11 Unique SF Tales Involving the Education of Clones

Whether you’ve got a replica, a doppelgänger, or a straight-up clone, having a duplicate of some sort certainly helps you move through life a little bit easier, from a temporary stand-in to a more permanent kind of donor. But they have to know how to successfully emulate their source material, right? Which means that you probably have to train them up. Here are a few of those times that training your duplicate (knowingly or unintentionally, closely or indirectly) came in handy…

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Sophomore Slump — Star Trek: Picard Second Season Overview

After show-running the first season of Star Trek: Picard, Michael Chabon buggered off to work on the TV version of his Pulitzer Prize-winning novel The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Klay rather than continue to run the day-to-day of Picard (though he still gets an executive producer credit, which comes with a nice paycheck; nice work if you can get it).

He was replaced by Terry Matalas. While he’s probably best known as the co-creator and co-show-runner of the TV version of 12 Monkeys, it’s worth noting that he got his start as a production assistant on Voyager and Enterprise. And the first thing Matalas did was trash most of what Chabon did, and put his stamp on it (bringing back 1990s Trek characters and doing time travel)…

[Look up…]

The Language of Chinese Dreams Is Science Fiction — And Sometimes They’re Nightmares

On the restless night of June 3, 1989, a young engineer visiting Beijing for a trade conference had a nightmare. He dreamt of a battalion of children fighting in a whiteout blizzard under the penetrating light of a supernova—that is, the sun was about to go out. The next morning, tanks rolled into Tiananmen Square to clear the thousands of protesters who had occupied it for months demanding more openness and democracy in China. The nightmare in the dreams of June 3rd and the nightmare in the reality of June 4th inspired Liu Cixin to write his first novel, The Supernova Era, though it would not be published for more than 10 years. Liu Cixin is easily the most prominent science fiction author in China today, and his Three Body Problem trilogy made waves when its first volume won the Hugo Award for Best Novel in 2015. But his writing career, and by association the flourishing of Chinese science fiction in the wake of Three Body’s success, began with a dream.

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Series: R.F. Kuang Guest Editor for Tor.com

Please Adapt: Darcie Little Badger’s Elatsoe

So far in my “Please Adapt” column, I’ve covered a beloved bestseller and a fan-favorite epic fantasy series, both of which are some of SFF’s top contenders for film or TV adaptation. Today, I want to feature a book that might be less familiar to a potential mainstream audience: Darcie Little Badger’s debut novel, Elatsoe.

To call the novel a “lesser-known” book would likely be a misnomer; Elatsoe certainly garnered its fair share of praise. It earned a slot on TIME Magazine’s “100 Best Fantasy Books” list and a spot on Publishers Weekly’s Best of 2020. I hopped aboard the hype train too, giving Elatsoe a 9/10 in my original review.

In spite of this success, Elatsoe is still finding its way into the hands and hearts of many SFF readers, and if you haven’t read it, you should add it to your list! It’s a novel that tells a unique, compelling story brimming with legends and magic—a story that’s ready-made for the onscreen treatment.

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Congratulations to the 2021 Bram Stoker Awards Winners!

The Horror Writers Association (HWA) has announced the winners for the latest Bram Stoker Awards!

“The Horror genre continues its amazing renaissance,” HWA President John Palisano said on the HWA website. “The winners and finalists show a diverse group of amazing voices from new and veteran creators. Our HWA members and award juries have shown dedication and objectivity to the selection process for outstanding works of literature, cinema, non-fiction, and poetry.”

See below for a complete list of winners.

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Five Dark (But Not Hopeless) SF Movies

I’ve always been something of a sci-fi movie fanatic. For as long as I can remember, whenever I hear the sound of a lightsaber igniting or see those aliens waddling out of the spaceship in Close Encounters of the Third Kind, I get chills. In recent years, I’ve found myself drawn to darker sci-fi films—filled with the kind of bleak dystopias and post-apocalyptic visions of the future that force you to sit back and think about the realities of our own world, and the kind of future we’re building here in the present day. I always find that the best of these movies, no matter how dark, incorporate glimmers of hope and true resilience—as grim and devastating as this kind of dystopian science fiction can be, there’s always a hint of light.

For me, there’s nothing more wonderful, thought-provoking, and inspiring than a science fiction film that asks you to re-examine society and the world around you. Such films might seem irredeemably pessimistic at first look, but there’s so much more to them if you give them a chance. Here’s my list of five dark (but still hopeful!) science fiction movies you should see at least once in your lifetime.

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Revealing Kay Chronister’s Debut Novel, Desert Creatures

In a world that has become treacherous and desiccated, Magdala has always had to fight to survive…

We’re thrilled to share the cover and preview an excerpt from Kay Chronister’s stylish debut novel, Desert Creatures—a feminist horror set in the near-future American West. Forthcoming November 8, 2022 from Erewhon Books.

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The Messy and Complicated Fairy Tale of Horse Racing

On the first Saturday in May, in the third year of the Great Plague, a fairy tale unfolded on a racetrack in Kentucky. A horse entered the Kentucky Derby literally at the last minute, after another horse was withdrawn, or scratched as they say in the business. He was sold from his breeding farm as a youngster, came in dead last in his first race, and was disposed of in a claiming race, where anyone who pays the set price can claim the horse. It’s a trope in horse novels, the driver of many a desperate plot, trying to save the horse from this sad fate either by keeping him out of the claiming race, or scraping up the funds to pay the price.

Once this horse was claimed, he ended up in a small-time stable as such things go, with a trainer who had never won a major race, and a jockey who had never ridden a horse at this level. No one expected him to do more than show up. All the attention was on the favorites, the stars with illustrious records and famous trainers.

[Then came the race.]

Crow Gods and Sun Priestesses in Rebecca Roanhorse’s Fevered Star

We return to the world of people of the Meridian as Rebecca Roanhorse treks onward with the journey of Serapio, the Crow God made flesh who survived his own sacrifice; Naranpa, the deposed Sun Priestess left for dead; and Xiala, an outcast Teek sailor whose heart and magical Song continually set her adrift.

The second installment of Roanhorse’s unique epic fantasy Between Earth and Sky series, Fevered Star, picks up directly after Black Sun. Serapio, originally a young man from Obregi, is now known as the Odo Sedoh and leader of the Odohaa cult. His mother groomed and blinded him in preparation to become the vessel for Sky Made clan Carrion Crow’s outcast god, who was to be reborn and cast vengeance upon the priesthood class (the Watchers) — a slaughter dubbed the Night of the Knives. After battling and decimating the Watchers upon their sacred ceremonial ground, Sun Rock, Serapio was supposed to die—but he didn’t. Wounded by the Watchers’ high priest, he awakens to see the sun over Tova suspended in an a forever twilight, and now in the care of Carrion Crow Captain of the Shield Okoa, who is unsure about his own position in the war he cannot see, but feels, is coming.

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Star Trek: Enterprise Rewatch: “Shockwave”

“Shockwave”
Written by Rick Berman & Brannon Braga
Directed by Allan Kroeker
Season 1, Episode 26
Production episode 026
Original air date: May 22, 2002
Date: unknown

Captain’s star log. Enterprise is en route to a Paraagan mining colony. They’re a matriarchal society, which prompts some tiresome, “wow, women in charge, that’s crazy” commentary from Archer and especially Tucker. The mines spit out tetrazine, so the landing protocols for the shuttlepod are very specific to avoid the plasma exhaust igniting the atmosphere.

[This has gotta be the first time a Vulcan has ever attempted to cheer up a human.]

Series: Star Trek: Enterprise Rewatch

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