The language of the originators defines reality, every word warping the world to fit its meaning. Its study transforms the mind and body, and is closely guarded by stodgy, paranoid academics. These hidebound men don’t trust many students with their secrets, especially not women, and more especially not “madwomen.” Polymede and her lover Erishti believe they’ve made a discovery that could blow open the field’s unexamined assumptions, and they’re ready to face expulsion to make their mark. Of course, if they’re wrong, the language will make its mark on them instead.
The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part won’t hit theaters until February, when we’re deep into winter’s bitter chill, but here’s a cute little short to tide you over and help you go into the holidays with peace and goodwill. “Emmet’s Holiday Party” has everyone’s favorite normal special guy bringing cheer to Apocalypseburg despite Wyldstyle’s brooding about the impending Duplo threat. That cheer includes a tree dressed by Wonder Woman’s lasso, Green Lantern’s lights, Unikitty’s rainbow puke, and Batman in an ugly Christmas sweater.
Honestly, we would watch an entire LEGO Movie holiday special.
I opened this book with trepidation, fearing it would be another misfire in the mode of The Defiant Agents. The cover copy of the edition I have is not encouraging. “…He alone, because of his Indian blood, had the key…”
Fortunately, while there are definitely elements of its time—in this case, 1960—the novel itself is a lively and enjoyable adventure. The racial determinism is relatively low-key, and the take on colonialism is surprisingly self-aware. This is no Defiant Agents (thank god). It reminds me much more of the Beast Master books.
In this segment of Captain Vorpatril’s Alliance, the Dowager Lady Vorpatril is hosting a dinner party for her son’s in-laws who have just arrived from Earth. It’s been just over six months since this blog last discussed a dinner party. Lady Alys is much better at them than her nephew, but the evening is not without its dangers.
Ivan’s unscheduled morning meeting with Admiral Desplaines and an ImpSec agent has made it clear that Ivan’s personal life has a great many political implications. His in-laws—previously thought to be deceased—are a matter of significant concern to ImpSec. There is some question about whether Ivan should be relieved of duty until the situation is resolved. Ivan deploys his Vor-ish dignity to reject this calumny. It’s not entirely clear to me how ImpSec chooses to follow up. Did they involve themselves in the dinner party through any of the three ImpSec operatives who attended, or did they pursue other avenues of investigation? I suppose they could have done both.
Series: Rereading the Vorkosigan Saga
The Refrigerator Monologues, Catherynne M. Valente’s brilliant mashup of the intimate confessions of The Vagina Monologues with a scathing commentary on comic books’ tendency to fridge superhero wives/girlfriends/sidekicks, is being adapted for television. Amazon Studios will produce Deadtown, a pilot that will in turn establish what Deadline describes as “an original superhero universe set in the modern era with an underlying theme of female empowerment.” Shauna Cross (Whip It, If I Stay, What to Expect When You’re Expecting) will write the pilot.
The latest installment in the mini-anthology series Short Treks —“The Brightest Star”—is the first of these new stories not to take place on the starship Discovery, but, so far, it’s probably the installment that will be the most satisfying for hardcore fans. Not only do we find out how and why Mr. Saru joined Starfleet, there’s also a huge surprise cameo from a very familiar character at the very end of the episode. But the actions of that person, particularly in relation to Saru’s species, will bring up a very old Trekkie question: was the Prime Directive violated here?
“If you control our sleep, then you can own our dreams… And from there, it’s easy to control our entire lives.”
January is a dying planet—divided between a permanently frozen darkness on one side, and blazing endless sunshine on the other. Humanity clings to life, spread across two archaic cities built in the sliver of habitable dusk.
But life inside the cities is just as dangerous as the uninhabitable wastelands outside.
Sophie, a student and reluctant revolutionary, is supposed to be dead, after being exiled into the night. Saved only by forming an unusual bond with the enigmatic beasts who roam the ice, Sophie vows to stay hidden from the world, hoping she can heal.
But fate has other plans—and Sophie’s ensuing odyssey and the ragtag family she finds will change the entire world.
The City in the Middle of the Night is available February 12 from Tor Books, and Charlie Jane Anders is going on tour! Check out the full list of dates and venues below.
“So, you’d want to make Godzilla our pet?”
“No. We would be his.”
The new trailer for Godzilla: King of the Monsters has that excellent exchange, plus the promised look at each of the legendary titans—some who will help save humanity, some who could wipe us out unless Godzilla agrees to protect us as if we were man’s—er, monster’s best friend.
If only real Saturdays lasted as long as this one does in Good Omens! Alas, it is Monday once again—but fear not, I am here to help get your week started on the right note! Yes, it’s time to rev up your engines, because The Good Omens Reread rides again…
Let’s do this thing!
Imagine you’re Martha and Jonathan Kent, and Kal-El’s ship crashes into your backyard—the universe answering your dreams for a child. So you bury the ship in the barn, raise this otherworldly visitor as your human son, and all is well until Clark begins manifesting powers. Except instead of doing good and growing up into a beloved icon to protect America and the world… he acts a bit more like Damien from The Omen.
One of the hallmarks of Star Trek from the very beginning was to have at least one alien character who provides a non-human perspective on things. It started, naturally, with Spock on the original series, and also includes Worf on The Next Generation (and to a lesser extent, Troi and Data), Tuvok, Neelix, Kes, and Seven of Nine (and to a lesser extent, Torres) on Voyager, T’Pol on Enterprise, and more than half the cast of Deep Space Nine.
On Discovery, that role has gone to Saru, who has in one season vaulted himself into the upper echelons of great Trek characters. His compassion, his intellect, his unique perspective as a prey animal, all combine to make him a most compelling character.
So it’s just a pity that this focus on him doesn’t really work.
Nearly Roadkill: An Infobahn Erotic Adventure by Caitlin Sullivan and Kate Bornstein is a novel that is not widely known today; at the time I’m writing this column it has only six reviews on Goodreads. In some ways this is understandable. Published in 1998, Nearly Roadkill is a cyberpunk adventure and erotic romance set in a future so near, it is in many aspects indistinguishable from the late 1990s. But if we can get past the technical details of an almost entirely text-only internet, where the term “website” still needs to be laboriously explained, we find some of the most groundbreaking discussions about gender and sexuality in speculative fiction—discussions that are still just as powerful as when they were written.
This is no accident: Nearly Roadkill is, as far as I’m aware, the first speculative fiction novel with trans characters (co-)written by a trans author.
Gormenghast Castle is hidden. When Titus Groan, the Earl of Gormenghast, finally escapes, he is shocked to find that no one has ever heard of it. The walls of his ancestral home that stretch for miles; the jagged towers and crumbling courtyards, the endless corridors, staircases, and attics, the weirdos and cutthroats who live there—it all goes unseen by the outside world. Whatever happens there happens in shadow and obscurity.
But all that might soon change. The Gormenghast books, in this moment of dragon queens and sword swingers, seem poised for a long overdue resurgence. November 17th marked the fiftieth anniversary of author Mervyn Peake’s death. That means his dark fantasy trilogy (Titus Groan, Gormenghast, and Titus Alone) is headed into the public domain this year, while a potential TV adaptation is swirling about, with Neil Gaiman and other notables attached.
The Thirteenth Doctor’s first season has come to an end with a final battle against a familiar face…
Update: We mistakenly identified this as an entirely new trailer when it was just the first trailer with some added footage. We’ve updated accordingly and will post when the real second trailer is released.
The latest footage from Godzilla: King of the Monsters continues to be lyrical and weirdly affecting, establishing that humans are the real monsters and the mythological titans must save us from ourselves. Including Godzilla, of course, but also King Ghidorah, who gets the big (albeit grainy, so not the top image) reveal in this trailer.
Netflix has released the first teaser for The Umbrella Academy, its television adaptation of Gerard Way and Gabriel Bá’s comic about a dysfunctional group of superpowered siblings who must prevent the apocalypse.