A Long Spoon December 18, 2014 A Long Spoon Jonathan L. Howard A Johannes Cabal story. Burnt Sugar December 10, 2014 Burnt Sugar Lish McBride Everyone knows about gingerbread houses. Father Christmas: A Wonder Tale of the North December 9, 2014 Father Christmas: A Wonder Tale of the North Charles Vess Happy Holidays from Tor.com Skin in the Game December 3, 2014 Skin in the Game Sabrina Vourvoulias Some monsters learn how to pass.
From The Blog
December 9, 2014
The Eleventh Doctor’s Legacy Was Loss and Failure
Emily Asher-Perrin
December 9, 2014
Tor.com Reviewers’ Choice: The Best Books of 2014
Tor.com
December 8, 2014
How Fast is the Millennium Falcon? A Thought Experiment.
Chris Lough
December 8, 2014
Tiamat’s Terrain: Tales of the Marvellous and News of the Strange
Alex Mangles
December 4, 2014
Potential Spoiler Leak for Star Wars: The Force Awakens Reveals Awesome Details
Emily Asher-Perrin
Mon
Dec 15 2014 4:00pm

End of the Line: Jeff VanderMeer and the Southern Reach Trilogy

Jeff VanderMeer interview Southern Reach trilogy omnibus Since the first and second Tor.com interviews with Jeff VanderMeer, his Southern Reach Trilogy, which concluded with Acceptance in August, has appeared on several Best Of lists this year. Meanwhile, an omnibus edition of the entire trilogy has been released in hardcover and VanderMeer, on tour again in support of the books, has been interviewed many times.

For this third and final interview about the Southern Reach Trilogy, then, we talked more about the overarching themes of the trilogy, the places it was written from and about, and what’s next—for VanderMeer and for us.

[Read More]

Mon
Dec 15 2014 3:15pm

Ancient Textbook Doodles Prove School Has Been Boring for Centuries

medieval doodles

We’re used to thinking of illuminated manuscripts as nearly sacred texts that take a painstakingly long time to create and must have been handled with the utmost care. But medieval book historian Erik Kwakkel, in documenting his various findings on his blog, has discovered that people in medieval times treated their books much the way we do today.

Kwakkel shared several photos of medieval manuscripts from about 700 years ago, their pages filled with doodles by scribes, monks, and bored school children.

[Read more]

Mon
Dec 15 2014 3:00pm

Follow Your Arrow: Valdemaran Public Health and Epidemiology

One of the conventions of YA literature is a journey in which the hero’s mettle is tested. Harry Potter went to the Forest of Dean. Katniss Everdeen went to the Quarter Quell. And Talia goes to Sorrows Two.

She spent Arrows of the Queen being trained and educated as Queen’s Own, and in chapters five and six of Arrow’s Flight, Kris and Talia reach their sector and her skills are put to the test. The major plot development here is that Talia’s shields continue to deteriorate, taking her emotional state with them.

In order to build that problem to a meaningful crisis, Lackey needs to show us what Heralds really do, and why it’s important for them to be emotionally stable.

[An arrow in flight must be sent with control]

Mon
Dec 15 2014 2:00pm

Flying Hats and Marching Brooms: Once Upon a Time, “Heroes and Villains”

Once Upon a Time Heroes and Villains

Villains! Heroes! Trickery! Princesses! Pirates! Surprisingly Powerful Hats! Yep, time once again for ABC’s Once Upon a Time, as the fall season draws to a close with “Heroes and Villains.” Which has to do—SHOCKER AHEAD—with Heroes and Villains.

[This means an evil yet adorable dalmatian could be showing up. JUST SAYING.]

Mon
Dec 15 2014 1:00pm

Rereading the Empire Trilogy: Servant of the Empire, Part 14

Servant of the Empire Raymond E Feist Janny WurtsWelcome back to the reread of Servant of the Empire by Raymond E Feist and Janny Wurts.

This is the ‘Arakasi wishes they had invented telephones’ chapter in which he basically spends several week running around and bringing news to Mara, over and over again. I am reminded of Hermione Granger snapping “I am not an OWL” at Harry Potter. Possibly Hermione should buy Arakasi a stiff drink out of sympathy given that I’m pretty sure his job description does include being an owl.

[Read More]

Mon
Dec 15 2014 12:24pm

Saga Press to Publish Kameron Hurley’s Standalone Space Opera The Stars Are Legion

Saga Press Kameron Hurley The Stars Are Legion

Saga Press, Simon & Schuster’s new science fiction and fantasy imprint, already counts among its authors Ken Liu and Genevieve Valentine. Now we can add to that list Kameron Hurley, author of the post-binary gender epic fantasy The Mirror Empire. Canadian SFF writer Aidan Moher broke the news on his blog A Dribble of Ink that Saga will publish Hurley’s The Stars Are Legion, a new standalone space opera, in 2016.

The first of two standalone books, The Stars Are Legion takes place within a star system comprised of “world-ships”—think generation ships but bigger—where two feuding matriarchs ultimately incite a war en route to discovering humanity’s new home. Saga Press Executive Editor Joe Monti (who purchased both novels) describes it as “Mad Max meets Henry V but aboard a world-sized [Weyland]-Yutani spaceship.”

[Read more]

Mon
Dec 15 2014 12:00pm
Excerpt

The Just City (Excerpt)

Jo Walton The Just City excerpt Created as an experiment by the time-traveling goddess Pallas Athene, the Just City is a planned community, populated by over ten thousand children and a few hundred adult teachers from all eras of history, along with some handy robots from the far human future—all set down together on a Mediterranean island in the distant past.

The student Simmea, born an Egyptian farmer’s daughter sometime between 500 and 1000 A.D, is a brilliant child, eager for knowledge,  ready to strive to be her best self. The teacher Maia was once Ethel, a young Victorian lady of much learning and few prospects, who prayed to Pallas Athene in an unguarded moment during a trip to Rome—and, in an instant, found herself in the Just City with grey-eyed Athene standing unmistakably before her. Meanwhile, Apollo—stunned by the realization that there are things mortals understand better than he does—has arranged to live a human life, and has come to the City as one of the children. He knows his true identity, and conceals it from his peers. For this lifetime, he is prone to all the troubles of being human.

Then, a few years in, Sokrates arrives—the same Sokrates recorded by Plato himself—to ask all the troublesome questions you would expect. What happens next is a tale only Jo Walton could tell. The Just City is available January 13th from Tor Books—check out an excerpt below!

[Read an excerpt]

Mon
Dec 15 2014 1:48pm

Sony Hack Reveals Potential Plot Details About Rian Johnson’s Star Wars: Episode VIII and Episode IX

Star Wars Episode XIII IX rumors Rian Johnson Luke Leia storylines

One of the unexpected ways that movie fans benefit from the Sony email hack is that even offhanded comments about non-Sony projects can become news. For instance, the emails between Columbia Pictures President of Production Michael De Luca and Sony Pictures Entertainment co-chairman Amy Pascal, in which the two chat briefly about some of the new Star Wars films.

While the emails don’t divulge as much information as the alleged spoiler leak on 4chan a few weeks ago, they still hint at what to expect from Rian Johnson’s follow-ups to J.J. Abrams’ Star Wars: The Force Awakens, plus some insight into the standalone films.

[Read more]

Mon
Dec 15 2014 11:00am

The Infinite Points of Interest in Alternate History

The Great Abraham Lincoln Pocketwatch Conspiracy Jacopo della Quercia In many ways, any venture into alternate history ultimately begins with something simple: a single bullet, a stopping heart, or—perhaps most famously—the flapping of a butterfly’s wings in some distant, unknown past.

Such elements have played key roles in the literatures of countless writers, especially since such similarly minor factors have repeatedly redirected history as we know it. The fate of the American Revolution, for example, might have ultimately been decided by a poker game. Before the Union victories at Gettysburg and Vicksburg, the American Civil War hinged on a piece of paper wrapped around three cigars, found in a field. A wrong turn in a stalling car resulted in the assassination that triggered World War I, whereas World War III was narrowly avoided in 1962 thanks to one little-known Soviet officer’s presence during the Cuban Missile Crisis. As for World War II, let’s not even get started on how different the world would be if a certain vagrant studied painting instead of antisemitism while in Vienna.

[What if?]

Mon
Dec 15 2014 10:34am

Gandalf Is the Worst Boss Ever in This The Hobbit/The Office Mashup

The Hobbit The Office mashup sketch Saturday Night Live Martin Freeman

If you thought Bilbo Baggins simply returned to the Shire after the events of The Hobbit, you’d be dead wrong. Turns out that after the Battle of the Five Armies, he nobly turned down his share of Smaug’s treasure and instead took up a job at a paper company, along with his fellow adventurers... and Gandalf, who continues to run everyone’s lives and just be the worst.

[Watch this Hobbit/Office mashup]

Mon
Dec 15 2014 10:00am

Steven Erikson: On Compassion, Completing Malazan, and Looking Toward the Future

Malazan Reread of the Fallen Steven Erikson

As many of you know, our ongoing Malazan Reread recently reached the end of The Crippled God, the final novel in the series. To mark the occasion, author Steven Erikson graciously offered to participate in a Q&A covering both the novel and the series as a whole.

You can read the entirety of the discussion here, but for those who might have missed it, we wanted to share the following statement from Steven, addressing all the fans who’ve followed the series, as well as our intrepid Tor.com rereaders, Bill Capossere and Amanda Rutter.

[Read Erikson’s post below!]

Mon
Dec 15 2014 9:00am
Reprint

Seventh Day of the Seventh Moon

Kaleidoscope Anthology Tor.com is pleased to reprint “Seventh Day of the Seventh Moon,” a story by Ken Liu originally published in Kaleidoscope—an anthology published by Twelfth Planet Press.

Edited by Alisa Krasnostein and Julia Rios, Kaleidoscope collects fun, edgy, meditative, and hopeful YA science fiction and fantasy with diverse leads. The anthology features twenty original stories focusing on scary futures, magical adventures, and the joys and heartbreaks of teenage life.

Ken Liu’s “Seventh Day of the Seventh Moon,” tells the story of Jing and Yuan, a pair of young women in love for the first time in their lives, who’re about to be parted by circumstances beyond their control. On Qixi, the Festival of the Cowherd and Weaver Girl, the legendary lovers give the young women some help and advice.

[Read “Seventh Day of the Seventh Moon”]

Mon
Dec 15 2014 8:00am

Morning Roundup: Lego Wonder Woman Invisible Jet is the Ultimate Dad Joke

Wonder Woman Invisible Jet Lego playset

Animator and dad joke champion John Wray’s kids must love him, since they spent an entire weekend building Wonder Woman’s invisible jet with Lego pieces. We’re talking 3,200 invisible pieces and invisible instructions. And you can bet they were prouder of it than any other Lego ship they’ve put together.

Morning Roundup brings you news of unusual water sources on the Rosetta comet, another funky lightsaber to get bent out of shape over, some Guardians of the Galaxy bloopers, and an attempt to untangle all of the Terminator franchise’s time travel paradoxes.

[Read more]

Fri
Dec 12 2014 5:05pm

Even If You Look Closely, You Still Won’t Believe This is a Silver Surfer Costume

Silver Surfer makeup drawing cosplay

That’s a pretty great drawing of the Silver Surfer, right? Wrong. That is, it’s a fantastic work of art, but it’s not an illustration. That’s a real person you're looking at, thanks to Hollywood makeup effects artist Cris Alex. Having worked on X-Men: Days of Future Past, Alex is no stranger to superheroes, and challenged herself to recreate a specific Silver Surfer comic book cover. Her final result is definitely a step up from those pop art Halloween costumes.

[Take a closer look]

Fri
Dec 12 2014 4:00pm
Excerpt

Briar Queen (Excerpt)

Katherine Harbour

Katherine Harbour Briar Queen excerpt Serafina Sullivan and her father left San Francisco to escape the painful memory of her older sister Lily Rose’s suicide. But soon after she arrived in bohemian Fair Hollow, New York, Finn discovered a terrifying secret connected to Lily Rose. The placid surface of this picture-perfect town concealed an eerie supernatural world—and at its center, the wealthy, beautiful, and terrifying Fata family.

After the events of Thorn Jack, the rhythm of life in Fair Hollow is beginning to feel a little closer to ordinary. But Finn knows better than to be lulled by this comfortable sense of normalcy. It’s just the calm before the storm. For soon, a chance encounter outside the magical Brambleberry Books will lead her down a rabbit hole, into a fairy world of secrets and legacies… straight towards the shocking truth about her sister’s death.

Night and Nothing, Katherine Harbour’s dark, moody, and mystical fantasy series, continues with Briar Queen—available June 2015 from HarperVoyager. Tor.com is pleased to reveal the cover design, plus an excerpt below!

[Read an Excerpt]

Fri
Dec 12 2014 3:00pm

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Rewatch: “Treachery, Faith, and the Great River”

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Rewatch on Tor.com: Treachery, Faith, and the Great River“Treachery, Faith, and the Great River”
Written by Philip Kim and David Weddle & Bradley Thompson
Directed by Steve Posey
Season 7, Episode 6
Production episode 40510-556
Original air date: November 4, 1998
Stardate: unknown

Station log: Odo has received a coded message from Gul Russol, one of his most reliable contacts in Cardassian space—and whom he thought was executed when Cardassia joined the Dominion. But he was Odo’s most reliable informant so he has to answer the call. He takes the Rio Grande to the rendezvous, only to find that Russol really is dead, and the message actually came from Weyoun—and he wants to defect. He claims that his life is in danger because he’s being scapegoated for the failure of the war to have already been won.

Sisko needs the Defiant’s malfunctioning gravity net to be working when he returns from a conference on Bajor in three days, but the quartermaster, Chief Willoughby, says it’ll take three weeks for the part to arrive. O’Brien has no idea how to make that happen—but Nog has a few ideas, and goes off to work his Ferengi magic, to O’Brien’s dread.

[It’s the wrong shape. The wrong height. The wrong width. Other than that it’s perfect. The captain will never suspect you switched desks on him.]

Fri
Dec 12 2014 2:00pm

Rereading Joe Abercrombie’s First Law Trilogy, Last Argument of Kings: “The Poison Trade” and “Being Chief”

Joe Abercrombie reread The Last Argument of Kings When I began this reread over 18 months ago I had no idea how much I would enjoy it. In fact, as we begin The Last Argument of Kings I’ve begun to appreciate even more the skill with which Abercrombie has constructed the most subversive piece of epic fantasy that has ever been written. It is clever and funny and revelatory. I am once again ensorcelled.

We begin the third book with a quote from Paul Gauguin, a man whose work was only celebrated after his death. ‘Life being what it is, one dreams of revenge.’ So, there’s that...

[This week’s chapters]

Fri
Dec 12 2014 1:16pm

New Insurgent Trailer Pits Tris vs. Tris

Insurgent movie trailer Divergent Shailene Woodley Kate Winslet

If you weren’t satisfied by the odd Insurgent teaser trailer that was released about a month ago, you’ll appreciate this more straightforward trailer for the second film based on Veronica Roth's dystopian YA trilogy.

For the most part, Insurgent looks to be following the plot of the book, picking up where Divergent left off: Tris Prior (Shailene Woodley) and her fellow Dauntless boyfriend Four (Theo James) are on the run from the Erudite faction, whose leader Jeanine Matthews (Kate Winslet) is using simulations and other methods to turn the rest of Dauntless into her own personal army. But there are a few plot tweaks to up the stakes in the movie version.

[Watch the trailer]

Fri
Dec 12 2014 1:00pm

On the Masterful Creepiness of Merricat: Shirley Jackson’s We Have Always Lived in the Castle

Shirley Jackson We Have Always Lived in the Castle I came to the Shirley Jackson party late. The first thing I read was The Haunting of Hill House, and that was just last year. On my way to the park for a lunchtime walk and brain-clearing, I pulled a parcel from the post box. In the park I didn’t refrain from tearing open said parcel because, well, book. I did laps whilst reading this tremendously weird tale, and by the time I returned home there was a kind of strange translucent wallpaper over my vision, an image of Hill House superimposed on the things of my everyday life. That’s kind of disturbing.

But that’s not what I wanted to talk about—Hill House (not sane, but brilliant) led me to We Have Always Lived in the Castle, and the thoroughly magnificently malignant creation, Mary Katherine Blackwood. Merricat, with her strange acts of sympathetic magic, her even stranger magical thinking, and her almost complete lack of conscience—I say “almost” because she does seem to know she’s doing wrong, but she shrugs and does it anyway because it’s all in the service of what she believes is required.

[Read More]

Fri
Dec 12 2014 12:00pm

5 More Crossovers that Make as Much Sense as Jump Street/MIB

Pacific Rim Night at the Museum mash-up

Everyone’s very excited about the leaked Sony e-mails featuring foul language, cinematic events that never were, and occasionally the bagel preferences of Andrew Garfield. Aside from the brutal news that you’ll likely not see Spider-Man in Captain America 3 (but we can still hope!) the most bizarre news is that Sony has plans for a possible crossover between the so-wacky-you-can’t-handle-them-oops-they’re-cops franchise Jump Street and the aging who-cares-nobody-anymore-that’s-who ’90s alien-hunter franchise, Men in Black.

What you didn’t know is that there are (probably) even more comedy films mashed-up with beloved genre films that totally make just as much sense.  

[Read more]