Zootopia is the Best Science Fiction Movie of 2016

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Talking animals are popular for two obvious reasons:

  1. They’re cute.
  2. Everything they say and do is probably about us.

Good science fiction is very often social commentary about “real” things dressed up in a way that is both close enough to the truth, and complexly unique enough to be its own brilliant thing. Which is why the odyssey of Bunny Police Officer Judy Hopps in Zootopia is socially conscience science fiction storytelling at its finest.

Ontologically, the premise of Zootopia is working with a familiar science fiction trope: imagine there’s an Earth populated by intelligent creatures who are not humans. But, unlike Planet of the Apes or some other evolutionarily-angled science fiction world, humans don’t seem to have existed here, ever. Zootopia never once mentions human beings, putting itself squarely in a parallel universe in which we never showed up. You might say this is all for the convenience of ...

Just Try to Escape the Voice of Kevin R. Free

kevin-free-interview Between the Night Vale World Tour and the novel version of Welcome to Night Vale, fans of phantasmagorically delicious podcast had a pretty great 2015. Now that 2016 is here, what should fans of Night Vale be getting excited about? Well, if you love horror, H.P. Lovecraft, and the genre-spanning writing of Victor LaValle, then maybe you want to listen to Kevin R. Free—“Kevin” on Welcome to Night Vale—narrate LaValle’s The Ballad of Black Tom! We sat down with Kevin to get his thoughts on Welcome to Night Vale, voicing sci-fi/horror books, and what it’s like to be famous online.   Ryan Britt: You’re the voice of “Kevin” on Welcome to Night Vale, specifically Night Vale’s “rival” Desert Bluffs! Briefly (if possible): how has that changed your life? Kevin R. Free: My Twitter and Tumblr following increased exponentially in 2013 when the Buzzfeed article ...

Star Trek’s Best Writer/Director EVER Has Joined the Crew of CBS’ New Star Trek TV Show

spock-whatnow Star Trek fans of every shade just received the best news: writer/director Nicholas Meyer is joining CBS’ new Star Trek television show, which is set to debut in 2017 with Bryan Fuller producing. Not sure who Nicholas Meyer is? He’s the guy who saved Star Trek from obscurity and made it smarter than you ever realized. Here’s why this is possibly the best geek-related news of the past 20 years. Showrunner Bryan Fuller sums up Meyer’s credentials perfectly in his announcement to Entertainment Weekly:
Nicholas Meyer chased Kirk and Khan ‘round the Mutara Nebula and ‘round Genesis’ flames, he saved the whales with the Enterprise and its crew, and waged war and peace between Klingons and the Federation.

Meyer wrote and directed Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan and Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country. He also co-wrote Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home. In short: ...

The Oscars Forgot to Nominate The Force Awakens For Best Picture

Star Wars: The Force Awakens Let’s pretend for a second that The Academy Awards is designed to accurately represent the best achievements in a given year in the field of cinema. We know that it doesn’t—and the #oscarssowhite problem more than proves that—but let’s just say that the Oscars should be providing a representation of movies that were both relevant to the culture and were “good”: achieving the balance between entertaining people and doing something somewhat new in the field of cinema. I think The Academy Awards should have honored this approach by nominating Star Wars: The Force Awakens for Best Picture. (Note: Spoilers ahead for The Force Awakens.) Regardless of their genre, film sequels are rarely nominated for awards, and it is rare for them to be considered in high regard, although there are several notable exceptions. The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King (technically a sequel) did win Best Picture, ...
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William Shatner’s New Memoir Leonard is Surprising and Moving

leonard-shatner Whether they’re in their Kirk and Spock guises, or just being themselves, it’s hard to prefer William Shatner to Leonard Nimoy. Nimoy just seems more comfortable and real of the two, whereas Shatner appears to be putting on airs. Over the years, William Shatner seems to have figured this out and embraced the fact that no one will ever totally take him seriously. All of this makes the publication of a memoir written by him about Leonard Nimoy both look like a cynical cash-grab and a disingenuous maneuver of faux-love. But if you’re a Star Trek fan, or casually interested in Leonard Nimoy, Leonard: My Fifty-Year Friendship With a Remarkable Man reveals that not only is Shatner a good guy, but that Leonard Nimoy may not have been the cool one, and did in fact fight all sorts of demons both inside and out. Structurally, Leonard is all over the ...

Stephen Hawking Is a Perpetual Beacon of Hope

Stephen Hawking If you know even little bit about Stephen Hawking, then you know that you’re dealing with someone so extraordinary that his life and work might seem to be fashioned from the pages of science fiction. As a physicist, Hawking pushed our understanding of black holes into new frontiers, but as a person, he is nothing short of an enduring example of someone who just will not give up. Today is his 74th birthday: happy birthday, Professor Hawking! Like Carl Sagan, Stephen Hawking occupies a category of brilliant people who we might call rockstar scientists. This isn’t just because of his breakthroughs in uniting Einstein’s Theory of General Relativity with the field of Quantum Mechanics, but because he brought the power of his ideas to the people. If the show Cosmos was the fastest way for a lay person to feel smart about outer space, then Hawking’s A Brief History of ...

Sherlock’s “The Abominable Bride” Is a Live-Action Think Piece About Sherlock

Sherlock The Abominable Bride mind palace In both the Sir Arthur Conan Doyle novel A Study in Scarlet and in the latest installment of BBC’s Sherlock—“The Abominable Bride”—we’re told “there is nothing new under the sun.” This mirrored sentiment explains the preponderance of fan fiction and fan writing in general, but also the tendency for the show Sherlock to feel more like fanish creation than a straight-up adaptation. So, if fandom be the food of our love for Sherlock Holmes, then “The Abominable Bride” isn’t really a new episode of Sherlock at all, but rather, a nearly endless hall of mirrors in which Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss do what they do best with our notions of these great characters: they play. Spoilers for “The Abominable Bride.” When Dorothy Gale wakes up at the end of The Wizard of Oz, she points out that several “real” people were in fact with her ...
MASTERPIECE Sherlock: The Abominable Bride Picture Shows: MARTIN FREEMAN as John Watson and BENEDICT CUMBERBATCH as Sherlock Holmes © Robert Viglasky/Hartswood Films and BBC Wales for BBC One and MASTERPIECE This image may be used only in the direct promotion of MASTERPIECE. No other rights are granted. All rights are reserved. Editorial use only.
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