Reinvent Fantasy with Tor.com Publishing!

To celebrate the launch of Victor LaValle’s The Ballad of Black Tom (out next Tuesday) and Housing Works’ annual Geek Week, we’re teaming up with WORD Bookstores to bring you a fantastic evening of great books, beer, and conversation with some of your favorite authors! LaValle will join Maria Dahvana Headley (Magonia) and Daniel Polansky (The Builders) in a discussion led by Tor.com’s own Emily Asher-Perrin and Ryan Britt (Luke Skywalker Can’t Read) about the ways they’re taking on, lovingly reimagining, and rewriting the rules of fantasy.

The panel will kick off at 7 p.m. on February 23rd at Housing Works Bookstore Café in Manhattan, and we’ll have your choice of free Brooklyn Lager or Sixpoint Sweet Action for the first 96 people to arrive (while supplies last). RSVP here!

The Tiger and the Wolf

Adrian Tchaikovsky’s The Tiger and the Wolfavailable February 11 in the UK from Tor UK—is set in the bleak northern crown of the world, where war is coming.

Maniye’s father is the Wolf clan’s chieftain, but she’s an outcast. Her mother was queen of the Tiger and these tribes have been enemies for generations. Maniye also hides a deadly secret. All can shift into their clan’s animal form, but Maniye can take on tiger and wolf shapes. She refuses to disown half her soul, so escapes, rescuing a prisoner of the Wolf clan in the process. The killer Broken Axe is set on their trail, to drag them back for retribution.

Maniye’s father plots to rule the north and controlling his daughter is crucial to his schemes. However, other tribes also prepare for strife. Strangers from the far south appear too, seeking allies in their own conflict. It’s a season for omens as priests foresee danger, and a darkness falling across the land. Some say a great war is coming, overshadowing even Wolf ambitions. A time of testing and broken laws is near, but what spark will set the world ablaze?

[Read an Excerpt]

How Do You Think The Force Awakens Should Have Ended?

The dust has settled, the thinkpieces have been unleashed, and most people have already seen the film multiple times: the moment is right for How It Should Have Ended to take on The Force Awakens. The best thing about this? Their love for the film glows through like E.T.’s heart (if you don’t mind a mixed-SFF metaphor), the jokes mostly land, and the grizzled-Han-Solo-voice is perfect. The worst thing? Star Wars: Episode VIII is still SO FAR AWAY and this just reminds us of that.

But then, everything reminds us of that. Check out the video below, and obviously beware of spoilers.

[Stick around for the post-credits scene!]

Lovecraft’s Most Bigoted Collaboration, No Really: “Medusa’s Coil”

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 “Medusa’s Coil,” a Lovecraft and Zealia Bishop collaboration written in 1930 and first published in the January 1939 issue of Weird Tales. Read the story at your own peril, bracing for lots of use of of the n-word.

Spoilers ahead, and bigotry.

[Read more]

Series: The Lovecraft Reread

Malazan Reread of the Fallen: Blood and Bone, Chapter Three (Part One)

Welcome back to the Malazan Reread of the Fallen! Every post will start off with a summary of events, followed by reaction and commentary by your hosts Bill and Amanda (with Amanda, new to the series, going first), and finally comments from Tor.com readers. In this article, we’ll cover Chapter Three (Part One) of Ian Cameron Esslemont’s Blood and Bone.

A fair warning before we get started: We’ll be discussing both novel and whole-series themes, narrative arcs that run across the entire series, and foreshadowing. Note: The summary of events will be free of major spoilers and we’re going to try keeping the reader comments the same. A spoiler thread has been set up for outright Malazan spoiler discussion.

[Read more]

Series: Malazan Reread of the Fallen

The Star Wars Universe’s Idea of Love is a Lot Healthier Now

Force-ghosts jumping from Imperial warships into apprentices’ bodies. Assassins falling in love with the Jedi they’re programmed to kill. Hapan queens trading one-night-stands for heirs. Reptilian crime lords spraying unsuspecting princesses with pheromones to broker a (eyebrow wiggle) trade. Jedi/Yuuzhan Vong hybrids caught between dead best friends/unrequited loves and their new, fallen-to-the-dark-side masters. Love—or, at least, sex and sometimes romance—in the Star Wars universe used to be a hot mess.

But what I grew up with as the Expanded Universe has now been mostly struck from the record—or, rather, redefined as “Star Wars Legends,” with an entirely new canon built around The Force Awakens. The introduction of new characters, through adventures in tie-in novels and comics as well as the new big-screen trilogy, brings new romantic dramas. And the surprising thing is, they’re all a lot more stable.

[Read more]

Discworld Artist to Sculpt a Statue of Terry Pratchett

Following the finding of four new elements to be appended to the periodic table, a campaign was launched last month to name one “octarine” in honour of Sir Terry Pratchett, who passed away last March after a long battle with the “embuggerance” of Alzheimer’s. That the petition has attracted approximately 50,000 signatures since speaks to the incredible reach of the aforementioned author’s life and literary legacy. It’s as good as guaranteed to go ahead, and make no mistake: that’s great. But as a celebration of someone as down-to-earth as Terry Pratchett, some might say it’s rather… abstract.

Happily, last night brought news of an attempt to memorialise the great creator a little closer to home—to his home, near the English city of Salisbury—by way of “a life-sized statue of Terry […] cast in bronze” by Paul Kidby, the very artist who illustrated a number of the numerous Discworld novels.

[Read more]

Series: British Fiction Focus

Deadpool is Hysterically Funny and Also Deeply Disappointing

Fans have been waiting for this Deadpool film for a long time. What began as just a twinkle in Ryan Reynolds’ eye (that got shelved eternally after the embarrassment that was X-Men Origins: Wolverine) has finally come to pass, and it gets a big thumbs up for making room in the current movie landscape for superheroes to be truly funny.

It also gets a big thumbs down for making the same mistakes that so many of these properties always make when it comes to estimating its audience.

[Read more]

Breaking Water

Krishna is quite unsettled when he bumps into a woman’s corpse during his morning bath in Kolkata’s Hooghly River, yet declines to do anything about it–after all, why should he take responsibility for a stranger? But when the dead start coming back to life en masse, he rethinks his position and the debate around how to treat these newly risen corpses gets a lot more complicated. In this story from Indrapramit Das, a journalist strives to understand Krishna’s actions and what they say about the rest of society and how we treat our dead.

[Read “Breaking Water” by Indrapramit Das]

Shaking It Off: The Magicians, “The World in the Walls”

For three episodes, The Magicians has been tearing through plot like it’s running out of time, which is funny, since it’s already been renewed for a second season. “The World in the Walls” slows things down a notch, and also pulls off the rare feat of making a “what if you’re actually just crazy” plot make sense within the story’s larger picture. Also, there’s a lot of Penny and his hatred of fully buttoned shirts, which is great.

Spoilers follow! [Read more]

Star Trek The Original Series: “A Private Little War”

“A Private Little War”
Written by Jud Crucis and Gene Roddenberry
Directed by Marc Daniels
Season 2, Episode 16
Production episode 60345
Original air date: February 2, 1968
Stardate: 4211.4

Captain’s log. The Enterprise has arrived at Neural. Kirk led a planetary survey to the world as a lieutenant thirteen years ago, and he, Spock, and McCoy have beamed down to examine the local flora, which has many spiffy medicinal properties. Spock sees the footprints of a bear-like creature known as the mugato.

Kirk and Spock see three dark-haired locals with flintlock rifles, which surprises Kirk, since the last time he was here, they were a peaceful people whose only weapons were bows and arrows. He also sees four other white-haired locals—including his friend from the last time, Tyree—walking into an ambush. Kirk throws a rock to distract the rifle carriers, but then they give chase. McCoy hears the commotion and calls the Enterprise, but before they can be beamed back up, Spock is shot.

[I’ll make a Klingon of you yet.]

Series: Star Trek: The Original Series Rewatch

Bryan Fuller to Run New Star Trek Television Series

Bryan Fuller has just been named as the showrunner for CBS’ new Star Trek TV series by Variety. Alex Kurtzman will serve as an executive producer along with Fuller and Heather Kadin. If you know your Trek history, you’ll also know that Fuller (Pushing Daisies, Hannibal, the upcoming American Gods) got his start in television writing for both Deep Space Nine and Voyager. He is also responsible for some excellent television outside of the Trek universe, which makes the announcement pretty darned exciting. As to what we can expect about where the new show will fall in-universe? Here’s what Variety had to say:

The creative plan is for the series to introduce new characters and civilizations, existing outside of the mythology charted by previous series and the current movie franchises.

[Read more]

The Monster of the Week is Time Itself in The X-Files: “Home Again”

It’s wonderful to see that after that clunky first episode, the rest of the new X-Files season has been strong. Honestly, last week’s “Mulder and Scully Meet the Were-Monster” (minus that awful transphobic joke) and this week’s “Home Again” are among the best episodes the show has ever produced. Where last week focused on Mulder and his evolving quest for THE TRUTH, this week brought us down to a human level, as Scully dealt with personal tragedy.

[Read more]