The Pauper Prince and the Eucalyptus Jinn April 22, 2015 The Pauper Prince and the Eucalyptus Jinn Usman Malik He will inherit the Unseen. The Ways of Walls and Words April 15, 2015 The Ways of Walls and Words Sabrina Vourvoulias Can the spirit truly be imprisoned? Ballroom Blitz April 1, 2015 Ballroom Blitz Veronica Schanoes Can't stop drinking, can't stop dancing, can't stop smoking, can't even die. Dog March 25, 2015 Dog Bruce McAllister "Watch the dogs when you're down there, David."
From The Blog
April 22, 2015
Daredevil, Catholicism, and the Marvel Moral Universe
Leah Schnelbach
April 22, 2015
The Old Guy Action Comeback: I’m Getting Too Old for This Sh*t
Ryan Britt
April 20, 2015
The Net is the Meat: Bruce Holsinger’s Middle Ages
David Perry
April 17, 2015
Spring 2015 Anime Preview: The Hellish Life of a Pizza Delivery Boy
Kelly Quinn
April 16, 2015
The Disney Read-Watch: Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs
Mari Ness
Apr 28 2015 12:00pm

When You’re Dead Ye’ll Ne’er Drink to Your King or Your Lass: “The Tomb”

Lovecraft The Tomb

Welcome back to the Lovecraft reread, in which two modern Mythos writers get girl cooties all over old Howard’s original stories.

Today we’re looking at “The Tomb,” written in June 1917 and first published in the March 1922 issue of The Vagrant. You can read it here.

Spoilers ahead.

[“I must have fallen asleep from fatigue, for it was with a distinct sense of awakening that I heard the voices.”]

Apr 28 2015 11:00am

Sleeps With Monsters: Ecology and Politics

Sleeps with Monsters

There are two books I’ve read recently that seem worth recommending to your attention. Although the authors and their works hardly to lack for people in conversation about them—at least in the first case, I seem to be quite late to the game, in internet time.

[Persona and Pocket Apocalypse]

Apr 28 2015 10:30am

Cover Reveal for Cixin Liu’s Death’s End

Tor Books is proud to present the cover for Death’s End, the concluding book in the tour de force near-future adventure trilogy from China’s best-selling and most beloved science fiction writer, with yet another beautiful image from Stephan Martinière!

Cixin Liu’s first book in the series, The Three-Body Problem, came out last year and is currently on the Hugo and Nebula Awards ballot. Book two, The Dark Forest, will be out this summer. Death’s End, the exciting concluding volume, will be out January 2016.

[Read more]

Apr 28 2015 10:00am

Bending Shakespeare

Gender bending Shakespeare

As a woman of color who spends an absolutely ludicrous amount of time reading fanfic, I’m a huge nerd for gender, queer, and racebending. I’ve read some amazing fem!Destiel, adore racebent Harry Potter fanart, and to the OP who first came up with the brilliant idea to cast Taylor Swift and Kristen Stewart in an all-girl remake of Grease, I love you. In a lot of cases, I tend to prefer the bent versions over the original canon. I mean, if you don’t think Lucy Liu is the greatest Watson to ever Watson, well, I’m here to tell you that you’re just plain wrong.

I’m also someone who grew up in the 90s, which means I was drowning in a sea of hormones and emotions during the peak of America’s Shakespeare movie adaptation phase. To this day the soundtracks to Romeo + Juliet and 10 Things I Hate About You are on my iPod...and I still have the original CDs, even if they’re too scratched to ever play again. Julia Stiles’ Kat made me fall in love with Shakespeare, Leonardo DiCaprio’s Romeo sealed the deal, Ethan Hawke’s Hamlet made me reconsider my life choices, and Mekhi Phifer’s O set my heart a’flutter once again. And now, with the magic of the internet and several streaming services with extensive catalogues, I can combine my obsession with Shakespeare with my passion for bending.

[“Love is not love which alters when it alteration finds.”]

Apr 28 2015 9:00am

Women of Wonder (Introduction)

Lauren Panepinto

Women of Wonder Illustration and gallery markets have traditionally been seen as a largely male profession, but women have always been active participants—from Kewpie creator Rose O’Neill in the early 20th Century, to 1950s Disney film designer Mary Blair to Spectrum Grand Masters Diane Dillon and Kinuko Y. Craft. Increasingly, women are impacting the world of contemporary fantastic art and inspiring new generations of illustrators, designers, sculptors, and painters.

Women of Wonder, edited by Cathy Fenner, reflects of the expanding numbers of women artists featured in Spectrum: The Best in Contemporary Fantastic Art. This full-color collection, complete with artist statements and photos, acknowledges their presence and influence. Women of Wonder is available May 19th from Underwood Books. Below, read Lauren Panepinto’s introduction, and preview some of the gorgeous artwork featured in the collection.

[Read an Excerpt]

Apr 28 2015 8:00am

Morning Roundup: It’s So Hard to Say Goodbye

Captain America Beard Farewell

Awww... Chris Evans’ beard got him through his first directing gig, Snowpiercer, and THE WORST WINTER EVER, but now the time has come for them to go their separate ways: Chris to the set of Captain America: Civil War, and his beard to the trashcan presumably, since you know someone as awesome as Chris Evans would never just rinse his discarded beard down a cloggable sink.

Morning Roundup brings you an homage to Game of Thrones that’s even more upsetting than the show itself, the inevitability of being entertained by Joss Whedon, and a virtual tour with a serious amount of WoW factor.

[We’re so, so sorry.]

Apr 28 2015 7:00am

Terry Pratchett is (Supposedly) the Most Shoplifted Author in Great Britain for a Reason

Terry PratchettToday, April 28th, marks Sir Terrence David John Pratchett’s birthday, and along with being appointed Officer of the Order of the British Empire in 2009 (an honor that caused him to forge his very own sword from iron that he dug out of the ground), he was also once reputed to be the most shoplifted author in Britain. And what that tells us is actually very simple: Terry Pratchett writes wonderful books and we love to read them.

An only child and self-described “nondescript student,” Pratchett was first commercially published at age 15, and claimed to have received his true education from the Beaconsfield Public Library. He was an astronomy enthusiast all his life, and had an observatory in his home garden. There is an asteroid named after him. He had a love of wide-brimmed black fedoras, and a wit welcome among the likes of Twain and Wilde. While a great deal of fantasy spends its time displaying the grimmer aspects of life, the world loves Terry Pratchett for his ability to tell the truth in ways that make us laugh.

[Read more]

Apr 27 2015 4:00pm

Dress Up in Books: Maria Dahvana Headley’s Pop Quiz Interview

Maria Dahvana Headley

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

Today we’re joined by Maria Dahvana Headley, author of the young adult fantasy novel Magonia, available from HarperCollins. With Neil Gaiman, she is the New York Times-bestselling co-editor of the anthology Unnatural Creatures, and with Kat Howard, she is the author of the novella The End of the Sentence—one of NPR’s Best Books of 2014. She lives in Brooklyn with a seven-foot stuffed crocodile and a collection of star charts from the 1700s.

Join us to find out which classic monster fuels Maria’s creative fires, and which bizarre sandwiches help get her through the long nights of endless writing.

[Join us!]

Apr 27 2015 3:00pm

The Coode Street Podcast Episode 231: James Bradley and Ian Mond

Coode Street Hugo Awards

Welcome to The Coode Street Podcast, an informal weekly discussion about science fiction and fantasy featuring award-winning critics and editors Jonathan Strahan and Gary K. Wolfe. The Coode Street Podcast debuted in 2010 and has been nominated for the Hugo, British Science Fiction, and Aurealis awards.

This week James Bradley and Ian Mond join Jonathan to discuss the five novels that have made the final Hugo Awards ballot. The shortlisted novels are:

  • Ancillary Sword by Ann Leckie (Orbit US; Orbit UK)
  • The Dark Between the Stars by Kevin J. Anderson (Tor Books)
  • The Goblin Emperor by Katherine Addison (Sarah Monette) (Tor Books)
  • The Three-Body Problem by Cixin Liu, translated by Ken Liu (Tor Books)
  • Skin Game by Jim Butcher (Roc Books)

We almost completely avoid issues surrounding the ballot, and instead focus on discussing the novels and what might make them interesting to read.

[Listen to Coode Street]

Apr 27 2015 2:00pm

JordanCon 2015: Bride of Con Report, Part 1

Another year, another JordanCon, amirite? I AM.

Haaaay, it’s your Auntie Leigh, Tor.commers! And as is my annual wont, I have sallied forth to the rather unreasonably rainy depths of surburban Atlanta to experience the joys (and woes, it develops) of JordanCon Numero Seveno, aka “Con of the Red Hand”, and no one can say I didn’t, because I have photographic evidence. Dun!

Most of which are stuffed into this post and the one after it, so ‘ware, ye of slow and/or stingy internet connections. Ye of speedy and/or free connections, have no fear. But whatever speed of data you be, I be here to verbose your ear off about it, so click on to see! IF YE DARE.

[Yo listen up here’s a story]

Apr 27 2015 1:30pm

Afternoon Roundup: Batman Takes Inspiration from the Joker’s New Look

Joker meme Batman tattoos

After seeing the Joker’s supposed new look for Suicide Squad, Bruce Wayne obviously felt like he needed to up his game. We’re just imagining Alfred sighing and pulling on the latex gloves (“Are you absolutely sure you want me to write ’I’m Batman’ over and over on your ribcage, Master Wayne?”). Though we’re surprised he forgot the most obvious recent one—“Do you bleed?”

In actuality, the tatting up of the Dark Knight by Twitter user @DrinkingQuest is just one of many wonderful memes that the Internet dreamed up in reaction to this first look at Jared Leto’s Joker. (Related: “What if other cinematic characters had forehead tattoos?”) According to some insiders and on-set photos, that image was just a promo shot and does not depict the actual Suicide Squad Joker.

Now that that’s cleared up, Afternoon Roundup brings you Hannibal spoilers, Disney’s staggering film slate, and Stephen Hawking using his powers for the well-being of teenage girls everywhere.

[Read more]

Apr 27 2015 1:30pm

No One Gets Out Alive Sweepstakes!

Enter to win one of our three copies of No One Gets Out Alive by Adam Nevill, out in the U.S. tomorrow from St. Martin’s Press!

When Stephanie moves to the notoriously cheap Perry Bar neighborhood of Birmingham, she’s just happy to find an affordable room for rent. The eccentric landlord seems nice and welcoming enough, the ceilings are high, and all of the other tenants are also girls. Things aren't great, but they're stable. Or at least that's what she tells herself when she impulsively hands over enough money to cover the first month’s rent and decides to give it a go.

But soon after she becomes uneasy about her rash decision. She hears things in the night. Feels them. Things...or people...who aren't there in the light.

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 1:30 PM Eastern Time (ET) on April 27. Sweepstakes ends at 12:00 PM ET on May 1. Void outside the United States and Canada and where prohibited by law. Please see full details and official rules here. Sponsor:, 175 Fifth Ave., New York, NY 10010.

Apr 27 2015 1:00pm

Rereading the Empire Trilogy: Mistress of the Empire, Part 7

Mistress of the EmpireWelcome back to the reread of Mistress of the Empire by Raymond E. Feist and Janny Wurts! This week, it’s CSI: Tsuranuanni, with Detective Arakasi and Detective Shinzawai on the case.

Spoiler: the assassins did it.

Chapter 7: Culprit

Oh come now, Feist and Wurts, you know you wanted to call this chapter ‘Near Death by Chocolate.’

[Read More]

Apr 27 2015 12:00pm

Why Minority Settings in RPGs Matter

Never Alone

Role-playing games offer participants limitless opportunities to explore new places, characters, and ideas. Do you want to be a vampire pirate? Cool! A cyberpunk android? All right! Do you want your game to take place in a medieval fantasy kingdom, a post-apocalyptic dystopian wasteland, or even other galaxies? No problem! With imagination the only barrier for what can be created, there should be a vast field of narratives told through games. Yet, role-playing games are often more narrowly defined.

Role-playing games have an established history of leaving setting and characters a blank slate, while often loosely drawing inspiration from Western themes. For example, when I was a kid and I played Dungeons and Dragons with my friends, we came in with unexamined expectations—the city we saved was always filled with white people, the mayor of the town was always a man, the kingdom was always vaguely built around an imagined medieval Europe. As an adult, I still see these elements and themes repeated in games today.

This is a common pitfall that minority advocates in gaming have come to call “defaultism.”

[Read More]

Apr 27 2015 11:50am

Landing The Apollo Quartet

Ian Sales All That Outer Space Allows

Having lifted off in mid-2012 with Adrift on the Sea of Rains, achieved orbit by way of both The Eye with Which the Universe Beholds Itself and Then Will the Great Ocean Wash Deep Above in 2013, Ian Sales’ BSFA Award-winning Apollo Quartet is to land at long last later this week with the release of All That Outer Space Allows, the saga’s novel-length finale.

It is 1965 and Ginny Eckhardt is a science fiction writer. She’s been published in the big science fiction magazines and is friends with many of the popular science fiction authors of the day. Her husband, Walden, has just been selected by NASA as one of the New Nineteen Apollo astronauts... which means Ginny will be a member of the Astronaut Wives Club.

Although the realities of spaceflight fascinate Ginny, her gender bars her from the United State space programme. Her science fiction offers little in the way of consolation—but perhaps there is something she can do about that...

[Read More]

Apr 27 2015 11:00am

The Last Herald Mage: Forst Reach

Magic's Price Valdemar rereadChapters 8-14 of Magic’s Price feel like summer vacation. This is partly because it is—Vanyel and Savil take Stefen with them to visit Forst Reach. Stefen has been worn down by weeks of constant performance, both to block pain for King Randale and to demonstrate his Gift for the Healers. He needs to recover, and Withen invited him.

The more relaxed feeling also comes from the focus of this section. This is the love story, and while it has a few tense and dangerous moments, its focus on the relationship between Stefen and Vanyel is a lot like a romance novel. The Heralds of Valdemar trilogy neglected its central romance. Magic’s Pawn provided a longer look at Vanyel’s relationship with Tylendel, but ended it in the first half of the book. This chunk of Magic’s Price explores Vanyel and Stefen’s relationship in a more sustained way.

[It’s nice to see them in love.]

Apr 27 2015 10:00am

Message Fiction: Politics in Sci-Fi and Fantasy Literature

Black Company

I want to talk about politics in science fiction and fantasy. But first, a story…

I spent the summer of 2000 in Croatia, a country most people now associate with sun, wine, seafood—fun stuff. But in those days the first thing that sprung to mind, for most people at least, was war. And an ugly war at that—one that pitted neighbor against neighbor; the one that gave us the term “ethnic cleansing.” But the war was over, and Croatia in 2000 was an undeniably nice place—full of all that fun stuff people think of now. And I loved it. People were incredibly hospitable, the food was fresh and delicious, and the Dalmatian coast…well, it’s something everyone should see in their lifetimes. But the war still cast a long shadow.

[Warning: unexploded ordinance in vicinity.]

Apr 27 2015 9:00am

Game of Thrones Season 5, Episode 3: “The High Sparrow”

Game of Thrones The High Sparrow

This week’s divisive episode departs significantly from the books, meaning readers have a choice to make about Game of Thrones: keep playing or take yourself off the board to wait for more novels.

Personally, I enjoy both incarnations of Martin’s materials and recognize that each medium has its own strengths and weaknesses. Tonight’s big changes from A Dance with Dragons put a significant number of new players together and into harm’s way in the coming weeks, while in another region of the world, we seem to get confirmation that a big character from the fifth novel will not be making an appearance. There are a lot of interesting implications to chew on.

Also in this hour: All hail Queen Margaery. Again. First of Her Name and Ruler of Disgruntled Daughter-in-Laws everywhere.

Spoiler alert: Major episode spoilers for the currently aired season. Spoilers for the currently published George R. R. Martin novels are discussed in the review and fair game in the comments. We highly suggest not discussing spoilers for leaked episodes or early preview chapters, but if you must, white it out. Have courtesy for the patient among us who are waiting for next week’s airing or waiting and waiting (and waiting) for The Winds of Winter. Play nice. Thanks.

[“The North remembers.”...]

Apr 27 2015 8:00am

Morning Roundup: Alton Brown Has the Nerdiest Celebrity Crush

Alton Brown celebrity crush Terminator 2 compactor

We should have expected that Alton Brown, the nerdiest cook and cooking show host there is, would have a unique answer to Who’s your celebrity crush? For BuzzFeed’s tongue-in-cheek Q&A, he drew his ode to the compactor that helps saves the day in The Terminator. Check out the rest of his answers, which include the best word association for Voldemort (“hug” before he corrects it with “nose”—you didn’t have to correct it, Alton, knew).

Morning Roundup ponders The Force Awakens theories and another Spider-Man movie, while reminding you that it takes a lot to make a stew.

[Read more]

Apr 24 2015 2:00pm

Afternoon Roundup: Creating New Life is Exhausting Work

first look Frankenstein Igor James McAvoy Daniel Radcliffe

Our first look at the latest take on Frankenstein sees hot young Viktor von Frankenstein (James McAvoy) and his less aesthetically-blessed assistant Igor (Daniel Radcliffe) looking by turns bemused and concerned about their little lab experiment. We don’t know much about the movie, aside from the fact that it’s from Igor’s point of view.

Afternoon Roundup brings you Neil deGrasse Tyson’s geeky rallying cry; Oregon Trail as a determiner of generaton status; and more horror movies with dizzying camera angles to make you more nauseous than scared.

[Read more]