) anthology assembled and edited by Harlan Ellison, and in part due to a postmodern shift in attitudes towards technology at the dawning of the Cold War. This conflict of warring political philosophies made good and evil appear less black and white, as both sides used cults of personalities and new forms of mass media to sway public opinion as it became harder to discern what was real and what was propaganda. In this new reality, the boilerplate SF whiz-bang plots with scientists positioned as heroes against obvious evil felt stale, and one of the most important postmodern writers at the birth of this American New Wave was Philip Kindred Dick.

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The First Trailer Is Out for AMC’s The Terror: Infamy

The Terror is back. On Thursday morning, AMC released the first trailer for season two of its critically acclaimed horror anthology series. Subtitled Infamy, this season takes viewers from Captain Sir John Franklin’s doomed excursion to the Arctic to a much more recent, horrific, and timely part of history: the U.S.’s internment of Japanese Americans during World War II.

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Something With Teeth: Finding My Identity in Anne Rice’s Vampire Chronicles

When I was a teenager, my mom gave me a book with a royal blue cover, raised silver lettering, and a spine so broken as to be almost illegible. A mass market paperback with yellowed pages that threatened to liberate themselves from the glue binding them and the distinct scent of old paper. Its outsides rich with phrases like “a voluptuous dream” and “unrelentingly erotic.” Its insides with blood and wine and teeth. With vampires.

I was probably too young to be reading Interview with the Vampire, but I devoured it and the seven other extant books of Anne Rice’s Vampire Chronicles with only one lingering question: did my mom know how gay these books were?

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