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 30, 2014
Locked in a Room With His Greatest Enemy. Doctor Who: “Into the Dalek”
Chris Lough
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
Sep 2 2014 5:00pm

The Pop Quiz at the End of the Universe: Sylvia Izzo Hunter

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 Sylvia Izzo Hunter, whose various job titles have included a slinger of tacos, a filer of patient charts and answerer of phones, a freelance looker-up of unconsidered trifles, an Orff-singing stage monk, and an exam tutor, but mostly she’s worked in the not-for-profit scholarly publishing industry.

Sylvia’s debut novel, The Midnight Queen, is available now from Ace Books! The first book in the Noctis Magicae series, The Midnight Queen is a fantasy set in an alternate Regency England. Read an excerpt here on Tor.com!

[Join us!]

Sep 2 2014 4:00pm

Soulminder (Excerpt)

Timothy Zahn

Timothy Zahn Soulminder excerpt For Dr. Adrian Sommers, a split second of driving while distracted leads to tragedy—and obsession.

His family destroyed, he devotes his entire being to developing Soulminder, a technology that might have saved his son as he wavered on the edge of death. Sommers’s vision is to capture a dying person’s life essence and hold it safely in stasis while physicians heal the body from injury or disease.

Years of experimentation finally end in success—but those who recognize Soulminder’s possibilities almost immediately corrupt its original concept to pursue dangerous new frontiers: body-swapping, obstruction of justice, extortion, and perhaps even immortality.

Author Timothy Zahn imagines a technology that could alter our perception of life and death forever in Soulminder, available September 23rd from Open Road Media.

[Read an excerpt]

Sep 2 2014 3:00pm

The Pop Quiz at the End of the Universe: G. Carl Purcell

Monstrous AffectionsWelcome 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 G. Carl Purcell, a science fiction writer whose work has appeared in magazines including New Genre, Open City, and The 2nd Hand. He was a frequent contributor to McSweeney’s website in its early days, and his work there has been anthologized in Created in Darkness By Troubled Americans: The Best of McSweeney’s Humor Category. He is also a co-creator of the No Slander blog.

Greg’s story “The Mercurials” will be published in Monstrous Affections, an anthology edited by Kelly Link and Gavin J. Grant, available September 9th from Candlewick Press. Get a better look at Yuko Shimizu’s cover art for the anthology as well as the full table of contents here on Tor.com.

[Join us!]

Sep 2 2014 2:47pm

Better Identification of Viking Corpses Reveals: Half of the Warriors Were Female

female Viking warriors proof buried with swords bones rape pillage Vikings TV show

Shieldmaidens are not a myth! A recent archaeological discovery has shattered the stereotype of exclusively male Viking warriors sailing out to war while their long-suffering wives wait at home with baby Vikings. (We knew it! We always knew it.) Plus, some other findings are challenging that whole “rape and pillage” thing, too.

[Read more]

Sep 2 2014 2:15pm

DJ Hodor’s “Rave of Thrones” Tour Has Begun, is an Actual Rave of Thrones

Hodor DJ Rave of Thrones party photos Kristian Nairn wtf yes

We’ve known for a while now that Game of Thrones actor Kristian Nairn moonlights as a DJ when he’s not busy Hodorin’, letting others’ lyrics and some sick beats speak for him. And while his Soundcloud page sadly is filled more with electronic dance and house music rather than remixes of the Game of Thrones theme song, he recently took the next step towards bringing the two together, kicking off a “Rave of Thrones” tour!

And the costumes are great.

[The beat is coming]

Sep 2 2014 2:00pm

“Call of the Radiant God” Sounds So Much More Pleasant, Doesn’t It: “The Temple”

HP Lovecraft The TempleWelcome back to the Lovecraft reread, in which two modern Mythos writers get girl cooties all over old Howard’s original stories. Today we’re looking at “The Temple,” written in 1920 and first published in the September 1925 issue of Weird Tales. You can read the story here. Spoilers ahead.

Summary: This narrative is a manuscript found in a bottle on the Yucatancoast. Its author introduces himself at proud length as Karl Heinrich, Graf (Count) von Altberg-Ehrenstein, Lt. Commander of the Imperial German Navy, in charge of the submarine U-29. He’s equally exact with the date—August 20, 1917—but cannot give his exact coordinates. This sad lapse from German precision is due to a series of strange calamities.

[“He is calling! He is calling! I hear him! We must go!”]

Sep 2 2014 1:10pm

The Tick Creator Confirms Live-Action Reboot In the Works!

The Tick reboot Ben Edlund confirm tweet Patrick Warburton Fox superhero satire cancelled Firefly

We are the man of la mancha... our dream is impossible.

Travel back with us to 2001, a year before Firefly fans would even get the chance to bemoan the cancellation of Joss Whedon’s space western, and watch as the Fox network gives the axe to another tragically-misunderstood series: the live-action sitcom The Tick, Ben Edlund’s loopy superhero satire starring Patrick Warburton. Cancelled after only nine episodes, it nonetheless gained a cult following not unlike Firefly’s. Now, in the era of resurrecting nostalgic gems, Amazon is bringing the show back—as a pilot, however, and then the rest is up to the fans.

[Read more]

Sep 2 2014 1:00pm

Power Corrupts? Absolutely!

In the late 19th century, Lord Acton penned the now oft quoted line, ‘power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.’ At the time, he was writing about how history should judge the actions of kings and popes, but it has been lifted for so many purposes that I think he won’t mind if I use it for an observation about fairytales—namely that these stories are extremely suspicious of power, and even more so of women wielding power.

[Read More]

Sep 2 2014 12:00pm

Short Fiction Spotlight: Time Will Tell

The Bone Clocks David Mitchell

Welcome back to the Short Fiction Spotlight, a weekly column dedicated to doing exactly what it says in the header: shining a light on the some of the best and most relevant fiction of the aforementioned form.

The longlist of novels nominated for this year’s Man Booker Prize is notable for any number of reasons. The prevalence of American authors in a field formerly dominated by Brits and writers hailing from the countries of the Commonwealth can hardly come as a surprise, being a direct effect of the new rules, but the lack of big hitters—foremostly favourites like Martin Amis and Ian McEwan—indubitably does.

David Mitchell’s longlisting for his new book, The Bone Clocks, bucks both of the aforementioned trends. Aside a sojourn in Sicily and eight years of teaching in Hiroshima, he’s a University of Kent-educated Englishman who has been what you might describe as a Booker bridesmaid not once or twice but thrice: for number9dream, Cloud Atlas, and finally, four Prizes past, for The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet. Could 2014 be his year? Having read ‘The Right Sort,’ an experimental short set in the same world as the author’s upcoming novel, I’d put to you that it’s a real possibility.

[Read More]

Sep 2 2014 11:30am

Brian Froud’s Faeries’ Tales Sweepstakes!

We’re excited to premiere the book trailer for Brian Froud’s Faeries’ Tales, along with a chance to win a copy of the book signed by the authors!

 Out on September 16th from Abrams Books, Brian Froud’s Faeries’ Tales by Brian and Wendy Froud leads readers deep into the world of faeries, with portraits, drawings, and stories of these strange and complex creatures. Best known for their design work on The Dark Crystal and Labyrinth, the Frouds bring their signature vision to this volume of fantastic tales.

Their son, Toby, who got his start as the baby in Labyrinth and went on to make puppet-filled films, has created a trailer showcasing the book, plus we've got a signed copy to send your way now!

Check out the trailer and sweepstakes rules below!

[Faeries: You think you know them, but you don’t. Not really.]

Sep 2 2014 11:00am

The End is the Beginning: Acceptance by Jeff VanderMeer

Acceptance Jeff VenderMeer review

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was... well. That’d be telling. Because the Word was whatever you wanted it to be. The Word was possibility. The Word was promise. For in the Word was the beginning, to boot, and beginnings are simple. They’re questions, essentially. It follows, then, that endings are answers. And it is far harder to answer questions satisfactorily than it is to ask ’em.

Acceptance is the end of the Southern Reach series, which began with Annihilation—with its countless cosmic questions. What is Area X? Where did it come from? Who—or what—created it? Not to mention: when? And why?

Readers are apt to approach Acceptance expecting answers, and they’ll find a fair few, to be sure; Jeff VanderMeer does indeed complete the sinister circle of the Southern Reach series here. But when all is said and done, much of the mystery remains. Area X is, in the end, as unknowable as it was when we breached its impossible border at the very beginning of the trilogy. It has lost none of its promise. Possibilities still spring from its fantastical firmament. In the final summation, I can’t conceive of a finale more fitting.

[Read More]

Sep 2 2014 10:00am

Which 21st Century Comics Will Be Remembered in 50 years?

What qualities make a comic or graphic novel linger in the genre’s memory? Which comics of 2000-2014 will we still be reading and discussing in 2064?

This was the subject of a panel at the recent LonCon, at which, comics authors Maura McHugh, David Baillie and Hannah Berry, publisher John Anderson, and comics enthusiasts Adam Rakunas and myself discussed the famous, the obscure, the deserving, and the overhyped in the last fifteen years of international comics publishing. We also looked back at comics from 50 years ago, to see what qualities have helped past titles stand the test of time.

[So who made the cut?]

Sep 2 2014 9:00am

A More Intimate Scale: Ancillary Sword by Ann Leckie

Ancillary Sword Ann Leckie Ann Leckie’s debut novel, Ancillary Justice, has won six awards—latest and not least the Hugo Award for Best Novel—and appeared on the shortlists for at least two more. After such a successful first outing, the major question with Ancillary Sword has to be: how does it compare? Has Leckie caught the same lightning in a bottle twice?

I loved Ancillary Justice. For me, it was one of those books you’ve wanted to read your whole life, an empty gap where you didn’t realise how wide a gap existed for it to bridge until you read it. I had a very strong positive emotional response to Ancillary Justice, is what I’m saying.

Only time will tell whether Ancillary Sword achieves the same success in the wider world, but for me? It already has. It turns out that I love Ancillary Sword just as much as its predecessor, if not more.

[Read More]

Sep 1 2014 1:00pm

Extinction Game (Excerpt)

Gary Gibson

Gary Gibson Extinction Game excerpt Jerry Beche should be dead. Instead, he’s rescued from a desolate Earth where he was the last man alive. He’s then trained for the toughest conditions imaginable and placed with a crack team of specialists on an isolated island. Every one of them is a survivor, as each withstood the violent ending of their own alternate Earth. And their new specialism? To retrieve weapons and data in missions to other apocalyptic versions of our world.

But what is ‘the Authority,’ the shadowy organization that rescued Beche and his fellow survivors? How does it access timelines to find other Earths? And why does it need these instruments of death?

As Jerry struggles to obey his new masters, he begins to distrust his new companions. A strange bunch, their motivations are less than clear, and accidents start plaguing their missions. Jerry suspects the Authority is feeding them lies, and team members are spying on him. As a dangerous situation spirals into catastrophe, is there anybody he can trust?

Below, check out a preview from Gary Gibson’s riveting, action-packed post-apocalyptic survival story, Extinction Gameavailable September 11th from Tor UK!

[Read an excerpt]

Sep 1 2014 12:00pm

The Pop Quiz at the End of the Universe: Kathleen Jennings

Monstrous AffectionsWelcome 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 Kathleen Jennings, an illustrator and writer based in Brisbane, Australia. Kathleen was the 2009, 2010 and 2011 president of Vision writers group, and the 2010 recipient of the Inaugural Kris Hembury Encouragement Award for Emerging Artists and Writers, and recipient of the 2012 Ditmars for Artwork and Fan Artist.

Kathleen’s story “A Small Wild Magic” will be published in Monstrous Affections, an anthology edited by Kelly Link and Gavin J. Grant, available September 9th from Candlewick Press. Get a better look at Yuko Shimizu’s cover art for the anthology as well as the full table of contents here on Tor.com.

[Join us!]

Sep 1 2014 11:00am

A Read of the Dark Tower Redux: Constant Reader Tackles The Wind Through the Keyhole: “The Skin-Man (Part 1)” (Second Half)

Stephen King Dark Tower The Wind Through the Keyhole

Once upon a time, a ka-tet of readers found themselves at tor.com on a long quest to reach Stephen King’s Dark Tower. During the journey, the author (or perhaps it was simply ka) tried to throw our hardy band of pilgrims into confusion by telling a new story. Undeterred, their path followed the Beam until the end, and only now, when we know what is at the clearing at the end of the path, do we return to Mid-World once again, to join our old friends for The Wind Through the Keyhole (Dark Tower 4.5, if it do ya). Welcome. There be spoilers ahead.

When we last left our again-whole ka-tet, they were holed up to wait out the starkblast, and Roland had begun telling them a story about an early adventure to Debaria with Jamie DeCurry, trying to solve the case of a serial murderer believed to be a skin-man, or shapeshifter. They’d just made contact with Sheriff Hugh Peavy.

[Read this week’s post.]

Sep 1 2014 10:30am

Feuds Sweepstakes!

Out tomorrow, Avery Hasting’s Feuds is a story of impossible love between Davis Morrow, a “Prior” who has been primed for perfection her whole life, and Cole, an “Imp” oppressed by the very system of segregation Davis’s family has helped put in place. Avery stopped by to take our Pop Quiz at the End of the Universe, and now we want to send you one of our five copies of her debut!

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 September 1. Sweepstakes ends at 12:00 PM ET on September 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.

Sep 1 2014 10:00am

Gideon Smith and the Brass Dragon (Excerpt)

David Barnett Gideon Smith and the Brass Dragon excerpt Nineteenth century London is the center of a vast British Empire, a teeming metropolis where steam-power is king and airships ply the skies, and where Queen Victoria presides over three quarters of the known world—including the east coast of America, following the failed revolution of 1775.

Young Gideon Smith has seen things that no green lad of Her Majesty’s dominion should ever experience. Through a series of incredible events Gideon has become the newest Hero of the Empire. But Gideon is a man with a mission, for the dreaded Texas pirate Louis Cockayne has stolen the mechanical clockwork girl Maria, along with a most fantastical weapon—a great brass dragon that was unearthed beneath ancient Egyptian soil. Maria is the only one who can pilot the beast, so Cockayne has taken girl and dragon off to points east.

Gideon and his intrepid band take to the skies and travel to the American colonies hot on Cockayne’s trail. Not only does Gideon want the machine back, he has fallen in love with Maria. Their journey will take them to the wilds of the lawless lands south of the American colonies—to free Texas, where the mad King of Steamtown rules with an iron fist (literally), where life is cheap and honor even cheaper.

Gideon Smith amazon buy link David Barnett’s Gideon Smith and the Brass Dragon is a fantastical steampunk fable set against an alternate historical backdrop. Get it September 16th from Tor Books!

[Read an excerpt]

Aug 31 2014 10:00am

British Genre Fiction Hitlist: Early September New Releases

speculative fiction new UK releases september

From the fold of the British Genre Fiction Focus comes the British Genre Fiction Hitlist: your biweekly breakdown of the most notable new releases out of the United Kingdom’s thriving speculative fiction industry.

How the hell can it be September already? Tell you what: if I figure it out first, I’ll let you know. You’d do the same for me, I’m sure.

In the interim, do you like books? You do? Good, because I have a fair few for you to take a look at today, not least exciting new series by Rod Duncan, James Lovegrove, Karen Miller and Tom Fletcher; several standalones, like The Bone Clocks by David Mitchell—longlisted of late for the Man Booker Prize; and stay tuned, too, for a couple of conclusions: of Jeff VanderMeer’s Southern Reach series and Tad Williams’ Bobby Dollar novels.

This edition of the Hitlist also features new books by Angus Watson, Benedict Jacka, Sherrilyn Kenyon, Elizabeth Cody Kimmel, Charlie Higson, Malinda Lo, Drew Karpyshyn, Robert Aickman, Mercedes Lackey, Terry Pratchett, Gary Gibson, Richard Kadrey, Sarah J. Maas, Brian Herbert, Daniel H. Wilson, Holly Black, Cassandra Clare, Kate Mosse and Rachel Urquhart.

[Read More]

Aug 30 2014 10:00pm

Locked in a Room With His Greatest Enemy. Doctor Who: “Into the Dalek”

Doctor Who Into the Dalek Peter Capaldi

If you want to find out who the Doctor really is then lock him in a room with his greatest enemy: the Daleks.

This has been one of the few truths of Doctor Who as a show, even more so after its return in 2005 and the introduction of the Time War plot establishing that the Doctor sacrificed his own people to rid the universe of the Daleks once and for all. As an unyielding trickster, the Doctor thrills in subverting the universe’s expectations and inspiring others to do the same. This trait is embedded deeply in the Doctor’s fictional history. He’s not going to bow to the constraints of Time Lord society, he’s going to steal a TARDIS and get the hell out of there. He’s not [whatever his Gallifreyan birthname is], he’s the Doctor. Just the Doctor. And you can’t force him do anything he doesn’t want to do.

Unless you’re the Daleks.

[Doctor Who: “Into the Dalek.” Spoilers ahead.]