As I write this, I’m sitting on an American Airlines flight on my way to São Paulo. From there, I’ll jump northwest to another world, the Pantanal, a grassland the size of New York state, with Brazillian cowboys, toucans, 60-pound rodents and jaguars you can spot from safari jeeps—something no one thought possible a few years ago.
A curiosity about—and the fascination with the possibility of—other worlds is part of what made Star Trek the massive cultural touchstone that it is. It’s also part of what propels cover star Sonequa Martin-Green to boldly go where no woman of color has gone before as the lead of Star Trek: Discovery. Reading her profile had an impact on me, in part because I saw that the forces shaping her life have also shaped mine. Martin-Green’s family has battled cancer several times, and she’s very candid about her tough choices—a particularly moving moment as we honor Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
The rest of the issue explores lots of different directions. We’ve got a really fun story on how, after 20 years of books and films, the world of Harry Potter has changed ours. We also head to Pioneertown, a once-abandoned Western film set that has become an unlikely home to bikers, hippies, artists, musicians and those seeking the harsh beauty of the desert. You could say it’s a make-believe town that now feels very real.
Some other favorites include an essay by a beagle named Monti (not a typo), a story about a Japanese tug-of-war that involves 15,000 people and a basketball league in San Diego where grandmothers are the stars of the court. As for the world of the jaguar, I’ll let you know what it’s like in a few months.