Seven Commentaries on an Imperfect Land August 20, 2014 Seven Commentaries on an Imperfect Land Ruthanna Emrys Stories of Tikanu. Hero of the Five Points August 19, 2014 Hero of the Five Points Alan Gratz A League of Seven story. La Signora August 13, 2014 La Signora Bruce McAllister If love is not enough, then maybe death... Sleeper August 12, 2014 Sleeper Jo Walton It is best to embrace subjectivity.
From The Blog
August 15, 2014
“Perhaps It Was Only an Echo”: The Giver
Natalie Zutter
August 15, 2014
We’re Holding Out for a (New) Hero: How Heroes and Villains are Evolving
Leah Schnelbach
August 14, 2014
Doctor Who: “Deep Breath” (Non-spoiler Review)
Chris Lough
August 13, 2014
Eight Essential Science Fiction Detective Mash-Ups
David Cranmer
August 12, 2014
Robin Williams Taught Us the Joy of Being Weird
Stubby the Rocket
Aug 21 2014 10:00am

The Harry Potter Reread: The Prisoner of Azkaban, Chapters 3 and 4

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban coverThe Harry Potter reread is thinking about infusing some liquor to make firewhiskey a reality—but what would it taste like? (Don’t say Fireball, that is wrong.) Does infusing whiskey with Adobo peppers sound like a good idea? With cinnamon or without? How much fun were American wizard speakeasies back during Prohibition?

The plot is thickening in a mysterious manner on the reread! We’re about to take tea with the Minister of Magic and get a peek and the newly minted Firebolt broom line! It’s Chapters 3 and 4 of The Prisoner of Azkaban—The Knight Bus and The Leaky Cauldron.

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]

Aug 21 2014 9:30am

Thirty Years On: Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman and the Legacy of Mortality

Dragons of Winter Night Margaret Weis Tracy Hickman The best thing Sturm Brightblade ever did was die.

I did not discover literature of any kind until I was about eleven, or ten. I was, without a sliver of a doubt, a no good, lazy slacker of a child, and after I discovered literature, I was totally and utterly a no good, lazy slacker of a child who read books. A lot of books, good and bad, but my favourite—the books I read and reread in my teens—were by Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman. Specifically, I had a deep and complete love for the Dragonlance Chronicles. First published in 1984 when I was nothing more than sticks of bone at seven, Dragons of Autumn Twilight began what would be one of the icons of my grunge stained disenchanted childhood. I know it all, back and front, left and right and, thirty years after the first book began the series, I still remember the scenes at the end of Dragons of Winter Night, where Sturm Brightblade slowly and surely, walked to the top of a tower to fight a dragon with little more than the sword his father left him.

[He died, of course.]

Aug 21 2014 9:00am

Highlights from a Conversation Between George R.R. Martin and Robin Hobb

George R R Martin Robin Hobb

George R.R. Martin and Robin Hobb appeared earlier this week at an event hosted by HarperVoyager UK, discussing how they build their fictional universes, create their characters and balance fantasy and reality; about their influences and inspirations, their struggles and successes. Jane Johnson, the editor for both Robin Hobb and George R. R. Martin, hosted the conversation.

From a trio of gilded thrones at the front of Freemason’s Hall in London, Martin, Hobb, and Johnson imparted wisdom to a packed crowd. Johnson started the event with some thrilling news: Game of Thrones had recently won a Hugo Award for the “Rains of Castamere” episode, and Hobb’s latest novel Fool’s Assassin will debut on the bestseller list at #4!

[Highlights from the evening]

Aug 21 2014 8:00am

Morning Roundup: Jean Grey Knows We’re Miserable Now

Poor Cyclops

We know, we know. It’s serious.

Morning Roundup barrels toward you in a double-decker bus full of links! Every day is Arbor Day if you’re Groot, the burly Rocket is just kinda weird, and Margaret Atwood talks about Maddaddam!


Aug 20 2014 5:00pm

Short and to the Point: We Are All Completely Fine by Daryl Gregory

We Are All Completely Fine Daryl Gregory review We Are All Completely Fine, recently released by Tachyon Publications, is a fresh novella from Daryl Gregory—clocking in at under two-hundred pages, it’s more or less an afternoon’s reading. The conceit of the piece is that the characters are all part of a therapy group for the “last survivor” (read: Final Girl, Final Boy) of supernatural catastrophe or violence; it’s a fairly metafictional mashup between a Lovecraftian universe and the more staid/predictable world of horror film.

I’m generally pleased to see presses—generally independent or small, like Tachyon—tackling the work of publishing stand-alone novellas; it’s an interesting length and form that doesn’t get as much show-room as it could use. So, while I’m perhaps outside of the general audience for much straight-up horror fiction, I thought I’d give this one a look; the story’s self-referential slyness and Gregory’s talented prose were also motivating factors.

[A review.]

Aug 20 2014 4:30pm

Mortal Gods Sweepstakes!

Win a galley of Mortal Gods by Kendare Blake, out from Tor Books on October 14th!

Cassandra Weaver is a weapon of fate. The girl who kills gods. But all she wants is for the god she loved and lost to return to life. If she can’t have that, then the other gods will burn, starting with his murderer, Aphrodite.

The ensuing war takes her and her uncertain ally, the goddess Athena, across the globe, searching for lost gods, old enemies, and Achilles, the greatest warrior the world has ever seen. As the struggle escalates, Athena and Cassandra must find a way to work together. Because if they can’t, fates far worse than death await.

 Check for the rules below! 

[Read more]

Aug 20 2014 4:00pm

City of Stairs (Excerpt)

Robert Jackson Bennett

Robert Jackson Bennett City of Stairs excerptThe city of Bulikov once wielded the powers of the gods to conquer the world, enslaving and brutalizing millions—until its divine protectors were killed. Now Bulikov has become just another colonial outpost of the world’s new geopolitical power, but the surreal landscape of the city itself—first shaped, now shattered, by the thousands of miracles its guardians once worked upon it—stands as a constant, haunting reminder of its former supremacy.

Into this broken city steps Shara Thivani. Officially, the unassuming young woman is just another junior diplomat sent by Bulikov’s oppressors. Unofficially, she is one of her country’s most accomplished spies, dispatched to catch a murderer. But as Shara pursues the killer, she starts to suspect that the beings who ruled this terrible place may not be as dead as they seem—and that Bulikov’s cruel reign may not yet be over.

An atmospheric and intrigue-filled novel of dead gods, buried histories, and a mysterious, protean city—Robert Jackson Bennett’s City of Stairs is available September 16th from Crown Publishing.

[Read an excerpt]

Aug 20 2014 3:00pm

Second Sight: Visions by Kelley Armstrong

Kelley Armstrong Visions reviewOlivia Taylor-Jones is back and just as kick-ass as ever in Visions, Kelley Armstrong’s bewitching second entry in her Cainsville series. When we first met Liv, her whole life was shattered with the revelation that her wealthy parents had adopted her after her bio parents were sent to jail as notorious serial killers. Her mundane world got a helluva lot more magical once she realized her weird little superstitions were really omens and portents of death and despair. Suddenly, the former socialite found herself at the center of an epic, timeless battle between Team Fate and Team Free Will.

After the deadly events of Omens, Liv, formerly Eden Larsen, takes a part time gig as an investigator with Gabriel Walsh, her hulking defense attorney. Ostensibly they’re looking into her parents’ convictions - the Larsens maintain their innocence, the courts say otherwise, and the evidence is circumstantial and ambiguous - but it wouldn’t be Cainsville if there weren’t a million plays and counter plays roiling around under the surface.

[“There’s a dead woman in my car.”]

Aug 20 2014 2:00pm

Under the Dome: “Awakening”

Under the Dome Awakening

That darn Dome has been over Chester’s Mill for two weeks, and in just 14 days it has been magnetized, rained acid blood, gotten clogged with dust, been infested with butterflies, Barbie has almost been hung, Big Jim has almost been hung, Sheriff DJ Phil has been shot, Wendell has been shot, Sheriff Linda has been crushed, Angie has been chopped, a dead girl has come back to life, a plane has hit the Dome, a fire station has exploded, a locker has exploded, a pig virus has been viraled, a food shortage has shorted, a lite genocide has been planned (then canceled), and a windmill has been milled.

To better wrap your brain around these events, redditor u/Wadam1230 has edited every “previously on Under the Dome” recap into a single supercut of madness. But as Big Jim has taught us, people can change, and this week we can Under the Dome.

[Read More]

Aug 20 2014 1:00pm

Rereading Melanie Rawn: Dragon Prince, Chapter 9

Welcome to the weekly Wednesday reread of Melanie Rawn’s Dragon Prince! This week, we’re reading the last chapter of Part I, and wrapping up the section. Rohan and Sioned continue to negotiate the ups and downs of their budding relationship. We learn more about dragons, and about Rohan’s feelings toward them. Our protagonists discover a spy in their midst—and Sioned takes action.

Chapter 9

So this happens: Rohan is still in a snit over the fact that Sioned has sexual experience, but his plan to match it is not proving successful. He isn’t attracted to the pretty girls, and he can’t bring himself to look at the plain ones. The only one he wants is Sioned.

Then the female dragons begin to fly, and Rohan has another preoccupation: the Hatching Hunt.

[Read More]

Aug 20 2014 12:10pm

“Nicolas Cage as Everyone” Meme Replaces All Your Favorite Genre Characters

Nicolas Cage as everyone Picard

Whenever we’re feeling tired or blue we can always rely on the Nicolas Cage as Everyone meme to cheer us up. To our delight this time around, a bunch of new genre mash-ups had been added, including the above of Captain Nicholas Cage Picard. “Make it so...maaaan!” You just know Cage would order his whiskey “earl grey. hot” and probably ride the consoles like a cowboy from time to time. Also he would totally be into Lwaxana.

We need more Cage in our lives.

[Click through to see just how many canvases this face fits onto]

Aug 20 2014 12:00pm

Malazan Reread of the Fallen: The Crippled God, Chapter Twelve

Welcome 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 readers. In this article, we’ll cover chapter twelve of The Crippled God.

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.

[Read More]

Aug 20 2014 11:30am

The Welcome Return of the Impatient and Cantankerous Doctor Who

Doctor Who Peter Capaldi

“From the doctor’s own point of view, from his fictional point of view, he’s just the same man and he’s rearranged himself a bit. But he’s the same person looking out of those eyes.”

Those words from Stephen Moffat, lead writer and executive producer of Doctor Who, in a promo interview for the new season of the hit BBC series have me psyched for this latest incarnation of the Doctor—though he’s always “the same man,” we’ll get to see a different slice of his inimitable personality. Now, double that with the actor’s conversation via Metro about what to expect of the Time Lord in the upcoming season:

[Read more]

Aug 20 2014 11:18am

Hush Now, This is an Alternate Harry Potter Future Where Fred Weasley Lives and You Can’t Convince Us Otherwise

Fred George Weasley twin actors James Oliver Phelps Wizarding World of Harry Potter photo Zonko's jokes shop fanfiction real life photo

You’re looking at the winner for best picture taken at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. The rest of the Potter cast can rest easy, knowing that no matter how many cute photo ops they do at the new Diagon Alley extension, nothing will be as perfect as this. Daniel Radcliffe and Ralph Fiennes could stage a wizard duel in the middle of the park, and it still wouldn’t bowl us over as much as when James and Oliver Phelps visited Zonko’s Joke Shop in 2011. (Look, we just discovered this photo and we love it, so hush.)

It’s like fanfiction, come to life. (AU, of course. *sniffle*) Just look at those mischief-making grins and the piles of jokes and tricks they’ve loaded up with. Who will they prank first? And why is George/Oliver rocking a fez? We can only imagine the possibilities.

Photo: Harry Potter Fans

Aug 20 2014 11:00am

Rocket Talk Episode 23: Kate Elliott and N.K. Jemisin

Rocket Talk

In this episode of Rocket Talk, Justin invites authors Kate Elliott and N.K. Jemisin on to the show to talk about reader, writer, and publisher bias. How do our own blind spots influence the choices we make? How does that impact society? How can we do better?

[Listen here!]

Aug 20 2014 10:00am

Rentable You: John Scalzi’s Lock In and the Terror Hiding in its Future

John Scalzi Lock In

Amongst the shoot-outs, robot fights, and political intrigue of John Scalzi’s new novel Lock In (yes, there are robot fights!) is the looming sense that even though this near-future is intimately comparable to modern day we are nevertheless seeing our initial lurch towards a truly science fiction society. A key worldbuilding aspect of Lock In’s future is the presence of hardware and software that can be installed within a person, thereby allowing them to extend their awareness into robots. Did your robot just get hit by a truck? Good thing you had the pain turned down and the auto-disconnect toggled on.

But this awareness goes both ways, and one of the squirrellier aspects of the capital-F FUTURE that Lock In explores are the beginnings of a world where you can be shoved out of your own mind. Where the last barrier of privacy is breached and you become rewritten.

[Read more]

Aug 20 2014 9:30am

Should the World Fantasy Award be Changed?

World Fantasy Award Howard HP Lovecraft

Daniel José Older, author and editor of Long Hidden, recently started a petition to redesign the World Fantasy Award. This has led to signatures and celebration, as well as some controversy. His petition’s immediate request is that the WFAC change the award to resemble Octavia Butler. The current WFA statuette (shown here) is a stylized bust of H.P. Lovecraft. Designed by the great Gahan Wilson, it is a striking piece of sculpture—but it is also a reminder of the community’s contentious past.

So there is also a larger question that needs to be heard: who is SFF’s audience? Who is this community for?

[Read more]

Aug 20 2014 9:00am
Original Story

Seven Commentaries on an Imperfect Land

Tikanu, land of laws and patterns, magic and wild mint, is not found behind hidden doors.  It passes across borders and takes root wherever its people settle. This collection of seven commentaries reveals a world waiting patiently at the edges of vision, that welcomes all who are willing to do the work of building it.

This short story was acquired and edited for by acquiring editor Carl Engle-Laird.

[Read “Seven Commentaries on an Imperfect Land” by Ruthanna Emrys]

Aug 20 2014 8:00am

Morning Roundup: Hipster Elsa and Anna Build the Most Obscure Snowmen

Dorkly shared these fabulous Hipster Elsa and Anna from Epbot! It’s good to see that the sisters are still getting along, and we wish them the best with building an ice castle in Bushwick.

Morning Roundup isn’t ready to let go of these links! First, it looks like Millennials may have learned about politics from Cornelius Fudge. You can finally a see few minutes of that doomed Fantastic Four movie Roger Corman tried to make, and Lev Grossman wants to tell us about how wizards took over pop culture!

[Plus, an explosive new version of Up!]

Aug 19 2014 5:00pm

So Brass! Alan Gratz’s The League of Seven

The League of Seven Alan GratzIn The League of Seven, Alan Gratz imagines an alternate America in the 1870s where electricity (or lektricity, as they call it) is forbidden and has been replaced by a mix of steam, clockwork and gas. A world of steam-powered submarines and airships and aether pistols.

And monsters. Many, many monsters. As young Archie Dent soon finds out.

[So what is the League?]