By the Sword: The March

In last week’s blog post, Kerowyn committed to hauling herself and her mercenary company from Bolthaven (location unknown, but likely in or near Rethwellan), to Valdemar to fulfill Rethwellan’s promises, defend the realm from the evil sorcery of Ancar of Hardorn and his former nanny, answer the stirrings of Need, and possibly be reunited with her lover, the Herald Eldan.

It’s been a long time since Hulda appeared in the books, even though it’s only been a year or two since the characters on the page had to deal with her. When last we saw Hulda, she was all-but-humping Ancar’s leg while torturing Talia. The time before that, she was plotting evilly with parties unknown (but almost certainly Orthallen) to deprive Elspeth of the throne—she sort of graduated from a plot to ruin the life of an innocent child to a plan to arrange a marriage between that child and another kid who she had more successfully corrupted.

[All Roads Lead to Elspeth]

Series: The Valdemar Reread

Updraft Sweepstakes!

Fran Wilde’s debut novel Updraft, coming out September 1st, is so highly anticipated that even Gregor “The Mountain” Clegane from Game of Thrones did not want to give it up one of the coveted galleys of the book. Check out our excerpt, and then enter to win one an advance copy!

Welcome to a world of wind and bone, songs and silence, betrayal and courage.

Kirit Densira cannot wait to pass her wingtest and begin flying as a trader by her mother’s side, being in service to her beloved home tower and exploring the skies beyond. When Kirit inadvertently breaks Tower Law, the city’s secretive governing body, the Singers, demand that she become one of them instead. In an attempt to save her family from greater censure, Kirit must give up her dreams to throw herself into the dangerous training at the Spire, the tallest, most forbidding tower, deep at the heart of the City.

As she grows in knowledge and power, she starts to uncover the depths of Spire secrets. Kirit begins to doubt her world and its unassailable Laws, setting in motion a chain of events that will lead to a haunting choice, and may well change the city forever-if it isn’t destroyed outright.

Check for the rules below!

[Read more]

Shut Up And Take My Money: The Price of Valor by Django Wexler

2014’s The Shadow Throne, the second of a projected five volumes in Django Wexler’s gunpowder epic fantasy “The Shadow Campaigns,” set a very high bar for subsequent instalments to reach. While 2013’s The Thousand Names was a solid, engaging effort to tell a story reminiscent of Bernard Cornwell’s Sharpe in a fantasy milieu, The Shadow Throne kicked the series into much higher gear. It delighted me extremely, in part because I didn’t expect such a glorious step up from its predecessor—and that astonished marvel and, yes, relief, contributed in large part to my delight.

It would have been asking a bit much for The Price of Valor, the third and latest “Shadow Campaigns” novel to surpass The Shadow Throne by as much as The Shadow Throne overleapt The Thousand Names. That kind of rocket-propelled acceleration is something we’re lucky to see once a series. But The Price of Valor is a worthy successor: Wexler hasn’t let down the expectations he raised so high with The Shadow Throne. I’m very happy to say, for the second time in relation to this series, SHUT UP AND TAKE MY MONEY.

[Minor spoilers included. Contents may settle during transit.]

Here’s What Batman Would Look Like as a Viking, Iron Man, and More!

The LEGO Batman Movie will reportedly acknowledge every era of the Caped Crusader on-screen—but before we take that stroll down memory lane in 2017, let’s turn our eyes to the Batmen that could have existed. 3D character artist Caleb Nefzen dreamed up what Batman would look like as a fearsome Viking warrior (above); on deviantART, DenisM79 reimagines the Dark Knight as a greaser punk; and even more artists have envisioned Batman in every era.

[Read more]

The Stargate Rewatch: SG-1 Season Ten

Stargate SG-1 Season 10
Executive producers: Robert C. Cooper, Brad Wright, Joseph Mallozzi, Paul Mullie
Original air dates: July 14, 2006 – June 22, 2007

Mission briefing. There are now four Ori warships in the Milky Way, which make incredibly short work of the fleet at the supergate. The Korolev and most of the Lucian Alliance ships are destroyed, and the Odyssey is badly damaged. On one of those warships, Vala gives birth to a daughter whom she names Adria, after her awful stepmother. However, the Ori used Vala as a vehicle to sneak one of their own into the corporeal world, so Adria grows to adulthood in a few days and takes command of Ori forces in the Milky Way, starting with invading Chulak.

[You better not be messing with me.]

Series: Stargate Rewatch

Raised By Apes and Wolves: Fiction’s Top 11 Feral Children

Everyone knows that you’ve got a great fictional destiny if you were raised by animals or in the wild. It’s a one-two mythic punch, like the right foundation for a cathedral or the New York water in good pizza dough (it’s scientifically proven, folks). But who are our favorite feral children? Let’s look at ten of the best, from the classics right up through some unforgettable pop culture offerings.

[Read more]

The Ghostbusters 3 Movies That We Almost Got

Last year’s Sony email hack revealed a treasure trove of Hollywood intel, including Ivan Reitman’s proposal for a Ghostbusters 3 that would reunite the original Ghostbusters as well as pave the way for the next generation. In a 2013 email to Sony Pictures Entertainment co-chairman Amy Pascal, Reitman laid out the plot for what he called Ghostbusters: Alive Again. However, with Harold Ramis’ passing in 2014, this version was scrapped.

While it sounds like the strongest idea for a third installment, it’s definitely not the first. Ghostbusters 3 has stopped and started so many times since the 1990s, with at least five different versions rumored over the past 20 years. Read on for Dan Aykroyd’s multiple drafts, Reitman’s pitch, and what Ghostbusters 3 director Paul Feig is actually planning to do.

[Read more]

David Bowie Is Sci-Fi and Fantasy Personified

As an artist, David Bowie has spent a lifetime blurring the lines between performer and stage persona: after all, The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders From Mars was famously advertised with the slogan “David Bowie is Ziggy Stardust”—while, in smaller type, the words “Ziggy Stardust is David Bowie” ran across the bottom of the ad.

This confusion between creator and creation is something Bowie has played upon from the very beginning—and then there’s the fact that, over the last couple decades, he himself has become the direct inspiration for various fictional characters, from the Lucifer of Neil Gaiman’s Sandman to The Venture Bros. shapeshifting leader of The Guild of Calamitous Intent. So let’s take a look at a few of Bowie’s more interesting incarnations, both as an actor and as a character, the dreamer and the dream, beginning with his acting debut in the unsettling 1967 short film The Image.

[Read more]

The Great Stephen King Reread: The Regulators

The title for The Regulators came to Stephen King first, the gimmick came second, the book came third, and like one of Roger Corman’s AIP productions, where the poster and title were developed long before anyone started writing a script, the results are 1% inspiration, 99% exasperation. This is the book version of Reptilicus or Muscle Beach Party—thin, undemanding entertainment that doesn’t add up to much. Normally, that’s fine, except King had just turned in one of his best-loved books, The Green Mile, and one of his most important books, Desperation.

The Regulators can’t hold a candle to either of these predecessors, and so it winds up feeling even thinner than it already is. King doesn’t help matters by turning the writing over to Richard Bachman, who should have stayed dead.

[Read more]

Series: The Great Stephen King Reread

Robot Overlords Sweepstakes!

Three years ago the Earth was conquered by a force of robots from a distant world. Their only rule? Stay in your homes. But Sean Flynn and his friends can’t wait any longer. They’re willing to risk instant vaporization in their quest to find Sean’s father, a missing fighter pilot who fought in the war against the robots. Out now from Gollancz, Robot Overlords is the companion novel to the recent film starring Gillian Anderson and Ben Kingsley, and we’ve got three copies we want to share with you!

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 2:30 pm Eastern Time (ET) on July 3, 2015. Sweepstakes ends at 12:00 PM ET on July 7, 2015. 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.

Five Mythical Islands of the Atlantic Ocean: Your Guide to Summer Adventure

Summer is here and it’s time to take a vacation! But why settle for a mundane location when you could pitch your tent on one of the top five mythical islands of the Atlantic Ocean? Sally forth with your ancient map and your colonialist zeal—nothing can stand between you and an island adventure!

But first you have to pick a destination…

[Read more]

School Celebrates Books with Literary Lockers!

School hallways can be grim places, but a group of teachers at Biloxi Junior High School found a way to lighten the mood. They’ve turned the 8th grade English hallway into an “Avenue of Literature” by transforming 189 unused lockers into the spines of books! This seems like the best possible thing that could ever happen to a locker. One question though: if you paint them to look like C.S. Lewis books, will the lockers become doorways to Narnia?

We hope everyone is embarking into an exciting weekend! Morning Roundup sends you off with thoughts on sci-fi, fond remembrances of filmic phone phreakers, and some fabulously dark fairy tales.

[Oh, and the coming robopocalypse.]

Five Super Villain Schemes So Crazy They Might Just Be Crazy

In the first Austin Powers film, Doctor Evil’s demand of one million dollars comes across as hilariously absurd, not only because he doesn’t understand economic inflation, but because we’re all used to super villains acting like idiots. Despicable Me further illustrates this tendency by having the plot of the movie center on the attempt to steal the Moon.

But what about supposedly serious (or at least not intentionally spoofy) villains with awful plans? Can we chalk up complications and ridiculousness to insanity? Perhaps. But there are some super villains who actually seem at least a little bit sane, and still somehow manage to enact schemes that are flawed to the point of being silly. Here are five of the most absurd super villain schemes, complete with my advice on what these big baddies should have done instead.

[Read more]

The Harry Potter Reread: The Order of the Phoenix, Chapters 21 and 22

The Harry Potter Reread would quit caffeine, but it’s no quitter. So it won’t quit caffeine. Which means that everyone should probably look out.

This week we’re going to have a super un-fun vision, and then we’re going to visit some people in the hospital. Yeah, tons of laughs. It’s chapters 21 and 22 of The Order of the Phoenix—The Eye of the Snake and St. Mungo’s Hospital for Magical Maladies and Injuries.

Index to the reread can be located here! Other Harry Potter and Potter-related pieces can be found under theirappropriate 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]

Series: The Harry Potter Reread

Experiment 626 Was an Overwhelming Success

Why is Stitch waving a Pride flag, you might ask. Well, artist Dean DeBlois worked on Lilo & Stitch, and Stitch is Experiment 626, and we all know what strides happened for same-sex marriage on June 26, and ohana means family, family means nobody gets left behind, and oh, our hearts.

Afternoon Roundup brings you a hilarious Twitter case of mistaken identity, the latest groan-worthy board game movie, and the shared trope of all alien-invasion movies.

[Read more]

A Read of Ice and Fire: A Dance With Dragons, Part 27

Welcome 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 Dance With Dragons, in which we cover Chapter 46 (“A Ghost in Winterfell”) and Chapter 47 (“Tyrion”).

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!

[I’m a man without conviction/ I’m a man who doesn’t know/ How to sell a contradiction]

Series: A Read of Ice and Fire

Next Stop, Central Station

“I always wanted to write a novel in short stories,” explains World Fantasy Award winner Lavie Tidhar. “Science fiction has a long tradition of doing this—from The Martian Chronicles to Lord of Light—but my inspiration was also partly V.S. Naipaul’s Miguel Street.”

If Wikipedia is to be believed, that’s a semi-autobiographical wartime novel composed of prose portraits of the colourful characters who live on the titular street in Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago. But move over Miguel Street: Tidhar’s patchwork narrative, announced today by way of Zeno Agency, takes place in the wake of “a worldwide diaspora” in a city spread around the foot of a space station where “life is cheap, and data is cheaper.”

[Next stop, Central Station.]

Series: British Fiction Focus

Words of Radiance Reread: Chapter 45

Welcome back to the Words of Radiance Reread on Tor.com! Last week, Kaladin and some of his men began Shardblade training, and Kaladin used profoundly dodgy rationale to justify his decisions.  This week, we go back in time to a festival in Jah Keved, attended by the Davar family.

This reread will contain spoilers for The Way of Kings, Words of Radiance, and any other Cosmere book that becomes relevant to the discussion. The index for this reread can be found here, and more Stormlight Archive goodies are indexed here. Click on through to join the discussion.

[To be human is to seek beauty. Do not despair, do not end the hunt because thorns grow in your way.]

Series: Words of Radiance Reread on Tor.com