Tor.com content by

Natalie Zutter

Steal the Stars is the Genre-Bending Podcast with Something for Every Listener

There was a moment earlier this week, during writer Mac Rogers’ Reddit AMA, when someone asked why he built his sci-fi podcast Steal the Stars around a hardened veteran instead of the “new kid on the block.” Director Jordana Williams jumped in to talk about Rogers’ subverting of noir tropes, how Dakota Prentiss—whose brain and heart listeners spend equal time in—has the more hardboiled perspective, so we’re inclined to trust her. Her lover Matt Salem, by contrast, “is alluring, but his background and perspective are fuzzier, so his motivations are the ones we question.”

Suddenly, something clicked after seven weeks of listening, and it was all I could do to keep from grabbing someone and shouting, or tweeting, Matt is the femme fatale! MATT IS THE FEMME FATALE! And I’m not even a noir fan. That’s just the fun of taking in Rogers’ work: he writes on so many layers that there’s something for everyone. You just have to tune the dial until you hit upon the frequency perfect for you.

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Awkward Robots Are the Best Robots

By all accounts, a robot that has named itself Murderbot should have absolutely no camaraderie with humans. Not that it even wants to—the SecUnit at the heart of Martha Wells’ All Systems Red does the bare minimum of its job, i.e., keeps its human clients alive, then immediately ducks into its cubicle to stream the latest episode of Sanctuary Moon. This is no C-3PO, human/cyborg relations, fluent in over six million forms of communication. Murderbot can’t even adequately express its desire for privacy, stumbling through conversation with its clients while holding its gruesomely half-healed organic parts together. It possesses no subtlety, and no interest in refining that aspect of its communication.

Ironically, that awkwardness is exactly what will keep Murderbot from getting taken offline.

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Why You Should Binge Tor Labs’ Steal the Stars Podcast

When you watch a Mac Rogers play or listen to a Mac Rogers podcast, you’re putting an extra level of trust into his storytelling: Often you don’t actually see the pivotal science fiction element around which the narrative revolves. Rogers is the only playwright who could write a three-play, miniseries-long alien invasion epic where the most the audience ever glimpses of the giant extraterrestrial bugs is one (chillingly massive) leg. It’s fitting, then, that Steal the Stars, Rogers’ latest audio drama presented by Gideon Media and Tor Labs, centers on a seven-foot-tall gray alien nicknamed Moss that the characters spend every day with but listeners will never lay eyes (or ears) on.

But here’s the secret: It’s not about the alien. In classic Mac fashion, the high-security Quill Marine compound and its incredible extraterrestrial find are the sci-fi backdrop for Steal the Stars’ true heart: the human desire for forbidden connection and the extreme lengths people will go to to hold on to it.

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Orphan Black Ended in the Only Place It Could: Sisterhood

For its series finale, Orphan Black took one more trip into the past, to one of the series’ most vital moments we’ve never actually seen—not Sarah meeting herself in Beth, but before that, when she did the impossible as a Leda clone and conceived a child… and then considered aborting it. In the series’ final flashback, a young, pregnant Sarah and Mrs. S sit outside a Planned Parenthood, debating the best choice for her.

“Bringing a life into this world is a really big responsibility,” Siobhan reminds her stubborn foster daughter, summing up the entire series: creating the Leda clones was never as easy as just inserting DNA into eggs; every string of numbers was a unique person despite sharing identical genetic code and the same face. Clones and conspirators on both sides have died trying to free or enslave the members of Project Leda, especially in this uneven final season, which had more than its share of series-ending sucker-punch deaths. But more crucial to the final chapter of Orphan Black than the deaths were the lives—from births to second chances to simply waking up one more day than yesterday.

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Steal the Stars Podcast Will Steal All Your Senses

When you watch a Mac Rogers play or listen to a Mac Rogers podcast, you’re putting an extra level of trust into his storytelling: Often you don’t actually see the pivotal science fiction element around which the narrative revolves. Rogers is the only playwright who could write a three-play, miniseries-long alien invasion epic where the most the audience ever glimpses of the giant extraterrestrial bugs is one (chillingly massive) leg. It’s fitting, then, that Steal the Stars, Rogers’ latest audio drama presented by Gideon Media and Tor Labs, centers on a seven-foot-tall gray alien nicknamed Moss that the characters spend every day with but listeners will never lay eyes (or ears) on.

But here’s the secret: It’s not about the alien. In classic Mac fashion, the high-security Quill Marine compound and its incredible extraterrestrial find are the sci-fi backdrop for Steal the Stars’ true heart: the human desire for forbidden connection and the extreme lengths people will go to to hold on to it.

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All of Your Favorite SFF TV and Movie Adaptations in the Works

Thanks to major properties like Game of Thrones and Marvel’s Cinematic Universe, we’ve entered a golden age of sci-fi and fantasy properties being developed for film and television. It seems that nearly every network and studio has snatched up the rights to old and new classics, with a bevy of projects in production or premiering in the coming months. To keep you on top of the latest news, we’ve updated our master list of every SFF adaptation currently in the works, from American Gods to Y: The Last Man.

Check out this list and get your DVRs and Netflix queues ready, because you’re going to be wonderfully busy for the foreseeable future.

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Peter Parker, Millennial Photographer

From the first title card, Spider-Man: Homecoming tells you exactly what kind of story it will be—a Film by Peter Parker. The erratic, fragmented, hilarious vlog not only covers all of the ground between Civil War and this moment in the MCU in under four minutes, but it also immediately introduces a new version of our hero: Peter Parker, not reeling from the trauma of a weepy origin story or parroting Uncle Ben’s “with great power comes great responsibility” mantra, but breathlessly narrating his cannonball into the world of the Avengers.

Homecoming smartly updates one of the quintessential elements of Peter Parker’s character—his identity as a photographer—by swapping out his Canon SLR or Yashica Electro 35 for the modern teenager’s likelier choice to document their every move. This Peter Parker has the most narrative agency of any Spidey, and it’s all thanks to an outdated iPhone 3G with a cracked screen.

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George R.R. Martin Teases “A Westeros Book” in 2018 That May or May Not Be The Winds of Winter

George R.R. Martin’s most recent blog post, concerning release dates for his various “fake histories” of Westeros, also included an update for The Winds of Winter, the highly anticipated sixth volume in A Song of Ice and Fire. Although he had said in January of this year that he thought the book could be out in 2017, now it looks as if late 2018 will be the earliest that readers might be able to obtain Winds—perhaps even later than that.

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“Kara Danvers Was a Mistake”: Watch the Supergirl Season 3 Trailer

“If the theme of season 2 was ‘can Kara and Supergirl have it all,'” new Supergirl showrunner Jessica Queller said at the San Diego Comic-Con panel, “then the theme of season 3 is ‘what does it mean to be human?’ All of the characters will be exploring that question, especially Kara.”

The tension between human and alien certainly seems to be coming to a head for Kara, who is heard intoning over the new trailer that “Kara Danvers was a mistake.”

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Arrival Screenwriter Eric Heisserer Adapting Another Ted Chiang Novella

Eric Heisserer, who adapted Ted Chiang’s Hugo-nominated and Nebula-winning novella “Story of Your Life” into the acclaimed film Arrival, is returning to source material he clearly has a knack for. His next project will be to adapt Liking What You See: A Documentary, about a futuristic technology that erases discrimination based on beauty, as a television series for AMC.

Heisserer tweeted the news during San Diego Comic-Con:

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Two Families Come Together in The Gifted SDCC Trailer

The first trailer for The Gifted, Fox’s forthcoming X-Men universe television drama, introduced the Strucker family: Kate (Amy Acker), Reed (Stephen Moyer)… and their children Lauren (Natalie Alyn Lind) and Andy (Percy Hynes White), who all of a sudden are beginning to manifest mutant powers. Fox just shared an extended trailer at San Diego Comic-Con showing what happens when the Struckers have to go on the run, and when the only people they can turn to are fellow mutants.

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It’s Happily Never After in The 100 Season 5 Teaser

It’s only fair that I warn you that The 100 sizzle reel that Warner Bros. Television showed at San Diego Comic-Con shows very little of the upcoming fifth season, as it’s mostly a recap of the first four. However, how they go about it is interesting, as everything from Mount Weather to the City of Light is retold through the eyes of Madi, Clarke’s little protégé slash daughter, treating the post-apocalyptic series as a dark and twisted fairytale.

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