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
Fri
Aug 22 2014 12:30pm

Ray Bradbury: The Best Writing Teacher You Could Ever Have

Ray Bradbury David A JohnsonToday would have been Ray Bradbury’s 94th birthday, and there are many, many stories you can tell about Bradbury’s life and career: Fahrenheit 451 was written in nine days, and cost the young author $9.80 in typewriter rental fees; Truman Capote got “The Homecoming ” published in Mademoiselle after it was rejected by Weird Tales; it took several years of working with editors at Knopf to find his voice; Ray Harryhausen was the best man at his wedding, and the two were lifelong friends.

All of these make for a colorful life, but I really want to talk about Ray Bradbury: the best writing teacher you could ever have.

[Read More]

Fri
Aug 22 2014 12:30pm

Your Face in Mine Sweepstakes!

We want to send you one of our three copies of Jess Row’s Your Face in Mine, out now from Riverhead!

One afternoon, not long after Kelly Thorndike has moved back to his hometown of Baltimore, an African American man he doesn’t recognize calls out to him. To Kelly’s shock, the man identifies himself as Martin, who was one of Kelly’s closest friends in high school—and, before his disappearance nearly twenty years before, skinny, white, and Jewish. Martin then tells an astonishing story: After years of immersing himself in black culture, he’s had a plastic surgeon perform “racial reassignment surgery”—altering his hair, skin, and physiognomy to allow him to pass as African American. Unknown to his family or childhood friends, Martin has been living a new life ever since.

Now, however, Martin feels he can no longer keep his new identity a secret; he wants Kelly to help him ignite a controversy that will help sell racial reassignment surgery to the world. Kelly, still recovering from the death of his wife and child and looking for a way to begin anew, agrees, and things quickly begin to spiral out of control.

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 12:30 PM Eastern Time (ET) on August 22. Sweepstakes ends at 12:00 PM ET on August 26. 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.

Fri
Aug 22 2014 12:00pm

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

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 Tor.com readers. In this article, we’ll cover chapter thirteen 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]

Fri
Aug 22 2014 11:30am

Gaming Roundup: Gamescom 2014 Edition

The Vanishing of Ethan Carter Gaming Roundup

Gamescom—Europe’s largest annual gaming convention and the second largest in the world—came and went last week in Cologne, Germany, and left in its wake a plethora of previews and trailers for excited gamers to sift through. Most of the industry’s major players were present, and the focus was very much on the continued development and maturation of next-gen consoles in the marketplace—a circumstance balancing the most viewed and approachable games of next year.

[So many games, so little space...]

Fri
Aug 22 2014 11:00am

Summer of Sleaze: The Unsung Horrors of Ken Greenhall

Hell Hound Ken Greenhall Summer of Sleaze is 2014’s turbo-charged trash safari where Will Errickson of Too Much Horror Fiction and Grady Hendrix of The Great Stephen King Reread plunge into the bowels of vintage paperback horror fiction, unearthing treasures and trauma in equal measure.

A confession: although I come here to sing the praises of little-known horror writer Ken Greenhall, I myself know nearly nothing about him! He was born in Detroit in 1928 and in the 1970s and ’80s wrote a handful of paperback horror novels under his own name and the pseudonym Jessica Hamilton (I was able to learn that was his mother’s birth name). No interviews or photos are online, and only the scantest biographical info is available.

Shame, because would I love to know more about the guy who penned two obscure yet virtual masterpieces of vintage horror fiction: Elizabeth, written under the Hamilton pseudonym, published in 1976, and Hell Hound, by his own name, from 1977.

[Read More]

Fri
Aug 22 2014 10:30am

Read the First Five Chapters of John Scalzi’s Lock In

Lock In John ScalziRead the first five chapters from Lock In, John Scalzi’s new novel, out on August 26 from Tor Books!

Not too long from today, a new, highly contagious virus makes its way across the globe. Most who get sick experience nothing worse than flu, fever, and headaches. But for the unlucky one percent—nearly five million souls in the United States alone—the disease causes “lock in”: Victims are fully awake and aware, but unable to move or respond to any stimulus. The disease affects young, old, rich, poor, people of every color and creed. The world changes to meet the challenge.  

A quarter of a century later, in a world shaped by what’s now known as “Haden’s syndrome,” rookie FBI agent Chris Shane is paired with veteran agent Leslie Vann. They are assigned what appears to be a Haden-related murder at the Watergate Hotel, with a suspect who is an “Integrator”—someone who can let the locked in borrow their bodies for a time. If the Integrator was carrying a Haden client, then naming the suspect for the murder will be that much more complicated.

But “complicated” doesn’t begin to describe the puzzle that ensues. As Shane and Vann begin to unravel the threads of the murder, it becomes clear that the real mystery—and the real crime—is bigger than anyone could have imagined. The world of the locked in is changing, and with change comes opportunity that the ambitious will seize at any cost. The investigation takes Shane and Vann from the halls of corporate power to the virtual spaces of the locked in, and to the very heart of an emerging, surprising new human culture.  

[Read the first five chapters of Lock In by John Scalzi]

Fri
Aug 22 2014 10:00am

What Happened, If It Happened: J by Howard Jacobson

J Howard Jacobson review

Alongside Us, The Bone Clocks, and How To Be Both, J by Howard Jacobson was one of a number of novels longlisted for the Man Booker Prize in advance of its publication date. A source of frustration for some, I’m sure—though this has ever been the panel’s habit—but for others it represents a reason to update reading radars.

This year, I found myself amongst the others above, because if not for the nod, I doubt I’d have looked twice at this book. When I did, additionally, it was with some scepticism; after all, Jacobson has won the Booker before, for The Finkler Question in 2010—the first comic novel to take the trophy home in 25 years—and pointedly acknowledging former nominees is another of the panel’s practices.

Not today. J, I’m pleased to say, is in every sense deserving of its spot on the longlist. It’s a literary revelation wrapped in understated dystopian clothing; a wonder of wit and whimsy that takes in the chilling and the ridiculous—the hilarious and the horrific. That said, it’s a novel that requires rereading to appreciate completely.

[Read More]

Fri
Aug 22 2014 9:00am

Fairytale’s Most Wanted: The Five Most Well-Known Character Types

John Atkinson Grimshaw

One of the remarkable things about fairytales is that you can know almost everything you need to know about the characters from the first few lines of the story. So, when The Frog King begins, “Once upon a time, when wishes still came true, there lived a king who had beautiful daughters,” you know that the story will revolve around one or more archetypal “fairytale princesses,” and will end with at least one of them marrying an equally archetypal fairytale prince. Or, when we are introduced to a character in Hansel and Gretel with, “suddenly the door opened, and a woman as old as the hills, leaning on a crutch, hobbled out,” then you know you have just met the wicked crone and also know that she will get up to no good.

[Top Five Fairytale Archetypes]

Fri
Aug 22 2014 8:00am

Morning Roundup: Thank Goodness They’ve Drawn Attention Away from Our Wang Computers Shirt

Ah, the heady days before the black turtleneck! You would literally have to team up with Bill Murray to humiliate a bunch of coke-addled yuppies during a tennis game on a yacht to be more ’80s than this fashion shoot. Apparently, Apple had a clothing line in 1986? And it was a neon explosion of wacky fonts, pleats, and shirts snugly tucked into high-waisted jeans? Check out the rest of the collection, and pay special attention to the child holding the yellow lunch box. That kid, that kid isn’t happy in his work.

Morning Roundup brings you tales of Chris Pratt’s stolen wardrobe, Galaxy Quest’s continuing mission, and the best Star Trek tie-in merchandise!

[Plus GoldenEye!]

Thu
Aug 21 2014 5:00pm

Answers from Brandon Sanderson at the When Words Collide Festival!

Tor.com reader/dedicated Sanderson fan Jeremy Guebert recently attended the When Words Collide festival in Calgary, and was not only gracious enough to crowdsource questions to ask Brandon, but has offered to share his notes from the Q&A, so that we can pore over and pick apart Brandon’s answers to our hearts’ delight! Topics include how we can help with the Mistborn movie, thoughts on worldhopping in the cosmere, and what might happen if Szeth wielded Nightblood from Warbreaker, nothing too spoilery as long as you’re all caught up on Words of Radiance, so check out Jeremy’s notes on the Q&A below, and his full con report here!

[Read More]

Thu
Aug 21 2014 4:00pm

The Pop Quiz at the End of the Universe: Sarah J. Maas

Welcome back to The Pop Quiz at the End of the Universe, a recurring series here on Tor.com featuring some of our favorite science fiction and fantasy authors, artists, and others!

Today we’re joined by Sarah J. Maas, the New York Times bestselling author of the Throne of Glass series, including Throne of Glass, Crown of Midnight, and five novellas. A New York native, Sarah currently lives in Southern California with her husband and dog.

Sarah’s patronus suggests that she is a very clever girl indeed...

[Join us!]

Thu
Aug 21 2014 3:30pm

Does Evangeline Lilly’s New Hairdo Mean She’s Playing Wasp in Ant-Man?

Evangeline Lilly Ant-Man haircut Wasp Hope Janet van Dyne Hank Pym backstory

When Marvel’s Ant-Man kicked off production earlier this week, they shared an official photo that was pretty snoozeville. Not so with the cast and crew’s Instagram shots, which give us a lot more to work with.

Take, for instance, this Instagram pic Evangeline Lilly shared yesterday. “How’s my new do?” she coyly asked fans, who immediately set to speculating that her blunt bob is looking very Wasp-ish.

[How the movie is tweaking Ant-Man’s backstory]

Thu
Aug 21 2014 3:00pm
Excerpt

The Seventh Sigil (Excerpt)

Margaret Weis and Robert Krammes

The Seventh Sigil Margaret Weis Robert Krammes excerpt Margaret Weis and co-author Robert Krammes bring the enthralling Dragon Brigade trilogy to a thrilling conclusion in The Seventh Sigil, a sweeping novel of worldwide war and personal redemption.

Five hundred years ago, a clan of rebels was banished to the bottom of the enchanted world of Aeronne; ever since, these Bottom Dwellers have sought revenge, and now they are waging all-out war on the rest of humanity. Their deadly “contramagic” beams destroy buildings and attack naval airships, and their demonic drumming brings terrible storms and disrupts the magic of the people and dragons Above. The attack of their full contramagic power will create a magical armageddon.

In an effort to prevent further death, Captain Stephano de Guichen leads the Dragon Brigade, taking the fight to the Bottom. But strength of arms alone will not be enough to conquer their foe.

As the Bottom Dwellers’ blood magic eats away at the world, those Above realize their only possible defense lies in the heretical secrets of contramagic. Loyal priests must decide whether to protect the Church, or risk its destruction in pursuit of the truth.

[Read an excerpt]

Thu
Aug 21 2014 2:30pm

Who Wants to Play Two Truths and A Lie with John Scalzi?

John Scalzi is celebrating the release of Lock In with a rousing game of Two Truths and a Lie! The game is simple: Scalzi tells three stories, and you guess which are the truths and which one is the big fat fib. Google Play is hosting the game, and that’s not all: they’re also offering e-books of the whole Scalzi backlist for 50% off!

Check out the video below, and then head over to Google Play to guess play along and and pick up Lock In or one of Scalzi’s other fine titles!

[Click through for LIES.]

Thu
Aug 21 2014 2:00pm

When Even Magic isn’t Enough: A Stranger at Green Knowe

A Stranger at Green Knowe does, I must say, start out on a strange note for a Green Knowe book, given that it starts not at that old and magical house, but rather deep in the African jungle with a family of gorillas.

A few jumps, roars, mildly questionable if well meaning descriptions of human African natives, and enthralled descriptions of the African jungles later, and poor little Hanno the Gorilla finds himself captured by a white hunter and taken to the London Zoo. His little sister gorilla doesn’t make it.

[It only gets slightly more cheerful from here.]

Thu
Aug 21 2014 1:30pm

Brandon Sanderson Takes the Ice Bucket Challenge!

Brandon Sanderson has taken the Ice Bucket Challenge! But he won’t let a few ice cubes get in the way of editing. And like Vin Diesel, who used his Ice Bucket Challenge to suggest that people also Plant a Tree for Groot, Sanderson is promoting another charity along with the ALSA: he’s donating additional money to the Cure Alzheimer’s Fund, in Sir Terry Pratchett’s name. Check out the video below! 

[ICESPREN.]

Thu
Aug 21 2014 1:20pm

In an Alternate Universe, Pierce Brosnan Was Tim Burton’s Batman

Pierce Brosnan almost Batman Tim Burton Reddit AMA

You think Pierce Brosnan, you think 1990s-to-early-2000s Bond, James Bond. But did you know that he almost helmed a very different franchise with a B-named character?

[Read more]

Thu
Aug 21 2014 1:00pm

A Read of Ice and Fire: A Feast for Crows, Part 27

Song of Ice and Fire A Feast For CrowsWelcome back to A Read of Ice and Fire! Please join me as I read and react, for the very first time, to George R.R. Martin’s epic fantasy series A Song of Ice and Fire.

Today’s entry is Part 27 of A Feast for Crows, in which we cover Chapter 37 (“Brienne”) and Chapter 38 (“Jaime”).

Previous entries are located in the Index. The only spoilers in the post itself will be for the actual chapters covered and for the chapters previous to them. As for the comments, please note that the Powers That Be have provided you a lovely spoiler thread here on Tor.com. Any spoileriffic discussion should go there, where I won’t see it. Non-spoiler comments go below, in the comments to the post itself.

And now, the post!

[“Best thing for him, really. His therapy was going nowhere.”]

Thu
Aug 21 2014 12:00pm

Words of Radiance Reread: Chapter 10

Welcome back to the Words of Radiance Reread on Tor.com! Last week Kaladin returned to the chasms to initiate new bridgemen and find out something about his own powers. While he was exploring himself, I was experiencing London during this year’s Worldcon. That was a fantastic experience, and contained a lot of triumph for Tor.com, but it means that I only got back to the states yesterday and haven’t had a lot of time for the reread. Luckily, this week’s chapter is extremely short.

This reread will contain spoilers for The Way of Kings, Words of Radiance, and any other Cosmere books that become relevant. Be ye aware. This post only spoils the later parts of this book, but who knows what might appear in the comments section?

[Read More]

Thu
Aug 21 2014 11:00am

The Pop Quiz at the End of the Universe: John Scalzi (Part Two)

Welcome back to The Pop Quiz at the End of the Universe, a recurring series here on Tor.com featuring some of our favorite science fiction and fantasy authors, artists, and others!

We’re joined once again by John Scalzi, one of the most popular and acclaimed SF authors to emerge in the last decade. His massively successful debut Old Man’s War won him science fiction’s John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer, and Redshirts won 2013’s Hugo Award for Best Novel. Material from his widely read blog The Whatever has also earned him two other Hugo Awards.

Scalzi’s new science fiction thriller, Lock In, is available August 26th from Tor Books! Read the first five chapters here on Tor.com for free, and listen to audiobook excerpts narrated by Amber Benson and Wil Wheaton!

Check out the first part of Scalzi’s pop quiz, then read on!

[Read More]