Ambiguity Machines: An Examination April 29, 2015 Ambiguity Machines: An Examination Vandana Singh A test for Junior Navigators of Conceptual Machine-Space. The Pauper Prince and the Eucalyptus Jinn April 22, 2015 The Pauper Prince and the Eucalyptus Jinn Usman Malik He will inherit the Unseen. The Ways of Walls and Words April 15, 2015 The Ways of Walls and Words Sabrina Vourvoulias Can the spirit truly be imprisoned? Ballroom Blitz April 1, 2015 Ballroom Blitz Veronica Schanoes Can't stop drinking, can't stop dancing, can't stop smoking, can't even die.
From The Blog
April 30, 2015
The Folklore Origins of The Avengers
Caitlyn Paxson
April 28, 2015
Five Books Where Music is Practically a Character
Sabaa Tahir
April 27, 2015
Message Fiction: Politics in Sci-Fi and Fantasy Literature
The G
April 24, 2015
5 Extremely Accurate Predictions For Star Trek Beyond
Ryan Britt
April 22, 2015
Daredevil, Catholicism, and the Marvel Moral Universe
Leah Schnelbach
Thu
Apr 30 2015 10:00am
Original Comic

Con/Game

Cory Doctorow and Jen Wang

Con Game Cory Doctorow Jen Wang

We’re pleased to present Con/Game, an original comic from acclaimed author Cory Doctorow and rising star cartoonist Jen Wang, set in the world of their graphic novel In Real Life. First published on Tor.com on September 30, 2014, Con/Game will be also be available on Free Comic Book Day as part of the Comics Festival collection. Look for it this Saturday, May 2nd, at your local comic shop!

Anda loves Coarsegold Online, the massively-multiplayer role playing game that she spends most of her free time on. It’s a place where she can be a leader, a fighter, a hero. It’s a place where she can meet people from all over the world, and make friends. Gaming is, for Anda, entirely a good thing.

But things become a lot more complicated when Anda befriends a gold farmer—and Anda soon comes to realize that questions of right and wrong are a lot less straightforward when a real person’s real livelihood is at stake.

[Read Con/Game]

Thu
Apr 30 2015 9:30am

The Folklore Origins of The Avengers

The Avengers

I’m a huge nerd for folklore, and I see it everywhere. Everywhere. Have you ever considered, for instance, that Weekend at Bernie’s is actually derived from a long tradition of stories about propping up corpses so people won’t know they’re dead? It’s true! Old stories find a way to live on in whatever form they can.

As we careen towards the premier of Avengers: Age of Ultron, I’ve started thinking about the old stories that are living on in the form of superheroes. Some have made the argument that in our culture, the popularity of superheroes has risen so that we might sate our longing for fallible and diverse gods. I don’t know about that, but I do know that folklore and mythology infuses everything we make, whether or not we are aware of it. Which makes the Avengers folk, at least from where I’m standing...

[Read More]

Thu
Apr 30 2015 9:00am
Poetry

House

House

In honor of National Poetry Month, we are pleased to present “House,” an original poem by Neil Gaiman acquired for Tor.com by consulting editor Ellen Datlow—originally published on the site on April 2, 2013.

Tor.com is celebrating National Poetry Month by featuring science fiction and fantasy poetry from a variety of SFF authors. You’ll find classic works, hidden gems, and new commissions over at the Poetry Month index.

[“House” by Neil Gaiman]

Thu
Apr 30 2015 8:00am

Morning Roundup: This R2 Unit Has Become a Bit Eccentric

Nathan Hamill as R2-D2

Oh, this might be too much. This might overload the synapses and cause some sort of short. Look at that. That is Mark Hamill’s son Nathan, hiding inside of R2-D2, during a Hamill family visit to the set of Return of the Jedi. There are more of these photos, including one of Nathan doing scarily accurate Palpatine hands, and one of Hamill himself sitting in the Emperor’s chair, over at Laughing Squid and StarWars.com. Gaze upon them. Gaze.

Morning Roundup brings you the entire Marvel Cinematic Universe, in chronological order! It may take a while. Plus an intimate interview with the man behind Vision, a trick that would make Loki proud, and a who’s-who of Sword & Sorcery!

[Also? Let Ray Bradbury fill your ears with wisdom!]

Wed
Apr 29 2015 4:30pm

Unanswered Questions in Gotham: “The Anvil or the Hammer”

Gotham The Anvil or the Hammer

While I’m not sure what it had to do with anvils or hammers beyond its melodramatic title, “The Anvil or the Hammer” was still a pretty exciting and ultimately enjoyable episode—at least until the end, when Gotham remembered that its season finale is next week and so just kind of dropped everything that we’d spent the last three weeks on in order to setup the EPIC CLIMAX WHERE EVERYTHING CHANGES et cetera.

Granted my enjoyment began to waver once I sat back and thought about what actually happened. But “The Anvil or the Hammer” felt packed enough with action, drama, and stakes that as long as I was in the throes of it, I was too enthralled to question anything until the end. So that’s good?

[Read More]

Wed
Apr 29 2015 3:36pm

Announcing the 2015 European Science Fiction Society Award Winners

European Science Fiction Society Awards 2015 winnersThe European Science Fiction Society announced the winners of the 2015 ESFS Awards on April 26 at Eurocon in St. Petersburg, Russia. Eugene Lukin was named European Grandmaster at the ceremony, which honored those who have made an impact outside of their country. Among the honorees were author China Miéville and Tor.com contributor Liz Bourke!

[Click through for the full list of winners]

Wed
Apr 29 2015 3:30pm

Time Salvager Sweepstakes!

We've revealed the cover for Wesley Chu’s Time Salvager, out July 7th from Tor Books, and now we want to send five lucky winners a galley!

In a future when Earth is a toxic, abandoned world and humanity has spread into the outer solar system to survive, the tightly controlled use of time travel holds the key maintaining a fragile existence among the other planets and their moons. James Griffin-Mars is a chronman—a convicted criminal recruited for his unique psychological makeup to undertake the most dangerous job there is: missions into Earth's past to recover resources and treasure without altering the timeline.

Check for the rules below!

[Read more]

Wed
Apr 29 2015 3:00pm

Make Your Own Kind of Music: Magonia by Maria Dahvana Headley

Magonia Maria Dahvana Headley

Maria Dahvana Headley’s entry into YA fantasy is a strong, strong one. Magonia is the story of 16 year old Aza Ray Boyle, a girl who can not breathe the air of earth and has has been almost drowning in the atmosphere since shewas a baby.

Aza has always been different, always been unlike anyone else. ‘My history is hospitals’, she says at the very start of Magonia, describing her disease as something so unique that it is named after her, the only known carrier of Azaray Syndrome, with her tilted lungs and her strange heart. A miracle, the school nurse proclaims, and maybe she is, but mainly, Aza is just tired of being sick, tired of doctors not understanding her. ‘I'm dark matter’, she explains. ‘The universe inside of me is full of something, and science can't even shine a light on it. I feel like I'm mostly made of mysteries’.

[Read More]

Wed
Apr 29 2015 2:00pm

Rocket Talk Episode 52: Andrea Phillips

Andrea Phillips Revision

In this week’s podcast episode, Justin talks with Andrea Phillips about her new novel, Revision. They discuss how technology has changed the way we perceive reality, and how that same technology is impacting our fiction.

[Listen now!]

Wed
Apr 29 2015 1:30pm

Afternoon Roundup: Now Hayley Atwell Can Be Peggy Carter All the Time

Hayley Atwell DMV Pegg Carter license photo

Hayley Atwell, national treasure, who publicly apologizes to all the stunt men she beats up, has done yet another adorable thing. Over the weekend, she tweeted about how she had to go to the DMV dressed as Peggy Carter—hair, Spanx, and all. Of course fans demanded to see her new license photo, and Atwell delivered. (Hat-tip to Entertainment Weekly for spotting this.)

Afternoon Roundup brings you Hawkeye singing about being underrated; William Gibson on staying relevant; and every celebrity who has ever gotten lost in The Twilight Zone.

[Read more]

Wed
Apr 29 2015 1:00pm

Rereading Melanie Rawn: Sunrunner’s Fire, Chapters 12 and 13

Sunrunner's Fire rereadWelcome to the weekly Wednesday reread of Sunrunner’s Fire! This week the family mourns one of its own, Rohan and Pol demonstrate how their relationship works, and the book ups the ante on several important plots and some potentially devastating conflicts. With bonus operetta-style action.

Chapter 12
Feruche: 9-10 Spring

So This Happens: The grieving family gathers in Feruche for Sorin’s funeral. Pol is in charge. Rohan will not enter the place, and Pol does not know why and doesn’t dare ask.

[Read More]

Wed
Apr 29 2015 12:00pm

Malazan Reread of the Fallen: Orb Sceptre Throne, Chapter Eighteen

Ian C Esslemont Orb Sceptre Throne Malazan rereadWelcome back to the Malazan Reread of the Fallen! Every post will start off with a summary of events, followed by reaction and commentary by your hosts Bill and Amanda (with Amanda, new to the series, going first), and finally comments from Tor.com readers. In this article, we’ll cover chapter eighteen of Ian Cameron Esslemont’s Orb Sceptre Throne.

A fair warning before we get started: We’ll be discussing both novel and whole-series themes, narrative arcs that run across the entire series, and foreshadowing. Note: The summary of events will be free of major spoilers and we’re going to try keeping the reader comments the same. A spoiler thread has been set up for outright Malazan spoiler discussion.

[Read More]

Wed
Apr 29 2015 11:00am

The (Welcome) Invasion of the Whippersnappers

free comic book day children's book week

The most wonderful time of year for comic book geeks is almost upon us. No, not the opening of comic book movie season, even one that includes premieres of the new Avengers world domination story, the awesome-looking Fantastic Four movie, or Batman and Superman Have a Pissing Contest while Wonder Woman Gets Bored and Goes Off to Save the World.

In a few short days, the first Saturday of May to be exact, is Free Comic Book Day! It is the day we give thanks to our ancestors for bestowing upon us this glorious medium by descending en masse on our local comic book shops and scrabbling to get everything on our wishlist. This year is also the first time Children’s Book Week and Free Comic Book Day are joining forces to help get kids interested in reading, which this librarian thinks is pretty darn great.

[“A great nation is a reading nation.”]

Wed
Apr 29 2015 10:00am

Catching Up with The Avengers and Friends!

The Avengers

Because the MCU is a sprawling beast, there are important plot threads dangling all over the ever-expanding Marvel Media Empire. The movies that began telling the story of a few superpowered humans are now also telling the stories of the normal humans who have to keep up with them, the significant others who have to compete with a world constantly in need of rescue, and villains who aren’t so villainous anymore... or wait maybe they are? Plus, half the characters are dead or pretending to be dead. So in case you don’t have time to (re)watch a gazillion hours of media, we thought we’d do our best to catch you up on everyone’s latest adventure before you head into Age of Ultron this weekend.

There are spoilers for literally everything in the MCU waiting below the fold, so proceed with caution.

[Read More]

Wed
Apr 29 2015 9:00am
Original Story

Ambiguity Machines: An Examination

This tale is an unusual take on an engineering exam that explores new concepts in machine design and function. All new machine discoveries must be investigated and classified. This is the story of three such machines and the truth or lie of their existence.

This short story was acquired and edited for Tor.com by consulting editor Ann VanderMeer.

[Read “Ambiguity Machines: An Examination” by Vandana Singh]

Wed
Apr 29 2015 8:00am

Morning Roundup: Join the Battle for Hoth!

Hoth Tabletop Game

Salute 2015, a giant wargaming and gaming event in the UK, hosted an awe-inspiring tribute to The Empire Strikes Back this year! The Beasts of War gaming portal built this “Assault on Hoth” gaming table, which had to be transported in pieces all the way from Ireland, and reassembled in London! Check out more scenes from Hoth (and a making-of video) over at Nerd Approved!

Morning Roundup brings you hatching chameleons, the greatest team-ups from every era of comics, and an interview with the people behind Orphan Black!

[Plus Stan Lee will teach you how to become a cameo master!]

Tue
Apr 28 2015 5:00pm

Short Fiction Spotlight: Asimov’s Science Fiction #473

Asimov's Science Fiction June 2015 Welcome back to the Short Fiction Spotlight, a space for conversation about recent and not-so-recent short stories. It’s been some long while since I’ve taken a look at any of the genre’s long-running print magazines, so, this installment seems like a good opportunity to check out an issue that just arrived in my mailbox: Asimov’s June 2015. This also happens to be issue #473, pointing to the standing history of the publication; there’s a lot of heft behind the name, here.

The June issue contains four novelettes and two short stories, as well as a smattering of poetry and nonfiction. The novelettes are “The End of the War” by Django Wexler, “The Ladies’ Aquatic Gardening Society” by Henry Lien, “Ghosts of the Savannah” by M. Bennardo, and “Our Lady of the Open Road” by Sarah Pinsker. The short stories are “Mutability” by Ray Nayler and “The Muses of Shuyedan-18” by Indrapramit Das.

[Onward.]

Tue
Apr 28 2015 4:00pm
Excerpt

The Gospel of Loki (Excerpt)

Joanne M. Harris

Joanne M Harris The Gospel of Loki This novel is a brilliant first-person narrative of the rise and fall of the Norse gods—retold from the point of view of the world’s ultimate trickster, Loki. A #1 bestseller in the UK, The Gospel of Loki tells the story of Loki’s recruitment from the underworld of Chaos, his many exploits on behalf of his one-eyed master, Odin, through to his eventual betrayal of the gods and the fall of Asgard itself.

Using her lifelong passion for the Norse myths, New York Times bestseller Joanne M. Harris has created a vibrant and powerful fantasy novel—available May 5th from Saga Press!

[Read an Excerpt]

Tue
Apr 28 2015 3:45pm

The Final Mad Max: Fury Road Trailer Focuses on Imperator Furiosa

final Mad Max trailer Charlize Theron Imperator Furiosa

Warner Bros has released the final trailer for Mad Max: Fury Road a few weeks before its theatrical release, and it focuses on Charlize Theron’s character Imperator Furiosa. While Tom Hardy plays Max, Theron is the one who has captured fans’ attention, with her shaved head, bionic arm, and badass name. Now, we know some more about what brings Furiosa to the wasteland.

[What a lovely, lovely, lovely day]

Tue
Apr 28 2015 3:00pm

Star Trek The Original Series Rewatch: “Balance of Terror”

Star Trek, Balance of Terror“Balance of Terror”
Written by Paul Schneider
Directed by Vincent McEveety
Season 1, Episode 8
Production episode 6149-09
Original air date: December 15, 1966
Stardate: 1709.1

Captain’s log. In the ship’s chapel, Kirk is performing a wedding for two crewmembers, Angela Martine and Robert Tomlinson. Before the ceremony, Spock reports Outpost #2 along the Romulan Neutral Zone still is quiet, and now Outpost #3 has gone dark as well. The ceremony itself is interrupted by a distress call from Outpost #4, which is under attack by an unidentified vessel.

[Danger and I are old companions.]