Land, Sea, and Stars: Sun-Daughters, Sea-Daughters by Aimee Ogden

It’s not always easy to figure out what to say about a novella. Especially a slender one. A novel has—usually—plenty of subplots to provide meat for discussion, multiple characters and strands. A novella is much less meandering, much more focused: it has much less space in which to satisfy (or infuriate) a reader, and consequently there is often less for a critic to discuss.

Sun-Daughters, Sea-Daughters, Ogden’s first outing with Tordotcom Publishing, clocks in at a slim 106 pages in its paper version. In its science-fictional milieu, humans—modified, genetically and otherwise, to adapt to their environment—have spread across the stars. Some of the environments are quite severe. Some of the human populations are lower tech than others. Some have more or less traffic with other groups.

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Angel Manuel Soto Will Direct DC’s Blue Beetle

DC and Warner Bros. are bringing Blue Beetle to the screen in the first DC superhero film to star a Latino character. The Wrap reports that Angel Manuel Soto (Charm City Kings) is on board to direct Blue Beetle, which is written by Gareth Dunnet-Alcocer (Miss Bala).

Though there have been three Blue Beetles over the years, the film will focus on the most recent incarnation of the character, Jaime Reyes, a Mexican-American teen from El Paso who gets super powerful armor from the Blue Beetle scarab.

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Five SF Works That Explore the Mysteries of Alpha Centauri

Alpha Centauri is, as you know, currently the closest star system to the Solar System. It is a triple star system, comprising Alpha Centauri A (a G2 V star slightly brighter and slightly more massive than the Sun), Alpha Centauri B (a K1 V slightly dimmer and slightly less massive than the Sun), and Alpha Centauri C (a low-mass, dim red dwarf which is also known as Proxima Centauri).

Proxima is strongly believed to be orbited by a world in the habitable zone. According to Wagner, K., Boehle, A., Pathak, P. et al  in Imaging low-mass planets within the habitable zone of α Centauri, Alpha Centauri A may also boast a world in its habitable zone.

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High School Buddies Max Brooks and Sean Astin Climb Minecraft: The Mountain Together

It’s an extremely small Hollywood world after all where Max Brooks’ new Minecraft novel is concerned. As Brooks (World War Z) tweeted recently, Sean Astin is doing the audio version of Minecraft: The Mountain. It’s always notable when you can listen to Samwise Gamgee narrate a new book, but there are levels upon levels to this one. Astin and Brooks went to high school together, which is one thing, but take it back a generation and you have this complicated sentence: the son of Patty Duke and John Astin narrates the audiobook of a novel by the son of Anne Bancroft and Mel Brooks.

Are you dizzy? I’m dizzy. Duke and Bancroft also starred in The Miracle Worker together. There are probably more connections. That’s how it works.

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This Is The Way: Fanaticism and Found Family in The Mandalorian and She-Ra

Fanaticism has helped define our era. The popularity of unthinking, passionate adherence to a belief system over everything else, and the subsequent unwillingness to critically analyze the actions taken in the name of this ideology, has resulted in a series of unprecedented events in American politics and society. It has given rise to “alternate facts,” claims that anyone disagreeing with you is confirmation of your rightness, coverups of horrifying abuse scandals in some groups, and acts of international and domestic terrorism supported by others. This is a zealotry entirely different from feeling passionate about your religion, your philosophy, or your code—it is a self-fulfilling, all-consuming obsession that rejects reality and substitutes its own, that persecutes dissidents and demands blind faith and conformity from its adherents.

Given how much fanaticism has defined the first twenty-one years of the twenty-first century, it’s unsurprising that it pops up often in speculative fiction, or that some of the most popular and acclaimed media in this genre would shine a spotlight on it…and on how we escape this trap of unreality. Two of the most interesting TV series to tackle fanaticism in 2020 are She-Ra and the Princesses of Power, and The Mandalorian.

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Reading The Wheel of Time: Nynaeve and Liandrin Both Pay a Price in Robert Jordan’s The Fires of Heaven (Part 20)

Hello and welcome to this week’s installment of Reading the Wheel of Time. We have tricks with knives and tricks with silver arrows, a new hint about the Forsaken’s plan for Rand, and difficult, painful days both for Nynaeve and for Liandrin. Let’s get to it!

[It doesn’t take much bravery to stand like a stump.]

Series: Reading The Wheel of Time

Netflix’s Adaptation of Mark Millar’s Jupiter’s Legacy Arrives May 7th

Netflix is full of teasers this week. The latest tiny look at an upcoming show is a teaser for Jupiter’s Legacy, a series based on the comics by Mark Millar (Kick-Ass) and artist Frank Quitely. Jupiter’s Legacy stars action movie everyman Josh Duhamel and is about a generation of superheroes struggling to live up to the feats of their (also superpowered) parents.

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Tolkien’s Orcs: Bolg, Shagrat, and the Maggot-folk of Mordor

In this scattershot series, we’ll be delving “too greedily and too deep,” prying gems out of the glorious rough that is the extended legendarium of Tolkien’s world. This includes drawing on The Lord of the Rings itself, The Hobbit, The Silmarillion, The Children of Húrin, and the History of Middle-earth (or HoME) books.

Orcs, amirite? The shock troops of the Dark Lord’s armies. The rank-and-file of the bad guys in Middle-earth. Called a “hideous race” bred in “envy and mockery of the Elves.” Everyone’s got feelings about them. Feelings… and differing facts, maybe.

[‘It is the orc-work, the wanton hewing. . . without even the bad excuse of feeding the fires, that has so angered us’]

Here Are the Winners of the 2020 British Fantasy Awards

The British Fantasy Society has announced the winners of the 2020 British Fantasy Awards.

The award is handed out annually by the BFS beginning in 1972 (first named The August Derleth Fantasy Awards until 1976), with the society’s membership deciding on the initial shortlist, before turning the nominees over to juries for a final deliberation.

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Understanding and Writing Horses: Paying Attention

Last time I talked about how humans can tell when animals are communicating (whether with us or with each other), and how we can learn to understand at least some of what they’re trying to say. That’s hard for a verbally focused human, but can be essential for the human’s safety. Almost nothing an animal does comes out of the blue–they’re quite clear about their intentions. The problem is with the human’s ability to see and interpret those intentions.

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