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. Dog March 25, 2015 Dog Bruce McAllister "Watch the dogs when you're down there, David." The Museum and the Music Box March 18, 2015 The Museum and the Music Box Noah Keller History is rotting away, just like the museum.
From The Blog
April 17, 2015
Spring 2015 Anime Preview: The Hellish Life of a Pizza Delivery Boy
Kelly Quinn
April 16, 2015
The Disney Read-Watch: Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs
Mari Ness
April 15, 2015
Recasting The Rocky Horror Picture Show
Stubby the Rocket
April 15, 2015
The 10 Strangest Transports in Non-Driving Games
N. Ho Sang and Peter Tieryas
April 14, 2015
An Open Letter to HBO from House Greyjoy
Theresa DeLucci
Thu
Apr 16 2015 8:00am

Morning Roundup: Your Daily Nightmare Fuel

Do you have any loved ones, officemates, or random children who need to be terrified? Might we suggest this lifelike, dead-eyed wearable cat head? It comes to us from something called The Japan Wool Art Company, and was created by Housetu Sato, who is clearly a damn hero.

Morning Roundup brings you the wit and wisdom of Peter Parker, some great news for those of you interested in a Star War, and the possible new director for the possible update of Flash Gordon!

[Plus we have totally legitimate reason to make our favorite Aliens reference!]

Wed
Apr 15 2015 4:00pm

50 Shades of Gotham: “Beasts of Prey”

Gotham Beasts of Prey

When last we left our intrepid Bat-less heroes, Jim Gordon had finally gotten one up on the corrupt police Commissioner Loeb (thanks in part to one Oswald Cobblepot), and Alfred was attacked by his old war buddy, Reggie, who was hired by the (also corrupt) board of Wayne Enterprises to gather information on Bruce’s investigation into his parents’ murder. Oh, and some stuff happened between Fish Mooney and Dr. Dulmacher because FOX has Jada Pinkett Smith on contract and have to find something for her to do. After a brief hiatus, Gotham kicked it into high-gear with the first of four final episodes leading to the epic season finale.

Or at least, that’s what the all the promotional materials told me, anyway. In truth, “Beasts of Prey” was another lackluster spinning wheel. Literally the only thing of substance that occurred in the entire episode happened in the last 2 minutes.

[Read More]

Wed
Apr 15 2015 3:00pm
Excerpt

Archivist Wasp (Excerpt)

Nicole Kornher-Stace

Archvist Wasp Wasp’s job is simple. Hunt ghosts. And every year she has to fight to remain Archivist.

Desperate and alone, she strikes a bargain with the ghost of a supersoldier. She will go with him on his underworld hunt for the long-long ghost of his partner and in exchange she will find out more about his pre-apocalyptic world than any Archivist before her. And there is much to know. After all, Archivists are marked from birth to do the holy work of a goddess. They’re chosen. They’re special. Or so they’ve been told for four hundred years.

Archivist Wasp fears she is not the chosen one, that she won’t survive the trip to the underworld, that the brutal life she has escaped might be better than where she is going. There is only one way to find out.

Nicole Kornher-Stace’s post-apocalyptic novel Archivist Wasp publishes May 5th from Small Beer Press!

[Read an Excerpt]

Wed
Apr 15 2015 2:00pm
Poetry

Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Dragon

Mari Ness

Mari Ness National Poetry Month SnowmeltIn celebration of National Poetry Month, we are pleased to present “Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Dragon”  by Mari Ness.

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.

[Read More]

Wed
Apr 15 2015 1:30pm

Afternoon Roundup: Imma Let You Finish Your Raid, But...

Kanye West RPG character photo

When Kanye West showed up to a fashion show rocking quite the cloak, comedian Whitney Reynolds wondered if he were going for RGP chic. Already we could see the resemblance, but then Tumblr and Imgur took us all the way there by adding this loot he clearly picked up on his Kanye Quest. We can’t put it much better than the Imgurian who said: “Imma let you finish your raid, but Leeroy Jenkins was the best raider of all time.”

Afternoon Roundup would sit and listen to Kate Mulgrew talk being Janeway all day, but there are Little Shop of Horrors songs to listen to and “fade to white” movie sequences to watch!

[Read more]

Wed
Apr 15 2015 1:19pm

Orbit to Serialize New K.J. Parker Fantasy!

Orbit, the science fiction and fantasy imprint of the Hachette Book Group, will serialize The Two of Swords! The new story by fantasy novelist K.J. Parker will premiere its first three episodes on April 21, with new installments coming in monthly e-book editions. The series will be collected in both print and digital editions after it’s complete.

Parker, whose epic stories center around complex politics and personalities, said the full story of The Two Swords isn’t finished yet. The story will feature a large cast of characters and, “a broad, unified sweep of significant events, witnessed by a wide spectrum of diverse characters—farm boys, soldiers, spies, tradesmen and emperors” with “a sort of relay-race structure, passing the narrative baton from observer to observer,” which will allow the author to “quite literally, make history.”

Parker is the author of the novellas “A Small Price to Pay for Birdsong” and “Let Maps to Others,” consecutive winners of the World Fantasy Award in 2012 and 2013, respectively. You can find the e-book installments at all major e-book retailers, and look for more information (and a readers’ discussion forum) at TwoOfSwords.net. Plus, for more of Parker’s ingenious storytelling, check out Tor.com’s reread of The Folding Knife!

Wed
Apr 15 2015 1:00pm

Rereading Melanie Rawn: Sunrunner’s Fire, Chapters 8 and 9

Sunrunner's Fire rereadWelcome to the weekly Wednesday reread of Sunrunner’s Fire! This week the main event finally begins. With dragons!

Part Two: Year 728
Chapter 8
Near Elktrap Manor, 3 Spring

So This Happens: Sorin and Riyan are appalled to discover a tortured, dying dragon. They try to comfort him, and we learn that they’ve come to investigate an earlier dragon murder in this same area.

Riyan manages to communicate with the dragon, learning more about how dragon communication works, and discovering that the dragon was somehow “pulled” out of the sky.

[Read More]

Wed
Apr 15 2015 12:30pm

Tales of the Marvellous and News of the Strange Sweepstakes!

On the shrouded corpse hung a tablet of green topaz with the inscription: “I am Shaddad the Great. I conquered a thousand cities; a thousand white elephants were collected for me; I lived for a thousand years and my kingdom covered both east and west, but when death came to me nothing of all that I had gathered was of any avail. You who see me take heed: for Time is not to be trusted.” Dating from at least a millennium ago, these are the earliest known Arabic short stories, surviving in a single, ragged manuscript in a library in Istanbul. Some found their way into The Arabian Nights but most have never been read in English before. Tales of the Marvellous and News of the Strange has monsters, lost princes, jewels beyond price, a princess turned into a gazelle, sword-wielding statues and shocking reversals of fortune.

We want to send one lucky winner a copy, 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 April 15. Sweepstakes ends at 12:00 PM ET on April 19. 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
Apr 15 2015 12:00pm

Recasting The Rocky Horror Picture Show

Rocky Horror Picture Show

When we got news of The Rocky Horror Picture Show remake, we had two reactions. The first, most obvious one, was WHY THE HELL ARE THEY DOING THIS? But the second was a gleeful recasting of the film, ’cause if we’re getting a new Rocky, we want it to be an EPIC new Rocky. So here are our picks for Rocky 2016 or whatever. Let us know what you think!

[read more]

Wed
Apr 15 2015 11:00am

Cover Reveal for Charlie Jane Anders’ All the Birds in the Sky

Charlie Jane Anders All the Birds in the Sky

We are particularly proud to share Will Staehle’s amazing cover for Charlie Jane Anders’ All the Birds in the Sky. For one thing, there is the usual excitement over any cover Will Staehle creates (and the wonderful torture of having to pick only one), but also because it’s Charlie Jane Anders’ first novel. Not only is she the beloved editor of io9, but she has long been a favorite contributor to Tor.com’s orginal fiction. When All the Birds in the Sky came up for auction, everyone at Tor was delighted that editor Patrick Nielsen Hayden was able to land it for us.

The book is described as blending literary fantasy and science fiction, telling the story of the decades-long, on-and-off romance between a sorceress and a computer genius, beginning in childhood and proceeding against a background of increasingly catastrophic climate change.

[Check out the full cover and alternate designs below!]

Wed
Apr 15 2015 10:25am

Why Can’t We Know Love Like They Know Love?!?

In a rough and self-loathing-centric but also very true and vulnerable kind of way?!?

SpoilerTV has set pics from Jessica Jones, which is currently filming in NYC, and captured these great images of Krysten Ritter as Jessica Jones and Mike Colter as Luke Cage being exactly as they are in the Alias maxi-series and oh god, my heart, I can't.

There are also set pics of David Tennant in his Purple Man get-up, now featuring Tenth Doctor-style hair. Which also means the Tenth Doctor is probably wandering around New York City as I type this, wondering where to get a bacon, egg, and cheese sandwich. And I'm gonna tell him what I tell everyone: You gotta put the work in. Find that one place in your neighborhood that does it well and stick with them forever.

Wed
Apr 15 2015 10:00am

From Quantum Tunneling Devices to BioMimetics: The 10 Strangest Transports in Non-Driving Games

Portal 2

Some say gaming transports us to other worlds. With outsourcing and digital forms of communication becoming so advanced, will there come a day when we won’t even need to leave our homes? Work from your house, communicate with friends via Google Hangouts, buy groceries online, then stream all your games and movies. One of the greatest legacies the Romans left behind was their amazing network of roads connecting the Empire together. Will future nations showcase their advancement by their complete lack of roads?

In anticipation of this car-less future, we’ve put together a list of the strangest modes of transportation for protagonists in non-driving games… starting with a shoe.

[Where we’re going, we won’t need roads...]

Wed
Apr 15 2015 9:00am
Original Story

The Ways of Walls and Words

Anica and Bienvenida pass prayers and small comforts through the gaps in the prison walls. Incarcerated by the Inquisition for the faith she won't surrender, Anica longs for solace for her family and freedom for herself. And Bienvenida, heir to her mother's Nahua magic, now practiced out of sight of the Spanish religious authorities, will trade a great deal for the fragile chance at friendship and snippets of poetry.

This short story was acquired and edited for Tor.com by acquiring editor Carl Engle-Laird.

[Read “The Ways of Walls and Words” by Sabrina Vourvoulias]

Wed
Apr 15 2015 8:00am

Morning Roundup: He’s Especially Good At Instagramming

Disney selfies Gaston Instagram

Italian artist Simona Bonafini has set Disney characters loose on Instagram, with hilarious results! Aladdin and Jasmine should probably ease up on the PDA, Anna seriously needs to stop ruinng all of Elsa’s pics, and Hercules... well, he had better never run for political office. But our favorite was Gaston, who clearly thrives in the age of the selfie. [via BoingBoing!]

Today’s Morning Roundup will tell you a tale of how Ultron nearly claimed Joss Whedon as his first victim! We’ll listen to Cixin Liu talk about Chinese science fiction! And we’ll climb up a water tower to sound the barbaric yawp of our appreciation for Daredevil!

[And we turn our cranks to Frank!]

Tue
Apr 14 2015 4:00pm

Short Fiction Spotlight: Clarkesworld #103

Sleeping Giant Clarkesworld Julie Dillon

Welcome back to the Short Fiction Spotlight, a space for conversation about recent and not-so-recent short stories. Last time around we revisited some Bradbury stories; this time I thought I’d check back in on a familiar haunt, Clarkesworld Magazine, and their most recent issue. With the recent change in format, here, we’ll be discussing all of the April issue’s fiction—both originals and reprints, six pieces in total.

[Onward.]

Tue
Apr 14 2015 3:45pm

Jo Walton Writes Amazing Godzilla Sonnets

Godzilla sonnets Jo Walton Vericon charity auction

Remember the existential feels brought on by Godzilla haikus? Once again, Gojira is the star of poetry, thanks to Vericon and Jo Walton. As part of a charity auction, Walton was asked (by fellow author Ada Palmer) to write a sonnet with the theme “Godzilla vs. Shakespeare.” But, as she explains on her website, “people usually ask me for such boring things, and this was such a fun one that I ended up writing a whole bunch of them.”

[Read more]

Tue
Apr 14 2015 3:00pm

Star Trek The Original Series Rewatch: “The Naked Time”

Star Trek, The Naked Time“The Naked Time”
Written by John D.F. Black
Directed by Marc Daniels
Season 1, Episode 6
Production episode 6149-07
Original air date: September 29, 1966
Stardate: 1704.2

Captain’s log. The Enterprise is orbiting Psi 2000, a planet on the verge of disintegration, there to pick up the scientific team that’s been studying the breakup up until the last moment. But the research station has no power when they arrive, and Spock and Lieutenant Joe Tormolen beam down in environmental suits to find the entire team of a half-dozen scientists dead, and everything frozen thanks to the power being off. The engineer’s body is at his post, seemingly uncaring, one woman was strangled, another was showering with his clothes on.

Tormolen checks out a room, and then—because he apparently slept through the part at the Academy where they taught safety procedures—takes a glove off to scratch his nose. He then takes a few readings without putting his glove back on (putting his bare hand on a freezing surface, no less!), and then doesn’t notice a bit of red water that moves to his unprotected hand on its own.

[Take d’Artagnan here to sickbay...]

Tue
Apr 14 2015 2:00pm

Historical Worldbuilding: A Conversation with Kameron Hurley and Ken Liu

Ken Liu and Kameron Hurley are two of the most talented and inventive writers working in fantasy today. The Grace of Kings, the first installment in Liu’s new epic fantasy series, arrived this month from Saga Press, and features shapeshifting gods, bamboo-and-silk airships, and a complex political drama that pits two best friends against each other in their quest for a more just world. Hurley will follow up her acclaimed novel The Mirror Empire with the next installment in the Worldbreaker Saga, The Empire Ascendant, later this year, and her standalone space opera, The Stars are Legion, is forthcoming from Saga in 2016.

Hurley and Liu recently came together to answer questions about the role of research in writing fantasy, how they each approach building plausible, fully realized worlds, and the authors they read when they’re not busy plotting their own fantastic creations.

[Read More]

Tue
Apr 14 2015 1:45pm

The Avengers: Age of Ultron Cast Played Avengers Family Feud Basically In-Character

Avengers Family Feud video

With Avengers: Age of Ultron almost in theaters (May 1!), the cast is officially doing their press tour. Which means there are plenty of cute moments to come, like when they played Avengers Family Feud on Jimmy Kimmel Live!

No surprise, Chris Evans and Robert Downey Jr. were their respective team captains, with The Americas facing off against The Mans. What followed was a lot of button-mashing, incredulous commentary from Chris Evans, team huddles, and general losing and/or throwing of nametags.

[Watch the video]

Tue
Apr 14 2015 1:30pm

Afternoon Roundup: It’s a Marvel Extravagwenza!

Gwen Stacy Marvel June variant covers Incredible Hulk Doctor Strange

Did you love Spider-Gwen? Well, gird your loins, because the month of June will see the repopularized Gwen Stacy starring on twenty Marvel variant covers! And they’re getting in on the puns before anyone else can, as this quote proves: “Gwenom? The InGwenible Hulk? The Mighty AGwengers? What about G.W.E.N.D.O.K.?” Marvel has already released the preview covers for The Incredible Hulk, Doctor Strange, and Wolverine; June will also bring us Deadpool, Groot, and Thor variants. What a wonderful world we live in.

Afternoon Roundup takes a hologram to Mars; ponders what Merlin’s seven words of advice would be; and hopes those Captain Marvel rumors are true.

[Read more]