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 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
August 15, 2014
“Perhaps It Was Only an Echo”: The Giver
Natalie Zutter
Aug 26 2014 10:47am

George R. R. Martin’s Scream is Pretty Amazing

White Walker

George R.R. Martin, having been challenged by “that bastard Neil Gaiman,” has taken the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge! And before you say, “Oh, I have seen so many of those, surely I do not need to watch another,” allow us to assure you that GRRM emits sounds that must be heard to be believed. We advise you to click through, and enjoy. 

[Valar morghulis, everybody!]

Aug 26 2014 10:00am

Unlocking John Scalzi’s Lock In

Lock In John Scalzi review

You know who’s going to love Lock In? John Scalzi fans. If you fit into that category, stop reading and just go buy the book. Read this article later. If, like me, your relationship with John Scalzi is complicated, keep reading.

Once, I loved Scalzi’s work. I found it witty and charming, with a perfect blend of action, humor, and drama. Once, I found his work indulgent and repetitive, with an overreliance on one voice and one perspective to carry the day. In both instances I was convinced I knew who John Scalzi was as a writer.

With Lock In, it’s time to reevaluate again.

[Unlocking Lock In]

Aug 26 2014 9:00am
Original Story

Strongest Conjuration

A tale of the Incrementalists—a secret society of two hundred people, with an unbroken lineage reaching back forty thousand years. They cheat death, share lives and memories, and communicate with one another across nations and time. They have an epic history, an almost magical memory, and a very modest mission: to make the world better, a little bit at a time. Their ongoing argument about just how to accomplish this is older than most of their individual memories. They first appeared in the 2013 novel The Incrementalists by Steven Brust and Skyler White; subsequently, Tor.com published an Incrementalists story by Brust, “Fireworks in the Rain.” “Strongest Conjuration” takes place directly after the events of the novel.

This novelette was acquired and edited for Tor.com by senior editor Patrick Nielsen Hayden.

[Read “Strongest Conjuration” by Skyler White]

Aug 26 2014 8:00am

Morning Roundup: Venkman and Stay Puft Put the Past Behind Them

Bill Murray Stay Puft

So, yesterday was National Kiss and Make Up Day, which is why the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man posted this photo on Twitter. Does this mean all is forgiven? Did Puft apologize for stepping on a church in Venkman’s town?

Morning Roundup has news of what may soon be the greatest television show of all time, and interview with Haruki Murakami, and the origin story of America’s next great astronaut.


Aug 25 2014 5:00pm

Fiction Affliction: September Releases in Fantasy

fiction affliction new releases september fantasyTwenty-six new fantasies hit the shelves this month, including new series beginnings from, among others, Charlie Holmberg (Paper Magician), Angus Watson (Iron Age), Joseph Delaney (Starblade Chronicles), J.F. Lewis (Grudgebearer Trilogy), M.C. Planck (World of Prime), Karen Miller (Tarnished Crown Quintet), and Holly Black and Cassandra Clare (Magisterium).

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.]

Aug 25 2014 4:00pm

Firebug (Excerpt)

Lish McBride Firebug Ava is a firebug—she can start fires with her mind. Which would all be well and good if she weren’t caught in a deadly contract with the Coterie, a magical mafia. She’s one of their main hitmen… and she doesn’t like it one bit. Not least because her boss, Venus, killed Ava’s mother.

When Venus asks Ava to kill a family friend, Ava rebels. She knows very well that you can’t say no to the Coterie and expect to get away with it, though, so she and her friends hit the road, trying desperately to think of a way out of the mess they find themselves in—preferably keeping the murder to a minimum.

Amazon buy button Firebug Check out an excerpt below from Lish McBride’s Firebug, available September 23rd from Henry Holt! You can also find out more about the cover design process here.

[Read an excerpt]

Aug 25 2014 3:30pm

The Clockwork Dagger Sweepstakes!

Clockwork DaggerWe gave you an excerpt from Beth Cato’s debut novel, The Clockwork Dagger, and Michael R. Underwood told you why it was awesome. Now we want to send three winners a copy of this original, intriguing steampunk adventure, out on September 16 from Harper Voyager!

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 August 25. Sweepstakes ends at 12:00 PM ET on August 29. 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.

Aug 25 2014 3:00pm

12 Reasons to Read and Love Terry Pratchett’s Discworld

Terry Pratchett

Terry Pratchett needs no introduction as one of the most successful fantasy authors the UK has ever produced. He’s written science fiction, both on his own and in collaboration, children’s books, essays and popular science, but he’s best known for The Discworld.

[12 Reasons to Read and Love Discworld]

Aug 25 2014 2:00pm

“Brave People are Afraid. I’m Not Afraid Anymore.” Kameron Hurley’s The Mirror Empire

The Mirror Empire Kameron Hurley review Kameron Hurley’s nonfiction writing recently won awards in two separate categories at this year’s Hugo ceremony (Best Fan Writer and Best Related Work, to be exact). Her first science fiction novel, God’s War, was shortlisted for, among others, the Arthur C. Clarke Award and the BSFA Award. The Bel Dame Apocrypha trilogy (God’s War, Infidel, and Rapture) heralded the arrival of new, uncompromising voice in the SFF field. Hurley’s first outings proved her ability to innovate: to mix really weird elements of worldbuilding with visceral brutality and strong characterisation, in stories that have interesting arguments about social change, war, and survival at their core.

Stories with a deeply, angrily, feminist vein.

The Mirror Empire takes what Hurley’s already shown us she’s capable of with regard to science fiction, and applies it to the vast canvas of epic fantasy. This isn’t the epic fantasy we’re all used to, though, recognisably inspired by cultures from our own history—and that mostly northern European ones. No: this is epic fantasy that builds its world from the ground up, and that world is deeply, fascinatingly weird.

[Filled with bad shit on its way...]

Aug 25 2014 1:00pm

The Legend of Korra Season Finale: “Enter the Void” and “Venom of the Red Lotus”

Avatar The Legend of Korra

So you want a big, two-part, smash ’em up finale? The Legend of Korra delivers and still leaves enough room for a bittersweet not-with-a-bang-but-with-a-whimper capstone. I’m left thoughtful in the wake of everything that happens; in a lot of ways, this feels like the spiritual sequel to the end of Book Two in Avatar: the Last Airbender, and the preponderance of crystal and gurus makes me think that’s quite intentional. As the same time, these episodes intensely channel the series finale of “Sozin’s Comet,” but with the clever conceit of a role reversal. Here the nimble, evasive airbender is the villain, and the one soaring around on jets of flame is the Avatar.

Book Three of The Legend of Korra has been great, not just in comparison to the first two seasons but on its own, and it concludes here. It’ll all end in tears, but what kind of tears?

[Read More]

Aug 25 2014 12:00pm

Animorphs: Why the Series Rocked and Why You Should Still Care

Animorphs the Encounter K.A. Applegate In August 1996, Scholastic published a book called The Encounter by K.A. Applegate. I wouldn’t read it for several years, but while I remained firmly sequestered from pop culture, The Encounter and the series to which it belonged—Animorphs—would begin rapidly changing the face of young adult SF/F fiction.

Today, it’s hard to imagine how the genre would have evolved without Applegate’s iconic influence (not to mention her husband, Michael Grant, who helped write the series); and yet, the number of young readers who recognize the series is dwindling. That’s a shame, because if you’re a modern kid looking for violent coming-of-age stories that promote gender equality, racial tolerance, and the freedom to self-identify, you can’t ask for a better saga than Animorphs.

[How Animorphs changed YA, and a whole generation of readers...]

Aug 25 2014 11:50am

Guardians of the Galaxy Dances Back to the Top of the Box Office!

Today in Guardians of the Galaxy news: the Dancing Groot Toy is one step closer to being real! Unfortunately, the adorable little guy above doesn’t actually, um, dance? But! It’s a bobble-head, so if you put it next to a window on a breezy day, or a moderately powerful fan, it’ll be a good approximation.

The other news: GotG has regained the Number One spot at the box office! After two weeks of childhood-destroying horror Turtle Power, the Guardians jumped back up to the top, at the same time securing their status as the highest-grossing film of the summer. This puts them at number three for the year so far, behind Captain America: Winter Soldier and The LEGO Movie, which gives us hope for the human race, because something has to. When was the last time a film fell from the top spot, only to work its way back up? Is the Power of Friendship involved somehow, or just the Power of Li’l Groot?

Aug 25 2014 11:00am

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

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.

[Read this week’s post.]

Aug 25 2014 10:30am

The Return of Doctor Who Sweepstakes!

Doctor Who is back (read our spoiler review of the season premiere here!), and we want to send you some Gallifreyan goodies to celebrate.

Our first prize winner will receive a prize pack that includes Inside the TARDIS: The Worlds of Doctor Who by James Chapman, The Doctor’s Monsters: Meanings of the Monstrous in Doctor Who by Graham Sleight, and New Dimensions of Doctor Who: Adventures in Time, Space, and Television edited by Matt Hills, all from I.B. Tauris!

Our second prize winner will receive a copy of Inside the TARDIS and The Doctor’s Monsters, and our third prize winner will receive a copy of Inside the TARDIS!

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 August 25. Sweepstakes ends at 12:00 PM ET on August 28. 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.

Aug 25 2014 10:00am

Not with a Bang: True Blood’s Powerfully Unsexy Series Finale

True Blood Thank You

Leave it to True Blood to figure out one last stake to twist into the hearts of its diminished audience. Will Sookie and Bill be together forever? Will Eric get naked one last time? Will we see some characters get a little closure? Will the show go completely off the rails and end up with Sookie becoming president of a new, vampiric, world order?


I mean, this was once an Alan Ball show and he was responsible for the best series finale ever—Six Feet Under. But Ball is long gone. And while we didn’t go into full-on Dexter levels of lunacy or TV-punching rage like Lost or Battlestar Galactica, True Blood’s finale was definitely the most flaccid sixty-five minutes of TV in some time. Because, you know, if an excellent series finale is supposed to contain the show’s mini-thesis, True Blood’s running theme was most certainly ham-fisted meditations on conventional morality by fully-clothed people, right?

[Put a stake in it, it’s done...]

Aug 25 2014 9:00am

Rereading the Empire Trilogy: Daughter of the Empire, Part 14

Welcome back to the reread of Raymond E. Feist and Janny Wurts’ Daughter of the Empire! Prepare for emotional whiplash with this one as we bid farewell to a beloved friend, and follow Mara to the edge of that very dangerous cliff she has been skirting around for some time. Politics, murder, blackmail, tea, and a collapsible balcony.

What could possibly go wrong?

Chapter 16: Funeral

Summary: Mara attends the funeral of her loyal warrior Papewaio. She is surrounded by a temporary honour guard of Imperial Whites (who are not nearly the same as Imperial Stormtroopers, honestly, but you’re never going to get that image out of your mind now). Nacoya has begged off the ceremony, claiming smoke inhalation, and is quietly resting in the suite of the Warlord himself, safe.

[Read More]

Aug 25 2014 8:00am

Morning Roundup: Does This Mean Our Sears Fridge isn’t a Portal to Ancient Sumer?

Nerd Approved shared this shot on their Twitter stream. We guess it would be too good to be true, escaping into a mystical paradise through a piece of furniture we bought at a Costco…but can you blame us for trying?

Morning Roundup wants to welcome you back into the week! One of the final weeks we can safely call summer. Is it just us, or did this summer fly by like sands through an hourglass that was violently hurled from a great height to smash on the unforgiving ground below? Whatever, while we wait for Fall to show up we’ll talk to you about Harry Potter, Milo Manara, and Doctor Who!

[read more]

Aug 23 2014 10:00pm

Coffee or Chips? Doctor Who: “Deep Breath”

Doctor Who, Deep Breath

Doctor Who is finally back and Capaldi is here! Keep a tight hold on the reigns because “Deep Breath” is not pulling any punches. Let’s talk about it below! Spoilers abound!

[Episode summary and thinky-thoughts!]

Aug 23 2014 10:30am

Fringe - Sins of the Father Sweepstakes!

We have three copies of Fringe: Sins of the Father by Christina Faust, out on August 26th from Titan Books, and we want to send them to you right now! Find out more about Peter’s past, and the strange events that led to the founding of the Fringe division.

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 August 23. Sweepstakes ends at 12:00 PM ET on August 27. 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.

Aug 22 2014 5:00pm

Among Myths: Scale-Bright by Benjanun Sriduangkaew

Scale-Bright by Benjanun Sriduangkaew review

World Fantasy Award winner Lavie Tidhar has it that Benjanun Sriduangkaew may be “the most exciting new voice in speculative fiction today,” and on the basis of Scale-Bright, he might be right. A love story set in heaven and Hong Kong arranged around a troubled young woman’s belated coming of age, it’s the longest and most involved tale Sriduangkaew has told to date, and considered alongside The Sun-Moon Cycle, it represents an achievement without equal.

“An orphan who spent seven years hating equally the parents that died and the extended family that did not,” Julienne, when we join her, lives what you might describe as a quiet life with her adoptive aunts, Hau Ngai and Seung Ngo. The fact that they’re myths in mortal form complicates things a little, admittedly.

[Read More]