In 2001 with Kushiel’s Dart, Jacqueline Carey introduced us to Phèdre nó Delaunay, gods-touched courtesan-spy, and the network of friends and lovers who aid her in delving into the courtly intrigues of Terre d’Ange while following Blessed Elua’s precept of love as thou wilt. Including one austere, beautiful Cassiline warrior-priest and bodyguard, Joscelin Verreuil. Now, nearly twenty years later, Carey will retell the events of Kushiel’s Dart through Joscelin’s eyes in Cassiel’s Servant.
Yesterday, FX announced that it had ordered a pilot for the TV adaptation of Brian K. Vaughan and Pia Guerra’s Y: The Last Man—meaning, we’re one step closer to seeing Yorick, Agent 355, Allison Mann, the Beths, Hero, and everyone else onscreen! Obviously, this is incredibly early in the process, but seeing as I’ve been taking notes for a dream cast post since last year’s update, I figured why not play the casting game.
FX has ordered a pilot for Y: The Last Man, a television adaptation of Brian K. Vaughan and Pia Guerra’s landmark comic book series about a plague that wipes out nearly every organism with a Y chromosome except for amateur magician and escape artist Yorick Brown and his monkey Ampersand. In addition, FX has brought on writer/producer Aïda Mashaka Croal (Jessica Jones, Luke Cage) as co-showrunner with Michael Green (American Gods). They will executive produce alongside Nina Jacobson and Brad Simpson (The Hunger Games), as well as Vaughan.
Since its inception in the early 1980s, cyberpunk has established two distinct kinds of worlds. There’s the post-industrial dystopian cityscape, like modern Japan on crack but shaded with enough darkness to be appropriately noir-y; and there’s cyberspace, the virtual world running parallel (or sometimes perpendicular) to the real one. With corrupt corporations calling the shots, it makes sense that the punks would retreat into the digital space, an idealized version of their downtrodden daily lives malleable enough that they can create their own private universe. When you can look whatever way you want and challenge the laws of physics, why would you want to return to the real world?
When a cyberpunk novel was published says a lot about the virtual reality it depicts; while VRs share certain key elements, what they mean to their characters and their particular world is very dependent on the larger context. Looking at 10 books spanning 33 years, let’s examine the evolution of VR in cyberpunk: there’s a lot of change between Vernor Vinge and John Scalzi, as VR morphs from liminal space to its own plane of existence—entertaining, torturing, and elevating its users along the way.
“Some of the fans of A Song of Ice and Fire seem to believe that I burst onto the writing scene full-grown with the publication of the first book of the series,” George R.R. Martin writes in the “Oldies But Goodies” section of his official website, “but actually I had been a professional writer for twenty-five years when A Game of Thrones was published in 1996.” Before he set sail for Westeros, before he had even begun constructing the intricate history of ASOIAF, Martin was exploring the far reaches of space writing sci-fi/horror hybrids in another self-created universe known as the “Thousand Worlds.”
In this GRRM-verse exists Nightflyers, a “haunted spaceship” novella that is being resurrected as a television series on Syfy. If you’ve never heard of the Nightflyer, the manrealm, the volcryn, or Melantha Jhirl—that’s where this primer comes in handy! Since its publication nearly forty years ago, Nightflyers has existed in many forms: novella, expanded novella, movie, and now a TV show that will turn a very gory one-shot story into an ongoing series. So, it’s uncharted territory for even the fans! Our Nightflyers 101 will tell you everything you need to know before Syfy’s new adaptation premieres.
It’s been ten long months and six short years since Praimfaya changed the game in The 100 season 4, and now our favorite juvenile delinquents-turned-Earth’s greatest post-apocalyptic survivors are back! The first trailer for season 5 fills in a lot of the missing time in the six years since Clarke, Bellamy, and Octavia were separated from each other—on the ground, in space, and underground—while introducing this season’s villains and the treasure everyone is after: the only green patch on post-nuclear Earth.
Hulu fittingly chose International Women’s Day to premiere the latest teaser for The Handmaid’s Tale season 2, premiering in late April. At a scant 40 seconds, it won’t answer any burning questions about the fate of Offred/June (Elisabeth Moss) at the end of the first season—a fate that is very much uncharted territory outside of Margaret Atwood’s dystopian novel. This teaser is more of a reminder of the horrors of Gilead, with enough fire to it to remind viewers that this season is concerned with burning it all down.
Despite host Jimmy Kimmel’s best efforts, the 90th annual Academy Awards ran over its runtime (as usual) but wrapped up with an exciting win for writer-director Guillermo del Toro: The Shape of Water took home the Oscar for Best Picture.
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.
Warner Bros has released the final trailer for its nostalgia fest Ready Player One before the movie’s release next month. While this trailer treads a lot of the same ground as previous ones, with the “Pure Imagination” cover and footage of Parzival leading a resolution in the digital OASIS, there’s also plenty of footage of Wade Watts, and certain fellow gunters, out in the real world.
Imagine a lanky, sarcastic, brilliant mage who, when he wasn’t shapeshifting into hawks, resembled Jeff Goldblum, only more awkward. The rare black-robe mage whose magical Gift was some of the most powerful of his generation. Got that visual? Then you have the hunkiest mage in fantasy circa 1992: Numair Salmalín.
By the time he becomes the teacher (and eventual love interest) of wild magic-bearing orphan Daine in Tamora Pierce’s The Immortals series, Numair has lived many lives: as a shapeshifting spy for the king of Tortall, before that as an impoverished street magician hiding from Carthak’s emperor mage who would have him beheaded, and, even further back, as mage-in-training Arram Draper.
I first met Numair Salmalín in the early 2000s. I’ve been waiting half my lifetime to meet Arram Draper.
I’ve written tens of thousands of words of fanfiction for various fandoms, from Firefly to Tamora Pierce, and I’ve always found myself drawn not to those series’ main romantic leads, but to the Beta Couples. Onscreen and in the pages of books, while the main pairings were doing the eternal dance of UST-infused will-they-won’t-they, the supporting characters would partner up with an incredible amount of ease. Often, they’d wind up partnered with kids or other life changes before the main couple had even kissed! How I Met Your Mother has a great scene that visualizes this: while the main characters aimlessly make jokes about Canada, a couple in the background meets, gets married, gets pregnant, watches their kid graduate college, and grows old together.
In a nutshell, that’s the Beta Couple. Only, add in Cylon copies, flash-forwards, Reaver fights, and straight-up magic when this archetype shows up in science fiction and fantasy.
Force-ghosts jumping from Imperial warships into apprentices’ bodies. Assassins falling in love with the Jedi they’re programmed to kill. Hapan queens trading one-night-stands for heirs. Reptilian crime lords spraying unsuspecting princesses with pheromones to broker a (eyebrow wiggle) trade. Jedi/Yuuzhan Vong hybrids caught between dead best friends/unrequited loves and their new, fallen-to-the-dark-side masters. Love—or, at least, sex and sometimes romance—in the Star Wars universe used to be a hot mess.
But what I grew up with as the Expanded Universe has now been mostly struck from the record—or, rather, redefined as “Star Wars Legends,” with an entirely new canon built around The Force Awakens and its subsequent new EU: prequel novels filling in the years between trilogies, tie-in comic books, and of course films like Rogue One and The Last Jedi. The introduction of new characters brings new romantic dramas that, surprisingly, are a lot stabler, healthier, or simply just more realistic than the soapy stories we’ve seen before.
That said, just because you take out the soapiness doesn’t mean you automatically get a happy ending.
The third (and final) Fifty Shades movie—Fifty Shades Freed—opens this weekend, just in time for Valentine’s Day. While we’re glad those crazy kids are finally settling down, there’s no denying that the film and book series depict an unrealistic, unhealthy BDSM relationship.
But it doesn’t have to be this way—after all, sci-fi and fantasy authors have written believable power exchanges and sexual agency into their books and comics for decades. So instead of headdesking over Christian and Ana’s sexcapades, pick up these books by Jacqueline Carey, Octavia Butler, Matt Fraction, and more!
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