The English Job by Jack Straw review – portrait of Iran’s fixation with Britain


This post is by Andrew Anthony from Books | The Guardian


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The former foreign secretary examines why Iran, for all its domestic flaws, has just cause to fear foreign influence

Almost four years ago, the former foreign secretary Jack Straw went on holiday with his wife and a couple of friends to Iran, where he experienced what he calls a “forced conscription into a thriller”. Visiting the cypress of Abarkuh, a tree estimated to be up to 5,000 years old, the foursome were confronted by a group of men dressed in religiously observant black. They were members of the Basij, the thuggish volunteer offshoot of the Revolutionary Guards, and they handed Straw a leaflet explaining why he was unwelcome in their country.

The document detailed Britain’s perfidious 19th- and 20th-century track record in Iran and claimed that the recently retired Straw was a subversive agent of the British state, using his visit to sow discord. Thereafter the Basij followed the ...

Star Trek: Discovery Season 3 Timeline and Location Might Be Different Than We Thought


This post is by Ryan Britt from Tor.com Frontpage Partial - Blog and Story Content


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Hit it! The future is here! On Saturday, straight from San Diego Comic-Con, new details dropped about season 3 of Star Trek: Discovery  and the big news is…the ship may not have ended up exactly where they planned. Remember when Burnham was really clear about the exact planet and time period in the season 2 finale? Well…it turns out they might not have arrived exactly where and when they planned.

In the season 2 Discovery finale “Such Sweet Sorrow Par 2” Burnham’s plan was to guide the ship through the wormhole, 930 years into the future, and end up at the planet Terralysium in the Beta Quadrant. At the end of the episode, Spock, Pike, Number One and the crew of the Enterprise all observed the final “red signal” from Burnham, letting everyone know they had made it safely to their destination. Accept, it looks like they didn’t.

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Westworld Season 3 Goes Full Blade Runner


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If the brooding piano in the opening of credits of Westworld always makes you feel like you’re watching the sci-fi TV equivalent of a depressing Radiohead song, then season 3 might suddenly seem like a different show. Not that it won’t be depressing, but, basically, that the show is no longer secretive about who is a robot Host and who isn’t. If the previous seasons were Radiohead, the new season is full-on Daft Punk. The season 3 trailer for Westworld was revealed on Saturday at San Diego Comic-Con, and because the Hosts are out in the real world now, the show feels like what would happen if Blade Runner was a giant war.

Speaking at the Westworld panel at San Diego Comic-Con, Nolans said “When we started, Westworld was a dystopia. And now, three seasons in, it’s kind of a best-case scenario. The form of AI we have on ...

Expectation by Anna Hope review – intelligent and humane


This post is by Hannah Beckerman from Books | The Guardian


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The disappointed lives of three women add up to high reader satisfaction in Anna Hope’s perceptive new novel

“You must keep hold of your friendships, Lissa. The women. They’re the only thing that will save you in the end.”

Such is the advice a mother gives her daughter in Anna Hope’s profoundly intelligent and humane third novel, Expectation, about the disjunct between the lives we once imagined for ourselves and the lives we end up living.

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Diary of a Somebody by Brian Bilston review – a spoof too far


This post is by Johanna Thomas-Corr from Books | The Guardian


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There’s some clever parody in this comic novel by Twitter’s ‘unofficial poet laureate’, but it’s short on bite and wit

Britain has a rich tradition of literary diarists, from Samuel Pepys and James Boswell to Frances Partridge and Alan Bennett. We also have a rich tradition of spoof diarists, who seem realer than real to many readers: Charles Pooter, Bridget Jones, Adrian Mole.

Brian Bilston falls somewhere between the two. Like Mole, he’s a poet, only a real-life published poet with a large social media following. But Brian Bilston is a pseudonym, the creation of a man named Paul Millicheap, who has now written a fictional diary. While the “real” Bilston is known as “the poet laureate of Twitter” for his minimalist musings on Jeremy Clarkson and Ocado deliveries, fictional Brian is struggling to attract more than 43 tweeple to retweet his daft doggerel. “Beat poets” is one ...

Backlash grows against unstaffed libraries


This post is by Jessica Murray from Books | The Guardian


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Use of keycards and self-service scanners cannot replace librarians, say campaigners

Harriet Connides hasn’t been to her local library in north London’s East Finchley for months. She used to go every few days, often with her young daughter, but now it is staffed for only 16 hours a week and Connides, who has severe mobility problems, is uncomfortable being in there alone. “I don’t feel safe here any more. If I fall, I don’t know what would happen,” she says.

The disabled toilets are also closed during unstaffed hours. “It’s another avenue cut off from someone who already has a lot of avenues cut off,” says Connides.

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John Cooper Clarke: ‘I didn’t want to quit heroin’


This post is by Tiernan Phipps from Books | The Guardian


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While conceding the drug was ‘fabulous the first time’, the veteran performer has one overwhelming message: don’t do it

John Cooper Clarke, the poet and performer who became famous during the punk rock era of the late 1970s, has said he didn’t want to quit taking heroin and weaned himself off the drug for the sake of society rather than for his own health.

Speaking on BBC Radio 4’s Desert Island Discs, Clarke recalled the addiction which dominated much of his life in the 1980s, when he was living in a flat in Brixton, south London, with Nico, the late singer and muse of the Velvet Underground.

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American Carnage by Tim Alberta review – the ‘riddle’ of Trump’s rise


This post is by Peter Conrad from Books | The Guardian


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An investigation of Donald Trump’s unlikely ascent offers uncomfortable echoes of our political situation

Like trauma victims replaying the calamity that befell them while they wonder how much they are to blame, Americans have spent almost three years asking themselves the anguished question that Tim Alberta poses in the stark first sentence of his book: “How did Donald Trump become president of the United States?”

Answering this “riddle”, as Alberta calls it, is like rationalising the fall of man or coming to terms with a cancer diagnosis. Along with WikiLeaks and the KGB, higher powers seem to have been in play. Former White House press secretary Sarah Sanders recently suggested that Trump was God’s personal choice to occupy the Oval Office. Or is he the result of a diabolical jest? Paul Ryan, who decided when he was speaker of the House to collaborate with Trump and educate him about ...

Marvel Announces Details for Black Widow!


This post is by Leah Schnelbach from Tor.com Frontpage Partial - Blog and Story Content


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We all knew Natasha Romanoff was getting a stand alone film, but we were not prepared for the cast that would be joining Scarlett Johansson!

The film will take place after the events of Captain America: Civil War, and, yes, we’ll finally learn more about whatever happened in Budapest.

Scarlett Johansson is back as Widow, obviously, and she’ll be joined by David Harbour, Florence Pugh will be Yelena Belova—a sister to Natasha. Does this mean another woman who has been through the training regimen of the Red Room? David Harbour will also star, and we know Widow’s going up against Taskmaster in this outing, so…does this mean Harbour is Taskmaster?

And as if this wasn’t enough, the film will also feature Rachel Weisz.

Black Widow will hit theaters May 1, 2020!

Marvel Announces MCU Phase 4 at San Diego Comic-Con!


This post is by Emily Asher-Perrin from Tor.com Frontpage Partial - Blog and Story Content


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Marvel Studios logo

After Avengers: Endgame, Marvel fans have been eager to know what’s coming from the Marvel Cinematic Universe. And Marvel was ready, delivering a whole slate of films and television projects from the upcoming Phase 4 in Hall H at San Diego Comic-Con!

We’ll be updating as we go, but here are the projects we’ve got thus far:

The Eternals—Coming in November 6th, 2020 (we’ve got a full cast announcement here!)

The Falcon and the Winter Soldier—television, coming in Fall 2020

Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings—February 2021

WandaVision—television, Sping 2021

Loki—television, Spring 2021

Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness—Summer 2021

 

Marvel Studios Announces Eternals Cast and Release Date!


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Marvel Studio appeared at San Diego Comic-Con to introduce us to some Eternals! The studio has announced a (stellar) cast, an official release date, and they dropped a logo!

The cast will include Richard Madden as Ikaris, Angelina Jolie as Thena, Kumail Nanjiani as Kingo, Lauren Ridloff as Makkari, Brian Tyree Henry as Phastos, Salma Hayek as Ajak, Lia McHugh as Sprite, Don Lee as Gilgamesh, the Forgotten One.

Here’s another look at the logo:

But best of all? We’re getting the movie next year, on November 6, 2020.

‘The Orville’ Season 3 Will Make One Big Change (And It’s Not Onscreen)


This post is by Stubby the Rocket from Tor.com Frontpage Partial - Blog and Story Content


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One thing The Orville has always had on the newer Star Trek shows is that you didn’t have to get a subscription to a streaming service to watch it. For two seasons, The Orville was old-school; all you had to do was have network TV and you could watch the Star Trek-ish show for free. But not anymore. Season 3 of The Orville will not air on Fox on live TV, but instead, be streamed exclusively on Hulu.

On Saturday, at San Diego Comic-Con, Orville creator and star Seth MacFarlane said that the third season of the show would move to it Hulu, exclusively. Some outlets (like TrekMovie) have pointed out that Fox (the parent network of The Orville) is now part of Disney, following the large merger earlier this year. Essentially, it seems that putting The Orville on a streaming-only network might be out of the hands ...

The Snowpiercer TV Trailer is Every Bit As Unsettling As You Hoped It Would Be


This post is by Emily Asher-Perrin from Tor.com Frontpage Partial - Blog and Story Content


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Snowpiercer television trailer

If you’ve read Snowpiercer or seen the film, you know it is not a tale for the faint of heart. So why not put it on television with the talents of Daveed Diggs and Jennifer Connelly driving it onward? There are always more terrifying depths to plumb, you know.

Get your first glimpse of Snowpiercer:

That was… harrowing seems far too tame of a word. It’s always exciting to see more of Diggs on screen in roles he can really dig into, and Connelly has just the right chill to be the train’s Head of Hospitality. The design and cinematography also stand out, which is no small feat for a trailer that clocks in at under three minutes.

Snowpiercer is coming to TBS is spring of 2020.

Carnival Row Drops Two New Trailers at Comic-Con 2019


This post is by Stubby the Rocket from Tor.com Frontpage Partial - Blog and Story Content


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Carnival Row is shaping up to be a steampunk-elfpunk extravaganza. On Friday, Amazon dropped two new trailers for its upcoming fairy-centric saga at Comic-Con, and fans got a closer look at the series’ plot for the very first time.

Each narrated by one of the two main characters, a fairy named Vignette Stonemoss (Cara Delevigne) and a human detective named Philo (Orlando Bloom), the two clips introduce us to the world of Carnival Row. Set in a fantasy counterpart of Victorian-era London called The Burg, the series follows a group of immigrant fey, whose lands are invaded by humans after generations of peaceful living. During this war, Vignette and Philo fall in love, but they’re soon separated by human authorities. As Vignette and the other exiled fey eke out a living as servants for the city’s human population, Philo investigates the gruesome deaths of murdered fey.

These weren’t the only ...

Star Trek: Picard Trailer Is Here. Let’s Engage With It


This post is by Ryan Britt from Tor.com Frontpage Partial - Blog and Story Content


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If anyone was worried that Star Trek: Picard will be a depressing Trek series all about Jean-Luc drinking wine and being super-sad, don’t worry. Patrick Stewart says that he personally made sure that the story of the Next Generation follow-up show was about Picard at his best, not at his worst. And the trailer will send chills up the spines of humans, Romulans, Borg and androids alike. Let’s make it so.

Trailer after the jump

Speaking on Saturday at the Star Trek Universe Panel at San Diego Comic-Con, Stewart explained that though he’d turned down coming back as Picard several times because the moment never was quite right. He also explained ...

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Star Trek: Picard Trailer Is Here. Let’s Engage With It


This post is by Ryan Britt from Tor.com Frontpage Partial - Blog and Story Content


Click here to view on the original site: Original Post




If anyone was worried that Star Trek: Picard will be a depressing Trek series all about Jean-Luc drinking wine and being super-sad, don’t worry. Patrick Stewart says that he personally made sure that the story of the Next Generation follow-up show was about Picard at his best, not at his worst. And the trailer will send chills up the spines of humans, Romulans, Borg and androids alike. Let’s make it so.

Trailer after the jump

Speaking on Saturday at the Star Trek Universe Panel at San Diego Comic-Con, Stewart explained that though he’d turned down coming back as Picard several times because the moment never was quite right. He also explained ...

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Star Trek: Picard Trailer Brings Back Data, Seven of Nine and Hugh the Borg Drone


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Did somebody say they wanted more Borg and androids in their new Star Trek? Because if you did, get ready for this: the new series Star Trek: Picard will feature not only the return of Jean-Luc Picard but also Mr. Data and…Seven of Nine from Star Trek: Voyager and Jonathan del Arco, you know the guy who played Hugh, the nice Borg drone in The Next Generation. This is not a fan-fiction fever dream. This is happening.

On Saturday at the Star Trek Universe Panel at San Diego Comic-Con it was revealed that the following actors are returning for the Picard series: Jeri Ryan, Brent Spiner, and Jonathan Del Arco, playing Seven of Nine, Data and Hugh (Third of Five), respectively.

UPDATE: We have a trailer! 

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We’re Getting a New Janet! Dogs are Serenaded! Highlights from The Good Place Season 4 Panel at SDCC 2019


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The Good Place panel opened with scenes from the upcoming fourth and final (sniff!!!) season, which apparently involved a bay elephant telling the secrets of the universe. With that out of the way, a panel made up of Ted Danson (Michael) Kristen Bell (Eleanor) Manny Jacinto (Jason) William Jackson Harper (CHIDI!!!), Darcy Carden (JANET! JANET!) and Michael Schur (Creator God) shared tales from the set and talked aobut saying goodbye to their characters. We’ve rounded up some highlights below!

Jameela Jamil began on a philosophical note, saying: “It’s so cool to know we’re completing the story as it was supposed to be completed.”

D’Arcy Carden attempted to be cool about The Good Place ending, but admitted: “Its sad as hell. We can say it’s great, but it sucks.” Jamil added: “We ...

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Star Trek: Lower Decks Really Does Look Like Rick and Morty


This post is by Ryan Britt from Tor.com Frontpage Partial - Blog and Story Content


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The details of the first animated Star Trek series since 1976 have been revealed. And, it looks like the new series — Star Trek: Lower Decks — will have a very Ricky and Morty-feeling, and the showrunner even casually compared Data and Geordi to Rick and Morty.

On Saturday at the Star Trek Universe Panel at San Diego Comic-Con fans got the first glimpse of the humorous animated Trek series from Short Treks and Rick and Morty writer Mike McMahan — Star Trek: Lower Decks. Most of these glimpses took the form of several images of the new characters, as well as a description of when the show takes place in the Trek timeline and what it’s about.

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