Who could captain this mighty vessel? Whose birthday could it possibly be?
Who could captain this mighty vessel? Whose birthday could it possibly be?
Life was hard in ancient times. You had to farm for stuff, and then turn that stuff you farmed into food and cook it without a microwave. And sometimes, you had to put a garland around the neck of the best thing you farmed that year, and slaughter it on an altar, or in the middle of your tiny town square or whatever, because gods don’t farm and eff you very much they feel like some bull today.
The point is times were hard. People were cranky. Gods were smitey. Rage was on a whole other level. Or it must have been, because that’s the only reason I can figure for these huge, flaming reactions of batshit crazy.
In 2008, when fans were eager for the final installment of Chris Nolan’s bat trilogy, there was an alleged quote from star Christian Bale, claiming that he would refuse to go to work if Robin showed up in the next film. Of course, he sort of did in the form of Joseph Gordon-Levitt, but that hardly counts when he’s an adult and spends practically all of his time on screen not being Robin.
Writing alternate history means you end up doing a lot of actual historical research, if only to find good stuff to riff on. Sometimes that means researching ancient Native American cities, or the history of shanghai tunnels in Portland and Seattle.
Sometimes it means discovering New York City once had a thriving pneumatic postal system.
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 John Scalzi, one of the most popular and acclaimed SF authors to emerge in the last decade. His massively successful debut Old Man’s War won him science fiction’s John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer, and Redshirts won 2013’s Hugo Award for Best Novel. Material from his widely read blog The Whatever has also earned him two other Hugo Awards.
Scalzi’s new science fiction thriller, Lock In, is available August 26th from Tor Books! Read the first five chapters here on Tor.com for free, and listen to audiobook excerpts narrated by Amber Benson and Wil Wheaton!
What dastardly villain lurks in Scalzi’s family tree? Read on to find out!
“Hero of the Five Points” is a rollicking short adventure set in 1853 in the world of the League of Seven fantasy series for middle-grade readers by acclaimed author Alan Gratz. Grab your aether pistol and your favorite stovepipe hat and join Dalton Dent as he tracks down the foul creature known as Mose. If you want more of the League of Seven, you can check out this website.
This novelette was acquired and edited for Tor.com by senior editor Susan Chang.
Tumblr-er RedGrieve provided us with a glimpse into Bane’s early years. Before he dedicated himself to terrorizing Batman, reducing Gotham to ashes, and giving people permission to die he liked to spend some “Bane” time, lying around in his pretty pink room, daydreaming about how many people would care once he put on the mask, and writing Talia’s name in his notebooks over and over. The “i” in Talia’s name is dotted with a heart.
Morning Roundup gives you permission to read the news! We have updates on Star Trek 3, Doctor Strange, and Ant-Man, plus a glimpse of Chris Pratt’s alternate life as a surfer.
Welcome to the YA Roundup, your one stop shop to everything YA: publishing news, movie updates, new releases and cover reveals. Psst... It’s OK to read YA.
In this week’s round up: Frozen 2 is heading to book stores and not movie screens, another Vampire Academy movie may be on the way (we resist the urge to use puns...and fail), and Christopher Walken joins the cast of The Jungle Book.
Our Associate Publisher Irene Gallo was at this year’s Hugo Awards at LonCon and recently revealed that throughout the ceremony she was close enough to all but kidnap David Tennant i.e. the Tenth Doctor i.e. AUUUUUUUGH! Repeated queries from Stubby the Rocket to London on whether he has been kidnapped, why hasn’t he been kidnapped, can he be kidnapped, have gone unanswered.
And that wasn’t the only Doctor in the house!
Everyone loves a good superhero origin story. Unless there’s been like 50 of them, which there kind of has, repeatedly Batman Begins, Man of Steel, Amazing Spider-Man, pretty much all of Marvel’s Phase 1 slate.
Especially with regard to the latter, it made sense to spend the time introducing these heroes, how they receive their powers, and their first obstacles. But now that the Marvel Cinematic Universe is firmly established, rumor has it future films, like Doctor Strange, are dispensing with the origin story. To which we say: YES.
Sixteen-year-old Avery Roe wants only to take her rightful place as the witch of Prince Island, making the charms that keep the island’s whalers safe at sea, but her mother has forced her into a magic-free world of proper manners and respectability. When Avery dreams she’s to be murdered, she knows time is running out to unlock her magic and save herself.
Avery finds an unexpected ally in a tattooed harpoon boy named Tane—a sailor with magic of his own, who moves Avery in ways she never expected. Becoming a witch might stop her murder and save her island from ruin, but Avery discovers her magic requires a sacrifice she never prepared for.
Salt & Storm, Kendall Kulper’s magical historical romance, publishes September 23rd from Little, Brown Books for Your Readers. Check out an excerpt below!
Marvel utterly shocked fans at San Diego Comic-Con last month when they unveiled the first trailer for Avengers: Age of Ultron. If you read our liveblog, you know why. But if tweet reactions aren’t detailed enough for you, we’ve found a few videos giving the blow-by-blow (literally) of the insane turn Joss Whedon’s sequel is taking, including one that, in the absence of visuals, sketches out the action via storyboard.
Harrison was the Monster Detective, a storybook hero. Now he’s in his mid-thirties and spends most of his time popping pills and not sleeping. Stan became a minor celebrity after being partially eaten by cannibals. Barbara is haunted by unreadable messages carved upon her bones. Greta may or may not be a mass-murdering arsonist. Martin never takes off his sunglasses. Never.
No one believes the extent of their horrific tales, not until they are sought out by psychotherapist Dr. Jan Sayer. What happens when these seemingly-insane outcasts form a support group? Together they must discover which monsters they face are within—and which are lurking in plain sight.
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Let’s not everyone freak out at once. Just last episode we talked about the knife edge of doubt that an “all-ages” show like The Legend of Korra has been able to walk when it comes to violence. The Earth Queen’s demise could have been the Earth Queen’s defeat until the burden of context clues pushed it over. Heck, this episode we see a number of seemingly fatal falls turn out to be misdirection, on all sides, so I guess my point is: all we can do is speculate about the ultimate fate of one of our favorite characters.
One thing I’ve said this entire season is that the stakes and the tension are high; it feels like anything can happen. I’m hoping the fallout from this recent turn of events is more of a melancholy sad, with more of an “Appa’s Lost Days” feel to the consequences than what the worst case scenario could be. Enough of all of this vague spoiler-free mummery; let’s talk brass tacks, below the cut.
It’s got to be an odd position as the director of the second new Star Wars film, waiting in the wings to really get into the nitty-gritty of the new trilogy. Speaking with the Girls in Hoodies podcast recently, Rian Johnson said that visiting the set of Episode VII is both helpful and not, since he feels a bit out of place not actually working on the film. But as for looking ahead to his own stint in the director’s chair, he says, “I don’t have the terror I expected I would, at least not yet. I’m sure I will at some point.”
While we’re waiting to see whether or not Marvel will finally give Black Widow her own stand alone film, we can take this moment to look at the place Scarlett Johansson plays in the current universe of cinematic science fiction.
It’s interesting to recall that just a few years ago, Johansson was known primarily as an indie darling. After cutting her teeth as a child star in the 90s (most notably in Robert Redford’s The Horse Whisperer), she transitioned into more adult roles in 2001 with the one-two punch of Ghost World and The Man Who Wasn’t There. Though those two films were miles apart in subject matter, they had some tonal similarities—focusing on the existential ennui of a harried protagonist—Ghost World’s caustic high schooler Enid (Thora Birch) and Man’s laconic barber Ed (Billy Bob Thornton). Playing a supporting role in both films, Johansson’s character is inaccessible—a vision that the protagonist can’t reach. In Ghost World, she’s the childhood friend who grows up and away, lost to young adulthood. In The Man Who Wasn’t There, she’s the underage object of an older man’s shy desire, a would-be Lolita for a near-mute Humbert Humbert.
It’s time for the Very Special Episode of the Young Jedi Knight books. It is also, unfortunately, the final installment of this series. Natalie and I are going to miss looking back on these weirdly formative adventures with all of you. They were a significant part of our childhood, and a funny corner of the Star Wars universe before everything went all… dark and stormy with the New Jedi Order.
So we finish on Crisis at Crystal Reef! Jacen still looks like Jonathan Taylor Thomas on the cover (seriously, what is going on?) and we’re going to be spending some time in the spice mines of Kessel (though he won’t be smashed into anything). People will get trapped in ice caps, but emerge much sooner than Captain America or Aang did in their respective narratives.
Syfy has been teasing an adaptation of Arthur C. Clarke’s sci-fi classic Childhood’s End since 2013, but the project stalled when the network made some programming changes. But according to Deadline, Syfy is gearing back up on what will be a six-hour miniseries.
Producer Michael De Luca (The Social Network) is joined by Akiva Goldsman, who worked on I Am Legend and (the Keanu Reeves) Constantine, as well as contributed to the screenplay for I, Robot. Syfy has also roped in two Doctor Who alums to write and direct—respectively, Matthew Graham (“Fear Her”) and Nick Hurran (“The Angels Take Manhattan” and “The Day of the Doctor,” among other episodes).
Published in 1953, Childhood’s End tells how the peaceful alien Overlords took over Earth to erase war and create a near-utopia... but at global personal cost. Though several adaptations have been attempted, none have yet come to the big screen. Stanley Kubrick was at one point interested, but he and Clarke ended up collaborating on what would become 2001: A Space Odyssey. We’ve got our fingers crossed that Syfy finally gives Childhood’s End the greenlight.
The 2014 Hugos were awarded at LonCon3 this past weekend, and, out of an extremely strong field, we’re thrilled that several pieces of Tor.com original short fiction were honored.
Congratulations to all of this year’s nominees and winners, in particular to Best Short Story Winner John Chu (“The Water That Falls on You from Nowhere”), Best Novelette Winner Mary Robinette Kowal (“The Lady Astronaut of Mars”), and Best Novella Winner Charles Stross (“Equoid”)! Learn more about each of the winning entries below, and check out more of Tor.com’s Original fiction!
J.K. Rowling has released a new little gem over at Pottermore, giving fans more information about Celestina Warbeck, a famous singer in the Potterverse... because it’s her birthday. And with that bio, she has released an actual musical track—one of Celestina’s hits!