Meet Your Favorite Authors at the Tor Author Drinkup!

The Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America’s (SFWA) 50th Annual Nebula Awards Weekend will be held at the Palmer House Hilton in Chicago, Illinois, from June 4-7. The weekend will include tours, autographing sessions, legal workshops, and the Nebula Awards ceremony on June 6.

One particularly fun bit of programming is the Tor Author Drinkup, held at Chicago’s Geek Bar Beta on June 6 from 2-5 p.m. Attendees will have the rare chance to hang out (and maybe grab a beer) with Tor Books and Tor.com authors including John Joseph Adams, Ellen Datlow, Cixin Liu, Ken Liu, Fran Wilde, and more!

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Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell: “The Education of a Magician”

This week’s episode of Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell is concerned with the appropriate use of magic, the affects of war, and importance of silence and speaking amongst many other things.

(There are spoilers for the novel in this review, for the record, even past the point where the episode ends. So if you haven’t read the book, this might not be for you?) [Read more]

The Flicker Men Sweepstakes!

We have five galleys of The Flicker Men, out from Henry Holt on July 21st, and we want to send you one now!

Eric Argus is a washout. His prodigious early work clouded his reputation and strained his sanity. But an old friend gives him another chance, an opportunity to step back into the light. With three months to produce new research, Eric replicates the paradoxical double-slit experiment to see for himself the mysterious dual nature of light and matter. A simple but unprecedented inference blooms into a staggering discovery about human consciousness and the structure of the universe. His findings are celebrated and condemned in equal measure. But no one can predict where the truth will lead. And as Eric seeks to understand the unfolding revelations, he must evade shadowy pursuers who believe he knows entirely too much already.

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 3:30 PM Eastern Time (ET) on June 1. Sweepstakes ends at 12:00 PM ET on June 5. 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.

The Coode Street Podcast Episode 236: Books to Look Forward to in 2015

Welcome to The Coode Street Podcast, an informal weekly discussion about science fiction and fantasy featuring award-winning critics and editors Jonathan Strahan and Gary K. Wolfe. The Coode Street Podcast debuted in 2010 and has been nominated for the Hugo, British Science Fiction, and Aurealis awards.

Every year there are thousands of books published and any one of them could appeal to you. To help you find great new books, Locus publishes a list of forthcoming titles every three months. And to help you navigate through that, each quarter we invite Locus  Editor-in-Chief Liza Groen Trombi to join us and discuss the books that we think might be most interesting that are due out between now and the end of 2015. This month, unfortunately, Liza was not able to join us. However, we have persevered and have some recommendations for you. Of course, we strongly recommend you pick up a copy of the June issue of Locus and see the full list, which goes through to March 2016.

[Listen to Coode Street]

Series: The Coode Street Podcast

Vote on the 2015 David Gemmell Award for Fantasy Shortlist

Voting on the shortlist for the 2015 David Gemmell Awards for Fantasy is now open. The award, established in memory of David Gemmell and first awarded in 2009, honors fantasy novels that adhere to the “heroic” or “epic” subgenre that Gemmell himself worked in. Awards are given for Best Novel, Best Debut Novel, and Best Cover Art. Past honorees include Patrick Rothfuss, Brandon Sanderson, and Helen Lowe.

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Talking Villainy at BEA: The Big Bad Theory with Charlie Jane Anders!

You might expect a late-Sunday BEA panel to be a sedate affair, but The Big Bad Theory was anything but! Charlie Jane Anders, author of All the Birds in the Sky, moderated a lively discussion on the tropes of villainy with authors Ilana C. Myer, Scott Westerfeld, David Wellington, and Michael Buckley. If you’re trying to write a villain, these panelists have some excellent advice for you! Anders kicked things off by asking the audience to give her their best “villainous mwahahaha” – and the room responded with a truly terrifying enthusiasm.

[Panels need more Villainous Mwahahahas]

Yes, Robin, Everyone is So Proud of You

When he’s not art directing Teen Titans GO!, artist Dan Hipp draws pop culture comics on his Tumblr. And while he’s gotten us in the feels before, today’s comic, “Boy Wonders,” was especially emotional: An injured Batman reading to an even more beaten-up Robin (Dick Grayson, that is) from Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows after an especially harrowing battle. Great, now we’re gonna be sniffling all day…

Afternoon Roundup eagerly awaits the Lumberjanes movie, mourns the loss of Tron 3, and pays a visit to The Grand Overlook Hotel:

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Water Wars: The Water Knife by Paolo Bacigalupi

The city of Phoenix in The Water Knife is a grim place. Paolo Bacigalupi’s second novel for adults takes us to a Phoenix that is derelict, poverty-ridden and lawless, a place where most of the population have to get by surviving the dust storms and relentless heat with no constant access to electricity or water. Those who are lucky—or ruthless—get to live in the Chinese-built high rise arcologies, where ‘zoners’ aren’t allowed access, unless they’re the Texas ‘bangbang girls’ escorting richer men for the price of a meal and a shower.

The situation outside the arcologies is dire, with mafias controlling society by brute force. With water rights under corporate control, entire neighbourhoods have been rendered desolate with water being been cut off. ‘The Queen of the Colorado had slaughtered the hell out of these neighbourhoods: her first graveyards, created in seconds when she shut off the water in their pipes.’ The Queen of course, is well beyond the reach of these gangs, though everyone else must eke out a living around them, often by paying them taxes on all earnings just to stay alive. Water is more than just currency here, it’s the most valuable commodity around.

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We Need Diverse Books Talks True, Political, Global Diversity in Sci-Fi and Fantasy

A year after its establishment, the We Need Diverse Books movement brought two engaging panels to BookCon 2015, partnering with bestselling authors to address the need for greater diversity in sci-fi and fantasy and children’s literature. In the panel In Our World and Beyond, SFF authors Kameron Hurley, Ken Liu, Nnedi Okorafor, and Daniel José Older, along with Saga Press Executive Editor Joe Monti, discussed the obstacles to depicting full representation of marginalized characters in SFF.

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By the Sword: The Tower

This section is a classic.

There are a lot of books where a character runs away from home and sells their sword. There are a lot of books where a teenage character finds a mentor. The world of fantasy is full of magical artifacts that compel characters into interesting and improbable situations. And people fall in love and then back out of it every day of the week.

And then there’s this section of By the Sword, which has all of those things in the best possible way.

[This is my favorite part.]

Series: Heralds of Valdemar Reread

Game of Thrones Season 5, Episode 8 “Hardhome”

After last week’s dramatic meetings and departures (and boobs, always boobs) Game of Thrones brings its all-new plot developments Beyond the Wall, where Jon goes on a diplomatic mission even stupider than Jaime’s in Dorne, but at least contains exciting things like White Walkers and jerky Thenns and my pretend soul mate Dolorous Edd. So I’m not even mad.

Major episode spoilers ahead.

[“The White Walking Dead…”]

Series: HBO’s Game of Thrones

Five Books About Exploring and Communicating with Alien Cultures

Many of my favorite stories in science fiction and fantasy deal with exploring an alien culture. I really like to see different species learning to communicate with each other, or an alien viewpoint on a more familiar human culture. It often requires the writer to step outside the box and create a point of view that takes into account different physical and mental abilities, a different environment, a different way of thinking.

I’ve always been drawn to these kinds of stories, especially the ones that are told through alien viewpoints, especially non-human aliens. I’ve always liked getting into the point of view of characters that are different from me, and seeing the world through their eyes.

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Series: Five Books About…

Will He Have to Defeat the Seven Evil Veronicas?

Comic Book Resources recently posed a fun challenge to the internet: send us your Golden Age version of modern comics! All of the entries are great, but our favorite is this Archie-ied version of Scott Pilgrim, from cartoonist Rachel Ordway. We think she captures the epic awkwardness of both characters beautifully!

Morning Roundup brings you news of the Ninja Turtles, more thoughts on Tomorrowland, and a breakthrough in the printing of human skin.

[Plus the greatest 80s kung fu movie David Hasselhoff ever made.]

Rereading Joe Abercrombie’s First Law Trilogy, Last Argument of Kings: “Sweet Victory” and “Rude Awakenings”

This week marks the end of Part I of Last Argument of Kings. Each part of Abercrombie’s books begin with a pithy quote, and this part began with Paul Gauguin’s: “Life being what it is, one dreams of revenge.” Thus, it would seem, that Part I is about how crappy life is and how our characters might want to take revenge on fate for making things so shitty. Pretty accurate summary I’d say.

All of our characters have seen a down hill trend in their life. Logen has become the Bloody-Nine in truth once more. Jezal is trapped in a loveless marriage. Glokta is being squeezed between two powerful factions. Perhaps Collem West has seen an improvement, but really he’s just been asked to take on a responsibility he isn’t ready for. Will Part  II give them the revenge on life they desire? It remains to be seen. In the meantime, let’s finish up Part I with this week’s chapters.

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Series: The Joe Abercrombie First Law Trilogy Reread

The Stargate Rewatch: SG-1 Season Eight

Stargate SG-1 Season 8
Executive producers: Robert C. Cooper, Brad Wright, Michael Greenburg, Richard Dean Anderson
Executive producers (“Gemini” onward): Joseph Mallozzi, Paul Mullie
Original air dates: July 9, 2004 – March 25, 2005

Mission briefing. The fallout from the battle with Anubis is both immediate and far-reaching. In the short term, the location of the battle in Antarctica may have kept it out of the public eye, but the governments who signed the Antarctic Treaty became aware of it, and the terms of that treaty meant that all the signatories had to agree on how to proceed to investigate the Ancient outpost—a problem insofar as O’Neill is still in stasis down there with the Ancient repository downloaded into his head.

[“Didn’t that tape say there was no fish in your pond?” “Close enough.”]

Series: Stargate Rewatch

Enroll in the Princess Academy That Never Existed

The Daily Dot has a fascinating in-depth look at Princess Academy, a proposed short film that would have brought all of the Disney princesses and other female leads into one story. Though it sounds as if the cancelled short would have more balls and fewer adventures, it still would have been a dream for Disney fans to see all of these women interacting with one another. Check out The Daily Dot’s story for more fan art, including the gorgeous group shot above by David Kawena.

Afternoon Roundup brings you your Mad Max moniker, cosplay so epic even the setting is authentic, and the survival tactics we’ve learned from disaster movies.

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Tanith Lee — A Brief Retrospective

As many folks have reported by this time, Tanith Lee—a familiar name in science fiction and fantasy circles, prolific writer for both children and adults—is no longer with us. Charlie Jane Anders noted in her commemorative post at io9 that Lee wrote so much and in such different ways that she has multiple circles of fandom; she has been nominated for awards ranging from the World Fantasy to the World Horror Grandmaster—and also the Lambda for LGBT speculative fiction.

So, while Lee’s astounding oeuvre covered a multitude of themes, styles, and approaches, the reason I first heard of her work—true for many people, I’d suspect—was because of that common concern with gender and sexuality.

[Onward.]

Series: Queering SFF

A History of Feminist Speculative Fiction: Sisters of the Revolution

The stories in Sisters of the Revolution: A Feminist Speculative Fiction Anthology does exactly what you’d want them to—they tear apart cliches, they question gender and it’s implications, they look at identity using satire and humour and darkness with a sharp intellectual examination of stigma and society’s rules.

Put together by well known and highly regarded award winning editors Ann and Jeff VanderMeer, it’s a solid collection for anyone who wants to see how far feminist SF has come, with stories spread across the last 40 years or so.

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Rocket Talk Episode 55: Aidan Moher

Welcome back to the Rocket Talk Podcast! This week, Justin invites blogger and author Aidan Moher on to discuss his new self-published book, Tide of Shadows and Other Stories. The two discuss the state of self-publishing and why Moher chose that route. Afterward, they have a frank discussion about the state of blogging and a few books coming out later this year.

[Read more]

Series: Rocket Talk: A Tor.com Podcast