| Science fiction. Fantasy. The universe. And related subjects.

Harley Quinn, The Joker, King Shark, and More Head to Anime in Suicide Squad Isekai Trailer

Those who are impatient for more Suicide Squad television are in luck. While we’ll eventually have a second season of the live-action Peacemaker and an Amanda Waller spinoff heading to Max, we have Harley Quinn, Peacemaker, King Shark and others heading to the world of anime sometime in 2024, and we’ve got a trailer to prove it.

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You Can Now Hang Out With Master Chief and Watch the First Season of Halo Free on YouTube

It feels like it’s been years since the first season of Paramount Plus’s Halo made its debut. And in fact by the time season two rolls around, it will have been nearly two whole years since the successful video game adaptation first aired—and became the streaming platform’s second most-watched show.

Now, you can watch that first season even if you’re not a subscriber, because the entire first season is currently free to watch on YouTube.

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Six Monster Movies From Around the World

The creature feature is a gloriously varied subgenre, showcasing a fabulous array of imaginative monsters and incorporating elements from basically every other genre, from horror to comedy and everything in-between. If you love a movie with monsters—be it gremlins or graboids, kaiju or King Kong—and want to expand beyond the usual Hollywood offerings, then I’ve got some fantastic suggestions for you. The six films below offer an international assemblage of creatures drawn from various spots around the globe.

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Five Stories Featuring Spooky Phones and Supernatural Communication Devices

I work part-time in an older university theatre where I frequently encounter relics of bygone eras. One of note: a disused communication system whose handsets survive in parts of the building that have not yet been renovated (pictured below).

To give you an idea how old those are: the Earl Stieler whose name adorns them retired in 1991. I am not sure if the handsets still work, as I’ve not had the opportunity to test the system. However, when held to the ear, they produce eerie whispering sounds, as if from a realm of despairing and lost souls. Perhaps I will round up an orphaned, friendless voluntold and see what happens when two handsets are used simultaneously. The results cannot help but be educational!

A quirk of old-timey phones and phone-like devices is that they gave no hint as to who might be calling. It could be your beloved granny. It could be Satan. The only way to find out was to listen. Even then, one could not be sure the caller was who they claimed to be…

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Thea Guanzon’s The Hurricane Wars Is a Whirlwind Fantasy Romance That Stands on Its Own

I keep thinking about something that Philippines-based author Thea Guanzon said in a recent interview with Paste Books: “Coming at it from the perspective of someone who lives in the Global South, fanfiction opened doors for me that I otherwise would not have had access to.” Her debut novel The Hurricane Wars may have started as a Star Wars fanfic, but its transformation into a Southeast Asian-inspired fantasy romance has a greater emotional resonance because of where it started. Like fierce heroine Talasyn, Guanzon can credit a mix of luck and her own drive with achieving a dream—here, a published novel—that had previously seemed impossible.

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We’ve Got One Wonderful Tidbit From The Six of Crows Series Netflix Didn’t Greenlight

More than a few folks were upset to hear the news that Netflix didn’t move forward with a third season of Shadow and Bone. And to make matters worse, we also found out that the streamer commissioned a writers’ room for the Six of Crows spinoff, but decided not to move forward to production with the already-written scripts.

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Our Flag Means Death’s Zheng Yi Sao Is the “Don Draper of the Sea,” According to Ruibo Qian

The second season of Our Flag Means Death introduced us to some new characters. One of the new folks we meet is Zheng Yi Sao, a pirate who brought China to its knees, and who also is more than a little interested in Oluwande and his “softness.”

Zheng Yi Sao is based on a real-life pirate (though she lived decades after Ed and Stede roamed the open seas), and her introduction to the crew we’ve come to love is a welcome addition. And just like Ed and Stede are markedly different than their real-life counterparts, Ruibo Qian, who plays Zheng Yi on the show, brought her own take to her character as well.

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Mysterious Messages: Carol Ellis’ My Secret Admirer and R.L. Stine’s Secret Admirer

Sometimes a thoughtful note or a sweet gift from a secret admirer can be a much-appreciated confidence boost. These anonymous kindnesses let you know that somebody’s thinking about you and even better, thinks you’re pretty great. An admirer might keep their identity a secret for several different reasons: maybe they’re working on a nice surprise or a grand gesture, maybe they’re smitten but shy, maybe they’re just trying to send a bit of kindness out into the world. Or maybe they’re planning to murder you and don’t want to get caught. In Carol Ellis’s My Secret Admirer (1989) and R.L. Stine’s Secret Admirer (1996), Jenny Fowler and Selena Goodrich have to figure out who their secret admirers are and what they want–before it’s too late. 

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The Black Phone 2 Rings Up Much of the Cast From the First Film

The Black Phone continues to ring. The 2022 adaptation of Joe Hill’s story was one of last year’s most profitable movies, and naturally, a sequel is on the way. Deadline reports that a possibly surprising number of actors will be returning for the phone’s next ring: Ethan Hawke, Mason Thames, Madeleine McGraw, Jeremy Davies, and Miguel Mora.

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Five Amazing Lesser-Known Movies About Aliens

If you’re a regular reader of, then there’s a pretty good chance you like movies about aliens. If you’ve already seen the classics of the genre countless times—movies like Alien (1979), The Thing (1982), and E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (1982)—and you’re looking for something a little more esoteric, then here, for your consideration, are five alien movies that are hidden gems…

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What Do You Want to Know About a Book Before You Read It?

This past weekend, I read Emily Tesh’s Some Desperate Glory. Not quite in one sitting—sleep was required, at one point—but in under 24 hours. I’d given myself permission to just read, to not do any of the things that were nagging at me, and I took that permission and ran with it.

The book is fantastic; you shouldn’t, by now, need me to tell you that. But a detail in the way it’s presented got me thinking about what a reader does or doesn’t want to know when they pick up a book. This is not so much a matter of what counts as a spoiler—an eternal debate in which I do not wish to embroil myself!—but what information is too little, what is too much, and what is just enough.

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