Where the Trains Turn November 19, 2014 Where the Trains Turn Pasi Ilmari Jääskeläinen His imagination runs wild. The Walk November 12, 2014 The Walk Dennis Etchison Creative differences can be brutal. Where the Lost Things Are November 5, 2014 Where the Lost Things Are Rudy Rucker and Terry Bisson Everything has to wind up somewhere. A Kiss with Teeth October 29, 2014 A Kiss with Teeth Max Gladstone Happy Halloween.
From The Blog
November 28, 2014
Star Wars: The Force Awakens Teaser Trailer is Live
Stubby the Rocket
November 21, 2014
Never Wait for a Sequel Again: 17 Standalone Fantasy Novels
Stubby the Rocket
November 18, 2014
The Hollow Crown: Shakespeare’s Histories in the Age of Netflix
Ada Palmer
November 17, 2014
In Defense of Indiana Jones, Archaeologist
Max Gladstone
November 14, 2014
An Uncut and Non-Remastered List of Star Wars Editions!
Leah Schnelbach
Fri
Nov 28 2014 3:00pm

Are the Images We Take of Outer Space Being Photobombed?

Watch this short interview with Brant Widgeon, an Astronomical Image Enhancement Engineer, and get informed about the surprisingly common anomaly (nicknamed “space cats”) that he has to remove from the majority of images we receive from Hubble and other telescopes. You’ll be amazed at what doesn’t make it to the final image, and how widespread this anomaly seems to be. It’s enough to change one’s entire concept of the cosmos.


Stubby the Rocket is the mascot of Tor.com and wants to scritch all the widdle heads of all the space cats.

Fri
Nov 28 2014 2:00pm

Short Fiction Spotlight: The Uncanny Valley

Welcome back to the Short Fiction Spotlight, a weekly column dedicated to doing exactly what it says in the header: shining a light on the some of the best and most relevant fiction of the aforementioned form.

Once upon a time, magazines of short speculative fiction were as prevalent and accessible as newspapers, but the periodicals of the past have been dying a slow death for decades. Don’t give up hope, though, for there are those who still believe such publications have a place.

Amongst their noble number, we have Hugo Award-winner Lynne M. Thomas and Hugo Award nominee Michael Damian Thomas, who last week launched the first issue of Uncanny, a brand new bi-monthly “that has the feel of a contemporary magazine with a history—one that evolved from a fantastic pulp. Uncanny will bring the excitement and possibilities of the past, and the sensibilities and experimentation that the best of the present offers.”

[Read more]

Fri
Nov 28 2014 1:00pm

I Hate Boats

Boat voyages in epic fantasy

When you spend years and years immersed in any genre, I think it’s inevitable that you will come to develop prejudices. Patterns will begin to emerge before your eyes that change the way you experience the fiction you consume. Some of these biases will be reasonable, some will be arbitrary, and some will be, well, practically inexplicable. I know people who love fantasy but hate swords. This baffles me, because clearly swords are very great, but I won’t judge that preference. I certainly have my own prejudices, and today I’m going to explain one of them.

I absolutely loathe boats.

[Nautical readers may wish to avert their eyes.]

Fri
Nov 28 2014 12:00pm

Evil Astral Twins: Stranger With My Face

One horrible day, Laurie Stratton comes down with one of those awful 24-hour bugs.  (Or is it?)  This means that she has to, gasp, cancel going to a party, which since she’s only seventeen, and still on fairly uncertain terms with her hot, popular, new boyfriend, seriously sucks.

Still, she figures that everything will be all right—until, that is, her annoying friends tell her that if she didn’t want to come to the party, she should have just said so, instead of going to the beach. Where they certainly saw her, even if Laurie knows—knows—she was sick in bed at the time. And the idea, she thinks, of A Stranger With My Face is just, well, ridiculous.

Right?

[When evil twins start mastering astral projection.]

Fri
Nov 28 2014 11:00am

What an Avengers Movie Would Look Like in the 1970s

What an Avengers Movie Would Look Like in the 1970s

So. This is our new favorite thing. An edit of what an Avengers movie would look like if made in the 1970s. Liberal use is made of footage from the Lou Ferrigno/Bill Bixby The Incredible Hulk show, although we’re a bit saddened by the lack of footage from the completely terrible Captain America film from 1990.

See it below! And keep watching the video to see Hawkeye’s note-perfect 1970s onscreen debut.

[Read more]

Fri
Nov 28 2014 10:33am

Star Wars: The Force Awakens Teaser Trailer is Live

Star Wars Episode VII The Force Awakens

There’s been an awakening...have you felt it?

The Force has woken us all up this Black Friday with the first teaser-trailer for Episode VII.

Watch the trailer for Star Wars: The Force Awakens below. Plus, some key scenes that might be relevant.

[Read more]

Fri
Nov 28 2014 10:00am

Cinema’s Best and Worst Dinosaurs

Cinema's Best and Worst Dinosaurs Land Before Time

For as long as there have been movies, dinosaurs have been roaring and stomping across the screen. Gertie the dinosaur was one of the first popular animated characters, and stop-motion pioneer Willis O’Brien had an unabashed love for prehistoric life that he brought to life in silent shorts as well as classics like 1925’s The Lost World and the original King Kong. Jurassic Park later picked up the spirit of these early forays, presenting audiences with what are still some of the most spectacular movie dinosaurs ever. Since the 1993 blockbuster is briefly back in theaters starting today, it’s fitting to look back at a short list of cinema’s best and worst Mesozoic monsters.

[Read more]

Fri
Nov 28 2014 9:00am
Excerpt

The Providence of Fire: Chapter Four (Excerpt)

Brian Staveley

The Providence of Fire excerpt prologue Brian StaveleyThe Providence of Fire, the second volume in Brian Staveley’s Chronicle of the Unhewn Throne, sees the heirs of the assassinated Emperor of Annur fighting one another as well as the forces that conspired against their father.

Adare has learned the identity of her father’s killer, but she has few allies to challenge the coup against her family. While she rallies the people—who believe her touched by Intarra, patron goddess of the empire—to help her retake the city, she must face her brother Valyn’s rebel forces. Having allied with nomad forces, he brings war to the Annurian Empire.

Caught in the middle is Adare and Valyn’s brother Kaden, rightful heir to the throne. He has infiltrated the capital with the help of two strange companions, who possess knowledge that may save Annur... or destroy it.

The Providence of Fire publishes January 13, 2015 from Tor Books and Tor Books UK. Read chapter four below, and check back every day this week for additional excerpts!

[Read Chapter Four]

Thu
Nov 27 2014 9:00am
Excerpt

The Providence of Fire: Chapter Three (Excerpt)

Brian Staveley

The Providence of Fire excerpt prologue Brian StaveleyThe Providence of Fire, the second volume in Brian Staveley’s Chronicle of the Unhewn Throne, sees the heirs of the assassinated Emperor of Annur fighting one another as well as the forces that conspired against their father.

Adare has learned the identity of her father’s killer, but she has few allies to challenge the coup against her family. While she rallies the people—who believe her touched by Intarra, patron goddess of the empire—to help her retake the city, she must face her brother Valyn’s rebel forces. Having allied with nomad forces, he brings war to the Annurian Empire.

Caught in the middle is Adare and Valyn’s brother Kaden, rightful heir to the throne. He has infiltrated the capital with the help of two strange companions, who possess knowledge that may save Annur... or destroy it.

The Providence of Fire publishes January 13, 2015 from Tor Books and Tor Books UK. Read chapter three below, and check back every day this week for additional excerpts!

[Read Chapter Three]

Wed
Nov 26 2014 5:05pm

Happy Thanksgiving from Tor.com!

Happy Thanksgiving from Tor.com!

The Tor.com staff is about to pile into Stubby and take off for the Planet of Food and Not Being On The Internet For Once, but we’ll be back to normal on Friday. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Wed
Nov 26 2014 5:00pm

Fiction Affliction: Genre-Benders for December

genre benders new releases DecemberEleven books reach across the aisle to bridge genre gridlock this month, including new releases from, among others, Joseph Nassise, Tim Powers, Guy Adams, and Steve Perry.

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.]

Wed
Nov 26 2014 4:00pm

A Detective Novel Trapped in a Space Opera: Undercity by Catharine Asaro

Undercity Catherine Asaro review Skolian Empire Catharine Asaro is a science fiction writer best known for her Skolian Empire series, a loosely-connected set of books that mixed space opera and romance before SFF Romance became a subgenre in its own right. In Undercity, she returns to the Skolian Empire universe, to a new set of characters and a fresh set of circumstances.

Major Bhaajan used to be a Skolian military officer with the Imperial Space Command. Retired from active service, she’s become a private investigator, a fairly good one. When a mysterious client offers a lot of money for her services, she finds herself returning to Raylicon, the planet of her birth, where a cloistered young man of extremely good family has gone missing. The Majdas are the second most influential family in the empire, even though the empire’s ostensibly democratically ruled, and they’re old-fashioned to boot: they keep their men in seclusion, in the tradition of old Skolian matriarchy. The young man who’s just disappeared from their carefully-guarded household was in line to marry a member of the most influential family in the empire, and the Majdas are understandably eager to get him safely back home.

[Read More]

Wed
Nov 26 2014 3:30pm

Tor Books End of Year Sweepstakes!

We’ve put together a prize pack of some of the biggest titles that came out from Tor Books in 2014, including Brandon Sanderson’s Words of Radiance, My Real Children by Jo Walton; The Goblin Emperor by Katherine Addison; a signed copy of Lock In by John Scalzi (plus a signed “Unlocked” postcard!); Steles of the Sky by Elizabeth Bear; The Three-Body Problem by Cixin Liu; and The Emperor’s Blades by Brian Staveley. (Remember, you can read chapters from the upcoming sequel to The Emperor’s Blades, The Providence of Fire, all this week right here on Tor.com!)

We’ll send one lucky winner all of the books pictured above, so 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 3:30 PM Eastern Time (ET) on November 26. Sweepstakes ends at 12:00 PM ET on December 2. 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.

Fri
Nov 28 2014 10:30am

MacKids Holiday Sweepstakes!

It’s the holiday season, and we want to send you a prize pack full of cheer to celebrate! One lucky winner will receive a variety of books from MacKids, including Frankenstein’s Fright Before Christmas by Ludworst Bemonster; Beautiful Yetta’s Hanukkah Kitten by Daniel Pinkwater; Pop-Up Surprise Merry Christmas by Roger Priddy; My First Kwanzaa by Karen Katz; When it Snows by Richard Collingridge; Snowboy 1, 2, 3 by Joe Wahman; one copy of Christmas Treasure Hunt by Roger Priddy; Hanukkah in Alaska by Barbara Brown; four different versions of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, for young readers of all levels; and The Island of Misfit Toys!

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 10:30 AM Eastern Time (ET) on November 28. Sweepstakes ends at 12:00 PM ET on December 2nd. 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.

Wed
Nov 26 2014 3:00pm

Evil Couture, Inc. — The Best Fashionable Villains!

Villain Fashion, White Witch, Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe, Tilda Swinton

One of the perks of being evil—you can dress however you like. From fine couture to outrageous false eyelashes, many villains express their freedom from wholesome heroics by creating wardrobes that match their inner diabolical divas. Here are some of the best dressed baddies from across genre.

[If she doesn’t scare you, no evil thing will.]

Wed
Nov 26 2014 2:00pm

Mira Grant Talks Tapeworms in a Lively Reddit AMA!

Mira Grant Symbiont AMA

Under the pen name Mira Grant, Seanan McGuire has honed her skills as a writer of science fiction horror novels. They would be frightening enough if they were simply rooted in bacteriological fact, but their incisive critique of today’s media saturated society takes them to a whole new level of terror.

Grant’s Newsflesh series charts the rise of two genetically engineered viruses (designed as treatments for unrelated ailments) that combine into an airborne pathogen—one that has the nasty side effect of raising the dead. But more than a simple zombie tale, the Newsflesh novels dig into the politics of a post-outbreak world as a team of bloggers covers a Presidential campaign.

Grant doubles down on the body horror in Parasite, the first book in the Parasitology series, as she takes us to a near future where tapeworm implants keep us healthy. Which is great, but what happens when the parasites decide they want lives of their own? To celebrate the release of its sequel, Symbiont, Mira Grant took to reddit to hold a lively AMA!

[Highlights from the AMA]

Wed
Nov 26 2014 1:33pm

Check Out This Micro-Teaser for Game of Thrones Season Five!

Holy crap new Game of Thrones teaser! This micro-trailer for Season Five focuses on Ary Stark, with a cameo by Melisandre's creeeeeeeepy voice. What do you think it all means? Is...is Arya Darth Vader? The teaser was posted on Twitter by the offical GoT account, and if you follow the links to the Three-Eyed Raven you can get more updates!

[Click through to watch the teaser trailer]

Wed
Nov 26 2014 1:00pm

Rereading Melanie Rawn: The Star Scroll, Chapter 3

Melanie Rawn Dragon Prince Star Scroll rereadWelcome to the weekly Wednesday reread of The Star Scroll! This week we’re reading one long chapter packed full of backstory and forestory and hints of what’s to come. And horses. Lots of horses.

Chapter 3

So This Happens: Pol remembers being appallingly seasick three years ago, when he sailed from Radzyn to Dorval. He also recalls his first meeting with Prince Lleyn, and his first arrival in Graypearl.

Now he and Meath are safe on land again, recovering in Radzyn, with Maarken (now twenty-six and adorned with six Sunrunner rings) there to take them to Tobin and Chay. On the way, Pol asks him about Andrade; it’s noted that Maarken and Meath are old friends. Maarken tells Pol he’ll meet Andrade at the Rialla. “It’ll be a real family reunion this year.”

[Read More]

Wed
Nov 26 2014 12:00pm

Learning Empathy From Robots: How MST3K Explained My Parents

Mystery Science Theater 3000 Thanksgiving marathon

This week marks a milestone for all of humanity—Sunday was the 25th anniversary of the first broadcast of Mystery Science Theater 3000. The first ever episode, “The Green Slime” was shown on a small Minneapolis cable-access channel called KTMA on November 24, 1988. This is also the 22nd anniversary of the Turkey Day Marathon, which aired annually on Comedy Central from 1991 until 1995, and which will be returning this year! Joel Hodgson is curating an online marathon that will be available this Thursday starting at noon Eastern Time.

[In the not-too-distant past]

Wed
Nov 26 2014 11:30am

Angry Robot Announces a New Gas-Lit Empire Novel, plus a Cover Reveal!

Angry RobotAngry Robot Books is delighted to announce the re-signing of Rod Duncan for a third book in the Gas-Lit Empire series, The Custodian of Marvels (April 2016), acquired from Ed Wilson of Johnson & Alcock.

The first in the series, The Bullet-Catcher’s Daughter, was released in September 2014 and has won the Leicester Writers’ Norman King Award as well as receiving rave reviews from readers and reviewers alike. Unseemly Science, the much anticipated second in the series, will be published in May 2015.

We have your exclusive first look at the cover of Unseemly Science, plus more details about The Custodian of Marvels below!

[Read More]