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 15 2014 11:00am

Summer of Sleaze: The Auctioneer and Maynard’s House

The Auctioneer Joan SamsonSummer 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 brief bestseller when it debuted in 1975, Joan Samson’s The Auctioneer has been totally forgotten. Sites like Will Errickson’s Too Much Horror Fiction have kept its tiny flame from becoming completely extinguished, but it’s basically a literary shooting star that flared once, and was gone. Contributing to its short shelf-life, Samson wrote The Auctioneer in her 30s and died of cancer shortly after it was published. Her death is our loss. This is one of those books you stumble across with no expectations, and when you finished reading you think, “Why isn’t this more famous?” Spare, unforgiving, and hard all the way down the line, if Cormac McCarthy had written Needful Things, you’d get The Auctioneer.

[Read More]

Fri
Aug 15 2014 10:00am

We’re Holding Out for a (New) Hero: How Heroes and Villains are Evolving

I think it’s safe to say that 2014’s greatest hero is a vocabulistically-limited tree. (If not him, then maybe the raccoon with anger management issues.) I had already been think about how heroism and villainy seemed to be changing this year after I saw How to Train Your Dragon 2 and The LEGO Movie. Captain America: The Winter Soldier and X-Men: Days of Future Past also gave us far more ambiguous heroes and villains than their predecessors, and then I saw Guardians of the Galaxy.

And now, I think that the Western is evolving in some really exciting ways, especially when we look at how heroes in 2014 stack up against some of our biggest cultural good guys. Be warned: I might be completely wrong. I have accepted this, and am quite open to being yelled at in the comments. Also, spoilers abound! It turns out it’s hard to write about villain-deaths and Noble Heroic Sacrifices without giving away endings, so proceed with caution.

[Seriously, I spoil everything.]

Fri
Aug 15 2014 9:30am

Uncanny Magazine Announces Full Funding

Uncanny Magazine

Authors and fans of speculative short fiction and speculative non-fiction alike have reason to celebrate today, as Uncanny: A Magazine of Science Fiction and Fantasy’s Kickstarter has been fully funded. Founders Lynne M. Thomas and Michael Damian Thomas, veteran editors of Apex magazine, have announced their intention to bring out stories that combine “astonishing ideas, strong characterization, gorgeous writing, and distinctive points of view from around the world.” So far they’ve solicited original fiction, poetry, and non-fiction prose from the likes of Neil Gaiman (wow!), Charlie Jane Anders (wow!), Amal El-Mohtar (wow!), Catherynne M. Valente (wow!), Ken Liu (wow!), Kameron Hurley (wow!), Tor.com’s own Diana Pho (wow!), and many more (whoo!), with cover art by Tran Nguyen, Julie Dillon, and other groundbreaking artists (::head asplode::). They are also expecting to fill slots with unsolicited submissions, so aspiring authors should keep an eye out for opportunities to submit.

[More about Uncanny]

Fri
Aug 15 2014 9:00am
Excerpt

Sherlock Holmes: The Spirit Box (Excerpt)

George Mann

Sherlock Holmes The Spirit Box George Mann excerpt Summer, 1915. As Zeppelins rain death upon the rooftops of London, eminent members of society begin to behave erratically: a Member of Parliament throws himself naked into the Thames after giving a pro-German speech to the House; a senior military advisor suggests surrender before feeding himself to a tiger at London Zoo; a famed suffragette suddenly renounces the women's liberation movement and throws herself under a train.

In desperation, an aged Mycroft Holmes sends to Sussex for the help of his brother, Sherlock.

 

George Mann’s Sherlock Holmes: The Spirit Box is available August 19th from Titan Books. Check out an excerpt below!

[Read an Excerpt]

Fri
Aug 15 2014 8:00am

Morning Roundup: Columbo Will Be Unstoppable with a Robot Companion!

And now, not to be outdone by Sharklumbo (The Shark Who Is Also Columbo) the real Columbo meets Robby the Robot! This image, from what we’re assuming was the greatest Columbo episode ever, was shared by Matt Fraction! We just have one more question: did Robby get away with it? Or did that relentless neo-Raskolnikov prevail again?

Morning Roundup has an account of one of Robin Williams’ best roles, the latest triumph of the Guardians, and news on Jason Momoa’s adventures beneath the sea!

[read more]

Thu
Aug 14 2014 5:00pm

When in Rume: The Incorruptibles by John Hornor Jacobs

The Incorruptibles John Hornor Jacobs

A grimdark fantasy about mercenaries protecting precious cargo as it’s transported through treacherous territory, The Incorruptibles gives Red Country a run for its money, if not its funny, but what sets it apart from Joe Abercrombie’s wild west diversion is its unexpected perspective.

Fisk and Shoe have been partners in crime for a lifetime. One is a pious man, the other “damned as surely as the sun rises.” Why? Because “he loves the Hellfire. He loves his gun. He’s a hard, unyielding man, with a long memory and impervious to regret. But there’s kindness, too, under all that.” Sounds like an anti-hero to me!

Surprisingly, John Hornor Jacobs’ new novel is more interested in the man of God—or rather Ia—than it is in the man of action I expected to find front and centre of the alt historical events The Incorruptibles documents.

[Read More]

Thu
Aug 14 2014 4:00pm

The Pop Quiz at the End of the Universe: Jess Row

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 Jess Row, author of the story collections The Train to Lo Wu and Nobody Ever Gets Lost. Named one of Granta’s Best Young American Novelists in 2007, he has won two Pushcart Prizes and a PEN/O. Henry Prize, and has appeared in The Best American Short Stories three times. He lives in New York and teaches at the College of New Jersey. Jess’ debut novel, Your Face in Mine, is available now from Riverhead.

Join us to find out why Jess chooses a lightsaber in his fight to the death!

[Read More]

Thu
Aug 14 2014 3:49pm

Announcing the Winners of the 1939 Retro Hugo Awards!

The Hugo Awards have been given since 1953, and every year since 1955, by the annual World Science Fiction Convention (the “Worldcon”). The first Worldcon occurred in New York City in 1939, and Worldcons have been held annually since then, except during World War II.

The Retro Hugo Awards celebrate the works that attendees would have known at the time of the very first Worldcon, held in New York in 1939. These prestigious awards recognise the best in science fiction, fantasy, and fandom from 1938.

This year, the Retro Hugo Awards were co-presented by Mary Robinette Kowal and Rob Shearman at LonCon3 in London, England.

[Read More]

Thu
Aug 14 2014 3:30pm

Drifting Away, on More Than One Level: The River at Green Knowe

The River at Green Knowe LM BostonThe last Green Knowe book had left Tolly and his great-grandmother with enough money to take a nice long vacation—but not quite enough to afford to leave their ghost-ridden house empty during their absence. To cover that expense, they rent the house out to two mildly eccentric women: Dr. Maud Biggin and Miss Sybilla Bun.

Dr. Biggin is writing a, uh, scholarly book about giants who lived in England prior to the arrival of normal sized humans (let’s just leap past this), and Miss Bun just wants to feed everybody. Despite the need for peace and quiet for scholarship, and perhaps because of Miss Bun’s need to feed everyone, they decide to invite three children to stay with them during the holidays: Dr. Biggin’s niece, Ida, and two refugee children, Oskar and Ping. Fortunately, the rest of the book is mostly about them, and their exploration of The River at Green Knowe.

[In which I have to confess something. You may all judge me for it.]

Thu
Aug 14 2014 3:30pm

Hellhole Inferno Audiobook Sweepstakes!

Out this week, Hellhole Inferno by Brian Herbert and Kevin J. Anderson is the thrilling, asteroid-packed conclusion to their space adventure trilogy. We want to send you one of our five copies of the Hellhole Inferno audiobook, narrated by Scott Brick. Listen to a preview clip here!

 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 3:30 PM Eastern Time (ET) on August 14. Sweepstakes ends at 12:00 PM ET on August 18. 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.

Thu
Aug 14 2014 3:00pm
Excerpt

Five Portraits (Excerpt)

Piers Anthony

Five Portraits Piers Anthony excerpt Piers Anthony delivers another tale set in the bestselling world of Xanth, filled with magic, surprises, adventure, and a few puns. Here’s what the author has to say about his new book:

Five Portraits is a kind of sequel to Board Stiff in that it picks up where the other leaves off, with the same characters. Apart from that, it’s one of my favorites within the series.

There’s something about Astrid Basilisk that appeals to me: a very pretty girl whose very glance is deadly, yet she’s a nice person whose selfless effort to save five difficult children from future Xanth is thoroughly worthy. I also like the theme of the power of unlikely friendship. Not just Xanth, but Mundania, too, would be better if there were more such friendships.”

Piers Anthony’s Five Portraits will be published October 21st by Open Road Media. Check out an excerpt below!

[Read an Excerpt]

Thu
Aug 14 2014 2:30pm

Is The Eaton Collection of Science Fiction and Fantasy in Danger?

Author and UC Riverside Professor Nalo Hopkinson reports that the Eaton Collection is being endangered by mismanagement. This is quite troubling, as the Eaton Collection is essentially the Library of Alexandria for Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Horror, and has a vast collection, including the 1517 edition of Thomas More’s Utopia, first editions of Dracula, The War of the Worlds, The Time Machine, Frankenstein, Fantastic Four #1, and Action Comics #1, and nearly 100,000 fanzines. The collection was gathered over decades by Dr. J. Lloyd Eaton before being aquired by UC Riverside’s University Librarian, Donald Wilson, in 1969. The Collection has also hosted the Eaton Science Fiction Conference since 1979, producing over twenty volumes of critical essays.

Professor Hopkinson is reporting that the new library administration plans “to split up the collection and change priorities for what to collect (eg, e-text over print) without consulting scholars in the field“ which is alarming enough, but they have also engaged in ”what we’d characterize as harassment of staff, who’ve demonstrated extreme competence over the years.” More information on the situation can be found on Professor Hopkinson’s blog, where she also quotes her colleague, Dr. Rob Latham, at length. Obviously this news is worrisome to anyone who cares about the preservation and study of SFF and horror, and we hope to bring you positive updates soon.

[via BoingBoing]

Thu
Aug 14 2014 2:00pm

Life Experiences: Kaleidoscope edited by Alisa Krasnostein and Julia Rios

Kaleidoscope, edited by Alisa Krasnostein and Julia Rios, was one of the crowdfunding projects that caught my attention last year: it was to be a book of “diverse YA science fiction and fantasy stories,” dedicated to collecting otherwise less-heard-from voices and spotlighting minority narratives. And now, it’s finally out, containing fiction from names like Garth Nix, Sofia Samatar and Jim C. Hines as well as fresh faces like Alena McNamara.

The first thing I’ll note is that while Kaleidoscope is certainly a collection of stories about and for young adults, which I very much appreciate, it has a definite cross-generational appeal. The stories are strong narratively and affectively, and since most deal deeply in complex issues of identity—a pleasantly stunning variety of disabilities, sexualities, genders, and ethnicities all feature in this anthology—the overall tone is quite mature and nuanced.

[A review.]

Thu
Aug 14 2014 1:37pm

If the Captain America 3 Screenwriter Had His Way, MODOK Would Be That Film’s Villain

Captain America 3 MODOK rumor screenwriters Christopher Markus Stephen McFeely Marvel

We know that we have our ridiculous fan theories about which comic book characters we’d like to see Marvel mine for future films, but it’s always fun to hear the folks with any deciding power talk about their dream crossovers and cameos. That’s why we were tickled when Captain America: Winter Soldier co-writer Christopher Markus revealed that he’s been gunning to put MODOK into a future Cap film. Because yes.

[MODOK commands it!]

Thu
Aug 14 2014 1:00pm

A Read of Ice and Fire: A Feast for Crows, Part 26

George RR Martin 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 26 of A Feast for Crows, in which we cover Chapter 36 (“Cersei”).

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!

[“Get up in the morning, death, death, death, death, death, death, death, lunch, death, death, death, afternoon tea, death, death, death, quick shower…"]

Thu
Aug 14 2014 12:00pm

Words of Radiance Reread: Chapter 9

Welcome back to the Words of Radiance Reread on Tor.com! Last week we left Shallan’s soulcast boat water to return to the Shattered Plains (much to Carl’s unexpected chagrin), watching Dalinar trying to play politics on a plateau run, with limited success. This week we’re back in the chasms with Kaladin and company, talking about spren and rites of passage.

This reread will contain spoilers for The Way of Kings, Words of Radiance, and any other Cosmere books that become relevant. Be warned! There’s nothing in the post, but the comments are a wilde beastie, full of unpredictability and occasional rotspren.

[“We have to be consistent. Or we’ll break your brains.”]

Thu
Aug 14 2014 11:30am

Peter Capaldi is the Doctor and You Should Be Worried. Doctor Who: “Deep Breath”

Doctor Who Deep Breath Peter Capaldi

By the end of “Deep Breath,” Peter Capaldi’s debut episode as the Doctor, you’re not going to know how to feel about the Doctor anymore. But that’s alright. Sort of. Because neither does he.

Capaldi’s casting as the Doctor made waves when it was announced in August 2013. The actor is a known quantity, utterly unafraid of depicting the rough edges of humanity, and a simultaneously inspired and insane choice for such a beloved character as the Doctor. As viewers we have become accustomed to the frivolity of Matt Smith and David Tennant, and the emergence of Capaldi in the role hinted at a dramatic shift away from Doctor Who’s lighter tone. Perhaps too much of a dramatic shift?

[Non-spoiler review of Doctor Who “Deep Breath”]

Thu
Aug 14 2014 11:15am

Sophie Turner and Elle Fanning to Play Mary Shelley in Competing Biopics of the Frankenstein Author

competing Mary Shelley biopics Sophie Turner Elle Fanning Frankenstein Percy Bysshe Shelley Jeremy Irvine Taissa Farmiga

How do you want your teenaged Mary Shelley? Is she blonde, swooningly and forbiddingly in love with the “dangerously charismatic poet” (The Hollywood Reporter’s words) Percy Shelley? Or is she redheaded, married, and grappling with an alter ego offering her fame, in the form of her novel Frankenstein, but at a devastating cost?

You don’t have to choose, because in typical Hollywood fashion, where there’s one Mary Shelley biopic, there’s two Mary Shelley biopics.

[Read more]

Thu
Aug 14 2014 10:50am

Ice-T’s Dungeons & Dragons Audiobook is Out, and it’s Free!

Ice T Dungeons and Dragons audiobook

Remember when we told you that Ice-T narrated a Dungeons & Dragons story, despite the fact that he had no idea what it was about? Well, it’s out now, it’s about Drizzt Do’Urden, and it’s free! To help celebrate the 40th year of Dungeons & Dragons, Audible is releasing The Legend of Drizzt: The Collected Stories for free, but only for a limited time.

The anthology’s stories are written by R.A. Salvatore, and the audiobook includes narration from an insane roster of celebs, including Felicia Day, Dan Harmon, Greg Grunberg, Tom Felton, Danny Pudi, Sean Astin, Melissa Rauch, Wil Wheaton, Al Yankovic, Michael Chiklis, and David Duchovny. Sam Gamgee, Wesley Crusher, and Abed Nadir will read D&D stories to you! About Drizzt!

(Thanks to Tor.com user montsamu for letting us know about this amazing news!)

Thu
Aug 14 2014 10:00am

The Harry Potter Reread: The Prisoner of Azkaban, Chapters 1 and 2

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban coverThe Harry Potter Reread is listening to a howling breeze at the moment, and dearly hopes that this is not a harbinger of bad news or bad sleep or bad company. (Not like the band Bad Company, which is an altogether different subject.)

We are starting the third book! And Harry is becoming a teenager. Which should worry the Dursleys probably more than it actually does. We’ve got the first two chapters of The Prisoner of Azkaban to start—Owl Post and Aunt Marge’s Big Mistake.

Index to the reread can be located here! Other Harry Potter and Potter-related pieces can be found under their appropriate tag. And of course, since we know this is a reread, all posts might contain spoilers for the entire series. If you haven’t read all the Potter books, be warned.

[Read More]