A Post-Mortem for Hannibal, the Greatest Television Show of All Time

I’m not going to try to give you a Hannibal finale recap. First of all, there’s nothing I could say that wouldn’t be a spoiler. But more importantly, the finale was such a perfect consummation of three years of storytelling, and such a jewel of thematic elements playing out through characters’ decisions, that I think the time is better spent A) telling all of you out there who haven’t watched the show why you should have been watching it, and B) imploring you to go catch up on it all now. Because it isn’t necessarily over, and if enough of us pour out our love through Hulu binges and Blu-ray sales, we might still get a movie or follow-up miniseries. Also, Bryan Fuller’s next project is American Gods, and if anyone cancels it before it comes to its full, Fuller-approved fruition, I may have to quit media entirely. And I need to pay rent, people.

[So trust me when I tell you that this finale was on the Breaking Bad end of the spectrum, not the Dexter, and we’ll move on from there.]

Sorcerer to the Crown Sweepstakes!

Zen Cho’s debut novel, Sorcerer to the Crown, comes out from Ace Books in the U.S. tomorrow, and we want to send you a copy now! (The U.K. edition releases September 10th from Pan Macmillan.)

The Royal Society of Unnatural Philosophers, one of the most respected organizations throughout all of England, has long been tasked with maintaining magic within His Majesty’s lands. But lately, the once proper institute has fallen into disgrace, naming an altogether unsuitable gentleman—a freed slave who doesn’t even have a familiar—as their Sorcerer Royal, and allowing England’s once profuse stores of magic to slowly bleed dry. At least they haven’t stooped so low as to allow women to practice what is obviously a man’s profession…

At his wit’s end, Zacharias Wythe, Sorcerer Royal of the Unnatural Philosophers and eminently proficient magician, ventures to the border of Fairyland to discover why England’s magical stocks are drying up. But when his adventure brings him in contact with a most unusual comrade, a woman with immense power and an unfathomable gift, he sets on a path which will alter the nature of sorcery in all of Britain—and the world at large…

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Cross of Confusion: A Cold Silence by Alison Littlewood

Hard to believe it’s only been three years since A Cold Season launched Alison Littlewood into modern horror’s hallowed halls, given the indelible impression she’s made to date. Her debut, selected as it was for the Richard and Judy Book Club, was widely-read and basically beloved; the British Fantasy Society deemed Path of Needles one of the best novels of the year of its release; and The Unquiet House was shortlisted for a Shirley Jackson, which award Littlewood just won for her contribution to the inaugural Spectral Book of Horror Stories.

Long story short, this lady’s going places. But first, because her fans demanded it, I gather, A Cold Silence ushers us back to Darnshaw—in the company of the central characters who visited that village of vacuum black and icy white in A Cold Season, even—for a deal with the devil that did next to nothing for me, I’m afraid.

[Read more]

Catch a Rising Wind with Fran Wilde’s Updraft

Kirit and her best friend Nat are on the verge of an important rite of passage, their world’s equivalent of taking a run at the driving exam. If they pass the test, they will be allowed to fly alone, on wings made of bone and leather, between the bone towers of their city. Failure means having to be accompanied by a responsible adult. It is the gateway to an independent future. Kirit hopes to apprentice as a trader to her mother, Ezarit, whom she idolizes. She envisions a future of travelling from tower to tower, mother and daughter, doing deals together and delivering vital goods.

The world of Fran Wilde’s new novel Updraft is a complex aerialist’s paradise, albeit a paradise besieged by monsters called skymouths. It is a single city, one subject to arbitrary-seeming laws, and its towers are living bone structures that grow ever higher. The hollow chambers within these spires shelter the citizens, but over time they grow cramped, closing on the lower levels, forcing the population into a perpetual scramble for altitude. Who you are, what you do, and where you’re located within your home tower are matters rigidly controlled by the Laws everyone is taught to sing in school.

As for people who defy this established societal order, they are given citations—tickets, if you will—that literally weigh them down.  The heavier a person’s crimes, the more likely that they will drag them out of the air and below the clouds, where certain death awaits.

[Read more]

These Superhero/Dragon Ball Z Mashups Are Over Nine Thousaaaand!

Anyone notice something a little different about Wolverine? Something about his face looks fiercer, or like he’s been fused into an even more powerful character… That’s exactly what French artist Pierre-Marie Lenoir did with his “Fusions” series, in which he combines iconic superheroes with equally unmistakable Dragon Ball Z characters. Check out more mashups—we’re fans of his Batman and Robin—at his website! (Hat-tip to Nerd Approved for finding these.)

Afternoon Roundup brings you the truth behind Bill Murray’s Ghostbusters cameo, some lesser-known dystopian adaptations, and the loveliest way to get around!

[Read more]

Fear the Walking Dead, S1 E2: “So Close, Yet So Far”

The series premiere of Fear the Walking Dead last week smashed the record for best cable premiere ever, with more than 13 million people watching (albeit still shy of its parent property’s average viewership). With ratings like that, it’s safe to say we’re stuck with Fear whether we like it or not. And if last night’s episode is anything to go on, the ride won’t be so bad after all.

[“This doesn’t end.”]

Toeing the Wavy Line in Mark Lawrence’s Prince of Thorns

I hate flashbacks.

See? That’s what you do when you want to make a point. You state it, then move on and get to the rest of whatever it is you’re doing.

Case in point, I like to do projects around the house, like carpentry or gardening. Occasionally I’ll have to ask someone for help (because, you know, objects can be heavy, and sometimes there’s stuff I don’t know). All I want is help. Muscle or info. That’s all.

Then whoever is lifting/explaining has to go all wavy-screened Scooby-Doo on me (picture the wavy lines) and say, “I remember this one time…”

[And I’m frozen.]

Series: That Was Awesome! Writers on Writing

Watch the New Trailer for MTV’s The Shannara Chronicles!

During last night’s MTV Video Music Awards, the network released the latest trailer for its adaptation of Terry Brooks’ The Shannara Chronicles! They pack a lot into a minute or so: sweeping shots of ruins and buildings alike, battles of magic and runes and collapsible swords, burning leaves, creatures of dream and nightmare, all set to a pounding EDM beat.

[“It has begun.”]

The Last Witness

When you need a memory to be wiped, call me.

Transferring unwanted memories to my own mind is the only form of magic I’ve ever mastered. But now, I’m holding so many memories I’m not always sure which ones are actually mine, any more. Some of them are sensitive; all of them are private. And there are those who are willing to kill to access the secrets I’m trying to bury…

The Last Witness is a classic K.J. Parker tale with a strong supporting cast of princes, courtiers, merchants, academics, and generally unsavory people. Available in paperback, ebook, and audio format October 6th from Tor.com!

[Read an excerpt]

Five Stories with an Audacious Premise

If science fiction is a genre that asks “what if?”, then the authors of these five books have really outdone themselves. These are novels that go beyond the ordinary to ideas so outlandish that lesser authors might have rejected them as too insane. But these books aren’t comedies. These aren’t the kind of oddball concepts that just devolve into nonsense. Instead, these books take their audacious premises seriously, and bit by bit, explore the consequences to the characters and to humanity at large.

[Read more]

Series: Five Books About…

Say My Adorable Bunny Name!

Benjamin Linus is a talented rabbit. In addition to starring in his own calendar last year, he is now tackling some of the most iconic roles in pop culture through a series of cute cosplays. We couldn’t resist his Walter White homage, but he makes an equally irresistible Doctor, and a striking Daenarys! Check out all of his new looks here!

Morning Roundup brings you Star Wars, now in order! News of the apes! A Ghostbusters reboot we never wanted to see! And some tips on role playing, for all you playas out there.

[Plus, if you’ve ever been baffled by Gremlins 2, we have some answers.]

Brian Froud’s Goblins Sweepstakes!

The 10 1/2 year anniversary edition of Brian Froud’s Goblins arrives from Abrams on September 1st, and we want to send you one of our three copies now!

Renowned artist Brian Froud and scholar Ari Berk have continued their exploration of the goblin realm. (For the uninformed, goblins are those maleficent creatures who cause all manner of havoc in the human realm.) Now, thanks largely to Froud’s and Berk’s continuing carelessness, the viscid and largely nonsensical NEW volume has been unleashed on an unsuspecting public. Among its pages are new letters of apologies and disclaimers complete with new art; a list of Gargle’s new titles, grants, entitlements, and responsibilities; and, sadly, much more! Also included is an envelope containing a new talisman that is guaranteed to ward off goblins.

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 9:30 AM Eastern Time (ET) on August 29th. Sweepstakes ends at 12:00 PM ET on September 2nd. 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.

Fiction Affliction: September Releases in Paranormal Romance

Only fifteen new paranormal romance books heat up the shelves in September (note that due to space limitations, this list does not include all of the small-press and self-pubbed paranormal romances for the month). Look for series additions from, among others, Nalini Singh (Guild Hunter), Christine Feehan (Dark Saga), Kait Ballenger (Execution Underground), Eve Langlais (A Lion’s Pride), Alexandry Ivy and Carrie Ann Ryan (Branded Packs), Lynsay Sands (Argeneau Vampires), and Jan DeLima (Celtic Wolves).

[Read about this month’s releases!]

The Stargate Rewatch: Universe Season One

Stargate Universe Season 1
Executive producers: Robert C. Cooper, Brad Wright
Original air dates: October 2, 2009 – June 11, 2010

Mission briefing. The Atlantis database includes a nine-chevron address (well, eight chevrons, plus whatever the point of origin is). It’s believed that there should be a way to dial an even greater distance than between galaxies with nine chevrons. Dr. Nicholas Rush is recruited (by Jackson) to work on it, and he spends two years trying to solve the problem—in that time, his wife dies of a never-specified illness.

The Air Force embeds the problem in a videogame on the off-chance that someone will solve it. That someone turns out to be a young slacker named Eli Wallace, who is beamed to the General George Hammond and brought to Icarus base. Icarus is a top-secret SGC installation that is on a planet full of naquadria, so it has enough energy to power a nine-chevron wormhole.

[This ship simply doesn’t have the capability to dial Earth….]

Series: Stargate Rewatch

Rereading Joe Abercrombie’s First Law Trilogy, Last Argument of Kings: “Greater Good” and “Skarling’s Chair”

Hi. Remember me? It’s been two months since my last post. There’s reasons for that, most of which I won’t go into except to say two straight years of writing about Joe Abercrombie every week is harder than it looks. Not that there’s any shortage of things to say, of course, but two years of writing on a subject is the equivalent of running a marathon. I needed to take a knee for a few weeks to replenish my batteries. Apologies to my (er… Abercrombie’s?) fans.

During my hibernation, there’s been some significant Abercrombie news. First, his new book Half a War came out. I reviewed it. Let me tell you something, there’s nothing “not Abercrombie” about this new series. It’s just as dynamic and gut wrenching and authentic as any of his previous work. Combine that with a slightly different aesthetic and you’ve got one of the finest epic fantasy series I’ve read. Again. Check it out. [Read more]

Series: The Joe Abercrombie First Law Trilogy Reread

Harry Potter and the Customer Is Always Right

This whole time, we thought that Harry Potter went straight from the Battle of Hogwarts to Auror training, but judging from this gem an Imgurian found at Gamestop, he took up a second job along the way. This pun is also funny timing, seeing as the Harry Potter Reread just concluded The Order of the Phoenix. (via Nerd Approved)

Afternoon Roundup brings you the creepy downsides of psychic gifts, the secret to Tarantino’s success, and Darth Schwarzenegger!

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The Sleeping King Sweepstakes!

The Sleeping King by Cindy Dees and Bill Flippin hits shelves from Tor Books on September 8th, and we want to send you a galley now!

Bestselling author Dees brings her love of fantasy and gaming to The Sleeping King, the first in an epic fantasy series featuring near immortal imperial overlords, a prophecy of a sleeping elven king who’s said to be the savior of the races, and two young people who are set on a path to save the day.

Check for the rules below!

[Read more]

Digging Into Fandom: Cover Reveal for The Poet and the Prophecy

It’s no secret that my Magic University series was inspired by Harry Potter. I went through a slump in my writing career in the mid-00’s and ended up delving into the world of Harry Potter fanfic. Writing fanfic truly revitalized my writing. Not only did I find a space where I could experiment with prose and storytelling styles I was energized by the community, the support, and the feedback. An integral part of fan writing communities, though, is constant questioning of the source material. J.K. Rowling’s world is vast and complex, full of contradictions, hints, and things not explained. To write a story set in that world, as a writer I had to interpret ambiguities in the source material or even extend it by answering questions that were left unanswered in Rowling’s canon.

[What happens after Hogwarts?]