Lee Pace and I have formed a sci-fi book club. His idea. Without anyone intending it, dinner at a Japanese restaurant in Brooklyn has turned into our club’s unofficial first meeting. There’s The Lord of the Rings and Dune, of course, which the actor has read more times than he remembers. He also sings the praises of his favourite writer, Ursula K Le Guin, and the universe-rattling Three-Body Problem, by Cixin Liu. He pulls out his Kindle to show me the Bobiverse series, which he’s currently reading, and to download a couple of books I suggest (Ann Leckie’s Ancillary Justice and Arkady Martine’s A Memory Called Empire). I have no doubt he’ll read them immediately. “We have to get back together and discuss,” he says.
Pace strikes me as not just a fan but a scholar of sci-fi, a world where bona fides count for a lot and fakers get no respect. His reading list may come as a relief to the millions who know Pace, age 42, for his roles in some of the biggest sci-fi and fantasy franchises of all time. He played Thranduil the Elvenking in the Hobbit series, Ronan the Accuser in Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy and Captain Marvel. Not to mention the vampire Garrett in the Twilight saga. Now he’s adding another character to that list: Galactic Emperor Cleon on Apple TV+’s Foundation, based on the Isaac Asimov series from the 1940s and ’50s. The novels are often credited with inspiring Stars both Wars and Trek and defined science fiction for modern fans.
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