Skullsworn: Chapter 1

Pyrre Lakatur is not, to her mind, an assassin, not a murderer—she is a priestess. At least, she will be once she passes her final trial.

The problem isn’t the killing. The problem, rather, is love. For to complete her trial, Pyrre has ten days to kill the seven people enumerated in an ancient song, including “the one who made your mind and body sing with love / who will not come again.”

Pyrre isn’t sure she’s ever been in love. And if she fails to find someone who can draw such passion from her, or fails to kill that someone, her order will give her to their god, the God of Death. Pyrre’s not afraid to die, but she hates to fail, and so, as her trial is set to begin, she returns to the city of her birth in the hope of finding love … and ending it on the edge of her sword.

Brian Staveley’s new standalone novel, Skullsworn, returns to the critically acclaimed Chronicle of the Unhewn Throne universe, following a priestess-assassin for the God of Death—publishing April 25th from Tor Books. Read Chapter 1 below, or click here to start with the Prologue.

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New Game of Thrones Season 7 Teaser: Which Throne Has Daenerys Taken?

HBO has released a new and chilling teaser for Game of Thrones season 7, which premieres on July 16 this year. There’s a definite “Clash of Kings” vibe to it, as it follows Cersei, Daenerys, and Jon Snow in their parallel paths to their thrones. (There’s an additional surprise at the end, but we won’t spoil it!)

Both Cersei and Jon were seen taking their respective thrones at the end of last season…but where is Daenerys?

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Every last Tuesday of the month, we’ll send you news on books like Down Among the Sticks and Bones and The Delirium Brief, including sneak peeks at chapters and cover art, interviews and guest posts from our authors, and other fun features. We’ll also include recommendations for Tor.com original short stories you can read for free online, and a photo of the month from our Instagram at @TorDotComPub (which usually features cats, the Flatiron Building, or science fiction/fantasy authors!).

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Was the First Season of Legion Worth Watching?

A few episodes ago, a critic I follow on Twitter (can’t recall whom) mentioned that all the fervent, adoring chatter about Legion reminded them of the same ultimately misguided passion for the first season of True Detective, and I’m inclined to agree. Sure, the first season of True Detective was visually impressive, powerfully acted, and beautifully shot and directed. However, there were a lot of cracks in the foundation of the story True Detective told, cracks that became sinkholes by the second. Similarly, Legion is absolutely striking to behold, but the plot is peppered with too many ideas that go nowhere, takes too long to get going, and too often relies on infodumping crucial background details because it’s frittered its running time away on looking cool. Creator and showrunner Noah Hawley managed to keep Fargo running on all cylinders from the first to second season, so maybe Legion will be just as lucky and not hit the dreaded True Detective season two crash and burn. Given the finale, the second season could go either way.

But so what, right? The real question isn’t whether or not the first season of Legion was perfect but whether or not it is worth watching. And to answer that, let’s take a look at the last few episodes. Spoilers ahead

[“Real, fake, it’s all the same.”]

It’s Your Last Chance to Win One of Three Tablets Loaded With eBooks From Tor.com and The Portalist!

The Portalist and Tor.com have joined forces to bring you the eBook Collection Sweepstakes! We’ve got three tablets, each with a different collection of titles—one all fantasy greats; one classic and new science fiction; one magical young adult tales—and you can enter to win one or all three!

Find out how to enter below; all three sweepstakes end tomorrow, March 31st, at 11:59pm EST.

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Warbreaker Reread: Chapter 24

Welcome back to the Warbreaker reread! Last week, Lightsong began his Detective Returned career, as his interest was piqued by Mercystar’s incident. This week, Siri and Susebron seek solutions in stories.

This reread will contain spoilers for all of Warbreaker and any other Cosmere book that becomes relevant to the discussion. This is particularly likely to include Words of Radiance, due to certain crossover characters. The index for this reread can be found here.

Click on through to join the discussion!

[“You cannot refuse me. I am your queen.”]

Series: Warbreaker Reread

Rereading The Handmaid’s Tale: Part XV-Historical Notes

It’s our final installment of rereading Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale, but the reread itself is not over!

After last week’s confrontation, we spend only one more Night with Offred, as she heads into the darkness. But from that darkness (or is it light?) come echoes—echoes that ripple forward into the future, as we are joined in our examination of the text and its anonymous narrator by a bevy of experts with their own biases and contradictory guesses as to Offred’s fate.

The index to the Handmaid’s Tale reread can be found here! As this is a reread, there will be spoilers for the rest of the book, as well as speculation about the TV series.

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Series: Rereading The Handmaid’s Tale

What’s in a Reboot? How 1998’s Lost in Space Prepared Me for the Onslaught of the Future

Before you say anything—Yes, I have watched the original Lost in Space television show. Yes, it is kinda weird because I was born decades after its premiere. Yes, I did enjoy it. Yes, I am obsessed with stories featuring kids who have friendships with robots, and queer codified villains. I also learned that John Williams had written the theme song, which was a very high recommendation in my kid playbook.

The 1998 reboot came along and also swept me off my feet for a brief period of time. (I was very young, shh.) But looking back on the film now—awkward as it was—it’s strange to realize how much I learned from it.

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Five Books That Tell the Monster’s Story

Monsters fascinate. There’s something in the shadows that you don’t understand, can’t quite make out the shape of—something that can eat you. Something that can steal your children, spoil your crops, or worst of all turn you into a monster yourself, so that you’ll no longer be welcome in the warm places where we tell stories about monsters.

That warm place started as a small campfire in the dark night, surrounded by very real predators. Beside that fire, you could lay down your spear and basket and feel almost safe for the night. We keep fearing monsters even as the shadows retreat and the campfires grow, even now when light pollution banishes them to the few remaining dark corners, where they must surely shiver and tell stories about our advance.

Mustn’t they?

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Series: Five Books About…

A Good Horror Story Hinges on Sincerity

I watch a lot of horror movies. However many you’re thinking right now, I regret to inform you that you have woefully underestimated the number of horror movies that I have watched in my lifetime. I watch a lot of horror movies. My earliest cinematic memories involve horror movies—Alien when I was three years old, sitting on my uncle’s lap in the living room of our old apartment; The Blob after a midnight trip to the emergency vet to have a cattail removed from my cat’s eye; Critters in my grandmother’s living room, elbows buried in the plush beige carpet, dreaming of marrying the handsome red-haired boy in the lead role. So many horror movies. The only form of media that has arguably had more of an influence on me than the horror movie is the superhero comic book (which is a whole different kettle of worms).

The standards of horror have changed with time, of course. The things we’re afraid of now and the things we were afraid of fifty years ago are not the same, and neither are the avatars we choose to face those fears. We’ve gone from jut-jawed heroes to final girls to clever kids to slackers who somehow stumbled into the wrong movie, and when it’s been successful, it’s been incredible, and when it’s failed, we haven’t even needed to talk about it, because everyone knows. But there’s one ingredient to a really good horror movie that has never changed—that I don’t think ever will change—that I think we need to think about a little harder.

Sincerity.

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It’s Time to Light The Lights: The Unrepeatable Magic of the Theater

In this ongoing series, we ask SF/F authors to describe a specialty 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!

As I write this, the control box has just given us the fifteen minute call. The rest I wrote earlier today; these lines I left until now, for immediacy. I have to go and talk to my cast. Nerves must be settled, egos massaged, quirks and querulousness calmed and general encouragements dispensed.

I’m directing an amateur production of Jessica Swales’s Blue Stockings. We’re entered in Bangor Festival, one of eight plays competing for glitz and glory and places in the Northern Ireland and All-Ireland Finals. In Ireland, amateur drama festivals are a Thing. The All-Ireland makes the news in Dublin. There are daily reports on RTE Radio. Standards are vertiginously high. Competition is Darwinian. To paraphrase the late, great football manager Bill Shankley: “Amateur drama isn’t a matter of life and death; it’s much more important than that.”

[You wonder where I find the time to write.]

Star Trek The Original Series Rewatch: “The Pirates of Orion”

“The Pirates of Orion”
Written by Howard Weinstein
Directed by Bill Reed
Animated Season 2, Episode 1
Production episode 22020
Original air date: September 7, 1974
Stardate: 6334.1

Captain’s log. There’s been an outbreak of choriocytosis on the Enterprise, but McCoy has it under control, so the ship can still fulfill its mission to attend the dedication ceremony for a new Academy of Sciences on Deneb V. However, Spock collapses on the bridge and is taken to sickbay. He’s contracted choriocytosis, and it’s fatal to beings with copper-based blood.

The nearest supply of the only drug that can cure him is four days away, but Spock will only live for three. (Why the Enterprise didn’t stock up on the drug when the outbreak first occurred is left as an exercise for the viewer.) However, Kirk is able to arrange a delivery—the Potemkin is able to obtain the drug, they’ll transfer it to the Freighter Huron, which will deliver it to the Enterprise. Spock is put on restricted duty.

[We get what we want, plus our neutrality remains intact?]

Series: Star Trek: The Original Series Rewatch

Tor.com’s Lovecraftiana Sweepstakes!

On April 4th, Tor.com Publishing releases Ruthanna Emrys’s Winter Tide into the wild—and to celebrate, we want to send you a prize pack containing five Lovecraft-related tales!

One lucky winner will receive copies of:

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 1:30 PM Eastern Time (ET) on March 29th. Sweepstakes ends at 12:00 PM ET on April 2nd. 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.

Are You Ready to Float? Check Out the New Trailer for Stephen King’s IT

Some of us don’t need any more reasons to fear clowns, but for those sunny few who were OK with them, Stephen King released a massive book called IT in 1986 that gave us the scariest clown imaginable. And now Mama director Andrés Muschietti has directed a new adaptation of the story, and if the trailer is anything to go by it’s going to be exactly the horror movie everyone wants. Bill Skarsgård looks perfect as Pennywise, and the Loser’s Club looks promising, too.

Click through for the full trailer!

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