Hope Is the Thing With… — Simon Strantzas’s “Antripuu”

Welcome back to the Lovecraft reread, in which two modern— Mythos writers get girl cooties all over old Howard’s sandbox, from those who inspired him to those who were inspired in turn.

This week, we’re reading Simon Strantzas’s “Antripuu,” first published in the July 2019 issue of Nightmare Magazine. Spoilers ahead.

[“There are four of us left huddled in the cabin…”]

Series: The Lovecraft Reread

Read an Excerpt From Peter F. Hamilton’s Salvation Lost

The comparative utopia of twenty-third-century Earth is about to go dreadfully awry when a seemingly benign alien race is abruptly revealed to be one of the worst threats humanity has ever faced. Driven by an intense religious extremism, the Olyix are determined to bring everyone to their version of God as they see it. But they may have met their match in humanity, who are not about to go gently into that good night or spend the rest of their days cowering in hiding. As human ingenuity and determination rise to the challenge, collective humanity has only one goal—to wipe this apparently undefeatable enemy from the face of creation. Even if it means playing a ridiculously long game indeed.

But in a chaotic universe, it is hard to plan for every eventuality, and it is always darkest before the dawn.

Peter F. Hamilton’s Salvation Lost, the follow-up to Salvation, is available October 29th from Del Rey.

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In Cixin Liu’s Supernova Era, Kids Inherit the Earth (for Better or Worse)

In the Star Trek episode “Miri,” the Enterprise orbits a planet that’s an exact replica of Earth—except its inhabitants are creepy, violent kids. In Battle Royale, The Hunger Games, and Red Rising, creepy, violent kids—who, to be fair, didn’t start out that way—must slaughter each other to survive. From The Girl Who Owned a City to Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome, science fiction has no shortage of stories where kids inherit the world. Usually, an apocalypse is to blame; almost always, there’s blood.

In Cixin Liu’s Supernova Era, that apocalypse is, believe it or not, a supernova: A distant, ancient star whose violent demise provides a both light show for everyone on Earth and a crackling bath of what seems to be benign radiation. “The aurora soon covered the whole sky,” Liu writes of the catastrophe’s aftermath, “and for the next week, night skies across the whole world danced with red bands of light.”

Naturally, everything promptly becomes terrible, starting when scientists discover that all that radiation means everyone over the age of 13 only has months to live. That’s just enough time, world leaders figure, to transfer as much knowledge as they can to the planet’s most promising tweens—hoping, however desperately, that doing so will keep civilization running.

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Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Reread — Divided We Fall

Divided We Fall: #1-4
Written by John J. Ordover & David Mack
Illustrated by Andrew Currie, Richard Bennett, David Roach, Michael Collins, John Nyberg
Publication Date: May-August 2001
Timeline: May or June 2376, sometime between Section 31: Abyss and Mission Gamma Book One: Twilight.

[Note: The Memory Beta entry for the shuttle Chaffee, featured in Divided We Fall, suggests that this story takes place before the novel Gateways #4: Demons of Air and Darkness. However, based on this mighty flowchart, this story occurs after Demons of Air and Darkness. In either case, it’s clearly before the start of the Mission Gamma series.]

Progress: The Enterprise-E receives a distress call from the Trill diplomatic transport Tynan, a ship carrying the Trill Ambassador Odan. By the time the Enterprise arrives on the scene, Odan’s damaged transport has crashed on a nearby planet, and they discover that Odan’s current host—Kareel—is too critically injured to survive. Dr. Crusher extracts the Odan symbiont, too weak to be implanted in another host, and keeps it alive in a fluid environment. Deanna Troi enters said, and is able to communicate with it, thereby learning that a faction of un-joined Trill, the Purists, are behind this and other attacks on joined Trill throughout the Federation.

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We Are the Weirdos, Mister: Power, Rage, and Teenage Witches

Consider the teenage witch. At least, consider the teenage witch as she existed in popular culture at the time I, personally, was a teenager: from 1993 to 1999. The ’90s, in retrospect, was a very particular decade to be a teenage girl. Alanis was on the radio. We had Juliana Hatfield, the Cranberries, Missy Elliott, Shirley Manson, Lauryn Hill, Kim Deal and the Breeders—voices that told their own stories, who joked and cried and soared and screamed and roared. Riot Grrrls. Lilith Fair. Tori freaking Amos. These women formed a coven of sound, a shared promise that what we had to say had value, what we felt was real.

But let’s turn now to the scripted witches.

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The Evolution of Dragons in Western Literature: A History

In 1504, a copper globe was built somewhere in Europe. It stood only 4.4 inches in diameter and 13.6 inches in circumference, so it was nothing terribly overwhelming. Tiny ships and monsters adorned its seas—also commonplace at the time. But there was a small inscription, near the eastern coast of Asia, that made this particular globe one of a kind: it became the only documented ancient map to quietly go on record saying, Hic sunt dracones. Here be dragons.

Like a siren, the promise and danger of that single phrase called out to Western storytellers. Yet the dragons found on that globe, and the dragons found in literature today, are enormously different creatures. We should know: we’re the ones who re-wrote this mythical beast time and again. So just where be Western dragons at the beginning of their story? And how did they grow into the icons we know now?

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Production on The Expanse’s Fifth Season Has Already Begun

The fourth season of Amazon’s The Expanse will debut in December, but even before that date arrives, production has begun on the series’ fifth season.

The show’s official Twitter account marked the occasion with a short video showing off the crew raising a trio of flags above the show’s sets in Toronto, Ontario. It’s an exciting moment for fans of the series, who’ve endured the ups and downs of a favorite show being cancelled and brought back to life.

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Five Ways To Benefit If Planet 9 Turns Out To Be a Black Hole

Jakub Scholtz of Durham University and James Unwin of the University of Illinois recently published a paper with a twist, a twist given away by the title: What if Planet 9 is a Primordial Black Hole? The authors propose that the hypothetical Planet 9, whose existence would explain some anomalous wobbles in the orbits of trans-Neptunian Objects, as well as some lensing events, might be…well, you probably guessed from the title.

Finding a five-Earth-mass, ten-centimetre-diameter, 0.004 Kelvin object somewhere in the outer boroughs of the Solar System should be easy—I’m sure that some grad student or professor angling for tenure is hard at work right now! But what would be the use to the rest of us of a five-Earth-mass, ten-centimetre-diameter, 0.004 Kelvin primordial black hole (PBH) orbiting somewhere in the outer boroughs of the Solar System?

OK, sure: if it’s there, it offers us the chance to do some wonderful science; we’d be able to run experiments in regions of intense gravity. But people in general don’t seem to care all that much about pure science. So, what applied applications are there?

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All the Lore We’ve Learned so Far From HBO’s Watchmen Site

Damon Lindelof’s semi-authorized prestige TV sequel to Alan Moore’s Watchmen premiered on HBO this past Sunday, to rave reviews and just a wee bit of confusion. You see, HBO’s Watchmen takes place in an alternate-reality 2019, one in which Robert Redford has been president for nearly 30 years, the internet has been banned, black Americans have received reparations in the form of a lifetime tax exemption, and a long-dead Rorschach is the face of a new white supremacist group called the Seventh Kavalry.

And that’s just to start with. Obviously, a lot else has happened in the world of Watchmen since the events of the graphic novel, which was set in 1985. Luckily, HBO has set up a website to fill in some of the blanks. Of course, they’re not gonna make it easy. As with the Delos theme park sites HBO hosted for Westworld, all the lore comes in the form of found documents stuffed with Easter Eggs. Only four documents have been released so far, and we’re assuming more will be unveiled with each episode. This week, we’ve gone through them all for you, so here’s all the lore we learned!

Spoilers, obviously, abound. 

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Marvel Television’s Jeph Loeb is Stepping Down as a New Phase of the MCU Dawns

Variety is reporting that Marvel Television head Jeph Loeb is expected to step down from his role at the studio “in the coming weeks,” after nearly a decade on the job, where he oversaw numerous TV projects, from Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. to Runaways, that brought the company’s superheroes to life on a weekly basis.

The move comes after Disney elevated Kevin Feige to Marvel’s Chief Officer, where he’ll be in charge of not just the company’s film studio, but all of its television, animation, and comics. That wasn’t a huge surprise, given the success that he’s had overseeing Marvel Studios, elevating the brand to produce some of the biggest blockbusters in cinematic history.

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