The year is 1915, and a young man hired to shout the words on title cards for silent films experiences the magic of movies. This spurs him to edit some of the worst dialog, leading him in a weird direction that utterly changes his life.
Madeleine L’Engle was my first sci-fi. Maybe also my first fantasy. I read her before Lewis, Tolkien, Adams, Bradbury. I was 11 when I read A Wrinkle in Time, and I quickly burned through all the rest of her YA, and I even dug into her contemplative journals a bit later, as I began to study religion more seriously in my late teens.
My favorite was A Swiftly Tilting Planet (I’m embarrassed to tell you how often I’ve mumbled St. Patrick’s Breastplate into whichever adult beverage I’m using as cheap anesthetic to keep the wolves from the door over this past year) but I read all of her books in pieces, creating a patchwork quilt of memories. I loved the opening of this one, a particular death scene in that one, an oblique sexual encounter in another. Bright red curtains with geometrical patterns, The Star-Watching Rock, hot Nephilim with purple hair—the usual stuff. But as I looked back over L’Engle’s oeuvre and I was struck, more than anything, by the sheer weirdness of her work.
Who doesn’t love a good myth? Retellings of ancient legends are wonderful ways to bring stories with long histories to new audiences or eras. Authors can reinterpret classic tropes or familiar heroes, bringing different aspects of their personalities to vivid, sparkling life. Below, I’ve highlighted some of the most exciting myth retellings that will be hitting shelves soon, as well as some recent favorites.
We’ve only seen women channel so far in The Wheel of Time. But oh, my friends, that is about to change.
(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.)
Stubby and the Tor.com staff are taking a break for the holiday weekend, but we’ll be back and beaming more content your way on Monday. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!
Star Trek has, historically, been really really terrible with consequences.
On the original series, Kirk was present for the deaths of several important people to him: his best friend, his brother and sister-in-law, and two of the great loves of his life, one of whom was pregnant with his child. Yet he was never seen to feel any trauma beyond the episodes where those things happened.
And it wasn’t much better in the first wave of spinoffs. But if the trend toward serialization has given us nothing else, it’s given us TV writers who are willing to examine long-term consequences.
In Marvel’s Hawkeye, the everyday family man of the Avenger’s team is finally given his own story as he teams up with eager fan and archer protegee Kate Bishop to stop an underground criminal organization in New York City.
Thirty-three years ago, on November 24, 1988, Mystery Science Theater 3000 premiered on KTMA, a cable access channel in Minneapolis. In human years, the show is out of college by now (probably), maybe trying to buy a home, or start a family. It bristles when Cheers calls it a millennial—it’s always felt like an old soul, with the references to Get Christie Love and Charlie McCarthy, and-three it gets frustrated when other shows consider it shallow. It’s not just a reference factory, after all. There’s real depth and heart here, if you know how to pay attention.
I’ve been asked if I cook as well as I write about cooking.
It’s a fair question: I’ve been cooking almost as long as I’ve been writing. Writing was something I fell into, much like Alice down the rabbit-hole, when I was fourteen. I sat down one day to write myself a story instead of reading one, and thirty-two pages later—pencil and lined paper tablet—I finished my tale and realized that my predictable world had expanded wildly, enormously, with endlessly diverging and intriguing paths running every which way into an unknown I suddenly knew existed. Having ended one story (which is locked away, guarded by dragons and evil-eyed basilisks, and will never see the light of day if I have anything to say about it), I wanted to start all over again on another.
When or why I decided I needed to inflict culinary disasters on my long-suffering family and others, I don’t remember.
Hear me out.
We all remember that scene in The Neverending Story—which is a ridiculously apropos title for this conversation, by the way—where Bastian takes out his sandwich and, while hiding in the school attic, reading his stolen tome, stops himself after one bite, saying, “No. Not too much. We’ve still got a long way to go.”
That’s my reading life, in a nutshell. While I can count on one hand the times I have thrown restraint to the wind and finished an amazing book in one or two sittings, it is more often that I’ve started reading something, appreciated it, and taken months to finish. Better still are the times I’ve started a book, realized I love it on a deep bone level, and, lamenting the progress I am making toward completing it, set it down.
Because I love it too much.
This is a thing that happens.
You can tell an epic story at any length; sometimes a standalone fantasy can traverse just as much narrative space as an entire trilogy. But when it comes to fantasy worlds that we can explore every inch of, we are particularly fond of series with nine books or more. Yep, you heard us: we want trilogies upon trilogies (with the occasional side duology/quartet) in our favorite long-running SFF series. From alternate histories to fantasy that slowly becomes science fiction, from lady knights to more than a few telepathic dragons, from sagas that span one generation to multiple centuries, these series are so expansive and immersive that reading them feels not just like visiting a new world, but like coming home.
It’s hard to believe that Star Trek: First Contact came out 25 years ago, but here we are. The movie—the second one with The Next Generation crew led by Jean-Luc Picard (Patrick Stewart)—had the Borg set on using time travel to assimilate Earth at an earlier date, with the crew of the U.S.S. Enterprise (E) the only ones to stop them.
The Hollywood Reporter recently interviewed the film’s co-writer Ron Moore about the film’s production, including some key circumstances that got flipped around during the writing process.
In Darcie Little Badger’s second novel, the National Book Award longlisted A Snake Falls to Earth, Lipan Apache teen protagonist Nina lives in near future Texas and is smart, funny and adamant to translate her great grandmother Rosita’s ‘fanciful, ancient stories about the days when humans and spirits lived together’. Rosita was ‘the keeper of ten thousand stories, each stranger than the last’, and when she was almost impossibly old, Nina recorded her stories into an advanced translation app which is confused by the language Rosita spoken in, partly a Lipan dialect that no one can speak any longer. Nina, it seems, has to work a lot harder to understand the things her great grandmother was trying to tell her.
Jurassic World: Dominion, the next movie in the Jurassic Park franchise, is still several months away. For those who need their dinosaur fix for the holiday season, however, Universal Pictures and Amblin Entertainment released a new five-minute video prologue that goes way, way back in time.