The Wild Cards universe has been thrilling readers for over 25 years.
One act of terrorism changes the life of Michael “Drummer Boy” Vogali forever in Stephen Leigh’s “The Atonement Tango.” Now without his band, Joker Plague, Michael must figure out a way to re-build his life–and seek revenge.
Moena lives in a world of her own making, sealed off from the deadly pathogens of Bangalore in her own personal biome. But when she meets Rahul, a beautiful man working to clean up his city, her need for him draws her into danger. She will risk her health and her work to satisfy her lust for Rahul, and may find love along the way.
“A Human Stain” by Kelly Robson is a disturbing horror novelette about a British expatriate at loose ends who is hired by her friend to temporarily care for his young, orphaned nephew in a remote castle-like structure in Germany.
The Wild Cards universe has been thrilling readers for over 25 years. In Carrie Vaughn’s “The Thing about Growing Up in Jokertown,” a group of teenage jokers yearn to explore outside the confines of their strange little neighborhood and get a real taste of the Big Apple.
Oona’s blood is a river delta blending east and west, her hair red as Tennessee clay, her heart tangled as the wild lands she maps. By tracing rivers in ink on paper, Oona pins the land down to one reality and betrays her people. Can she escape the bonds of gold and blood and bone that tie her to the Imperial American River Company?
In the wake of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, as we wait with bated breath for the moment Harry Potter and the Cursed Child comes to Broadway, I’ve been revisiting the story of Draco Malfoy and pondering how some of the lessons his life provides tend to be overshadowed by the exploits of Harry, Hermione, and Ron.
A quick reading of Draco is that he’s a racist, a white supremacist, and a product of his awful environment. For some people, the analysis of Harry Potter’s nemesis ends there. But I’ve always thought that there was more to the character than just a broad villain. I’ve always seen Draco as both a tragic figure and a character that fans of the Harry Potter books can, and should, learn from. Draco’s character arc is something that is especially important in the times we’re embarking on now.
For most Star Wars fans, there’s one true thing that surrounds us, and binds us. Sure, we may squabble about which movie is the best and argue over who Snoke really is (it’s the angry resurrected ghost of Qui-Gon Jinn, obvs), but we all agree that there’s no such thing as too much Star Wars. But the fact is, only so much Star Wars exists. Granted, when all’s told between movies, TV shows, canon novels, non-canon novels, video games, board games, and comics, there’s a lot of content out there. But as the dust is settling on the box office juggernaut that is Rogue One, a grim reality is taking hold: there’s eleven long months that separate us from our next cinematic Star Wars fix. And if you’ve already read/watched/consumed everything there is to consume, you’re going to need to fill your time with…something.
Well, if you can’t have Star Wars, there’s always the next best thing: Stuff that’s like Star Wars! Here’s six novels that can help tide you over until Episode VIII drops in December.
I emerged from the fourth season of the BBC’s once awesome Sherlock in a kind of incoherent rage at what successful writers get away with when they are, apparently, deemed too big to fail. I’m not the only one, of course. There was a nice skewering of the show’s degeneration from cerebral mystery to James Bond-lite action film in the Guardian and the program’s principal show runner, Steven Moffat, has been drawing feminist flak since season two, so rather than go after elements of the show itself (and spoiling it for those who haven’t seen it in the process) I want to step back from Sherlock and focus on a troubling element I’ve seen in a lot of recent storytelling: the disastrous pursuit of surprise.
I’m talking about plot twists, and I’ll start by saying yes, I love them. There are few more compelling feelings than reading a book or watching a TV show and suddenly thinking “Wait! This isn’t what I thought it was at all! Everything I thought I knew about this story was wrong! The good guys are the bad guys (or vice versa). Up is down and black is white and I can’t wait to see how this works out!!!”
In his new science fiction dramedy Marjorie Prime, Jon Hamm plays a hologram… and he’s really getting into character. In a neat bit of tie-in promotion, Passage Pictures has partnered with technology startup 8i to turn Hamm into an actual, lifelike, three-dimensional hologram for Sundance Film Festival attendees to interact with. With the #Holohamm (hee) possessing the actual volume and depth of Hamm, visitors to Sundance’s virtual reality and augmented reality will feel as if they’re actually interacting with the actor. Or at least, with his character, Walter Prime.
“Surf’s Up! Joker’s Under” Written by Charles Hoffman
Directed by Oscar Rudolph Season 3, Episode 10 Production code 1714
Original air dates: November 16, 1967
The Bat-signal: The World Surfing Championship is coming up, and it’s going to be held at Gotham Point. Barbara’s old friend Skip Parker is a favorite to win the championship, and she watches him ride a wave and compliments him on his form. The Joker shows up in his Jokermobile with two henchmen, Wipeout and Riptide, and he radios his moll, Undine, at the Hang Five, a surfin’ hangout run by Hot Dog Harrigan. (The radios actually are in the shapes of hot dogs, for whatever reason.) Riptide and Wipeout put Hot Dog in a bag and then send Undine to tell Skip there’s a phone call for him. Skip enters the Hang Five and Joker gasses him and takes him off to his secret HQ.
Martians Abroad is a new stand-alone novel from Carrie Vaughn, the author most famously responsible for the Kitty Norville, werewolf radio host series. Set in the not-so-far future, it features a solar system where humans have habitats on the moon, colonies on Mars, and habitable stations further out, but Earth is still the wealth-and-culture capital of everything.
Polly Newton is the teenaged daughter of the director of Mars Colony. Her one dream in life is to be a pilot, and she has her future planned out. When her mother decides to send her and her “twin” brother Charles to the exclusive Galileo Academy on Earth, though, Polly’s plans are derailed. Unlike Charles—a genius and a manipulative wee asshole—Polly doesn’t adjust well to the new environment. Isolated and homesick, things aren’t going too well for Polly even before a string of dangerous accidents starts putting her powerful and well-connected classmates at risk. Something is rotten in Galileo Academy, and with their next class trip taking Polly, Charles, and their classmates to the moon, another accident may kill them all.
Welcome to Freaky Fridays, your fifteen-foot tall, 1,500 pound, fur-covered guide to the dusty old out-of-print paperbacks of yesteryear. We eat our weight in fresh salmon every day.
Bears are the most employable members of the animal kingdom. Kuma is the bodyguard for Heihachi Mishima. Billy Bob Brockali leads the Rock-afire Explosion Band at Showbiz Pizza (his evil cousin, Freddy Fazbear does the same over at the pizza parlor bearing his name). Fozzie Bear is a professional stand-up comedian for the Muppets. And Smokey is the most famous park ranger of all time. Then there are the questionable bears. The illegal immigrant bears (Paddington), the freeloaders (Yogi), the addicts (Winnie the Pooh), and those stupid lazy polar bears who just sit on their butts and drink Coca-Cola all day long.
Welcome back 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, and finally comments from Tor.com readers. Today we’re continuing Ian Cameron Esslemont’s Assail, covering chapter fifteen.
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, but 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.
We want to send you a galley copy of Karen Brown’s The Clairvoyants, available February 7th from Henry Holt & Company!
The Clairvoyants is Karen Brown’s most hypnotic novel to date—gothic-inflected psychological suspense that unmasks the secret desires of a young woman with a mystical gift
On the family homestead by the sea where she grew up, Martha Mary saw ghosts. As a young woman, she hopes to distance herself from those spirits by escaping to an inland college town. There, she is absorbed by a budding romance, relieved by separation from an unstable sister, and disinterested in the flyers seeking information about a young woman who’s disappeared—until one Indian summer afternoon when the missing woman appears beneath Martha’s apartment window, wearing a down coat, her hair coated with ice.
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There are a couple of things you should know about me before I tell you this story. The first is that I’ve been a fan of Stephen King for as long as I can really remember. I think my first of his books might have been Needful Things, and from there I would borrow as many as I could from the library, heaving home huge stacks of those doorstops with their black covers and lurid fonts. The second thing is that I have a terrible tendency to read things in the wrong order. It’s not a deliberate quirk—more that I have a relaxed attitude to sensible chronology. I think this was also something I picked up from being a big borrower of library books; I would take whatever book happened to be on the shelf at the time, regardless of whether it was the next one I was supposed to read or not.
Now I must take you back to 1997. My mum had gotten into the habit of buying me two things at Christmas: whatever hardback Terry Pratchett book happened to be out, and whatever hardback Stephen King book happened to be out. That year, it was Wizard & Glass, which my mum merrily bought and popped under the Christmas tree, not realizing that it was the fourth volume in King’s The Dark Tower series. And let’s be fair, it didn’t worry me too much. I was, after all, the person who started reading The Sandman with The Kindly Ones. I was a maverick. A loose cannon.
Next Tuesday, you’ll finally be able to get your hands on Passing Strange, the new novella from Nebula and World Fantasy Award winning author Ellen Klages. Called “a moving and genuine love story” by The Washington Post, the book takes place in San Francisco in 1940, and revolves around the intersecting lives of six women discovering romance and danger in the boundaries where magic, science, and art intersect. You can read an excerpt over at the Book Smugglers, and if you’re in the Bay Area, Oregon, or Orlando, you’ll have a chance to see Ellen as she celebrates the release of Passing Strange with readings and events this spring!
See a full list of events from January to March below.
Whenever the subject of writing about espionage comes up in conversation and I say it’s something I’m interested in, the immediate reaction I’ve come to expect is, “Oh, you mean like James Bond?” It’s actually quite predictable, just as “Oh, like Star Wars?” used to be the usual reaction to me saying I write science fiction … and it’s just as wrong.
This month Tor published Empire Games, the first book in my Empire Games trilogy. It’s a science-fictional spy thriller; so if you can imagine a James Bond movie set in the Star Wars universe? That’s almost exactly not what it’s about.
Espionage is about spies the way that science fiction is about rocket ships or astronomy is about building telescopes: yes, those items feature in the field to some extent, but there’s a lot more to it. Espionage—or more accurately, intelligence-gathering—is about the process of piecing together an accurate picture of a target’s intentions and capabilities, to enable policy-makers (be they corporate or national) to put in place an appropriate response.
We love this timely tribute to General/Princess Leia Organa: Diplomat. Leader. Freedom Fighter.
Designed by Mississippi artist Hayley Gilmore and donated for people to use at the Women’s March on Washington and its sister marches around the country and around the world on Saturday, the poster is available to download here—although you may have to try a few times, as the poster seems to be in high demand. Gilmore notes that the piece is intended to be “a tribute to the life and legacy of Carrie Fisher” and to serve as a source of inspiration and insight to those who will be participating in the march:
“On Saturday, women across the nation will be attending the Women’s March on Washington as well as marches in many sister states. The mission of the march is to send a bold message to our new government on their first day in office, and to the world that women’s rights are human rights.”
Hunted is a successful show in the UK on BBC4. They just aired the second season and are setting up for a third. CBS loved the idea and decided to make their own version here in the US.
It couldn’t be more timely—with the idea of the “surveillance-state” becoming more charged with each passing news cycle, a lot of people have a lot of strong opinions. But what a lot of people don’t have is a front row seat for the process, the inside scoop on how law enforcement and intelligence agencies do their jobs, how the mix of personality, passion, technology and training gel to produce the part-art/part-sciences we call “counterterrorism targeting” and “fugitive recovery.”
If you look at the amount of words that have been written about him, it’s easy to conclude that R.A. Lafferty needs no introduction. There are, by now, probably as many introductions to and appreciations of R.A. Lafferty as there are books by the author. The introduction to Lafferty has almost become a genre in itself. Not only have major science fiction and fantasy writers like Neil Gaiman, Michael Swanwick, Gene Wolfe, Harlan Ellison, and Richard Lupoff all written about Lafferty, but Lafferty’s fans are some of the most active in the genre, publishing a biannual fanzine and organizing an annual Lafferty-themed con. The Guardian and the Washington Post have both covered him, and there are rumors of some forthcoming academic studies.
Why, then, have so few science fiction readers heard of Lafferty? Why am I writing another introduction?
I didn’t know there were so many vampires committing capital crimes in Los Angeles in this century. Ordinary criminals can’t even get air time on a webcast there. It seems that most L.A. killings have a connection to a vampire somewhere: undead plastic surgeons taking off a little blood along with the cellulite, blood-sucking hit-and-run automobile victims, even immortal morgue attendants who siphon blood from corpses. They’re there all right, as depicted on the CBS television series Moonlight starring Alex O’Loughlin as “vamp” private eye Mick St. John.