“Old,” Reviewed: M. Night Shyamalan’s New Old-School Sci-Fi Movie

Just as it takes a tough man to make a tender chicken, it takes a smart filmmaker to make a stupid movie, which I mean in the best possible way. Science-fiction films, once a cinematic counterpart to pulp fiction, are today often big-budget, overproduced spectacles that substitute grandiosity for imagination. M. Night Shyamalan’s new film, “Old” (which opens in theatres on Friday), is different. His frequent artistic pitfall is complication—the burdening of stories with extravagant yet undeveloped byways in order to endow them with ostensible significance and to stoke exaggerated effects. With “Old,” facing the constraints of filming during the pandemic—on a project that he’d nonetheless planned before it—Shyamalan has created a splendid throwback of a science-fiction thriller that develops a simple idea with stark vigor and conveys the straight-faced glee of realizing the straightforward logic of its enticing absurdity.

The movie, based on the graphic novel “Sandcastle

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The Best Sci-Fi and Fantasy Books of 2021 (So Far)

Photo-Illustration: Vulture. Photos: Courtesy of the Publishers

For those still looking to escape into other worlds because the burdens of our own remain too heavy — or just for us nerds who find narratives more interesting with futuristic tech and otherworldly magic livening up imagined universes — 2021 has bestowed many gifts. Already, this year has given readers a slew of exciting, provocative, and delightful new sci-fi and fantasy books. From the latest releases of celebrated authors Kazuo Ishiguro, Nnedi Okorafor, and Andy Weir, to debut novels from rising stars Namina Forna, Genevieve Gornichec, and J.S. Dewes, these are the best science-fiction and fantasy books of 2021 so far.

All books are listed by release date in reverse chronological order. 

Sona is a Valkyrie, an elite soldier who uses cybernetic enhancements to command giant mechanized weapons for the tyrannical Godolia. Eris is a Gearbreaker, a young rebel who leads her

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51 New Sci-Fi and Fantasy Releases

Detail from the cover of Far Out: Recent Queer Science Fiction and Fantasy.

Detail from the cover of Far Out: Recent Queer Science Fiction and Fantasy.
Image: Night Shade

It’s hot outside, possibly hot as hell depending on where you live—but one way to keep cool is to plop down in front of a fan or the air conditioner, or perhaps inside a walk-in freezer, and crack open a fresh new sci-fi or fantasy book. We’ve got you covered this month with palace intrigue, space battles, doomsday prophecies, reinvented classics, inter-dimensional serial killers, chatty ghosts, and so much more. Read on!

Illustration for article titled 51 New Sci-Fi and Fantasy Books to Add to Your Reading List in July

Image: Montlake

Song of the Forever Rains by E.J. Mellow

A young sorceress with a magical voice goes on a dangerous undercover mission to stop a corrupt duke from stealing poison—but soon finds herself falling for the duke’s heir, who may not be entirely trustworthy. (July 1)

Illustration for article titled 51 New Sci-Fi and Fantasy Books to Add to Your Reading List in July

Image: Custom House
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The Best Sci-Fi Comedy Is Existential

Tom Gerencer’s book Intergalactic Refrigerator Repairmen Seldom Carry Cash features 19 pieces of humorous science fiction. Gerencer selected the stories out of literally hundreds that he’s written over the past two decades.

“If you go to Walmart, and you go into the section with the big Tupperware bins that you can put clothes and stuff in, I would just write and write and write, and fill a notebook with short stories—or fragments of short stories—and then I would put them into the bin, and then I would fill another notebook and put that in the bin, and fill another notebook, and now I have five or six bins in the basement, and there are several bins that I lost at some point,” Gerencer says in Episode 473 of the Geek’s Guide to the Galaxy podcast. “It is certainly an avalanche of words.”

With titles like “Trailer Trash Savior” and “Apocalyptic

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