Janelle Monáe’s Memory Librarian Collaborators Include Alaya Dawn Johnson & Sheree Renée Thomas

Earlier this year, Janelle Monáe’s The Memory Librarian: and Other Stories From Dirty Computer was announced, marking the blazingly talented singer/actor/songwriter’s first foray into prose writing. The book, the announcement explained, “follows a character named Jane 57821, who breaks free of a worldwide system of thought control ruled by a nebulous group that believes it has the power to decide all creatures’ fates.”

One intriguing detail was mentioned, but not explained: that Monáe would be collaborating with other writers. Now, we know who at least some of those writers are: Alaya Dawn Johnson, Yohanca Delgado, Eve L. Ewing, Danny Lore, and Sheree Renée Thomas.

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Conducting the Larger Symphony — Star Trek: Discovery’s “Choose to Live”

There’s a lot to like about “Choose to Live,” but my personal favorite moment is toward the very end, when Vance and Burnham discuss the final disposition of the episode’s antagonist. Oded Fehr is simply brilliant here, aided by a superb script by Terri Hughes Burton, providing a canny and clever analogy that reminds Burnham—and the viewers—that there’s a bigger picture beyond the titular ship and its concerns.

Indeed, that theme—of characters thinking primarily of their own issues and missing the bigger picture—runs throughout the episode.

[Good will and leadership are two different things…]

Jordana Brewster Won’t Love Her Robot Husband in Hello Stranger

Finally, the robot manaissance is upon us. For years, movies have given us men drawn to AI women, from Blade Runner to Her to Ex Machina. But this year, Dan Stevens played a dream robot in I’m Your Man, and now, Jordana Brewster of Fast and Furious fame (pictured above) is set to reject the robot version of her dead husband in Hello Stranger.

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Five Unskippable Television Intros

Have you met Skip? Skip Intro, that is.

For viewers everywhere, Skip Intro has been a savior. He saves us precious seconds (or sometimes minutes) as we’re careening through our latest streaming obsession. I’ve deployed our pal Skip hundreds of times, spanning multiple rewatches of The Office and a recent Brooklyn Nine-Nine outing.

While there’s many, many times Skip is indispensable, he isn’t always needed. There are shows that completely transcend the need for Skip Intro, begging the viewer to catch every last second of content, from the theme tune on… Before this whole “Skip Intro is a person” bit gets old, why don’t we jump right in? Here are five unskippable TV intros.

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A Year in Books Not Yet Read

Many years ago, in the long-gone era of the early 2000s, the author Nick Hornby began writing a column for The Believer with the to-the-point name of “Stuff I’ve Been Reading.” Each column began with two lists: books bought, and books read. The two lists often had little overlap. 

Earlier this year, I decided to try to copy this practice. I already keep a list of what I’ve read, but what if I kept track of how many books I brought into the house on any given month? Perhaps it would be interesting. Or at least telling. Maybe it would be an effective way to convince myself to buy fewer books. (It was not.)

This lasted for about two weeks, at which point I realized I’d already ordered three or four books and not added them to the list, and that adding books to a list brought nowhere near the sense of satisfaction that adding them to my purposefully disorganized to-be-read shelf provided. But I kept thinking about it. We make lists of books we’ve read, lists of the best books of the year, lists of books to give people at the holidays, to recommend. What does a year’s worth of books bought but not yet read look like?

The answer, for me, is three precarious piles of books I still really want to read.

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All of Tor.com’s Original Short Fiction Published in 2021

Since launching in 2008, Tor.com’s short fiction program has been producing touching, funny, and thought-provoking stories, and this year was no different! In 2021, we published 15 original short stories, another 15 novelettes, plus one novella. These ran the gamut from hard science fiction to epic fantasy, from horror to dystopia, from fairy tales to space opera. We’ve rounded them all up below, and you can also find Tordotcom Publishing’s impressive output of novellas and novels here.

We are tremendously proud of our authors, illustrators, and editors for creating such wonderful short fiction this year. We hope that you will nominate your favorites for the Hugos, Nebulas, and other upcoming awards which honor outstanding works of science fiction, fantasy, and horror—but most of all, we hope that you have enjoyed reading these stories as much as we have!

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All of Tordotcom Publishing’s Books From 2021

In 2021, Tordotcom Publishing published 28 novels and novellas, including the riveting conclusion to C.L. Polk’s Kingston Cycle, the astoundingly warm and optimistic novella A Psalm for the Wild-Built by Hugo Award-winning author Becky Chambers, the first novel in P. Djèlí Clark’s wondrous Dead Djinn Universe and so much more! We also were thrilled to publish several anthologies and collections, including Never Say You Can’t Survive, a non-fiction blend of writing and memoir from Charlie Jane Anders.

We are tremendously proud of our authors, illustrators, and editors for creating such wonderful works this year. We hope that you will nominate your favorites for the Hugos, Nebulas, and other upcoming awards which honor outstanding works of science fiction, fantasy, and horror—but most of all, we hope that you have enjoyed reading these stories as much as we have!

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Rhythm of War Reread: Chapter Sixty

Well, hello again, O my Cosmere Chickens! Hey, there’s a Cosmere Chicken in the chapter this week, too! But it’s the nasty one—the one attached to that $%@# Mraize. Who is also in this chapter, much to the irritation of your friendly neighborhood rereaders. On the bright side, this is the point where Venli discovers that she really isn’t the last listener, and she has her own personal great awakening. And it’s a beautiful thing, even if Mraize was instrumental. (You know what they say, “No one is so useless that he can’t at least serve as a bad example.”)

Come on in and join the discussion!

[Freedom.]

Series: Rhythm of War by Brandon Sanderson

Guillermo del Toro Still Might Adapt Lovecraft’s At the Mountains of Madness, Only This Time He’ll Make It Weirder

Filmmaker Guillermo del Toro (The Shape of Water, Crimson Peak, Pan’s Labyrinth) has more than a few movies that are favorites for many a genre fan.

One movie that got away, however, was an adaptation of H.P. Lovecraft’s At the Mountains of Madness, which he had in the works at Universal Pictures about a decade ago. The project had a big price tag and big names attached to it, including Tom Cruise and James Cameron.

Universal, however, decided there would be no Cthulhu for you and axed the project. Since then, hopes of seeing a del Toro adaptation of the story remained a mere dream. Recently, however, the director hinted there was still hope the project may happen.

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The Overwhelming Relevance of Neal Stephenson’s Termination Shock

It’s hard to start anywhere but with the feral hogs.

Termination Shock, Neal Stephenson’s latest doorstopper (at just over 700 pages, it’s considerably shorter than his last few books), is a sprawling, truly global story. It would be foolish to expect anything else from Stephenson, whose novels regularly involve the minutiae of an endlessly surprising array of topics. To read him is to accept that you’re not just going to be told a story; you’re going to be educated. Often, it’s about something fascinating. How much time did I spend distracted by the Wikipedia page about the Maeslantkering, which plays a role in the novel? Let’s not talk about that.

Sometimes it is less engrossing. Termination Shock is the length of approximately three shorter books, and the first of those is almost 300 pages of warmup to one of the novel’s central concepts: In the Texas desert, a quirky billionaire has set up a massive geoengineering project. In the meticulous process of detailing this, Stephenson digs into the personal history of an aide to the queen of the Netherlands; explains how, about 10 years from now, fire ants and supply chain issues have driven many Texans from their homes; and gives the backstory of a man named Rufus, who has a beef with one of those feral hogs. All told, there are, in the book, more than 30 to 50 of them.

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Peacemaker Clip Reveals the Superhero Has a New Friend… and That He Hates Aquaman

The show Peacemaker, a spin-off of the eponymous character played by John Cena in James Gunn’s The Suicide Squad, is coming at us in the new year. For those who haven’t seen the film, Christopher Smith/Peacemaker is… not the most ethical guy but justifies everything he does as protecting America.

Naturally, the series is a comedy.

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