The Devil made a mirror. A physicist broke it and shards fell through reality and changed everything forever.
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.
Amazon’s superhero series The Boys debuted earlier this year, and it’s a dark, irreverent take on the genre. The company brought a first look for the show’s upcoming second season to São Paulo’s Comic Con Experience (CCXP) this week, and it promises more bloody superhero action.
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.
The Mandalorian had to make a stop somewhere familiar for us, right? This time, we get a chance to enjoy the sights and suns of Luke Skywalker’s home planet. At least the poor guy didn’t wind up in Docking Bay 94…
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.
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).
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.
In January, HBO is joining the Stephen King adaptation renaissance with a new series, The Outsider. The network released a new trailer for the series yesterday, showing off a creepy mystery in which a man is arrested for the death of a young boy.
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.
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.
We know it’s the premise of Lost In Space that the Robinson family cannot catch a break but wow the Robinson family cannot catch a break!
In the course of a Dungeons & Dragons game, a Dungeon Master has to make one decision after another in response to player behavior—and the better the players, the more unpredictable their behavior! It’s easy for even an experienced DM to get bogged down in on-the-spot decision-making or to let combat devolve into a boring slugfest, with enemies running directly at the player characters and biting, bashing, and slashing away.
In The Monsters Know What They’re Doing—available now from Saga Press—Keith Ammann lightens the DM’s burden by helping you understand your monsters’ abilities and develop battle plans before your fifth edition D&D game session begins. Just as soldiers don’t whip out their field manuals for the first time when they’re already under fire, a DM shouldn’t wait until the PCs have just encountered a dozen bullywugs to figure out how they advance, fight, and retreat.
It is no easy feat to translate the success of Orphan Black the TV series, which was so predicated on the visual aspect of Tatiana Maslany’s riveting performances, to the page. Serial Box’s stable of writers (Madeline Ashby, Mishell Baker, Heli Kennedy, E.C. Myers, Malka Older, Lindsay Smith) have ably wrangled the TV show’s five years of science-thriller worldbuilding and over a dozen unique characters into a sequel that should satisfy fans in plenty of individual moments, if not potentially overall. It was an ambitious experiment, changing the very DNA of the story by crossing over into a vastly different medium with its own perks and drawbacks. Yet the spirit of Clone Club shines through the final episodes of Orphan Black: The Next Chapter, which see younger Clone Club members Kira and Charlotte surpassing their predecessors to save the world on their own terms—and which opens up a variety of futures for both generations of clones.