Tor.com content by

David Cranmer

Fifty-Three Years On: Would A Wrinkle in Time Make the Grade Today?

“You’re given the form, but you have to write the sonnet yourself.”

–Madeleine L’Engle, A Wrinkle in Time

I remember as a young kid being intrigued by the dust cover to my older sister’s first edition copy of A Wrinkle in Time. The dark, storm blue background with a series of concentric circles surrounding three silhouetted figures may have been simple, but it set up a beguiling whirl of mystery.

Where were they and what was going on? And the equally enticing title… what could A Wrinkle in Time epitomize except adventure? Adding to the allure was the author’s name, Madeleine L’Engle, which to my seven-year-old ears sounded somewhat exotic. All these components added up to a promising read, though—until now—I never got any farther than the well-worn and off-putting opening throwback line, “It was a dark and stormy night…”

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Collateral Damage: Engines of War by George Mann

“I’ve faced this in the past, and I didn’t act in time. If I’d only had the guts to do what was necessary back then, things might be very different now. But I’m a different man now. I don’t live by the same ideals. I have a job to do, and this time, I have no such qualms.” —The War Doctor

I used to be a big reader of tie-in novels (In particular: Star Trek, Star Wars, and Doctor Who), but somewhere along the line the continuing onslaught of material (let’s face it, tie-ins/expanded universe books can drop faster than tribbles) wore me down until I only dipped in the pool for something extra special. In the case of Doctor Who some recent exceptions were Gareth Roberts’s tremendous 2012 novelization of “Shada” written by Douglas Adams and, back a little farther, 1995’s “Human Nature” by Paul Cornell.

Mind you, this isn’t a backhanded compliment against buying tie-in novels, it’s just that budget constraints played a major part in being much more selective in my choices, and I’m sure there are plenty of fine adventures I’ve missed along the way as a result. Nevertheless, I got such a big kick out of seeing John Hurt in the role of the disheveled War Doctor in “The Day of The Doctor” that I immediately jumped at the chance to read about more of this incarnation of the Time Lord and his adventures.

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Seven Science-Fiction Heroes with Swashbuckling Swagger

In another time they may have sailed with Blackbeard or Captain Kidd but these anachronistic swashbucklers live in a future of droids, Daleks, and mutants. They are heroes who laugh in the face of death, live to do battle against impossible chances, and know when to toss that one-line quip that sends proceedings up with a wink. Quite often they are hesitant protagonists who seem more prone to shady dealings than noble pursuits, but when the chips are down they rise to the occasion and balance the odds.

Without further ado, here are seven science-fiction heroes with swashbuckling swagger!

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A Barry Allen Primer: What You Need to Know Ahead of The Flash‘s Series Debut

The Flash is racing to a screen near you on October 7th. If you haven’t been watching Arrow, where Barry Allen/The Flash was first introduced, then here’s a quick primer to get you started. I am only, more or less, covering plot points revolving around Barry Allen so these aren’t complete Arrow episode wrap-ups, though—beware—SPOILERS are lobbed throughout.

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Is it Time to Lose the Sonic Screwdriver Again?

“Why are you pointing your screwdrivers like that? They’re scientific instruments, not water pistols!” the War Doctor (John Hurt) says to Ten (David Tennant) and Eleven (Matt Smith) as they meet for the first time in “The Day of the Doctor.” Just a few moments later when all three come under a new threat and Ten and Eleven are once again aiming their ‘water pistols,’ the exasperated War Doctor exclaims, “The pointing again! They’re screwdrivers! What are you going to do, assemble a cabinet at them?”

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The Welcome Return of the Impatient and Cantankerous Doctor Who

“From the doctor’s own point of view, from his fictional point of view, he’s just the same man and he’s rearranged himself a bit. But he’s the same person looking out of those eyes.”

Those words from Stephen Moffat, lead writer and executive producer of Doctor Who, in a promo interview for the new season of the hit BBC series have me psyched for this latest incarnation of the Doctor—though he’s always “the same man,” we’ll get to see a different slice of his inimitable personality. Now, double that with the actor’s conversation via Metro about what to expect of the Time Lord in the upcoming season:

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Eight Essential Science Fiction Detective Mash-Ups

When trail-blazing editor John W. Campbell of Astounding Science Fiction (eventually renamed Analog Science Fiction and Fact) boldly declared that mystery and science fiction genres were incompatible, Isaac Asimov disagreed. In response, Asimov wrote The Caves of Steel, successfully creating a futuristic whodunit and proving Campbell wrong. Today, it seems like a passé point that science fiction can be injected into any literary genre, but it took Asimov’s mid-twentieth century vision to help pave the way. Here are eight notable science fiction detective mashups for those who need a futuristic crime fix.

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