Asking the Tough Questions About Superheroes and Public Nudity

When I play superhero RPGs or read comics, I cannot help but wonder how it is that certain superheroes manage to stay clothed. Specifically, the ones who were extremely durable whose clothing was not. How do they avoid being frequently naked in public?

They cannot avoid fights; no fun in that. But if they’re hit—there go the clothes. If prone to turning into living flame? Clothes go up in flame. Super-cold? Cloth turns brittle when frozen. Change size? Clothing shreds. Or a teeny-tiny size-changer can slip between the weave of the cloth. Then change back to normal human and oops, no clothes.

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Let the Right One In Understands the Dark Maelstrom That Is Love

For the longest time, I subscribed to the widely-held belief that household pets—your dogs, your cats, your pot-bellied pigs—were incapable of love. They were good simulators—millennia of domestication had permitted them to evolve behaviors that would bind us compassionate humans to them—but it was all surface, just physical traits and instinctual responses to make sure their dinner bowls were filled and their litter boxes were emptied. [Love has the capacity to both inspire and terrify. Read on.]

Hayden Christensen’s Star Wars Renaissance Will Continue in Ahsoka

Darth Vader is a busy man. Or Force Ghost. Last year, Disney announced that Hayden Christensen will appear as Darth Vader in the upcoming Obi-Wan Kenobi, which is set ten years after the Star Wars prequels. But that’s not the only old friend he’ll be hanging out with: Christensen will also play his famous role in Ahsoka, the upcoming spinoff about his former padawan (played by Rosario Dawson), which is set five years after Return of the Jedi.

In Obi-Wan’s time, Vader is still alive. In Ahsoka’s, not so much. So: flashbacks or Force Ghost?

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Seven Thrilling Murder Mysteries With SFF Flair

I have loved murder mysteries since I was in 5th grade. I started with these thriller books from Joan Lowery Nixon, then found the wide and wonderful worlds of Agatha Christie, Dorothy L. Sayers, and others. I’ve never looked back. I’ve always been particular about the location of the book, whether it was British country estates, an art museum, or a tea shop.

But in the past few years, I’ve learned the wonders of murder mysteries taking place in entirely new worlds, space or fantasy worlds overlaid on our own. Unlike mysteries grounded in the “real world,” these mysteries have magic and magical beings, advanced technologies that can make plots even more creative and deeper. Personally, it’s all about the clever murder mystery. This list of seven books combines the genre of murder mysteries with that of fantasy and science fiction, whether it’s the locked room mystery but in space, or innovative retellings of the British manor history.

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Vampire Weeknight: Does Night Teeth Bite Off More Than It Can Chew?

Can we all take a moment to appreciate that we live in a post-John Wick world? The we regularly get films that—whatever their base quality—are glowing haven of bi-lighting, neo-‘80s beats, buzzing neon, nostalgia for a time that never was? That we woke up one day and there was some sort of loose, unspoken Weetzie Bat Cinematic Universe?

I am speaking, of course, of the new vampire movie Night Teeth. There’s some fun stuff in Night Teeth! But the element that hit me the hardest was this exact nebulous aesthetic, like if someone listened watched Martin Scorsese’s After Hours, and then listened to The Weeknd’s After Hours, and was like, “That, but with vampires! That’s the movie!”

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Cast a Spell With Nine Literary Witches and Warlocks

The spookiest of holidays is almost upon us, and while Halloween isn’t the only time of year for reading about witches, it certainly offers the perfect excuse to celebrate all things witchy. And witches these days aren’t just broomstick-riding spellcasters with warty noses—not that there’s anything wrong with those types either. No, these witches are smashing the patriarchy one spell at a time and looking cool doing it. The books about magic users I’m reading these days are infused with feminism and fiercely loyal protagonists. Whether you’re into old-school witches or modern takes on this classic archetype, these witches have got it going on.

Of course, witches aren’t the only ones wielding badass powers—whether it’s a spell-slinging warlock or a sorcerer summoning demonic familiars, the magic-users in these pages are sure to inspire a little bit of ferocity in you, too. So if your TBR list needs a bit of freshening up this fall, just abracadabra up a comfy chair and check out these incredible, new-school witchy reads, just in time for Halloween!

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Listen to a Clip From Lindsay Ellis’ Truth of the Divine

The human race is at a crossroads; we know that we are not alone…

We’re thrilled to share an excerpt from Truth of the Divine, volume two in Lindsay Ellis’ alternate history first contact series—available now from St Martin’s Press and Macmillan Audio. Listen to the audio edition below, as read by Kaveh Taherian, Stephanie Willis, and Abigail Thorn.

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An Outsider’s Perspective on a Classic of American Gothic Literature

I discovered early on that in the Netherlands, we have no tradition of the fantastic in literature. All the cool books in the bookstore, the ones I wanted to get my hands on when I was a kid, were translations. I didn’t care; I devoured them anyway. But then in high school, we were forced to read the Dutch classics, and then I discovered that not only did we lack a tradition of the fantastic in literature, we also lacked a tradition of books where stuff actually happens.

One of Holland’s most celebrated classical novels is De Avonden (The Evenings) by Gerard Reve. It’s a book about nothing. It celebrates nothingness. And it’s not a fun book about nothingness. It’s a serious book about nothingness. One can appreciate its literary merits when you’re in your thirties or forties, but force a fifteen-year-old kid to read that book, and it’ll probably be one of the last books they’ll ever read.

[Of course I’m exaggerating (a little)]

5 SFF Homes from Hell

Thanks to soaring house prices, many now living will be spared the burden of home ownership. Thanks to soaring rents, many may have the opportunity to enjoy lives in the great outdoors… But just in case you want to take on the burdens of home ownership or rental, note that not all accommodations are expensive, particularly those that require a little maintenance to bring up to code. Many are the books recounting (in hilarious or depressing detail) how the authors have fixed their homes.

Unsurprisingly, speculative fiction authors have been swift to see the narrative potential in home renovation, whether for those who wish to own their own homes or who merely wish to find an affordable rental. Consider these five examples:

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The Precious Art of Yoon Ha Lee’s The Fox’s Tower and Other Tales

The work of Yoon Ha Lee has always felt incredibly singular. Between his stunning prose, methodical exploration of intricate worlds he’s handing to us bit by bit, concepts that can range from the mind-blowing to the heart-rending, and beautifully sketched, complex characters—any new work I read by Lee always makes me feel incredibly lucky. From novels to short stories, Yoon Ha Lee’s work is a gift. In this latest collection, Lee shapes a beautiful pocket-sized collection of flash fiction fables and folktales, and in artful strokes of prose, conjures worlds of wonder.

The Fox’s Tower and Other Tales is slim, only around 100 pages all told, and some of those pages are dedicated to gorgeous illustrations. Black and white, these pieces of art break up the twenty-five stories within, almost like natural pauses for breath and contemplation, a necessity in a volume one could theoretically finish in an afternoon’s span. Because trust me, you don’t want to rush through this collection. Every story within is to be treasured, and if you rush through it, believe me, it won’t be long until you find yourself going back to savor them once more.

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Star Trek: Voyager Rewatch: “Endgame”

“Endgame”
Written by Rick Berman & Kenneth Biller & Brannon Braga and Robert Doherty
Directed by Allan Kroeker
Season 7, Episode 25/26
Production episode 271
Original air date: May 23, 2001
Stardate: 54973.4

Captain’s log. In 2404, Voyager is celebrating the tenth anniversary of her return home after twenty-three years in the Delta Quadrant. Admiral Janeway attends a party that also includes Captain Kim (CO of the U.S.S. Rhode Island), Commander Barclay (a teacher at the Academy), Torres (a Federation-Klingon Empire liaison), Paris (a holonovelist), the EMH (now married and having chosen the name Joe), and Naomi and her daughter, at the very least.

[Admiral Janeway visits on Sunday. Today is Thursday. Logic dictates that you are not who you claim to be.]

Series: Star Trek: Voyager Rewatch

Hometown Horrors: The Blair Witch Project and the Power of Local Legends

When The Blair Witch Project hit theaters in 1999, I’d just graduated from high school, and I went to see it to celebrate my newfound freedom from Hell.

Having grown up on television like Unsolved Mysteries and Sightings, I loved it, and for a time, I was fooled. Everywhere you went, you saw the clip of murdered student filmmaker Heather Donahue sobbing to her camcorder in extreme close-up. I scoured the internet for every scrap of knowledge about Elly Kedward, the witch of Blair, and the fate of the three hikers. Who were these people, and what killed them? What was the significance of the stick-figures?

Then I saw Heather in a Steak ‘n Shake commercial, and it was like stumbling into the living room on Christmas and finding my mother putting presents under the tree.

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Lee Pace Reads Science Fiction, So Obviously His Characters Do Too

Last month, the internet became aware that Lee Pace—Thranduil, Ronan the Accuser, Brother Day, any number of other SFF-adjacent and beloved characters—likes science fiction. In fact he loves science fiction. He talked about it a lot. And then he tweeted the picks for his (imaginary?) science fiction book club, which was slightly baffling given that he paired the books with the images from an Esquire photo shoot in which he was (handsomely) dressed in very expensive outfits. But this is certainly not a complaint. Just an observation.

Lee Pace likes science fiction, and the internet likes Lee Pace, and I like all of these things. I also like recommending books. So in the spirit of everything good online being mashed together, I present to you: science fiction book club picks for some of Lee Pace’s SFF (and SFF-adjacent) characters.

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The Good, the Bad, and the Awesome — Star Trek: Lower Decks Second Season Overview

After a first season that was horribly hit-and-miss, Lower Decks came back with a second season that fixed several of the first season’s problems, the primary one being that it mostly just sat back and allowed itself to be a Star Trek show, albeit one that was filled with humor and ridiculousness.

Even the reversals of the status quo changes shoehorned into the first-season finale were funny and actually worked in the context of the show. While it’s still not perfect, and suffers from some of the same inconsistent tone as season one, this sophomore outing is a far stronger show than the one that debuted in 2020. And so, we have, in contrast to the first-season roundup, the Good, the Bad, and the Awesome of season two…

[Cerritos strong!]

The Trailer for Uncharted Covers Familiar Ground

Tom Holland will be in the Spider-suit again in December, but after Spider-Man: No Way Home, he’s swinging over to a new potential franchise with Uncharted. Based on the popular video game series created by Naughty Dog, Uncharted is, well… its trailer is a little bit Indiana Jones, a little bit National Treasure, a little bit Mission: Impossible, and I’m sorry, but there’s a little tiny Cocktail scene there at the start, too.

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