This Princess Can Defend Any Castle

Now this is taking cosplay to the next level: An inventive cosplayer modeled her look after Kirbi Fagan’s excellent reimagining of Princess Peach for Muddy Colors’ Women Redesigning Women Characters piece. So meta, so badass. (Hat tip to Orbit Books Creative Director Lauren Panepinto for putting this pic on our radar!)

Afternoon Roundup hopes but doesn’t hope that Sean Connery will return for the new LXG; mentally inserts The Rock into every situation; and thinks the universe is trying to tell us something.

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Rereading Melanie Rawn: Sunrunner’s Fire, Chapters 19 and 20

Welcome to the weekly Wednesday reread of Sunrunner’s Fire! This week the iron hits the fire in some dangerous and devastating ways, and a major character falls headfirst into more than one trap.

Chapter 19—Stronghold: 33 Spring

So This Happen: Andry has deliberately gone riding out to Rivenrock and left lower-ranking Sunrunner Oclel in his place rather than attend Rohan’s audience with Lord Barig. Rohan understands the message being sent, and the insult. Meanwhile he tries to figure out what Oclel is up to on Andry’s behalf.

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Series: Rereading Melanie Rawn’s The Dragon Prince Trilogy

George Miller’s Justice League Would Have Changed Superhero Movies Drastically

Mad Max: Fury Road director George Miller almost made a Justice League movie, years before the Avengers made it to the big screen.

It’s one of the panoply of lost Hollywood projects, sunk by the 2007-08 writer’s strike and spoken of in the same terms as Tim Burton’s Superman Lives, Jodorowsky’s Dune, or Bob “Back to the Future” Gale’s Doctor Strange. Miller’s lost project Justice League: Mortal is back in the news because an Australian documentary team wants to show audiences what could have been. Judging from the scripts and other intel that have been leaked, the project had plenty of problems and could have fallen short. Except that now there’s a little movie called Mad Max: Fury Road that has us wondering just what Miller’s Justice League would have looked like, and how it might have impacted the DC and Marvel Cinematic Universes.

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The Coode Street Podcast Episode 235: Elizabeth Hand

Welcome to The Coode Street Podcast, an informal weekly discussion about science fiction and fantasy featuring award-winning critics and editors Jonathan Strahan and Gary K. Wolfe. The Coode Street Podcast debuted in 2010 and has been nominated for the Hugo, British Science Fiction, and Aurealis awards.

This week we pay a return visit to World Fantasy Award winning author Elizabeth Hand, discussing her new novella Wylding Hall, the British folk revival of the 1970s which provides the novel’s background, the use of multiple narrators (and the advantages of audio-books in differentiating them), and such diverse matters as the legacy of Arthur Machen, why there aren’t more fantasy novels about the arts, and what to expect next in her ongoing series of crime novels involving the troubled ex-punk photographer Cass Neary.

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Series: The Coode Street Podcast

Read Hoshruba: The Land and the Tilism Book 1 in Its Entirety

For the past two months, Tor.com has serialized the first volume of the Urdu fantasy epic Hoshruba: The Land and the Tilism. Now, the first 50 episodes comprising Book 1, translated into English for the first time by Musharraf Ali Farooqi, are fully available for your reading pleasure!

Each episode transports readers to the magical realm of the tilism, an entire world crafted out of an inanimate object, a world with a pre-ordained, limited lifespan. Emperor Afrasiyab and trickster Amar Ayyar face each other again and again, one man defending his home from the man who is destined to unravel it. Along the way are benevolent angels, trickster girls, enchanted artifacts, rivers of blood–all the makings of a fantasy epic.

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Series: Hoshruba: The Land and the Tilism

The Traitor Baru Cormorant, Chapter 2

Baru Cormorant believes any price is worth paying to liberate her people-even her soul. When the Empire of Masks conquers her island home, overwrites her culture, criminalizes her customs, and murders one of her fathers, Baru vows to swallow her hate, join the Empire’s civil service, and claw her way high enough to set her people free.

Sent as an Imperial agent to distant Aurdwynn, another conquered country, Baru discovers it’s on the brink of rebellion. Drawn by the intriguing duchess Tain Hu into a circle of seditious dukes, Baru may be able to use her position to help. As she pursues a precarious balance between the rebels and a shadowy cabal within the Empire, she orchestrates a do-or-die gambit with freedom as the prize. But the cost of winning the long game of saving her people may be far greater than Baru imagines.

Seth Dickinson’s highly anticipated debut novel, The Traitor Baru Cormorant, is available September 15th from Tor Books and Tor UK. Get a closer look at the cover art for both the US and UK editions here. Read chapter two below, or get started with Chapter 1.

[Read an excerpt]

This Can’t Possibly Be Proper

All right, imgur-er pastorsamuel85, you made us snort. A lot. And yes, in answer to your question, we’ll happily open the door to some friendly Ewoks and discuss Threepio. Most likely they’ll get bored before we do…

Morning Roundup brings you the dark and twisted past of an iconic hero, a weeping David Duchovny, and a wonderful response to the beauty that is Mad Max: Fury Road.

[Plus, RIKER!]

Harlan Ellison Taught Me How to Be Interesting

In the 1990s I was watching a promo documentary about Babylon 5—likely playing out its 5th season on TNT at the time—and in it J. Michael Straczynski related the best piece of writing advice his friend Harlan Ellison ever gave him, which was something to the effect of “stop sucking.” This might be one of those fuzzy memories where the meaning I derived from it is more real than the actual quote, but it stuck with me. Harlan Ellison inspired a lot of writers and provided a gateway for many of us into New Wave science fiction. And he did it with a lot of personality.

Today is his 81st birthday, and I’m sending him this birthday card.

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Series: On This Day

Short Fiction Spotlight: Spring Smorgasbord

Welcome back to the Short Fiction Spotlight, a space for conversation about recent and not-so-recent short stories. We’ve covered some magazine issues and some collections recently, but that’s left out a lot of new publications—so, for the end of May, I thought a spring smorgasbord would be advisable. Round up various stories from a handful of different places and check ‘em out, the usual.

[[Onward.]]

Series: Short Fiction Spotlight

The Bloody Chamber Sweepstakes!

Out now from Penguin Classics, the deluxe edition of The Bloody Chamber: And Other Stories celebrates the 75th anniversary of Angela Carter’s birth and includes a new introduction from Kelly Link!

Angela Carter was a storytelling sorceress, the literary godmother of Neil Gaiman, David Mitchell, Audrey Niffenegger, J. K. Rowling, and other contemporary masters of supernatural fiction. In her masterpiece, The Bloody Chamber—which includes the story that is the basis of Neil Jordan’s 1984 movie The Company of Wolves—she spins subversively dark and sensual versions of familiar fairy tales and legends like “Little Red Riding Hood,” “Bluebeard,” “Puss in Boots,” and “Beauty and the Beast,” giving them exhilarating new life in a style steeped in the romantic trappings of the gothic tradition.

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 4:30 pM Eastern Time (ET) on May 26. Sweepstakes ends at 12:00 PM ET on May 31. 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.

Five Books About Kickass Moms

Last year, I became a parent. The birth of my child was a transformative experience, and, since then, I’ve been drawn to stories about parents — their relationships with their children, the way parenthood affects their decisions, the endless possibilities for familial relationships. The day your first child is born, you wake up as Bilbo Baggins — naive, selfish — but then, suddenly, you are thrust into the role of Gandalf — teacher, protector.

Science Fiction and Fantasy is full of parents — loving parents (Lily Potter) and awful parents (King Robert Baratheon), incredible parents (Cordelia Vorkosigan) and mysterious parents (Tam al’Thor), and all around kickass parents (Zamira Drakasha). Parenthood affects them all differently, challenges their motivations, and changes the way they interact with the world around them. Without children, they would all be dramatically different people (even King Robert).

[Today, I’m going to look at books that feature kickass/brilliant/funny/interesting moms.]

Series: Five Books About…

By the Sword: The Ride

Mercedes Lackey doesn’t exactly play her cards close to her chest. Sure, sometimes you get an unexpected descendant of Vanyel or a series of events that seems like it must be Orthallen’s fault but which is never actually confirmed to be his doing, but major events are usually foreshadowed well in advance. If foreshadowed is the right word for “discussed in detail by multiple characters before the trilogy in which this event is the climax is even dreamt of by readers.”

And so it is with The Ride, which was featured in one of the songs that was included in the liner notes at the end of Arrow’s Fall.

[The action in the book goes down pretty much exactly as the song said it would, but with less meter and more context.]

Series: Heralds of Valdemar Reread

Here’s Margaret Atwood’s Book We’ll Never Get to Read

Margaret Atwood’s next book is sure to be a classic for our great-great-grandchildren, seeing as it won’t be readable until 2114. As the inaugural participant in the Future Library project, Atwood presented the manuscript for her book over the weekend and announced the title: Scribbler Moon. British publisher Hamish Hamilton documented the whole thing on Twitter, including this adorable photo of Atwood parting ways with her manuscript. Ninety-nine years from now, 10 of the 1,000 trees planted by this public arts project will be cut down to print Atwood’s book. Read more about the ceremony here.

Afternoon Roundup brings you human-sized dragons, Matt Damon on Mars, and a Doctor Who shooting locations tour!

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What Is The Frequency of Hope? Tomorrowland Never Quite Tells Us

Mad Max: Fury Road will remain firmly atop its pedestal as my favorite film of summer so far. Tomorrowland, despite all the hope and fairy dust, did not unseat it. And for anyone complaining that Fury Road had a “thin” plot… well, Tomorrowland’s plot is essentially: Hope is great! We should all have it! This is not to say it’s a bad film, but it is a simple one, and I am not its target audience. This is the kind of optimistic, gee whiz kids movie that the ’80s were particularly good at, and if you have a human under 14 in your home, you might want to drop it off at the theater and pick it up after.

[Hooooope!]

The Wheel of Time Reread Redux: The Great Hunt, Part 2

Wherever there’s trouble, The Wheel of Time Reread Redux is there! And not even always because I caused it! Today’s Redux post will cover the Chapters 1 and 2 of The Great Hunt, originally reread in this post.

All original posts are listed in The Wheel of Time Reread Index here, and all Redux posts will also be archived there as well. (The Wheel of Time Master Index, as always, is here, which has links to news, reviews, interviews, and all manner of information about the Wheel of Time in general on Tor.com.) The Wheel of Time Reread is also available as an e-book series! Yay! All Reread Redux posts will contain spoilers for the entire Wheel of Time series, so if you haven’t read, read at your own risk.

And now, the post!

[They never say what the other half is, though. COINCIDENCE? I THINK NOT]

Series: The Wheel of Time Reread

Lovecraftian Dream Logic: “The Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath,” Part 1

Welcome back to the Lovecraft reread, in which two modern Mythos writers get girl cooties all over old Howard’s original stories.

Today we’re looking at the first half of “The Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath,” written in 1926 and 1927, and published posthumously in 1943 by Arkham House. You can read it here—there’s no great stopping point, but we’re pausing for today at “One starlight evening when the Pharos shone splendid over the harbour the longed-for ship put in.” Spoilers ahead.

[“It was dark when the galley passed betwixt the Basalt Pillars of the West”]

Series: The Lovecraft Reread

Sleeps With Monsters: Mad Max: Fury Road

What a day. Oh what a lovely day.

My fellow Tor.com contributor Leah Schnelbach has already had a lot to say about the sheer amazingness that is Mad Max: Fury Road. I am come, friends, to add my two cents in a paean of praise. Because I liked it. I really, really liked it. I cannot ever remember liking a film this much, to the extent where I went back to the cinema to see it twice more in the space of a week, and I still want to see it again. I have never fallen this hard, this fast for any film—any televisual work at all.

[Pick up what you can and run.]

Series: Sleeps With Monsters

Tanith Lee, 1947-2015

We are saddened to report the passing of science fiction, fantasy, and horror writer Tanith Lee. Lee had a long and prolific writing career, publishing over 90 books and 300 short stories, as well as several poems, four BBC Radio plays, and two episodes of the BBC’s sci-fi television series Blake’s 7.

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