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Molly Templeton

The Magic of Competence: Maxine Kaplan’s Wench

Let there be many more books about tavern wenches. Barkeeps, cobblers, tailors, fletchers, the blacksmith who’s just really tired of how the soldiers treat her finest work—I’d like books about all of them, please. Every character trope in the fantasy toolbox can be a person who deserves to have their story told.

In her second YA novel, Wench, Maxine Kaplan plucks a longtime tavern girl from behind the bar and shoves her headlong into a tumultuous adventure. Seventeen(ish)-year-old Tanya is deeply attached to her identity as the person who keeps things running. Orphaned at a young age, she was taken in by the owner of the Smiling Snake, who’s getting on in years. Tanya always expected he would leave the tavern to her.

Maybe he just forgot to do the paperwork.

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The Rogue One Spinoff Andor Seems to Begin Before K-2SO and Cassian Meet

Last month, we got our first peek at Andor, the Rogue One spinoff prequel series about Diego Luna’s Cassian Andor. Alan Tudyk, who voices the delightfully crabby droid K-2SO, was part of the show’s initial announcement. Andor began filming late last year, but as Tudyk said in a recent interview, he’s not in it. Yet.

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Trying to Do Six Impossible Things Before Breakfast in The Expanse’s “Hard Vacuum”

I’m never going to stop talking about how good Dominique Tipper is in this show, and especially this season. Everyone in “Hard Vacuum” is facing something that seems impossible, but Naomi is struggling with the hardest, most physical manifestation of an impossible task. It’s an aching, exhausting, solo performance, and it anchors another solidly engrossing episode.

Spoilers follow!

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Author and Publisher Storm Constantine Has Passed Away

Storm Constantine, author of the Wraeththu Chronciles and a book publisher, has passed away at the age of 64. The news was announced Friday on Constantine’s Facebook page, which noted that the writer died after a long illness.

Constantine (who adopted her pen name as her legal name) was born in 1956 in Stafford, England, and began making up stories before she knew how to write. After art school, and time spent managing bands, she began her writing career with the beloved Wraeththu Chronicles. The Enchantments of Flesh and Spirit was published in 1987, followed by The Bewitchments of Love and Hate and The Fulfillments of Fate and Desire. As her website explains, “Although characters in the Wraeththu novels inhabited a fantasy world, they were drawn from real people who were part of the alternative night-club/music scene of the mid-eighties.”

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Nicolas Cage Coldly Murders Nightmare Animatronics in the Trailer for Willy’s Wonderland

Before you ask, yes, what we need right now is another Nicolas Cage movie with dubious dialogue and powerful glowering. (No, I didn’t actually watch Jiu Jitsu. Life is short, ok?) Though in Willy’s Wonderland, Cage seems hardly to speak at all. He’s too busy absolutely going to town on a whole lot of creepy animatronic creatures. Is he living the dream of every child ever weirded out by the animatronics in a theme park? I’ll let you be the judge of that.

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Chris Evans May Bring America’s Ass Back to the MCU

As far as anyone knew, Chris Evans’ Captain America permanently hung up—or rather, handed off—his shield at the end of Avengers: Endgame. Anthony Mackie’s Sam Wilson has the shield now, though Mackie has been cagey recently about whether that means he is Captain America.

But Evans may not be entirely done with the role: According to Deadline, he’s considering a return to the MCU.

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Naomi Nagata’s Story Repeats Itself in The Expanse‘s “Oyedeng”

The fifth Expanse book, Nemesis Games, is the first book in the series in which Naomi is one of the point-of-view characters. The adaptation’s writers, directors, and actress Dominique Tipper have done a beautiful job of developing and expanding Naomi’s perspective, especially last season, when she was stuck in space while so much action was on the ground. But nothing in the past few seasons has been as deeply Naomi-centric as what’s going on now.

Let’s board the Pella. Spoilers for episode 7, “Oyedeng,” follow!

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Netflix Reveals Lineup of Endless Movies for 2021

A new movie every week: that’s the message Netflix would really like you to take from their chipper 2021 preview reel. But there are more than 52 films landing on the streaming platform this year. The full list is 70 in total: 52 English-language live-action movies, 8 animated films, and 10 movies in other languages.

Most of these films have been announced in some form or another, but reading the whole list at once is impressive (ok, another word might be “overwhelming”). A new Shaun the Sheep cartoon! A little Fast Five reunion when the Rock and Gal Gadot join Ryan Reynolds in Red Notice! Directorial debuts from Halle Berry and Lin-Manuel Miranda! Mary Elizabeth Winstead as a poisoned assassin?

This isn’t a particularly genre-heavy lineup (Deadline has an all-genre list of highlights), but there are some notably intriguing options for SFF fans; we’ve pulled out the details on those below.

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