The Ways of Walls and Words April 15, 2015 The Ways of Walls and Words Sabrina Vourvoulias Can the spirit truly be imprisoned? Ballroom Blitz April 1, 2015 Ballroom Blitz Veronica Schanoes Can't stop drinking, can't stop dancing, can't stop smoking, can't even die. Dog March 25, 2015 Dog Bruce McAllister "Watch the dogs when you're down there, David." The Museum and the Music Box March 18, 2015 The Museum and the Music Box Noah Keller History is rotting away, just like the museum.
From The Blog
April 17, 2015
Spring 2015 Anime Preview: The Hellish Life of a Pizza Delivery Boy
Kelly Quinn
April 16, 2015
The Disney Read-Watch: Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs
Mari Ness
April 15, 2015
Recasting The Rocky Horror Picture Show
Stubby the Rocket
April 15, 2015
The 10 Strangest Transports in Non-Driving Games
N. Ho Sang and Peter Tieryas
April 14, 2015
An Open Letter to HBO from House Greyjoy
Theresa DeLucci
Tue
Apr 21 2015 9:10am

The Coode Street Podcast Episode 230: K.J. Parker

Coode Street K.J. Parker

Welcome to The Coode Street Podcast, an informal weekly discussion about science fiction and fantasy featuring award-winning critics and editors Jonathan Strahan and Gary K. Wolfe. The Coode Street Podcast debuted in 2010 and has been nominated for the Hugo, British Science Fiction, and Aurealis awards.

This week’s very special episode is a conversation with the superb and formerly mysterious K.J. Parker, whose newest work The Two of Swords begins serialization this week from Orbit, and whose Savages is due later this summer from Subterranean Press. We discuss the influence of writers as diverse as E.F. Benson, P.G. Wodehouse, Mercedes Lackey, and C.J. Cherryh, the reason there isn’t much overt magic in Parker’s worlds, the freedom offered by fantasy over straight historical fiction, the relative advantages of novellas vs. novels, where all that wonderful dialogue comes from, and—of course—who K.J. Parker really is...

[Listen to Coode Street]

Tue
Apr 21 2015 9:01am

What’s in a Name? K.J. Parker, Revealed

For many years, one of our genre’s worst-kept secrets is the fact that K.J. Parker is the pseudonym of another popular author. Today, Pornokitsch has revealed that Parker is fantasy humourist, Tom Holt.

Additionally, the Hugo-nominated Coode Street Podcast, hosted by Jonathan Strahan and Gary K Wolfe is hosting Parker’s first ever “live” interview.

As Parker, Holt has been nominated for the World Fantasy “Best Novella” Award every year for the last three years, winning it twice.

Holt has written a K J Parker book for Tor.com’s new novella lineThe Last Witness will be published the first week of October. Parker’s next novel—Savages—is to be published by Subterranean Press this summer, and his new novel—The Two of Swords—is currently being serialized by Orbit.

Tue
Apr 21 2015 8:00am

Morning Roundup: Finally, Someone Who Can Find Us The Rainbow Connection

Kermit Frog

FLAIL. We officially have a real, live Kermit Frog. While the species can currently be found in Costa Rica, we assume that it will begin a madcap roadtrip to pursue its show business dreams in New York City any day now.

Morning Roundup brings you original art from the hand of J.R.R. Tolkien, original art from the minds of some of our greatest Afrofuturists, and we gaze deeply into some eyes without a Face.

[Plus whales and devils!]

Mon
Apr 20 2015 4:00pm

Orphan Black Puts the Greater Good Above Its Clones: “The Weight of This Combination”

Orphan Black season 3 episode 1 review The Weight of This Combination

There has always been a difference between Project Leda and the Clone Club: Project Leda is the secret initiative that created Sarah Manning, her identical twin, and their genetic doubles and then sent them into the world so that their nature and nurture could be observed (and, once in a while, manipulated). The Clone Club is the tight-knit group of Leda clones—Sarah, Alison Hendrix, Cosima Niehaus, and, now, Helena—who have laughed, danced, cried, and lost together, (mostly) united against the Dyad Institute.

But now, with the start of Orphan Black season 3, the Clone Club must work with Dyad to protect Project Leda from those who would wipe it out completely. When a creepy member of Project Castor tells Sarah to “count your sisters,” he’s not just letting her know that one has gone missing—he’s making her think about every member of Leda.

[Read more]

Mon
Apr 20 2015 3:43pm

Check Out the Second Trailer for The Little Prince!

The Little Prince

Variety shared the second international trailer for The Little Prince! The film, which is first animated feature to be adapted from Antoine de Saint-Exupery’s classic novella, was directed by Kung Fu Panda’s Mark Osborne, and stars Jeff Bridges, Rachel McAdams, James Franco, Marion Cotillard and Benicio Del Toro. The plot is a twist on the original story, focusing on a little girl who learns about The Little Prince and his magical world from her eccentric neighbor, The Aviator. The nested stories showcase some very different animation styles that are each pretty gorgeous.

Watch the full trailer below!

[We want sheeeep.]

Mon
Apr 20 2015 3:00pm

Alike in Dignity: Feuding Houses in Romeo and Juliet

Montagues and Capulets valentin melik

People always talk about Romeo and Juliet as if it’s a romance, as if it’s a great passionate play, the greatest love story of all time. Seen that way, I’ve always found it a little disappointing. There’s certainly a romance in it, but it’s actually much more a play about a feud between families. What’s most interesting to me is the way that the whole thing is set up like a comedy, where you can safely expect a happy ending, the lovers reunited and their families reconciled, only to see Shakespeare pull the rug from under you. Only King Lear does more of a switch, where it looks as if even the terrible events can be patched up, and then surprises us with worse.

Romeo and Juliet is truly a tragedy, with the inevitability of Greek tragedy where everyone is undone by their tragic flaw. And we’re informed of this at the beginning, so we know what we are headed for, and still, as the story goes on we want it to end differently. I like Romeo and Juliet for the narrative dissonance, and of course as always with Shakespeare, the beautiful language.

[In fair Verona, where we lay our scene...]

Mon
Apr 20 2015 2:30pm

Tom Fletcher Does the Devil’s Work

Thin Places Tom Fletcher

Last year, one of the most promising young horror authors of the past decade turned his stark talents to fantasy, conjuring up “a devastated landscape equal parts Ambergris and Fallout 3” to typically excellent effect. I’m talking, of course, about Tom Fletcher, whose Factory trilogy got off to a tantalising start with Gleam—reviewed right here—in 2014.

Fast forward to last week, when the author confirmed that 2015 will indeed see the release of the sequel. It’s called Idle Hands, and it should be published sometime in September or October. The cover’s coming up under the cut—plus, I’ve bagged a blurb! But that’s not all the Tom Fletcher news I have to share with you today. Far from it, in fact. Firstly, there’s Thin Places: a bumper ebook edition of Fletcher’s first three novels, namely The Leaping, The Thing on the Shore, and The Ravenglass Eye.

[Read More]

Mon
Apr 20 2015 2:00pm

And Related Subjects: Discovering a Passion for Fencing

The Princess Bride sword fight Inigo Westley

In this ongoing series, we ask SF/F authors to descibe a speciality 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!

It all started with The Princess Bride.

By the time I was fourteen, I’d seen the movie so many times I could recite it forwards and backwards and in rhyme. I’d grown up an athletic child, a competitive soccer player since age 4, with stints ranging from months to years in gymnastics, softball, volleyball. I was—and am still—a dreamer, and I had no trouble dreaming big. I vividly remember hitting tennis balls against our garage door in California while conducting mock interviews about my many championship matches.

Thanks to Mia Hamm, I wanted to go to the World Cup. And later, thanks to Westley and Inigo Montoya, I wanted to be a fencer.

[That is how it started.]

Mon
Apr 20 2015 1:30pm

Afternoon Roundup: To Boldly Go Where No Selfie Has Gone Before

ISS Star Trek selfie Samantha Cristoforetti

Last week, International Space Station astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti got all dressed up to meet the SpaceX Dragon cargo craft carrying supplies to the ISS. Channeling beloved Captain Janeway, she tweeted, “There’s coffee in that nebula” ... ehm, I mean... in that #Dragon and took this awesome selfie.

Afternoon Roundup may not have coffee, but it can bring you a new look at Riverdale, retro Batman v Superman, and unseen H.R. Giger films!

[Read more]

Mon
Apr 20 2015 1:00pm

Rereading the Empire Trilogy: Mistress of the Empire, Part 6

Mistress of the EmpireWelcome back to the reread of Mistress of the Empire by Raymond E. Feist and Janny Wurts! This is another sad chapter of sadness.

Potential trigger warning: this one covers a traumatic childbirth event with a sad outcome. Take care of yourself accordingly.

Chapter 6: Gambits

SUMMARY: Chumaka has also been having a very frustrating two years, work-wise. He has had agents lying in wait for the Nameless Spy Master of the Tuscai (aka Arakasi) for years, hoping they would reopen the corner of the network that he knows about—but he has been outsmarted.

[This time jump is messing with everyone’s heads.]

Mon
Apr 20 2015 12:46pm

Final Jurassic World Trailer Highlights the Downside of Genetically Engineered Dinosaurs

Jurassic World trailer, Chris Pratt

Sure, there’s Chris Pratt’s raptor gang, and he brings plenty of snark (and the tight henleys) here, but the global Jurassic World trailer is more concerned with explaining exactly why we should be concerned about attending a dinosaur theme park.

[You bred genetically enhanced raptors?]

Mon
Apr 20 2015 12:00pm

The Net is the Meat: Bruce Holsinger’s Middle Ages

Crusader Bible

At the end of The Invention of Fire, the second John Gower mystery by Bruce Holsinger, the aging poet ponders possible outcomes for a pair of fugitives making their way across England. He muses that his friend, Geoffrey Chaucer, would no doubt come up with some cheerful ending in which they live happily ever after, but not Gower, who likes darker tales.

Gower says, “A poet should not be some sweet-singing bird in a trap, feasting on the meat while blind to the net. The net is the meat, all those entanglements and snares and iron claws that hobble us and prevent our escape from the limits of our weak and fallen flesh.”

Holsinger’s novels are about the net.

[On historical fiction, popular culture, and the meaning of “medieval”...]

Mon
Apr 20 2015 11:45am

Star Wars: Rogue One Will Be About Stealing the Death Star Plans

Star Wars standalone film Rogue One Death Star plans

While the release of the new The Force Awakens trailer dominated Star Wars Celebration, it wasn’t the only news to come out of the annual fan festival. Lucasfilm’s Kathleen Kennedy and Rogue One director Gareth Edwards took to the stage to tease details about the first upcoming Star Wars standalone film.

Kennedy explained that these “anthology” films—another will be directed by Fantastic Four’s Josh Trank—are meant to explore what’s happening in the rest of the Star Wars universe while the main players for good and evil are fighting in the old and new trilogies. To that end, Rogue One will center on a raid to steal the original Death Star plans.

[Read more]

Mon
Apr 20 2015 11:30am

Half a War and Beyond

Half a War Joe Abercrombie

Is it just me, or has someone been fast-forwarding 2015?

Case in point: it can’t possibly have been more than a week or three since I blogged about Half the World by Joe Abercrombie, and yet the next volume—“the third and (for the time being) final book” of the aforementioned author’s Shattered Sea series—is almost upon us. Half a War is so very nearly here that we’ve got copy and the cover coming up, in addition to an overview of what Abercrombie is turning his attention to now that his work on the trilogy is pretty much finished.

But before we get ahead of ourselves again—as if that’s even feasible this year—behold the blurb. Slight spoilers ahead if you aren’t yet up to speed on the series so far!

[Read More]

Mon
Apr 20 2015 11:00am

The Last Herald Mage: Haven

Magic's Price Valdemar rereadI will forever be grateful to have escaped Magic’s Promise without major trauma, despite losing Jaysen to a moment of distraction and a swarm of piranha bats. This week, we begin Magic’s Price, a book which will leave us with far more devastating losses. Since there is no way to defend ourselves from the impending catastrophe, the best course of action is to enjoy the pleasures the book offers while we can.

One of those pleasures is the cover. Like medieval saints, Heralds are depicted with attributes, so we can tell which of them the artist had in mind. As on the covers of the first two books in the trilogy, Vanyel is pictured with his cape. This cover shows him near the moment of his martyrdom, so he is sporting the Shredded Sleeves of Doom. As ever, his famously silver eyes are not silver, I presume because of the limitations of paperback book cover printing technology. The back covers of these novels have all presented evil creatures that played a role in the plot—Magic’s Pawn featured wyrsa, which are basically hell-whippets, and Magic’s Promise had the aforementioned piranha bats. Magic’s Price features soldiers on horseback.

[Hell is other people.]

Mon
Apr 20 2015 10:42am

Meet Doctor Doom in the New Fantastic Four Trailer

Fantastic Four trailer Doctor Doom

The second Fantastic Four trailer is here! And it fills in some of the gaps from the first trailer, showing us how Reed Richards, Sue Storm, Johnny Storm, and Ben Grimm wind up traveling to an alternate dimension, getting zapped with body-changing powers, and opening a door they don’t know how to close. Plus, we get our first glimpse of the fledgling team’s nemesis, Doctor Doom.

[Read more]

Mon
Apr 20 2015 10:30am

Superposition Sweepstakes!

David Walton’s Superposition (excerpt here) is out now from Pyr, and we want to send you one of our three copies!

Jacob Kelley’s family is turned upside down when an old friend turns up, waving a gun and babbling about an alien quantum intelligence. The mystery deepens when the friend is found dead in an underground bunker…apparently murdered the night he appeared at Jacob’s house. Jacob is arrested for the murder and put on trial.  

As the details of the crime slowly come to light, the weave of reality becomes ever more tangled, twisted by a miraculous new technology and a quantum creature unconstrained by the normal limits of space and matter. With the help of his daughter, Alessandra, Jacob must find the true murderer before the creature destroys his family and everything he loves.

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 10:30 AM Eastern Time (ET) on April 20. Sweepstakes ends at 12:00 PM ET on April 24. 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.

Mon
Apr 20 2015 10:00am

Game of Thrones Season 5, Episode 2 “The House of Black and White”

After last week’s pity party premiere, Game of Thrones is back for a second episode filled with people ready to take some action—especially with the pointy end of a sword.

Now that we’ve watched Arya say something extremely dark and awesome for a young child, Game of Thrones is officially back. And with some welcome surprises.

Spoilers for the episode ahead. Spoilers from George R. R. Martin’s published novels are also discussed in the review and fair game in the comments. Please don’t post open spoilers from any leaked episodes or preview chapters of The Winds of Winter. Tread carefully and play nice.

[“Hiss.”]

Mon
Apr 20 2015 9:00am

Tribes For The Twenty-First Century: The Affinities by Robert Charles Wilson

The Affinities Robert Charles WilsonIn Robert Charles Wilson’s new novel The Affinities, as in many of his other novels, the world as we know it is about to be remade. The difference with many of Wilson’s previous works is that, this time, the change seems relatively mild—or at least, at first it does. There are no aliens. There are no disappearing continents or mysterious artifacts from the future or impermeable spheres surrounding the entire planet.

Instead, the big change arrives gradually, brought on by very human advances in social teleodynamics. New technologies, algorithms and testing methods allow a company known as InterAlia (“Finding Yourself Among Others”) to sort people who pay a modest testing fee into twenty-two Affinities. The members of each affinity are supposed to be hyper-compatible: they are more likely to cooperate with each other in all areas of life, from the personal to the professional.

[Read more...]

Mon
Apr 20 2015 8:00am

Morning Roundup: HND>JFK>DGB

Star Wars airplane

Among the many fabulous premieres at Star Wars Celebration 2015, All Nippon Airways found a way to stand out. Who cares about a new toy when you can fly somewhere in R2-D2? This new Boeing 787 Dreamliner is part of a whole fleet of Star Wars-themed planes designed to bring ANA to a larger audience. We’re assuming that their next one will be a real-live working Millennium Falcon, ’cause we need that to exist.

Morning Roundup has found the freakier side of Disney, and discovers that it’s the best side. Plus we delve into the mind of Ada Lovelace and share some newly-discovered moments from a classic work of sci-fi!

[Plus Vin Diesel.]