Rereading Katherine Kurtz: Camber the Heretic, Chapters 16-17

Welcome to the weekly reread of Camber the Heretic!

Last week, Tavis lost his hand for fraternizing with the “enemy,” while the Camber family struggled to do damage control. This week the Camberian Council embeds a mole in the royal court, the political situation keeps on deteriorating, and Javan and Tavis inch closer to a dangerous revelation.

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Series: Rereading Katherine Kurtz

There’s a Place: Five Stories High, Edited by Jonathan Oliver

The latest in a lengthening line of excellent collections edited by Jonathan Oliver, Five Stories High finds several of speculative fiction’s best and brightest riffing on the same literary instrument: the haunted house. Not just any old haunted house, either, but one—Irongrove Lodge—shared by every player:

The house, like its surroundings, seemed quietly respectable, the largest and most prominent among a number of Georgian properties in the vicinity, flanked on one side by a ruddy-faced Victorian terrace, on the other by a 1930s mansion block built from the familiar yellow-grey London stock. […] I could not rid myself of the idea that the house had, in some peculiar way, itself created the ramshackle and disparate landscape that now surrounded it, drawn the cloak of modern London securely about itself, to conceal its true purpose.

The particulars of its true purpose differ dramatically depending on which of the five authors involved in Five Stories High you ask, but although Nina Allan, K. J. Parker, Tade Thompson, Robert Shearman, and Sarah Lotz diverge on the details, all agree that Irongrove Lodge is a home most hellish.

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Rereading the Vorkosigan Saga: The Vor Game, Chapters 9 and 10

This week finds us in the Jacksonian Consortium where a mysterious emergency has drawn Ungari away, leaving Miles and Overholt to make their way home by commercial carrier.

I know that this emergency is extremely serious business, crucial to the security of the Empire. It’s much more important than Miles. I’m not convinced it was a good idea to separate Miles from his handler, though. Is Ungari aware that Miles is fairly high up the line of succession right now? Miles is aware! He’s pretty sure that several factions would have to really hate someone else for him to ever realistically be in a position to inherit the Imperial Campstool, but he IS in the line. Also, he’s a wanted man, and Jacksonian police arrest him while he’s waiting for his flight. One of the central messages of the Vorkosigan Series is that Monday morning quarterbacking is unfair. I’m going to do it anyway. Leaving a potential heir to the throne behind in what is, technically, foreign soil, while a foreign power has a warrant out for his arrest, seems like a not-so-great maneuver. If I was Illyan, I would probably have wanted Ungari to handle that a little differently.

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Series: Rereading the Vorkosigan Saga

The Fortress at the End of Time Sweepstakes!

We want to send you a galley copy of Joe M. McDermott’s The Fortress at the End of Time, available January 17th from Tor.com Publishing!

Captain Ronaldo Aldo has committed an unforgivable crime. He will ask for forgiveness all the same: from you, from God, even from himself.

Connected by ansible, humanity has spread across galaxies and fought a war against an enemy that remains a mystery. At the edge of human space sits the Citadel—a relic of the war and a listening station for the enemy’s return. For a young Ensign Aldo, fresh from the academy and newly cloned across the ansible line, it’s a prison from which he may never escape.

Deplorable work conditions and deafening silence from the blackness of space have left morale on the station low and tensions high. Aldo’s only hope of transcending his station, and cloning a piece of his soul somewhere new is both his triumph and his terrible crime.

Comment in the post to enter!

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Skullsworn

Pyrre Lakatur doesn’t like the word skullsworn. It fails to capture the faith and grace, the peace and beauty of her devotion to the God of Death. She is not, to her mind, an assassin, not a murderer—she is a priestess. At least, she will be a priestess if she manages to pass her final trial.

The problem isn’t the killing. Pyrre has been killing and training to kill, studying with some of the most deadly men and women in the world, since she was eight. The problem, strangely, is love. To pass her Trial, Pyrre has ten days to kill the ten people enumerated in an ancient song, including “the one you love / who will not come again.”

Pyrre is not sure she’s ever been in love. If she were a member of a different religious order, a less devoted, disciplined order, she might cheat. The Priests of Ananshael, however, don’t look kindly on cheaters. If Pyrre fails to find someone to love, or fails to kill that someone, they will give her to the god. Pyrre’s not afraid to die, but she hates to quit, hates to fail, and so, with a month before her trial begins, she returns to the city of her birth in the hope of finding love… and ending it on the edge of her sword.

Brian Staveley’s new standalone novel, Skullsworn, returns to the critically acclaimed Chronicle of the Unhewn Throne universe, following a priestess attempting to join the ranks of the God of Death. Skullsworn publishes April 2017 from Tor Books, but if you’re new to the series (or just want to read them again) you can get the Chronicle of the Unhewn Throne ebook edition—collecting The Emperor’s Blades, The Providence of Fire, and The Last Mortal Bond!

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Westworld Season 1, Episode 10: “The Bicameral Mind”

I’m tempted to just post a picture of Bender and “KILL ALL HUMANS” here.

But in the spirit of good discussion, I say “KILL ALL HUMANS” because they are all terrible. Except for Felix, who is, ironically enough, a terrible human, but when that’s said by an android, it’s the highest of compliments.

Exit music and major spoilers for an entertaining first season.

[“The maze isn’t meant for you…”]

Felons in the Forest: Adam Thorpe’s Radical Take on Robin Hood

We all know Robin Hood. For many of us, the name “Robin Hood” summons a vision of an exuberant Errol Flynn; others might see Disney’s talking fox, Cary Elwes with a raised eyebrow, a swashbuckling Kevin Costner, or even one of Howard Pyle’s classic illustrations. A few poor souls may even recall Russell Crowe’s dour soldier. Robin is versatile: We usually find him eluding the Sheriff of Nottingham and confounding Prince John, yet if he appears with King Arthur and Merlyn, we’re not really surprised. However he might look and wherever he might pop up, we know Robin Hood as a brave outlaw, a defender of justice, and a champion to the oppressed.

Adam Thorpe’s novel Hodd claims that everything we know is wrong, beginning with the outlaw’s name.

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Jeff and Ann VanderMeer Announce a New Anthology, The Big Book of Classic Fantasy

Jeff and Ann VanderMeer are following up their Big Book of Science Fiction with another behemoth of an anthology: The Big Book of Classic Fantasy! The book, which is currently scheduled for a 2018 release, will include works from about 1850 up to World War II. This will be the pair’s fourth anthology, after The Big Book of Science Fiction, The Time Traveler’s Almanac, and The Weird, which won a World Fantasy Award for Best Anthology in 2012.

Jeff VanderMeer announced the new book on his blog, saying, “Will this anthology include not just your favorite classics from the English language, but also translations from all over the world? Yes. Will it include never-before-translated new stories? Yes. Will it include the best of the Decadents and the Surrealists in a fantastical vein? Oh yes, most certainly. We hope to widen our net on the translation side, focusing on areas of the world that have been underrepresented in prior anthologies.”

The VanderMeers will be working with editor Tim O’Connell and editorial consultant Dominik Parisien. You can learn more about the upcoming anthology over at Jeff Vandermeer’s blog.

Tor.com Reviewers’ Choice: The Best Books of 2016

Other than action figures, mugs of tea (Earl Grey, hot), and glorious unicorn lamps, the sight most prevalent in our offices rocket ship here at Tor.com are heaps and heaps of books!

Between our rereads of everything from Dune to the The Wheel of Time, and our regular bookish columns—Five Books About…, That Was Awesome!, Sleeps with Monsters, our comics Pull List, and Genre in the Mainstream, to name a few—we’re reading books and reviewing books around the clock! So with 2016 coming to a close, we invited some of our regular contributors to choose their three favorite books from the last year, and we’re sharing their responses and recommendations below. Please enjoy this eclectic overview of some of our favorite books from the past year, and be sure to let us know about your own favorites in the comments!

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The Morning in Publishing: December 5, 2016

Forget winter, a winner is coming: Random House has donated the Ultra Limited Edition of its George R.R. Martin Box (#001, in fact) to Wild Spirit Wolf Sanctuary in New Mexico, who will auction it off. The winning bid will go toward rescuing and providing sanctuary for captive-bred wolfs and wolfdogs, a cause that is near and dear to Martin’s heart. And the winner will receive this epic box, containing all manner of treasures. The auction began on December 2nd (and wraps up December 9th), so hop to it! That and more, this morning in publishing.

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A Beginner’s Guide to the Fantasy Worlds of L.E. Modesitt, Jr.

L.E. Modesitt, Jr., is one of science fiction and fantasy’s bestselling and most prolific authors. Since signing his first contract with Tor in 1983, he has written over 60 novels, moving between science fiction and fantasy, 18-book epics and standalones. The fantasy worlds he dreams up tackle issues of balance between order and chaos, harmony with nature, and the sociopolitical ramifications of magic-users on society and culture. What’s more, each series features a different, detailed magical system and painstakingly constructed millennia-long timeline of its history. Modesitt also likes to jump back and forth by generations or even centuries within his series, strengthening the fibers of those fictional histories with new stories.

The Towers of Sunset, the second book in Modesitt’s best-known series The Saga of Recluse, is the Tor.com Free eBook Club pick for December; book 1, The Magic of Recluce, is on sale as well. Those are two different paths to enter the world of Recluce; and if you’re itching to learn more about Modesitt’s other fantasy universes, read on!

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