Emily St. John Mandel’s Station Eleven has won the 2015 Arthur C. Clarke Award! The UK’s most prestigious prize for science fiction was announced on May 6 at Foyles Bookshop by Tom Hunter, Director of the Clarke Award.
My debut novel, The Novice, the first in the Summoner Trilogy, features the summoning of demons to act as allies and protectors of their owners. In my research for potential candidates for The Novice’s demonology, I saw many of the better-known legendary and mythological creatures, such as Minotaurs, Griffins, Phoenixes, and Salamanders.
I also stumbled across other creatures that were just as fascinating but previously unknown to me. Some had been lost in the annals of history, others came from the folklore of cultures that we in the West are less familiar with. Below are just ten of my favourites, all of which exist as demons in the Summoner world.
Avengers: Age of Ultron is about a lot of things. The film is a conversation about monsters, gods, what is right, what is wrong. Ultron is a monster, by our standards, but he thinks of himself as a god. Is Tony a monster for creating him? Will Steve ever be able to leave the war behind? Will Hawkeye ever finish the dining room?
The biggest question that my friends and I have been discussing, however, is what we’ve all already started calling “The Black Widow Monster Scene.” There are several ways to interpret the exchange between Natasha and Bruce, all of which seem valid, in my opinion. But I specifically want to examine how this scene functions in the context of Joss Whedon’s overall work, and the popular perception of Whedon as a feminist writer. Simply put: let’s look at how often Whedon has relied on this trope of a woman’s power or uniqueness or, yes, monstrosity, being inseparable from her gender and sexuality—why, in Whedon’s stories of women’s power, does their strength and talent always need to be bound to their bodies and biology?
I’ve always been drawn to characters who stand apart from “normal” people—the swordsman who studied every aspect of sword fighting for twenty years, the book nerd who saves the day with her knowledge, the enthusiastic inventor who spends more time with his inventions than people, and the FBI agent obsessed with the alien and unexplained.
Many of us can relate to the character who doesn’t quite fit in with the rest of society, and with Petra Wade, the protagonist of The Brass Giant, I knew I wanted her to be different, to stand out, perhaps even suffer social estrangement because of her passions. She’s an outcast for loving machines instead of embroidery, obsessed with learning everything she can about clockwork and mechanical engineering so that she might one day be able to join the Guild of Engineers.
Martin Tomsky’s woodcut art is stunning: His highly detailed pieces vividly bring to life worlds like the bathhouse from Spirited Away, crests from Game of Thrones, and London Below in Neil Gaiman’s Neverwhere. We weren’t kidding about being able to access London Below, either—but you’ll have to pay a pretty penny for it. (Hat-tip to Nerd Approved for finding these pieces.)
Afternoon Roundup looks back on last year’s TV shockers, looks forward to Wayward Pines, and looks beyond to Afrofuturist sci-fi and fantasy.
Welcome to the weekly Wednesday reread of Sunrunner’s Fire! This week Andry comes to Stronghold, and Chiana plots with evil glee.
Note: We are a little crazed this week. It started with a propane leak in the hot-water heater. A week and many many many adventures later, the upper right quadrant of the house is gutted, and we are in medias renovationes yegodsandlittlefishes. Therefore, I cannot brain exceptionally well. But I can read! And this is grand stuff!
Stronghold: 26 Spring
So This Happens: Andry is all agog at the Desert spring. His Sunrunners tease him about it.
In this week’s podcast episode, Justin talks with Renee Williams and Shaun Duke, editors of Speculative Fiction 2014. Available now from Book Smugglers Publishing, SpecFic ’14 is a survey of the years best online reviews, essays, and commentary. The conversation covers the contents of the anthology, the year’s themes, and the mechanics of identifying what makes a piece of non-fiction “the best.”
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 twenty of Ian Cameron Esslemont’s Orb Sceptre Throne.
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.
I make no apologies for liking my books with a dash of dragons or a whiff of ghosts. Ever since I discovered there was such a thing as a fantasy section at the library, I have been a faithful devotee of the genre. But every now and then, I like to venture a little further afield, and when I do, I often land in the historical fiction section.
My latest foray into a historical novel was a book that straddles the line between fiction and creative non-fiction. One part mystery did-she-do-it and one part psychological study, Burial Rites by Hannah Kent is a lyrical foray into nineteenth-century Iceland that imagines the events surrounding the life and death of Agnes Magnusdottir, a real woman who was charged with the brutal murder of her employer. After being convicted of the crime, Agnes is sent to await her execution at a remote farmstead. At first the farm family and the priest charged with saving her soul are repelled by the mysterious murderess in their midst, but soon the routine and hardship of life in such a harsh landscape brings them together and allows them to look back upon Agnes’ life and the series of decisions that brought them all together.
Remember, never accept a gift without knowing the consequences. Set in the Tufa universe.
This short story was acquired and edited for Tor.com by associate editor Diana Pho.
Even those who take no interest in the field of dragon naturalism (and who are you?!?) have heard of Lady Trent’s expedition to the inhospitable deserts of Akhia. Her discoveries there are the stuff of romantic legend, catapulting her from scholarly obscurity to worldwide fame. The details of her personal life during that time are hardly less private, having provided fodder for gossips in several countries.
As is so often the case in the career of this illustrious woman, the public story is far from complete. In The Labyrinth of Drakes, the fourth volume of her memoirs, Lady Trent relates how she acquired her position with the Royal Scirling Army; how foreign saboteurs imperiled both her work and her well-being; and how her determined pursuit of knowledge took her into the deepest reaches of the Labyrinth of Drakes, where the chance action of a dragon set the stage for her greatest achievement yet.
The 50th anniversary edition of Frank Herbert’s Dune has arrived from the Folio Society, and we want to send you a copy autographed by illustrator Sam Weber! Check out some of Weber's incredible illustrations here.
Two lucky winners will receive a copy of this new edition with a foreword by Michael Dirda and an afterword by Brian Herbert, plus a limited edition poster featuring Sam Weber’s illustration of Paul Atreides from the binding design!
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 8:30 AM Eastern Time (ET) on May 6. Sweepstakes ends at 12:00 PM ET on May 10. 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.
Do you have a cat? Does it like to sleep? Odds are, its favorite perches are either the nearest empty box, or some portion of your face, but perhaps you can interest it in this Chomp Chain Bed! This is the brainchild of Catastrophicreations, who have also gifted the feline universe with a Super Mario-themed cat playground, which is truly the perfect gift for any cat that also loves classic NES games. Learn how to make your own Chomp Chain here!
Morning Roundup brings you the latest steps of a Hobbit, a potentially punishing future, and the secret plot behind all of James T. Kirk’s decisions.
Thirty-one new releases break the
dystopian science fiction shelves this month (no, that’s not a typo), with new series titles from, among others, Gini Koch (Katherine “Kitty” Katt), Ramez Naam (Nexus), A. Bertram Chandler (John Grimes), Taylor Anderson (Destroyermen), Jack Campbell (The Lost Fleet: Beyond the Frontier), Ian Douglas (Star Carrier), and Mike Shepherd (Vicky Peterwald).
Fiction Affliction details releases in science fiction, fantasy, urban fantasy, paranormal romance, and “genre-benders.” Keep track of them all here. Note: All title summaries are taken and/or summarized from copy provided by the publisher.
Welcome back to Aurora Australis, a monthly round-up of publishing news and highlights from Australia and New Zealand! After a quiet-ish March, April has exploded everywhere. I’ve got anthologies and collections, novels and trilogies. I’ve got awards news. My hometown of Melbourne is diving headfirst into winter, and Sydney recently experienced a not-cyclone (annual rainfall in 24 hours!). Read on to hear about small presses and large presses and blue quandongs, and watch me take a pot-shot at George RR Martin fans.
Dark Dunes Productions has released the trailer/sizzle reel for Yamasong: March of the Hollows, an epic puppet adventure that’s equal parts The Dark Crystal and Princess Mononoke. It’s also the first major non-Muppet puppet film to be made in the U.S. since Team America. Sam Koji Hale is directing the film, written by Ekaterina Sedia, with Toby Froud (a.k.a. the baby from Labyrinth) and Heather Henson serving as executive producers, Mallory O'Meara, recent Rocket Talk guest, is the producer.
Gotham showed up for its season finale with some fancy new haircuts, a few genuinely surprising moments, and a whole bunch of plot contrivances. Oh, and those last 3-minutes that change everything? They’re exactly the 3-minutes you expected to see at the end, that have been teased on every “Next week on Gotham…” trailer for the last 5 weeks.
We’ve known for a while that Disney has plans to reboot the Indiana Jones franchise, with Robert Pattinson and Chris Pratt being thrown around as potential fedora’d frontrunners. But now Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy has confirmed it that a fifth Indiana Jones film is in the works... eventually.
Simon Watson, a young librarian, lives alone in a house that is slowly crumbling toward the Long Island Sound. His parents are long dead. His mother, a circus mermaid who made her living by holding her breath, drowned in the very water his house overlooks. His younger sister, Enola, ran off to join the circus six years ago.
One June day, an old book arrives on Simon’s doorstep. Fragile and water damaged, the book is a log from the owner of a traveling carnival in the 1700s, who reports strange and magical things-including the drowning death of a circus mermaid. Since then, generations of “mermaids” in Simon’s family have drowned—always on July 24, which is only weeks away. As his friend Alice looks on with alarm, Simon becomes increasingly worried about his sister. Could there be a curse on Simon’s family? What does it have to do with the book, and can he stop it in time to save Enola?
The Book of Speculation is Erika Swyler’s gorgeous and moving debut, a wondrous novel about the power of books, family, and magic—available June 23rd from St. Martin’s Press!
Welcome back to The Pop Quiz at the End of the Universe, a recurring series here on Tor.com featuring some of our favorite science fiction and fantasy authors, artists, and others!
Today we’re joined by Nicole Kornher-Stace, author of Desideria, Demon Lovers and Other Difficulties, and The Winter Triptych. Her latest novel, Archivist Wasp, publishes May 5th from Small Beer Press—you can read an excerpt here! Find her on Twitter @wirewalking.
Join us to find out which future tech Nicole has valiantly offered to test drive for the sake of humanity!