Klingons Drug Everyone: David Dvorkin’s Timetrap

I found David Dvorkin’s Timetrap, first published in 1988, in the bottom of a moving box last week. Its cover features a particularly young and dewy-looking Kirk standing next to a woman with an incredibly impressive eyebrow in front of a fleet of Klingon Birds of Prey. The story is a subtle blend of problems: it deals with what is true and what seems to be true, with how we see the dangers around us, with the relationship between the Klingons and the Federation, and with the way the world changes over time. And my sister describes the plot as “completely bananapants.”

The basic premise of Timetrap is that Kirk is kidnapped by Klingons who try to convince him that he has travelled in time to 100 years in the future, and must return to his present with them to play a crucial role in brokering the Great Peace which will bring the Klingons and the Federation together. This, they helpfully remind him, will be the beginning of the alliance the Organians predicted back in “Errand of Mercy.” Kirk and Kor were both skeptical about it then, because they hated each other’s guts and were dedicated to depriving each other of control of Organia. As that episode reminds us, things are not always as they seem. The Klingons would like to remind Kirk of this, because their master plan—which is world-spanningly epic—is contingent upon things seeming to be other than they are. The Empire has invested a great deal of time in cultivating illusions—for example, the illusion of time travel. They didn’t go anywhen. How did they convince Kirk they did? Drugs. Lots and lots of drugs.

[Kai the Klingon Pharmaceutical Industry!]

Karen Memory Will Return in…Stone Mad, a New Novella by Elizabeth Bear

Tor.com Publishing is proud to announce that we will be publishing Stone Mad, a new novella by Elizabeth Bear in the steampunk world of Karen Memory. When last we saw Karen Memery (“like memory only spelt with an e”) she was managing a high quality bordello in steampunk Seattle and hunting down the threat behind a curious device that could take over anyone’s mind.

Author Elizabeth Bear explains what Karen will get up to next:

It’s so great to be working with Tor.com and channeling Karen again. This story has been bugging me since the end of 2015, and it was one of the ones where I had to keep coming back to it from different angles to get it to come out right. I was trying to write a caper, actually, but the characters were too smart for the plot so it went in a direction that really surprised me! I’m thrilled to show a little more of Karen’s world, and watch her get into ever more trouble.

[Read more]

Series: Editorially Speaking

In the Time of Antoine Volodine: Unlikely Fables, Literary Dystopias, and Strange Futures

The writer who primarily uses the pseudonym Antoine Volodine for his writing falls neatly into the tradition of writers using multiple pen names. (Think Alice B. Sheldon; think Fernando Pessoa, who coined the concept of the literary heteronym.) The result is a hypnotic array of fictional worlds, many of them fantastic or speculative in nature, that link together as part of an even larger fictional universe. It’s a bold project, and one that balances surreal world-building alongside the creation of new and experimental literary traditions that may only exist in the pages of other novels.

Volodine’s 1998 novel Post-Exoticism in 10 Lessons, Lesson 11, translated from French into English by J. T. Mahany, is set in a near future in which an oppressive government has taken over and suppressed various cultural activities. The novel chronicles the members, movements, and works of the literati of this society. One of the writers alluded to here is named Manuela Draeger, one of Volodine’s other heteronyms, and in the years after its publication, a number of stories by Draeger have been published. An omnibus edition containing three of them—In the Time of the Blue Ball, North of the Wolverines, and Our Baby Pelicans—was published in an English translation by Brian Evenson by Dorothy, a Publishing Project in 2011. A note from the publisher provides some context: in the world of Volodine’s stories, Draeger is “a librarian in a post-apocalyptic prison camp who invents stories to tell to the children in the camp.” The stories in this volume make no allusion to that aspect of their creation; instead, they stand on their own, parts of a larger literary project that can also be enjoyed as standalone works.

[Read more]

“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.

[Read more]

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!

[Read more]

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.

[Read more]

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.

[Read more]

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:

[Read more]

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.

[Read more]

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