“Nobody ever gives up magic because everything’s peachy.” The Magicians, “Cheat Day”

The farther we get into season two of The Magicians, the more season one feels like the prologue. Finding out magic is real, that magical worlds are real, and that not everything magical is nice and wonderful—that’s the introductory text. The real meat of this story is what happens next: How do you rule the magical kingdom? What do you do when magic fails you and you want it back? And how do you deal with trauma that, while magical in origin, is trauma all the same?

In Quentin’s case, the answer is, essentially, “poorly.” But “Cheat Day” gives us someone who’s even worse at processing grief than Quentin is:

Emily Greenstreet.

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Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: Love in the Time of Robots (Full Spoilers!)

If you were waiting for an episode full of rip-snorting adventure on Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., this was your night. Last week’s episode ended with the reveal that four more key members of the team had been replaced by Life Model Decoy (LMD) robots: Director Mace, Coulson, Mack, and Daisy. Their bodies are strapped to tables in the evil Superior’s submarine alongside Agent May, with electrode caps on their heads that keep their minds occupied in the Framework, an alternate reality almost indistinguishable from reality. Fitz and Simmons, who’ve just detected the LMDs, don’t know what to do next. Between robot duplicates and alternate worlds, nothing is as it seems. Anything can happen.

Strap in, Agents, because pretty much everything DOES happen in this episode!

[Only Agents who are cleared to observe SPOILERS should proceed beyond this point!]

A Closed and Common Orbit

Lovelace was once merely a ship’s artificial intelligence. When she wakes up in a new body, following a total system shut-down and reboot, she has no memory of what came before. As Lovelace learns to negotiate the universe and discover who she is, she makes friends with Pepper, an excitable engineer, who’s determined to help her learn and grow.

Together, Pepper and Lovey will discover that no matter how vast space is, two people can fill it together.

Becky Chambers’ The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet introduced readers to the incredible world of Rosemary Harper, a young woman with a restless soul and secrets to keep. When she joined the crew of the Wayfarer, an intergalactic ship, she got more than she bargained for—and learned to live with, and love, her rag-tag collection of crewmates. A Closed and Common Orbit is the stand-alone sequel to Angry Planet—available in the US from Harper Voyager on March 14th!

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Insects and Corporate Infighting: A Bug’s Life

In its initial release, A Bug’s Life had the dubious fortune of getting released in a year with not one, but two computer animated films about bugs, a deliberately created rivalry that did neither film any favors. Since then, A Bug’s Life has had the dubious honor of being perhaps the least remembered of the Pixar films, and perhaps the least regarded—depending upon how you feel about the various Cars films and, more recently, The Good Dinosaur—rarely if ever listed among the Pixar “greats.” At the time, however, it was proof that just maybe Pixar could be more than a one film wonder.

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Starz Reveals American Gods Poster and Premiere Date

We finally have a premiere date for Starz’s American Gods, the television adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s novel from showrunner Bryan Fuller! Entertainment Weekly announced today that American Gods will premiere on Sunday, April 30. Starz also released a cool new poster for us to feast our eyes on, featuring Shadow Moon (Ricky Whittle), Mr. Wednesday (Ian McShane), and a very significant buffalo.

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Announcing the 2016 Bram Stoker Awards Nominees

The Horror Writers Association are pleased to announce the 2016 Bram Stoker Awards Final Ballot. The presentation of the Bram Stoker Awards will take place during the second annual StokerCon, aboard the Queen Mary in Long Beach, California on the evening of April 29, 2017. Tickets to the banquet and the convention can be purchased here, and there will also be a live-stream of the event.

The nominees are as follows:

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Five Amazing Women Warriors of the Middle Ages

So I watched Batman v Superman. You don’t need a medievalist wandering through your digital space just to pile on with the many things that went wrong with the film, so instead let me say this:

In a dark world of brooding boys, Wonder Woman’s every moment on screen was like the light of a sun threatening to break through the clouds. There were many reasons for this (number one: Gal Gadot is a terrific actress), but what struck me as I was watching the film was the fact that Wonder Woman seemed to be the only person on screen with a clear sense of purpose. No brooding and self-doubt and angst and what-not for her: Wonder Woman knows exactly who she is.

And who she is, obviously, is a woman who kicks ass.

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Series: Medieval Matters

The Collapsing Empire Sweepstakes!

We want to send you a galley copy of John Scalzi’s The Collapsing Empire, available March 21st from Tor Books! Read the first three chapters here.

Our universe is ruled by physics and faster than light travel is not possible—until the discovery of The Flow, an extra-dimensional field we can access at certain points in space-time that transport us to other worlds, around other stars.

Humanity flows away from Earth, into space, and in time forgets our home world and creates a new empire, the Interdependency, whose ethos requires that no one human outpost can survive without the others. It’s a hedge against interstellar war—and a system of control for the rulers of the empire.

The Flow is eternal—but it is not static. Just as a river changes course, The Flow changes as well, cutting off worlds from the rest of humanity. When it’s discovered that The Flow is moving, possibly cutting off all human worlds from faster than light travel forever, three individuals—a scientist, a starship captain and the Empress of the Interdependency—are in a race against time to discover what, if anything, can be salvaged from an interstellar empire on the brink of collapse.

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 23rd. Sweepstakes ends at 12:00 PM ET on February 27th. 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.

Warbreaker Reread: Chapter 19

Welcome back to the Warbreaker reread! Last week, Siri had everyone blushing with her new bedtime routine, while Lightsong tried unsuccessfully to call in sick. This week, Vivenna’s prejudices are on full display, even as her inexperience sets her up for further manipulation.

This reread will contain spoilers for all of Warbreaker and any other Cosmere book that becomes relevant to the discussion. This is particularly likely to include Words of Radiance, due to certain crossover characters. The index for this reread can be found here.

Click on through to join the discussion!

[Oh, Colors, not again!]

Series: Warbreaker Reread

Rereading The Handmaid’s Tale: Parts V-VI

The moon is full and it is time for the Ceremony. Or at least, the first part of the Ceremony, which is waiting on the Commander. While these sections take place entirely in the Commander’s household, we learn a lot about the women (and one man) who depend on this powerful man for their survival. While Serena Joy awaits the monthly ritual with dread and tears, Offred retreats inside herself, to recall a very different household: Luke and their daughter, as they attempted to flee the country.

The index to the Handmaid’s Tale reread can be found here! Remember that because this is a reread, there will be spoilers for the rest of the book, as well as speculation about the TV series.

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Series: Rereading The Handmaid’s Tale

A New Novel Written Entirely in Verse: Announcing Jane Yolen’s Finding Baba Yaga

Tor.com Publishing is proud to announce that we will be publishing Jane Yolen’s next book Finding Baba Yaga, a verse novel exploring the legacy of the great, iconic, Russian fairy tale witch who lives in a house in the woods that walks about on chicken feet. Finding Baba Yaga was acquired for Tor.com Publishing by Senior Editor Susan Chang in a deal facilitated by Elizabeth Harding at Curtis Brown Ltd.

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Series: Editorially Speaking