Mystery Science Theater 3000: THIS ISLAND EARTH Rewatch Season 7, Ep 7
Carl is a Serious Scientist who's been sent a parts catalog in the mail, but the parts are crazy-pants, and further the catalog describes how to build an "Interociter." which apparently can perform housework? and display video communications? Rather than returning that thing right back to Archie McPhee Carl decides to order the parts and build it. Amazingly, rather than being a hilarious practical joke at his expense, it presents the smiling face of Exeter, who invites him to join with other Human Scientists at their Laboratory. From there, let's just say the dominos have been set in motion, and a trip to space and a confrontation with Scrotor is inevitable. In the history of the show, this episode actually isn't the show, but MST: The Movie. It's been written up on Fanfare before, here. [more inside]
The AI from Kritzer's Hugo Award-winning short story "Cat Pictures, Please" is back at novel length -- along with "a group of teenagers who have found friendship and community online, never realizing that one of their online friends is actually an artificial intelligence." The author describes it as a "technothriller YA (young adult) novel about friendship, online community, AIs (artificial intelligences), robots, hacking, sex ed, and road trips". (I'd add: queerness, monstrous humans, art, dealing with cops, and being embarrassed by your parents.) Here's an excerpt (the second chapter of the book).
From the same studio that produced Richard Viktorov’s diptych Moscow-Cassiopeia / Adolescents in the Universe comes this second teen-themed sci-fi adventure, in which three youngsters have to take command of a space flight when their adult captain comes down sick and is forced to quarantine himself. [more inside]
Interstellar expedition equipped by "pioneers"(soviet scouts) travels to Alpha Kassiopea after receiving a distress signal and finds a planet run entirely to the ends of making its inhabitants happy. Unexpected difficulties, however, ensued. [more inside]
A young student develops an interstellar engine that can reach near light speed and seeks to take a team of teens on a mission to Cassiopeia to check out the origins of a radio signal emanating from near the star. The mission requires teens as it is expected to take 50 years to complete. [more inside]
Bikes Not Rockets: Intersectional Feminist Bicycle Science Fiction Stories (Microcosm Publishing 2018) - As you ride down the intergalactic bike path, you come to a crossroads. Which path will you take? Your choice could determine your future, or the future of all humanity, forever. These twelve stories explore a variety of intersections set in distant, outlandish, or disturbingly realistic futures and dimensions—all involving bicycles and the breaking of gender stereotypes. A bicycle race spans a rift between worlds. A teenager learns a valuable lesson from her prepper mom. A young fruit seller gets closer to her dream of becoming an astronaut. An overwhelmed mom finds unexpected solace at a bicycle collective. [more inside]
Rewatch! And of course we'll be rewatching it again when the Christmas thingy roll back around. There are now three Christmas movie episodes of MST3K; this is the one that's "classically" the worst, appearing on many lists of the worst of all time.I like the idea of it, the willingness to take an absurd premise seriously, and the energy (most of) the actors bring to it. But then there's Dropo.... Previously. [more inside]
In 1988, a detective becomes obsessed with a series of murders that seem to defy explanation. Philadelphia police officer Thomas Lockhart, hungry to become a detective, begins tracking a serial killer who mysteriously resurfaces every nine years. But when the killer's crimes begin to defy all scientific explanation, Locke's obsession with finding the truth threatens to destroy his career, his family, and possibly his sanity.
The Emperor needs necromancers. The Ninth Necromancer needs a swordswoman. Gideon has a sword, some dirty magazines, and no more time for undead bullshit. [more inside]
A young half–Native American known as the Kid has hitchhiked from Mexico to the midwestern city Bellona—only something is wrong there . . . In Bellona, the shattered city, a nameless cataclysm has left reality unhinged. Into this desperate metropolis steps the Kid, his fist wrapped in razor-sharp knives, to write, to love, to wound. So... [more inside]
Babylon 5: No Surrender, No Retreat Season 4, Ep 15
Sheridan and B5 try to free Proxima III. Londo and G'Kar try something new. "So from now on, I guess the operational phrase is 'trust no one'." "No. Trust Ivanova; trust yourself. Anybody else -- shoot 'em!" [more inside]
A family's Christmas takes a strange turn when they awake to find themselves trapped inside and begin receiving mysterious instructions through the television.
Mystery Science Theater 3000: POD PEOPLE Rewatch Season 3, Ep 3
Rewatch! Deep in the northwestern woods somewhere is a house in which lives a lonely boy with way too many pets. His newest pet, however, is from a species with serious aggression problems. Oh also there are poachers in the woods. Oh and there's some singers in town who are vacationing in those same woods. It stinks! Pod People, shown early in Season 3, is a hugely iconic episode of MST3K, and "It stinks!" quickly became one of the shows many, many catchphrases. And I think we can all agree: the pet alien from this movie would make a better president than our current one. Previously.
Lovelace was once merely a ship's artificial intelligence. When she wakes up in an new body, following a total system shut-down and reboot, she has no memory of what came before. As Lovelace learns to negotiate the universe and discover who she is, she makes friends with Pepper, an excitable engineer, who's determined to help her learn and grow.
Another Life: Season 1 discussion Season 1, Ep 0
Another Life centers on astronaut Niko Breckinridge (Katee Sackhoff) who is focused on searching for alien intelligence. She leads a crew on a mission to explore the genesis of an alien artifact. As Niko and her young crew investigate, they face unimaginable danger on what might very well be a one-way mission.
Another Life: Through the Valley of Shadows Season 1, Ep 2
As tensions rise aboard the ship, the crew gets ready for an expedition to explore the planet; on Earth, Erik tries to decipher a clue from the artifact.
A feminist Guardians of the Galaxy—a smart, swashbuckling, wildly imaginative adventure of a rag-tag team of brilliant misfits, dangerous renegades, and enhanced outlaws in a war-torn future. [more inside]
It has a dark past – one in which a number of humans were killed. A past that caused it to christen itself “Murderbot”. But it has only vague memories of the massacre that spawned that title, and it wants to know more. Teaming up with a Research Transport vessel named ART (you don’t want to know what the “A” stands for), Murderbot heads to the mining facility where it went rogue. What it discovers will forever change the way it thinks…
Mystery Science Theater 3000: PARTS: THE CLONUS HORROR Rewatch Season 8, Ep 11
Rewatch! Considering the political reality of the USA right now, this movie's almost charming with how the villain is an evil Senator's brother, who runs a farm for stupid 70s people, clones of "important" folk, you know, like senators, to serve as living sources of spare body parts. Especially hilarious is the pseudo-Orwellian culture of the farm, which is like a sinister community college. Previously
Shuos Jedao is awake.... and nothing is as he remembers. In his mind he’s a teenager, a cadet—a nobody. But he finds himself in the body of an old man, a general controlling the elite forces of the hexarchate, and the most feared—and reviled—man in the galaxy. Hexarch Nirai Kujen orders Jedao to reconquer the fractured hexarchate on his behalf even though Jedao has no memory of ever being a soldier, let alone a general. Surely a knack for video games doesn't qualify you to take charge of an army? Soon Jedao learns the situation is even worse. The Kel soldiers under his command may be compelled to obey him, but they hate him thanks to a massacre he can't remember committing. Kujen's friendliness can't hide the fact that he's a tyrant. And what's worse, Jedao and Kujen are being hunted by an enemy who knows more about Jedao and his crimes than he does himself..
The multiple Eisner Award-winning series returns with a spacefaring adventure about fake news and genuine terror. Warning: Feelings. Collects SAGA #49-54 [more inside]
Mystery Science Theater 3000: HOBGOBLINS Rewatch Season 9, Ep 7
Rewatch! Plush toys with the ability to make people's fantasies a reality encounter some teenagers with severe issues, and the result is supposed to be a comedy. You knew it was coming. Any list of the best MST episodes invariably covers most of the worst movies, meaning we're back here again, at the extremely 80s, extraordinarily tawdry film (in the sense of being an oily coating) known to those unfortunate enough to have experienced it as HOBGOBLINS. To watch it is to feel like your brain is floating in a tub of slime: enjoy! Previously
Babylon 5: Moments of Transition Season 4, Ep 14
The Minbari Civil War ends. Garibaldi and Edgars continue their relationship. Lyta makes a painful decision. "Well, there is just no delicate way to say this. [a pause] I want your body." [more inside]
The mind-bending, time-warping adventure from Brian K. Vaughan and Cliff Chiang continues, as intrepid newspaper deliverer Tiffany is launched from the prehistoric past into the year 2000! In this harrowing version of our past, Y2K was even more of a cataclysm than experts feared, and the only person who can save the future is a 12-year-old girl from 1988. (Issues 16 - 20), colors by Matt Wilson.
Winner: 2018 Hugo Award for Best Novella Winner: 2018 Nebula Award for Best Novella Winner: 2018 Alex Award Winner: 2018 Locus Award One of the Verge's Best Books of 2017 A New York Times and USA Today Bestseller A murderous android discovers itself in All Systems Red, a tense science fiction adventure by Martha Wells that interrogates the roots of consciousness through Artificial Intelligence. "As a heartless killing machine, I was a complete failure." In a corporate-dominated spacefaring... [more inside]
The highly anticipated sequel to Dreadnought, featuring “the most exciting new superheroes in decades.” (Kirkus, starred review) Only nine months after her debut as the superhero Dreadnought, Danny Tozer is already a scarred veteran. Protecting a city the size of New Port is a team-sized job and she’s doing it alone. Between her newfound celebrity and her demanding cape duties, Dreadnought is stretched thin, and it’s only going to get worse. When she crosses a newly discovered billionaire... [more inside]
Babylon 5: Rumors, Bargains and Lies Season 4, Ep 13
Neroon and Delenn meet to try to end the civil war breaking out on Minbar, at great cost to Lennier... Sheridan, with Londo and G'kar's support, tries to get the League of Non-Aligned Worlds to accept a White Star patrol. "Ambassador, there are so many things in the universe that are and so many things that aren't. If I were to take the time to deny all the things that aren't, we'd be here for centuries, wouldn't we?" [more inside]
An action-packed series-starter perfect for fans of The Heroine Complex and Not Your Sidekick. “I didn’t know how much I needed this brave, thrilling book until it rocked my world. Dreadnought is the superhero adventure we all need right now.”—Charlie Jane Anders, author of All the Birds in the Sky Danny Tozer has a problem: she just inherited the powers of Dreadnought, the world’s greatest superhero. Until Dreadnought fell out of the sky and died right in front of her, Danny was trying to... [more inside]
Mystery Science Theater 3000: THE CREEPING TERROR Rewatch Season 6, Ep 6
Rewatch! From the depths of OUTER SPACE comes a deadly shed containing two walking dirty carpets each festooned with vacuum cleaner attachments. Featuring the most ridiculous monsters in MST history, and that's saying something. What. A. Movie. This is the platonic ideal of a superbad z-grade monster movie. Terrible effects, horrible acting, a nonsensical script and nearly entirely dubbed dialogue. (muah) Exquisite! Previously.
A ship carrying settlers to a new home in Mars after Earth is rendered uninhabitable is knocked off-course, causing the passengers to consider their place in the universe. [more inside]
Binti has returned to her home planet, believing that the violence of the Meduse has been left behind. Unfortunately, although her people are peaceful on the whole, the same cannot be said for the Khoush, who fan the flames of their ancient rivalry with the Meduse.
Babylon 5: Conflicts of Interest Season 4, Ep 12
The conflict between Sheridan and Garibaldi escalates, as Garibaldi takes on a client: smuggling an old acquaintance through B5. Meanwhile, Sheridan negotiates with Londo and G'kar, and Ivanova descends to Epsilon III. "But only Zathras have no one to talk to. No one manages poor Zathras, you see. So Zathras talks to dirt. Or to walls, or talks to ceilings. But dirt is closer. Dirt is used to everyone walking on it. Just like Zathras. But we have come to like it. It is our role. It is our destiny in the universe. So, you see, sometimes dirt has insects in it. And Zathras likes insects. Not so good for conversation, but much protein for diet." [more inside]
On a cold spring night in 1952, a huge meteorite fell to earth and obliterated much of the east coast of the United States, including Washington D.C. The ensuing climate cataclysm will soon render the earth inhospitable for humanity, as the last such meteorite did for the dinosaurs. This looming threat calls for a radically accelerated effort to colonize space, and requires a much larger share of humanity to take part in the process. Elma York’s experience as a WASP pilot and mathematician earns her a place in the International Aerospace Coalition’s attempts to put man on the moon, as a calculator. But with so many skilled and experienced women pilots and scientists involved with the program, it doesn’t take long before Elma begins to wonder why they can’t go into space, too.
Mystery Science Theater 3000: PRINCE OF SPACE Rewatch Season 8, Ep 16
Rewatch! We're starting to get into the weird ones. Prince of Space is a hilarious episode of our favorite cowtown puppet show, with an inexplicable hero (the invulnerable Prince of Space, who works as a Tokyo bootblack), annoying kids (PoS' child sidekicks) and easily one of the top five most ridiculous villains in MSTdom in the form of the chickenish Phantom of Krankor. HAAA... Haaa... haaa... ha. Just, for the love of decency, don't stare at the Krankorian crotches.... Previously.
The Twilight Zone: Blurryman Season 1, Ep 10
While working on the set of the new The Twilight Zone, writer Sophie Gelson (Zazie Beetz) is haunted by a mysterious Blurryman. [Season finale] [more inside]
Creeper, a scrappy young teen, is done living on the streets of New Orleans. Instead, she wants to soar, and her sights are set on securing passage aboard the smuggler airship Midnight Robber. Her ticket: earning Captain Ann-Marie’s trust using a secret about a kidnapped Haitian scientist and a mysterious weapon he calls The Black God’s Drums.
An Android, Jane 57821, attempts to break free from the constraints of a totalitarian society that forcibly makes Jane comply with its homophobic beliefs. [more inside]
At a time when it looks like we may be here to experience a real post-apocalyptic world, this richly realized picture of earth about a century after the fall of humanity is a compelling setting for what is ultimately a hopeful and uplifting novel. [more inside]
In 2267, Earth has just begun to recover from worldwide ecological disasters. Minh is part of the generation that first moved back up to the surface of the Earth from the underground hells, to reclaim humanity's ancestral habitat. She's spent her entire life restoring river ecosystems, but lately the kind of long-term restoration projects Minh works on have been stalled due to the invention of time travel. When she gets the opportunity take a team to 2000 BC to survey the Tigris and Euphrates rivers, she jumps at the chance to uncover the secrets of the shadowy think tank that controls time travel technology.
The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy meets the joy and glamour of Eurovision in Catherynne M. Valente's science fiction spectacle, where sentient races compete for glory in a galactic musical contest…and the stakes are as high as the fate of planet Earth.
Babylon 5: Lines of Communication Season 4, Ep 11
Marcus and Franklin address a bombing on Mars. Ivanova is given a new task. Delenn investigates strange attacks... "John! It pleases me that you care for what I have become... But never forget who I was, what I am, and what I can do." [more inside]
All of the novelettes (stories between 7,500 and 17,500 words) that were nominated for a Hugo this year. [more inside]
Babylon 5: Racing Mars Season 4, Ep 10
Franklin and Marcus arrive on Mars. Garibaldi and Sheridan have a confrontation. "There isn't much chance of me winning this argument, is there?" "None whatsoever; I never give up when I'm right. Your only option is to surrender." [more inside]
Mystery Science Theater 3000: RIDING WITH DEATH Rewatch Season 8, Ep 14
Rewatch! It's another packaging of two TV show episodes (of Gemini Man) into a single "movie," such as with Master Ninja and Fugitive Alien. This one's about a Ben Murphy who can become invisible and is a spy, kind of, and a race driver. Previously.
Welcome to the Scattered Pearls Belt, a collection of ring habitats and orbitals ruled by exiled human scholars and powerful families, and held together by living mindships who carry people and freight between the stars. In this fluid society, human and mindship avatars mingle in corridors and in function rooms, and physical and virtual realities overlap, the appearance of environments easily modified and adapted to interlocutors or current mood.
The Orville: Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow Season 2, Ep 13
A time distortion affects Ed and Kelly's relationship. [more inside]
Babylon 5: Atonement Season 4, Ep 9
Delenn goes to Minbar to discuss her relationship with Sheridan, and is tested. Franklin and Marcus go to Mars to contact the rebels there. "I cannot have an aide who will not look up. You will be forever walking into things." [more inside]
The Orville: Sanctuary Season 2, Ep 12
The crew discovers that visiting Moclans aboard The Orville are harboring a secret. [more inside]
2019 Hugo Nominee for Best Graphic Story: A webcomic where a ragtag crew travels to the deepest reaches of space, rebuilding beautiful, broken structures to piece the past together. Two girls meet in boarding school and fall deeply in love―only to learn the pain of loss. [more inside]
A discussion of the shorts stories nominated for a Hugo this year [more inside]