An act of indiscretion from her immortal trickster companion sends Annie and her league of ladies-in-waiting on a time-defying adventure that becomes the inspiration for William Shakespeare.
When I saw that the title of the fifth episode of The Falcon and the Winter Soldier was going to be “Truth,” I may have fist-pumped a bit. That was the title of the 2003 comic book miniseries by Robert Morales & Kyle Baker that introduced Isaiah Bradley, subtitled Red, White, and Black, and I was hoping that we’d see more of Carl Lumbly’s MCU version of Bradley. I was not disappointed, as the scene with him and Sam Wilson was one of several excellent scenes in this take-a-breath episode that paused from the fight scenes to remind us of some of the themes that were introduced in the first couple of episodes that had fallen a bit by the wayside.
Let the right remakes continue: Deadline reports that Anika Noni Rose (Dreamgirls) has joined Showtime’s Let the Right One In pilot. The show, which also stars Demián Bichir (Godzilla vs. Kong), is reportedly inspired by both John Ajvide Lindqvist’s 2004 vampire novel and the 2008 Swedish film adaptation of said novel—but not the American film adaptation, the unsatisfying Let Me In.
Carey Mulligan (Promising Young Woman, pictured above), has reportedly landed a role in Adam Sandler’s upcoming adaptation of Jaroslav Kalfař’s Spaceman of Bohemia, which is set to debut on Netflix. Deadline notes that the film is now titled Spaceman, and it’ll be helmed by Chernobyl director Johan Reneck.
It’s no secret that horror is making a comeback. But what about the pulp? The sensational and fantastical imagery that gives us nightmares as kids and can make even the toughest of adults squirm? That’s exactly what my co-author Darren Wearmouth and I tried to harness in our latest thriller, Don’t Move. Set in the woods of West Virginia, the story follows a church group from the Bronx on their annual camping trip. But this year, the group has made a fatal navigational error that’s left them stranded in an uninhabited portion of canyon untouched by humans for centuries. The only thing that has survived there all this time? A giant, terrifying prehistoric arachnid that’s desperate for a meal. The novel itself draws on inspiration from the classic 80s and 90s slasher movies that captured my attention as a young teen, and as the thriller genre matures and leans more towards the cerebral, that doesn’t mean a good romp around in the pulp isn’t welcomed.
So if you’re looking for a gory, creepy page-turner that still offers the best of modern storytelling, here are five books that are pulpy in all the right ways…
Don’t go into the burning bookshop, you’ll only confuse the fireman. It’s time for part three of Good Omens!
Series: Terry Pratchett Book Club
Wormholes and other means of providing instant access between distant fixed points are narratively convenient. They make it possible to get characters from point A to point B without dying of old age en route. Wormholes (or their equivalent) constrain interstellar travel so that, for example, people cannot simply flee combat by going FTL, nor can they emerge above a planet before their photons arrive to carry out an unstoppable bombing run. From an authorial perspective, such constraints are very, very useful.
Once their attention had been drawn to wormholes some time in the 1980s, authors leapt on the chance to use them in fiction. See, for example, how frequently the phrase appears in American English.
Which isn’t to say that all authors have used the same kind of wormholes to fix plot holes. Consider these five examples:
MasterClass, the streaming subscription platform that offers up video tutorials from various celebrities and experts, has a new teacher that you might have heard about: Broken Earth and The City We Became author N. K. Jemisin.
She’s heading up a course on the platform called Fantasy and Science Fiction Writing.
Not long before the pandemic struck last year, I began playing a video game called Greedfall. That the overarching plot involved a country grappling with a pandemic ended up putting a lengthy pause on my own progress through the game, but there was one main feature that attracted me to it: the idea of an open-world fantasy game in which diplomacy was as important as casting the right spell or having a suitably dangerous weapon.
Hence the appeal of Emily B. Martin’s Outlaw Road Duology, a pair of novels set in a fantasy world with a geography that takes its cues from—as Paul Weimer noted in his review of the first book, Sunshield—North America. Both Sunshield and Floodpath are narrated by a distinctive trio of characters. Lark, a Robin Hood-by-way-of-Sergio Leone bandit who targets the wealthy and those invested in human trafficking, is the most archetypal of the three. Veran, a young noble acting as a diplomat, is a less familiar figure; so too is Tamsin, an ashoki—essentially, a kind of court poet and musician whose works can help shape government policy.
What is a major franchise without Mads Mikkelsen? Nothing, that’s what. From his eye-bleeding turn as Le Chiffre in Casino Royale to his fraught and too-brief existence as Jyn Erso’s sad dad in Rogue One (above) to his recent replacement of Johnny Depp in the Fantastic Beasts films, Mikkelsen has established himself as a franchise requirement. (Star Trek, I am looking at you: Beam him up right quick.) Now, as is only natural, Deadline reports that Mikkelsen will join Phoebe Waller-Bridge and Harrison Ford for the as-yet-untitled Indiana Jones 5, which has a director (Logan‘s James Mangold) but no known plot.
With a month to go before it debuts, Amazon has released a new trailer for its upcoming adaptation of Colson Whitehead’s award-winning alternate history novel, The Underground Railroad.
Star Trek: Voyager Fifth Season
Original air dates: October 1998 – May 1999
Executive Producers: Rick Berman, Brannon Braga
Captain’s log. Of all the seasons of Voyager to date, the fifth was the one that had the most literal forward motion. Thanks to a wormhole of sorts (“Night”), experiments with the quantum slipstream drive (“Timeless”), and a stolen Borg transwarp conduit (“Dark Frontier”), they made several jumps ahead, cutting their journey home by tens of thousands of light-years.
Series: Star Trek: Voyager Rewatch
There’s plenty of compelling science fiction, fantasy, and genre-defying fiction being written and published in English; of that there is no doubt. But there’s even more work being written in these genres in other languages that isn’t necessarily appearing in English translation; a quick look at the overall numbers on translation bears that out. There are people and institutions pushing back against this—Ken Liu’s work as an editor and translator comes to mind, as does Restless Books’ commitment to releasing an array of Cuban science fiction.
They aren’t the only ones working to increase the amount of translated work out there, however. What follows is a look at six books that recently appeared in translation. Some are distinctly fantastical, science fictional, or horrific; others blend elements of all three genres. They’re all compelling reads in their own right; they’re also a very small fraction of the genre work being written in other languages.
After two seasons of haunted house horror for Netlix, Haunting of Hill House and Haunting of Bly Manor creator Mike Flanagan has found a new horror project: an adaptation of Christopher Pike’s 1993 novel The Season of Passage, about a celebrity scientist who embarks on a mission to Mars, only to begin hearing voices from an ill-fated expedition that preceded hers.