A Cup of Salt Tears August 27, 2014 A Cup of Salt Tears Isabel Yap They say women in grief are beautiful. Strongest Conjuration August 26, 2014 Strongest Conjuration Skyler White A story of the Incrementalists. 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.
From The Blog
August 27, 2014
The Crippled God, Chapter Fourteen
Amanda Rutter and Bill Capossere
August 25, 2014
Animorphs: Why the Series Rocked and Why You Should Still Care
Sam Riedel
August 20, 2014
The Welcome Return of the Impatient and Cantankerous Doctor Who
David Cranmer
August 19, 2014
The Wheel of Time Reread Redux: Introductory Post
Leigh Butler
August 19, 2014
Whatever Happened to the Boy Wonder? Bring Robin Back to the Big Screen
Emily Asher-Perrin
Aug 22 2014 10:30am

Read the First Five Chapters of John Scalzi’s Lock In

Lock In John ScalziRead the first five chapters from Lock In, John Scalzi’s new novel, out on August 26 from Tor Books!

Not too long from today, a new, highly contagious virus makes its way across the globe. Most who get sick experience nothing worse than flu, fever, and headaches. But for the unlucky one percent—nearly five million souls in the United States alone—the disease causes “lock in”: Victims are fully awake and aware, but unable to move or respond to any stimulus. The disease affects young, old, rich, poor, people of every color and creed. The world changes to meet the challenge.  

A quarter of a century later, in a world shaped by what’s now known as “Haden’s syndrome,” rookie FBI agent Chris Shane is paired with veteran agent Leslie Vann. They are assigned what appears to be a Haden-related murder at the Watergate Hotel, with a suspect who is an “Integrator”—someone who can let the locked in borrow their bodies for a time. If the Integrator was carrying a Haden client, then naming the suspect for the murder will be that much more complicated.

But “complicated” doesn’t begin to describe the puzzle that ensues. As Shane and Vann begin to unravel the threads of the murder, it becomes clear that the real mystery—and the real crime—is bigger than anyone could have imagined. The world of the locked in is changing, and with change comes opportunity that the ambitious will seize at any cost. The investigation takes Shane and Vann from the halls of corporate power to the virtual spaces of the locked in, and to the very heart of an emerging, surprising new human culture.  

[Read the first five chapters of Lock In by John Scalzi]

Aug 22 2014 10:00am

What Happened, If It Happened: J by Howard Jacobson

J Howard Jacobson review

Alongside Us, The Bone Clocks, and How To Be Both, J by Howard Jacobson was one of a number of novels longlisted for the Man Booker Prize in advance of its publication date. A source of frustration for some, I’m sure—though this has ever been the panel’s habit—but for others it represents a reason to update reading radars.

This year, I found myself amongst the others above, because if not for the nod, I doubt I’d have looked twice at this book. When I did, additionally, it was with some scepticism; after all, Jacobson has won the Booker before, for The Finkler Question in 2010—the first comic novel to take the trophy home in 25 years—and pointedly acknowledging former nominees is another of the panel’s practices.

Not today. J, I’m pleased to say, is in every sense deserving of its spot on the longlist. It’s a literary revelation wrapped in understated dystopian clothing; a wonder of wit and whimsy that takes in the chilling and the ridiculous—the hilarious and the horrific. That said, it’s a novel that requires rereading to appreciate completely.

[Read More]

Aug 22 2014 9:00am

Fairytale’s Most Wanted: The Five Most Well-Known Character Types

John Atkinson Grimshaw

One of the remarkable things about fairytales is that you can know almost everything you need to know about the characters from the first few lines of the story. So, when The Frog King begins, “Once upon a time, when wishes still came true, there lived a king who had beautiful daughters,” you know that the story will revolve around one or more archetypal “fairytale princesses,” and will end with at least one of them marrying an equally archetypal fairytale prince. Or, when we are introduced to a character in Hansel and Gretel with, “suddenly the door opened, and a woman as old as the hills, leaning on a crutch, hobbled out,” then you know you have just met the wicked crone and also know that she will get up to no good.

[Top Five Fairytale Archetypes]

Aug 22 2014 8:00am

Morning Roundup: Thank Goodness They’ve Drawn Attention Away from Our Wang Computers Shirt

Ah, the heady days before the black turtleneck! You would literally have to team up with Bill Murray to humiliate a bunch of coke-addled yuppies during a tennis game on a yacht to be more ’80s than this fashion shoot. Apparently, Apple had a clothing line in 1986? And it was a neon explosion of wacky fonts, pleats, and shirts snugly tucked into high-waisted jeans? Check out the rest of the collection, and pay special attention to the child holding the yellow lunch box. That kid, that kid isn’t happy in his work.

Morning Roundup brings you tales of Chris Pratt’s stolen wardrobe, Galaxy Quest’s continuing mission, and the best Star Trek tie-in merchandise!

[Plus GoldenEye!]

Aug 21 2014 5:00pm

Answers from Brandon Sanderson at the When Words Collide Festival!

Tor.com reader/dedicated Sanderson fan Jeremy Guebert recently attended the When Words Collide festival in Calgary, and was not only gracious enough to crowdsource questions to ask Brandon, but has offered to share his notes from the Q&A, so that we can pore over and pick apart Brandon’s answers to our hearts’ delight! Topics include how we can help with the Mistborn movie, thoughts on worldhopping in the cosmere, and what might happen if Szeth wielded Nightblood from Warbreaker, nothing too spoilery as long as you’re all caught up on Words of Radiance, so check out Jeremy’s notes on the Q&A below, and his full con report here!

[Read More]

Aug 21 2014 4:00pm

The Pop Quiz at the End of the Universe: Sarah J. Maas

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 Sarah J. Maas, the New York Times bestselling author of the Throne of Glass series, including Throne of Glass, Crown of Midnight, and five novellas. A New York native, Sarah currently lives in Southern California with her husband and dog.

Sarah’s patronus suggests that she is a very clever girl indeed...

[Join us!]

Aug 21 2014 3:30pm

Does Evangeline Lilly’s New Hairdo Mean She’s Playing Wasp in Ant-Man?

Evangeline Lilly Ant-Man haircut Wasp Hope Janet van Dyne Hank Pym backstory

When Marvel’s Ant-Man kicked off production earlier this week, they shared an official photo that was pretty snoozeville. Not so with the cast and crew’s Instagram shots, which give us a lot more to work with.

Take, for instance, this Instagram pic Evangeline Lilly shared yesterday. “How’s my new do?” she coyly asked fans, who immediately set to speculating that her blunt bob is looking very Wasp-ish.

[How the movie is tweaking Ant-Man’s backstory]

Aug 21 2014 3:00pm

The Seventh Sigil (Excerpt)

Margaret Weis and Robert Krammes

The Seventh Sigil Margaret Weis Robert Krammes excerpt Margaret Weis and co-author Robert Krammes bring the enthralling Dragon Brigade trilogy to a thrilling conclusion in The Seventh Sigil, a sweeping novel of worldwide war and personal redemption.

Five hundred years ago, a clan of rebels was banished to the bottom of the enchanted world of Aeronne; ever since, these Bottom Dwellers have sought revenge, and now they are waging all-out war on the rest of humanity. Their deadly “contramagic” beams destroy buildings and attack naval airships, and their demonic drumming brings terrible storms and disrupts the magic of the people and dragons Above. The attack of their full contramagic power will create a magical armageddon.

In an effort to prevent further death, Captain Stephano de Guichen leads the Dragon Brigade, taking the fight to the Bottom. But strength of arms alone will not be enough to conquer their foe.

As the Bottom Dwellers’ blood magic eats away at the world, those Above realize their only possible defense lies in the heretical secrets of contramagic. Loyal priests must decide whether to protect the Church, or risk its destruction in pursuit of the truth.

[Read an excerpt]

Aug 21 2014 2:30pm

Who Wants to Play Two Truths and A Lie with John Scalzi?

John Scalzi is celebrating the release of Lock In with a rousing game of Two Truths and a Lie! The game is simple: Scalzi tells three stories, and you guess which are the truths and which one is the big fat fib. Google Play is hosting the game, and that’s not all: they’re also offering e-books of the whole Scalzi backlist for 50% off!

Check out the video below, and then head over to Google Play to guess play along and and pick up Lock In or one of Scalzi’s other fine titles!

[Click through for LIES.]

Aug 21 2014 2:00pm

When Even Magic isn’t Enough: A Stranger at Green Knowe

A Stranger at Green Knowe does, I must say, start out on a strange note for a Green Knowe book, given that it starts not at that old and magical house, but rather deep in the African jungle with a family of gorillas.

A few jumps, roars, mildly questionable if well meaning descriptions of human African natives, and enthralled descriptions of the African jungles later, and poor little Hanno the Gorilla finds himself captured by a white hunter and taken to the London Zoo. His little sister gorilla doesn’t make it.

[It only gets slightly more cheerful from here.]

Aug 21 2014 1:30pm

Brandon Sanderson Takes the Ice Bucket Challenge!

Brandon Sanderson has taken the Ice Bucket Challenge! But he won’t let a few ice cubes get in the way of editing. And like Vin Diesel, who used his Ice Bucket Challenge to suggest that people also Plant a Tree for Groot, Sanderson is promoting another charity along with the ALSA: he’s donating additional money to the Cure Alzheimer’s Fund, in Sir Terry Pratchett’s name. Check out the video below! 


Aug 21 2014 1:20pm

In an Alternate Universe, Pierce Brosnan Was Tim Burton’s Batman

Pierce Brosnan almost Batman Tim Burton Reddit AMA

You think Pierce Brosnan, you think 1990s-to-early-2000s Bond, James Bond. But did you know that he almost helmed a very different franchise with a B-named character?

[Read more]

Aug 21 2014 1:00pm

A Read of Ice and Fire: A Feast for Crows, Part 27

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 27 of A Feast for Crows, in which we cover Chapter 37 (“Brienne”) and Chapter 38 (“Jaime”).

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!

[“Best thing for him, really. His therapy was going nowhere.”]

Aug 21 2014 12:00pm

Words of Radiance Reread: Chapter 10

Welcome back to the Words of Radiance Reread on Tor.com! Last week Kaladin returned to the chasms to initiate new bridgemen and find out something about his own powers. While he was exploring himself, I was experiencing London during this year’s Worldcon. That was a fantastic experience, and contained a lot of triumph for Tor.com, but it means that I only got back to the states yesterday and haven’t had a lot of time for the reread. Luckily, this week’s chapter is extremely short.

This reread will contain spoilers for The Way of Kings, Words of Radiance, and any other Cosmere books that become relevant. Be ye aware. This post only spoils the later parts of this book, but who knows what might appear in the comments section?

[Read More]

Aug 21 2014 11:00am

The Pop Quiz at the End of the Universe: John Scalzi (Part Two)

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!

We’re joined once again 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!

Check out the first part of Scalzi’s pop quiz, then read on!

[Read More]

Aug 21 2014 10:00am

The Harry Potter Reread: The Prisoner of Azkaban, Chapters 3 and 4

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban coverThe Harry Potter reread is thinking about infusing some liquor to make firewhiskey a reality—but what would it taste like? (Don’t say Fireball, that is wrong.) Does infusing whiskey with Adobo peppers sound like a good idea? With cinnamon or without? How much fun were American wizard speakeasies back during Prohibition?

The plot is thickening in a mysterious manner on the reread! We’re about to take tea with the Minister of Magic and get a peek and the newly minted Firebolt broom line! It’s Chapters 3 and 4 of The Prisoner of Azkaban—The Knight Bus and The Leaky Cauldron.

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]

Aug 21 2014 9:30am

Thirty Years On: Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman and the Legacy of Mortality

Dragons of Winter Night Margaret Weis Tracy Hickman The best thing Sturm Brightblade ever did was die.

I did not discover literature of any kind until I was about eleven, or ten. I was, without a sliver of a doubt, a no good, lazy slacker of a child, and after I discovered literature, I was totally and utterly a no good, lazy slacker of a child who read books. A lot of books, good and bad, but my favourite—the books I read and reread in my teens—were by Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman. Specifically, I had a deep and complete love for the Dragonlance Chronicles. First published in 1984 when I was nothing more than sticks of bone at seven, Dragons of Autumn Twilight began what would be one of the icons of my grunge stained disenchanted childhood. I know it all, back and front, left and right and, thirty years after the first book began the series, I still remember the scenes at the end of Dragons of Winter Night, where Sturm Brightblade slowly and surely, walked to the top of a tower to fight a dragon with little more than the sword his father left him.

[He died, of course.]

Aug 21 2014 9:00am

Highlights from a Conversation Between George R.R. Martin and Robin Hobb

George R R Martin Robin Hobb

George R.R. Martin and Robin Hobb appeared earlier this week at an event hosted by HarperVoyager UK, discussing how they build their fictional universes, create their characters and balance fantasy and reality; about their influences and inspirations, their struggles and successes. Jane Johnson, the editor for both Robin Hobb and George R. R. Martin, hosted the conversation.

From a trio of gilded thrones at the front of Freemason’s Hall in London, Martin, Hobb, and Johnson imparted wisdom to a packed crowd. Johnson started the event with some thrilling news: Game of Thrones had recently won a Hugo Award for the “Rains of Castamere” episode, and Hobb’s latest novel Fool’s Assassin will debut on the bestseller list at #4!

[Highlights from the evening]

Aug 21 2014 8:00am

Morning Roundup: Jean Grey Knows We’re Miserable Now

Poor Cyclops

We know, we know. It’s serious.

Morning Roundup barrels toward you in a double-decker bus full of links! Every day is Arbor Day if you’re Groot, the burly Rocket is just kinda weird, and Margaret Atwood talks about Maddaddam!


Aug 20 2014 5:00pm

Short and to the Point: We Are All Completely Fine by Daryl Gregory

We Are All Completely Fine Daryl Gregory review We Are All Completely Fine, recently released by Tachyon Publications, is a fresh novella from Daryl Gregory—clocking in at under two-hundred pages, it’s more or less an afternoon’s reading. The conceit of the piece is that the characters are all part of a therapy group for the “last survivor” (read: Final Girl, Final Boy) of supernatural catastrophe or violence; it’s a fairly metafictional mashup between a Lovecraftian universe and the more staid/predictable world of horror film.

I’m generally pleased to see presses—generally independent or small, like Tachyon—tackling the work of publishing stand-alone novellas; it’s an interesting length and form that doesn’t get as much show-room as it could use. So, while I’m perhaps outside of the general audience for much straight-up horror fiction, I thought I’d give this one a look; the story’s self-referential slyness and Gregory’s talented prose were also motivating factors.

[A review.]