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

The Wheel of Time Asks How to Save the World in “Daes Dae’mar”

While last week’s episode of The Wheel of Time was my least favorite of the show so far, this week’s episode is in contention for favorite to date. Though a little bit hampered by the awkward pacing of the rest of the season, “Daes Dae’mar” flows much more seamlessly than previous episodes, which allows the audience to actually pick up on some of the themes that the show has been trying to tackle this season. But before we get into all that, let’s recap.

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Choices and Consequences in Episode Six of The Changeling

“Aftermath. After. Math. Noun. Definition: the consequences or after effects of a significant, unpleasant event.” The sixth episode of The Changeling opens with those words. It is the theme of this week’s hour. It begins in the aftermath of Emma’s sorcery-induced attack on baby Brian and ends with her staring down whatever is coming next.

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Five Enduring Reasons to Love the Mass Market Paperback

I’ve recently have rediscovered my love of physical media, in particular books. No format is as close to my heart as the humble mass market paperback, whose virtues I would now like to praise for about eight hundred words.

Mass market paperbacks were intended to be cheap, disposable alternatives to proper cloth-bound books. Indeed, paperbacks are so disposable that when bookstores return unsold paperbacks for credit, they only send the covers. The discarded, broken-spined contents are consigned to recycling. So, what’s to love in a format seemingly one step up from trash?

When I was young (he said, adjusting his suspenders for greater comfort and relocating his cane for more convenient waving) paperbacks had a multitude of superlative qualities, of which these are but five. Three were obvious to me even as a teen. Two I only came to appreciate later.

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Patrick Stewart Had a Different Vision for the End of Star Trek: Picard

The final scene of Picard gave a lot of people a lot of feels. There was almost no way for this not to happen, given the Next Generation reunion that was the series’ third season, but there was something just right about it, something that went beyond nostalgia; it had comfort and familiarity without being too sentimental. And everyone looked so happy.

This was not, however, the way Patrick Stewart wanted it to end. In an excerpt from his memoir, Making It So, Stewart details the way he saw the series ending—and how maybe there’s one more Picard story to tell. Just one, though.

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Read Two Story Excerpts From the New Horror Anthology Night of the Living Queers

No matter its name or occasion, Halloween is more than a Hallmark holiday, it’s a symbol of transformation…

We’re thrilled to share two excerpts from Night of the Living Queers, a YA horror anthology that explores a night when anything is possible, exclusively featuring queer authors of color putting fresh spins on classic horror tropes and tales. Night of the Living Queers, edited by Shelly Page and Alex Brown, is out from Wednesday Books on August 29.

Please enjoy excerpts from two of the anthology’s stories: “Nine Stops” by Trang Thanh Tran and “Leyla Mendoza and the Last House on the Lane” by ( contributor!) Maya Gittelman.

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Marvellous, Numinous and Strange: The Pomegranate Gate by Ariel Kaplan

The extent to which Ariel Kaplan’s The Pomegranate Gate draws upon the Jewish experience (or its re-envisioned memory) of medieval Iberia cannot be overstated. This lush, vivid and atmospheric novel draws Guy Gavriel Kay to mind. Not only is Kay’s The Lions of Al-Rassan the only fantasy novel I know to draw so deeply and so directly from this well, but Kaplan’s world, like Kay’s, treads narrowly along the line between historical fantasy and fantastical imagination. For both, the history is recognisably ours, with the names lightly altered (if at all). But unlike most of Kay’s work, Kaplan’s includes real magic and its great and terrible effects.

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Emotional Rescue — Star Trek: Lower Decks: “Empathalogical Fallacies”

Telepathy has been part of the tapestry of Star Trek since the very beginning. Both pilots for the original series, “The Cage” and “Where No Man Has Gone Before,” had telepathy at the heart of their plots. For the former, it was the illusion-casting Talosians; in the latter, it was the great barrier heightening the psychic abilities of crewmembers with “high ESP ratings.” (Ah, the 1960s.) It was later established in “Dagger of the Mind” that Vulcans were touch telepaths.

Over the years, Trek has introduced numerous telepathic species (Medusans, Ullians, Cairn, Letheans, etc.). Series regulars Spock (the original series, SNW), Troi (TNG), Kes and Tuvok (Voyager), T’Pol (Enterprise), and Zero (Prodigy) are all telepaths. So an episode like “Empathalogical Fallacies,” which crosses the streams of having both Betazoid and Vulcan telepathy driving the plot, was inevitable…

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5 Books Featuring an Unlikely Alliance With Ghosts

I’ve always been a big fan of ghosts; I’ve cherished many a spooky read I’ll remember at night in the dark on a dash across the house. There’s something fascinating about ghosts being formerly-human apex predators with very specific grievances, their powerful energies focused on the darkest of emotions and motivations. But what of the ghosts who are friendly? The ghosts who remember humanity? The ghosts with goals that (largely) don’t involve hanging around in the dark, scaring unsuspecting humans, but instead aim to help and be helped by them?

In fantasy, there’s often the opportunity to put a face—and a purpose—to a spectre.

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Series: Five Books About…

Maybe Reading Goals Are Actually Good

It would be really nice to be able to think about reading without thinking about all the ways reading is hard right now. This is, to be clear, not a real problem. It doesn’t even appear in tiny font on the very bottom of the universe’s list of current problems. But if you’re a reader, it feels weird to not be reading, and just about every reader I talk to lately has some version of this complaint. Time is fake. Our attention spans are shattered. What even are books?

I want to push back on this feeling. I want to turn pages, rapt. I want to find ways we can all still fall into books, if and when we have the time and even the faintest inclination to do so. And I keep wondering if, despite my wariness of them, some reading goals might help.

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Neil Gaiman Is Writing Good Omens 3 — Though It Hasn’t Been Renewed Yet

When it comes to the possibility of a third season of Good Omens, perhaps there’s no one more optimistic than Neil Gaiman himself. In August, the novelist and screenwriter said that if Prime Video didn’t renew the series, he would write a sequel as a novel. But now, with the writers’ strike resolved, he’s writing the series again. Even though it hasn’t officially been renewed.

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Elantris Reread: Chapters 24 and 25

Lyn: Greetings, Cosmere chickens! I hope you’re all staying safe and dry through the odd weather we’ve been enduring this season. Well, our weather up here in New England has been weird, anyway. Hurricanes, tropical storms, heat waves… it’s been fun (especially when my weekend job is outdoors). How’s your part of the country been, Paige?

Paige: We’ve finally had some monsoon rains, but it was overall a relatively hot and dry summer.

L: Thankfully we all have the reread to retreat to, regardless of our weather. Things aren’t going very well for anyone except for Sarene right now. Hrathen’s plans are crumbling around him, Raoden’s followers are abandoning him, and those pesky Aons still aren’t working! What’s a technically dead, exiled prince to do?

Let’s find out, shall we?

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Series: Elantris Reread

Bryce Dallas Howard’s Spy Novels Come to Life in Matthew Vaughn’s Argylle

If Sandra Bullock’s character being kidnapped into one of her own novels in The Lost City wasn’t enough action for you, Matthew Vaughn is here to help. The director (most recently of Kingsman: The Golden Circle) returns to the big screen with Argylle, the story of a novelist whose tales of dramatic espionage are apparently telling the future, maybe, sort of? And some people don’t like the way she sees it.

Also there’s a cat. And Sam Rockwell, action hero, which is frankly worth the price of admission.

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