Where the Trains Turn November 19, 2014 Where the Trains Turn Pasi Ilmari Jääskeläinen His imagination runs wild. The Walk November 12, 2014 The Walk Dennis Etchison Creative differences can be brutal. Where the Lost Things Are November 5, 2014 Where the Lost Things Are Rudy Rucker and Terry Bisson Everything has to wind up somewhere. A Kiss with Teeth October 29, 2014 A Kiss with Teeth Max Gladstone Happy Halloween.
From The Blog
November 18, 2014
The Hollow Crown: Shakespeare’s Histories in the Age of Netflix
Ada Palmer
November 17, 2014
In Defense of Indiana Jones, Archaeologist
Max Gladstone
November 14, 2014
An Uncut and Non-Remastered List of Star Wars Editions!
Leah Schnelbach
November 13, 2014
Why Do We Reject Love as a Powerful Force in Interstellar?
Natalie Zutter
November 11, 2014
The Well-Lit Knight Rises: How 1960s Batman Shaped Our Bat-Thoughts Forever
Ryan Britt
Nov 20 2014 11:00am

The Harry Potter Reread: The Goblet of Fire, Chapters 3 and 4

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, coverThe Harry Potter Reread will survive the dark hours of winter by pretending it’s still summer and wearing sunglasses all the time. (This is inadvisable. Do not listen to the reread.)

We are going to eat a slice of grapefruit for breakfast and then blow up someone’s living room! It’s chapters 3 and 4—The Invitation and Back to the Burrow.

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]

Nov 20 2014 10:00am

We Are Family: Symbiont by Mira Grant

mira grant symbiont review

On the back of the unsightly excitement of Parasite, something like rigor sets in as the second half of what was a duology turns into the middle volume of a tolerance-testing trilogy. Symbiont isn’t a bad book by any means—it’s accessible, action-packed, and its premise remains appallingly plausible—but absent the ambiguity that made its predecessor so very unsettling, it’s lamentable for its length and lack of direction.

The first part of Parasitology chronicled the apocalyptic consequences of SymboGen’s latest and greatest innovation: the ubiquitous Intestinal Bodyguard—a magic pill meant to protect against allergy, illness and infection—was a worm which, in time, turned; a symbiotic organism supposed to support its host yet set, instead, on supplanting said. Before long, of course, this conflict of interests turned the population of San Francisco and its suburbs into zombies of a sort—sleepwalkers, as Mira Grant would have it.

The transition went differently for a few folks, though. After a catastrophic car crash, and at the cost of her every memory, Sally Mitchell’s parasite saved her life... or so she thought.

[Read More]

Nov 20 2014 9:00am

Are Slowed-Down Songs in Movie Trailers Getting Played-Out?

No strings on me

There’s much to love about the last few trailers for Avengers: Age of Ultron, but is the use of “I’ve Got No Strings” from Pinocchio really all that great? Slowed down-familiar songs being used “eerily” in movie trailers are becoming an epidemic, threatening to replace the oppressive single-note BRAAAM noise-fad which found its inception in the trailers for, well, Inception in 2010. And while those brassy-slams were bad, are these slowed-down creepy songs any better?

[Read more]

Nov 20 2014 8:00am

Morning Roundup: We Have Every Confidence in the Weyland-Yutani Dog Walking Corporation

Do you love your dog, but also occasionally daydream about an alien bursting forth from her chest? Or...at least about scaring the crap out of everybody at the dog park? Then do we have something for you! Storenvy created this fantastic alien facehugger harness, and we love them for it.

Morning Roundup wants to join Barbie’s computer class! We’ve got more discussion of Interstellar’s science stuff, and a look back at a holiday classic!

[Plus a thoughtful discussion of the marketing of Star Wars.]

Nov 19 2014 5:00pm

Meet Your Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell in the First Look at the BBC Miniseries

first look Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell BBC miniseries

The BBC has released the first promotional photo from its miniseries adaptation of Susanna Clarke’s Hugo-winning novel Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell! Here’s Bertie Carvel (Les Misérables) and Eddie Marsan (Sherlock Holmes, The World’s End) in-character as dueling magicians Jonathan Strange and Gilbert Norrell.

[Click through for the synopsis]

Nov 19 2014 4:00pm

Girl Magic: Jason and the Argonauts, translated by Aaron Poochigian

Jason and the Argonauts Not much is known about Apollonios Rhodios (Apollonios of Rhodes); a poet and scholar who lived in Alexandria in the third century BCE, he likely served as the royally appointed head of the Alexandrian Library. Though he produced at least one other significant piece, only one of his poetical works, the Argonautika, has survived more or less intact as a manuscript copied and recopied for hundreds of years by hand. While clearly influenced by Homer, Apollonios also retains his own distinctive voice, and the Argonautika is a vivid, gorgeous tapestry of bad deeds, bad dudes, and one very special teenage girl.

Poet Aaron Poochigian’s recent verse translation (titled Jason and the Argonauts) for Penguin is an accessible, nimble, and often beautiful edition of Apollonios Rhodios’s epic; his footnotes are thorough but useful and concise, and his approach is respectful to the text but not reverent (he describes Rhodios’s voice as “endearing” as well as elastic, which it often is).

[Read more...]

Nov 19 2014 3:30pm

Night Shift Sweepstakes!

Four masters of urban fantasy and paranormal romance plunge readers into the dangerous, captivating world unearthed beyond the dark in Night Shift, out on November 25th from Berkley!

With four novellas from Nalini Singh, Illona Andrews, Lisa Shearin, and Milla Vane, Night Shift delivers thrilling urban fantasy that fans of Mercy Thompson and Kitty Norville will love.

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 November 19. Sweepstakes ends at 12:00 PM ET on November 23. 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.

Nov 19 2014 3:00pm

We Could Be Happy Underground. Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: “The Things We Bury”

Agents of SHIELD The Things We Bury

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. really pulled one over on me in this week’s episode “The Things We Bury.” With all the back and forth drama between Coulson’s mental state, Talbot and his haircut, Skye’s SkyeDad, the alien writing, the Divinery Obelisk, Hydra, Fitz’s recovery, Ward vs Ward, Mockingbird and Hance Lunter... I didn’t focus so much on Daniel Whitehall.

It’s not like the show has been hiding how weird Whitehall is, even. He was there in the season’s very first episode, hassling Our Agent Carter and being perpetually ageless, and he’s been masterminding Hydra’s efforts since then. Obviously something is up with him, it’s just that he’s so quiet in comparison to everyone else.

Now, though...now...don’t you just want him to die?

[Read more]

Nov 19 2014 2:20pm

Neil Gaiman and Daniel Handler in the Great Book Giveaway!

Neil Gaiman Daniel Handler Great Book Giveaway

What’s the perfect way to pit acclaimed authors Neil Gaiman and Daniel Handler (a.k.a. Lemony Snicket) against each other? Challenge them to give away the most books to a park full of eager fans, while also fending off the biting New York City cold! Gaiman and Handler came to Washington Square Park’s Garibaldi Plaza early this morning to take part in the the National Book Foundation’s Great Book Giveaway, alongside a portable reading room provided by the Uni Project.

Check out more photos from the event, plus a quick clip of Neil and Daniel facing off in their quest to give away the most books, below!

[Read More]

Nov 19 2014 2:00pm

Rich and Strange: “Without Faith, Without Law, Without Joy” by Saladin Ahmed

The Faerie Queene

I love Spenser’s The Faerie Queen. I love it with a geeky, earnest passion for its bleeding trees, its book-vomiting serpents, its undefeatable shield-maiden and her rescue of a woman named Love.

That said, I always read it with double vision—one eye always redacting, reading Duessa and the Saracen Knights against their ergot-laden grain. Of course the first really interesting female character we meet is a duplicitous evil-doer; of course being friends with the Queen of Night and getting her to spirit your boyfriend away before some (quite literal) kill-joy murders him means you’re a villain instead of a resourceful badass. It was strange, reading a book and loving it enough to spontaneously compose explanatory fanfic for its ugly parts, but that was most of my undergraduate English degree.

When I saw the title of Saladin Ahmed’s “Without Faith, Without Law, Without Joy,” I straightened up out of a slouch. I felt my eyes brighten with hope. He’s going to do it, I thought. He’s going to write my fanfic.

[SPOILER: he’s the one with the beard.]

Nov 19 2014 1:30pm

Avengers: Age of Pinocchio is a Scarily Good Mashup

Avengers: Age of Pinocchio trailer mashup

The Avengers: Age of Ultron trailer gave us all sorts of chills due in part to its creepy use of “I’ve Got No Strings” from Pinocchio—which, when you really think about it, is the most disturbing Disney movie. How to make both even creepier? Combine them!

[“You’re all puppets, tangled in... strings.”]

Nov 19 2014 1:10pm

Cover Reveal for Elizabeth Bear’s Karen Memory

Karen Memory Elizabeth Bear

I’m very excited to show-off the cover to Elizabeth Bear’s upcoming novel Karen Memorypublishing February 2015 from Tor Books. The art is by Cynthia Sheppard. She’s done a brilliant job of depicting a strong and resourceful character, someone that you believe has a story to tell. This is only the second time I have worked with Cynthia, I’m looking forward to many more covers from her in the future.

Head below the cut for the full cover art, and to learn more about Elizabeth Bear's new novel!

[Read More]

Nov 19 2014 1:00pm

Rereading Melanie Rawn: The Star Scroll, Chapters 1 and 2

WelMelanie Rawn Dragon Prince Star Scroll rereadcome to the weekly Wednesday reread of Melanie Rawn’s Dragon Prince trilogy! This week we start book two, The Star Scroll. It’s been fourteen years since the end of the first book when we reunite with old friends and enemies and meet new ones, and the intrigue and the politics fly fast and furious.

Part One: The Scroll
Chapter 1

So This Happens: This new installment in the Dragon Prince saga begins at Graypearl, Prince Lleyn’s palace on the island of Dorval. The camera zooms in to focus on a fourteen-year-old boy playing in the garden. We learn immediately that this is the High Prince’s heir.

[Read More]

Nov 19 2014 12:00pm

This is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things: Moral Ambiguity, YA Literature, and The Princess Bride

I’ve been thinking a lot about the movie The Princess Bride. Which, really, has been sort of a semi-consistent thing since childhood. Lately, though, something has occurred to me, and really, I don’t know why I didn’t think about this before. It’s about Westley. Namely, it’s the Dread Pirate Roberts problem.

Now, farm boy Westley is great—don’t get me wrong, but he’s a bit doormat-ish: sweet and kind, but lacking a little…something. Even as a child I though Buttercup was kind of a brat in the beginning and I wanted Westley to stick up for himself a little. So Farm Boy Westley wasn’t my thing. However, later in the film when he shows back up dressed all in black, expertly wielding a sword and full of swagger? We as the audience can’t help but love him.

[Except...the Dread Pirate Roberts takes no survivors, right?]

Nov 19 2014 11:45am

Watch the First Trailer for Disney’s Live-Action Cinderella

Cinderella trailer live-action Disney Kenneth Branagh Cate Blanchett Helena Bonham Carter

Kenneth Branagh's Cinderella, being backed by Disney, looks to be a pretty faithful remake of the animated classic. (No songs from the Brandy/Whitney Houston musical, or the complete reimagining of Ever After.) Downton Abbey's Lily James is poor Ella, forced to serve her evil stepmother (Cate Blanchett, who looks like she will be delightfully mean) and awful stepsisters. Until, that is, Ella's fairy godmother (Helena Bonham Carter) reveals herself and whips up a pumpkin carriage, blue dress, and glass slippers for Ella to enjoy the ball.

[Watch the trailer]

Nov 19 2014 11:00am

Rocket Talk Episode 35: Rob H. Bedford

Rocket Talk

Featuring blogger Rob Bedford, this week’s Rocket Talk podcast episode delves into the relationship between the author and reviewer.

In light of all the recent challenges with this dynamic, Justin asks questions ranging from how Rob views his own relationship to reviewing, how things have changed in the decade plus he’s been in the business, and whether or not there’s something we can do to improve it moving forward.

[Listen here!]

Nov 19 2014 10:00am

The Time Traveler’s Wife Provides the Perfect Way to Rewrite Your Favorite Pairing in Fanfic

The Time Traveler's Wife fanfiction crossovers Supernatural Sherlock Star Trek The Vampire Diaries

A funny thing happened the other day when I decided, on a whim, to look up The Time Traveler’s Wife fanfiction. It’s one of my favorite books, and while there are several years to wait until Audrey Niffenegger writes the sequel, I figured I would bide my time by revisiting Clare and Henry in their out-of-order time-spanning romance.

Except, at least half of the fanfics tagged with “The Time Traveler’s Wife” on Archive of Our Own aren’t from the world of TTTW. They just use the book’s structure to retell the love stories of Kirk/Spock, Sherlock/John, Dean/Castiel, and more.

[Read more]

Nov 19 2014 9:00am
Original Story

Where the Trains Turn

I don’t like to think about the past. But I cannot stop remembering my son.

Emma Nightingale prefers to remain grounded in reality as much as possible. Yet she’s willing to indulge her nine year-old son Rupert’s fascination with trains, as it brings him closer to his father, Gunnar, from whom she is separated. Once a month, Gunnar and Rupert venture out to follow the rails and watch the trains pass. Their trips have been pleasant, if uneventful, until one afternoon Rupert returns in tears. “The train tried to kill us,” he tells her.

Rupert’s terror strikes Emma as merely the product of an overactive imagination. After all, his fears could not be based in reality, could they?

Published here for the first time in English, “Where the Trains Turn” won first prize in the Finnish science-fiction magazine Portti’s annual short story competition and then went on to win the Atorox Award for best Finnish science fiction or fantasy short story.

This novella was acquired and edited for Tor.com by Peter Joseph. Translation by Liisa Rantalaiho.

[Read “Where the Trains Turn” by Pasi Ilmari Jääskeläinen]

Nov 19 2014 8:00am

Morning Roundup: Bizarre Love Triangle

So every once in a while, more treasure troves of behind-the-scenes Star Wars photos pop up. And while they’re always delightful, The Mary Sue led us to Dorkly’s collection of 50 amazing shots, which contain what may be our favorite yet. Look at that. Proof that everyone in their right mind has a crush on Han.

Morning Roundup asks if you would like to receive a book from one Neil Gaiman or one Daniel Handler, then suggests possible cockatil party conversation starters—just in time for the holidays! We also have an ludicrously long interview with Benedict Cumberbatch below the cut.

[Plus, a piece of Internet nostalgia that will make you long for the days of dial-up!]

Nov 18 2014 5:00pm

Jurassic World Launches Viral Website With New Images and Plot Hints

Jurassic World viral website photos skeleton

Last we heard of Jurassic World, a “leaked” brochure hinted at which dinosaurs we’ll see in the new film. Now, Universal Pictures has upped its viral marketing game by launching a website for Masrani Global, the company responsible for bringing to life John Hammond’s dreams of a dinosaur theme park.

[Welcome to the new Isla Nublar!]