A Long Spoon December 18, 2014 A Long Spoon Jonathan L. Howard A Johannes Cabal story. 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.
From The Blog
December 22, 2014
What is it Like to be a Malfoy Post-Battle of Hogwarts? Rowling Reveals All on Pottermore
Stubby the Rocket
December 18, 2014
Mistborn Fans Will Get TWO New Novels Next Year!
December 15, 2014
Steven Erikson: On Completing Malazan
December 12, 2014
When My Wife Put Her Face in a Fireball for Epic Fantasy
Brian Staveley
December 10, 2014
Even More Standalone Fantasy Fiction!
Stubby the Rocket
Dec 27 2014 10:00am

Six Word Sci-Fi/Fantasy/Anything Stories

Can you squeeze an entire epic fantasy series into six words? Can you contain a cosmos’ worth of possibility into that small a phrase? YES YOU CAN. You wrote almost 400 of them last year. That's how much fun the Six Word Story game is.

The rules are simple. Write a sci-fi or fantasy (or any genre, really) story in six words. We’ll start!

Conclusion: Humans come pre-farmed. Begin harvest.


Buffalo buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo, ironically.

Dec 26 2014 4:00pm

Why Do We Want More MST3K?

Yesterday Wired published an exhaustive oral history of the Greatest Show of All Time, Mystery Science Theater 3000, and in the last two paragraphs dropped the bombshell that Joel Hodgson is planning to resurrect the show. Already plenty of pop culture sites have weighed in, and obviously the consensus has been YES WE WANT THIS NOW. And there is already a gleeful reddit debate about who could host. And while I am one of those jumping up and down in Muppet-like enthusiasm, the reaction has also made me ask: why? Why are we still debating Joel vs. Mike after all these years? Why is this show the one that continues to speak to us, even to people who were infants when the show started?

Why, in 2014, with so many options, do we keep returning to the Satellite of Love?

[This may just be a show, but I can relax when I’m dead.]

Dec 26 2014 3:30pm

Defanged, but Not Declawed: Into the Woods

Into the Woods, Little Red Riding Hood

Into the Woods has been a point of concern to everyone who knows the show since the Disney and Rob Marshall set out to make it happen as a film. Why? Let’s just say there are many aspects to the tale that are not exactly Disney-friendly, particularly in regard to how Disney does fairy tales. And while it’s good to find they didn’t abandon the ugliness of that world altogether, they do pull enough punches to make it irritating.

[I wish…]

Dec 26 2014 2:00pm

Why Islands Win: Hook, Line & Sinker

Gilligan's Island

Confession: I watched way too much Gilligan’s Island as a child.

I was fascinated by the characters—by the ridiculous impossibility of Ginger’s perfect hair, and by the Professor’s brilliant island ingenuity. To this day I’m bewildered by the fact that the Professor could make a working receiver out of coconuts, and yet, he couldn’t figure out a way off the island. The illogical nature of Gilligan’s world mocked me, and yet I tuned in every day to see if THIS episode would be the one where they were finally rescued. Because I was hooked. (Granted, I was in elementary school and had yet to discover The Twilight Zone, so don’t judge me too harshly...)

[Exploring the curious allure of an island setting...]

Dec 26 2014 12:00pm

Build Your Own Tor.com Stubby Paper Rocket

Stubby paper model

Yes, you too can have your own Stubby the Rocket! We asked paper model designer Robert Nava to create a stubby pattern. Simply print, cut, fold, and glue. (Ok, maybe some parts aren’t so simple, but once you pass the needle-nose, you’re golden!) Extra points if anyone can figure out how to modify it into the HMS Stubbington...or anything at all.

To begin, download the PDF here.

Download the instructions PDF here!

Stubby Paper model

Dec 26 2014 8:00am

Teaching Political Science Through Game of Thrones

If there is one thing Machiavelli’s The Prince needed, it was more dragons. Alas, it would have been so easy! All he had to do was mention Saint George.

Although the closest Machiavelli came to discussing these mythic beasts was a brief shout-out for Chiron the centaur, such omissions make HBO’s Game of Thrones and George R. R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire all the more interesting in today’s classroom. After all, if Daenerys Targaryen were a Poli Sci major today, she’d have every reason to throw down her textbooks and demand: “Where are my dragons!”

[Read More]

Dec 25 2014 10:20pm

This is the Story of Your Life. Doctor Who: “Last Christmas”

Doctor Who: Last Christmas

Santa Claus becomes a character of surprising dramatic potential when you place him under the Doctor’s perspective. No longer is he a face beaming ruddily out at you from the insincere aisles of a department store. On Doctor Who he becomes a seat of judgment, qualified to tally the sins of a being that few in the universe could conceptualize, let alone consider objectively. He knows who’s been naughty and nice, so where does the Doctor stand in that estimation? (Which Doctor are we talking about? When?) Beyond the ability to truly put our Time Lord on trial, Santa Claus also represents an equal to the Doctor. Both are creatures of myth who defy the laws of their universe with regularity and as such they are both uniquely able to discuss the burdens of their loftiness with each other.

Doctor Who’s 2014 Christmas episode “Last Christmas” does not grapple with these facets of the Doctor directly. How could it? We are only human, as is Clara, and we can only imagine what it is like to be someone who can shift the very winds of fate itself. We can only create boundary-defying television shows like Doctor Who and depict the Doctor and Santa Claus as we think they would act and the only tool we have to shape this televised reality is our belief. These stories are only as real as we want them to be.

[Read more]

Dec 25 2014 10:00am

The Harry Potter Reread: The Goblet of Fire, Chapters 11 and 12

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire coverMerry Christmas from the Harry Potter Reread! (Happy Holidays all around of course, it’s just today is actually Christmas and they celebrate it at Hogwarts and stuff.) Whatever you celebrate, the reread hopes that today is a soothing affair with lots of yummy food because it’s currently cold and dark where the reread is, and these things sound appealing.

We are about to get on the red choo-choo train for the fourth time, and find out what the crux of the plot is this time around. It’s Chapters 11 and 12—Aboard the Hogwarts Express and The Triwizard Tournament.

Index to the reread can be located here! Other Harry Potter and Potter-related pieces can be found under their appropriate tag. And of course, since we know this is a reread, all posts might contain spoilers for the entire series. If you haven’t read all the Potter books, be warned.

[Read more]

Dec 24 2014 1:00pm

Tor.com Wishes You a Merry Cthulhumas!

Illustration by Scott Brundage. Merry Christmas! May your holidays be free of overwhelming terror.

A quick note: We’ll be posting at a reduced rate over the next week, but we’ll still be offering up great material. Some of your favorite series may be on break until the new year, but we hope you’ll enjoy our encore posts of some of our favorite essays from throughout the year!

Dec 24 2014 12:20pm

This Little Kid’s The Princess Bride Dread Pirate Roberts Theory Just Blew Our Minds

The Princess Bride fan theory Dread Pirate Roberts grandfather as you wish

We’ve got all the little-known facts about The Princess Bride handled, but a recent Facebook post from Astronauts in Trouble author Larry Young uncovered a dimension of the movie we’d never considered. Young sat down for a recent viewing of The Princess Bride with his young son, who came up with a perfect fan theory about the Dread Pirate Roberts that beats the Sherlock same-plot theory.

[“Have you ever considered piracy? You’d make a wonderful Dread Pirate Roberts.”]

Dec 24 2014 12:00pm

Rereading Melanie Rawn: The Star Scroll, Chapters 10 and 11

Melanie Rawn Dragon Prince Star Scroll rereadWelcome to the weekly Wednesday reread of The Star Scroll! At last we get a serious dragon fix. The bad guys get their innings, and Andrade gets hers.

Chapter 10

So This Happens: The Desert crew are skipping rocks in the lake at Skybowl. Sionell defeats Pol resoundingly. Pol is not amused.

A dragon mistakes one of Walvis’ stones for a fish. A flight of young ones settles to drink, and seems to mock the one who made the mistake.

Sionell wants to go closer. She doesn’t think they’ll hurt her.

[Read more]

Dec 24 2014 11:00am

Toys Are People, Too

Winnie-the-Pooh, A.A. Milne, e.h. shepard

It’s that time of year when lots of people take their families and loved ones to the ballet and celebrate that relevatory Tchaikovsky work (that he actually didn’t think was all that great), The Nutcracker. Which got me thinking about toys, and how toys are often made into people, or at least people-like beings with thoughts and feelings of their own. And how heartbreaking that can often be.

So I thought I’d count down some of the best. The ones that stayed with us and played with us and made certain that, although we packed them up tight in cardboard boxes, we would never truly leave them behind.

[“He’ll never give up on you… ever.”]

Dec 24 2014 10:00am

All I Want For Christmas is an Evil Snowman: Christmas Tales of Terror

Christmas Tales of Terror Christ PriestleyBy now, it’s safe to say that some of you might be harboring certain, shall we say, thoughts about the holiday season, and especially Christmas. Irritated thoughts. Cynical thoughts. Angry thoughts. Even—dare I say it—horrified thoughts.

If so, you might be in the mood for Chris Priestley’s Christmas Tales of Terror, where all kinds of terrible, nasty, awful things happen to adorable and not so adorable children on Christmas.

Also, ghosts.

[And, naturally, an evil snowman powered by BLOOD because why not? Spoilers.]

Dec 24 2014 9:30am

MacKids End of the Year Sweepstakes!

‘Tis the season for gift giving, and Stubby wants to get in the spirit by sending one lucky winner a prize pack of excellent novels published by MacKids in 2014!

The prize pack includes Ruin and Rising by Leigh Bardugo; The Book of Three by Lloyd Alexander; Sekret by Lindsay Smith; The Vault of Dreamers by Caragh O’Brien; The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutoski; Centaur Rising by Jane Yolen; Hungry by H.A. Swain; Of Neptune by Anna Banks; Tin Star by Cecil Castellucci; She Is Not Invisible by Marcus Sedgwick; and Monument 14: Savage Drift by Emmy Laybourne.

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 9:30 AM Eastern Time (ET) on December 24. Sweepstakes ends at 12:00 PM ET on December 29. 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.

Dec 24 2014 9:00am

“I, Cthulhu, or, What’s A Tentacle-Faced Thing Like Me Doing In A Sunken City Like This (Latitude 47° 9’ S, Longitude 126° 43’ W)?”

I, Cthulhu, or, What’s A Tentacle-Faced Thing Like Me Doing In A Sunken City Like This (Latitude 47° 9’ S, Longitude 126° 43’ W) by Neil Gaiman

Please enjoy what has fast become a quiet Christmas tradition in the Tor.com offices: the reading of Neil Gaiman’s original story: “I, Cthulhu, or, What’s A Tentacle-Faced Thing Like Me Doing In A Sunken City Like This (Latitude 47° 9’ S, Longitude 126° 43’ W)?”

Merry Christmas!



Cthulhu, they call me. Great Cthulhu.

Nobody can pronounce it right.

Are you writing this down? Every word? Good. Where shall I start—mm?

Very well, then. The beginning. Write this down, Whateley.

[Read more]

Dec 24 2014 8:00am

Morning Roundup: All Groot Needs is a Little Love

Peanuts as Guardians of the Galaxy

Artist Lar deSouza created this sweet mashup of Guardians of the Galaxy and Peanuts, and naturally Groot becomes the tree that just needs a little love. A Merry Happy Christmas to those who celebrate! To everyone else, we hope you have a wonderful break to get to the reading and binge-watching you've been promising yourself all year.

Morning Roundup drains another glass of eggnog, and brings you links! We have holiday reading suggestions, a literary pastiche from the 1920s, and reminiscences from Mel Brooks! Plus Tim Burton talks about not being George Lucas, and Björk takes us all to Bethlehem.

[And tips for those of you planning to hunt the elusive Santa!]

Dec 23 2014 4:00pm

Some of Your Favorite Short Sci-Fi/Fantasy Fiction of 2014

Color of Paradox Art

As 2014 comes to a close, we wanted to make sure that this year’s short fiction didn’t get lost in the shuffle of all the other year-end “best-of” lists. We took to Twitter to ask for your favorite short pieces of 2014, and as usual you gave us a wonderful list! We’ve compiled the stories below, and we encourage you to tell us about more favorites in the comments.

[Click through for reading suggestions!]

Dec 23 2014 3:00pm

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Rewatch: “Covenant”

Rewatcher’s note: There will be no DS9 Rewatch on Friday the 26th of December. We’ll be back on Tuesday the 30th with “It’s Only a Paper Moon.” Happy holidays!

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Rewatch on Tor.com: Covenant“Covenant”
Written by Rene Echevarria
Directed by John Kretchmer
Season 7, Episode 9
Production episode 40510-559
Original air date: November 25, 1998
Stardate: unknown

Station log: Kira joins Odo, Bashir, and Dax for a drink after services. They talk about faith and religions and stuff for a while, and then Kira goes back to her quarters, where she’s visited by Vedek Fala, who was her religion teacher growing up in the refugee camp. He gives Kira a present, which turns out to be a homing beacon that transports her to Empok Nor. The station has been taken over by the Pah-wraith cult, under the guidance of their new master, Dukat.

[I’ve always found that when people try to convince others of their beliefs it’s because they’re really just trying to convince themselves.]

Dec 23 2014 2:00pm

Ghoulish Aesthetes: “The Hound”

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 Hound,” written in September 1922 and first published in the February 1924 issue of Weird Tales. You can read the story here. Spoilers ahead.

[“I remembered how we delved in this ghoul’s grave with our spades, and how we thrilled at the picture of ourselves”]

Dec 23 2014 1:43pm

Fast & Furious Director Justin Lin to Direct Star Trek 3

Justin Lin Star Trek 3 director Roberto Orci

After the game of musical chairs that has been securing a director for Star Trek 3, Deadline reports that Paramount Pictures has nailed down Justin Lin to helm the third rebooted Trek film.

Roberto Orci stepped down from the project earlier this month amid rumors that studio executives didn’t like his script. Lin’s was one of the five names that cropped up after Orci’s exit; so far, the response in the blogosphere has been tepid, as Lin is best known for the Fast and Furious movies, and because he isn't Edgar Wright.

[Read more]