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Science Fiction Thursday: "Cosmos", Sir Patrick Stewart, SHIELD Casting, and Terry Pratchett

By Steven Lloyd Wilson | Industry | March 27, 2014 |

By Steven Lloyd Wilson | Industry | March 27, 2014 |

It’s time for science fiction Thursday again, which makes three weeks in a row. Keep that kind of consistency up, and this might officially be a “column” instead of a “convenient excuse for an article when I run out of ideas.” And once it’s a column, I can become a prima donna, which I think is like the Doctor Donna, so it’s topical. There are a couple of more steps, but then we get to the cocaine bender, and we all knew that’s where this bus was heading eventually.

So what does the best genre in the universe have for us this week?

How about Sir Patrick Stewart showing up on the upcoming episode of Cosmos, voicing William Herschel? Here’s an illustrative clip:

The episode is called A Sky Full of Ghosts, which is awesome both inherently and because I had no idea the individual episodes had titles until now. I really shouldn’t have led with this, because it can’t possibly get better.

In other television news, Amy Acker has joined the cast of Agents of SHIELD as Agent Coulson’s cellist girlfriend, which puts two of the five main cast from Angel in there. On the bright side both of them already have practice dying in a Whedon show, because it’s not like that’s not coming. Oh, spoiler alert. In other other television news, Agents of SHIELD is still on television.

And on the literary front, Terry Pratchett’s latest Discworld novel just arrived in America last week. The British have had it for four months, because apparently we can get Downton Abbey at the same time now, but they still have to send novels across the pond on the freaking Titanic. Many Granthams died to bring you this information. This one is the latest in the Moist von Lipwig sub-series, in which the con-man turned bureaucrat finds himself in charge of the newly invented railroad system.

If you haven’t read Pratchett, there’s no way to put this politely, but you’re a failure and your parents should be ashamed of you. But wait! It’s not too late, so put the pills away and pick up one of his novels. The comments should be filled with people telling you exactly which one to start with (the series is not episodic, so there are many on ramps). To encourage you to do so, here is one of my favorite quotes to let you know the sort of gorgeous depth of thought mixed with hilarity that is in store for you:

“Vimes had never got on with any game much more complex than darts. Chess in particular had always annoyed him. It was the dumb way the pawns went off and slaughtered their fellow pawns while the kings lounged about doing nothing that always got to him; if only the pawns united, maybe talked the rooks round, the whole board could’ve been a republic in a dozen moves.”

Steven Lloyd Wilson is the sci-fi and history editor. You can email him here or follow him on Twitter.

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