From Vampires to Space Battles: Where to Start with Chuck Wendig

It seems like everyone’s talking about this Chuck Wendig dude. Everyone but you, that is. And that’s a damn shame because Chuck Wendig is ten shades of great. On one hand, as a guy who’s done self-publishing, traditional publishing, and digital publishing (not to mention scripts and video games), he’s written a ton of stuff so you have plenty of titles to choose from. On the other, where the hell do you even start? Ah, my friend, that’s where I come in. Sit back, relax, and let me introduce you to your new favorite author.

Chuck Wendig writes like a punch to the face. His words are visceral and pungent, his tales discomfiting and nonconforming. There’s a fevered, staccato-like quality to his text which gives a sense of urgency, both for the characters and the reader. He writes characters who reject the norm even when they secretly crave it and rage against the family and friends they need the most, all while remaining imminently relatable and recognizable. Every time it feels like things can’t get any worse, Wendig turns the screw once more. Some writers can write big action sequences that make you feel like you’re part of the chaos and some can craft moments of quiet reflection between characters that make you feel like a fly on the wall. Chuck Wendig is one of those lucky few who can do both.

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Neko Mads-sume!

Twitterer Ruben Ferdinand brought this epoch-defining moment to our attention “Hideo Kojima just retweeted photoshops of Mads Mikkelsen with cat ears.”

Yes we would like to collect all the photoshops of Mads Mikkelsen in cat-ears. That seems like the correct use of our time, and a game that should be created post-haste.

And can we please talk about that wiener dog shirt? And how weirdly natural it is to see the extra set of kitty ears hovering just above Mads’ regular, human-type ears? Like, that shouldn’t look so natural, should it? And yet, there it is. He looks, as always, perfect.

Reunion Tour: Kings of the Wyld by Nicholas Eames

There’s nothing that lifts my soul quite like a night of rock and roll. But rock and roll, as I’m sure we can agree, just ain’t what it used to be.

Back in the day, bands weren’t manufactured—they just happened, like a strike of lightning. And while a litter of mewling kittens can be made to sound terrific with the tools producers have to play with today, in the past, each and every member of a musical group had to be a master of their particular instrument. They didn’t have to be attractive, either. They didn’t have to dance or mug or mime. And they didn’t need goddamn gimmicks. All they needed to do was rock your socks off.

In the world of Kings of the Wyld, the funniest and the finest fantasy debut in ages, bands like Saga—the legendary mercenaries at the heart of Nicholas Eames’ finely formed first novel—don’t make music… they make war. Their instruments are their weapons; their axes and swords and shields. Their arena? Why, the whole wide world! Where they’re needed most, though, is the Heartwyld: a vast and vicious forest between Grandual, where humanity has its home, and Endland, where the monsters of the Dominion lay in wait.

[But just what are they waiting for?]

Five Books About Trolls

As a youngster in the late seventies, I never would have guessed that 2017 would be a big year for trolls. Some of my earliest memories involve obsessing over the Moomins, cute trollish creatures from Scandinavia that looked like bipedal hippos. A couple years later my focus shifted to the book Gnomes, by Will Huygen, which depicts gnomes’ hidden struggles against monstrous trolls bent on capturing and eating them. These hirsute, grisly depictions of the enemy affected my dreams. Then, the Rankin & Bass illustrated edition of The Hobbit carried me deeper into fantasy; I wanted to be the characters in that world, fight against the same foes, or better yet, make friends with the trolls, goblins, and elves. I couldn’t get enough of Norse and Greek mythology, fascinated not as much by the famous exploits of the gods, but with the less defined stories of the giants, titans, and lesser monsters that had existed before the gods were even born.

What were these ancient elemental beings that were bound to the land only to fight and fall against the civilizing press of humanity? Why have they fascinated me, and so many others, since childhood and into adulthood? The world “troll” comes from Old Norse, and refers to an ill-defined class of supernatural beings from Norse and Scandinavian folklore. Some saw them as cognates of “giants” and “elves,” but over the centuries “trolls” have taken on an identity unto themselves—at times similar and/or related to both giants and elves, or perhaps even the result of shared blood between the two species.

[TROLLS!]

Series: Five Books About…

Urban Legends of Ancient Egypt: Gene Wolfe’s “Lord of the Land”

Welcome back to the Lovecraft reread, in which two modern Mythos writers get girl cooties all over old Howard’s sandbox, from those who inspired him to those who were inspired in turn.

Today we’re looking at Gene Wolfe’s “Lord of the Land,” first published in 1990 in his Starwater Strains collection. Spoilers ahead.

[“Something moved when he switched off the light.”]

Series: The Lovecraft Reread

Astronomers Find 7 Earth-Sized Exoplanets Orbiting One Star

Today, NASA and the ESO announced that astronomers have discovered seven earth-sized planets orbiting a star called TRAPPIST-1. The star system is located about 40 light years away.

Last August, scientists made headlines when they announced the discovery of Proxima b, a rocky Earth-sized planet located within the habitable zone of a nearby star, Proxima Centauri. The “habitable zone” is the distance a planet needs to be from a star in order to support liquid water. Too far, and all the water on the planet will be ice. Too close, and any water will boil off the surface.

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V.E. Schwab Prize Pack Sweepstakes!

V.E. Schwab’s A Conjuring of Light, the third book in the Shades of Magic series, is out now from Tor Books! To celebrate, we want to send you a prize pack of all three books in hardcover, and a nifty bookhugger that you can wrap around the whole trilogy (or put on your wall! It’s so pretty).

Londons fall and kingdoms rise while darkness sweeps the Maresh Empire, and the fraught balance of magic blossoms into dangerous territory while heroes struggle. The direct sequel to A Gathering of Shadows, and the final book in the Shades of Magic epic fantasy series, A Conjuring of Light sees the newly minted New York Times bestselling author V. E. Schwab reach a thrilling conclusion concerning the fate of beloved protagonists—and old foes.

Comment in the post to enter!

NO PURCHASE NECESSARY TO ENTER OR WIN. A purchase does not improve your chances of winning. Sweepstakes open to legal residents of 50 United States and D.C., and Canada (excluding Quebec). To enter, comment on this post beginning at 12:30 PM Eastern Time (ET) on February 22nd. Sweepstakes ends at 12:00 PM ET on February 26th. Void outside the United States and Canada and where prohibited by law. Please see full details and official rules here. Sponsor: Tor.com, 175 Fifth Ave., New York, NY 10010.

Malazan Reread of the Fallen: Forge of Darkness, Prelude

Welcome back to the Malazan Reread of the Fallen! Every post will start off with a summary of events, followed by reaction and commentary by your hosts Bill and Amanda, and finally comments from Tor.com readers. Today we’re tackling the prelude to Forge of Darkness.

A fair warning before we get started: We’ll be discussing both novel and whole-series themes, narrative arcs that run across the entire series, and foreshadowing, but the summary of events will be free of major spoilers and we’re going to try keeping the reader comments the same. A spoiler thread has been set up for outright Malazan spoiler discussion.

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Series: Malazan Reread of the Fallen

The Grisha Trilogy Reread: Ruin and Rising, Part Three

Well my friends, this is it: the last installment of the Grisha Trilogy Reread.

I forgot how much more there was to get through in Ruin and Rising, so I hope you all don’t feel like I’ve glossed over too much. There’s so many themes coming together here at the end, still more death and loss, questions about fate versus choice, and the idea of power and long life weighed against an ordinary existence.

[And just what is ordinary, anyway?]

Series: The Grisha Trilogy Reread

Catch a FIYAH: Notes on Building a Black Speculative Fiction Revolution

FIYAH, a literary magazine dedicated to Black Speculative Fiction, seemed to come out of nowhere earlier this year with its premiere issue. But FIYAH has a deep history due to seeds planted well before the magazine was announced in September 2016.

FIYAH was birthed from the minds and effort of a collective of Black SFF readers, writers, and fans who all congregate in a vantablack subspace time coil we call the Niggerati Space Station (NSS). Its purpose is to allow Black SFF writers to share, discuss, vent, build, or what have you, on all things speculative fiction. It functions as an incubator of creativity, a safe space to dream our dreams of the Black beyond.

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Losing Heart Among the Tall

A.M. Dellamonica is at it again! The thrilling adventures of Gale Feliachild and Captain Parrish continue in a series of prequel stories that offers to take us deeper into the fascinating world of Stormwrack.

When the crew of the Nightjar find a merman of the fleet wounded and stranded in the ocean, Gale’s sister, Beatrice, is forced to take a back seat while Gale and Parrish work to find out who would assault a member of the nation of Tallon’s intelligence service. They soon discover a plot that could shake the foundations of the fleet and Beatrice might be the key to preventing a catastrophic disaster.

[Read “Losing Heart Among the Tall” by A.M. Dellamonica]

Mystery Science Theater 3000 Will Get Movie Sign on April 14th!

Netflix has given us the news we’ve been waiting for: MST3K will premiere on April 14th! And to be extra swell, they shared a new cast photo. The new cast features Jonah Ray as host Jonah Heston, Hampton Yount as Crow, and Baron Vaughn as Tom Servo, plus Felicia Day and Patton Oswalt as a new generation of Mad Scientists hell-bent on mayhem.

Now who’s joining us in the theater?

Congratulations to Our 2016 Nebula Award Nominees!

The 2016 Nebula Awards were announced yesterday by the Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America, and we’re incredibly proud to have so many great books on the ballot from our first full year of publishing. Tor.com Publishing earned seven nominations for our novellas, novelettes, and short stories, and we want to congratulate all of our nominated authors for this recognition of their excellent work!

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Close Encounters of the Fifth Kind: Supergirl, “Mr. and Mrs. Mxyzptlk”

Due to what I can only guess was some sort of scheduling snafu, Supergirl aired its Valentine’s Day episode almost a week after the holiday. So, right as we’ve all finished our boxes of half-price chocolate and thrown out dried flowers, here’s an episode to bring back all the butterfly-inducing, infuriating, and heartwarming things about love: rooms full of roses, reliving a bittersweet Valentine’s dance, and a not-so-secret admirer.

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