An early curiosity: as is commonly known, they changed the ending of Bride of Frankenstein, allowing Victor to escape with Elizabeth while the Monster, the Bride, and Dr. Praetorius apparently die in the cataclysm, despite that you can clearly see the good Dr. Frankenstein in the wide shot where the whole lab is… » 10/31/14 8:23am Yesterday 8:23am

The only way I ever thought of that you could do a sequel to Lord of the Rings — albeit, one that would get Tolkienistas putting out a hundred contracts on your life — would be a reveal showing that destroying the ring was Sauron's plan all the time, that his soul was trapped in the ring, and that its destruction… » 10/31/14 7:26am Yesterday 7:26am

I always loved it that in Fritz Leiber's tales of Fafhrd and the Grey Mouser, their swords were always named Graywand and Scalpel. However, these weren't family weapons, swords forged by a god, a weapon distributed by a watery tart lying about in a pond, or anything like that. They just gave that same name to whatever… » 10/31/14 7:04am Yesterday 7:04am

Shortages of fresh water. Nothing is going to bring on death, disease, crop failure, famine, population migration, and full-scale war with more certainty than people desperate for water. We — as a species — need to start building large-scale desalinization plants now, before the problem becomes acute. (Expensive? Yes.… » 10/30/14 7:17am Thursday 7:17am

Read it when I was a kid, but Fritz Leiber's "A Pail of Air," a short story about a family surviving after the Earth has been pulled from its orbit by a passing dark star — after the oceans have frozen, after the atmosphere has frozen, after all life except them is gone — really scared the holy hell out of me.… » 10/29/14 2:07pm Wednesday 2:07pm

And a pre-war biggie: if Great Britain and France had not become allies in 1904. I believe I've read (wish I recall where) that there was strong sentiment among some in the British government for an alliance with Germany, to which they had considerable ties of royalty, rather than France, the traditional enemy. Had… » 10/29/14 10:25am Wednesday 10:25am

When I miss a show like SHIELD and know that I won't get a free hour for a few days to catch up on that episode, it's so good to know that I can come here and see what I missed, re-capped with knowledge and wit (and much extra commentary from the other readers). Thanks, Charlie Jane Anders! » 10/29/14 8:55am Wednesday 8:55am

For a show that I've bragged on about how fast the pace is, I can't believe the amount of dulltime they're letting Irving languish in the asylum. Hope Orlando Jones has been taking time off making a movie or they have something terrific planned for his character or something; I'd hate to think they've decided his… » 10/28/14 1:03pm Tuesday 1:03pm

Okay, there is the "maybe" for a good fantasy novel here, maybe a world in which malign magic can only be defeated by clever and imaginative use of language, both spoken and written. In such a world, Shakespeare could be a champion for good. But this teen-angst faux-intrigue catastrophe deserves: "Methink'st thou art… » 10/28/14 8:48am Tuesday 8:48am

Well, if I recall my Einstein correctly, any gravity field warps time to some incredibly tiny extent, but on a human level, I think you're right. But if you want a great SF novel , try Hal Clement's "Mission of Gravity," a story about beings on an incredibly massive planet with a very high rate of spin, giving the… » 10/28/14 7:03am Tuesday 7:03am