Damage January 21, 2015 Damage David D. Levine Concerning a spaceship's conscience. And the Burned Moths Remain January 14, 2015 And the Burned Moths Remain Benjanun Sriduangkaew Treason is a trunk of thorns. A Beautiful Accident January 7, 2015 A Beautiful Accident Peter Orullian A Sheason story. Kia and Gio January 6, 2015 Kia and Gio Daniel José Older Seven years ago, they went on a secret mission.
From The Blog
January 21, 2015
Don’t Touch That Dial: Midseason SFF
Alex Brown
January 21, 2015
Agent Carter, I Think I’m in Love
Liz Bourke
January 21, 2015
The Illogic of Fairy Tales
Genevieve Cogman
January 16, 2015
Birdman is Actually Just a Muppet Movie
Max Gladstone
January 15, 2015
What Are Your Favorite Non-Sci-Fi/Fantasy TV Shows?
Stubby the Rocket
Tue
Jan 27 2015 11:00am

Sleeps With Monsters: Competence is Important in Dragon Age: Inquisition

Dragon Age Inquisition

Having spent a little over 100 hours playing through Bioware’s latest RPG epic, I can say that Dragon Age: Inquisition is a seriously ambitious attempt to merge character-based storytelling and open-world exploration. As a purely narrative achievement, it’s less successful than its predecessors: the open-world gameplay tends to dilute narrative urgency, and—since the player-character opens the game with no existing ties and no solid contextual grounding—many of the choices the player gets to make during the narrative end up feeling as though they lack heft and meaning. They lack actual weight, since the writing never quite sells, on an emotional level, why any of those choices really matter.

But for all my complaints about its narrative effectiveness—and niggling irritations about gameplay and display, I mean seriously the font size and that menu screenDragon Age: Inquisition does at least two things that are the next best thing to revolutionary. And those two things primed me to love it, even despite its flaws.

[Read More]

Tue
Jan 27 2015 10:33am

“With Every New Risk, There Are Consequences”: Watch the Fantastic Four Trailer

Fantastic Four trailer

The first trailer for Josh Trank’s Fantastic Four reboot is out! As io9 points out, it doesn’t look a lot like a superhero movie, but that may work to its advantage. Clearly, it won’t be in found-footage format like Trank’s superhero indie Chronicle (as rumored), but it seems less obsessed with big fight scenes and more interested in showing the risks of sending the best and the brightest to investigate an alternate universe.

[Watch the trailer]

Tue
Jan 27 2015 10:00am

Bone Up on Your Old English Phrases for Our Pop Quiz with Samantha Shannon

Samantha ShannonWelcome back to The Pop Quiz at the End of the Universe, a recurring series here on Tor.com featuring some of our favorite science fiction and fantasy authors, artists, and others!

Today we’re joined by Samantha Shannon, author of The Bone Season, the first in a series of seven fantasy novels. The second novel in the series, The Mime Order, publishes January 27th from Bloomsbury, and Samantha is currently busy working on the third. Find her on twitter @say_shannon.

Join us for a lesson in Old English that is both poetic and adorable!

[Read More]

Tue
Jan 27 2015 9:30am

Fiction Affliction: February Releases in Fantasy

fantasy new releases February Twenty-five new fantasies slash and parry their way to bookshelves in February, albeit a large number of them directed toward the younger reader. Look for series additions from, among others, Alethea Kontis (Woodcutter Sisters), Ari Marmell (Widdershins Adventures), Brian McClellan (Powder Mage), Evie Manieri (Shattered Kingdoms), Joe Abercrombie (Shattered Sea), James Enge (Tournament of Shadows), and Will Elliott (Pendulum).

Fiction Affliction details releases in science fiction, fantasy, urban fantasy, paranormal romance, and “genre-benders.” Keep track of them all here. Note: All title summaries are taken and/or summarized from copy provided by the publisher.

[Read about this month’s releases.]

Tue
Jan 27 2015 9:00am
Reprint

Scarecrow

Alyssa Wong

Tor.com is honored to reprint “Scarecrow,” a horror short story by Alyssa Wong. Originally published in Black Static 42 (September 2014), “Scarecrow” has never before been available to read online. Please enjoy this horrific tale of tragic love and corvid loss. This story contains scenes that some readers may find upsetting.

[Read “Scarecrow” by Alyssa Wong]

Tue
Jan 27 2015 8:00am

Morning Roundup: Greetings from Hoth!

snow taun taun

This guy will not be defeated by our Hoth-like winter!

Morning Roundup treks through this soul-crushing blizzard to bring you fun links! A look back at George Lucas’ moments of insanity! A new twist in the saga of Batkid! And the greatest Dickens sequel ever written!

[Plus, things are getting Grim!]

Mon
Jan 26 2015 5:00pm

Steampunk Events for February 2015

Steampunk Events February

This month, the steampunk blogosphere is getting prepped for Year Two of Steampunk Hands Around the World, where dozens of bloggers from over 15 different countries plan to share about their local communities with the rest of the world. Come join the event at the Airship Ambassador website.

Besides the virtual world, steampunks across the globe can populate their social calendar with fantastic escapades. Party like its 1900 in Meiji-era Japan at Steam Garden 8 in Tokyo. Run away to Las Vegas for their inaugural steampunk convention or enjoy a convivial in Surrey, England. Kevin Steil, the Airship Ambassador and I have collected some of the most exciting events for February. It may be a short month, but it packs a lot of brass.

[February 2015 steampunk events]

Mon
Jan 26 2015 4:00pm
Excerpt

Classical Antiquity and Western Identity in Battlestar Galactica

Vince Tomasso

Classical Traditions in Science Fiction For all its concern with change in the present and future, science fiction is deeply rooted in the past and, surprisingly, engages especially deeply with the ancient world. Indeed, both as an area in which the meaning of “classics” is actively transformed and as an open-ended set of texts whose own ‘classic' status is a matter of ongoing debate, science fiction reveals much about the roles played by ancient classics in modern times.

Classical Traditions in Science Fiction—edited by Brett M. Rogers and Benjamin Eldon Stevens—is the first collection dedicated to the rich study of science fiction's classical heritage, offering a much-needed mapping of its cultural and intellectual terrain. Available February 9th from Oxford University Press, this volume discusses a wide variety of representative examples from both classical antiquity and the past four hundred years of science fiction, exposing the many levels on which science fiction engages the ideas of the ancient world, from minute matters of language and structure to the larger thematic and philosophical concerns.

Below, Vince Tomasso explores the role of classical antiquity, myths, and tradition in Battlestar Galactica.

[Read More]

Mon
Jan 26 2015 3:35pm

Rereading the Empire Trilogy: Servant of the Empire, Part 18

Servant of the Empire Raymond E Feist Janny WurtsWelcome back to the reread of Servant of the Empire by Raymond E Feist and Janny Wurts!

Chapter 20—Disquiet

These chapter titles are doing my head in! Talk about vague. I don’t think ‘Disquiet’ sums this one up at all. Maybe ‘Difficult Decisions 101’ or ‘A Good Marriage Proposal Is A Terrible Thing to Waste’

Summary: Bad news comes to the Acoma: Lord Tecuma of the Anasati is dead. Not unexpected, but still devastating to their interests.

Mara and Keyoke wake up Nacoya, who is ill with a cold (and very cranky about men being brought to her bedroom), to ask her advice. She believes Jiro might come around, given that he doesn’t hate Mara quite as much as Tasaio.

However, that’s a pretty high bar and Kevin points out that they shouldn’t underestimate “the human capacity for stupid, illogical, and petty behaviour.’

[Read More]

Mon
Jan 26 2015 3:21pm

Catherynne M. Valente Wants You to Revisit The Girl Who Ruled Fairyland—For a Little While

What could Catherynne M. Valente’s Tor.com original novella The Girl Who Ruled Fairyland—For a Little While have to do with her upcoming novel, The Boy Who Lost Fairyland? Refresh your memory here.

Mon
Jan 26 2015 3:00pm

At Last! The Secret Origins of Chas are Revealed in Constantine: “Quid Pro Quo”

Constantine

This week’s Constantine featured the on-screen debut of a classic DC villain, and gave us an in-depth look into the life of Chas, including the revelation around just why it is that he can’t seem to die. While the episode suffered in part from some muddled continuity—is this a flashback? Why is this plot so conveniently hinged around Brooklyn? Why is Chas’s ex-wife so two-dimensionally heinous?—it ultimately proved itself to be a satisfying hour of television, thanks in no small part to the heart and humanity of our ever-faithful cab drivin’ sidekick, Chas.

Did I mention that his name is actually “Francis”?

[Did not see that one coming.]

Mon
Jan 26 2015 2:00pm

Follow Your Arrow: When Orthallen Plans Your Vacation

Arrows Fall Mercedes LackeyLast week, Orthallen arranged for Talia and Kris to visit Valdemar’s neighboring state of Hardorn to continue discussing the marriage King Alessander has proposed between Elspeth and his son, Ancar.

Before we go any further with this week’s reread, we need to discuss the elephant in the room—which, in this case, is the cover art. The usual visual code for dire peril on the cover of a normal Valdemar novel is dramatic depiction of torn sleeves. This cover works to a different standard—Arrow’s Fall has the most ominous cover art in the 31-volume Valdemar series. Rolan is panicking, Talia has taken an arrow to the shoulder. The purples and blacks of the background suggest a dark and dangerous time. This cover promises tragedy, and chapters 6 and 7 deliver.

Valdemarans don’t leave the kingdom much—the prologue to Arrow’s Fall explains that Valdemar is on the edge of civilization and what lies beyond is unpredictable, dangerous, and frighteningly likely to follow you home and destroy your village. This section of Arrow’s Fall marks the first time Lackey sent her characters outside the country. They are going east, which is the more civilized direction.

[Unfortunately, civilized is not the same as safe. ]

Mon
Jan 26 2015 1:39pm

Marvel Casts David Tennant as Villain Kilgrave on A.K.A. Jessica Jones

David Tennant Purple Man AKA Jessica Jones

Marvel announced today that Doctor Who’s David Tennant will play Kilgrave, the villain at the heart of their upcoming Netflix series A.K.A. Jessica Jones. Also known as the Purple Man, Kilgrave is a key antagonist in Jessica Jones’ superhero past, as he is responsible for the trauma that makes her leave behind her crimefighting career. (While the character’s name is spelled Killgrave in the comics, the press release refers to him as “Kilgrave.”)

[Read more]

Mon
Jan 26 2015 3:35pm

Rereading the Empire Trilogy: Servant of the Empire, Part 19

Servant of the Empire Raymond E Feist Janny WurtsWelcome back to the reread of Servant of the Empire by Raymond E Feist and Janny Wurts!

This one’s about politics, slavery and relationship dramah. Which probably describes most of the chapters in this book except the ones to do with desert warfare. (this chapter has no desert warfare)

Chapter 21: Keeper of the Seal

Summary: Mara is heading back to Kentosani, the Holy City, all over again. She has all sorts of political excuses for being here, but Kevin quickly realises that she is in fact here to investigate the legal ramifications of freeing a slave.

He also realises to his own surprise that he’s gone so thoroughly native and is so thoroughly in love with Mara, that if given an opportunity to stay by her side as a free man, he would take it and stay here forever.

[Read More]

Mon
Jan 26 2015 12:30pm

Pirates, Poisoning and Still More Singing: Galavant Wraps Its First Season

Galavant Cast

So, it’s been a few weeks since ABC’s Galavant first marched across our screens, singing. Now that the first, short season is over, how did it do?

Well, the middle was muddled. The singing remained questionable. Many of the jokes were complete misses. But in the end, I gotta say, this show started singing its way into my heart—and not just because it finally gave me something I’ve longed to see in Downton Abbey from the very first season.

But we’ll get there.

[Pirates, monks, dungeons and tap dancing your way to a botched assassination. Mildly spoilery.]

Mon
Jan 26 2015 12:16pm

Emma Watson Will Play Belle in Disney’s Live-Action Beauty and the Beast

Emma Watson Belle Beauty and the Beast

Disney’s live-action remake of Cinderella isn’t even out yet, and the studio is already looking at other classics to adapt: Next up is Beauty and the Beast, to be written by Stephen Chbosky (The Perks of Being a Wallflower) and directed by Bill Condon (The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn, Parts 1 and 2). And Emma Watson has just announced that she’ll be playing Belle!

[Read more]

Mon
Jan 26 2015 12:00pm

Rocket Talk Episode 40: Amal El-Mohtar and Natalie Luhrs

Amal El-Mohtar Natalie Luhrs

In this episode of Rocket Talk, Justin invites writer Amal El-Mohtar and blogger Natalie Luhrs to talk about ethics in literary journalism. The conversation ranges from the relationship between reviewer and publisher, to decorum on the internet, to notions of digital dualism.

In the show an essay is mentioned about the politics of attention. The article, written by Haruna Umar, can be found here.

[Listen Now!]

Mon
Jan 26 2015 11:00am

Five Books About Deeply-Flawed, Despicable People

Locke Lamora

Stories are about people. When you get to the heart of what makes a compelling narrative, the only thing that ever really makes a story resonate is fascinating characters. Watership Down? Rabbits that are people. Temeraire? A dragon that’s really a person. Basin and Range? Rocks that are… well, people. A novel with complex and believable characters and a wooden plot is a great book. A plot heavy book with wooden characters isn’t worth your time. We’re pack animals. This is why reality TV is so incredibly popular, because the noisome wretches on Jersey Shore or Duck Dynasty are PEOPLE, and we want to know what becomes of them, for good or ill.

And here’s the thing about people: they aren’t perfect. People make mistakes, frequent and horrendous mistakes. We screw up early and often and horribly. The best protagonists in all genres, fantasy included, are equally flawed, not so horribly that we want to see them burn, but enough so that we see our own errors reflected in theirs. Because if our favorite fantasy characters can fall so far and find redemption, then maybe we can too.

[Read More]

Mon
Jan 26 2015 9:30am

This is Why Obi-Wan Lied to Luke Skywalker About His Father

Star Wars, Luke Skywalker, Obi-Wan

The Star Wars films aren’t exactly complicated fare, particularly the original trilogy. (Not that there is anything wrong with that.) Luke Skywalker’s journey is pretty cut and dry, a solid line from farmboy to superbad in several short years. The Empire falls, the Rebels win, everyone is back on Endor in time for stormtrooper stew.

But how do you topple a galactic Empire, really? How do you get a boy who’s never known a life outside the sticks to become a galactic savior in the same amount of time that it usually takes to earn a bachelor’s degree?

The plan is likely less perfect than it appears.

[I’m coming with you to Alderaan. There’s nothing for me here now.]

Mon
Jan 26 2015 8:00am

Morning Roundup: Is It Just Us, or is the Term “Bleeding Edge” Creepy?

Tony Ruth's Businesstown

Richard Scarry’s Busytown books explored a plethora of career options for a past age. You could be an architect, a schoolteacher, a bulldozer-er...so many options! But today’s children need to know that they’re heading out into a far different future! A future that could involve working with bitcoin, or social media, or maybe even giving a TedTalk! Luckily artist Tony Ruth is here to educate the younglings. Check out more of his art at Businesstown!

Morning Roundup brings you thoughts on the porous line between science fiction and science fact, ways to tell if you’ve suddenly been transported to a fantastical realm, and news on the soon to be new and improved U.S.S. Enterprise!

[Plus, MANIMAL.]