The Best Vacation Spots in Science Fiction & Fantasy

We’re halfway through summer, which means it’s time to pack our bags and finally decide how we’re going to spend our precious vacation days! Ancient ruins and cruise ships are all well and good, but they’re so… real. So we took a slightly different approach and looked to our favorite science fiction and fantasy books for getaway inspirations. And while we’re of course interested in elf-houses and vast island chains and the distant corners of the universe, it turns out some of us just want to go to London. Just maybe not the London we’re used to…

Probably would just be better to show you, right? Here are Tor.com’s top SFF vacation destinations!

[Read more]

The Greatest Journalists in Current Live-Action Superhero Fiction

The current superhero landscape is filled out by a group of people who are deeply committed to keeping the public smart and safe—journalists. These are the vigilant men and women responsible for reporting on the world’s new status quo now that folks with powers, enhancements, and ridiculous amounts of money are taking to the streets to uphold justice and… counter the ever-growing threats coming from outer space. And the criminal underground. And the criminal overground.

But some of these tireless reporters come off more authentically than others. Some of them can clearly write, or are being mentored to that end. Some of them work at papers and magazines that operate in a realistic fashion and hold them accountable. So who is the most believable journalist chasing down superpowered leads? Let’s take a look at our current crop.

[Read more]

War for the Planet of the Apes Prize Pack Sweepstakes!

We want to get your paws on send you copies of three new Planet of the Apes books from Titan! Two lucky winners will each receive War for the Planet of the Apes: Official Movie Novelization by Greg Cox; War for the Planet of the Apes: Revelations by Greg Keyes; and Planet of the Apes: Tales from the Forbidden Zone, a collection edited by Rich Handley.

In War for the Planet of the Apes, Caesar and his apes are forced into a deadly conflict with an army of humans led by a ruthless Colonel. After the apes suffer unimaginable losses, Caesar wrestles with his darker instincts and begins his own mythic quest to avenge his kind. As the journey finally brings them face to face, Caesar and the Colonel are pitted against each other in an epic battle that will determine the fate of both their species and the future of the planet.

In War for the Planet of the Apes: Revelations, Caesar and his apes are still recovering from the takeover by renegade ape Koba. Caesar is desperate to avoid war with the humans, but this is a faint hope, as his enemies are about to receive military reinforcements headed by the ruthless Colonel McCullough.

And in Tales from the Forbidden Zone, a who’s who of modern writers present sixteen all-new tales, exclusive to this volume, set in the world of the original films and television series.

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 11:30 AM Eastern Time (ET) on July 21st. Sweepstakes ends at 12:00 PM ET on July 25th. 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.

Star Trek: Deep Space 9 and the Importance of Storytelling Cultures

Star Trek: Deep Space 9 took a lot of risks with the “idealized future” of Roddenberry as written into Star Trek’s DNA, adding nuance to Starfleet ideals by incorporating human desires and failings into the narrative. Some praised it for being more real, more relatable; some criticized it for being “too dark” and showing Starfleet in a bad light.

One thing I enjoyed was that in the midst of the Star Trek Universe’s science-and-tech-centric STEM paradise, DS9 showrunners made the captain’s son, Jake Sisko, a writer. We science fiction writers love our astronauts and engineers, but I was thrilled to see 14-year-old Jake developing into a writer and storyteller. They gave him a familiar writer’s journey: he dabbled in poetry, moved into short stories, then novels, and along the way he became a journalist, a war correspondent (echoes of Hemingway and Crane), and published a collection of essays about living under Dominion occupation, as well as a semi-autobiographical novel. By committing to Jake’s arc through the whole series, DS9 brought into broader relief how the series honoured storytellers.

[Read more]

Medieval Matters: Game of Thrones and the Problem with Dragonstone

So “Dragonstone,” this season’s first episode of HBO’s enormously popular series Game of Thrones, was a welcome relief from too many months without our beloved characters. I enjoyed it, as I always do. Good times.

There’s one part, though, that was a bit of a shit show.

And no, I don’t mean Sam’s montage or Ed Sheeran’s cameo.

[SPOILERS Ahead!]

Series: Medieval Matters

The Spirit of the Rebel Alliance is Defined by Rogue One’s Jyn Erso and Bodhi Rook

Rogue One is possibly the most thematically chewy Star Wars movie so far. Whether you loved it, hated it, liked it but thought it needed fixing, or are simply pining for a prequel starring the best Gay Asian Space Uncles EVER, there’s a lot to digest. What I found most interesting, though, was the way that two characters can be seen as responsible for shaping not only the tactics of the Rebellion, but its entire character—as well as the price they paid for doing so.

[Read more]

Imagination and Refinement: Creating Replica Movie Props

In this ongoing series, we ask SF/F authors to describe a specialty in their lives that has nothing (or very little) to do with writing. Join us as we discover what draws authors to their various hobbies, how they fit into their daily lives, and how and they inform the author’s literary identity!

When I’m not trying to put good words to the page, I channel my creativity into a peculiar hobby.

Most people will take in repeated viewings of their favorite movie to recapture specific emotions from a favored scene. For some of us, the screen experience isn’t enough. We seek a more tactile connection to the stories that have touched us in some way. From our ranks come the memorabilia aficionados, the figure collectors, and the cosplayers. Tangentially connected to these fan bases are movie prop collectors.

[Read more]

The Firemen Start the Fires in the First Look at HBO’s Fahrenheit 451

HBO Films has shared the first official photo from Fahrenheit 451, its forthcoming adaptation of Ray Bradbury’s classic dystopian novel set in a future where reading is outlawed and books are burned. It’s, appropriately, an action shot of firefighter Guy Montag (Michael B. Jordan) letting the flames fly on some contraband reading, while his superior Beatty (Michael Shannon) looks on approvingly.

[Read more]