Tor.com content by

Emily Asher-Perrin

Growing Up in the Marvel Cinematic Universe

Our brand new Spider-Man, as introduced in last year’s Captain America: Civil War, is only fifteen years old. Take that in for a moment. He is fifteen. A decade-and-a-half old. He wasn’t even born in the 20th century, which is a first for the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

It’s exciting because none of the previous screen Spider-Mans have been truly teenage-like (mostly because they were being portrayed by adults). And it’ll be great for the current audience of kids, who can view Peter as more of an avatar. But the really cool part? This Spider-Man grew up in an age full of superheroes—and it’s bound to shape his worldview in a way that these films have never been able to address before.

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Rereading Frank Herbert’s Dune: Dune Messiah, Part Four

We come to the final part of our Dune Messiah Reread. Now we must deal with the consequences of this these machinations, which happens to be… twins? Of course twins. It’s always twins.

Index to the reread can be located here! And don’t forget this is a reread, which means that any and all of these posts will contain spoilers for all of Frank Herbert’s Dune series. If you’re not caught up, keep that in mind.

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Series: Rereading Frank Herbert’s Dune

Rereading Frank Herbert’s Dune: Dune Messiah, Part Three

We’re going to be present for the use of a stone burner. Which is actually awful? But awfulness is kind of something you should expect at this point, right?

Index to the reread can be located here! And don’t forget this is a reread, which means that any and all of these posts will contain spoilers for all of Frank Herbert’s Dune series. If you’re not caught up, keep that in mind.

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Series: Rereading Frank Herbert’s Dune

The Mummy Was the Perfect Successor to Indiana Jones

It seems that everyone is using Indiana Jones as their inspiration these days. Listen to directors on both Doctor Who and Supernatural describe specific seasons of either show as “our Raiders of the Lost Ark,” or the myriad of filmmakers who bump it to the top of their lists of films that affected them as children, the ones that mattered most in their development into mature movie-type people. Now there’s a plan to reboot the whole thing because we can never really get enough of the famed archaeologist.

But who stacks up against Spielberg’s classics on film? (Do not say National Treasure 2: Book of Secrets.) In other media realms? There’s much to be said for the Lara Crofts and Daniel Jacksons of the world, but they seem to miss out on the key notes that Indy hit.

So I’m nominating the 1999 remake of The Mummy.

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Someone Has Completed the Climb Captain Kirk Attempted at the Opening of Star Trek V

Everyone gape in completely acceptable awe over Alex Honnold, a man who recently completed the most dangerous rope-free ascension in history when he climbed the Freerider route of El Capitan. This geological formation (often erroneously referred to as a mountain) sits in Yosemite National Park, and is well-known to climbers around the world–but fellow nerds probably know it best as the mountain that Captain Kirk tries to scale at the start of Star Trek V: The Final Frontier.

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Princess Buttercup Became the Warrior General Who Trained Wonder Woman, All Dreams Are Now Viable

Imagine you star in a movie that is widely considered to be one of the greatest fantasy films of all time. The movie has your name in the title. You are the character whom the whole story revolves around, a story told to a sick little boy in need of a distraction as he lays in bed, home from school. You are the two most important things for a fictional woman to be according to societal standards: beautiful and marriageable.

And you’re also a princess, because that’s how these stories always work.

Spoilers ahead for the Wonder Woman film.

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Rereading Frank Herbert’s Dune: Dune Messiah, Part Two

We’re going to learn to talk with our hands! And our faces! Simultaneously! Onto the next chunk of Dune Messiah….

Index to the reread can be located here! And don’t forget this is a reread, which means that any and all of these posts will contain spoilers for all of Frank Herbert’s Dune series. If you’re not caught up, keep that in mind.

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Series: Rereading Frank Herbert’s Dune

Star Wars: A New Hope is Sheer, Unbridled Joy

One of my favorite stories about what it was like to see Star Wars: A New Hope when it was released in 1977 comes from my father. He went to see the film with his friend and roommate at the time, and when Vader’s Star Destroyer came into frame in the opening sequence, stretching on and on into infinity, the guy sank into his chair and shouted to the theater “Oh shit, this is it!”

I love that story because it elucidates something so significant about that first Star Wars film; when it first came out, no one had ever seen anything quite like it.

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Rereading Frank Herbert’s Dune: Dune Messiah, Part One

We’re back to reading! Welcome once again to the Dune Reread, where we are getting a jump start on Dune Messiah! The next books run a bit faster, so I will be going through them in bigger chunks—Dune Messiah will probably be about 3-4 parts on a reread. There will be more overall summary rather than in-depth recapping. So for now, let’s dive into the current conditions of House Atreides and their galaxy-wide empire.

Index to the reread can be located here! And don’t forget this is a reread, which means that any and all of these posts will contain spoilers for all of Frank Herbert’s Dune series. If you’re not caught up, keep that in mind.

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Series: Rereading Frank Herbert’s Dune

Is Space Opera Merely Fantasy Set in Space? (Hint: No, Of Course Not)

It’s important to remember that the term “space opera” was first devised as an insult.

This term, dropped into the lexicon by fan writer Wilson Tucker, initially appeared in the fanzine Le Zombie in 1941. It was meant to invoke the recently coined term “soap opera” (which then applied to radio dramas), a derogatory way of referring to a bombastic adventure tale with spaceships and ray guns. Since then, the definition of space opera has been renewed and expanded, gone through eras of disdain and revival, and the umbrella term covers a large portion of the science fiction available to the public. It’s critical opposite is usually cited as “hard science fiction,” denoting a story in which science and mathematics are carefully considered in the creation of the premise, leading to a tale that might contain more plausible elements.

This had led some critics to posit that space opera is simply “fantasy in space.” But it isn’t (is it?), and attempting to make the distinction is a pretty fascinating exercise when all is said and done.

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Series: Space Opera Week

Let’s Dismantle Romantic Comedies—and Sexism—With the Help of Colossal’s Beautiful Monster

Early on in Colossal, our protagonist Gloria (Anne Hathaway) is sitting in her friend Oscar’s bar with a couple of his pals. She finishes her anecdote, and Garth (Tim Blake Nelson) pipes up with those six magic words, “You know what your problem is?” He then proceeds to tell a story that is in no way related to Gloria at all.

And bless her grouchy, alcoholic heart, she stops him mid-sentence and says, “Sorry, what does this have to do with me?”

It may not really seem like a big deal, but these sorts of small jabs that point to bigger problems is precisely how Colossal builds itself up. It chugs along, picking up steam and gathering mass until is has the power of… well, a monster. A great big skyscraper-high monster.

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Syfy’s Dune Miniseries is the Most Okay Adaptation of the Book to Date

Syfy (previously known as the Sci-Fi Channel) went through a minor renaissance in the late 90s and early aughts, producing television that set the bar for a lot of fascinating entertainment to come. Without shows like Farscape, Battlestar Galactica, and Stargate, it is doubtful that the current television milieu—where shows like Westworld and American Gods are considered high quality entertainment—would exist in the same form.

This was also the same era in which they developed two Dune miniseries. The first came in 2000.

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Series: Rereading Frank Herbert’s Dune

20 Years On, The Fifth Element is Still One of the Best/Worst Sci-Fi Films Ever

On May 9th 1997, a weird little sci-fi action flick called The Fifth Element was released in theaters, from the same man who had recently brought audiences Nikita and Léon: The Professional. It was widely lauded/derided for being the one of the best/worst science fiction films ever made. It delighted/pissed off everyone who had the chance to see it. It was nominated for prestigious awards/Golden Raspberries, and is regularly cited for how well/terribly it tackled gender themes, design, and humor.

Twenty years later, no one can seem to agree on where it belongs in the pantheon of sci-fi cinema—and it’s safe to say, that is part of its unyielding charm.

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