A Live-Action Gundam Film Is Coming to Netflix From the Director of Kong: Skull Island

For decades, Mobile Suit Gundam defined the mecha subgenre, and has been the subject of thousands of hours of anime television and film. But there’s never been a live-action version.

Until now. Netflix has announced that it’ll bring the first live-action, feature film adaptation of the franchise to its platform, and that it’s tapped Kong: Skull Island director Jordan Vogt-Roberts to helm the project.

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A Dim and Diminished Reflection: Andre Norton’s Merlin’s Mirror

Andre Norton was a master of the adventure plot, and she loved to mash up genres—science fantasy was one of her favorite things, as the Witch World cycle demonstrates. Every so often however, she either did not connect with her material, or the book she wanted to write simply did not fit into her wheelhouse. Merlin’s Mirror is one of these rather rare misfires.

The idea is not terrible. It’s the Witch World concept: a vanishing Old Race of impossible antiquity, an alien world of war and superstition, ongoing attempts to bring peace and higher civilization to the reluctant natives. The Arthurian canon is, in a lot of ways, about this. Adding basically Forerunners to the mix, and applying Clarke’s Third Law to the technology, could work.

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Star Trek: Voyager Rewatch: “Equinox, Part I”

“Equinox, Part I”
Written by Rick Berman & Brannon Braga & Joe Menosky
Directed by David Livingston
Season 5, Episode 26
Production episode 220
Original air date: May 26, 1999
Stardate: unknown

Captain’s log. We open with the U.S.S. Equinox, a Nova-class starship with heavily modified shields, being menaced by creatures that appear in fissures in space. Captain Rudolph Ransom orders their weakened shields to be lowered and reinitialized so they’ll be back at full strength, though that will take forty-five seconds, according to his first officer, Commander Max Burke. They do it, firing phaser rifles at the creatures as they materialize on the bridge, one of which kills one of the crew.

[I thought we were the only humans in the Delta Quadrant!]

Series: Star Trek: Voyager Rewatch

Micaiah Johnson’s The Space Between Worlds Wins the 2021 Compton Crook Award

The Baltimore Science Fiction Society has announced (via File 770) the winner of this year’s Compton Crook Award: Micaiah Johnson’s The Space Between Worlds, about a woman who travels to alternate universes to gather information, and who discovers some deeply troubling secrets about the company that employs her.

The award has been handed out annually at Balticon by the BSFS since 1983, and honors debut works in the name of author Stephen Tall, who used the pen name Compton Crook. Members of the society select the finalists and rate them to produce a winner.

In addition to Johnson’s book, year’s finalists for the award included Architects of Memory by Karen Osbourne, Axiom’s End by Lindsay Ellis, Bone Shard Daughter by Andrea Stewart, Docile by K.M Szpara, and The Nameless Queen by Rebecca McLaughlin. Last year’s winner was Arkady Martine’s debut, A Memory Called Empire, and other recent winners include R.F. Kuang (The Poppy War), Nicky Drayden (The Prey of Gods), Ada Palmer (Too Like Lightning), and Fran Wilde (Updraft).

For her win, Johnson will get a $1,000 cash prize, and will be the Compton Crook Guest of Honor at Balticon this year and next. This year’s convention will be a virtual con, and it’ll be held over this year’s Memorial Day Weekend from May 28th through the 31st.

Them Relies on Brutality Over Nuanced Social Commentary

Them, Amazon Prime’s newest horror anthology series, has a lot of potential. The premise—escaping violence in the South, a Black family relocates to East Compton in the 1950s when it was still an all-white enclave and horror ensues—is intriguing. In the wake of other television shows like Watchmen and Lovecraft Country that also took Black history and twisted it with fantastical elements, there was a real opportunity to explore different aspects of racial violence: redlining, white flight, and blockbusting. Unfortunately, Little Marvin, who created Them and wrote four episodes, fails to live up to the potential of his own premise.

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Five Stories Built Around the Threat of Nuclear Blackmail

When I look back on it, it was quite quite odd that so many of us, back in the benighted 20th century, accepted the threat of nuclear war (thousands of nuclear weapons perpetually poised for launch) as normal. Just part of the background noise for daily life. Anyone who expressed concern about living on the knife edge of catastrophe was probably either some sort of political extremist or some sort of unhinged commie sex pervert.

But…even if all-out nuclear war were impossible, nuclear blackmail wasn’t. Some nation, NGO, or highly motivated individual could build bombs and threaten to use them if they didn’t get what they wanted. (Nice planet you have here; shame if anything happened to it…) At one time there was a fair bit of worry that this would happen; then (at least as far I can tell using Google Ngram) people sank into numb acceptance that there was nothing they could do to avoid doom. (Am I wrong here? You oldbies can tell me about it in comments.)

[Five tales involving atomic threats, bluffs, bargaining, and blackmail…]

Can The Nevers Evolve Beyond a Whedonesque Bag of Tricks?

The Nevers was to be Joss Whedon’s triumphant return to television, his first original series since 2010’s Dollhouse. In the interim, of course, he made The Avengers and co-created Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. TV series, but HBO Max’s new drama about female Victorian superheroes seemed to be a return to form for Whedon after nearly a decade entrenched in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. But what’s ironic is that The Nevers, rather than being an original new act, feels like someone else playing around in Whedon’s IP: an Orphanage setting reminiscent of the Dollhouse, down to the same overseer in actress Olivia Williams; a grating antagonist spouting Drusilla’s rejected dialogue from Buffy; an unfortunate Firefly Easter egg that shows how little Whedon managed to learn from that series’ appropriative elements.

Despite all that, there may still be something to The Nevers, with its heavy-handed metaphor about superpowered women representing the age of modernity that so terrifies men, if only it has the chance to prove itself. Whedon’s departure during production (with Philippa Goslett replacing him as showrunner and Whedonverse alums Jane Espenson and Doug Petrie carrying on his vision from the pilot) has made this a case of art imitating life: Like its orphaned protagonists, The Nevers has become a real-time experiment in whether a series from a problematic creator can be more than the sum of its parts.

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Paramount has Scheduled a New Star Trek Film for 2023

Paramount has announced that the Star Trek franchise is returning to theaters soon—in 2023. The news comes amidst a recent reshuffling of its theatrical releases (Top Gun: Maverick is getting bumped to later in the year, Mission Impossible 7 is getting bumped to next year, Dungeons & Dragons to 2023, and so forth.) Buried in the announcement is that there’ll be an untitled Star Trek film set to hit theaters on June 9th, 2023.

We’ve been expecting a new Star Trek film for a couple of years, but according to io9, this is a completely new project.

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Five Architecture Documentaries to Inspire Science Fiction Writers

One of the things I tell students in composition courses is this: everything begins as an idea in someone’s head. Every piece of furniture, or article of clothing, or road, or game, or book, all the things we touch and covet and take for granted in our home and community—all of them began first as a dream in someone’s head.

Our human environment is completely imaginary. It’s this shared dream where people who wish to pull ideas out of their head find ways to convince others to make something real. Architecture is a very pure form of that impulse, that makes monumental things and also very quotidian ones. It paints the background of our lives and impacts the environment and community in ways obvious and subtle. As writers and/or readers of the literature that imagines the future, the bedrock of any future human state is going to be written in the walls and floors.

[Architecture is also an important reflection of historical times and places.]

Bad Guys and Good Guys in The Falcon and the Winter Soldier‘s “The Whole World is Watching”

In the comics, Sam Wilson is a social worker, as established in Captain America #134 by Stan Lee & Gene Colan in 1971. When the character first appeared in the MCU in Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Christopher Markus & Stephen McFeely’s script militarized him, making him ex-Air Force, but kept the social-work aspect by making him a counselor to military folk.

That aspect of his backstory is front and center in the fourth episode of The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, and it gives us one of the best scenes in the series so far.

[You’re either brilliant or just hopelessly optimistic.]

The New MST3K Kickstarter Reached Its $2 Million Goal In Only 36 Hours

MST3K is BACK, baby! And this time it’s creating its own streaming platform! Once again, we have Kickstarter to thank for bringing us more movie riffing. On Wednesday April 7, Mystery Science Theater 3000 creator Joel Hodgson launched a new Kickstarter campaign to bring the show back again on a custom streaming platform if they could reach $2,000,000 raised in 30 days.

Only 36 hours later, the goal had been met.

Which means that we’ll be getting at least 3 new episodes with the current cast in 2022! Also, we’ll be getting a Gizmoplex!

Wait, what?

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