Jennifer Lopez Will Defend Humanity From an Apocalyptic AI in Netflix’s Atlas

Jennifer Lopez has lined up her next movie, just a week after signing an overall deal with Netflix: Atlas, a science fiction thriller in which an artificial intelligence has determined that the best way to eliminate war is to eliminate humanity.

According to Deadline, Lopez will produce the film, which will be helmed by San Andreas / Rampage director Brad Peyton.

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Sleeps With Monsters: The Difference Between Survival and Cruelty

Two of the books I want to talk about this time have already been ably discussed on by Molly Templeton, whose review of Nicole Kornher-Stace’s Firebreak prompted me to get off my arse and order my copy, and of whose review of E.K. Johnston’s Aetherbound I’d be very jealous, if I were the jealous sort. But I think I can add just a little additional enthusiastic discussion…

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Series: Sleeps With Monsters

Okay, Do Superheroes Bone or Not?

If you’ve been avoiding the discourse over on superhero Twitter lately (which I understand and applaud you for), you may have missed the latest dust up around a cut scene in the upcoming third season of the Harley Quinn animated series, and the resultant resurfacing of the age-old question: Do heroes do that?

And before we get bogged down in colorful euphemisms: Yes, we’re talking about sex.

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The Gaston Prequel Series Is Real and Coming to Disney+

“What’s next, a prequel about Gaston?” is no longer just a joke about Disney’s current love for creating backstories for its villains. Though the company was “in talks” with Luke Evans and Josh Gad about a Gaston-and-LeFou series over a year ago, it’s only now official: Disney+ has ordered an eight-episode musical series about the two characters from 2017’s live-action Beauty and the Beast.

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Into the Woods: Hannah Whitten’s For the Wolf

There’s a red cape and a forest and a wolf, but Hannah Whitten’s debut novel For the Wolf isn’t just a Little Red Riding Hood retelling. It is a story about a young woman named Red who goes into a dark forest where a Wolf lurks. But the familiar imagery is a means, not an end. Whitten isn’t tweaking one fairy tale, or even a cluster of them. She’s borrowing pieces and ideas and images to stitch together a whole new red cloak, a story that understands how powerful fairy tales are—and how misused that power can be.

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Can I Interest You in a Dark Carnival? Bo Burnham, Ray Bradbury, and Our Modern Hall of Mirrors

You might be asking yourself, why are you talking about Inside, Bo Burnham’s latest comedy special, on this site? First of all it’s a remarkable comedy special, filled with repeating imagery and echoing language that makes me think of a linked short story collection—like if A Visit from the Goon Squad or The Martian Chronicles were reworked into a stand-up show. The other reason is that I’m a person prone to earworms, and this thing has blown past earworm and landed in Nam-Shub territory. I watched the special last week and I’ve had “making a literal difference, metaphorically” and “Oh shit—you’re really joking at a time like this?” looping in my head continuously for days. Maybe this will get them out. But I encourage you all to go watch it because I am neither the first, nor shall I be the last, to say that it’s probably the definitive work of art to come out of the pandemic.

But still you might ask, why am I talking about it here? Because at just about the halfway point, the special veers into fantasy/horror of a very specific nature.

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Slow Music, Slow Motion, Slow Movie—Zack Snyder’s Justice League

Starting in August 2017, Keith R.A. DeCandido took a weekly look at every live-action movie based on a superhero comic in the weekly “4-Color to 35-Millimeter: The Great Superhero Movie Rewatch.” He caught up to real time, as it were, in January 2020, but is revisiting the feature every six months or so to look back at the new releases in the previous half-year. Last week, we looked at Wonder Woman 1984, and this week is Zack Snyder’s Justice League.

The lengthy and expensive rewrites and reshoots of Justice League done by Joss Whedon after Zack Snyder departed the project following the tragic suicide of his daughter Autumn did not result in a successful film, from an artistic or commercial standpoint. There was a vocal contingent of the fan base who wanted to see Snyder’s original cut of the film. The newly-purchased-by-AT&T Warner Bros. was going to launch a shiny new streaming service, HBO Max, that was going to need content. The ability to provide that content was kneecapped by the spring 2020 pandemic lockdown.

These factors combined to bring Zack Snyder’s Justice League into being.

[I’m real when it’s useful.]

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

Stargirl Trailer Shines a Light on a New Green Lantern and More

There will be plenty of new heroes and villains coming to Blue Valley for Stargirl’s second season. While the biggest reveals revolve around a new Green Lantern and the devious Shade, the preview also indicates that it will follow up on the show’s biggest plot threads. Seeing Stargirl add fun new elements while building on things it’s already established makes the second season look very promising.

[Spoilers for Season 1 of Stargirl]
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Orbit Will Publish Two-Volume Companion to Iain M. Banks’ Culture Series

Back in 2018, Orbit Books announced that it would publish a companion book to Iain M. Banks’ acclaimed Culture space opera series, The Culture: Notes and Drawings. The book was originally due out in 2019, but had been delayed in the years since.

Now, Orbit has shed some light on the fate of the project: It will be published as a two volume set, one called The Culture: The Drawings, a book showcasing Banks’ Culture artwork, which will feature the late author’s notes and companion material from his friend and fellow author, Ken MacLeod.

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Is There a Queer Future Without Queerphobia?

We live in a world still blighted by homophobia and transphobia, regardless of the advances of recent years. I could point to the growing number of anti-trans laws, the fact that 59% of queer and trans students report feeling unsafe at school, the gob-smacking rates of violence against Black and Latinx trans women, but, by now, we should all be aware of the realities.

On the flip side, science fiction, fantasy, and speculative fiction allow us to explore and explode the limits of what’s possible, and not just when it comes to time travel, space, and magic. Why, when we can imagine any world, would we choose to create one where queer and trans people are still oppressed? Many recent works of science fiction and fantasy ask this question, imagining futures or alternate universes where queerness and gender nonconformity are presented as the norm within the world of the book.

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Chris Pratt Faces Aliens and Clichés in the Final Tomorrow War Trailer

Is a summer action movie really a true summer action movie if no one yells “Light ’em up!” about the oncoming hordes of faceless enemies? Never fear; that moment happens in the latest (and apparently final) trailer for Amazon’s The Tomorrow War, a movie about Chris Pratt going into the future to fight aliens with large guns and corny lines.

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Five Scorching Hot YA Fantasies Set in the Desert

The desert is one of my all-time favorite fantasy settings, not only because I most enjoy imagining myself someplace warm, but also because it can be just as beautiful as it is deadly. When I considered where to set the cross-country race in The Kinder Poison, I knew I wanted a setting that would be both enchanting and absolutely merciless for royal teams who are meant to prove they can survive both the human and environmental challenges in their way. If you don’t plan for enough food or water in the mountains, you can probably find a creek and edible plants. If you don’t plan carefully in the desert, it might be the last mistake you ever make.

The characters that go along with such stories often evoke the same contrast of beauty and brutality. Here are five of my favorite titles set in the desert.

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Series: Five Books About…

Meet the Young Crew From Star Trek: Prodigy

Paramount+’s slow, steady drip of details about the first children’s animated Star Trek series, Star Trek: Prodigy, continues apace. In April, they explained what Captain Janeway (Kate Mulgrew) is doing on a show set in the future: She’s the voice of the ship’s built-in emergency training hologram. But who are the young alien crew members who need her help? The cast and character list Paramount+ released this week gives a little more insight, and includes both young actors and familiar names.

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The Malazan Saga Returns: Read Chapter Three of Steven Erikson’s The God Is Not Willing

New York Times bestselling author Steven Erikson continues the beloved Malazan Book of the Fallen with The God Is Not Willing, first in the thrilling new Witness sequel trilogy—publishing November 9, 2021 with Tor Books.

Picking up right after the conclusion of The Crippled God, this opening entry in a truly epic saga continues the story of the unmatched warrior, Karsa Orlong, as he returns to his people. Karsa must travel the breadth of the world and cross paths with many of the survivors of the final cataclysmic showdown in order to make it back home.

Read Chapter Three below, and find previous excerpts here.

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