See Cory Doctorow and Edward Snowden Discuss Walkaway at NYPL!

Cory Doctorow will be touring 20 US cities (plus a few spots in Canada and the UK) for his new book, Walkaway! While we don’t have the full schedule yet, we do want to let you know that for his stop in New York City, he’ll be interviewed at the New York Public Library by none other than Edward Snowden.

Walkaway will be available in April 2017 from Tor Books! The novel is an epic tale of revolution, love, post-scarcity, and the end of death. In this multi-generation SF thriller Doctorow describes as “a utopian disaster novel,” he envisions a near-future in which technological advancements allow humans to simply walk away from oppressive economic and authority systems.

The event will be held on May 3rd at New York Public Library—tickets are $10-$25, and you can find them here! And we’ll be posting about the full tour as soon as we have more details.

[via BoingBoing!]

Science vs. The Expanse: Is It Possible to Colonize Our Solar System?

The hit Syfy Channel show The Expanse, based on the incredible series beginning with Leviathan Wakes by writing team James S. A. Corey, presents a bold and dark future for the human race. Humans have colonized our solar system, though we haven’t ventured beyond it. We have research bases on moons of Jupiter, Saturn, and Uranus; Mars, the Moon, and dwarf planet Ceres have larger permanent settlements.

The TV series doesn’t focus overwhelmingly on science (though all the technology depicted within it is based on real science), and that’s to its benefit: there’s a lot of story to cover in a limited amount of time. (The authors of the books do focus a bit more on science in the novels.) Let’s look at the overall premise of the show, then. How likely is it that we will colonize our own solar system? Will we establish permanent colonies on the Moon and Mars? What will happen to the humans who do leave the Earth?

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Chalk

Andrew Waggoner has always hung around with his fellow losers at school, desperately hoping each day that the school bullies—led by Drake—will pass him by in search of other prey. But one day they force him into the woods, and the bullying escalates into something more; something unforgivable; something unthinkable.

Broken, both physically and emotionally, something dies in Waggoner, and something else is born in its place.

In the hills of the West Country a chalk horse stands vigil over a site of ancient power, and there Waggoner finds in himself a reflection of rage and vengeance, a power and persona to topple those who would bring him low.

Paul Cornell plumbs the depths of magic and despair in Chalk, a brutal exploration of bullying in Margaret Thatcher’s England—available March 21st from Tor.com Publishing. Read an excerpt below, along with a note from Cornell about the personal and intense nature of the story.

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Mad Max: Fury Road Would Have Been a Silent Masterpiece

Mash-up wizard Peter Stults has done it again! Bask in the rad-ness of this silent film-era poster for Mad Max: Fury Road. We love Buster Keaton as Max (doing all of his own stunts, obviously), Passion of Joan of Arc‘s Falconetti as Furiosa, and Doctor Mabuse himself, Rudolf Klein-Rogge, as Immortan Joe. Plus we assume that Lon Chaney is using one of his Thousand Faces to become Nux?

The only thing missing will be the Doof Warrior, since, well, silent film. But perhaps movie palaces can host live flame-throwing guitar performances when they screen the film?

V.E. Schwab’s A Darker Shade of Magic Is Changing Direction, Now Headed to the Big Screen!

Last February we reported that V.E. Schwab’s alternate-universe fantasy novel A Darker Shade of Magic was coming to television courtesy of Gerard Butler’s production company G-BASE. Well today we’re excited to update that information: A Darker Shade of Magic will now be a film! According to The Hollywood Reporter, Butler will produce along with Alan Siegel, Danielle Robinson, and Neal Moritz. While Schwab is no longer writing the script, she will be producing as well.

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Holy Rewatch Batman! “Louie’s Lethal Lilac Time”

“Louie’s Lethal Lilac Time”
Written by Charles Hoffman
Directed by Sam Strangis
Season 3, Episode 18
Production code 1718
Original air date: January 11, 1968

The Bat-signal: Dick is holding a party for his friends at Bruce’s beach house in Ambergris Bay. Bruce has asked Barbara to chaperone with him. Dick and his friends find a huge chunk of ambergris, but before they can go try to find more, Louie the Lilac and two of his thugs show up to take the ambergris—and also to kidnap Bruce and Dick.

This is kind of a problem, insofar as Gordon’s call on the bat-phone is met with Alfred reluctantly telling him that Batman and Robin are out of town and unreachable.

[I’m a sucker for secret closets!]

Series: Holy Rewatch Batman!

Cold Counsel

Slud of the Blood Claw Clan, Bringer of Troubles, was born at the heart of the worst storm the mountain had ever seen. Slud’s father, chief of the clan, was changed by his son’s presence. For the first time since the age of the giants, he rallied the remaining trolls under one banner and marched to war taking back the mountain from the goblin clans.

However, the long-lived elves remembered the brutal wars of the last age, and did not welcome the return of these lesser-giants to martial power. Twenty thousand elves marched on the mountain intent on genocide. They eradicated the entire troll species—save two.

Aunt Agnes, an old witch from the Iron Wood, carried Slud away before the elves could find them. Their existence remained hidden for decades, and in that time, Agnes molded Slud to become her instrument of revenge.

Chris Sharp’s new epic fantasy Cold Counsel is available from Tor.com Publishing.

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Let’s Join a Cult! The Brainwashing Pulps of the ’70s and ’80s

Welcome to Freaky Fridays. You have come home. We’ve been waiting for you. Just relax, stop thinking, and read the sacred out-of-print paperbacks that allow us to understand the secret wisdom of the universe. We love you. Love us. There is no self. There is only us. Do not resist. Just relax. Become love with us.

Hey everyone, let’s join a cult! All the kids are doing it, and if you can give me one good reason not to do it, then I’ll give you an apple pie. Cults are fun! Cults are crazy! Cults can help you get ahead in this world! Cults actually run this world! Cults provide instant friends for the marginalized, the unwanted, and the short. I can’t think of a single problem that a cult couldn’t solve if they all put on their robes and worked together. So why wouldn’t you join one? You are actually holding yourself back and limiting your life every minute you are not in a cult.

The problem is, with so many cults to choose from, how do you narrow it down to just one? Cults aren’t like Better Business Bureaus. You can’t join two or three at a time. You have to pick one and commit. So how do you find the right cult for you? Allow Freaky Friday to help.

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Malazan Reread of the Fallen: Forge of Darkness, Chapter 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, and finally comments from Tor.com readers. Today we’re Forge of Darkness, Chapter One.

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, but 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.

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Series: Malazan Reread of the Fallen

Shared Worlds is Now Open for Registration!

Shared Worlds, a world-building summer camp for kids, is now open for registration. The program is open to rising 8th-12th graders, and will take place from July 16th-29th at Wofford College in Spartanburg, South Carolina. Registration will be open until April 1st so be sure to register soon!

The students work in small groups with an experienced “world-building coordinator” to design and build a world, spending a week building their worlds from the ground up: geography, population, religion and philosophy, legal systems—everything you’d need for a functional world. The second week is spent writing stories that can only occur in the worlds they’ve created. The program culminates in individual sessions between the students and the guest authors so the students get personalized feedback on their work. Finally, the students’ stories are published in the annual program anthology.

2017 marks the 10th Anniversary of Shared Worlds! Each year, Co-director Jeff VanderMeer and Editor-in-Residence Ann VanderMeer are joined by a rotating guest faculty, and this year’s will include Gwenda Bond, Tobias S. Buckell, N.K. Jemisin, Kathe Koja, Terra Elan McVoy, Sofia Samatar, and Ekaterina Sedia, along with experts in history, science, and philosophy.

Check out Shared Worlds’ site to learn more, see this year’s guest authors, and register for the program!

An Enthusiastic Carnival of Horrors: Dr. Potter’s Medicine Show

When you say “weird Western”, we generally think of Joe Lansdale, Jonah Hex, or maybe a Johnny Depp box-office disaster. But while “weird” comes in all kinds of flavors, from horror and occult to sci-fi- and fantasy, “Western” somehow always paints the same mental picture: an Arizona aesthetic as dry and stark as the backdrop of a Wile E. Coyote cartoon.

Dr. Potter’s Medicine Show aims to change that. In Eric Fischl’s debut novel, a rainy afternoon in 1878 Oregon sets the stage for a snake-oil salesman whose life behind the show-curtains is becoming ever more horrifying, thanks to the sinister contents of the patent-medicine bottles he’s forced to dispense to the desperate and the gullible. The setting is marvelously rendered right from the first page:

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Series: That Was Awesome! Writers on Writing

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.

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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.

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