“Something Happened Here, But We’re Not Quite Sure What It Was” by Paul McAuley is a complex sf story about politics and xenophobia when human colonists on an Earth-like planet are faced with the possibility of reaching out to alien cultures, especially when a big organization that has previously done harm is in charge of the operation.
I suspect at this point Max Gladstone might be outgrowing the label wunderkind. This year is the fifth since the publication of his debut novel, Three Parts Dead, to which Four Roads Cross is very nearly a direct sequel. In the intervening time, he’s written several more standalone novels in his “Craft” sequence (Two Serpents Rise, Full Fathom Five, Last First Snow), a couple of text-based games, and created or jointly created two serial projects for subscription outfit Serial Box. Throughout this time, his skill and craft have only improved.
But they were pretty damn hot stuff to begin with.
Patrick Nielsen Hayden has been named Associate Publisher of Tor Books, effective immediately. This award-winning 28-year veteran of Tor has brought numerous prestigious and bestselling authors to the list, including John Scalzi, Cory Doctorow and Charlie Jane Anders, to name a few. His vision has been instrumental in the development of Tor.
Devi Pillai, who led the US division of Orbit to its position as Tor’s fastest-growing competitor, will be joining Tor, also as Associate Publisher. “I’ve watched Devi’s work with admiration for a long time now; her qualifications are outstanding, and she’ll be a great addition to our team,” said Tor Books publisher Tom Doherty. “As we continue our 35-year commitment to adult SF and fantasy, Devi and Patrick will work alongside each other to oversee our numerous editors who work primarily in these twin genres,” he continued.
I’ve been having something of a hard time lately (thanks to a brain that just won’t shut up), so I consider it something of a marvel to have read some books all the way through to the end.
Series: Sleeps With Monsters
I’m thrilled to announce the acquisition of two novellas from rising short fiction author JY Yang. The Red Threads of Fortune and The River Runs Red chart the lives of Mokoya and Akeha, the twin children of Protector Sanao, as they struggle to find their place in Ea, a world rent by terrible divisions of power. Mokoya, a prophet and a Tensor, wields all the power and fury of the five elements, but feels powerless to overcome the dire visions that have haunted her since her childhood. Akeha, resentful of his twin sister’s gifts, finds power among the controversial Machinists, wielding technological advances that are reshaping society around them.
With two such strong and different characters, we couldn’t see our way to imposing primacy over one of their stories of the other. As such, Tor.com plans to release both novellas simultaneously, allowing readers to discover Mokoya and Akeha in the order they prefer as their stories interweave. Look forward to a lot more information about the twins, the Tensors, the Machinists, and the fascinating world Yang has created!
Series: Editorially Speaking
You know what they say is most important in realty: Location, location, location. In fiction, it’s often true as well; an interesting setting can make or break a sci-fi or fantasy novel, either drawing the reader in or making them gnash their teeth in frustration. When I find a book with a vivid enough setting, it’s as though I’ve found a portal to another world.
In some works, the city is a character in and of itself, full of its own charm and nuance and personality. Here are five books with cities that completely drew me in, and had me hungering to know more.
Series: Five Books About…
BookTube is what it sounds like: a community of YouTube users who post vlogs about books. Videos range from the oh-so-popular (and neverending) to-be-read piles to monthly or yearly wrap-ups to deep dives into particular subgenres, tropes, and topics. BookTubers tag one another in video challenges, join up for readathons, and make it so that it’s not just dozens of bookworms shouting into the void—it’s a constant conversation.
SFF BookTube is a pocket of that online universe whose members love to discuss science fiction, fantasy, horror, speculative fiction, YA… you name it. Some of these BookTubers post everything under the #BookTubeSFF hashtag on Twitter, while others read across genres and highlight certain SFF titles they can’t stop talking about. We’ve rounded up both types here—and what’s more, we’ve created a little tour through BookTube. Starting with the big-picture news vlogs to getting incredibly granular with reviews, here’s (nearly) every kind of SFF BookTube video depending on your mood and needs. Enjoy!
Hulu has added another star to its adaptation of Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale: Samira Wiley (Orange is the New Black) will play a pivotal character tied to the eponymous handmaid Offred’s (Elisabeth Moss) past.
It’s very apparent from the comments on the last few blog posts that many readers are eager to discuss the coup. Me too! Chapters 9 and 10 lay the stage. This section is about children—Miles, Aral, Drou and Kou’s dreams, and Gregor. This section also represents a key moment for the comconsole in the library at Vorkosigan Surleau.
If you’d like to catch up on previous posts in the reread, the index is here. At this time, the spoiler policy permits discussion of all books EXCEPT Gentlemen Jole and the Red Queen. Discussion of any and all revelations from or about that book should be whited out.
Series: Rereading the Vorkosigan Saga
We want to send you a galley copy of High Stakes, the 23rd Wild Cards book, edited by George R.R. Martin and available August 30th from Tor Books!
Perfect for old fans and new readers alike, High Stakes delves deeper into the world of aces, jokers, and the hard-boiled men and women of the Fort Freak police precinct in a pulpy, page-turning novel of superheroics and Lovecraftian horror.
After the concluding events of Lowball, Officer Francis Black of Fort Freak, vigilante joker Marcus “The Infamous Black Tongue” Morgan, and ace thief Mollie “Tesseract” Steunenberg get stuck in Talas, Kyrgyzstan. There, the coldblooded Baba Yaga forces jokers into an illegal fighting ring, but her hidden agenda is much darker: her fighters’ deaths serve to placate a vicious monster from another dimension. When the last line of defense against this world weakens, all hell breaks loose, literally….
The Committee in New York sends a team of aces to investigate. One by one, each falls victim to evil forces—including the dark impulses within themselves. Only the perseverance of the most unlikely of heroes has a chance of saving the world before utter chaos erupts on Earth.
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I think it’s fair to say that 2016 sucks. It is a year that is dark and full of terrors and getting worse by the day. There are a few bright spots scattered through the hellscape, however, and Mags Visaggio and Eva Cabrera’s Kim & Kim is one of them. Not only is it one of the best ass-kicking, patriarchy-smashing, queer-rocking comics since Midnighter, but it’s an indie comic to boot.
Don’t miss your chance to see acclaimed authors Max Gladstone (Four Roads Cross) and Malka Older (Infomocracy) discuss science fiction and fantasy, worldbuilding, and their latest works at Porter Square Books in Cambridge, MA on July 27th at 7:00 pm!
Max Gladstone is the author of the Craft Sequence: Three Parts Dead, Two Serpents Rise, Full Fathom Five, Last First Snow, and Four Roads Cross. You can start reading Four Roads Cross, out tomorrow, here!
Malka Older’s debut novel, Infomocracy, has been hailed as the perfect book for election season, and you can find excerpts, news, and more about the book here. Malka is a writer, humanitarian worker, and PhD candidate at the Centre de Sociologie des Organisations studying governance and disasters.
Star Trek Beyond
Written by Simon Pegg & Doug Jung
Directed by Justin Lin
Release date: July 22, 2016
Please note that this is a SPOILER FILLED REVIEW! Seriously, lotsa spoilers here and in the comments. If you do not wish to be spoiled, there’s a spoiler-free review elsewhere on the site, and you can read that and also comment there without worry about being spoiled. Here, though, we’re talkin’ ’bout the whole thing…
An adorable treat for Sherlock fans, showrunners Mark Gatiss and Steven Moffat screened a short video at San Diego Comic Con to explain their thought process behind which actors they brought along to the mega-event. The result gives us a rare glimpse into the fraught decision-making processes that television producers go through every–
–who am I kidding? It was just an excuse to put Rupert Graves in a pretty apron.
With The Three-Body Problem, English-speaking readers got their first chance to experience the multiple-award-winning and bestselling Three-Body Trilogy by China’s most beloved science fiction author, Cixin Liu. Now this epic trilogy concludes with Death’s End—translated by Ken Liu and available September 20th from Tor Books. Read an excerpt below, and check back for additional excerpts before the book’s release!
Half a century after the Doomsday Battle, the uneasy balance of Dark Forest Deterrence keeps the Trisolaran invaders at bay. Earth enjoys unprecedented prosperity due to the infusion of Trisolaran knowledge. With human science advancing daily and the Trisolarans adopting Earth culture, it seems that the two civilizations will soon be able to co-exist peacefully as equals without the terrible threat of mutually assured annihilation. But the peace has also made humanity complacent.
Cheng Xin, an aerospace engineer from the early 21st century, awakens from hibernation in this new age. She brings with her knowledge of a long-forgotten program dating from the beginning of the Trisolar Crisis, and her very presence may upset the delicate balance between two worlds. Will humanity reach for the stars or die in its cradle?