Six Gifts that Changed the World

Monday marks Harry Potter’s fictional birthday (and the real birthday of his creator, J.K. Rowling), so we got to thinking about what sort of gift would be suitable for The Boy Who Lived. If science fiction and fantasy fiction teaches us anything, the most meaningful gifts are often small, personal treasures—items of very little commercial value, but of potentially great emotional significance to both the gifter and the giftee. In fact, some gifts carry so much meaning that they can alter the fate of entire worlds.

Here are 6 fun examples to illustrate what we mean.

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Tade Thompson’s The Murders of Molly Southbourne Optioned for Film

Just in from Deadline: Hollywood, Tade Thompson’s forthcoming Tor.com publishing novella The Murders of Molly Southbourne has been been optioned by Cathy Schulman’s Welle Entertainment. They reported, “Schulman will produce Southbourne as a feature film with Krishnan Menon and Adam Stone (Sleepless, The Voices) at Phenomenon Entertainment, who brought the project to Welle. Brendan Deneen (Gangland Undercover) and the book’s editor Carl Engle-Laird will serve as executive producers through Macmillian Entertainment.”

The Murders of Molly Southbourne is a dark, twisted story that kept me up late the first night I read it and has haunted my imaginations ever since,” said Carl Engle-Laird, editor at Tor.com Publishing. “I’m thrilled to see what they will do with it, and look forward to more people sharing my plight.”

For as long as Molly Southbourne can remember, she’s been watching herself die. Whenever she bleeds, another molly is born, identical to her in every way and intent on her destruction. Any instance of bleeding—a scrape, a scuffle, and every month for a couple of harrowing days. And so, she has been trained in how to destroy the mollys first. Molly knows every way to kill herself, but she also knows that as long as she survives she’ll be hunted. Growing more bitter, she finds herself wondering whether it’s better to kill herself or be killed by the inescapable horde

The Murders of Molly Southbourne will be available October 3 from Tor.com Publishing.

The Dark Tower, Internet Fandom, and True Love

There are a couple of things you should know about me before I tell you this story. The first is that I’ve been a fan of Stephen King for as long as I can really remember. I think my first of his books might have been Needful Things, and from there I would borrow as many as I could from the library, heaving home huge stacks of those doorstops with their black covers and lurid fonts. The second thing is that I have a terrible tendency to read things in the wrong order. It’s not a deliberate quirk—more that I have a relaxed attitude to sensible chronology. I think this was also something I picked up from being a big borrower of library books; I would take whatever book happened to be on the shelf at the time, regardless of whether it was the next one I was supposed to read or not.

Now I must take you back to 1997. My mum had gotten into the habit of buying me two things at Christmas: whatever hardback Terry Pratchett book happened to be out, and whatever hardback Stephen King book happened to be out. That year, it was Wizard & Glass, which my mum merrily bought and popped under the Christmas tree, not realizing that it was the fourth volume in King’s The Dark Tower series. And let’s be fair, it didn’t worry me too much. I was, after all, the person who started reading The Sandman with The Kindly Ones. I was a maverick. A loose cannon.

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An Alchemy of Masques and Mirrors Sweepstakes!

We want to send you a galley copy of Curtis Craddock’s An Alchemy of Masques and Mirrors, available August 29th from Tor Books!

In a world of soaring continents and bottomless skies, where a burgeoning new science lifts skyships into the cloud-strewn heights, and ancient blood-borne sorceries cling to a fading glory, Princess Isabelle des Zephyrs is about to be married to a man she has barely heard of, the second son of a dying king in an empire collapsing into civil war.

Born without the sorcery that is her birthright but with a perspicacious intellect, Isabelle believes her marriage will stave off disastrous conflict and bring her opportunity and influence. But the last two women betrothed to this prince were murdered, and a sorcerer-assassin is bent on making Isabelle the third. Aided and defended by her loyal musketeer, Jean-Claude, Isabelle plunges into a great maze of prophecy, intrigue, and betrayal, where everyone wears masks of glamour and lies. Step by dangerous step, she unravels the lies of her enemies and discovers a truth more perilous than any deception.

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 July 28th. Sweepstakes ends at 12:00 PM ET on August 1st. 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.

Sam Sykes and Chuck Wendig Just Wrote Horror Movie Gold on Twitter

It started late last night (as all good horror tales do) with a simple request: Sam Sykes tweeted yo, can you help me out at Chuck Wendig. The other author’s response—hey what do you need—made us briefly think we were about to witness a postmodern text conversation posted in public for a combined 90K followers, but then it escalated:

I don’t know if I told you but I recently became a camp counselor

that’s cool

it was going super well but there’s some kind of crazed serial killer roaming the grounds right now

And instead what unfolded was a delightful Twitter thread cheekily riffing on horror tropes from the point of view of (spoiler) the guy who’s prooobably the killer but also the protagonist.

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What Star Wars Taught Me About My Epic Fantasy Trilogy

I signed my first writing contract at the beginning of 2012; a three-book deal for The Powder Mage Trilogy with Orbit Books. The trilogy was sold off the strength of the first book, Promise of Blood, as well as a several page summary of the two subsequent books in the series. At the time of the sale I felt like I was in a pretty good place—I had ambitious plans for the second and third books with new viewpoint characters, new cultures, and a whole different continent to explore.

I started writing the untitled book two later that year and immediately ran into a problem: I hated everything that I wrote.

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Visit 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.

His latest novel, Assassin’s Price, is the eleventh book in the Imager Portfolio—if you’re itching to learn more about the Imager world, or Modesitt’s other fantasy universes, read on!

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Colson Whitehead Is the Winner of the 2017 Arthur C. Clarke Award

This evening, at a special ceremony held at Foyles’ flagship bookshop on Charing Cross Road in lovely London, the winner of the 31st annual Arthur C. Clarke Award was announced. A suitably celebratory spread of genre readers, writers and industry figures were in attendance as the UK’s most prestigious prize for science fiction literature was awarded to Colson Whitehead for his “intensely moving” novel The Underground Railroad.

Andrew M. Butler, chair of a panel of judges that included representatives of the British Science Fiction Association, the Science Fiction Foundation and the SCI-FI LONDON Film Festival, expressed delight at the decision, describing Whitehead’s sixth novel—which concerns a pair of slaves fighting for their freedom along the length of a subterranean railway—as “a gripping account both of humanity’s inhumanity and the potential for resistance, underpinned by science fiction’s ability to make metaphor literal.”

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Series: British Fiction Focus

Negative, I am a Meat Popsicle: The Fifth Element

Ladies and gentlemen and beings of indeterminate provenance! I present to you the MRGN post of a thousand and one follies, jollies and lick ‘em lollies: 1997’s The Fifth Element! Supergreen!

Previous entries can be found here. Please note that as with all films covered on the Nostalgia Rewatch, this post will be rife with spoilers for the film.

And now, the post!

[Aziz, LIGHT!]

Series: Movie Rewatch of Great Nostalgia

For a Revolution: The Five Daughters of the Moon by Leena Likitalo

First in a duet from Leena Likitalo, The Five Daughters of the Moon is a second-world fantasy inspired by the Russian Revolution. The narrative follows the five sisters of the royal family as their empire collapses around them, driven in part by youthful idealism and in part by cruel magic and manipulation. Each chapter is told from the point of view of a different sister, from the youngest Alina who sees the world of shadows to the oldest Celestia who has become involved with the scientist-sorcerer Gagargi Prataslav.

Representing the revolution from the interior of the royal family, Likitalo is able to explore a range of reactions and levels of awareness; Elise and Celestia are aware of the suffering in their empire and wish to support a revolution that will address it, while the younger three are more aware of the horrible magic and undercurrents of betrayal surrounding Prataslav, but no one will listen to their concerns. This mismatch leads to the beginning of the collapse of the empire itself.

[A review, with spoilers.]

Iraq + 100

Iraq + 100 poses a question to contemporary Iraqi writers: what might your home city look like in the year 2103—exactly 100 years after the disastrous American and British-led invasion of Iraq? How might that war reach across a century of repair and rebirth, and affect the state of the country—its politics, its religion, its language, its culture—and how might Iraq have finally escaped its chaos, and found its own peace, a hundred years down the line?

As well as being an exercise in escaping the politics of the present, this anthology is also an opportunity for a hotbed of contemporary Arabic writers to offer its own spin on science fiction and fantasy.

Iraq + 100 publishes September 12th with Tor Books. We’re pleased to share editor Hassan Blasim’s introduction to the anthology, translated by Jonathan Wright.

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The Great Stephen King Reread: Cell

As surely as the sun rises in the east, every few years Stephen King will mention retiring, the press will jump on it with both feet, the world will spread far and wide that “The King is Dead”, and minutes later King will have another book on the market that his publishers call “his return to true horror.” In 2002, King told the LA Times he was retiring while promoting From a Buick 8. After about 15 minutes, Stephen King was back, and this time it was with a zombie novel dedicated to George Romero and Richard Matheson, and Scribner was thrilled that their multi-million investment in King was paying off with a new horror novel.

They printed 1.1 million copies and, to promote it, they got Nextones to send texts asking people to join the Stephen King VIP Club where they could buy $1.99 Cell wallpapers for their mobile phones and two ringtones of King himself intoning, “It’s okay, it’s a normie calling.” and “Beware. The next call you take may be your last.” King wanted it to say, “Don’t answer it. Don’t answer it,” but Marketing nixed that idea. The result? Parent company Simon & Schuster got sued for unsolicited telephone advertising in Satterfield v. Simon & Schuster to the tune of $175/plaintiff, or $10 million total. With a price tag like that, good thing Cell is one hell of a 9/11 novel.

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Series: The Great Stephen King Reread

Revealing a New Fantasy Series From R.A. Salvatore

As the Blood Moon rises high upon the mountain of the Usgar a demon hunts.

But this is not the demon’s story.

Child of a Mad God is the story of a young woman, the daughter of a witch, born under the Blood Moon, how she finds herself alone in a tribe of vicious barbarians, and how she came to know the world. The novel, out from Tor Books on February 6, 2018, kicks off a new fantasy series from R.A. Salvatore, the same author beloved for his Legend of Drizzt series.

Check out Larry Rostant’s full cover below.

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