This Heat Wave Will Never End: Are We Trapped in The Wheel of Time’s “Endless Summer”?

One of the many ways the The Dark One attempts to unmake the world in Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time series is by influencing the weather. When the series begins an unnaturally long chill has pressed itself over the land, and it is broken only by the emergence of the series’ savior, The Dragon Reborn. Later on in the series, the world (or at least the part of the world that we see) is beset by an endless summer. Heat pervades, drought persists, and there is no doubt that The Dark One is doing so in an attempt to smother the denizens of the world into submission. The threat is considered so great that the advancing plot of the entire series is eventually called to a halt so that this “endless summer” can be thwarted.

In our world, summer temperatures are reaching record highs across the northern hemisphere; this ...

5 Things I Missed in Robert Jordan’s The Eye of the World (Until Now)

Reading The Wheel of Time series banner

You’d think that—1. Having read the entirety of Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time fantasy saga. 2. Working at Tor.com, home of Leigh Butler’s amazing Wheel of Time Reread. 3. And writing deep-dives that wonder just how far Aviendha saw into her future—that the very first book in the series wouldn’t hold any surprises for me.

Sylas K. Barrett’s Reading The Wheel of Time has shown me the error in my thinking.

For those unfamiliar, Sylas has been reading Jordan’s Wheel of Time for the first time and chronicling his reactions and thoughts along the way. For experienced readers of the series like myself, the weekly column has been simultaneously tense and refreshing. Sylas is REALLY good at weaving together disparate hints into working explanations of the world, which makes one just want to squee and yell out the whole explanation; especially since, in some cases, the entire explanation ...

6 SFF Classics That Would Make Great Video Games

Skyrim dragon

It hit me while checking out Fred Saberhagen’s fantasy classic The Book of Swords: This should be a video game.

The Book of Swords has a great out-of-the-box premise. “For a game the gods have given the world twelve Swords of Power so that they might be amused as the nations battle for their possession. But Vulcan the Smith has had his own little joke: the Swords can kill the gods themselves.”

I would play the heck out of that game. Even more so if there were dual storylines where you could play through as a human hunting down a God-slaying sword, or a God collecting the swords before all the humans can kill you.

The more I imagined that kind of game, the more I realized that there are a lot of science fiction and fantasy series stretching back through the decades that could find new life ...

Final Fantasy 15 armiger
Portal 2
Marvel vs Capcom 3
Zelda Breath of the Wild cooking
Civilization 6 Gandhi meme
Skyrim dragon

7 Possible Candidates for Star Trek: Discovery’s Mysterious New Emperor

Michael Burnham Mirror Universe

In just a single episode, Star Trek: Discovery has given Star Trek fans what feels like several hundred new developments to think about. Weirdly, or perhaps ominously, one of the more fun developments is pondering the mystery of who could be in charge of the brutal new universe that the Discovery has found itself within.

[Note: Detailed spoilers ahead for all current episodes of Star Trek: Discovery up to “Despite Yourself”.]

 

Since its season premiere ST: Discovery has largely concerned itself with the Klingon-Federation War. That all took a back-back-waaaay-back seat in “Despite Yourself,” the mid-season premiere, as Discovery found itself stuck in…the Mirror Universe!

As viewers learned in this latest episode, getting back home to the “prime universe” is going to require some serious legwork. “The way is shut,” so to speak, as long as their spore drive engineer Stamets is out of commission, so ...

Star Trek: Discovery, Sarek
Admiral Cornwell Star Trek Discovery
Harry Mudd TOS
James R Kirk tombstone Where No Man Has Gone Before
Captain Georgiou Star Trek Discovery
Riker Jonathan Frakes Star Trek Enterprise chef

7 Possible Candidates for Star Trek: Discovery’s Mysterious New Emperor

Michael Burnham Mirror Universe

In just a single episode, Star Trek: Discovery has given Star Trek fans what feels like several hundred new developments to think about. Weirdly, or perhaps ominously, one of the more fun developments is pondering the mystery of who could be in charge of the brutal new universe that the Discovery has found itself within.

[Note: Detailed spoilers ahead for all current episodes of Star Trek: Discovery up to “Despite Yourself”.]

 

Since its season premiere ST: Discovery has largely concerned itself with the Klingon-Federation War. That all took a back-back-waaaay-back seat in “Despite Yourself,” the mid-season premiere, as Discovery found itself stuck in…the Mirror Universe!

As viewers learned in this latest episode, getting back home to the “prime universe” is going to require some serious legwork. “The way is shut,” so to speak, as long as their spore drive engineer Stamets is out of commission, so ...

Star Trek: Discovery, Sarek
Admiral Cornwell Star Trek Discovery
Harry Mudd TOS
James R Kirk tombstone Where No Man Has Gone Before
Captain Georgiou Star Trek Discovery
Riker Jonathan Frakes Star Trek Enterprise chef

The 8 Best Alternate Realities From Star Trek

Captain William Riker Star Trek alternate timelines

A few months ago, Star Trek: Discovery truly made a leap into the unknown. Where are Captain Lorca, Burnham, and the crew now? When are they? We don’t know! This Sunday the show returns with answers to these questions, but until that particular veil is lifted, I thought we should reminisce about the 8 very best times that Star Trek, in its glorious 50+ year history, has surprised us by leaping into intriguing alternate realities.

8. The Year of Hell

Star Trek Voyager Year of Hell

Early on in Star Trek: Voyager‘s fourth season, the crew meets the Krenim, a species who have managed to weaponize time travel (a quiet but long-standing open question in the Trek universe, since time travel is often utilized across species and shows). The Krenim are bopping around that part of the Delta Quadrant erasing entire planets and species that have prevented them from expanding into a formidable star empire ...

Star Trek Yesterday's Enterprise
Star Trek 2009 Kelvin timeline
Star Trek Discovery Lorca and Stamets
All Good Things poker game
Spock and Kirk Mirror Universe
Dalen Quaice Star Trek

Carl Sagan Believed Science Belonged to All of Us

It’s difficult to put into words the kind of impact Carl Sagan has had on fans of genre fiction. The combination of his enthusiasm for science education, his patience, and his outreach made him the unique man that we honor today, and if I wrote non-stop for a year I doubt I would be able to find a way to encapsulate that.

Which is when it occurred to me that I didn’t need to do that. At the 2013 New York Comic Con I was lucky enough to get to sit in on the panel for Cosmos and heard Sagan’s wife Ann Druyan and host Neil deGrasse Tyson speak of the man they loved, the man who set the example for what they were trying to accomplish. What they spoke was deeply thoughtful and brazenly passionate, and I’d like to share that with you now.

 

On attempting to fill ...

Mapping Brandon Sanderson’s Cosmere Raises So Many Questions About His Future Books

The Way of Kings cover art wallpaper Michael Whelan In fall of 2016 fantasy author Brandon Sanderson officially revealed in the Arcanum Unbounded collection that almost all of his books take place in a single cosmos, known as the “Cosmere”. Along with charts of each star system known about in the Cosmere, the book hinted that characters from the Mistborn, The Stormlight Archive, Elantris, and Warbreaker series had already begun quietly appearing on other worlds (i.e. other books) within Sanderson’s fictional universe. These “worldhoppers” hold the secret to the larger epic underpinning Brandon Sanderson’s novels and stories, so I got curious…what do we know so far about them? For new readers: There are some spoilers ahead, but nothing that gives away the ending of any of Sanderson’s stories or novels. First some basics, from Martin Cahill’s “Let’s Talk About Brandon Sanderson’s Cosmere“:

…a long, long time ago, there was a singular entity that went by the name/title of ...

Brandon Sanderson Cosmere Worldhoppers Shardholders
Brandon Sanderson Cosmere Worldhoppers Hoid
Brandon Sanderson Cosmere Worldhoppers Khrissalla
Brandon Sanderson Cosmere Worldhoppers

How Long Did The Wheel of Time’s “Endless Summer” Last?

One of the many ways the The Dark One attempts to unmake the world in Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time series is by influencing the weather. When the series begins an unnaturally long chill has pressed itself over the land, and it is broken only by the emergence of the series’ savior, The Dragon Reborn. Later on in the series, the world (or at least the part of the world that we see) is beset by an endless summer. Heat pervades, drought persists, and there is no doubt that The Dark One is doing so in an attempt to smother the denizens of the world into submission. The threat is considered so great that the advancing plot of the entire series is eventually called to a halt so that this “endless summer” can be thwarted. Last year, New York City, and really the entire northeastern United States, experienced the hottest ...
Better Hens crop rotation
Crop rotation grains

How Much Does the Star Trek: Discovery Trailer Reveal?

Star Trek: Discovery binary system Oddly, we don’t actually see the U.S.S. Discovery in the first Star Trek: Discovery trailer! The absence of the titular ship is just one of many interesting aspects hiding in the first trailer for Star Trek: Discovery, the new Star Trek show coming to CBS this fall. Although light on plot information, there are nevertheless several key visuals that promise a deep exploration of Trek lore for longtime fans of the franchise. Let’s take a look! First, some basic facts: This series takes place in the year 2255, “ten years before Kirk, Spock, and the Enterprise”. (The first season of the original series spans the years 2265 and 2266.) Tensions between the Federation and the Klingon Empire are high, and in a decade or so the Romulans will furtively enter the scene. Starfleet has been in existence for not-quite-a-century at this point and has just introduced ...
Star Trek Discovery Shenzhou
Star Trek Discovery robot
Star Trek Discovery sarcophagus
Klingon mummification glyph
Star Trek Discovery Michael Vulcan
Pike Spock Enterprise

Okay, Bring Back Firefly…But Not the Crew of The Serenity

Serenity Firefly Mal Another turn around the sun, another hope for the return of Joss Whedon’s beloved Firefly. This year’s tendril of possibility comes courtesy of a statement made by Fox Broadcasting’s President of Entertainment (what a job title!) David Madden at January’s Television Critics’ Association panel, where TV networks typically reveal the ideas they’re working on for the coming year. According to Rotten Tomatoes:
…Madden said he’d be open to a Firefly reboot if Joss Whedon himself wanted to revisit it. Madden suspects Whedon is now too busy with movies, and he would not consider doing Firefly without Whedon.

Sounds great! Except…I don’t know. Maybe it doesn’t? It’s been more than ten years since Serenity and we’re not exactly starved for plucky spacefaring entertainment these days. (Really the only thing we’re missing is a Star Trek television show, and even that’s rushing to get on the bus before it leaves the ...

Sci-Fi/Fantasy Classics That Would Make Great Video Games

Skyrim dragon It hit me while checking out Fred Saberhagen’s fantasy classic The Book of Swords: This should be a video game. The Book of Swords has a great out-of-the-box premise. “For a game the gods have given the world twelve Swords of Power so that they might be amused as the nations battle for their possession. But Vulcan the Smith has had his own little joke: the Swords can kill the gods themselves.” I would play the heck out of that game. Even more so if there were dual storylines where you could play through as a human hunting down a God-slaying sword, or a God collecting the swords before all the humans can kill you. The more I imagined that kind of game, the more I realized that there are a lot of science fiction and fantasy series stretching back through the decades that could find new life as ...
Final Fantasy 15 armiger
Portal 2
Marvel vs Capcom 3
Zelda Breath of the Wild cooking
Civilization 6 Gandhi meme
Skyrim dragon

Finally a Handy Chart of the “Big 5” Book Publishers and Their Imprints

Ali Almossawi publishers and imprints chart Trade book publishing is dominated by the “Big 5”: five book publishing companies that own or partner with over 100 different publishers and imprints, and who are responsible for the lion’s share of books that you see on shelves. As such, it can get confusing as to which imprint (like Tor Teen) is owned by which publisher (Tor/Forge Books) is owned by which “Big 5” company (Macmillan). Designer and author Ali Almossawi recently collected this information into an easy online info chart, allowing curious folks to quickly identify imprints and publishers owned by the same “Big 5” company. This is publicly available information, but it can be difficult to track down in some cases. Almossawi’s chart greatly simplifies that information. It should be noted that not all publishers are included in the chart, just the ones that are considered the five most prominent. (Harry Potter publisher Scholastic Books, for example, ...

Doctor Who Christmas Special Will Be a Commentary on Superman

The Return of Doctor Mysterio Doctor Who Christmas special Doctor Who is smack in the middle of filming its new season, but it was able to show some footage at New York Comic Con of the 2016 Christmas Special, titled “The Return of Doctor Mysterio”. Steven Moffat, who wrote the episode, described the special to the assembled crowd: “I’ve always loved superheroes and this Christmas Doctor Who dives into that world. My favourite superhero is Clark Kent. Not Superman…Clark Kent.” This Christmas sees the Doctor returning to a New York City under the protection of Doctor Mysterio (or maybe just Mysterio, it’s unclear). This being Doctor Who there are, of course, many more layers to the story. Check out some footage from the filming:
If “Mysterio” turns out to be a genuine parallel with Clark Kent and Superman, he and the Doctor could have some interesting things to say to each other about losing their respective homeworlds… Doctor: ...

Watch the First Teaser for Doctor Who Spin-Off Class

Scary Doctor Class BBC “I can travel through space and I can travel through time, but I can’t always be there when you need me,” says the Doctor, scaring the wellies off of a bunch of teenagers who were all born in the year 2000 oh god I made myself sad. Anyway, here’s our first good look at Class, the Torchwood-esque-but-with-kids Doctor Who spin-off, coming on October 22nd from BBC.
 

Dirk Gently Sneak Peek Eases the Distance Between Doctor Who and Sherlock

Dirk Gently TV show Check out this sneak peek from Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency, coming to BBC America on October 22nd. Fans of Doctor Who and Sherlock (Which is all of us, right? Probably all of us.) will find the rhythm of the show very familiar, as Samuel Barnett and Elijah Wood display the same appealing mix of jocularity, adorableness, and failure that you can find between Sherlock and Watson, or the Doctor and whomever he is currently taunting. Take a look:
     

How Long Was the “Endless Summer” in The Wheel of Time?

Lord of Chaos crop Darrell K. Sweet One of the many ways the The Dark One attempts to unmake the world in Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time series is by influencing the weather. When the series begins an unnaturally long chill has pressed itself over the land, and it is broken only by the emergence of the series’ savior, The Dragon Reborn. Later on in the series, the world (or at least the part of the world that we see) is beset by an endless summer. Heat pervades, drought persists, and there is no doubt that The Dark One is doing so in an attempt to smother the denizens of the world into submission. The threat is considered so great that the advancing plot of the entire series is eventually called to a halt so that this “endless summer” can be thwarted. New York City, and really the entire northeastern United States, is still reeling from experiencing the hottest ...
Better Hens crop rotation
Crop rotation grains

Check Out This Fan-Made Name of the Wind Monopoly Game!

Patrick Rothfuss Kingkiller Chronicle monopoly Reddit user AnUnbiasedSandwich has given fans of Patrick Rothfuss’ fantasy series a wonderful present: A Kingkiller Chronicles version of the board game Monopoly! AUS posted their original design materials on Reddit over the weekend, allowing anyone to take and assemble them into their own home version. All of the board squares are present, with taverns standing in for railroads and, well, utilities standing in for utilities! The locations AUS subs in from Rothfuss’ series are genius, flowing well in regards to their increasing importance. We’ve assembled our own version of the board, with some tiny flourishes, here:   Patrick Rothfuss Kingkiller Chronicles Monopoly board The game could still use 32 thematically appropriate Community Chest and Chance cards! And a tussle or three over who gets to use the Pipes token.

The Soviet Version of The Hulk is a Giant Bear With a Machine Gun

Guardians Arsus bear Hey, who wants to see a giant bear with a gatling gun? The answer is: everyone. A trailer for the Russian-made movie Guardians has been lighting up the internet in the past few days, drawing comparisons to 2012’s The Avengers in regards to sheer, eyeball-widening superhero action. The plot is terrifically simple. A machine army is attacking a present-day Soviet Union (so already some alt-history there) and the government has mere days to assemble disparate Soviet superheroes into a fighting force the likes the world has never…I’m sorry I can’t hold it in anymore…THEIR HULK TURNS INTO A GIANT BEAR AND IT’S ALL I’VE EVER WANTED.

Guardians releases on February 23, 2017 in Russia and there is talk that a dubbed version may make it to the U.S. later in 2017. The film is directed by Sarik Andreasyan, and is already slated for a sequel.