And here is our weekly round-up of interesting links about speculative fiction from around the web, this week with yet more best SFF of 2015 lists, lots of general Star Wars discussion as well as specific discussion about The Force Awakens and comments on TV shows The Expanse and Childhood's End:
Speculative fiction in general:
- Steve Paulson reports about the new realism in science fiction.
- Andrew Liptak discusses the history of Chinese science fiction.
- Kwame Opam reports that the world needs an African Game of Thrones and that Man-Booker Prize winner Marlon James is planning to write it.
- Kev McVeigh shares seven overlooked SFF novels by women he believes deserve a reprint.
- Ethan Mills shares his appreciation for The Word for World is Forest by Ursula K. Le Guin.
- Rob Bricken explains how reading Piers Anthony caused him to lose his religion.
- James Wallace Harris takes a look at the literary novels of Philip K. Dick.
- M.D. Jackson takes a look at the different portrayals of Frankenstein's monster over the years.
- Tansy Rayner-Roberts shares her appreciation for Thea von Harbou, German SFF novelist and screenwriter of Metropolis, The Woman in the Moon, The Indian Tomb, The Nibelungs and others.
- Sharon Browning shares her praise for difficult science fiction novels.
- Sara Dobie Bauer explains why she cannot read dystopian fiction anymore.
- The participants of the SF Signal Mind Meld discuss what makes the perfect short story.
- David Bussell shares the top ten strangest shapeshifter romances.
- Abigail Nussbaum shares her thoughts on Jessica Jones.
- Molly Templeton shares her thoughts on the TV adaptation of Lev Grossman's The Magicians.
- Charlie Jane Anders claims that TV is picking up the science fiction baton that the movies dropped.
- Gem Seddon explains why Logan's Run would make a terrible YA film franchise.
- Romanian writer and science fiction critic Florin Manolescu has died aged 72.
Best of 2015 lists:
- Buzzfeed shares their 24 best science fiction books of 2015.
- Buzzfeed also shares their 34 best fantasy books of 2015.
- NPR shares their favourite SFF books of 2015.
- George R.R. Martin shares his favourite novels of 2015.
General comments on Star Wars:
- Damien Walter analyses the spiritual dimension of the Star Wars saga.
- Decider finds some parallels between Star Wars and the war on terror.
- David Sims shares his appreciation for Admiral Piett from The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi.
- David Crow shares 16 underappreciated Star Wars characters who nonetheless helped to save the galaxy.
- John Saavedra analyses Leigh Brackett's draft script for The Empire Strikes Back.
- Michael J. Martinez revisits Return of the Jedi.
- Andrew Liptak remembers Timothy Zahn's Thrawn trilogy.
- Anthony John Agnello remembers the build up to the release of The Phantom Menace in 1999.
- Chris Taylor examines the economic power of the Star Wars franchise.
- Brent McKnight reports what Francis Ford Coppola's main problem with Star Wars is.
- Nina Porsucki traces the influence that the French comic Valerian and Laureline by Jean-Claude Mézières had on Star Wars.
- Sarah Sloat takes a look at some academic papers that quote Star Wars.
- Bruce Fottler remembers how Star Wars influenced him.
Comments on The Force Awakens:
- Meredith Woerner shares the four biggest takeaways from The Force Awakens premiere.
- Kenneth Turan reviews Star Wars: The Force Awakens.
- Isaac Feldberg also reviews The Force Awakens.
- Andrea K. Höst shares her thoughts on Star Wars: The Force Awakens.
- Josh Rottenberg interviews J.J. Abrams on making The Force Awakens.
- Drew McWeeny explains how the voice of BB-8 was created.
- The premiere of The Force Awakens has given a membership boost to the Church of Jediism.
Comments on The Expanse:
- Mike Hale shares his thoughts about The Expanse.
- Blastr wonders if The Expanse is the space opera we've been waiting for.
- Katherine Trendacosta claims that The Expanse is the science fiction political thriller we've all been waiting for.
- Phil Plait believes that The Expanse might be the next big thing for the SyFy Channel.
- Rowan Kaiser points out that the SyFy Channel is taking a great gamble with The Expanse.
- The Geek's Guide to the Galaxy claims that The Expanse is the new new Battlestar Galactica.
- Geek Girl Diva also compares The Expanse to the revived Battlestar Galactica.
- Andrew Liptak offers a book versus TV adaptation comparison of the first episode of The Expanse.
- Andrew Liptak also takes a look at the sets of The Expanse.
Comments on Childhood's End:
- Lucas Siegel calls the Childhood's End adaptation must-see television.
- Rebecca Onion considers the Childhood's End adaptation a waste of science fiction's greatest tropes.
- Natalie Zutter calls the Childhood's End adaptation lackluster.
- Cheryl Eddy says that the Childhood's End adaptation takes some liberties, but that the message stays the same.
- Leah Schnelbach thinks that the Childhood's End adaptation offers a good update of a classic and asks big questions.
- Joelle Renstrom explains why the overlords kill science in Childhood's End.
- Paul Levinson reviews episode one of Childhood's End.
- Eric Thurm chronicles how Childhood's End finally made it to TV.
- David Brin remembers Arthur C. Clarke, inspired by the premiere of Childhood's End
- The winners of the 2015 Jane Yolen Awards have been announced.
- The nominations for the BSFA Awards are open.
Writing, publishing and promotion:
- William Meikle discusses what pushes him to write.
- William Meikle also talks about his drive to write pulp style fiction.
- Michael R. Underwood talks about borrowing series and serial writing techniques from TV.
- Natalie Zutter enthuses about Yuletide, the annual fan fiction gift exchange.
- David Neth shares some tips for writing your backcover blurb.
- Alison Flood explains how Amazon came to dominate the market for translated fiction in the English speaking world.
- NPR interviews Neil Gaiman.
- Darrell Schweitzer interviews Kim Stanley Robinson.
- Jim Higgins interviews Neal Stephenson.
- Lauren Sarner interviews Jack McDevitt.
- Joel Cunningham interviews Alan Dean Foster.
- Jay McDonald interviews Dean Koontz.
- Kristin Centorcelli interviews Holly Messinger.
- The Qwillery interviews Jay Allan.
- Matthew Stott interviews Jason Arnopp.
- Catalina Sofia Dansberger Duque interviews James Suriano.
- Brook Cottage Books interviews Mark Lynch.
- Camestros Felapton reviews The Watchmaker of Filigree Street by Natasha Pulley.
- Abigail Nussbaum reviews Ancillary Justice by Ann Leckie.
- Clifton Hill reviews Liege-Killer by Christopher Hinz.
- Paul di Filippo reviews Gypsy Plus... by Carter Scholz.
- Gary K. Wolfe reviews Weighing Shadows by Lisa Goldstein.
- Michael A. Burstein reviews Child of Two Worlds by Greg Cox.
- Michael Patrick Hicks reviews Strictly Analog by Richard Levesque.
- Cyber Descent, a science fiction comic by Mesharahimanuel Ben Yisrael is looking for funding.
- Downstream, a science fiction film by Dylan and Dakota PF, is looking for funding.
- Paolo Chikiamco shares some recording from the 5th Filipino Reader Con in Manila.
- Nancy Jane Moore reports about the James Tiptree Jr. Symposium at the University of Oregon.
Science and technology:
- There are new clues about Ceres' bright spots and their origin.
- China is constructing the world's biggest radio telescope to search for alien life.
- Will sex with robots mean the end of intimacy?
Free online fiction:
- "Eyes I dare not meet in dreams" by Sunny Moraine in Cybergology.
- "How to Survive the Apocalypse" by Rhiannon Rasmussen-Silverstein.
- "Find a Way Home" by Paul Cornell in Uncanny Magazine.
- "Little Fox" by Amy Griswold in Fantastic Stories of the Imagination.
- "Rudolph's Performance Review" by Bob Byrne in Black Gate.
- "When the Tardigrades Came" by Floyd Looney.
- Chapter 3 of "Rock and Roll Lifestyle", part 91 of The Descendants by Landon Porter.
Odds and ends:
- Watch a trailer for High-Rise.
- Watch a trailer for X-Men: Apocalypse.
- Watch a trailer for Independence Day: Resurgence.
- Watch a trailer for Star Trek Beyond.
- Watch a trailer for Synchronicity.
- Watch a trailer for Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.
- Listen to Neil Gaiman in full Victorian garb read A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens.