content by

Chris Lough

Star Trek: Picard Season 3 Premieres on February 16

She is beauty, she is grace. She will keep you safe in space. Paramount’s annual Star Trek Day celebrations opened with a new teaser for the final season of Star Trek: Picard; a season that will reunite the cast of the beloved Star Trek: The Next Generation as they voyage back out into the stars on the…

…well, that’s not the Enterprise, but she IS a beauty.

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Super Mario Bros. Is A Great Movie (It’s Just Not A Great Mario Movie)

There’s only one real problem with the Super Mario Bros. movie: its name.

I saw this so-called video game adaptation for the first time in 1993, shortly after it came out on video. My memory of it—carrying forward through nearly three decades since—was of a mind-bogglingly weird movie that had nothing to do with the game, made no sense, and was a beautiful train wreck of a thing. Upon rewatching it as an adult I expected to have the same reaction and was looking forward to enjoying what was certainly a movie that’s so bad, it’s good.

But taking another look at Super Mario Bros. turned out to be so surprising that it bordered on horrifying. Luigi just said something funny. I laughed at it. This dinosaur-themed dystopia looks really cool. I don’t understand. Why isn’t this a bad movie?

That’s the trick to Super Mario Bros. If you’re not intent on it being about a video game, it becomes an engaging, well-acted (mostly), fascinating, original story. And it pulls this off almost completely by accident.

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That Death Star Wreckage in Star Wars Episode IX is Probably the First Death Star

One of the many eyebrow-raising moments from the first trailer for Star Wars Episode IX: The Rise of Skywalker is the shot of our heroes looking out over the Cliffs of Moher at the wreckage of a Death Star.

But which Death Star?

It sure seems like this is Endor. The Death Star from the trailer has the same patchy look as the Death Star II from Return of the Jedi, and what the falling debris did to the Ewoks is a long-running fan theory (it even has its own moniker: Endor Holocaust), so it’d be appropriately tongue-in-cheek to reference that.

But look again, fellow Star Wars fans. We’re on a moon of Yavin!

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This Heat Wave Will Never End: Are We Trapped in The Wheel of Time’s “Endless Summer”?

One of the many ways the The Dark One attempts to unmake the world in Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time series is by influencing the weather. When the series begins an unnaturally long chill has pressed itself over the land, and it is broken only by the emergence of the series’ savior, The Dragon Reborn. Later on in the series, the world (or at least the part of the world that we see) is beset by an endless summer. Heat pervades, drought persists, and there is no doubt that The Dark One is doing so in an attempt to smother the denizens of the world into submission. The threat is considered so great that the advancing plot of the entire series is eventually called to a halt so that this “endless summer” can be thwarted.

In our world, summer temperatures are reaching record highs across the northern hemisphere; this seemingly endless steamroom of a season was probably what Rand, Mat, Egwene, and company had to suffer in The Wheel of Time. But our summer can’t actually last forever, right? As half the world gears up for more heatwaves through August, I got to wondering: just how long did the world of Jordan’s Wheel of Time have to hold out?

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Download Rocket Fuel: Some of the Best of Non-Fiction for Free!

On Friday, July 20, 2018, will turn 10 years old.

In that span of time we have published, along with over 700 pieces of award-winning original fiction, more than 30,000 articles. To commemorate this exceptional, intense, unicorn-dappled run of non-fiction, we have assembled Rocket Fuel, a free collection of some of the best feature articles from’s 10-year history as an online sci-fi/fantasy literature magazine!

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5 Things I Missed in Robert Jordan’s The Eye of the World (Until Now)

You’d think that—1. Having read the entirety of Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time fantasy saga. 2. Working at, home of Leigh Butler’s amazing Wheel of Time Reread. 3. And writing deep-dives that wonder just how far Aviendha saw into her future—that the very first book in the series wouldn’t hold any surprises for me.

Sylas K. Barrett’s Reading The Wheel of Time has shown me the error in my thinking.

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6 SFF Classics That Would Make Great Video Games

It hit me while checking out Fred Saberhagen’s fantasy classic The Book of Swords: This should be a video game.

The Book of Swords has a great out-of-the-box premise. “For a game the gods have given the world twelve Swords of Power so that they might be amused as the nations battle for their possession. But Vulcan the Smith has had his own little joke: the Swords can kill the gods themselves.”

I would play the heck out of that game. Even more so if there were dual storylines where you could play through as a human hunting down a God-slaying sword, or a God collecting the swords before all the humans can kill you.

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The 8 Best Alternate Realities From Star Trek

A few months ago, Star Trek: Discovery truly made a leap into the unknown. Where are Captain Lorca, Burnham, and the crew now? When are they? We don’t know! This Sunday the show returns with answers to these questions, but until that particular veil is lifted, I thought we should reminisce about the 8 very best times that Star Trek, in its glorious 50+ year history, has surprised us by leaping into intriguing alternate realities.

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Hey, Prospective Authors: You Have Plenty of Time. Just Keep Writing.

Forbes published its annual “30 under 30” list, mere days after the 2017 National Book Awards hosted its annual “5 Under 35” celebration. So it’s safe to say that this week has generated a perfect storm of ANXIETY from prospective writers and artists who feel like they’re already aging out of relevance.

You’re not, though—none of us are. Here’s the proof:

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Brandon Sanderson’s Cosmere Always Makes Me Think of Final Fantasy

Big Damn Swords, orange blood, gods made of future metal… Brandon Sanderson’s books make use of a great variety of epic fantasy settings and magic systems, and each new series and short tale introduces yet more. In the 12 years since Sanderson’s first fantasy novel Elantris was released, the author has filled the shelves with so many different worlds that the ones that share the same grand universe are dubbed, simply, “The Cosmere.”

This variety of fantasy worlds sharing certain characteristics is not a new construct. (Role-playing games create this solely by virtue of publishing sequels.) But over the course of reading Sanderson’s novels, I started to notice more than a few parallels that the Cosmere has with the classic RPG series Final Fantasy.

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Max Gladstone’s Craft Sequence Could Fit Into Brandon Sanderson’s Cosmere

It was during the end of Three Parts Dead, with its many reversals and its clash between different and intricate rule-based magic systems, that we both recognized the inner thrill of reading a new Brandon Sanderson story. Except…Three Parts Dead isn’t a Sanderson novel, it’s a Max Gladstone book from a few years back.

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5 Fun Things to Know Before Starting Max Gladstone’s The Ruin of Angels

At its heart, Max Gladstone’s The Ruin of Angels is a story about the rich variety of relationships between women, their families, and the squids that chase them.

One of the perks of Gladstone’s heart-curling Craft Sequence fantasy series is that you can use any of the books as your starting point. That remains true for Ruin of Angels, the sixth novel in the Sequence (the The is silent?). The novel’s main characters are nevertheless bringing in some emotional and contextual baggage from previous novels that enrich Ruin‘s story considerably.

So if this your starting point for Max Gladstone’s Craft Sequence, what are some fun things to know before diving into Ruin of Angels?

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