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Stubby the Rocket

How Would You Cast The Lord of the Rings For Television?

It looks like Amazon has their wallets set on adapting some tales and adventures in Middle-earth, this time for the smaller screen. While the new series will focus on Middle-earth tales outside the main Lord of the Rings arc, we thought it’d be more fun to speculate about what might happen if they had to recast the whole crew from LOTR. What would that even look like today? And who could appropriately fill Elijah Wood’s, well, not shoes… hairy foot prosthetics?

We have some thoughts, of course.

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The Ruin of Angels Author Max Gladstone Talks Bankruptcy and Necromancy at Google

During a recent installment of Talks at Google, Max Gladstone’s Craft Sequence is introduced as the kind of series “where we all really enjoy what we’re reading because we’ve never read it before, but it has all of the bits and pieces that we’re already familiar with, so we don’t sit there and go, ‘I am confused,’ and instead go, ‘What’s gonna happen next?’”

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Our Favorite Fictionalized Scientists, Mathematicians, and Inventors in SFF

Sci-fi and fantasy writers love populating their stories with towering geniuses. After all, nothing lends credence to a work of SFF like a brilliant mathematician or an ahead-of-their time scientist. But as fun as it is to see characters inspired by historical figures, it’s even more fascinating when authors take the real person and reimagine them within the context of SFF. Recasting mathematicians as demon hunters, analysts as steampunk spies, and even Greek scholars as superheroes heightens their already astonishing achievements and puts them on a grander scale. Here are our favorite books, comics, and movies featuring famous thinkers who made the leap from the pages of historical texts to fiction!

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Cixin Liu’s The Three-Body Trilogy Helped Inspire China’s New SETI Radio Dish

When China began to build its first SETI (Search for Extraterrestrial Life) satellite, it called on an unlikely consultant—science fiction author Cixin Liu. The author of the Hugo Award-winning The Three-Body Problem is a sensation in China, regarded as the leader of a new wave of Chinese sci-fi. He also has a dark view of first contact, which won’t come as a surprise to anyone who has read the trilogy: Trying to contact an alien “Other” is risky, he says, because it could bring about our extinction.

The Atlantic has published a fascinating profile on Liu, the observatory, and the larger history of China’s position with regard to outsiders, be they fellow Earthlings or extraterrestrials—all pointing toward the question of What happens if China makes first contact?

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Watch Brandon Sanderson and the Ridiculous Readers Perform A Scene from Oathbringer

For all the Sanderson fans who couldn’t make it to the Oathbringer Midnight Release Party in Provo, Utah tonight, we present a delightful peek behind the curtain at Dragonsteel Headquarters. Over the weekend, beta readers Trae Cooper, Brandon Cole, and Jory Phillips performed a scene from the novel… with Brandon Sanderson himself serving as narrator!

Happily, Darci Cole was on hand to capture the scene for posterity, and you can watch the full video here—if you don’t mind spoilers from Chapter 4 of Oathbringer. (Of course, you can still read the entirety of Part 1 of the book here, covering Chapters 1-33). If you’re still avoiding spoilers, though, you may want to wait to watch the video, but you can enjoy Alice Arneson’s updated and expanded list of spoiler-free reactions to the beta read of the novel in the meantime!

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Catch All the Fantastic Beasts with the Harry Potter Version of Pokémon GO!

Niantic Labs, makers of the crazy-popular Pokémon GO app/game/new way of seeing the world, have confirmed that they are developing a similar augmented reality game, this time set in the wizarding world. While the forthcoming app is sadly not titled Potter GO, Harry Potter: Wizards Unite will undoubtedly be just as addictive as its predecessor. Imagine being like Harry on his first visit to Diagon Alley or Platform 9 3/4—discovering that behind ordinary bricks there lay an entire magical world. Thankfully, you won’t have to go running full-tilt at a brick wall to make that same discovery.

But here’s the most important question: What will you catch?

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The Movies, TV, Books, and Moments That Sparked Joy in 2017

It’s been… well, it’s been a year. More than ever, we’ve looked to pop culture and art—in some cases as escapism and coping mechanisms, but just as often as celebrations, as reminders that the necessary stories are still being told. As we prepare to say good riddance to 2017, we’re channeling Marie Kondo and looking back on what sparked joy: the delightfully wacky Marvel movies, but also Charlize Theron and Jordan Peele kicking ass; books that made it off our TBR stacks and into our hearts; the specific moments across the board that gave us hope.

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Amazon Studios to Adapt The Lord of the Rings for Television

Update: Amazon Studios has officially acquired global TV rights to the Lord of the Rings franchise. The multi-season epic fantasy TV series will be produced at Amazon Studios with the Tolkien Estate and Trust, publisher HarperCollins, and New Line Cinema. Click through for more information, including potential new storylines to be explored in this series.

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Nnedi Okorafor’s TED Talk Explains Afrofuturism vs. Science Fiction Using the Octopus Analogy

“What if an African girl from a traditional family in a part of future Africa is accepted into the finest university in the galaxy, planets away?” Binti author Nnedi Okorafor began her talk at the TEDGlobal 2017 conference in Arusha, Tanzania this past August. “What if she decides to go?” Those two words—what if—are immensely powerful, opening up a universe of possibilities. During her nine-minute talk, Okorafor carries that thought experiment further: “What if aliens came to Lagos, Nigeria?” And, the biggest one of all: “What if a Nigerian-American wrote science fiction?”

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Luke Skywalker Returns to the Millennium Falcon in New The Last Jedi Teaser

The latest teaser for Star Wars: The Last Jedi is short and mostly rehashes (admittedly awesome) footage from the most recent trailer. But this is Star Wars, so of course you’re going to watch—and it’s worth it, for the feels-inducing moment of watching Luke Skywalker set foot inside the Falcon for the first time in more than a decade.

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Borderlands Books Buys Permanent Home Thanks to Patrons’ Sponsorship

Borderlands Books, San Francisco’s science fiction, fantasy, mystery, and horror bookstore, has raised $1.9 million in a matter of weeks in order to purchase a building on Haight Street that will serve as its new permanent home. These loans came not from a bank, but from 49 individual supporters—a continuation of the patron program that has kept Borderlands from closing since 2015.

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What Was the First Movie That Scared You?

Thanks to a well-meaning relative, or a pliant baby-sitter (or, occasionally, a malicious one), many of us are introduced to certain scary movies long before we’re actually ready to handle the long-term terrors they breed. Horror movie tropes often rely on a combination of our own irrational fears and a hyperactive imagination—for kids who already ardently believe in sci-fi and fantasy worlds, horror can be a bit much to process. And it turns out several of us at Tor.com have such movie trauma in our past.

From killer dolls to sleeping terror, each of these were basically phobias in the making for our tiny selves.

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9 Terrifying Books That Aren’t Shelved as Horror

October is the perfect month for horror! But what if you’ve grown tired of everything the horror shelves have to offer?

To satisfy even the most jaded of appetites, we’ve rounded up a list of 9 sci-fi, literary fiction, and even non-fiction titles that will still leave you chilled. Let us know if we forgot any of your favorite non-horror horror in the comments!

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Take a Look at the Harry Potter Synopsis That Most Publishers Turned Down

“Harry Potter lives with his aunt, uncle and cousin because his parents died in a car-crash — or so he has been told.”

If you read that sentence, would you keep going? That was the choice faced by publishers across the U.K. when they received the synopsis of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone for the first time. And most of them passed it right by…

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