This Savage Song

There’s no such thing as safe in a city at war, a city overrun with monsters. In this dark urban fantasy from acclaimed author Victoria Schwab, a young woman and a young man must choose whether to become heroes or villains—and friends or enemies—with the future of their home at stake. The first of two books in the Monsters of Verity series, This Savage Song is available July 5 from HarperCollins.

Kate Harker and August Flynn are the heirs to a divided city—a city where the violence has begun to breed actual monsters. All Kate wants is to be as ruthless as her father, who lets the monsters roam free and makes the humans pay for his protection. All August wants is to be human, as good-hearted as his own father, to play a bigger role in protecting the innocent—but he’s one of the monsters. One who can steal a soul with a simple strain of music. When the chance arises to keep an eye on Kate, who’s just been kicked out of her sixth boarding school and returned home, August jumps at it. But Kate discovers August’s secret, and after a failed assassination attempt the pair must flee for their lives.

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Flashbulb Diplomacy: Image, Fashion, and Politics in Persona and Icon

Every year, the Metropolitan Museum of Art holds a gala fundraiser for its Costume Institute with the fashion party of the year. Industry elite are invited to attend; in recent years, celebrity guests have increasingly joined them. It’s made the carpet a little more populist, for versions of “populist” that let the public gather behind barriers across the avenue to guess who’s in the giant silver ballgown. The evening is a crowning glory of the fashion world, the jewel of the Met crown—and an achievement for the Hollywood set who get invited. Being on the red carpet at the Met Gala is a power move. And Anna Wintour personally decides who goes, and when they’re allowed to arrive.

That seems vaguely ludicrous. But this party is a high-stakes event, and there’s a palpable hierarchy that’s understood—and being constantly negotiated—by everyone on the inside. Anna Wintour is just a visible figurehead of a process that’s usually refracted across dozens of event runners and publicists. The Best Actress ringers don’t show up in the opening hour of the Oscars carpet; the Hollywood inner circle shows up at the Met Gala after the models are gone. We’ve seen the patterns play out to the point we understand the rhythms. Show up too early and everyone knows you’re the opening act: your photos get buried in real-time slideshows. Show up later, and the burden’s on you to interpret the theme better than everyone around you—while hitting a red carpet grace note that has that Met edge. (The year the Met did its China Through the Looking Glass exhibit, Rihanna showed up in an embroidered Guo Pei coat it took three people to carry.)

[That level of image fascinates me.]

Back with a Fresh Look: The Nightmare Stacks by Charles Stross

The Nightmare Stacks, seventh in Charles Stross’s ongoing Laundry Files series, once again takes us to the urban-science-fantasy-Lovecraftian-potential-apocalypse, this time from the perspective of Alex Schwartz—the young PHANG (read: vampire) who survived the nastiness at the end of the fifth book after having been drafted into the Laundry’s service. Alex has been given the task of checking out a bunker to repurpose for the Laundry up in Leeds, but things take a turn for the worse when he meets Cassie—and when an alien race of hominids who already ushered in their own tentacle-horror-apocalypse decide to come calling to our world instead.

Stross has been tackling a set of tropes for each of the books in this series, to great effect, and this time we’re up against elves. Pointy-eared, feral, terrifying, psychotic elves with a violently hierarchical society given to the enforcement of social rank through brutal magic. In short: they aren’t very nice and they do not play well with others. Turns out the overload of math-driven space-time horrors isn’t the sole threat facing humanity in the dawning days of CASE NIGHTMARE GREEN.

[A review.]

The Wheel of Time Reread Redux: The Dragon Reborn, Part 25

Wheel of Time Reread Redux! Yeah! Whoo!

Today’s Redux post will cover Chapters 52 and 53 of The Dragon Reborn, originally reread in this post and this post, respectively.

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 available as an e-book series! Yay!

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

And now, the post!

[And also, confidence is sexy, but we already knew that]

Series: The Wheel of Time Reread

Nightshades Sweepstakes!

We want to send you a galley copy of Melissa F. Olson’s Nightshades, available July 19th from Tor.com Publishing!

Alex McKenna is the new Special Agent in Charge of the Chicago office of the Bureau of Paranormal Investigations—the division tasked with investigating crimes involving shades.

Or vampires, as they’re more widely known.

Children have been going missing, and agents are routinely being slaughtered. It’s up to McKenna, and some unlikely allies, to get to the bottom of the problem, and find the kids before it’s too late.

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 12:30 PM Eastern Time (ET) on June 28th. Sweepstakes ends at 12:00 PM ET on July 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.

Our Predictions for Game of Thrones Season 7

Winter is Here! The winds of winter are blowing! Season 6 of Game of Thrones is over and now the long wait for Season 7 has begun. FireandLunch has had a blast discussing this season via the lens of book-readers with you all at Tor and we’re here again to help you endure the wait for Season 7.

We’re scrying into our fires and scouring the books to present our predictions for HBO’s Game of Thrones Season 7. As always, tons of book spoilers will be found below. Tell us your own predictions in the comments!

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Series: HBO’s Game of Thrones

The Fifty-Year Mission is the People’s History of Star Trek

In 1967 when Gene Roddenberry was accused of personally organizing scores of protesting fans who physically demonstrated in front of NBC Studios to keep Star Trek on the air he said “That’s very flattering, because if I could start demonstrations around the country from this desk, I’d get the hell out of science fiction and into politics.” This quote is one of thousands found in the new book, The Fifty-Year Mission: The Complete Uncensored, Unauthorized Oral History of Star Trek: Volume One: The First 25 Years by Edward Gross and Mark A. Altman. It’s the first volume of two, and like that Roddenberry quip; the entire text shines a bright light on the chasm between what you think you know about the history of Star Trek and what the history of Star Trek really was.

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Sleeps With Monsters: Urban Fantasy, Space Opera, and Historical Mystery All Walk Into A Bar

There are days when I wish I didn’t need sleep. If I didn’t need sleep, my to-be-read pile might grow at a slower rate. And I might finally come within striking distance of catching up.

But that doesn’t mean I don’t have a few books I’d like to tell you about today. One urban fantasy set in the north of England, one historical murder mystery set in 1839 Mississippi, and one debut space opera, set in a matriarchal empire beset by enemies foreign and domestic…

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Series: Sleeps With Monsters

Mur Lafferty’s The Shambling Guide to New York City to Become a Netflix Movie

Netflix’s latest foray into the feature film game is an intriguing one: Tracking Board announces that the streaming service will adapt Mur Lafferty’s The Shambling Guide to New York City, about a travel writer who must write a guide to the Big Apple… for monsters and the undead. Sarah Bowen, Netflix’s Director of Content Acquisition, will oversee the project; she was a producer on two of Netflix’s recent features, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon: Sword of Destiny and Pee-wee’s Big Holiday.

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Five Books In Which Superpowers Have Unfortunate Side Effects

I’ve always been drawn to books with characters whose abilities represent a classic double-edged sword, both blessing and curse. Think Incredible Hulk—unbelievably strong, capable of protecting both himself and others, but also out of control, unable to clearly remember who he is or what he’s doing when he’s in that transformed state. When it comes to such powerful characters, the double-edged ability is a great way to explore the dark-side of awesomeness, to render someone who is untouchable painfully relatable. The unfortunate side effects and consequences of special powers also bring balance and tension into a story, where power alone would limit the tale to simple answers and quick resolution.

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Series: Five Books About…

The Fifty-Year Mission

Edward Gross and Mark A. Altman’s The Fifty-Year Mission: The Complete, Uncensored, Unauthorized Oral History of Star Trek: The First 25 Years is the unauthorized, uncensored and unbelievable true story behind the making of a pop culture phenomenon. The original Star Trek series debuted in 1966 and has spawned five TV series spin-offs and a dozen feature films, with an upcoming one from Paramount arriving in 2016. The Fifty-Year Mission is a no-holds-barred oral history of five decades of Star Trek, told by the people who were there. Hear from the hundreds of television and film executives, programmers, writers, creators and cast as they unveil the oftentimes shocking story of Star Trek‘s ongoing fifty-year mission—a mission that has spanned from the classic series to the animated show, the many attempts at a relaunch through the beloved feature films.

Make no mistake, this isn’t just a book for Star Trek fans. Here is a volume for all fans of pop culture and anyone interested in the nuts and bolts of a television touchstone. In this exclusive excerpt from the new book (courtesy of Thomas Dunne Books/St. Martin’s Press), Gross and Altman reveal the secret of the lost Star Trek movie, Planet of the Titans.

The Fifty-Year Mission: The First 25 Years, the definitive and exhaustive oral history of Star Trek, is available as of June 28 at bookstores everywhere and online. The Fifty-Year Mission: The Next 25 Years will be published on August 30.

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Independence Day: Resurgence is Just Happy to Be Back, You Guys

One of the very first classes I took in high school was a required English comp course, one that every student, including myself, was dreading. To break the ice on that nervous, greasy-eyed day in late 1996, the teacher asked each of us what movie we had most enjoyed seeing over the summer. Most of us answered: Independence Day. Sure, it was loud and simplistic, but we had never before seen entire cities being wiped out, never been able to conceptualize massive and realistic alien craft, never had to consider being confronted with such an inescapable threat until that movie came out.

I answered Independence Day, as well, of course. Not so much because of the spectacle, but because I loved imagining where the story could go after the ending. What would humanity do with all that new technology? Would we be able to live in harmony with the surviving aliens? Would the planetary alliance last beyond the great battle? Independence Day was fun, but I really wanted to know what came next after such a civilization-altering event.

I would have to wait twenty years.

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