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Mike Chen

Fiction and Excerpts [1]
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Fiction and Excerpts [1]

Five Books About Finding Hope at the End of the World

Hope.

Four little letters, yet together they represent the most powerful substance in the universe. Whether associated with Princess Leia or Samwise Gamgee or Gene Roddenberry, “hope” conjures up images of the impossible victory, the candle in the darkness, the moral arc of the universe finally snapping back to its correct path.

[Read more]

How to Prepare for Star Trek: Picard — The Essential Rewatch Guide

It’s been a busy few months for geek TV between Baby Yoda fever, Watchmen blowing our collective minds, and The Witcher adaptation swinging swords and crooning songs. But January 23rd will deliver something new, something that carries a decades-long weight of hope, nostalgia, and reverie. Twenty-six years after Q told Jean-Luc Picard that he would “see you…out there” in the series finale of Star Trek: The Next Generation and 18 years after “a generation’s final journey” in Star Trek: Nemesis, Patrick Stewart’s stoic, compassionate, iconic fan favorite will finally return to TV screens, along with some new companions as well as some familiar faces.

Of course, that legacy comes with a lot of content to revisit. If you’re only looking at TNG, that’s 178 episodes across seven seasons as well as four feature films—and when you factor in Jeri Ryan’s Seven of Nine, she’s in three seasons of Star Trek: Voyager, and who knows what other established canon material will play into the new series… Even if you’re planning a full rewatch, you don’t have to squeeze all of it into the next couple of weeks; instead, you can follow this time-friendly guide to the key episodes and films that will bring you up to date just in time for the Picard premiere…

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5 Books About Finding Hope at the End of the World

Hope.

Four little letters, yet together they represent the most powerful substance in the universe. Whether associated with Princess Leia or Samwise Gamgee or Gene Roddenberry, “hope” conjures up images of the impossible victory, the candle in the darkness, the moral arc of the universe finally snapping back to its correct path.

[But can you find hope when the world has literally ended?]

Series: Five Books About…

Why the Time is Right for a Robotech Reboot

It was so far ahead of its time that merely watching it now makes you wonder how the heck it actually got on TV.

Before the rebooted Battlestar Galactica. Before Star Wars: The Clone Wars or Voltron: Legendary Defender, before The Expanse, there was one space opera show that was ambitious and groundbreaking in scope, both because of source material and out of necessity (more on that later). There were major character deaths, romance, a massive cast, deep world building, a serialized plot that forced the viewer to pay attention, lead characters that played with gender dynamics, interracial romance, and unflinching violence that showed the horrors of war.

Somehow, that all wound up being sold into 1985 afterschool TV as a kid’s cartoon. That show, whose legacy stands today, was Robotech.

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What Star Wars Learned From Literary Fiction

The original 1977 Star Wars film is often credited with creating the modern blockbuster: a popcorn-fueled thrill ride that is a feast for all the senses. Before it became known as Episode IV: A New Hope, Star Wars set the template for popular film, from the tight three-act structure to the bombastic film score to the broad strokes of heroes and villains against a visually spectacular backdrop. The commercially driven films that it spawned became densely packed with groundbreaking effects and audience-thrilling action.

This is precisely what makes The Last Jedi, the most recent film and source of the most recent controversy in the franchise, such a wild departure. It’s true that the movie is, like the preceding entries in its canon, very much a Star Wars film: there are space battles and aliens and shootouts, along with lightsaber battles and a John Williams score. But in many ways, it deviates from the original template more than any other Star Wars movie to date, even when compared to the boldly different The Phantom Menace.

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