Burnt Sugar December 10, 2014 Burnt Sugar Lish McBride Everyone knows about gingerbread houses. Father Christmas: A Wonder Tale of the North December 9, 2014 Father Christmas: A Wonder Tale of the North Charles Vess Happy Holidays from Tor.com Skin in the Game December 3, 2014 Skin in the Game Sabrina Vourvoulias Some monsters learn how to pass. Where the Trains Turn November 19, 2014 Where the Trains Turn Pasi Ilmari Jääskeläinen His imagination runs wild.
From The Blog
December 9, 2014
The Eleventh Doctor’s Legacy Was Loss and Failure
Emily Asher-Perrin
December 9, 2014
Tor.com Reviewers’ Choice: The Best Books of 2014
Tor.com
December 8, 2014
How Fast is the Millennium Falcon? A Thought Experiment.
Chris Lough
December 8, 2014
Tiamat’s Terrain: Tales of the Marvellous and News of the Strange
Alex Mangles
December 4, 2014
Potential Spoiler Leak for Star Wars: The Force Awakens Reveals Awesome Details
Emily Asher-Perrin
Thu
Dec 18 2014 8:00am

Morning Roundup: Do You Want to Build A Wampa?

Star Wars Wampa Snowflake

In the interest of providing you a non-denominational wintry craft, we present: Wampa-flakes! Anthony Herrera creates culturally relevant snowflakes that can celebrate the winter season itself without any reference to Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa...wait, did we finally decide the Force was a religion?

Morning Roundup brings you the complex inner lives of videogame extras, a 3D-printed puppy, and multiple ways to celebrate the new Hobbit film!

[Plus, Christmas just got a whole lot merrier!]

Thu
Dec 18 2014 7:00am

The Man Who Demolished Boring Science Fiction: Alfred Bester

Alfred Bester art by David A. JohnsonThinking about telepaths when telepaths are in the room is hard because they know you’re thinking about them. This is why—on most days—I’m glad I never actually had the chance to meet science fiction legend Alfred Bester, because my thoughts about him would have been disgustingly gushing and I’m sure he would have heard those thoughts because he was likely a real deal telepath and I would have been embarrassed. I’m kidding. I’m super sad I didn’t get to meet him! (But he was probably a real telepath...)

Today would have been Bester’s 102nd birthday. He won the first Hugo award for a novel ever, and made everything in SF way more fun. Here’s why he’s still the best.

[Read more]

Thu
Dec 18 2014 7:00am

Michael Moorcock is The Eternal Champion

Michael Moorcock Portrait by David A. JohnsonToday marks the 75th birthday of celebrated and influential author and editor Michael John Moorcock. Involving himself in the SF/Fantasy scene practically as soon as he discovered it, Moorcock began editing Tarzan Adventures in 1957 when he was just 17. His love of high adventure, such as the work of Leigh Brackett and Edgar Rice Burroughs, influenced not only his early editorial work but also his own writing.

He is often self-deprecating about his style, saying in the introduction to Elric: The Stealer of Souls:

“I think of myself as a bad writer with big ideas, but I’d rather be that than a big writer with bad ideas”

[Read more]

Wed
Dec 17 2014 4:00pm
Excerpt

Half-Resurrection Blues (Excerpt)

Half-Resurrection Blues excerpt Daniel Jose Older Carlos Delacruz is one of the New York Council of the Dead’s most unusual agents—an inbetweener, partially resurrected from a death he barely recalls suffering, after a life that’s missing from his memory. He thinks he is one of a kind—until he encounters other entities walking the fine line between life and death.

One inbetweener is a sorcerer. He’s summoned a horde of implike ngks capable of eliminating spirits, and they’re spreading through the city like a plague. They’ve already taken out some of NYCOD’s finest, leaving Carlos desperate to stop their master before he opens up the entrada to the Underworld—which would destroy the balance between the living and the dead. But in uncovering this man’s identity, Carlos confronts the truth of his own life—and death.…

Daniel José Older's Half-Resurrection Blues is the first Bone Street Rumba novel, a new urban fantasy series publishing January 6th from Roc!

[Read an Excerpt]

Wed
Dec 17 2014 3:00pm

Rich and Strange: “Nkásht íí” by Darcie Little Badger

strange horizonsWelcome back to Rich and Strange, a weekly reading of marvellous short fiction from around the web. Today’s review takes a look at “Nkásht íí” by Darcie Little Badger, published this week in Strange Horizons.

This week in Full Disclosure: nothing to declare! Except that this story is beautiful and hooked me from start to finish.

[Read More]

Wed
Dec 17 2014 2:00pm

What of the King Under the Mountain? The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies

The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies, Thorin, Bilbo

It was a cue that the overall tone of the final Hobbit film had been altered when it’s subtitle was changed from There and Back Again to The Battle of the Five Armies. And while the film has its fair share of dazzling moments, it does prove what many fans had bemoaned from the very start of this enterprise: it should have been two films, not three.

Minor spoilers for the film (and book) below.

[Tea is at four. Don’t bother knocking.]

Wed
Dec 17 2014 1:00pm

Rereading Melanie Rawn: The Star Scroll, Chapters 8 and 9

Melanie Rawn Dragon Prince Star Scroll rereadWelcome to the weekly Wednesday reread of The Star Scroll! This week the dragons come back to the Desert, Pol learns an important secret, and Segev plots evilly.

Chapter 8

So This Happens: The dragons come back to the Desert, and the family reacts in their various ways. Pol actively tries to sense them, and succeeds, if faintly. Maarken just does. Feylin takes the census from the top of the Flametower, assisted by Rohan and Tobin and their spouses, with some teasing and some discussion of how wonderful the dragons are. Rohan and Tobin also talk about the dragons’ gold, and find that Pol has overheard.

[Read More]

Wed
Dec 17 2014 12:00pm

We Three Kings Have Traveled Far, Over The Misty Mountains Cold

As Christmas carols go, “We Three Kings” is weird, sad, and slow. Though widely believed to be the work of one John Henry Hopkins, Jr., who supposedly wrote it for a Christmas pageant in 1857, Max Gladstone and his musical compatriot Dan Jordan have dug deep into the darkness of this traditional song to find the truth. The roots of this decidedly dour tune lie beneath the Misty Mountains themselves, because it turns out that it’s an adaptation of an old Dwarven folk ballad! Maybe you’ve heard of it?

[It’s a Misty Mountain Christmas]

Wed
Dec 17 2014 11:30am

The Whispering Swarm Sweepstakes!

On January 13th, The Whispering Swarm, Michael Moorcock’s first independent novel in nine years, comes out from Tor Books. We’ve given you an exclusive sneak peek, and now we want to send five winners a galley, so you can read the first novel in a new trilogy from this acclaimed master of science fiction and fantasy before it hits shelves.

Check for the rules below!

[Read more]

Wed
Dec 17 2014 11:10am

It’s a Good Thing Neil Gaiman Was Kidding About Tom Hiddleston Playing Morpheus in Sandman

Neil Gaiman Morpheus casting Sandman Benedict Cumberbatch Tom Hiddleston

In a recent interview with Radio Times, Neil Gaiman threw out potential candidates to play Morpheus in the upcoming adaptation of his Sandman graphic novel series. Some suggestions were legitimate, as he talked about one-time candidates now too old for the role; but once he started joking about Englishmen and their cheekbones, we should have known not to take him seriously.

[Read more]

Wed
Dec 17 2014 10:20am

Philip Pullman Releases New His Dark Materials Story for Christmas

Philip Pullman The Collectors audio story

Hot on the heels of the “wonderland of new writing by J. K. Rowling” being released over at Pottermore, I’ve got good Philip Pullman news and bad Philip Pullman news for you. All we need now is for Suzanne Collins to unveil an exclusive new tale about The Hunger Games’ Gale and this Christmas will be complete.

We’re going to begin today with the bad, because that way we can conclude on the good: the long-awaited companion piece to His Dark Materials, The Book of Dust, isn’t even nearly here.

[Read More]

Wed
Dec 17 2014 10:00am

‘Twas the Dark Knight Before Christmas: Batman Returns

Batman Returns Christmas

This year marked the 75th anniversary of Batman, so it seems only fitting to close out the year with Tim Burton’s classic Christmas movie, Batman Returns.

When it was released back in the summer of 1992, the movie was greeted as an oddball failure. Sure, it made enough money to warrant another sequel, but it suffered a sharp drop off at the box office after a big opening weekend and it faced a backlash from audiences who found it too dark, too sexual, and too weird. One can hardly blame the good people of ’92, though. Batman Returns is indeed one the strangest blockbusters ever made.

[It’s also one of the most interesting.]

Wed
Dec 17 2014 9:00am

Picturing Dragons

Picturing Dragons

This gallery was originally posted July 16, 2014 on Tor.com

Dragons are arguably the most ubiquitous and most beloved fantastical creature. Initially I shied away from dragons as a theme—they’re everywhere, where do you even start!? But they are everywhere because they are cool, and seeking out dragon images meant going down a delightful rabbit-hole through all ages, cultures, styles, and dispositions. So without further ado, welcome to Picturing Dragons, at 170 drawings and paintings, it is perhaps the largest installment of the Picturing series yet!

We start off (above) with one of the most beautiful renditions of one of the most famous dragons of them all, Alan Lee’s Smaug.

[See More]

Wed
Dec 17 2014 8:00am

Morning Roundup: This Fossil Fuel Will Last Eight Nights!

Tor.com hopes everyone who celebrated had a wonderful first night of Hanukkah! We’ve already given you tips to Cthulhu-ize your Christmas wreath and Potterfy your Christmas tree, so now, courtesy of The Vanilla Studio, we present: Menorah-saurus Rex!

Morning Roundup brings you a new way to discuss evolution, news of Tim Burton’s next project, and the latest product from the Ghostbusters-reboot rumor factory.

[Plus, a bunch of llamas get to first base with a fantasy author!]

Tue
Dec 16 2014 5:00pm

Short Fiction Spotlight: Nunslinger Begins

Nunslinger

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.

In Great Britain and beyond, ghost stories are seen as something of a winter tradition, and I guess that makes a certain amount of sense. This time of year, there’s precious little light left, and in its absence... why, what else but darkness? Which is itself scary enough for some, but bear with me a bit, because darkness, in turn, suggests silence, and in silence, every sound seems strange—intrusive, even. No wonder we tell tales of things that go bump in the night. No wonder we spin fictions to diminish our fear of the unseen. In a way, being scared makes us feel safer. And so: ghost stories.

Well, thank Santa for counter-programming! I’ve never been one to watch the Queen’s Christmas Message—the alternative address has always been my preference—and much as I adore a good ghost story, reading one this week would be more than a little predictable. So I sought out something a little different: an episodic western about a nun with guns.

[Read More]

Tue
Dec 16 2014 4:23pm

The 2014 Black List Features Artificial Intelligence Thrillers, Space Angst, and Apocalyptic Family Dramas

The Black List 2014 genre movies sci-fi fantasy superheroes supernaturalSince 2004, every December has seen the publication of The Black List, a survey of Hollywood executives’ favorite unproduced screenplays of the past year. What started as a fun exercise has gained traction as a development tool for aspiring screenwriters; several movies that have appeared on The Black List have gone on to be produced, including 2014 films Transcendence and The Imitation Game.

Of the 70 screenplays featured on The Black List 2014, about one-quarter were genre stories. Read on to see which under-the-radar scripts—featuring moon colony murders, pill-popping superheroes, alien baby showers, and possessed newlyweds—might end up on the silver screen one day soon.

[Read more]

Tue
Dec 16 2014 4:00pm

Cosmopolitan Temptation: “The Whisperer in Darkness”

The Whisperer in Darkness HP LovecraftWelcome 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 Whisperer in Darkness,” written in 1930 and first published in the August 1931 issue of Weird Tales. You can read the story here. Spoilers ahead.

[“I found myself faced by names and terms that I had heard elsewhere in the most hideous of connexions”]

Tue
Dec 16 2014 3:15pm

Professional Swordsmen Demonstrate How to Fight with The Force Awakens’ Crossguard Lightsaber

Star Wars: The Force Awakens lightsaber crossguard

At the rate we’re going, people are going to be complaining about Star Wars: The Force Awakens’ crossguard lightsaber until the next full trailer is released. In the meantime, Popular Science asked several expert swordsmen from different disciplines to weigh in on two questions: whether the three-bladed lightsaber actually requires a crossguard, and if so, how to fight with it.

[Read more]

Tue
Dec 16 2014 3:00pm

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Rewatch: “Once More Unto the Breach”

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Rewatch on Tor.com: Once More Unto the Breach“Once More Unto the Breach”
Written by Ronald D. Moore
Directed by Allan Kroeker
Season 7, Episode 7
Production episode 40510-557
Original air date: November 11, 1998
Stardate: unknown

Station log: O’Brien and Bashir are in Quark’s are arguing over the legend of Davy Crockett, when Worf interrupts. He says that if you believe in the legend of Crockett, then he died a hero and there should be no question in their minds. If you don’t believe in the legend, then he was just a man and it doesn’t matter how he died.

When Worf goes to his quarters, he is visited by Kor. They share a bottle of bloodwine and toast Jadzia’s memory, and then Kor asks a favor: he wants to be part of the war effort, but in his many years, he’s made too many enemies, and so cannot get an assignment to fight. He asks Worf for help getting him a command.

[He will succeed. He is Kor...Dahar master!]

Tue
Dec 16 2014 2:30pm

There and Back Again Sweepstakes!

In There and Back Again: JRR Tolkien and the Origins of the Hobbit, Mark Atherton explores the chief influences on Tolkien’s work: his boyhood in the West Midlands; the landscapes and seascapes which shaped his mythologies; his experiences in World War I; his interest in Scandinavian myth; his friendships, especially with the other Oxford-based Inklings; and the relevance of his themes, especially ecological ones, to the present day.

In celebration of the release of The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies, we want to send five winners a copy of There and Back Again, out now from I.B. Tauris!

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 2:30 PM Eastern Time (ET) on December 16. Sweepstakes ends at 12:00 PM ET on December 20. 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.