SCIENCE FICTION, FANTASY, AND MORE . . .
RIP: Bill Paxton
1) “Realism, Honesty, and Joy: Remembering Bill Paxton” by Alasdair Stuart
“Bill Paxton was genre cinema’s Jimmy Stewart: a performer who simply didn’t know how to turn in bad work. If you wanted a character that would show up, react honestly, and push the movie along, you got Paxton. It’s no accident his career involves on-screen confrontations with the Xenomorphs, Predators, and a Terminator. It’s also no accident that he was so prolific—Paxton’s everyman quality meant he was a solid fit anywhere in a cast list. You wanted a villain? You got Paxton. You wanted a well meaning but doomed second hero? Paxton. Good old boy who was neither old nor especially good? Paxton. Patriarch tortured by the multiple demands of his job, wives, political career and church? Paxton. Blue-haired punk? Golf-obsessed detective? Loud-mouthed marine? You name it, Bill Paxton played it, and played it better than anyone else ever could.”
2) “Fantasy Casting A Darker Shade of Magic” by Kelly Anderson
“These days, fantasy readers are spoiled for great adaptations. First, Game of Thrones happened, and happened big. Then we got Jonathan Strange, and The Magicians. American Gods will walk the land once again soon (though April isn’t soon enough if you ask me; insert undignified “squee!” here). And this weekend, we got word of yet another one: V.E. Schwab’s A Darker Shade of Magic is getting its own screen adaptation, courtesy of Gerard Butler. If I didn’t know any better, I’d think I’d slipped into Red London, where magic truly exists.”
“Not only is it here, it’s also got the new lyrics we were promised. Alan Menken mentioned a while back that Howard Ashman, the original lyricist who passed away in 1991, had written lyrics they’d cut because they were ‘risqué in terms of sensibility.’ Bill Condon, the director of the live-action film, begged to put a few back in.”
4) If you are a theater goer, you might want to keep an eye out for this one. “Graeme of Thrones Is Funniest for Fans of TV’s Fantasy Series: Theater Review” by Mark Bretz
“Story: Graeme, an avid fan of TV’s hit series Game of Thrones, is determined to adapt the bloody fantasy show to the stage. To do so, he enlists the help of his best friend Paul as well as Bryony, his unrequited high school crush.
“The trio put their act, such as it is, together and try it out on what they hope will be a receptive audience. When Graeme gets word that a certain theatrical producer going by the name A.L. Webber is in the audience, he becomes fevered with excitement. If Webber likes the show, a big contract can’t be too far behind. Now, all Graeme needs is a smooth, polished production to impress the impresario. Anything’s possible, right?”
5) “In China, this is science fiction’s golden age” by Lavie Tidhar
“By the end of the century, Chinese sci-fi entered its own golden age. Although the authorities still raised the issue of literary “appropriateness”, the old restrictions had gone. One prominent contemporary sci-fi author is Han Song, a journalist at the state news agency Xinhua. Many of his works are only published outside the mainland due to their political themes, but Han is still widely recognised at home. His fiction can be dark and melancholy, envisioning, for instance, a spacefarer building tombstones to fellow astronauts, or the Beijing subway system being turned into a graveyard in which future explorers, arriving back on Earth, find themselves trapped on a fast-moving train. Along with Liu Cixin and Wang Jinkang, he is considered one of the Three Generals of Chinese sci-fi.”
6) This one is fun. Enjoy. “How sci-fi imagines inhabitable solar systems like TRAPPIST-1” by Andrew Liptak
“Earlier this week, NASA announced that its scientists had discovered a seven-planet solar system orbiting a star named TRAPPIST-1. While “Earth-sized” doesn’t necessarily mean ‘able to support life,’ it’s a good indicator that there are other systems out there that host multiple planets that may be habitable.
“For science fiction authors, this is affirmation of a long-standing trope. For decades, authors have imagined solar systems with multiple Earth-like planets that allow for human settlement, providing plenty of space for stories in television and literature.”
7) “Pandora’s Post-Apocalypse: The Girl With All the Gifts“ by Karin L Kross
“Much of the movie’s success hinges on Sennia Nanua’s performance, and she perfectly embodies both Melanie’s almost-eerie, sweet-natured intelligence and the mindless savagery that drives all of the Hungries, who go into monstrous frenzies at the scent of human flesh. Melanie’s attempts to make sense of her world—at first so limited, and then so strange and profoundly dangerous—are beautifully played. And you really can’t go wrong with costars of the caliber of Arterton, Close, and Considine; their characters’ relationships with Melanie are often touching and sometimes horrifying, and each actor plays these moments with grace.”
8) “New York Burning: Five Books About the Collapse of New York City” by Corey J. White
“New York City is massive, varied, vibrant, beautiful and ugly, and when you’re on the streets of Manhattan as a wide-eyed tourist, you can feel the city thrumming around you. It’s arguably the capital of the world, and has had to bounce back from devastating storms, floods, fires, terrorist attacks, and more. Perhaps this is part of the reason why authors continue to treat the city so harshly in their fiction: no writer wants to be outdone by reality. Below are five books which feature New York City in various stages of collapse.”
BOOKS, COMICS, AWARDS, ETC
9) Incase you missed the announcement, this article includes a list of all the nominees. “The Nebula Awards Nominees Are Wonderfully Diverse This Year” Kristian Wilson
“Since 1966, the Nebula Awards have recognized the best in sci-fi and fantasy novels, novellas, novelettes, and short stories. SFWA members begin voting on the nominees below on Mar. 1, and the winners will be announced during the Nebula Conference, which runs from May 18 through May 21. The authors will be available for “a mass autograph session” on May 19, which is open to the public at the Pittsburgh Marriott City Center.”
10) This sounds fun. “An A.I. That Loves Cat Pictures: Hugo-Winning Short Story Becomes YA Novel”
“As Kritzer describes the novel: ‘This is a story about how people build connections and friendships in adverse situations.’ The teen protagonist is a girl named Stephanie whose mother is always on the move—never staying anywhere longer than six months—and, as a result, struggles with friendship in real life. Stephanie’s only constant is an online community called CatNet. What she doesn’t know is that the admin of CatNet, whom she knows as ‘Alice,’ is a sentient A.I.—a sentient A.I. with a penchant for cat pictures. When Alice’s existence is discovered by outsiders, it’s up to Stephanie and her friends, both online and IRL, to save her.”
11) Not sure if the entire world should watch these, but if you’re a fan of British off-beat comedy, you might want to check them out. “10 British TV Shows the World Should Be Watching” by Mark Aspin
“It’s apparent that shows spawned in the US are readily available here in the UK, but the same can’t be said for shows created over here, despite the best efforts of BBC America. So with that in mind, I feel it is my duty to share 10 British TV shows that I personally feel the WORLD should be watching. If you’ve seen them already then give yourself a big old pat on the back, because you’re awesome. If you haven’t, then seek them out, sit back and enjoy some of the very best of British television.”
12) “The Unworthy Thor #5 Will FINALLY Tell Us Why Odinson Is Thor No More!” by Stuart Conover
“Nick Fury whispered a secret into Thor’s ear that caused him to be no longer able to wield Mjolnir. A single piece of information brought the God of Thunder to his knees and put him on a self-destructive path to redemption. In this issue, it looks that we’ll be seeing Odinson wielding the Ultimate Thor’s Mjolnir and we will finally find out this secret as well!”
“Meanwhile, bestseller author, Neil Gaiman has just revealed that he has been working on a new “Batman” story for a couple of decades. According to him, he has always wanted to tell the new “Batman” story for 28 years now but he still needs more time to finish it. He reassured fans that the new story is getting closer to being completed.”
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