Five Science Fiction Novels about Sheep

I hadn’t even noticed the pattern until my editor brought it to my attention. “Rob,” she said, peering at me over a stack of my books on her desk, “why do you keep writing about sheep?”

“I have no idea what you mean,” I replied, taking a seat across from her. “I write very highbrow literary-type science fiction novels.”

She grabbed a copy of Mercury Rests from the top of the pile. “Page 243. You have a reference to an ‘exsanguinating sheep’.”

“Well,” I said, “what other animal are you going to sacrifice on top of a volcano?” I asked.

[And here in Mercury Rises…]

Series: Five Books About…

Jim Butcher Prize Pack Sweepstakes!

The Aeronaut’s Windlass comes out in paperback from Roc on July 5th—and in celebration, we want to send you a Jim Butcher starter pack!

Five lucky winners will each receive a copy of The Aeronaut’s WindlassStorm Front, and Furies of Calderonthe first books in the Cinder Spires, the Harry Dresden series, and the Codex Alera series, respectively.

In The Aeronaut’s Windlass, Captain Grimm commands the merchant ship Predator. Fiercely loyal to Spire Albion, he has taken their side in the cold war with Spire Aurora, disrupting the enemy’s shipping lines by attacking their cargo vessels. But when the Predator is severely damaged in combat, leaving captain and crew grounded, Grimm is offered a proposition from the Spirearch of Albion—to join a team of agents on a vital mission in exchange for fully restoring Predator to its fighting glory. Even as Grimm undertakes this dangerous task, he will learn that the conflict between the Spires is merely a premonition of things to come.

Storm Front introduced readers to Harry Dresden, Chicago’s only professional wizard. Business, to put it mildly, stinks. So when the police bring him in to consult on a grisly double murder committed with black magic, Harry’s seeing dollar signs. But where there’s black magic, there’s a black mage behind it. And now that mage knows Harry’s name.

In Furies of Calderon, the people of Alera have been united for a thousand years against the aggressive and threatening races that inhabit the world, using their unique bond with the furies—elementals of earth, air, fire, water, and metal. But Gaius Sextus, First Lord of Alera, grows old and lacks an heir. Ambitious High Lords plot and maneuver to place their Houses in positions of power, and a war of succession looms on the horizon. Far from city politics in the Calderon Valley, the boy Tavi struggles with his lack of furycrafting. At fifteen, he has no wind fury to help him fly, no fire fury to light his lamps. Yet as the Alerans’ most savage enemy—the Marat—return to the Valley, he will discover that his destiny is much greater than he could ever imagine.

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 12:00 PM Eastern Time (ET) on June 25th. Sweepstakes ends at 12:00 PM ET on June 29th. Void outside the United States and Canada and where prohibited by law. Please see full details and official rules here. Sponsor:, 175 Fifth Ave., New York, NY 10010.

Writing Advice from Neil Gaiman: Embrace Boredom!

Neil Gaiman has advice for all the young writers out there: LET YOURSELF GET BORED. As he says, “Ideas come from daydreaming. They come from drifting.” And that isn’t going to happen if you’re on Twitter (or Snapchat, or Tinder, or…Kiwi? Is that a thing?) long into every night.

Gaiman stopped by Late Night with Seth Meyers to talk about writing, becoming a diva for American Gods, and tattoos! You can check out both halves of the interview below.

[Also? Quit dancing for Neil Gaiman!]

A History of Horror in 12 Minutes!

Diego Carrera is a Brazilian film critic and editor, and he has created a fantastic overview of cinematic horror. Beginning with 1895’s The Execution of Mary Stuart and bringing us all the way to The VVitch: A New-England Folktale in 2016, he takes viewers on a journey through silent film, German Expressionism, Poepictures, multiple Stephen King adaptations, J-horror, K-horror, torture porn, and the current rise in atmospheric terror like It Follows and The Babadook. Obviously, some of our favorites are missing (otherwise this video would be hours long) but Carrera has included some wonderful work here – and as a fun bonus, we now have a whole list of pre-1930s horror to look for!

Obviously, there are some graphic images in here, and it might be NSFW depending on your place of W.

[Click through for HORROR!]

Holy Rewatch Batman! “The Cat’s Meow” / “The Bat’s Kow Tow”

“The Cat’s Meow” / “The Bat’s Kow Tow”
Written by Stanley Ralph Ross
Directed by James B. Clark
Season 2, Episodes 29 and 30
Production code 9737
Original air dates: December 14 and 15, 1966

The Bat-signal: Bruce and Dick are being interviewed on a morning TV show by Harry Upps, discussing the Wayne Foundation youth program. While Upps is doing a commercial for an umbrella, Catwoman comes in in disguise and activates a device. Upps loses his voice a second later.

Upps opens the umbrella, and it’s filled with cards containing a riddle: what’s black and white and full of fuzz? (Bruce thinks zebra, Dick thinks police car.) Our heroes are concerned that this may be the work of one of their arch-villains—they express these concerns while in an active TV studio with live microphones and cameras on them. Great way to conceal your secret identity, guys! (Bruce, at least, makes a show of putting a hand over the mic, but that’s a band-aid on a bullet wound, especially since Dick does nothing that sensible.) Umbrellas usually means Penguin; riddles usually means the Riddler; pranks usually mean Joker.

[“With your beauty and intellect, you can go much further helping your fellow man rather than harming them!” “A bit of whimsy that escapes me at the moment, Batman.”]

Series: Holy Rewatch Batman!


Lieutenant Paen barely survived her last encounter with the Lusitanian Empire. She’s returned home to heal. But the nightmares won’t stop. And she’s got a newly reconstituted unit of green marines to whip into shape before they deploy. If the enemies of the RAW don’t kill them first, she just might do the job herself.

Light-years away, on the edge of the Verge, a massive vein of rare ore is discovered on the mining planet of Sheol, which ignites an arms race and a proxy war between the Republic and the Lusitanians. Paen and Victor Company are ordered to Sheol, to reinforce the planet and hold it at all costs.

On the eve of their deployment, a friendly fire incident occurs, putting Paen’s career in jeopardy and stripping her of her command. When the Lusitanians send mercenaries to raid Sheol and destabilize its mining operations, matters reach crisis levels. Disgraced and angry, Promise is offered one shot to get back into her mechsuit. But she’ll have to jump across the galaxy and possibly storm the gates of hell itself.

The second installment in W.C. Bauers’s Chronicles of Promise Paen, Indomitable is available July 26th from Tor Books.

[Read more]

Every JRPG Ever Combined Into a Single Game

Have you ever played Final Fantasy? Or, for that matter, any complicated Japanese RPG, that requires hours of mini-gaming or level-grinding in order to defeat a boss who has at least seven final forms, each more terrifying and one-winged than the last?

College Humor feels our pain, combining every trope from those classic days into a singular, rapid-fire narrative. It may be the funniest, most cathartic video in all of TerraGaia! (That’s the name of our world.)

[Use Your Soul Power to Click Through!]

“Rats Have Been Good to Steve and George”: Stephen King and George R.R. Martin in Conversation

On June 16, as part of his book tour for End of Watch, Stephen King shared the stage with none other than George R.R. Martin at the Kiva Auditorium in Albuquerque, New Mexico. The two authors’ paths have crossed since the 1970s and ’80s, when they attended many of the same conventions (and where Martin learned that even in low-stakes poker, “you cannot bluff Steve out of a pot, even if you raise a whole quarter!”). Their shared history was one of many topics they addressed on stage, in what started as an interview but evolved into much more of a conversation.

Martin recently posted the video of their talk to his blog; you can watch the whole thing, which includes fond chatter about King’s son (and New York Times bestselling author) Joe Hill, reflections on how comic books serve as gateway reading material, and two unsettling accounts about how rats played a part in Martin and King’s early literary successes.

[Read more]

Brandon Sanderson Will Teach You How to Write Sci-Fi & Fantasy in New Video Lectures

There is no shortage of writing advice online from Brandon Sanderson: Go to his website, and you can click your way to 15-minute Writing Excuses podcasts as daily encouragement, or pull up a NaNoWriMo Pep Talk for when you need a big push. Starting a few years ago, Sanderson also released video lectures from his writing class at Brigham Young University, which he credits as one of the “big hallmarks” of his web presence. But as his lectures have changed and evolved over time, Sanderson has decided to rerecord his Writing Science Fiction and Fantasy class and release the 2016 Sanderson Lectures online, starting this week.

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Mistborn Adventure Game Prize Pack Sweepstakes!

Brandon Sanderson fans, we’ve got an excellent prize pack for you today: a chance to win the Mistborn Adventure Game, a set of Mistborn Allomancy Dice, and hardcover copies of MistbornThe Well of Ascension, and The Hero of Ages!

The Mistborn Adventure Game lets you explore, command, or liberate the oppressed world of Scadrial, battle the Lord Ruler’s Inquisitors, and master the primal forces of Allomancy, Feruchemy, and Hemalurgy. It features new official fiction from Brandon Sanderson and loads of never-before-seen material, making it the ultimate resource for fans of the novels and those who want to experience the Final Empire firsthand.

The Mistborn Adventure Game is created and developed by Crafty Games, in cooperation with Brandon Sanderson and Dragonsteel Entertainment. They are currently working on Mistborn: House War, a board game expected to arrive next year.

One lucky winner will receive the Mistborn Adventure Game, a set of Mistborn Allomancy Dice, and hardcover copies of MistbornThe Well of Ascension, and The Hero of Ages. Two additional winners will receive the Mistborn Adventure Game and the Allomancy Dice.

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 10:30 AM Eastern Time (ET) on June 24th. Sweepstakes ends at 12:00 PM ET on June 28th. Void outside the United States and Canada and where prohibited by law. Please see full details and official rules here. Sponsor:, 175 Fifth Ave., New York, NY 10010.

Comix Creatrix: Spotlight On Women Artists and Creators

The Comix Creatrix exhibition recently concluded in the UK. It was an incredible show, spotlighting the artwork of 100 women comic creators whose work spans two centuries. These creators have been an essential part of comics for as long as there have been comics and the show was a welcome opportunity to explore their art in detail.

Artists on display included Alison Sampson, Audrey Niffenegger, Carla Speed McNeil, Chie Kutsuwada, Emma Vieceli, Julie Doucet, Karrie Fransman, Kate Beaton, Kate Brown, Lizz Lunney, Nina Bunjevac, Rachael House, Suzy Varty, Tarpé Mills, Tove Jansson, Trina Robbins, Tula Lotay, and Una. The catalogue for the show, put together by digital comics app Sequential is free, up now and well worth reading through. This show and the artists it promoted are comics at their purest and best, a collection of some of the finest artists not just in the field, but of all time.

I was able to interview some of the exhibitors, asking each in turn about their start, their careers, who inspires them and that question that drives and defines the creative process: what’s next?

[Read more]

Can Daenerys Fly to Westeros on Her Dragons?

It’s a question that has stood since the publication of A Game of Thrones in 1996: Could Daenerys fly to Westeros on her dragons? In the book and TV series, Drogon, Rhaegal, and Viserion are all grown up now. Dany has used Drogon as her steed at least once in the books (and several times in the show). So what’s to stop her from just flying over to Westeros and burninating the countryside?

Honestly? Nothing. But also…kind of everything.

[Read more]


James Gunn shared this adorable Play-Doh Groot! We’re already excited for GotGV2, and as usual Gunn has been enthusiastic about sharing cast photos and storyboard sketches as the movie has taken shape. We have to say, though, this may be the cutest (non-pet-themed) social media update he’s made yet. Gunn has a tradition of rewarding particularly good work with tubs of Play-Doh—a powerful motivational tool—and apparently as he wrapped Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, the props department presented him with this lovely Groot sculpture… which we think should just be a beginning. Since Baby Groot works so well, who’s up for creating giant adult-sized Groot?

[via Facebook!]