Exclusive: Into the Badlands' Emily Beecham discusses the Widow's journey in 'Raven's Feather, Phoenix Blood' @ Syfy Wire

Into the Badlands packed a one-two punch with its return to television this week, delivering two episodes for its midseason return to the air, with the second one airing tonight — and if we thought the situation was going to be easier for our favorite characters, this series shows no signs of stopping, especially for the Widow (Emily Beecham), who got to experience a very personal vision of what her life would have been like if she'd always been in possession of the gift.

The Widow fights the ultimate battle with herself on Into the Badlands @ Syfy Wire

Spoiler Warning: If you haven't watched the Season three episode of Into the Badlands, “Raven's Feather, Phoenix Blood” you might want to turn back now. Besides, as we all know: No one escapes the Badlands.

Did you think I was making it all up when I said we got double the Badlands this week? You should all know you can trust me by now, because I never lie when it comes to this show. After this week, we'll be dropping back to your typical once-a-week airing, but let's just bask in all the goodness we get from back-to-back episodes for now.

WATCH: Aisha Tyler hosts The Great Debate @ Syfy Wire

What are the greatest questions in geekdom, and who shall debate them? Why, we will, of course. It’s kind of what we do in The Great Debate, SYFY WIRE’s recurring show that pits geeky comedians against each other to settle all of the burning questions that no one really asked.

WATCH C2E2: Clueless’ Paul Rudd and Alicia Silverstone on where their characters are now @ Syfy Wire

If you’re like, totally clueless about what might have happened to Cher and Josh after she caught the bouquet (and he won the bet) in Amy Heckerling's classic '90s film Clueless, stars Alicia Silverstone and Paul Rudd have their own take.

WATCH: Why Batman: Hush is the best Batman story @ Syfy Wire

Over two decades ago, Jim Lee was already a legend in the comic book industry from his run on the X-Men and co-founding Image Comics. In 1998, Lee sold his studio, Wildstorm, to DC Comics in order to focus on illustrating comics again. While he worked on a few projects in the intervening years, it wasn’t until 2002 that readers were able to enjoy his work on a monthly basis again.

Emiko, Dante and the Ninth Circle align in a shocking new Arrow @ Syfy Wire

Just when it looked like Oliver had found a new sister to bond with, things take a surprising turn this week as we learn a whole lot more about Emiko — and turns out she’s definitely no Thea Queen.

Spoilers ahead for “Inheritance,” the latest episode of The CW’s Arrow, which aired Monday,  March 25, 2019.

Turns out Emiko isn’t just working for the Ninth Circle — she’s running it.

Exclusive preview: DC Zoom races out of the gate with Super Sons: The Polarshield Project @ Syfy Wire

For decades, the comics industry struggled with the perception that comics were just for kids, yet most people buying comics were men aged 20 and up. This led to a variety of failed attempts to get comics to readers aged 12 and below.

Objects in Space 3/25/19: That world comes at a price @ Syfy Wire

We're in a brand new week, and if you thought I was going to be about anything other than Into the Badlands returning for its final eight episodes, you are sorely mistaken. It's a bittersweet experience, knowing that the show is going to be over and done with soon, but you can bet I'm going to be here helping you to savor the time we have left; you can check out my recaps and exclusive post-mortems over here.

A Gollum Prequel Might Be the Most Fascinating Yet Egregious Lord of the Rings Video Game @ io9

Lord of the Rings’ relationship with video gaming is a weird one. Whether it’s in the direct realms connected to the movies or in the far-flung adaptations straight from the source, balancing what makes a game fun with the ethos of Tolkien’s material is often a treacherous tightrope—which is what makes the idea of a…


Iron Man VR, Mortal Kombat 11 and other highlights from Sony's State of Play livestream @ Syfy Wire

While Apple was busy making a play today for its own gaming service, the folks at Sony also unveiled a host of new games for both its VR and PS4 platforms, along with a host of other announcements at the company's State of Play Livestream earlier today. 

7 Things We Hope to See in Star Wars Resistance Season 2 @ io9

Jedi aren’t supposed to look toward the future, but we are not Jedi.


The First Two Twilight Zone Episodes Get Trailers That Prepare Us for the Madness @ io9

In just a week, Jordan Peele’s reboot of The Twilight Zone will be here. The show’s first two episodes debut on CBS All Access April 1, and both now have stunning trailers giving us a taste of what to expect when that happens.


WIRE Buzz: Michael B. Jordan aging for Methuselah; HBO developing fantasy epic Asunda; more @ Syfy Wire

Michael B. Jordan will play a man who's more than 400 years old in Methuselah, a Warner Bros. Pictures project that has been in development almost as long.

Legends of Tomorrow's midseason trailer promises Disney World, demons and Bollywood @ Syfy Wire

“Who needs the trinity anyway? The Legends are super enough!” Our thoughts exactly. (Okay, not exactly; as much as we adore the Legends of Tomorrow, we also love Arrow, The Flash, and Supergirl.)

Inside the Wild New Plans for DC's Dial H for Hero Relaunch @ io9

The H Dial is back, and it’s got a new wielder—but that might not be the most exciting thing about DC Comics’ latest relaunch of the beloved Dial H for Hero. To learn more about why now was the time to bring back the Silver Age icon’s wild world, io9 spoke to the new creative team, Sam Humphries and Joe Quinones.


The most hated characters in genre are teen girls but we're sure there's a good reason @ Syfy Wire

You may have noticed over the past couple of millennia or so that in some parts of the world, women get treated like total freaking crap. From big damn deals like human rights violations to little stuff like, oh, constantly devaluing anything perceived as feminine, the real world is a bonkers minefield of misery that no woman ever truly survives. The teen years are especially brutal, as girls are under immense pressure to be wise beyond their years, and are expected to react to situations and make critical decisions as though they were adult women with decades of life experience.

Gaming: Gollum gets his own LOTR adventure, Black Ops 4 gets stone temple zombies @ Syfy Wire

Clutching the Precious to set out on his own, Gollum will scurry across Middle-earth for a solo adventure in Lord of the Rings: Gollum, a just-announced new game from developer Daedalic Entertainment.

Formation of Dark Vortex on Neptune Captured For the Very First Time @ io9

Late last year, astronomers detected the sixth known dark vortex on Neptune. This time, however, scientists were able to chronicle the formation of this swirling storm over the course of several years, offering new insights into these enigmatic and ephemeral weather features.


Apple's New Genre Shows Are Still Mysterious, But Here's What We Learned Today [Updated] @ io9

You know what people say—always leave them wanting more. Well, in Apple’s case, the much-anticipated announcement of its first crop of original TV shows for Apple TV+ left us wanting to know what the hell was going on.


Here's what we learned from the big Apple Event @ Syfy Wire

The big Apple Event took place today on their campus in Cupertino, and SYFY FANGRRLS was lucky enough to get a firsthand look at all the big entertainment news from the tech giant. We learned some official news about the long-rumored streaming service, as well as the info on the many upcoming exclusive series and films, and there were a few surprises along the way. A plethora of A-List celebrities like Oprah, Jennifer Aniston, Steven Spielberg, and J.J. Abrams made appearances too, and we're summarizing some of the most notable announcements.

The 10 Best Deals of March 25, 2019 @ io9

We see a lot of deals around the web over on Kinja Deals, but these were our ten favorites today.


Sure Seems Like Avengers: Endgame Is 3 Hours Long @ io9

Hold on to your butts. Whatever it takes.


8 Novels That Reexamine Literature from the Margins, by Katharine Duckett @ Barnes & Noble: Sci-Fi & Fantasy

Today we are joined by the author Katharine Duckett, who discusses novels that reimagine landmark works of literature from the prospective of the marginalized voices at their margins. Her debut novella, Miranda in Milan—a revisionary continuation of Shakespeare’s The Tempest—is out March 26, 2019.

Across literature, men’s voices predominate. It can still be hard for women and nonbinary authors to secure adequate shelf space for their stories, and the imbalance only worsens as you look back through the centuries of the written word. Characters sharing these identities are often reduced to deferential background players or stereotypical harpies, never given full inner lives of their own.

In my new book Miranda in Milan, I strive to expand the interiority of a Shakespearean heroine whose motivations and emotions are completely eclipsed by those of her father, and drew inspiration from the rich history of adaptations of classic works that center marginalized voices.

Here are more compelling literary works that reimagine the experiences of women who were silenced, sidelined, or slandered in their original appearances in the canon.

I, Tituba, Black Witch of Salemby Maryse Condé
Tituba was a real historical figure and one who is given a featured role in Arthur Miller’s The Crucible, but we learn little of her history or her reasons for testifying in the Salem witch trials. Condé’s deeply detailed novel, originally written in French, complicates and lends depth to Tituba’s trajectory, imagining her as a biracial woman whose religious and cultural identity is grounded in West African tradition. While the historical record indicates that Tituba was likely a Native woman from South America, Angela Y. Davis notes in her foreword to the English translation that Condé’s sharp, smart take on Tituba is just as valid as any other narrative, as historians have largely ignored this influential figure. “Should a Native American Tituba be recreated, in scholarly or fictional terms, this would be true to the spirit of Condé’s Tituba…Tituba’s revenge consists in reminding us all that the doors to our suppressed cultural histories are still ajar.”

Lavinia, by Ursula K. Le Guin: Le Guin’s novel brings to life Lavinia, the second and last wife of Aeneas, in a lyrical and lucid take on the world of The Aeneid. While her presence in Virgil’s epic is a crucial one—her marriage to Aeneas is prophecy, and a key part of the future founding of Rome—Lavinia never speaks a word, and we have no insight into how she views her husband or the bloody battle he wages for her hand. Le Guin employs the metatextual device of granting Lavinia visions of Virgil, who recently completed his epic poem and now lies ailing on a traveling ship, regretting that he didn’t give this insightful and intelligent young woman a greater role in his great work.

Mary Reilly, by Valerie Martin
In this narrative that runs parallel to the events of Robert Louis Stevenson’s Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, Mary Reilly is a dutiful servant in the household of the kind and mild Henry Jekyll. She develops an unusually close relationship with the master of the house, and as his behavior becomes more erratic and inexplicable (a development that coincides with the sudden appearance of his unsavory assistant, Edward Hyde), Mary reflects on her own father’s dualistic nature, his transformations driven by drink and his treatment of Mary almost as reprehensible as some of the acts in London that she begins to get wind of, dark crimes that may involve Edward Hyde himself.

Wide Sargasso Sea, by Jean Rhys
A classic of this genre, Rhys’ feminist and anti-colonial response to Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre gives us the full story of the “madwoman in the attic.” Antoinette Cosway is a Creole heiress born in Jamaica whose early life is marked by tragedy, and whose fortunes worsen when she is married off to Mr Rochester (unnamed in the book) as her mind begins to break down. Born in Dominica, Rhys brings firsthand knowledge of the ravages of the colonial system to bear in her text, and highlights the oppression of women and people of color under the white supremacist patriarchy of the mid-1800s.

Indigo, by Marina Warner
Another Tempest-based story, Warner’s novel gives us the voice of a character who is never able to speak in the book at all. Warner modernizes the story of Sycorax, the witch on the enchanted island who dies before the story of The Tempest ever starts, and envisions her as an indigo maker living in the Caribbean whose techniques are eventually appropriated by the British. The novel spans centuries, moving from the colonial to the post-colonial era and radically rethinking the characters of Miranda, Caliban, and Ariel.

The Mere Wife, by Maria Dahvana Headley
Grendel’s mother is a shadowy and oft-debated figure in Beowulf, with translations of her role in the poem vacillating between demon, lady, and warrior. Headley firmly chooses “warrior,” transporting the characters of the epic to the privileged sphere of the suburbs and transforming the story into a struggle that deals largely with class and privilege. Grendel’s mother becomes a fierce defender of her unusual son, whose nature makes him an outcast from society, and battles the Beowulf character (recast as a cop and former soldier) for her child’s very right to exist.

Circe, by Madeleine Miller
Circe is an antagonist of The Odyssey, a predatory woman who transforms Odysseus’s crew into swine when they have the misfortune of visiting her island and turns a romantic rival into a monster with the use of poison. But Miller gives us a more nuanced view of the daughter of Helios, making her into both a believable woman and a being whose concerns and views on the nature of her story extend beyond the mortal world. Miller, who also gave Achilles and Patroclus a love story in her first book, The Song of Achilles, infuses Circe with mythological allusions and inventive twists on the old gods and demigods of Greece.

The Cassandra, by Sharma Shields
This recently published novel transports the saga of Cassandra, disbelieved prophetess of Troy, to a World War II setting. Mildred Groves is a young woman with the ability to see the future, a gift that becomes complicated when she goes to work at the Hanford Research Center (an actual nuclear production complex, now decommissioned) early on in the war’s unfolding. Hanford exists to aid the war effort by manufacturing the processed plutonium that will eventually end up in the first atomic bombs, and only Mildred can see what will become of humanity if the project succeeds. Plagued by nightmares, Mildred becomes desperate to change the future, taking actions she hopes can alter the course of time.

All of these stories lend a new perspective to old tales, and I’d love to see more intersectional engagements with classic stories as well. As long as we keep reviving and retelling these narratives, it’s important to challenge their assumptions and deconstruct their norms, and every new adaptation is a starting point for fresh reimaginings. Let me know about some of your other favorite takes on literary women in the comments!

Originally from East Tennessee, Katharine Duckett has lived in Massachusetts, Turkey, and Kazakhstan, and currently resides in Brooklyn. She is a graduate of Hampshire College and Viable Paradise, and in addition to writing and working in publishing, she taught English with the Peace Corps after college and is a lifelong performer who has collaborated with Daniel Flores Dance in New York City to create multimedia theater pieces based on her fiction. Miranda in Milan is available March 26.

The post 8 Novels That Reexamine Literature from the Margins, by Katharine Duckett appeared first on The B&N Sci-Fi and Fantasy Blog.

Report shows bias in how female writers are covered @ Syfy Wire

Plenty of focus has been paid to representation when it comes to the creators of work across mediums, but when it comes to women in literature specifically, a new study shows how the authors are treated in the coverage and promotion of their work. 

WATCH C2E2: Tana Ford draws Cindy Moon, aka Silk @ Syfy Wire

It wasn't just Peter Parker who got bitten by a radioactive spider on that infamous field trip. Even hardcore Spider-Man fans often forget about what happened to his classmate Cindy Moon, aka Silk.

Legends of Tomorrow's Midseason Trailer Gives Us One Hell of a Good Look at the Adventures Ahead @ io9

Mexican wrestlers, a Bollywood dance sequence, and an RV road trip to Disney World with an unconscious President Richard Nixon in the backseat. Just another day in the life of DC’s Legends of Tomorrow.


Creepy comedians and doomed flights in new trailers for Jordan Peele's Twilight Zone revival @ Syfy Wire

Submitted for your approval: the official Twitter feed of Jordan Peele’s reboot of The Twilight Zone for CBS All Access has posted two new episode-centric trailers taking you to another dimension not only of sight and sound but of mind. The first one is for "The Comedian," starring Kumail Nanjiani.

The Matrix's stunt coordinators and choreographers reveal how the iconic fight scenes were made @ Syfy Wire

It's been 20 years since The Matrix first stunned the world with its game-changing action style, a brilliant blend of balletic martial arts moves and groundbreaking visual effects. The fight scenes were like nothing most audiences had ever seen before, but making all that action happen wasn't as simple as just hitting a button and downloading all those slick Kung Fu skills.

An Exclusive Look at the Gorgeous, Haunting Graphic Novel Adaptation of The Handmaid's Tale @ io9

From the TV series’ upcoming third season to the long-awaited second book, The Handmaid’s Tale is everywhere in a big way this year. But Margaret Atwood’s iconic dystopian story is also getting new life as a sumptuous new graphic novel—and ahead of its release this week, io9 has a look inside.


Kazakh Meteorite Reveals Signs of Ancient Solar 'Superflare' @ io9

Scientists have found evidence of an ancient solar “superflare” hidden in a meteorite that was first found in Kazakhstan in 1962, according to a new paper.


The strange loves of Storm @ Syfy Wire

It’s no secret that Ororo Munroe is a FANGRRLS favorite. This is a woman that has been around the world and even a pretty fair amount of the galaxy yet she remains perhaps the most emotionally grounded X-Man. She’s an omega level mutant and finds herself regularly seated at tables of Marvel’s most powerful players. She has done everything from pickpocket to queen. She is kind of the best.

WATCH C2E2: Assassin's Creed's Nolan North plays Roll For Questions @ Syfy Wire

You might recognize Nolan North from his voice, because it's Desmond Miles from Assassin's Creed, a character he also sort of looks like. He could probably do a sick Desmond cosplay.

Apple unveils new streaming service Apple TV+, led by Spielberg's Amazing Stories @ Syfy Wire

Today, Apple released more exciting details on its upcoming ad-free subscription streaming service, which is officially called "Apple TV+" and will launch in the fall. Over the last several years, the tech company has been ordering/developing a full docket of original genre programming.

Game of Thrones director breaks down how bigger budget, larger scope changed the show @ Syfy Wire

Game of Thrones has come a long way over the past eight years, and for proof, all you need to do is look back at Season 1's biggest moment. In hindsight, it's not exactly as "big" as it might've seemed. 

Apple announces mobile subscription video game service, Apple Arcade @ Syfy Wire

Apple is making a big move into gaming. At a special event at the Steve Jobs Theater in Cupertino, California, Apple unveiled a unique video game subscription service, Apple Arcade, for all iOS devices: iPhones, iPads, Macbook laptops.

Battle of the Planets, the show that introduced '70s kids in the US to Japanese animation @ Syfy Wire

If you were a kid in the late '70s then you likely had Star Wars fever, meaning that anything space-related was a big deal in your life. You wanted the giant Millennium Falcon toy that nobody had enough money for. You pretended those metal structures at the playground were spaceships. You probably also watched Battle of the Planets.

WATCH C2E2: Cory Doctorow talks tech and Superman punching out Nazis @ Syfy Wire

One of the reasons why Cory Doctorow is an intriguing interview subject is that he always has more to say about the really big ideas behind his writings. At C2E2, Doctorow was essentially there to plug his new book, Radicalized, a collection of four novellas. Naturally, Doctorow did promote his latest work, but he did it within the framework of a conversation that touched upon much deeper themes. Among other topics, Doctorow shared his belief that both optimism and pessimism are fatalistic. Instead, Doctorow places a much higher value on hope.

Zack Snyder Wants You to 'Wake the Fuck Up' and Accept that Batman Kills People @ io9

Let’s start by reminding ourselves that the Snyder Cut doesn’t exist and even if it did, it wouldn’t make Justice League any less of a terrible movie. With all of that in mind, Zack Snyder would like everyone to make their peace with the fact that the DCEU’s Batman has killed people, and nothing short of a…


Chambers: first look at Uma Thurman's Netflix horror show @ Syfy Wire

As if Netflix didn’t have enough horror series keeping fans up at night, the streaming service just released production photos from Uma Thurman’s upcoming horror show Chambers — and they won’t be helping anyone’s insomnia.

Where are all the great Jean Grey stories? @ Syfy Wire

Jean Grey is easily one of the most misunderstood characters in all of genre history, and it’s pretty easy to see why that is. Her first many years were spent as “the girl” of the X-Men during the Silver Age, then when she finally got a truly iconic storyline with the Phoenix Saga, she was later retconned right back out of it. References and reboots of that story have been occurring and repeating themselves for decades at this point, and so for potential new fans of Jean Grey, there hasn’t been a whole lot to hang onto when it comes to definitive character arcs.

WATCH C2E2: Black Panther roundtable @ Syfy Wire

Just a few years ago, Black Panther wasn't considered one of Marvel's A-list superheroes. But after his debut in Captain America: Civil War and his blockbuster solo film, T'Challa has finally taken his place among Marvel's elite characters.

Let's Talk About Jordan Peele's Us @ io9

Holy shit, y’all. Hopefully, you saw Jordan Peele’s Us this weekend—and, if you did, odds are you can’t stop thinking about it. What did it all mean? Well, we’re here to give you our thoughts and let you talk about yours, because there’s no way any one person could unravel it all or have all the answers.


WATCH C2E2: Tyler Hoechlin might be Superman but dreams of playing Indiana Jones @ Syfy Wire

What's the first thing you do when you find out you've been cast as the latest addition in a long line of live-action Supermen? Go to Vegas, obviously.

That was only one of the insights that actor Tyler Hoechlin shared with SYFY FANGRRLS during our chat at C2E2, when asked about where he was and what he was doing when he learned he'd won the recurring role of Superman on The CW's Supergirl — later to become an appearance across the entire Arrowverse during the "Elseworlds" event that spanned all four of the network's superhero shows.

Conflicting reports over YouTube’s plans for original TV, so what about Coba Kai? @ Syfy Wire

We’ll still be able to wax on, wax off, and paint the fence — at least for now — but Cobra Kai and other scripted YouTube Premium series are getting plenty of buzz as conflicting reports swirl about the web giant’s plans for more original content.

Forgotten Women of Genre: Sarah Halley Finn @ Syfy Wire

March is Women's History Month. And while here on SYFY FANGRRLS we celebrate women's achievements throughout the year, we're going above and beyond for the upcoming month with a limited podcast series called Forgotten Women of Genre.

Critical Role's Travis Willingham, Sam Riegel answer fan questions about their Kickstarter cartoon @ Syfy Wire

When the cast of the podcast and web show Critical Role launched their first Kickstarter campaign, they were looking for $750,000 to fund two episodes of an animated show based on their game of Dungeons & Dragons. They started the fundraiser with modest ambitions, uncertain how much their fans would be willing to shell out.

USB-C Is the Future Of Your Power Outlets, Too @ io9

The myriad of mobile devices I’ve purchased in the past few years turned my bedside outlet into a harem of various chargers and adapters. Looking to restore some order to this rat king of a power source, I installed TopGreener’s new USB type-C power delivery / Quick Charge 3.0 USB outlet.


Us director Jordan Peele reveals his bizarre, audio-only cameo in the horror hit @ Syfy Wire

Like many other great directors, Jordan Peele likes to make cameo appearances in his films. Unlike many of those directors, he chooses to make his cameos offscreen only.

**Spoiler Warning: There are spoilers for Us below.**

American Gods' Concepts About Life and Death Are Becoming More Mythic @ io9

It’s ironic that in its second season, American Gods, a show about old gods fighting to stay relevant in a world besieged by new deities, feels like it’s taking a more traditional approach to storytelling. That’s when you compare it to its first season, which was visually bold and unlike anything else on television at…


Zack Snyder opens up about his time-traveling Justice League script DC scrapped @ Syfy Wire

Since the theatrical release and mixed reception to Justice League, director Zack Snyder has been steadily dropping little tidbits about his grand plans for the DCEU that we'll never get to see.

WTF Moment: Blade II's sadomasochistic rave scene in the House of Pain @ Syfy Wire

Before the Marvel Cinematic Universe, there were the Blade movies — films in which Wesley Snipes plays the eponymous Marvel character, a half-human/half-vampire daywalker whose mission in life is to be cool and kill vampires. The first movie was a cult success when it came out in 1998, so it was only natural that a sequel, Blade II, hit theaters four years later...

Western horror film The Wind is Oregon Trail from hell in 8-bit video game trailer @ Syfy Wire

The upcoming western/horror film The Wind chronicles the psychological torture of life on the isolated American plains. Now, ahead of the film's release on April 5, you can experience what life was like with a playable eight-bit video game trailer.

Our Apple Services Event Liveblog Is Right Here @ io9

Apple is having a new kind of big event at the Steve Jobs Theater in Cupertino today. Will the company announce a new iPhone? Probably not. A new computer then? Nah. Perhaps a flying car? LOL. Is it a litany of new services that let you pay money to read magazines and watch Apple-made TV shows and stuff? Ding ding…


Nintendo will be switching it up with two new Switch models in 2019: Report @ Syfy Wire

The gaming wars of the next generation have begun in earnest as Google’s foray into the world of video games has now served as a run-up to news of new offerings from console heavy hitters Sony, Microsoft, and Nintendo. Nintendo has long been the option for quirky, niche, and youth-skewing gaming, so its consoles have prized unique gameplay and convenience over raw processing power or online prowess.

Monday's Best Deals: MacBook Air, PlayStation Now, TOMS, Cole Haan, and More @ io9

A Memory Called Empire Is a Compelling Political Whodunnit Wrapped in Intriguing Sci-Fi Worldbuilding @ Barnes & Noble: Sci-Fi & Fantasy

An aspect of history that often goes unconsidered is the fact that the “barbarian cultures” conquered by the Roman Empire—and, later, the Byzantine Empire—certainly wouldn’t have described themselves as such—labels of barbarism, like history, being writ by the conquerers. As a historian of the Byzantines, Dr. AnnaLinden Weller—who writes science fiction under the pseudonym Arkady Martine—certainly knows this better than most, and her understanding lends depth and breadth to the compelling political mystery that drives her excellent debut novel A Memory Called Empire.

The story centers on Mahit Dzmare, a young diplomat of Lsel Station, an independent, planet-less civilization thriving on the edges of the massive, dominant, ever-expanding Teixcalaanli Empire. When a Teixcalaanli warship arrives at the station demanding a new ambassador be sent to the empire’s capital planet, Mahit is selected and somewhat hastily outfitted with an imago machine containing the stored memories and personality of her ambassadorial predecessor, Yskandr Aghavn.

The imago is an implanted device that merges the recorded personality and memories of its former host with those of its new one; the effect, in text at least, is not wholly unlike having someone in your head to converse with, and decades of experiences not your own to draw from. Imagos are the system Lsel has developed to conserve the essential knowledge and experience of its ancestors and keep their civilization alive in the hostile environment of space. Understandably, they are something of a state secret. It takes many months for a host to fully bond with a new imago, but unfortunately, the rushed demands of the Teixcalaanli don’t allow Mahit that luxury. Worse, Yskander hadn’t been back to Lsel Station in 15 years, so the imago Mahit is given is woefully out of date.

These competing factors mean that the young ambassador would be ill-prepared to face the political pressure cooker of the capital city even if she didn’t arrive there to discover that Yskander—the one that exists outside of her head—has been murdered, and a crisis of imperial succession is underway. The shock of learning of “his” death sends the Yaskander imago into malfunction, leaving Mahit yet more woefully unprepared to serve as the last line of diplomatic defense against Lsel’s forced annexation. To safeguard her people, Mahit must solve a dual mystery: who killed Yskander, and what was he doing on Teixcalaan that made him the target of a political assassination? All she has on her side is her quick mind, her expertise in Teixcalaanli culture, and the aide of a diplomatic liaison named Three Seagrass (Teixcalaanli naming conventions, which combine lucky numbers with evocative, symbolically significant nouns, are one of the novel’s many delights).

Mahit is faced with many immediate challenges that don’t sound quite like the stuff of space opera—a stack of unanswered mail being a chief example—but Arkady achieves the feat of making quiet conversations of procedure with palace officials as tense and thrilling as an action sequence. Mahit’s inquiries put her at the mercy of powerful, competing factions in the Imperial court, and she must be diligent if she wishes to avoid Yskander’s fate as she probes possible acts of sedition and betrayal that hold immense implications for both Lsel and the empire itself.

Intriguing mystery aside, the novel truly impresses in its worldbuilding, and most especially in the way Martine studies the interplay between Teixcalaanli and Lsel culture, the colonizer and the prospective colonized. Mahit, who grew up steeped in Teixcalaanli poetry and romantic epics, is proud to be a citizen of Lsel Station, but she’s also a huge Teixcalaanli fangirl. It’s easy to imagine a Bulgarian emissary traveling to Constantinople in the 11th century with a similar attitude—a combination of resentment, pride, and awe. Mahit’s love of Teixcalaanli culture is one reason she’s so good at an incredibly difficult job. But the spoils of empire also come with costs, and the novel also considers how Teixcalaanli culture consumes and subsumes, how it views all that is not of itself as barbaric. Other civilizations are so influenced by the ubiquity of anything Teixcalaanli they take on the ways of Teixcalaan long before they’re absorbed by it. Mahit’s love for her potential conquerers is a powerful illustration of the insidious  weight of empire, making domination by the Teixcalaanli seem not only inevitable—but perhaps welcomed. It’s brilliant worldbuilding.

As a stranger in a strange land, Mahit provides a compelling view of the colonizing culture. She’s painfully conscious of her youth and inexperience, but also fiercely intelligent and determined. She’s no fool, and knows the cost of misplaced trust. She’s also brave; she represents a tiny station that every Teixcalaanli assumes will be subsumed into the empire eventually, yet she never gives an inch. The other characters are just as well drawn. Mahit’s liaison Three Seagrass is an educated patrician who glides effortlessly through the politics and social orders of the empire with humor and warmth—you understand how these two become instant, if tentative, friends. As Mahit discovers that the aged, heirless emperor Six Direction has appointed no fewer than three co-emperors to succeed him, the other members of the high court come into equally clear focus, as the author’s  historical expertise pays off; she captures the mixture of awe and savagery inherent in powerful imperial systems. (The Teixcalaanli Empire is a place where poetry ciphers hide encoded messages and poisonous flowers are delicate tools of symbolic assassination.)

From Dune to Red Rising, science fiction loves to look to real history as a template for invented futures. In A Memory Called Empire, Arkady Martine climbs inside of history to bring it to animate, immediate life. Amid a wave of resurgent space operas, it stands apart, as pointed and dangerous as the spokes jutting from the sun-spear throne of the Teixcalaanli emperor.

A Memory Called Empire is available March 26.

The post <i>A Memory Called Empire</i> Is a Compelling Political Whodunnit Wrapped in Intriguing Sci-Fi Worldbuilding appeared first on The B&N Sci-Fi and Fantasy Blog.

Exclusive preview: Hex Wives ends with a bang in Issue 6 @ Syfy Wire

What if, rather than being slowly subjugated and replaced by robots, The Stepford Wives had actually gotten to fight back against their oppressors? What if Samantha from Bewitched had joined a coven and bounced on suburbia? What if Offred in The Handmaid's Tale had been a witch with incredible power who freed herself in the first 20 pages of the book?

WATCH C2E2: Alicia Silverstone, Breckin Meyer, and Donald Faison look back at Clueless @ Syfy Wire

This year's C2E2 had a wealth of sci-fi and comic book panels and guests. But did anyone really think we'd pass up the opportunity to talk with the cast of Clueless? As if! While the 25th anniversary of the iconic coming-of-age comedy isn't until next year, Alicia Silverstone, Breckin Meyer, and Donald Faison were special guests on the Live Stage, where they shared their stories about the film.

Dumbo composer Danny Elfman on his iconic partnership with Tim Burton @ Syfy Wire

There are few figures in contemporary film music more iconic than Danny Elfman, and few collaborations more lasting and fruitful than his with Tim Burton. From Pee-Wee's Big Adventure to Batman to Big Fish to Alice in Wonderland, their work has become synonymous with each other's, which is why it's no surprise that they reunited once again for Burton's live-action update of the 1946 Disney animated movie Dumbo.

Hellboy's Producer Discusses the Thinking Behind That Ben Daimio Whitewashing 'Mistake' @ io9

One of the first curious details about Neil Marshall’s Hellboy reboot came when actor Ed Skrein was cast as Ben Daimio. In the Hellboy comics, Daimio’s always been Japanese-American. Skrein, notably, has always been quite white, and so the question on everyone’s minds at the time was what, exactly, was Lionsgate…


The Mega Sg Is the Only Sega Clone You Should Buy @ io9

It’s a great time to be a nostalgic retro gamer with countless ways to replay all the 8 and 16-bit games you loved as a kid—assuming you are a Nintendo fan. The NES and SNES Classic Editions, as well as several third-party console clones that work with original carts, do a lovely job of putting retro Nintendo games on…


Chosen One of the Day: Carol's Heart T-shirt in Captain Marvel @ Syfy Wire

Captain Marvel’s '90s aesthetic is so flawless it will send the nostalgic into fits of rapture. I, personally, lost my mind when Carol became the world’s first GameBoy modder.

But that pitch-perfect aesthetic means that it is easy to forget that Carol herself is not a woman of the '90s, but of the late '80s. That Nine Inch Nails shirt is mighty fine, but it doesn’t necessarily reflect Carol’s personal taste in music.

The Walking Dead showrunner explains the 'randomness' behind those three shocking deaths @ Syfy Wire

Snow has finally come to the deep south as The Walking Dead creeps toward another game-changing season finale. But when winter sets in, there’ll be fewer heads for it to descend on — thanks to the surprise exit this week of three characters whose deaths were almost impossible to see coming.

TV THIS WEEK: The Walking Dead finale; Happy!, What We Do In the Shadows, Knightfall premieres @ Syfy Wire

From NSFW imaginary friends to Mark Hamill's return to the small screen, it's a big week in TV. Oh, and that's not even mentioning more Lex Luthor and the season finale of the post-Rick Walking Dead.

Dark Horse Comics single-issue solicitations for June 2019 @ Syfy Wire

Every month, SYFY WIRE will be bringing you the solicitations for all the upcoming comic books you need to know about. Today we have Dark Horse Comics listings for June 2019 single-issue comics.

WATCH C2E2: AEW's Kenny Omega & the Young Bucks talk Double or Nothing and more @ Syfy Wire

Casual WWE fans may not realize it, but Kenny Omega and the Young Bucks (Matt and Nick Jackson) are three of the best professional wrestlers in the world. And they're not satisfied by the current wrestling promotions, so they're forming their own company: All Elite Wrestling. Additionally, AEW's first show will be Double or Nothing, the follow-up to their indie supercard, All In.

This $9 Magnetic Mat Makes Small Gadget Repairs Infinitely Easier @ io9

Keeping track of screws when you’re building IKEA furniture is hard enough. When you’re repairing an iPhone or a PC though, and the screws are roughly the size of a tick that you wouldn’t notice attached to your arm for several days, it’s all but impossible.


Updates From Detective Pikachu, Godzilla: King of the Monsters, and More @ io9

There’s wild casting reports for both the animated Scooby-Doo and the live action Dora the Explorer movies. Billy Batson reveals his secret in a new clip from Shazam. Jake Busey hints at the future of Starship Troopers. Plus, a tiny sliver of new Avengers: Endgame footage, and what’s to come on Doom Patrol. To me, my…


WATCH C2E2: Overwatch cast yells 'Go heal yourself!' @ Syfy Wire

Before anything else happened, Overwatch voice actresses Jennifer Hale (Ashe), Lucie Pohl (Mercy) and Carolina Ravassa (Sombra) freaked out at a BOB in the audience. He couldn't have been hard to single out, since BOB looks like a friendly Cyberman if Cyberman had beards, mustaches and cowboy hats.

That should tell you something about how things were going to go down on the Live Stage.

The largest asteroid impact since Chelyabinsk exploded harmlessly over Bering Sea @ Syfy Wire

On December 18, 2018, at 23:48:20 UTC, an asteroid entered Earth’s atmosphere above the Bering Sea, just east of the Kamchatka Peninsula. It wasn’t terribly big, but, since it was moving at a staggering 32 kilometers per second — about 115,000 kilometers per hour — its energy of motion (what scientists call its kinetic energy) was quite respectable.

WATCH C2E2: Svengoolie reflects on 40 years of horror hosting @ Syfy Wire

If you don't know who Svengoolie is — skeleton pin, rubber chicken, top hat and all — you're probably not a horror fan.

The legendary host (or is it ghost?) also known as Jerry Bishop dropped by the SYFY WIRE Live Stage at C2E2 2019 to scare up some memories that have been haunting him from his 40 years on screen... even he can't believe his show and character have actually been lurking on TV for that long.

WATCH C2E2: Amy Jo Johnson on her journey from Pink Ranger to Writer and Director @ Syfy Wire

Over 25 years ago, Amy Jo Johnson became famous for playing Kimberly Hart, the original Pink Ranger on Mighty Morphin Power Rangers. While Johnson subsequently starred in Felicity, The Division, and Flashpoint, her turn as the Pink Ranger is still her best known role.

How Filmmakers Created Fake Newsreels in the 1920s @ io9

A horrifying magnitude 7.9 earthquake hit Japan on September 1, 1923, killing over 140,000 people. And while news of the devastation reached newspapers around the world by the next day, there was no way to get film footage from Japan to the United States that quickly. But that didn’t stop filmmakers from making fake…


WATCH C2E2: Chris Claremont on Nightcrawler and his return to the X-Men @ Syfy Wire

If there's one name that’s synonymous with the X-Men, it’s Chris Claremont. Back in 1975, Claremont joined the Uncanny X-Men creative team shortly after the book was restarted with new characters. Claremont guided the X-Men for the next 16 years while adding and co-creating dozens of Marvel’s most popular mutant heroes. It's an unmatched run and a legacy that still holds up to this day.

The beginnings of a deadly plan are finally revealed on Into the Badlands @ Syfy Wire

Spoiler Warning: If you haven't watched the Season 3 episode of Into the Badlands, “Chamber of the Scorpion” you might want to turn back now. Besides, as we all know: No one escapes the Badlands.

Badlands fans, you've been waiting long enough and now the moment is finally here: it's the midseason premiere! Best of all, this blessed return is only the first of a two-part premiere, with the second episode rolling out tomorrow night — so we get double our faves as the show charges towards what promises to be a bittersweet series finale. 

Exclusive: Into the Badlands creators Al Gough and Miles Millar break down 'Chamber of the Scorpion' @ Syfy Wire

The wait is over, Badlands fans.

2018 James Tiptree, Jr. Award Winner @ Worlds Without End

The 2018 James Tiptree, Jr. Award, for works of speculative fiction which explore and expand gender, has been announced.


Honor List:

Our congrats to Gabriela Damián Miravete and all the Honor List members. You can read more details about each selection on the official Tiptree website.

Last Night's Walking Dead Was Shocking, Savage, and Utterly Spectacular @ io9

Guys, I haven’t been this stunned by an episode of The Walking Dead in so long. I mean, I was pleasantly surprised when a zombie knifed Jesus, I’ve enjoyed the wackiness of the Whisperers and the Highwaymen, and I’ve loved the bizarre way Rick was taken off the show. But last night’s episode was just fantastic—and it…


Star Trek: Discovery cast on Pike’s legacy, catching up with canon and Season 2’s jaw-dropping conclusion @ Syfy Wire

If you’ve been watching Star Trek: Discovery this season, you’ve been set up with high expectations for the rest of Season 2.

The Walking Dead: It's time for the fair! @ Syfy Wire

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