The Sound of Useless Wings January 28, 2015 The Sound of Useless Wings Cecil Castellucci Of insect dreams and breaking hearts. Damage January 21, 2015 Damage David D. Levine Concerning a spaceship's conscience. And the Burned Moths Remain January 14, 2015 And the Burned Moths Remain Benjanun Sriduangkaew Treason is a trunk of thorns. A Beautiful Accident January 7, 2015 A Beautiful Accident Peter Orullian A Sheason story.
From The Blog
January 21, 2015
Don’t Touch That Dial: Midseason SFF
Alex Brown
January 21, 2015
Agent Carter, I Think I’m in Love
Liz Bourke
January 21, 2015
The Illogic of Fairy Tales
Genevieve Cogman
January 16, 2015
Birdman is Actually Just a Muppet Movie
Max Gladstone
January 15, 2015
What Are Your Favorite Non-Sci-Fi/Fantasy TV Shows?
Stubby the Rocket
Thu
Jan 29 2015 10:00am

Midnight in Karachi, Episode 5: “The Vaporization Enthalpy of a Peculiar Pakistani Family” by Usman T. Malik

Enthalpy exploding water balloon Edward Horsford

Welcome back to Midnight in Karachi, a bi-weekly podcast about writers, publishers, editors, illustrators, their books and the worlds they create, hosted by Mahvesh Murad.

This episode takes a break from its usual transmission to bring you a story called “The Vaporization Enthalpy of a Peculiar Pakistani Family” by Usman T Malik, as read by Mahvesh Murad. The story was originally published in Qualia Nous, edited by Michael Bailey. It can be read online for free here.

[Listen Now!]

Thu
Jan 29 2015 9:00am

That Was Awesome: The Power of Voice in The Diabolical Miss Hyde

The Diabolical Miss Hyde Viola Carr I started reading The Diabolical Miss Hyde, and in the first paragraph, I found voice. Voice is such a nebulous yet vital element in writing. It’s attitude, rhythm, dialogue. It’s what makes a book come alive. Within a matter of sentences, Viola Carr’s novel snared me because of a perspective with blunt, ungrammatical charm:

In London, we’ve got murderers by the dozen. Rampsmen, garroters, wife beaters and baby farmers, poisoners and pie makers and folk who’ll crack you over the noddle with a ha’penny cosh for the sake of your flashy watch chain and leave your meat for the rats. Never mind what you read in them penny dreadfuls: there ain’t no romance in murder.

But every now and again, we gets us an artist.

[Read More]

Thu
Jan 29 2015 8:00am

Morning Roundup: We’ve Found the One Thing That Makes Star Wars Even Better!

Kitten Princess Leia

Tumblr user Ivanova-is-god posted this adorable kitten Leia! We would rescue her from a billion Admiral Tarkins.

Morning Roundup brings you tales of the aquatic god Momoa; a look at the loneliness of the long distance mathematician; and an oral history of Area X!

[Um, phrasing?]

Thu
Jan 29 2015 5:30am

The Shortlist for the First Annual James Herbert Award for Horror Writing

James Herbert Books

Pan Macmillan has just announced the shortlist for the first annual James Herbert Award for Horror Writing! Celebrating work “from the darkly fantastical and post-apocalyptic to desolate rural mysteries, gut-wrenching body horrors and modern re-imaginings of classic horror tropes,” the shortlist represents a diverse array of writing from some of our favorite writers.

[Read More]

Wed
Jan 28 2015 5:00pm

Fiction Affliction: Genre-Benders for February

new releases genre february Twenty-two books defy genrification in February, including new dystopian and time-travel anthologies and new steampunk titles from Elizabeth Bear, Leanna Renee Hieber, Kristin Bailey, and Viola Carr.

Fiction Affliction details releases in science fiction, fantasy, urban fantasy, paranormal romance, and “genre-benders.” Keep track of them all here. Note: All title summaries are taken and/or summarized from copy provided by the publisher.

[Read about this month’s releases.]

Wed
Jan 28 2015 4:00pm

Half of a War God: Gemini Cell by Myke Cole

Gemini Cell Myke Cole review“For the dead, war never ends.” That’s the somewhat ominous tagline on the cover of Myke Cole’s newest military fantasy novel Gemini Cell. Set in the early years of the Great Awakening, the novel shows how humanity first reacted to the sudden appearance of magical powers in random people—a process that would eventually lead to the militarization of magic as portrayed in Cole’s first three Shadow Ops novels: Control Point, Fortress Frontier, and Breach Zone.

Gemini Cell is in a sense a prequel to that trilogy. It doesn’t share any characters with the first three books, but it’s set in the same world during an earlier age, more or less setting the stage for what’s coming down in Control Point. A prequel in the L.E. Modesitt Jr. sense, maybe.

There’s two bits of good news here. First of all, if you’ve always been curious about the action-packed military fantasy Myke Cole excels at, this book is an excellent entry point to the series, as it basically requires zero knowledge of the other books. The second bit of good news: it’s also the best novel he’s written so far.

[Read More]

Wed
Jan 28 2015 3:30pm

Medieval Scribe: “Oh My God, I’m So Hungover”

Irish manuscript hangover gloss ogham script

Clearly, the medieval scribes-in-training who spent their hours at school doodling in the margins of illuminated manuscripts grew up to be the scribes who basically threated other ancient texts as their diaries. According to blogger Anglandicus, adult scribes would detail their physical and emotional states on the ancient manuscripts they were working on, from reciting prayers to complaining about their peers’ shoddy work to nursing a wicked hangover.

[Read more]

Wed
Jan 28 2015 3:00pm

Why is Howard Stark’s Moustache So Sad? Agent Carter: “The Blitzkrieg Button”

Agent Carter: The Blitzkrieg Button

You know those pictures of TV writing rooms where there are index cards on a huge corkboard, each card representing an important moment (or scene) in the overall season? Last night’s episode of Agent Carter, “The Blitzkrieg Button” felt like all the cards that were left over after the series had been planned out. You got your Peggy Remembers Howard is a Jerk card, you got your SSR Reacts to Krzeminski’s Death card, you got your Dottie Blows Her Cover card.

Piled together, this doesn’t quite make a story, so Agent Carter also throws the Stan Lee Cameo card at us and one of the writers sneaks in a Captain America is Jesus Maybe card in hopes that we won’t notice. Something’s gotta fill that episode 4 slot!

[Read more]

Wed
Jan 28 2015 2:00pm

Sewing Machine Battles: Karen Memory by Elizabeth Bear

Karen Memory Elizabeth Bear reviewElizabeth Bear’s newest novel Karen Memory takes a different direction than her last several projects: it’s a steampunk romp set on the west coast during the late 19th century, narrated by the titular character, a young woman who works as a “seamstress” in a high end bordello.

One night, she helps (along with her housemates) to rescue two young women who have escaped the crib brothels down by the port—one the rescuer, one the rescue-ee. The incident brings the already-strained relationship between our antagonist, Peter Bantle, and the house’s Madame to a head; and, not long after, murdered women begin appearing around the city—also bringing to town the Federal Marshal Bass Reeves.

There are also dirigibles and steam-powered sewing machines like exoskeletons, of course, and the wider conflict over the future of the West lingers in the submerged layers of the narrative as well. There’s a mix of actual history and invented, real places and people and imaginary, that adds a certain depth to the fun—plus, there’s also a diverse cast, from our protagonist’s love interest Priya to the Marshal and his posseman.

[A review.]

Wed
Jan 28 2015 1:45pm

These DIY Labyrinth Barbies Will Make You Do the Magic Dance

DIY Labyrinth Barbies photos

We’re not sure who to award the title of “coolest ever” to: The father who hacked Barbie dolls to turn them into Jareth the Goblin King and Sarah Williams; or his seven-year-old daughter, who asked for Labyrinth dolls in the first place. Redditor just_s0me_guy shared his fantastic DIY work on Imgur, explaining how in the absence of Labyrinth toys, he got creative.

[Read more]

Wed
Jan 28 2015 1:15pm

Afternoon Roundup: It’s Dangerous to Go Alone! Take This Caffeine Boost

Sleevebucks pop culture geeky Starbucks sleeves Link Legend of Zelda Instagram

Welcome to the first-ever Afternoon Roundup! Right around the time you’re flagging and getting your afternoon caffeine fix, we’re here with more great links from around the Web. And once you have your hot drink in hand, maybe you’ll be inspired by the Instagram account Sleevebucks to turn the Starbucks mermaid into every pop culture character imaginable! Although they’ve already done a bang-up job of transforming her into Zorro, Thor, and even Sherlock Holmes himself.

Afternoon Roundup ponders Chris Pratt ruling two big action-adventure franchises; connects the dots on Legend of Korra; and tries to get you to watch Black Mirror already—you’ll really like it!

[Read more]

Wed
Jan 28 2015 1:00pm

Rereading Melanie Rawn: The Star Scroll, Chapters 19 and 20

Melanie Rawn Dragon Prince Star Scroll rereadWelcome to the weekly reread of The Star Scroll! In this week’s adventure, the Rialla continues, both the marriage market and the races get (sometimes literally) heated, and a midnight meeting raises lots of questions but few answers.

Chapter 19

So This Happens: Princess Alasen is an escape artist when it comes to guards and escorts. Today she’s at the rail for the races. The young men are showing off the horses, and she has her eye on a particularly nice mare, which she intends to ask her father to buy for her.

She knows she’s been brought here to choose a husband. She’s watching the mare’s rider, her father’s squire, Sorin of Radzyn Keep—but she’s not thinking of him as husband material. They’re just good friends.

[Read More]

Wed
Jan 28 2015 12:30pm

The Mime Order Sweepstakes!

Samantha Shannon, author of The Mime Order, dropped by yesterday to take our Pop Quiz at the End of the Universe, and now we want to send you a copy of her book! 

The Mime Order is the second installment in Shannon’s seven-book series that follows dreamwalker Paige Mahoney, a gifted clairvoyant living in London’s future, whose natural talents are considered treasonous under the current regime.

We have three copies for you to win, so 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 12:30 PM Eastern Time (ET) on January 28. Sweepstakes ends at 12:00 PM ET on February 1. 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.

Wed
Jan 28 2015 12:00pm

Pull List: Nimona

Once upon a time, a bored blogger was endlessly scrolling through Tumblr when she came across some really awesome fanart. She checked out the OP and was pleased to discover a gem of a webcomic. The blogger was immediately hooked and spent the next few hours devouring everything the artist had ever created. She reblogged the artist’s mini-comics, bought copies of her fanart, and devoured her webcomic with the kind of single-minded intensity she usually reserved for 40,000+ word fanfics. Even though the webcomic has come to an end, the blogger still keeps the RSS feed on her bookmarks toolbar, because every now and again she gets a craving.

And now it’s time for you, dear reader, to fall in love with Nimona, Ballister, and Goldenloin just as your fair blogger did...

[“Aw yeah! Let’s make some evil plans!”]

Wed
Jan 28 2015 11:20am

Covering Crashing Heaven

Crashing Heaven Al Robertson

Bought eighteen months or so ago in what The Bookseller describes as “a major pre-empt ahead of an auction” that would probably have been hotly fought, Crashing Heaven is for my money among the most exciting debuts of the coming months.

According to Gollancz’s Simon Spanton, “Al Robertson [is] a writer completely in command of his material and totally at home in his chosen genre”—which is to say science fiction. “To find all this, fully formed, in the work of a debut writer is special indeed. It’s a long time since I’ve read a book that takes the familiar and fashions it into something that feels so fresh.”

[Read More]

Wed
Jan 28 2015 11:00am

Rocket Talk Episode 41: Myke Cole

Rocket Talk Myke Cole

In this episode, Myke Cole visits Rocket Talk to discuss the challenges of writing things outside his experience. He and Justin discuss Cole’s newest release, Gemini Cell, and how a writer can and should push themselves.

[Listen Now!]

Wed
Jan 28 2015 10:00am

Heists and Capers Redux!

heist caper movies The Brothers Bloom

We here at Tor.com love any excuse for a heist! Last year we rounded up some classic caper stories; now, in order to assemble the best possible team, we’ve turned to Twitter to ask for your favorites. Check out this stellar list, and be sure to let us know if we missed any indispensable titles.

It’s like our very own version of Ocean’s Eleven!

[We wanted to dream a bit bigger, darlings.]

Wed
Jan 28 2015 9:30am

Joint US and UK Cover Reveal for The Traitor Baru Cormorant

The Traitor Baru Cormorant cover reveal

There’s already a lot of buzz around Seth Dickinson’s debut fantasy novel, The Traitor Baru Cormorant, and we are pleased to reveal both the Tor Books and Tor UK covers! Dickinson’s epic fantasy centers on Baru Cormorant, a character who rivals the entire Lannister clan in wit, cunning, and ambition.

“Seth Dickinson’s novel has everything I look for as an editor,” said Tor Books editor Marco Palmieri, “focusing on issues any 21st century reader can relate to: having to hide who you really are in a world that disapproves of you; becoming part of a monstrous system that oppresses those less powerful; and the moral compromises that are sometimes made for the sake of a greater good. It’s strong stuff, beautifully told, transcending genre, and it rips my heart out every time I read it.”

[Read More]

Wed
Jan 28 2015 9:00am
Original Story

The Sound of Useless Wings

In this prequel to Tin Star, we meet Heckleck, the Hort alien who befriends Tula Bane on the space station Yertina Feray in her fight for survival. In his modest beginnings, Heckleck is raised to understand that breeding and propagating his own kind is the sole reason for living. When he is called upon to settle on a new planet, he meets the daughter of a politician, Goglu, with whom he falls helplessly in love, and is determined to win over. But nothing is easy in love and space exploration, and when his plans become thwarted, he must find a new way of life.

This short story was acquired and edited for Tor.com by Connie Hsu.

[Read “The Sound of Useless Wings” by Cecil Castellucci]

Wed
Jan 28 2015 8:00am

Morning Roundup: Who Needs Gold When You Have Books?

Dragon Hoard

We stumbled upon a gorgeous treasure pile on imgur!

Dont’WorryImMedicated posted a group of dragons who have chosen to hoard far more interesting things than gold. You see...knowledge is their treasure. Well, knowledge, pastries, and bunnies!

Morning Roundup brings you the best anti-prejudice statement we’ve seen in a while, news on Deadpool’s big screen adventures, and lessons from some of the best villains working today!

[plus]