Chris Pratt Tried To Get That ‘Guardians Of The Galaxy’ Easter Egg Out Of James Gunn

(Warning! Minor “Guardians of the Galaxy 2” spoilers below.)

Guardians of the Galaxy 2” is just about as eggs-cellent as the first movie.

Everything down to the logo on Star-Lord’s shirt appears to be a surprise Easter egg or reference, but before we can focus on the new installment, there’s still one mystery remaining from the original. And Chris Pratt wants to get to the bottom of it.

After the first “Guardians of the Galaxy,” director James Gunn teased one big Easter egg that no one had been able to find. Since then, the conundrum has given the internet conniptions, with countless heroes failing to figure out the secret. Thankfully, Pratt wants to tell us exactly what it is. The only problem is he doesn’t know “shit.”

“[Gunn] won’t tell me what it is. I asked him. He won’t tell me. I’m like, ‘C’mon, man. Don’t you trust me?’ He’s like, ‘No.’ He thinks I’ll spoil it. He won’t tell me shit,” Pratt told The Huffington Post in a recent interview.

Yeah, not even Star-Lord knows.

Pratt added of Gunn, “He won’t tell me stuff. There are certain elements that he just won’t tell me. He loves to withhold information from me. That pisses me off so much. But I totally trust him, and he’s really smart too, because I would be blabbing all over the place.”

Pratt continued chatting with HuffPost about the stuff he could blab about, such as getting a “Jurassic World” meme sent to him by Robert Downey Jr., how he now gets his life advice from Iron Man, and why Star-Lord would get his “ass kicked” by The Avengers.

You said your shirt was an Easter egg for a candy bar. Is that candy ever going to be on “What’s My Snack?”

Oh my God. Well, if it does, I’ll give you credit, Bill. That’s amazing. That’s exactly what should happen. From my understanding, it’s a logo from a piece of candy or candy bar, some sort of snack, from the first movie; this space candy, maybe like these little gummy drops or something. James [Gunn] really loved the font, this made up alien font, and they ended up using that image on the shirt … I pictured it as a guy who would wear a Reese’s Pieces shirt ironically. He’s like wearing space candy on his shirt. He knows that other people know what it is and think it’s funny.

Kurt Russell plays your dad in the movie. What’s it like playing catch with him and an energy ball?

It feels so great. It’s like “Field of Dreams” in real life. We had that moment, and they’re shooting it on a beautiful, big, 65mm digital camera, and shooting it at 60 frames. I’m playing like slow-motion catch. I’m playing catch with a dude who literally was a pro baseball player, like an icon of my childhood, in a film that was costing a couple hundred thousand dollars a day, and I was like the center of it. Honestly, I don’t have the words to express how cool it was. 

Robert Downey Jr. sent you a meme of your “Jurassic World” character holding back the Avengers …

Oh, man. That was so surreal. It was really cool. It is one of the many examples of what a class act Downey is. He is so great. On set, when we were working on “The Avengers,” he’s the captain. He takes care of everybody. He has experience in a realm that very few people on the planet do, and he’s open to share that for the benefit of me and other people who have that in common with him. That’s really cool because there are very few people I can turn to for advice in certain avenues of my life now, and he’s become one of those people. He let me know that immediately. He said, “Listen, you’re gonna have some questions, and I’m the guy you call.” It’s pretty fucking cool. 

How would Star-Lord do in that position? We know the Guardians of the Galaxy are in the upcoming “Avengers” movies. What do you think about possibly bringing that moment to life in the future?

I know that the fans have really wanted to see the Avengers and the Guardians together. I’ve heard it basically since the first movie came out and was a success. The fans are gonna get that. I don’t know how he’d fare. Peter Quill’s not Thor. He’s not Hulk. He’s not a god. He’s not even a superhero. He’s a part of a family. He’s a part of a team, which is a little bit what sets the Guardians apart from the Avengers. So, I think he’d probably get his ass kicked, unless he had a lot of help from his team. He probably would always have a lot of help from his team, so maybe he’d fare all right. If it’s mano a mano, he’d get his ass kicked. 

”Guardians of the Galaxy 2” hits theaters May 5.

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Kendrick Lamar’s Mom Texted Him An Album Review That Only A Mother Could

Kendrick Lamar’s biggest fan could not keep it together after listening to K. Dot’s latest album, “DAMN.”

On Saturday, Lamar posted an album review that only a mother could write to his Instagram account. In an emoji-riddled text message, his mother, Paula Oliver, made it clear that she was in awe of her son’s latest work.

“OMG. This cd is bombbbbb!  ,” his mom’s praise begins. “You should of put me and your daddy on this one too     j/k.” 

(In Lamar’s “Good Kid, m.A.A.d City,” a duo posing as his parents make a comical appearance toward the end of “Money Trees.”)

”This your best one to me, no bullshit  ,” she continued. The text also relays that his mom isn’t the only fan of the album. Someone else whom Oliver refers to as “lil ken ken” is said to have been milly rocking to “DAMN.”

Lamar’s studio work isn’t the only reason the rapper has been making rounds in the news. As one of this year’s Coachella headliners, he wowed fans as he closed last weekend’s performances with a midair rendition of “Money Trees.” 

While mama Oliver wasn’t able to watch the performance, she said she heard about the set from Lamar’s fans, whom she refers to as “diehards.” 

The “Humble” rapper acknowledged his mother’s acclaim with the praying hands emoji. But he seemed to be most intrigued by Oliver’s own use of emojis. 

“You going emoji brazy. Who taught you ‘ ’? Lol,” he responded. 

Who knows, K. Dot. They’re getting so advanced these days.

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This Poem About The Darkness Of Depression Gets Beautifully Animated

I first began writing poetry when I was in high school to escape the constant and merciless torture inflicted on me by the homophobic monsters I called my classmates. My biology teacher, bless her, let me hide out in her lab during lunch or other free periods so I could avoid whatever living nightmares awaited me in the school hallways, and I began to write as a way to process the agony I was living through.

20 years later, I’m alive and thriving, and I credit poetry as playing a large part in me still being on this planet. Today, I have an MFA in poetry from New York University, and while my job as editorial director of HuffPost Voices makes it hard for me to dedicate the kind of time and energy I’d like to my poetry, I still write ― often to work through confusion or pain or other emotions in the same way I did as a 14-year-old.

Last year, in the midst of a particularly bad bout of depression, I wrote a poem entitled “This Might Not Make Sense Now, But Don’t Worry, It Will.” The poem deals with the strange and devastating feeling of being so distanced from the things that made me happy that, while not being suicidal, I worried that I had become so apathetic about my life that it now held little meaning for me.

After reading the poem, Carina Kolodny, a creative director at HuffPost (and a friend of mine) asked if Ji Sub Jeong, one of HuffPost’s talented multimedia producers, could have a go at animating it, and I was incredibly moved by the poem’s transformation from written word to animated short. 

Today we’re sharing the piece as part of National Poetry Month. Check it out above and read the poem below.


This Might Not Make Sense Now, But Don’t Worry, It Will
for Paolo Fanoli

When I ask Paolo how to draw the line between 

not wanting to live anymore and wanting to die, 

all he’ll quietly commit to is “that isn’t funny.”


I’m worried I worry him.


He says if I ever left him he would keep my body 

under his bed and drag it out once a day to remember me, 

prop up the less and less of me that’s left of me 

and remind me of the world I left behind me — just look! 

Some people can wake up every morning, open their 

eyes and recognize something beautiful, even if it’s 

just the sun slobbering across the bedroom floor with its 

hot black tongue, 


so, why can’t you?


He’s right, of course, but when I was 14, nothing was 

more beautiful than the thought of the heavy gray 

garage door guarding the far edge of my family’s driveway 

and how sweetly, how surely it could kiss my head

apart from the rest of my body if only I asked it sweetly 



Things were different then


I still was afraid to ask for what I wanted then and I 

spent my lunch hours holed up in the biology lab hiding 

from the other boys, sobbing into my sandwich, another 

pickled frog prince bobbing in his embalming fluid, one more 

never-born piglet day-drunk on the useless daydream of 

one day living someone else’s life on the other side of the glass 


but we both know how that story ends.


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Artist Crowdfunds Over $11K To Paint A Plagiarized Mural Of Michelle Obama

On Nov. 4, 2016, artist Gelila Lila Mesfin posted a digital drawing she created on Instagram of Michelle Obama as an emerald-clad Egyptian queen. 

Fast forward to April 2017, when a strikingly similar, if not identical, image was mounted as a mural in Chicago’s South Side neighborhood ― just two blocks from the former first lady’s childhood home. Chicago-based artist and urban planner Chris Devins installed the piece, presumed to be his own, after raising $11,785 on GoFundMe.

“The purpose of this mural,” Devins wrote, “is to give today’s children someone they can literally look up to and to celebrate Mrs. Obama’s life and accomplishments during the last 8 years as First Lady of the United States.” 

Devins launched his crowdsourcing campaign on Nov. 8, 2016, just days after Mesfin posted her image. Yet Devins never acknowledged whether or not Mesfin provided the source image for his outdoor mural or served as any sort of inspiration for his work.

In an interview with DNA Info, published on April 21, Devins described the reasoning behind his portrait of Ms. Obama, making no mention of Mesfin or her work. “I wanted to present her as what I think she is, so she’s clothed as an Egyptian queen,” Devins said. “I thought that was appropriate.”

It wasn’t long before Mesfin’s DMs were filled with links to Devins’ story on DNA Info, from others who recognized Devins’ alleged artwork as hers. Mesfin expressed her disappointment in a statement published on Instagram.

“I wouldn’t mind if he had given me credit or said he took the design from another artist but saying you designed it is just wrong!” she said. “The man is a teacher for God’s sake and said he was doing this to create positivity for his students and community… but he didn’t think that stealing a young girl’s artwork and making a profit out of it does more damage than good.”

On Friday, Devins emailed DNA Info responding to the claims of plagiarism, admitting: “It was sloppy.” The artist explained that he encountered Mesfin’s image on Pinterest and was influenced by her work, which he described as a “found image.” 

“We were blown away by a wonderful image we stumbled on,” Devins said, “and only found out after the fact who the source of our inspiration was. We in no way meant to [infringe] on anyone’s creativity.”

The artist also expressed that he’d reached out to Mesfin to offer her a licensing fee, though he did not disclose the amount. 

Devins also posted a less gracious message on GoFundMe yesterday, calling out Mesfin for her use of Collier Schorr’s photograph of Obama as source material. “Um. People,” he said, linking to Schorr’s portrait as it appeared in The New York Times. “If you want to go there, the so called ‘original’ is ‘stolen’ from photographer Collier Schorr. The broader conversation is one about authorship in the re-mix culture we live in.”

In response, Mesfin posted another message on Instagram, in which she thanked her followers for their support and implored them to send only positive vibes Devins’ way.

“I preach love, not hate or anger of any kind,” she wrote. Talk about taking the high road. 

Hopefully Mesfin receives the compensation and credit she’s due. And, to all the artists-slash-urban-planners of the world: Don’t rip off the work of emerging artists, especially young women of color, because the Internet has a way of uncovering these shady endeavors. 

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Meet Clara Tice, The Erotic Illustrator Who Scandalized 20th-Century New York

Warning: This article contains erotic illustrations that might not be appropriate for your workplace.

Clara Tice was an illustrator with an eye for the erotic.

Her drawings and etchings conjure explicit fantasies from the vantage point of a woman ― complete with nude bodies, lavish settings and playful intimacy. Her bold artworks, loaded with an appreciation for female sexuality and unapologetic visualizations of all kinds of copulation, might seem like the work of a contemporary artist with a sizable Instagram following. Tice, however, made her mark on the art world in the early 20th century. 

Born in 1888, Tice was encouraged by her parents to draw from a young age, a rarity for women at the time. As a young adult, the New York-based artist briefly attended Hunter College but dropped out to become the mentee of painter Robert Henri. Through independent work with Henri, she honed her visual style, which combined elements of art nouveau with a graphic minimalism way ahead of her time. 

Tice got her big break in 1915 when her friends organized an exhibition of her work in a popular bohemian restaurant in Greenwich Village, which was soon interrupted by a visit from the New York Society for the Suppression of Vice, an institution devoted to the upkeep of public morality. Luckily, an editor present at the show purchased Tice’s more explicit works, so none were confiscated during the Society’s raid.

The controversy actually ended up working in Tice’s favor. According to Francis M. Naumann Fine Art, when Vanity Fair editor Frank Crowninshield caught wind of the raid, he decided to publish photos of Tice’s nudes alongside an announcement of a satirical mock trial. “She will be tried,” the announcement proclaimed, “and therefore acquitted of the charges of having committed unspeakable, black atrocities on white paper, abusing slender bodies of girls, cats, peacocks and butterflies.”

The publicity brought a surge of attention to Tice’s work. From then on, she was known as “The Queen of Greenwich Village” among her circle of New York creatives. Despite the moderate celebrity she experienced during her lifetime, though, Tice’s work fell into relative obscurity following her death in 1973. 

Thankfully, her work is now available for viewing on Honest Erotica, a new website compiling erotic illustrations past and present, from big names like Egon Schiele and Auguste Rodin to lesser-known gems like Tice. The site is run by two individuals who publicly identify as “John and Rosie,” who have both worked in the publishing industry for decades. 

In an interview with The Huffington Post, John explained that he has long had an interest in historical books and the illustrations housed within them. Erotic work, in particular, illuminates truths about gender, sexuality, power and relationships that give fascinating insight into the time and place in which they were created. 

“I think illustration and intimacy go very well together,” he added. While photography, at least traditionally, documents the world around it, illustration leaves space for the imagination and play. This, as John put it, allows “people to be really turned on by things they wouldn’t expect.”

Although Honest Erotica specifies many times on its site that it features erotica, as opposed to pornography, John noted that the distinction is not about judgment. “We’re not anti-porn in the slightest,” he said. “We’re just concentrating on illustration rather than photography, mostly because it’s an under-represented medium.”

The delightful site is best used for discovering the many women artists who translated their dirty desires onto the page centuries ago, yet for many unfortunate reasons remain lost in obscurity today. Stay tuned for more introductions to the naughty visionaries of yore, courtesy of Honest Erotica’s NSFW vintage vault. 

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22 Baby Names That Are About To Get More Popular

In just a few weeks, we’ll see the new popular baby names list for the U.S.. The official list is always packed with surprises, as everything from pop music to sports stars influence what we name our children. Other names rise and fall without any obvious cultural connection, buoyed by style and sound alone. Usually it’s both ― a promising name plus a positive association ― that makes a baby name soar.

Here are our bets for some of the names to watch.

Fastest Rising Vintage Names: Oliver & Hazel

Once musty and fusty, Oliver and Hazel are now the freshest vintage names on the block. Celebrities have embraced them ― Ginnifer Goodwin and Josh Dallas have an Oliver, while Emily Blunt and John Krasinski went with Hazel. Part of their appeal? They’re vintage gems that boast high-value Scrabble letters in their names ― z and v.

Nature Names to Watch: River & Briar

River Phoenix was once the only person we could list with this nature name. Now it’s a mainstream pick for boys, and rising for girls, too. Likewise, Briar ― once mostly associated with Sleeping Beauty’s Briar Rose ― debuted on the U.S. Top 1000 for both genders in 2015. Parents have embraced –r ending names, and our affection for borrowing from nature continues.

Coolest New Names: Fox & Sylvie

We’re always looking for names outside the current top 1000 that seem likely to debut in future years. Sweet Sylvie could follow Sophie and Sadie into wider use, while Fox feels like a logical successor to Max and Knox. In 2015, both names ranked just beyond the official list ― but not by much. Two dozen more girls would put Sylvie over the top, along with 15ish boys for Fox.

Hottest Celebrity-Inspired Names: Remington & Luna

With John Legend and Chrissy Teigen’s adorable Luna Simone in the spotlight, this Harry Potter heroine should keep rising. Ditto for Remington, a surname name chosen by Kelly Clarkson for daughter River Rose’s little brother. Remington is poised to join tough-guy names like Hunter and Ryder near the top of the charts ― plus it comes with built-in nickname Remy.

Mini Names to Watch: Axl & Liv

They’re short, they’re Scandi, and they’re finding favor with American parents. Axel is a Danish spin on the Biblical Absalom. Drop the ‘e’ – as in rocker Axl Rose – and it takes on an edge. Liv comes from Old Norse, but matches up with a modern word meaning life in several Scandinavian languages. Both names pack a lot of sound and substance into just three letters. 

Pop Culture Powerhouses: Bowie & Ophelia

Music ― and musicians ― have put dozens of names on the charts, from “Hey There, Delilah” to John Lennon. Bowie, as in the late David, and Ophelia, from The Lumineers’ song, could be next. The early 2016 passing of legendary singer Bowie is likely to inspire more namesakes. As for Ophelia, the Lumineers’ chart-topping song makes the tragic name seem light and new.

Comeback Classics: Harvey & Louisa 

Henry and Sophia, meet Harvey and Louisa. Long-neglected, these names are perfectly poised to make a big comeback in 2017. Suits gave the name Harvey to a handsome character, played by Gabriel Macht, nicely updating it for the new century. And Louisa is every bit as literary as Emma, but with the same flowing, feminine, but still substantial, style of smart Sophia.

Meaningful Monikers: Bodhi & Sage

Looking for a meaning-rich name for your child? You’re not alone. Bodhi, from the Sanskrit word for enlightenment, is a new favorite for boys, along with spellings like Bode. Meanwhile, Sage means wisdom but also brings to mind the spice, as well as the familiar girl name Paige. Spelling Saige is trending, but only for girls, while the Sage spelling feels more unisex.

Biblical Names to Watch: Ezra & Ruth

For ages, Ezra seemed too out there, a name reserved for a few historical figures. Lately, the name’s edgy sound has taken it into the U.S. Top 100 – the most popular the name has ever been. Loyal Ruth, on the other hand, dominated the early 20th century popularity charts before fading. In recent years, parents are rediscovering the Old Testament name.

The New Emma & Noah: Asher & Nora

We don’t think the number one names will necessarily fall out of favor anytime soon. But which names are poised to take their place someday? Like Emma, Nora is brief but complete, and feels sweet on a child, serious on an adult. Biblical boy Noah might pass the baton to Asher, a fast-rising possibility with a great meaning: happy.

Names Berries Bank On: Milo & Isla 

Not only do we keep the U.S. Top 1000 on our site, we track the most popular names specific to Nameberry. Two choices that readers love that could catch on everywhere? Milo and Isla. Milo combines the sounds of Miles and Leo, but has a quirky charm all its own. Isla seems like a successor to girl names like Ella, Lily, and Mila.

Which names are you watching? Are you hearing more of any of these names?

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Mom Draws The Trials And Tribulations Of Parenting In Hilarious Cartoons

Ali Solomon has been drawing cartoons since she was a child. As she grew up, her characters have aged alongside her, so once Solomon became a mom, it was only natural they would become parents as well.

A middle school art teacher and freelance illustrator, Solomon lives in Queens, New York and has two daughters, ages 3 and 5. She draws comics about the trials and tribulations of parenting for her blog, Wiggle Room

“I was way too tired to create a baby book, but my cartoons and blog became a sort of record of my kids’ life moments, from heartfelt to completely bonkers. Also, it gave me an outlet to help manage the insanity of having a newborn,” Solomon told The Huffington Post. 

“I’d love to be able to capture not just the relatable everyday stuff, but the absurd, undignified, or magical aspects of parenting,” she added. “For example, recently my daughter stamped red ink all over me, which, contrary to the product’s claims, doesn’t wash off skin. For days, people avoided me, thinking I had a face tattoo, a contagious rash, or had applied my make-up blindfolded. Naturally I turned it into a comic. “

Solomon said she hopes other parents relate to her cartoons and feel entertained. “Parenting can be exasperating and isolating. There’s comfort in knowing that other people have similar experiences.”

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17 Spine-Tingling New Books For Fans Of Dystopia

The end of 2016 brought with it a spike in classic dystopian book sales. George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four and Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale ― which will be released as a Hulu show this month ― each piqued the interest of book buyers, who might’ve drawn uncomfortable parallels between the stories and the world around them.

These books, of course, are not the only dystopian titles resonating with readers. The science fiction subgenre has enjoyed a long period of popularity thanks to YA installments like The Hunger Games, Divergent, The Maze Runner and The 100, each with its own onscreen offshoot.

There are those in the sci-fi genre who are tired of dystopia’s proliferation; there are, after all, many ways to speculate about the future, and not all of them need be pessimistic. Still, as the subgenre grows, its capacity for holding a mirror to today’s problems ― climate change, stringent definitions of gender, and discrimination based on race or gender or nationality ― persists.

If you still see the worth in dystopian stories ― for social change or for entertainment value ― there are, luckily, loads to choose from. Climate-fiction, or cli-fi, has emerged as a sub-subgenre of dystopian fiction, with authors like Lidia Yuknavitch and Jeff VanderMeer ― both of whom have upcoming film adaptations ― leading the charge. Other titles explore cryonics, religion, gender and more.

We’ve included a few we’re excited about below. Just note that our definition of dystopia is a broad one; any vision of the future that could go awry qualifies.

1. American War by Omar El Akkad

Fought amid a changing climate, America’s second Civil War ― lasting nearly 20 years ― was fought with homicide bombings and drones. An academic born during this period remembers the story of a girl who lived through it.   

Buy it on Amazon or at your local indie bookstore. 

2. The Book of Etta by Meg Elison

In a town outside of Estiel ― what was once St. Louis ― a girl named Etta fulfills her duties as a forager, but must venture to face a tyrant called Lion when women from her community are kidnapped.  

Buy it on Amazon or at your local indie bookstore. 

Read Meg Elison on the possible future of reproductive health.

3. Book of Joan by Lidia Yuknavitch

Lidia Yukanavitch is skilled at writing poetically about the human body, and about nature, so this book ― her first foray into science fiction ― makes sense. It’s a retelling of the story of Joan of Arc, but in a world ravaged by radiation, and with few land-based survivors. 

Buy it on Amazon or at your local indie bookstore.

Read Lydia Yuknavitch’s thoughts on writing in the time of Trump.

4. Borne by Jeff VanderMeer

Rachel and Wick live in a city destroyed by drought and terrorized by a giant bear, doing what they can to prioritize their survival ― until Rachel finds Borne, a plant-animal she’s immediately attached to. 

 Buy it on Amazon or at your local indie bookstore.

 Read Jeff VanderMeer on sci-fi solutions to climate change. 

5. New York 2140 by Kim Stanley Robinson

When two coders go missing, an entire future society is at risk. Robinson’s work may not be squarely dystopian, but he has a knack for drawing imagined worlds and their societal problems. In his latest, rising tides leave New York partly submerged. 

Buy it on Amazon or at your local indie bookstore. 

6. Void Star by Zachary Mason

If the future of the ever-growing tech industry has a physical home, it’s San Fransisco, where Mason’s novel is set. Life extension, artificial memory and rising waters converge in a sprawling future epic. 

Buy it on Amazon or at your local indie bookstore. 

7. Proof of Concept by Gwyneth Jones

Kir has been asked to join a project working towards the possibility of humans inhabiting another planet ― a project designed to give Earthlings, living on a planet that’s overcrowded and climate change-wrecked, a chance at survival. Will her brain ― wired for optimism ― be able to heed the warnings of the artificial intelligence she hosts? 

Buy it on Amazon or at your local indie bookstore.

8. Tender by Sofia Samatar

Sofia Samatar’s stories are more fantasy than sci-fi, and she’s more likely to chronicle an alternate or parallel reality than a possible future. Her story “How to Get Back to the Forest” earned a spot among the Best American Science Fiction and Fantasy Stories 2015.

Buy it on Amazon or at your local indie bookstore.

9. The Ship by Antonia Honeywell

Lalla’s father plans to escape the increasingly dangerous world of future-Britain via ship, but the boat turns out to be eerily different than expected. 

Buy it on Amazon or at your local indie bookstore.

10. All Our Wrong Todays by Elan Mastai

What if the world we’re living in now was the dystopian version of some happier, more progressive alternate reality? That’s the premise of Elan Mastai’s debut, which is centered around protagonist Tom, who has to make a tough choice between a thrumming, messy world or a neat and perfect one.

Buy it on Amazon or at your local indie bookstore.

11. The Weaver by Emmi Itäranta

On the surface, Eliana’s life is a pleasant one. She lives on an idyllic island where she works as a weaver, but she is forced to hide the fact that she’s capable of dreaming, lest she be cast out. The cracks in her perfect world begin to show when a young girl washes up on the shore, bearing a tattoo of Eliana’s name.

 Buy it on Amazon or at your local indie bookstore.

 Read Emmi Itäranta on sci-fi solutions to climate change. 

12. Zero K by Don DeLillo

Jeff’s father, Ross, has always been somewhat absent from his life; he’s a billionaire and he’s happily remarried. But when Ross’s second wife Artis gets sick, he invites his son to visit him at a mysterious cryogenics facility, where pseudo-science meets spiritual practice.

Buy it on Amazon or at your local indie bookstore.

Read our review of Zero K.

13. All the Birds in the Sky by Charlie Jane Anders

Patricia’s a witch. Laurence is a tech wunderkind. Their star-crossed relationship is a love story for the 21st century, where spirituality and intuition are at odds with scientific advancements. 

Buy it on Amazon or at your local indie bookstore.

14. Thirst by Benjamin Warner

Eddie and Laura’s suburban life devolves amid an ecological disaster, one that forces them each to reconsider what it is that they cherish most. 

Buy it on Amazon or at your local indie bookstore.

15. Black Wave by Michelle Tea

The world, it turns out, is ending. That doesn’t stop Michelle from dating, from writing, from relocating to a new city to distance herself from her drug-addled past, or from proceeding more or less as normal, except that now, the apocalypse looms. 

Buy it on Amazon or at your local indie bookstore.

16. Not Dark Yet by Berit Ellingsen

For Ellingsen, the personal is political. His story’s hero, Brandon, retreats to the wilderness after his professor and lover makes him commit an act of violence. From there, he fosters hope for a future threatened by rising temperatures and the attendant damage done to the environment. 

Buy it on Amazon or at your local indie bookstore.

17. Too Like the Lightning by Ada Palmer

Near-future sci-fi may be all the rage; it would seem that it’s more capable of shedding new light on present dangers, anyway. But Palmer’s novel ― set in the 25th century, when society’s perceptions of gender and religion have morphed considerably ― gives those stories a run for their money. 

Buy it on Amazon or at your local indie bookstore.

Read Ada Palmer on sci-fi predictions for the future of sports.

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Hillary Clinton Applauds March For Science

Former Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton praised the thousands of demonstrators who protested against President Donald Trump’s anti-science agenda on Saturday and urged people to “protect the Earth and all its beauty.”

“It is Earth Day, and we are marching on behalf of science,” Clinton said to applause during a surprise appearance at the Tribeca Film Festival in New York on Saturday evening. “Part of science is understanding the intricate relationships we share with those on this planet.” 

Saturday’s nationwide March for Science, coinciding with Earth Day, came just three months after the massive Women’s March on Jan. 21, the day after Trump’s inauguration.

Earlier on Saturday, Clinton affirmed her support for the marches, tweeting “March on!”

Clinton attended the festival as an unannounced panelist at the premiere of “The Protectors: Walk in the Rangers’ Shoes,” a virtual reality documentary about elephant poaching that was co-created by Oscar-winning director Kathryn Bigelow.

The film, which National Geographic will release online next month, documents park rangers in the Congo combating the environmental crisis caused by elephant poaching, an issue Clinton worked on as secretary of state.

“It became clear to everyone that this was not just a terrible crisis when it came to the elephant population; it was a trade, a trafficking that was funding a lot of bad folks, a lot of bad actors,” Clinton said. “It was being used to take ivory and sell it in order to buy more weapons, and support the kind of terroristic activity that these and other groups were engaged in.”

Clinton has kept a relatively low profile since November’s election, but has attended plays and other cultural events in New York and spoken at events related to issues she champions, such as LGBTQ rights and women’s rights.

The former secretary of state’s appearance at the festival was kept tightly under wraps. Bigelow, who moderated the panel, said even she didn’t know that Clinton would be there.

“I had nothing to do with her being here,” Bigelow told The Wrap. “This was all the festival’s doing. But I know she’s been doing great work in this field for years, and she’s a woman of extraordinary power.”

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‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ Is Unequivocally A Story By, For And About Women

With the much-awaited release of Hulu’s “The Handmaid’s Tale” only four days away, much has been said in the past 24 hours about who the story, in both its book and TV show form, is for.

In Saturday’s New York Times review, executive producer Bruce Miller discusses spearheading the show as a man when its creators initially wanted a woman to do so: 

“Offred spoke to me,” Mr. Miller said. “She’s in this nightmarish situation but she keeps her funny cynicism and sarcasm. She finds really interesting ways to pull levers of power and express herself.”

But Mr. Miller wasn’t a shoo-in for showrunner because producers were looking for a woman, he recalled. “The Handmaid’s Tale” has been a seminal right-of-passage novel for many young women for over three decades; a feminist sacred text.

“It’s sacred to me, too,” Mr. Miller said. “But I don’t feel like it’s a male or female story; it’s a survival story.”

At the show’s premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival on Friday, the starring actors placed a heavy emphasis on the show being a “human” story and not a “feminist” one

“I think that any story, if it is a story being told by a strong, powerful woman… any story that’s just a powerful woman owning herself in any way is automatically deemed ‘feminist,’” said Madeline Brewer, who plays handmaid Jane. “But it’s just a story about a woman. I don’t think that this is any sort of feminist propaganda.”

Elisabeth Moss, who plays the show’s main character Offred, echoed Brewer’s comments

“It’s not a feminist story, it’s a human story, because women’s rights are human rights,” Moss said. I never intended to play Peggy [from ‘Mad Men’] as a feminist and I never expected to play Offred as a feminist … I approach it from a very human place, I hope.”

Atwood has since responded by neither agreeing nor disagreeing with the cast. 

“It’s not only a feminist story,” she said. “It’s also a human story.”

While the show doesn’t need to be labeled as “feminist,” and while it’s fine that a man who loves the story spearheaded its televised iteration, a story that a woman wrote about the forced subservience of women and their subsequent survival deserves to be owned by women. We get to claim it. 

The Handmaid’s Tale is a dystopian fiction, sure, but it’s one that has women storming to their local libraries to grab a copies of the book. Last month, women dressed up as handmaids and protested anti-abortion legislation in the Texas Senate gallery. And, at this year’s SXSW festival, women wore handmaids costumes and roamed the streets of Austin, Texas, as performance art. Even though the book was written more than 30 years ago, it is resonating with women all over again.

Rebecca Traister wrote about reading the book in the era of President Donald Trump for New York Magazine in Februrary. “[T]here’s no question that reading about Atwood’s imagined dystopia is far scarier today than it was, I suspect, for adults living in 1985,” she wrote.

For anyone who has read the book, there shouldn’t be much surprise as to why women feel so connected to it in this current political and social moment. After all, it feels closer to reality than the show’s creators wanted.

Moss, who also serves as a producer, acknowledged the eerie and terrifying parallels between Offred’s nightmarish journey and Trump’s America.

“We never wanted the show to be this relevant,” she told Entertainment Weekly in December.

The relevance of story is easy to spot.

In the dystopian theocracy of Gilead, where “The Handmaid’s Tale” is set, women’s bodies are policed and controlled by the male-run state. Handmaids’ only purpose is to bear children ― they have no rights, no freedom, no lives. Women are not trusted with their own bodies. 

America now has a president who brags about grabbing women “by the pussy.” This week, a lawyer in Tennessee said that women are “especially good at lying … because they’re the weaker sex.” A Missouri congressman said last year that becoming pregnant after a rape is a blessing from God. Rooms full of men make legislative decisions about women’s bodies. A panel of men in Maryland decided that rapists can continue to have parental rights over the children who were conceived by rape. And abortion access is under threat across the U.S. 

But the beauty of “The Handmaid’s Tale” ― something that Miller misses and perhaps what women connect to most deeply ― is that it is inarguably, explicitly, a story of women’s survival and audacity. 

The first time I read the novel, in the fall of 2015, I cried. Not because its content was so traumatizing. (It was.) And not because it felt so eerily similar to what was happening in our political landscape. (It did.)

I cried for lines like this:

 “We learned to whisper almost without sound. In the semidarkness we would stretch out our arms, when the Aunts weren’t looking, and touch each other’s hands across space. We learned to lip-read, our heads flat on the beds, turned sideways, watching each other’s mouths.”

And lines like this:

“I keep on going with this sad and hungry and sordid, this limping and mutilated story, because after all I want you to hear it … By telling you anything at all I’m at least believing in you … Because I’m telling you this story I will your existence. I tell, therefore you are.”

Atwood’s beautifully constructed prose is at its finest when she is portraying the sheer resilience of my fellow women.

In the wake of the presidential election, the resilience of women is what has kept me going. Women are resisting, calling, volunteering, donating… and living.

And like the fictional Offred ― whether Moss thinks she’s “feminist” or not ― we intend to survive.

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