A Cup of Salt Tears August 27, 2014 A Cup of Salt Tears Isabel Yap They say women in grief are beautiful. Strongest Conjuration August 26, 2014 Strongest Conjuration Skyler White A story of the Incrementalists. 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.
From The Blog
August 25, 2014
Animorphs: Why the Series Rocked and Why You Should Still Care
Sam Riedel
August 20, 2014
The Welcome Return of the Impatient and Cantankerous Doctor Who
David Cranmer
August 19, 2014
The Wheel of Time Reread Redux: Introductory Post
Leigh Butler
August 19, 2014
Whatever Happened to the Boy Wonder? Bring Robin Back to the Big Screen
Emily Asher-Perrin
August 15, 2014
“Perhaps It Was Only an Echo”: The Giver
Natalie Zutter
Aug 27 2014 10:00am

Mary Poppins is a Wizard Who Literally Sings Her Spells

Mary Poppins

Some might say science fiction or fantasy is inaccessible because the settings are unrealistic or the characters exhibit extraordinary or magical abilities. And yet, alternate realities in which people, creatures, and sometimes inanimate objects break into song are totally mainstream. Musicals like West Side Story or The Sound of Music might not qualify as fantasy just for existing in these singing-heavy dimensions, but what about when there’s overt magic involved too?

The film version of Mary Poppins is lousy with magical singing, by which I mean singing that is actually magic-inducing. She’s casting spells in a bizarro dimension using only the power of her perfectly on-key voice. No, really.

[Read more]

Aug 27 2014 9:30am

Trigger Warning, Neil Gaiman’s New Short Fiction Collection, Coming in February

Mediabistro is reporting that Neil Gaiman's newest short story collection is nigh! Gaiman responded to a question on his Tumblr, saying “I’m finishing the very last short story of the next collection RIGHT NOW. Everything else has been written: the stories, the introduction, all that…” The collection, which will be titled Trigger Warning: Short Fictions and Disturbances, is scheduled to come out February 3rd—which gives us plenty of time to speculate about which genre a “disturbance” belongs to, exactly—but also YAY new Neil Gaiman short fiction collection! Smoke & Mirrors and Fragile Things are still our go-to comfort food.

Aug 27 2014 9:15am

Read “Unlocked,” the Free Prequel Novella to John Scalzi’s Lock In

Lock In John Scalzi Unlocked prequel

At first it seems like the flu. Then you’re permanently trapped inside your body. Awake and unable to scream. You’re “locked in.”

Read “Unlocked: An Oral History of Haden’s Syndrome,” the FREE science fiction novella prequel to John Scalzi’s new book Lock In and learn how humanity began to transform itself as it slowly learned how to become free from the bonds of its own flesh.

Aug 27 2014 9:00am
Original Story

A Cup of Salt Tears

Makino’s mother taught her caution, showed her how to carve her name into cucumbers, and insisted that she never let a kappa touch her. But when she grows up and her husband Tetsuya falls deathly ill, a kappa that claims to know her comes calling with a barbed promise. “A Cup of Salt Tears” is a dark fantasy leaning towards horror that asks how much someone should sacrifice for the one she loves.

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

[Read “A Cup of Salt Tears” by Isabel Yap]

Aug 27 2014 8:00am

Morning Roundup: In the Name of the Moon, He Will Rock You!

Hugh Casey shared T@KUTO’s amazing Sailor Mercury! If you’re looking for somebody to love, we’re guessing he’ll be your champion. Radio Ga-Ga.

Morning Roundup delves into Weird Al’s Emmy’s medley, takes a serious look at a clash of fandoms, and calls out a few treacherous 20-sided dice!

[Plus Jibber Jabber with the Simpsons writers!]

Aug 26 2014 5:35pm

John Scalzi and Apple Answer All the Things! (About Lock In)

John Scalzi Twitter Apple Chat Lock In

John Scalzi took to Twitter in conjunction with Apple iBooks for a chat during Tuesday afternoon, answering questions about his new novel, Lock In under the hashtag #AskScalzi. Apple started things off, asking questions about Scalzi’s blog, the ideas behind Lock In, and the possibilities of a follow up! Then they turned things over to the fans, who asked about everything from Old Man’s War to Redshirts. Check out the recap below, and head over to iBooks to order your copy of Lock In.

[Snark as far as the eye can see...]

Aug 26 2014 5:00pm

Fiction Affliction: September Releases in Science Fiction

fiction affliction september new releases science fiction sci-fiTwenty new releases appear on the science fiction shelves this month, with dystopians edging out aliens and what seems like a healthy number of new titles... unless, of course, one is looking for science fiction aimed at adult readers. (Missing a favorite? Check tomorrow’s “Genre-Bender” column.)

Look for new series releases from, among others, Jeff VanderMeer (Southern Reach Trilogy), Jody Lynn Nye (Imperium), Steven Gould (Jumper), Kass Morgan (The Hundred), Richard Paul Evans (Michael Vey), Rick Yancey (The Fifth Wave), and Robison Wells (Blackout).

Fiction Affliction details releases in science fiction, fantasy, urban fantasy, paranormal romance, and “genre-benders.” Keep track of them all here. Note: All title summaries are taken and/or summarized from copy provided by the publisher.

[Read about this month’s releases.]

Aug 26 2014 4:45pm

Your Money is No Good Here, Mr. Chakotay.

women of Star Trek personal checks Janeway Troi Seven of Nine

Artistically-styled checks are nothing new—even checks themselves are becoming a thing of the past—but we experienced a deep ache of nostalgia after stumbling across these Women of Star Trek checks. Imagine making a car payment in 1997 with Captain Janeway herself laying down the law. “Coffee. Black. Check. Cashed.” She’ll get your money home, even if she has to lay waste to the entire Borg Collective on the way. Don’t want to send a contribution to that animal hospital with Janeway? (THAT’S NONSENSE.) Send Uhura, or Troi, or Seven of Nine!

There are Men of Star Trek checks available, too. (So really there are Everyone of Star Trek checks available.) And you’ll never use them all. NEVER.

Aug 26 2014 4:30pm

The Tree of Water Sweepstakes!

In Elizabeth Haydon’s The Tree of Water, the fourth adventure in the The Lost Journals of Ven Polypheme series, young Charles Magnus “Ven” Polypheme needs to escape the clutches of the nefarious Thief Queen, whose minions are hunting for him. As Royal Reporter of the land of Serendair, it is his duty to travel the world and seek out magic, but where can he hide from those who seek him?

His friend, the merrow Amariel, has the perfect answer: Ven will join her to explore the world beneath the sea.

Find out what dangers and marvels lurk in the depths by winning a galley of The Tree of Water before it comes out on October 28th from Tor Books!

Check for the rules below! 

[Read more]

Aug 26 2014 4:00pm

The Book of Three 50th Anniversary Edition (Excerpt)

Lloyd Alexander

Lloyd Alexander The Book of Three 5oth Anniversary edition excerpt Since The Book of Three was first published in 1964, young readers have been enthralled by the adventures of Taran the Assistant Pig-keeper and his quest to become a hero. Taran is joined by an engaging cast of characters that includes Eilonwy, the strong-willed and sharp-tongued princess; Fflewddur Fflam, the hyperbole-prone bard; the ever-faithful Gurgi; and the curmudgeonly Doli—all of whom become involved in an epic struggle between good and evil that shapes the fate of the legendary land of Prydain.

Released over a period of five years, Lloyd Alexander's beautifully written tales not only captured children's imaginations but also garnered the highest critical praise. The Black Cauldron was a Newbery Honor Book, and the final volume in the chronicles, The High King, crowned the series by winning the Newbery Medal for “the most distinguished contribution to American literature for children.”

Henry Holt is proud to present this classic series to a new generation of young readers. The 50th Anniversary Edition of The Book of Three, with an introduction written by Newbery Honor-winning author Shannon Hale, is available September 2nd!

[Read an Excerpt]

Aug 26 2014 3:30pm

The Pop Quiz at the End of the Universe: Rod Duncan

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 Rod Duncan, novelist, screenwriter, and proud dyslexic. The Bullet-Catcher's Daughter, the first book in his Gas-Lit Empire series, is available now from Angry Robot. Find out more about the novel's cover from designer Will Staehle, and join us below to learn which magic spell would be vital to Rod's fighting style.

[Read More]

Aug 26 2014 3:00pm

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Rewatch: “Sacrifice of Angels”

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Rewatch on Tor.com: Sacrifice of Angels“Sacrifice of Angels”
Written by Ira Steven Behr & Hans Beimler
Directed by Allan Kroeker
Season 6, Episode 6
Production number 40510-530
Original air date: November 3, 1997
Stardate: unknown

Station log: We get a summary of “Favor the Bold,” and then we see the two fleets facing off. Sisko has the small attack ships target the Cardassian vessels and then run, hoping that the Cardassians will get angry enough to break formation to go after them. (The Jem’Hadar are too disciplined to do that.) That might open a hole they can punch through to get to the station.

And then the battle is joined. On the station, Dukat, Damar, the female changeling, and Weyoun consult in Ops. Dukat figures out Sisko’s strategy, and plans to let it work up to a point, pretending to open a hole and then closing it on him before he can get through.

[Cannon to the right of them, / Cannon to the left of them, / Cannon in front of them / Volley’d and thunder’d.]

Aug 26 2014 2:12pm

Joss Whedon Teaches Jeremy Renner How to Hawkeye

Hawkeye Jeremy Renner Joss Whedon set photo Avengers: Age of Ultron funny crossbow

One of our favorite bits from shooting the first Avengers movie were the set photos and GIFs of Joss Whedon putting up his dukes alongside the rest of the cast in costume. Clearly he had fun trying out Hawkeye’s bow, because he’s at it again in this Avengers: Age of Ultron set photo, schooling Jeremy Renner in proper arrow shooting technique.

We’re not sure what’s better, Whedon’s pose or Jeremy Renner’s expression. He’s all “Dude, did you see me shoot a Chitauri out of the sky without even looking? I got this.” Oh, and Hawkeye’s new costume is cool, too.

Photo: Empire Magazine (via Comic Book Movie)

Aug 26 2014 2:00pm

Claustrophobia Under Strange Skies: “The Mound”

HP Lovecraft reread The MoundWelcome back to the Lovecraft reread, in which two modern Mythos writers get girl cooties all over old Howard’s original stories. Today we’re looking at “The Mound,” written in the winter of 1929-1930 and first published in the November 1940 issue of Weird Tales. You can read the story here. Spoilers ahead.

Summary: An unnamed ethnologist visits Binger, Oklahoma, chasing the legend of a mound haunted by the apparition of a man during the day, and a headless woman at night. Those who visit often come back mad, or don’t return at all.

[“It was not the all-covering dust and cobwebs of immemorial aeons, the fluttering winged things, the shriekingly loathsome sculptures on the walls, the bizarre form of the many basins and braziers, the sinister pyramidal altar with the hollow top, or the monstrous, octopus-headed abnormality in some strange, dark metal leering and squatting broodingly on its hieroglyphed pedestal, which robbed him of even the power to give a startled cry.”]

Aug 26 2014 1:30pm

Echopraxia: The Latest Attempt by Peter Watts to Stomp Your Assumptions to Death

Peter Watts Echopraxia review Scientist Daniel Brüks is what everyone sneeringly calls a baseline, a human being with so few augments that even the drugs he uses to make himself smarter (drugs required so he can qualify for tenure at his university job) are taken in pill form rather than via the clever synthesizer and pump arrangement all the cool kids use. He accesses the Internet much as we do, looking at displays rather than dumping the information right into his brain.

This outmoded and retro approach to technology gets him branded ‘old school’ by people who really mean technophobic, wimpy, and downright eccentric. But Dan has bigger PR problems than mere Luddism. Some of his research has been used to kill people, and guilt has driven him out to the desert. There he camps, hides, and commits research, sampling the local wildlife to see whether any of them might be baselines in their own right, or if all of their DNA has been overridden by humanity’s various runaway biotech projects.

[Can’t a fellow even enjoy a good sulk without the zombies showing up?]

Aug 26 2014 1:00pm

The Wheel of Time Reread Redux: From the Two Rivers Prologue

From the Two Rivers Eye of the World Wheel of Time reread Robert JordanGreetings, my peoples! Welcome to the first official post of the Wheel of Time Reread Redux! Today’s Redux post will cover “Ravens,” the prologue of From the Two Rivers: Part One of the Eye of the World.

All original posts are listed in The Wheel of Time Reread Index here, and all Redux posts will also be archived there as well. (The Wheel of Time Master Index, as always, is here, which has links to news, reviews, interviews, and all manner of information about the Wheel of Time in general on Tor.com.)

The Wheel of Time reread is also now available as an ebook series, except for the portion covering A Memory of Light, which should become available soon.

All Reread Redux posts will contain massive spoilers for the entire Wheel of Time series, so if you haven’t read, read at your own risk.

And now, the post!

[“Don’t regret growing older. It is a privilege denied to many.”]

Aug 26 2014 12:20pm

Sansa Stark: “I Would Love to Go on a Massive Killing Spree”

Sophie Turner Sansa Stark killing spree Game of Thrones season 5 The Winds of Winter Gollum

Raise your hand if you cheered when Sansa Stark finally entered the game near the end of this season of Game of Thrones. Well, Sophie Turner had just as much fun donning that crow-feather dress and scheming with Littlefinger, because she told Vulture she wants to see Sansa go even darker next season. As in, a combination Red and Purple Wedding killing spree.

[Also, Sansa Stark is Gollum]

Aug 26 2014 12:00pm

Who’s Your Daddy? (Star-Lord Edition)

Chris Pratt Star-Lord Guardians of the Galaxy Peter Quill

It’s the question that’s on everybody’s mind (at least after “How do I get my own Groot?”): who is the man that fathered Chris Pratt’s lovable half-human scoundrel in Guardians of the Galaxy?

The origin of 616-Comic-Book-Star-Lord is incredibly convoluted and full of retroactive changes, but the Marvel Cinematic Universe offers a new opportunity to streamline and reimagine his story. We’ll have to wait until July 28, 2017 for the definitive answer, but in the meantime, we can follow the breadcrumbs that were left behind in the film and subsequent publicity interviews around it, and they might lead us to a few rational theories about the identity of our mystery man...

[Read More]

Aug 26 2014 11:45am

Genre at the Emmy Awards: Sherlock Won, Game of Thrones Got Snubbed, and George R. R. Martin Got a Typewriter

Emmy winners 2014 Sherlock Benedict Cumberbatch Martin Freeman Steven Moffat Mark Gatiss Game of Thrones snubbed True Detective Breaking Bad

To the delight of genre fans, Sherlock was among the top winners at last night’s Emmy Awards, though it didn’t entirely sweep the major awards. That honor went to Breaking Bad—no surprise, considering its final season—which took home Drama Series, Lead Actor in a Drama, and Supporting Actor in a Drama. It’s probably for the best, then, that Sherlock was listed as a miniseries.

[Read more]

Aug 26 2014 11:15am

Donald Glover Finally Becomes Our Favorite Wall-Crawler!

Well, kinda. Donald Glover will be the voice of Miles Morales in in an upcoming episode DisneyXD’s Ultimate Spider-Man: Web Warriors. Our whole brain is crying happy tears! The plot’s a little convoluted, but here goes: The series stars a (white) Peter Parker as Spider-Man, who has to travel across dimensions on a hunt for the Green Goblin, who’s stealing DNA from as many Spider-Men as he can find. Peter gets to one universe where he’s already dead, and Miles has taken on the role of Spider-Man. (Just like the Spider-Man in the Ultimate Comics line.) Perhaps Donald Glover can voice Miles approximately forever after that? Watch a clip from the episode over at USA Today!