A picture-perfect trio of islands lapped by turquoise waters, the Maltese archipelago has all the charm of nearby Sicily with far fewer tourists. Valletta, the tiny nation’s capital and a UNESCO World Heritage site, feels like something plucked straight from Westeros. The historic walled city dates back to 1565, and has a vibe that’s Mediterranean with a North African twist. This underrated destination is finally stepping into the global limelight as a 2018 European Capital of Culture. To celebrate the occasion, the city has planned more than 140 projects and 400 events throughout the year. The festivities begin on January 20, with contemporary dance, a choral symphony, and acrobatic performances across the city’s four main squares. Should you miss the grand opening, swing by in February for Carnival, or in June for the Malta International Arts Festival and the Valletta Film Festival. —Diana Hubbell


Beyond offering a glimpse into ancient history, Jordan is also making a name for itself as a luxury destination. Hilton opened the Dead Sea Resort & Spa in March 2017, making it the first Hilton in the country. Located at the lowest point on earth, some 1,345 feet below sea level, the resort offers beach access, Middle Eastern cuisine, and treatments containing the mineral-rich black mud. —Jess McHugh
Three high-ranking Travelers are sent back by the Director to put Grace on trial for violating protocols, overwriting a person who was not assigned to be her host, and sabotaging the Grand Plan. Mac and the team must give testimony at the trial that will determine if she should be overwritten or not. Meanwhile, the Faction is trying to replenish its numbers by overwriting people with the stored minds in the Quantum Frame. It transpires the trial was staged by the Director to flush out a Faction member from within the three Travelers judging Grace, which it successfully does, this leading to Mac's team securing the Quantum Frame.
A family of four are about to die in a car crash when the mother, father, and son become travelers. Charlotte, the daughter, retains her identity when the team's historian's transfer misfires, so MacLaren sends her to stay with her grandparents until the others complete their mission. Trevor, Carly, Marcy, and Philip are abducted and interrogated about the future until Carly kills their guard. David alerts MacLaren when Marcy does not come home, who is able to find and rescue the team with Officer Boyd. MacLaren was forced to cancel the team's mission with the family team, and Carly speculates this was their unidentified captor's goal.
A century ago, Shanghai was China’s star city, a cosmopolitan center of art, technology, and finance. Today, it’s reclaiming that mantle, parlaying the economic boom that began in the 1990s into a world-class array of cultural and culinary attractions. On the West Bund riverfront, Tank Shanghai will transform disused oil tanks into a sprawling arts complex with a gallery, an education center, and parks when it’s completed later this year. Farther north, the Norman Foster and Thomas Heatherwick–designed Fosun Foundation, with its façade of shifting bronze cylinders, began hosting performances and art shows last fall. The North Bund is being redeveloped with a park linking it to a new lifestyle development that’s anchored by the city’s first W Hotel. In the residential Minhang district, Cordis debuted in May, and Amanyangyun will open nearby after relocating Ming and Qing dynasty buildings, as well as 10,000 ancient camphor trees, from Jiangxi province. More luxury stays are still to come in 2018, including the Middle House, the Bulgari, and the Edition. —Samantha Culp
In 2018, four unconnected people suddenly undergo personality changes at what would have been their moments of death: Marcy, a young, intellectually disabled woman, is assaulted but fights off her attackers and is no longer impaired; high-schooler Trevor concedes a mixed martial arts fight after being overmatched; heroin-addicted college student Philip drops his syringe just as his roommate injects a fatal overdose; and young mother Carly stares down her baby's abusive father. FBI agent MacLaren tracks their subsequent communication and confronts them; they reveal that they are among thousands of time travelers sent from the future to avert a global crisis, and that MacLaren was to die that night while pursuing a murderer they have already killed; MacLaren is taken over by a fifth traveler, who happens to be the team's leader.

In an interview with Exclaim!, Nick Thorburn explained that the overhauled lineup was a product of his desire to try new things. "That's important to me ― to be able to constantly try new things. That's why this record's largely informed by electronic stuff like drum machines, sequencing, and programming, which really scales it back from the last record." [2] Thompson once again left the band prior to the summer 2010 tour, and was again replaced by Aaron Harris.


During the summer of 2015, Islands simultaneously recorded two records: Should I Remain Here, At Sea? — a spiritual successor to the band's debut album, Return to the Sea — and Taste, a "more electronic" album "buoyed by drum machines, programming and vintage synths."[6] The albums were released on May 13, 2016 via the band's own Manqué label, reaching #21 and #23 on the Billboard Heatseeker charts, respectively.[7]
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