Let It Make a Lot of Cash: Disney’s Frozen

According to the expert opinions of the kids next door, Frozen is not just the best Disney movie ever, but the best movie ever ever ever.


Which is one reason why I hesitated to include it in this Read-Watch: that expert opinion has also led the kids next door to play the English and Spanish soundtracks from Frozen at high volume on a regular basis, and, far worse, sing along with both. By the fifth rendition of “Do You Wanna Build a Snowman/Si Hacemos un Muñeco” during a Florida August, I was ready to hunt down the songwriters and bury them in snowmen myself. Plus, I had the excuse that Frozen, despite a credit that reads “inspired by” Hans Christian Anderson’s The Snow Queen, departs so far from that novella that the film is usually credited as a Disney original.

So skipping Frozen was the original plan—until, that is, I happened to reread The Snow Queen for other reasons, and realized that, in spirit, Frozen may be probably closer to its original source material than anything we’ve seen so far in this reread.


[A sympathetic monster, a questionable prince, and a major box office take]

Listen to Victor LaValle, Paul Tremblay, and Laird Barron Dissect the Horror Genre

Last week, three masters of horror—Victor LaValle, Paul Tremblay, and Laird Barron—read from their latest works at Book Culture Columbus in New York City, and stopped by The Wall Street Journal‘s Speakeasy Podcast to discuss dark fiction, H.P. Lovecraft, and the roots of psychological dread with Michael Calia.

The three authors discussed the first books and movies that scared them, and how those early experiences of horror fiction resonate in their work today. All thread relatable fears through their uncanny tales: LaValle’s The Ballad of Black Tom connects cosmic horror to the visceral perils of prejudice, while Tremblay’s new novel Disappearance at Devil’s Rock revolves around the fraught relationship between children and parents. Barron’s upcoming collection, Swift to Chase, combines dark fantasy with tangible terror, and incorporates noir into his stories of horror in the Alaskan wilderness.

Listen to LaValle, Tremblay, and Barron discuss fiction, fear, and things that go bump in the night on the Speakeasy Podcast now!

Words of Radiance Reread: Chapter 87

Welcome back to the Words of Radiance Reread on Tor.com! Last week, Shallan evacuated the armies through the Oathgate while Kaladin battle Szeth through and above the clashing storms. This week, in the aftermath, they face rearrangement of the world as they knew it. Also, Lopen is glow-y and Moash is gloomy.

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!

[Everybody, give the Lopen your spheres! I have glowing that needs to be done!]

Series: Words of Radiance Reread on Tor.com

Figuring Out What the “Speed of Plot” is in Game of Thrones

To hear the internet tell it, the recent sixth season of Game of Thrones was more exciting than the show has been since the Red Wedding. One of the methods the show used to obtain that momentum was by cutting out the length of each character’s journey through, around, and outside of Westeros. If Character A needed to travel hundreds of miles to go see Character B, for instance, then they’d be there in their next scene. In essence, Game of Thrones’ sixth season eschewed the geography of A Song of Ice and Fire in favor of having the characters travel at the speed of plot.

The Verge recently combined the character’s journeys in season 6 into a handy map, then rated the believability of each plotline on a scale of 1 to 10. They judge Brienne’s plotline as the most “actually possible” with everyone else falling into the realm of, well, fantasy. They don’t, however, calculate the actual time of each character’s season 6 journey, which would be interesting to know. How much time is compressed into season 6?

The Trouble with Paradoxes: New Pompeii by Daniel Godfrey

“Like Crichton at his best,” proclaims the pull-quote on the front cover of Daniel Godfrey’s New Pompeii. I suppose I should have taken that as a warning…

The problem with novels involving time travel is paradox. The problem with paradox in novels is that novels, generally, rely on the existence of cause-and-effect. This happens, so that happens, so the climax and denouement makes sense and offers some sense of narrative satisfaction. Paradox puts a spanner in the whole works. Paradox makes the wheels come off. Paradox screws everything up.

I hate paradox. And New Pompeii relies on it.

[Read more]

16 Books That Reveal the Interesting Historical Oddities of Comic Books

For many years comic books skulked in the shadows of culture, considered juvenile at best, or outright dangerous at worst. Only in the last few decades has there been a serious effort to treat them as the art form they are, and to study their history in a serious way.

I’ve gathered some of the best non-fiction looks at comics history below, from overviews of the medium as a whole, to detailed biographies of key comics creators. Go forth, learn some history, and let us know if we left any of your favorite comics histories out!

[Read more]

Of Exiles and Fairy Tales: The Swan Book by Alexis Wright

For Oblivion Ethyl(ene), aka Oblivia, the future is a world of suffering, imprisonment, and isolation. In Alexis Wright’s devastating novel The Swan Book, humans have pushed the earth to its breaking point. “Mother Nature? Hah!…People on the road called her the Mother Catastrophe of flood, fire, drought and blizzard. These were the four seasons, which she threw around the world whenever she liked.” Humans lost contact and connection to the land and so the land punished them for the betrayal.

Bella Donna of the Champions, a white woman from Europe, the sole survivor of a massive floating refugee camp attempting to cross the ocean from north to south to escape the worst effects of climate change, rescues an Aboriginal girl from a deep sleep within the hollow of a gum tree. The girl has no name, no past, and no voice, but as the story unfolds we learn she’d been the victim of a terrible sexual assault and was abandoned and forgotten by her people. Bella Donna names her Oblivia and fills her mind with fairy tales from her homeland of swans. Together they live on an derelict warship on a desolate swamp behind the fence set up by the Army to segregate the Aboriginal people from the rest of Australia.

[“Ignis Fatuus = Foolish Fire. That’s you Oblivion!”]

Fiction Affliction: July Releases in Science Fiction

July brings twenty-four new science fiction books, from the best of Ben Bova to The Year’s Best Science Fiction, Star Trek to Star Wars, new series kickoffs and series finales. Jeff and Ann VanderMeer present The Big Book of Science Fiction (it’s truly giant), Chuck Wendig continues his Star Wars: Aftermath trilogy, and Pauline Gedge’s Stargate gets reissued. Your summer reading is definitely here.

[Read more]

The Big Sheep Sweepstakes!

We want to send you a copy of Robert Kroese’s The Big Sheep, available now from Thomas Dunne Books!

Los Angeles of 2039 is a baffling and bifurcated place. After the Collapse of 2028, a vast section of LA, the Disincorporated Zone, was disowned by the civil authorities, and became essentially a third world country within the borders of the city. Navigating the boundaries between DZ and LA proper is a tricky task, and there’s no one better suited than eccentric private investigator Erasmus Keane. When a valuable genetically altered sheep mysteriously goes missing from Esper Corporation’s labs, Keane is the one they call.

But while the erratic Keane and his more grounded partner, Blake Fowler, are on the trail of the lost sheep, they land an even bigger case. Beautiful television star Priya Mistry suspects that someone is trying to kill her—and she wants Keane to find out who. When Priya vanishes and then reappears with no memory of having hired them, Keane and Fowler realize something very strange is going on. As they unravel the threads of the mystery, it soon becomes clear that the two cases are connected—and both point to a sinister conspiracy involving the most powerful people in the city. Saving Priya and the sheep will take all of Keane’s wits and Fowler’s skills, but in the end, they may discover that some secrets are better left hidden.

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 June 29th. Sweepstakes ends at 12:00 PM ET on July 3rd. 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.

Rowling Reveals That American Wizards Have Slytherin to Thank For Their School

We now have a nice long story as background on the Potterverse North American wizarding school, Ilvermorny. But how does it all break down? Fans have been concerned about how this tale would unfold, following some upset over Rowling’s “History of Magic in North America” piece, but this is the first substantial glimpse we’ve been given into the more recent magical system in the United States and history of the school.

So let’s do this.

[Read more]

The Swarm

The first invasion of Earth was beaten back by a coalition of corporate and international military forces, and the Chinese army. China has been devastated by the Formic’s initial efforts to eradicate Earth life forms and prepare the ground for their own settlement. The Scouring of China struck fear into the other nations of the planet; that fear blossomed into drastic action when scientists determined that the single ship that wreaked such damage was merely a scout ship. There is a mothership out beyond the Solar System’s Kuiper Belt, and it’s heading into the system, unstoppable by any weapons that Earth can muster.

Earth has been reorganized for defense. There is now a Hegemon, a planetary official responsible for keeping all the formerly warring nations in line. There’s a Polemarch, responsible for organizing all the military forces of the planet into the new International Fleet. But there is an enemy within, an enemy as old as human warfare: ambition and politics. Greed and self-interest. Will Bingwen, Mazer Rackam, Victor Delgado and Lem Juke be able to divert those very human enemies in time to create a weapon that can effectively defend humanity in the inexorable Second Formic War?

Orson Scott Card and Aaron Johnston return to their Ender’s Game prequel series with this first volume of an all-new trilogy about the Second Formic War in The Swarm—available August 2nd from Tor Books!

[Read more]

Elder Gods Just Wanna Have Fun: Manta Aisora and Koin’s Haiyoru! Nyaruani

Welcome back to the Lovecraft reread, in which two modern Mythos writers get girl cooties all over old Howard’s sandbox, from those who inspired him to those who were inspired in turn.

Today is our hundredth post! To celebrate just how weird Weird Fiction can get, we’re watching varying amounts of Haiyoru! Nyaruani, a TV series based on a Japanese light novel by Manta Aisora (writer) and Koin (illustrator). The light novel (manga series) was published by Soft Bank Creative between April 2009 and March 2014. The flash series aired October 2009–March 2010; the follow-up series aired December 2010–February 2011, and April 2012–June 2013. Spoilers ahead.

[“The pagan gods’ hearts are all slimy.”]

Series: The Lovecraft Reread