Damage January 21, 2015 Damage David D. Levine Concerning a spaceship's conscience. And the Burned Moths Remain January 14, 2015 And the Burned Moths Remain Benjanun Sriduangkaew Treason is a trunk of thorns. A Beautiful Accident January 7, 2015 A Beautiful Accident Peter Orullian A Sheason story. Kia and Gio January 6, 2015 Kia and Gio Daniel José Older Seven years ago, they went on a secret mission.
From The Blog
January 21, 2015
Don’t Touch That Dial: Midseason SFF
Alex Brown
January 21, 2015
Agent Carter, I Think I’m in Love
Liz Bourke
January 21, 2015
The Illogic of Fairy Tales
Genevieve Cogman
January 16, 2015
Birdman is Actually Just a Muppet Movie
Max Gladstone
January 15, 2015
What Are Your Favorite Non-Sci-Fi/Fantasy TV Shows?
Stubby the Rocket
Tue
Jan 27 2015 8:00am

Morning Roundup: Greeting from Hoth!

snow taun taun

This guy will not be defeated by our Hoth-like winter!

Morning Roundup treks through this soul-crushing blizzard to bring you fun links! A look back at George Lucas’ moments of insanity! A new twist in the saga of Batkid! And the greatest Dickens sequel ever written!

[Plus, things are getting Grim!]

Mon
Jan 26 2015 5:00pm

Steampunk Events for February 2015

Steampunk Events February

This month, the steampunk blogosphere is getting prepped for Year Two of Steampunk Hands Around the World, where dozens of bloggers from over 15 different countries plan to share about their local communities with the rest of the world. Come join the event at the Airship Ambassador website.

Besides the virtual world, steampunks across the globe can populate their social calendar with fantastic escapades. Party like its 1900 in Meiji-era Japan at Steam Garden 8 in Tokyo. Run away to Las Vegas for their inaugural steampunk convention or enjoy a convivial in Surrey, England. Kevin Steil, the Airship Ambassador and I have collected some of the most exciting events for February. It may be a short month, but it packs a lot of brass.

[February 2015 steampunk events]

Mon
Jan 26 2015 4:00pm
Excerpt

Classical Antiquity and Western Identity in Battlestar Galactica

Vince Tomasso

Classical Traditions in Science Fiction For all its concern with change in the present and future, science fiction is deeply rooted in the past and, surprisingly, engages especially deeply with the ancient world. Indeed, both as an area in which the meaning of “classics” is actively transformed and as an open-ended set of texts whose own ‘classic' status is a matter of ongoing debate, science fiction reveals much about the roles played by ancient classics in modern times.

Classical Traditions in Science Fiction—edited by Brett M. Rogers and Benjamin Eldon Stevens—is the first collection dedicated to the rich study of science fiction's classical heritage, offering a much-needed mapping of its cultural and intellectual terrain. Available February 9th from Oxford University Press, this volume discusses a wide variety of representative examples from both classical antiquity and the past four hundred years of science fiction, exposing the many levels on which science fiction engages the ideas of the ancient world, from minute matters of language and structure to the larger thematic and philosophical concerns.

Below, Vince Tomasso explores the role of classical antiquity, myths, and tradition in Battlestar Galactica.

[Read More]

Mon
Jan 26 2015 3:35pm

Rereading the Empire Trilogy: Servant of the Empire, Part 18

Servant of the Empire Raymond E Feist Janny WurtsWelcome back to the reread of Servant of the Empire by Raymond E Feist and Janny Wurts!

Chapter 20—Disquiet

These chapter titles are doing my head in! Talk about vague. I don’t think ‘Disquiet’ sums this one up at all. Maybe ‘Difficult Decisions 101’ or ‘A Good Marriage Proposal Is A Terrible Thing to Waste’

Summary: Bad news comes to the Acoma: Lord Tecuma of the Anasati is dead. Not unexpected, but still devastating to their interests.

Mara and Keyoke wake up Nacoya, who is ill with a cold (and very cranky about men being brought to her bedroom), to ask her advice. She believes Jiro might come around, given that he doesn’t hate Mara quite as much as Tasaio.

However, that’s a pretty high bar and Kevin points out that they shouldn’t underestimate “the human capacity for stupid, illogical, and petty behaviour.’

[Read More]

Mon
Jan 26 2015 3:21pm

Catherynne M. Valente Wants You to Revisit The Girl Who Ruled Fairyland—For a Little While

What could Catherynne M. Valente’s Tor.com original novella The Girl Who Ruled Fairyland—For a Little While have to do with her upcoming novel, The Boy Who Lost Fairyland? Refresh your memory here.

Mon
Jan 26 2015 3:00pm

At Last! The Secret Origins of Chas are Revealed in Constantine: “Quid Pro Quo”

Constantine

This week’s Constantine featured the on-screen debut of a classic DC villain, and gave us an in-depth look into the life of Chas, including the revelation around just why it is that he can’t seem to die. While the episode suffered in part from some muddled continuity—is this a flashback? Why is this plot so conveniently hinged around Brooklyn? Why is Chas’s ex-wife so two-dimensionally heinous?—it ultimately proved itself to be a satisfying hour of television, thanks in no small part to the heart and humanity of our ever-faithful cab drivin’ sidekick, Chas.

Did I mention that his name is actually “Francis”?

[Did not see that one coming.]

Mon
Jan 26 2015 2:00pm

Follow Your Arrow: When Orthallen Plans Your Vacation

Arrows Fall Mercedes LackeyLast week, Orthallen arranged for Talia and Kris to visit Valdemar’s neighboring state of Hardorn to continue discussing the marriage King Alessander has proposed between Elspeth and his son, Ancar.

Before we go any further with this week’s reread, we need to discuss the elephant in the room—which, in this case, is the cover art. The usual visual code for dire peril on the cover of a normal Valdemar novel is dramatic depiction of torn sleeves. This cover works to a different standard—Arrow’s Fall has the most ominous cover art in the 31-volume Valdemar series. Rolan is panicking, Talia has taken an arrow to the shoulder. The purples and blacks of the background suggest a dark and dangerous time. This cover promises tragedy, and chapters 6 and 7 deliver.

Valdemarans don’t leave the kingdom much—the prologue to Arrow’s Fall explains that Valdemar is on the edge of civilization and what lies beyond is unpredictable, dangerous, and frighteningly likely to follow you home and destroy your village. This section of Arrow’s Fall marks the first time Lackey sent her characters outside the country. They are going east, which is the more civilized direction.

[Unfortunately, civilized is not the same as safe. ]

Mon
Jan 26 2015 1:39pm

Marvel Casts David Tennant as Villain Kilgrave on A.K.A. Jessica Jones

David Tennant Purple Man AKA Jessica Jones

Marvel announced today that Doctor Who’s David Tennant will play Kilgrave, the villain at the heart of their upcoming Netflix series A.K.A. Jessica Jones. Also known as the Purple Man, Kilgrave is a key antagonist in Jessica Jones’ superhero past, as he is responsible for the trauma that makes her leave behind her crimefighting career. (While the character’s name is spelled Killgrave in the comics, the press release refers to him as “Kilgrave.”)

[Read more]

Mon
Jan 26 2015 3:35pm

Rereading the Empire Trilogy: Servant of the Empire, Part 19

Servant of the Empire Raymond E Feist Janny WurtsWelcome back to the reread of Servant of the Empire by Raymond E Feist and Janny Wurts!

This one’s about politics, slavery and relationship dramah. Which probably describes most of the chapters in this book except the ones to do with desert warfare. (this chapter has no desert warfare)

Chapter 21: Keeper of the Seal

Summary: Mara is heading back to Kentosani, the Holy City, all over again. She has all sorts of political excuses for being here, but Kevin quickly realises that she is in fact here to investigate the legal ramifications of freeing a slave.

He also realises to his own surprise that he’s gone so thoroughly native and is so thoroughly in love with Mara, that if given an opportunity to stay by her side as a free man, he would take it and stay here forever.

[Read More]

Mon
Jan 26 2015 12:30pm

Pirates, Poisoning and Still More Singing: Galavant Wraps Its First Season

Galavant Cast

So, it’s been a few weeks since ABC’s Galavant first marched across our screens, singing. Now that the first, short season is over, how did it do?

Well, the middle was muddled. The singing remained questionable. Many of the jokes were complete misses. But in the end, I gotta say, this show started singing its way into my heart—and not just because it finally gave me something I’ve longed to see in Downton Abbey from the very first season.

But we’ll get there.

[Pirates, monks, dungeons and tap dancing your way to a botched assassination. Mildly spoilery.]

Mon
Jan 26 2015 12:16pm

Emma Watson Will Play Belle in Disney’s Live-Action Beauty and the Beast

Emma Watson Belle Beauty and the Beast

Disney’s live-action remake of Cinderella isn’t even out yet, and the studio is already looking at other classics to adapt: Next up is Beauty and the Beast, to be written by Stephen Chbosky (The Perks of Being a Wallflower) and directed by Bill Condon (The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn, Parts 1 and 2). And Emma Watson has just announced that she’ll be playing Belle!

[Read more]

Mon
Jan 26 2015 12:00pm

Rocket Talk Episode 40: Amal El-Mohtar and Natalie Luhrs

Amal El-Mohtar Natalie Luhrs

In this episode of Rocket Talk, Justin invites writer Amal El-Mohtar and blogger Natalie Luhrs to talk about ethics in literary journalism. The conversation ranges from the relationship between reviewer and publisher, to decorum on the internet, to notions of digital dualism.

In the show an essay is mentioned about the politics of attention. The article, written by Haruna Umar, can be found here.

[Listen Now!]

Mon
Jan 26 2015 11:00am

Five Books About Deeply-Flawed, Despicable People

Locke Lamora

Stories are about people. When you get to the heart of what makes a compelling narrative, the only thing that ever really makes a story resonate is fascinating characters. Watership Down? Rabbits that are people. Temeraire? A dragon that’s really a person. Basin and Range? Rocks that are… well, people. A novel with complex and believable characters and a wooden plot is a great book. A plot heavy book with wooden characters isn’t worth your time. We’re pack animals. This is why reality TV is so incredibly popular, because the noisome wretches on Jersey Shore or Duck Dynasty are PEOPLE, and we want to know what becomes of them, for good or ill.

And here’s the thing about people: they aren’t perfect. People make mistakes, frequent and horrendous mistakes. We screw up early and often and horribly. The best protagonists in all genres, fantasy included, are equally flawed, not so horribly that we want to see them burn, but enough so that we see our own errors reflected in theirs. Because if our favorite fantasy characters can fall so far and find redemption, then maybe we can too.

[Read More]

Mon
Jan 26 2015 9:30am

This is Why Obi-Wan Lied to Luke Skywalker About His Father

Star Wars, Luke Skywalker, Obi-Wan

The Star Wars films aren’t exactly complicated fare, particularly the original trilogy. (Not that there is anything wrong with that.) Luke Skywalker’s journey is pretty cut and dry, a solid line from farmboy to superbad in several short years. The Empire falls, the Rebels win, everyone is back on Endor in time for stormtrooper stew.

But how do you topple a galactic Empire, really? How do you get a boy who’s never known a life outside the sticks to become a galactic savior in the same amount of time that it usually takes to earn a bachelor’s degree?

The plan is likely less perfect than it appears.

[I’m coming with you to Alderaan. There’s nothing for me here now.]

Mon
Jan 26 2015 8:00am

Morning Roundup: Is It Just Us, or is the Term “Bleeding Edge” Creepy?

Tony Ruth's Businesstown

Richard Scarry’s Busytown books explored a plethora of career options for a past age. You could be an architect, a schoolteacher, a bulldozer-er...so many options! But today’s children need to know that they’re heading out into a far different future! A future that could involve working with bitcoin, or social media, or maybe even giving a TedTalk! Luckily artist Tony Ruth is here to educate the younglings. Check out more of his art at Businesstown!

Morning Roundup brings you thoughts on the porous line between science fiction and science fact, ways to tell if you’ve suddenly been transported to a fantastical realm, and news on the soon to be new and improved U.S.S. Enterprise!

[Plus, MANIMAL.]

Fri
Jan 23 2015 5:00pm

Elon Musk Names SpaceX Drone Ships in Honor of Iain M. Banks

Elon Musk Iain M. Banks Just Read the Instructions ship name

While he’s working on getting humans into space, SpaceX CEO/CTO Elon Musk hasn’t forgotten the greats who propelled us out of the stratosphere through fiction long before him. Today, Musk tweeted that he’s named two of his spaceport drone ships in the most fitting way: after ships from science fiction writer Iain M. Banks’ Culture novels.

[Read more]

Fri
Jan 23 2015 4:00pm

A Vision of the Future-Past: Cobra Outlaw by Timothy Zahn

Cobra Outlaw Timothy Zahn review Timothy Zahn has been writing Cobra novels since the 1980s. After the first trilogy (Cobra in 1985, Cobra Strike in 1986, Cobra Bargain in 1988, rereleased in omnibus as The Cobra Trilogy in 2004), however, two decades intervened before the publication of a second trilogy (Cobra Alliance, Cobra Guardian, and Cobra Gamble, 2009-2012).

Now, with 2013’s Cobra Slave and this year’s Cobra Outlaw, one finds oneself in the middle of a third Cobra trilogy—and it makes for an interesting reading experience.

[Read More]

Fri
Jan 23 2015 3:00pm

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Rewatch: “Penumbra”

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Rewatch on Tor.com: Penumbra“Penumbra”
Written by Rene Echevarria
Directed by Steve Posey
Season 7, Episode 17
Production episode 40510-567
Original air date: April 7, 1999
Stardate: 52576.2

Station log: Sisko has purchased land in the Kendra Valley on Bajor and he intends to build a house on it as soon as the war is over. Yates likes the idea very much, and Sisko thinks that he was meant to come here. Yates points out that the circumstances of his birth—that his conception was manipulated by the Prophets—makes “destiny” more than a concept.

Dax, Bashir, and O’Brien’s conversation in the replimat is interrupted by Kira, who reports that the Rotarran and the Koraga were ambushed near the Badlands. Worf was in command of the Koraga, and it was destroyed, and of the six lifepods the Rotarran recovered, Worf wasn’t in any of them. The Defiant is aiding in the search, but three days of looking turn up nothing, and a Dominion patrol forces them to cut the search short.

[Cut it out, old man, I don’t buy it!]

Fri
Jan 23 2015 2:00pm
Excerpt

Shadow (Excerpt)

Will Elliott

Shadow Will Elliott excerpt Eric Albright was a luckless journalist living in London. He had a so-so life, until the day he opened a battered red door that appeared on the graffiti-covered wall of a local bridge, and entered Levaal, a magical world between worlds.

A place populated by power damaged mages, stone giants, pit devils—and dragons, who are imprisoned in a sky prison—Levaal is ruled by the mad Lord Vous. Vous is busy working on a scheme to turn himself into a god, thus far prevented only by the great Wall at World’s End. 

But the Wall at World’s End has been brought down, war is coming to the land, and Eric and his newfound friends are caught in the thick of it. They are forced to flee from the Tormentors, dreadful creatures that have poured through the breach, and there are rumors that one of the great dragons has escaped its sky prison. Worse yet, Vous’s journey to godhood is almost complete, and a mysterious being called Shadow is wandering Levaal with great power but no purpose it yet understands.

Shadow—the second title in Will Elliott’s fantasy Pendulum Trilogy—is available February 24th from Tor Books!

[Read an Excerpt]

Fri
Jan 23 2015 1:40pm

James Gunn Does a Live GotG Commentary; Crushes Our Dreams

Dancing Baby Groot

Want yet another way to watch Guardians of the Galaxy? Last night co-writer/director James Gunn popped onto Facebook (accompanied by Sean Gunn, Michael Rooker, and Stephane Ceretti, the VFX supervisor for Marvel) and held a communal screening! As he watched the film, he typed up a real-time commentary track and answered questions from fans. This Q&A format allowed Gunn to delve into a few aspects of the film, including a troubling moment between Drax and Gamora, and we got some insights into Rocket and Groot’s relationship!

[Plus, James Gunn reveals his favorite scene!]