“Fabulous Beasts” by Priya Sharma is a horror novelette about a strange woman living in luxury with her lover, but irrevocably tied to her childhood of deprivation and dark secrets in northwest England. The woman recalls the unravelling of the family upon her uncle’s release from prison.
Please be warned that this story deals with difficult content and themes, including child abuse, incest, and rape.
Before O.S.I.R.I.S, before the betrayal and the drinking and “the Incident at the Tower,” before Captain Commanding (that jerk!), before the new powers and the super suit, there was Rand, a teen boy with a few family problems and a gift for inventions . . . Then the Hero Bomb went off. For the first time, the Fabulous Foxman tells his own origin story in his own words.
“In the Cave of the Delicate Singers” by Lucy Taylor is a horror story about a woman with a rare form of synesthesia who can feel sound waves and the dangerous rescue mission she undertakes in a cave with a nasty past.
David Herter creates a modern reimagining Gene Wolfe’s “Island of Doctor Death.” Young Ballou lives alone with his mother in an old house on the shore. When the mysterious Wilson arrives, Ballou’s reality tips into a world populated with characters from his pulp comic books as he struggles to understand the adults around him.
Before a title, before the characters, before anything else, I know my first line.
Since my first attempts as a writer, I couldn’t embark on a new project without knowing that first line—as if a simple sentence was the embryo for everything that was to follow. In The School for Good and Evil, for instance, those opening words: “Sophie had waited her whole life to be kidnapped” became my guiding light through the Endless Woods of dark fairy tale fantasy. Indeed, that first line became the series’ entire DNA template; when in doubt, I’d ritually look back at it to see not just a ‘beginning,’ but tone, theme, character, inspiration.
To writers new and old, then, I offer this list as a gentle encouragement to keep our ambitions low and our boldness high. After all, embarking on a quest to write the perfect novel is a fool’s fantasy. But a perfect first line is within all of our reach.
As my fellow medievalists around the world will attest, telling people that you specialize in the Middle Ages (roughly dated from 500 to 1500 CE) is a decent way to start up a conversation with strangers. Few people that I meet aren’t fascinated with the medieval period, and they almost always have a question or two they want to ask an expert about the “real” Middle Ages.
These days, that means questions about Game of Thrones, HBO’s stratospherically popular television adaptation of George R. R. Martin’s staggeringly popular series of epic fantasy novels, A Song of Ice and Fire. Millions of readers anxiously await Martin’s sixth volume in the book series, and millions more viewers recently wrapped up the fifth season of the television series. Combined, the works are now a cultural touchstone, one that is branded—both by its own advertising and by the media and mainstream popular culture—as a “medieval” series. So the question I’m asked more than any other these days is this:
So let’s see, what have we covered so far? Where to start with Brandon Sanderson’s many fantastic books, what kind of magic systems exist in each book and how they work… hmmmm… Ah, yes! The Cosmere!
I’ve been dropping hints about this topic along the way, but I didn’t want to delve too deeply, as I really thought it needed its own post. The Cosmere of Brandon Sanderson is a huge, overarching concept driving the narrative structure of his work, and while it may seem fairly straightforward on the surface, the deeper ramifications of these connections are going to be felt all across his books, especially going forward with the rest of his series.
When I first pitched Pull List, I intended the column to look at the bad stuff as well as the good, but somehow it’s morphed into monthly love notes. Which means that this is the perfect time to talk about Matt Fraction and David Aja’s absolutely fan-flerken-tastic run on Hawkeye. It’s one of the rare few superhero comics I’d readily and without hesitation put near the top of my Best Of list. It’s that good. No, it’s that incredibly great.
Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure, one of the greatest films of all time, premiered 30 years ago this week! In celebration, Paul Reubens posted a few behind-the-scenes stills from the shoot, and while they’re all adorable, we particularly loved this one of a young Tim Burton rasslin’ snakes!
Morning Roundup looks at the state of film criticism, the state of the superhero film, and the state of Samuel Delany!
You know what’s really hard for me? Talking about J. K. Rowling objectively (and on her birthday, too—she’s 50 today). And it’s not just because she wrote one of the most successful book series of all time, teaching millions of children to adore reading in the process. Not just because she has used her well-earned gains to promote so many charitable causes. Not just because the world loves a good rags-to-riches story, and hers is one of the best.
It’s because she described herself as “the biggest failure [she] knew” before she sat down to write one of the most beloved fantasy worlds on paper. It’s because she turned the sorrow over her mother’s death into a tale where a mother’s love for her child ultimately saves the world. It’s because all of the first publishers to read her three chapter sample rejected her book. It’s because failing made Jo Rowling push back hard against depression and poverty to find her very best calling.
It’s because she gave us Harry, Ron and Hermione, and so many of us wouldn’t recognize our childhoods without them.
After six slow months and the proclamation of its impending death, urban fantasy fights back in August with forty-one new releases, including new series or series additions from, among others, Faith Hunter, Christina Henry, Lilith Saintcrow, M.L. Brennan, Ilona Andrews, Chloe Neill, Benedict Jacka, Elliott James, Seanan McGuire, Tom Doyle, Kelley Armstrong, Cathy Clamp, Simon R. Green, and J.C. Nelson. And with book No. 14, Kitty Saves the World, Carrie Vaughn says goodbye to the Kitty Norville series.
The Harry Potter Reread is going to have a slumber party, and you’re all invited! But only once we figure out how to download people into internet-space. So it’s gonna be a while.
This week we’re going to see off the Weasley twins and have a good time after a Quidditch game (for the first time in the long time). It’s chapters 29 and 30 of The Order of the Phoenix—Career Advice and Grawp.
Index to the reread can be located here! Other Harry Potter and Potter-related pieces can be found under their appropriate tag. And of course, since we know this is a reread, all posts might contain spoilers for the entire series. If you haven’t read all the Potter books, be warned.
Like his fellow author Rudyard Kipling (coming up shortly in this reread), T.H. White was born of two worlds: Great Britain and India. White’s early home life was miserable—his father was an alcoholic reportedly prone to violence, and his parents divorced when he was a child. White was sent back to live with grandparents in England, losing his early home. As an adult, he never married or formed any lasting relationships, except with Brownie, an Irish setter. By his own admission, the dog was his family; he was devastated when she died. Some critics have speculated that he might have been gay, and had difficulty accepting that identity, but the evidence for this is ambiguous.
In any case, until the dog, like many lonely, miserable children, he ended up finding his solace in books. Among these: Sir Thomas Malory’s Le Morte d’Arthur, which White used first as a subject for his university thesis, and later as a subject for a series of novellas finally collected in The Once and Future King, by far his most popular work. It can be read as an epic, or as an individual work: in this post I’m going to focus on the first novella: The Sword in the Stone.
What makes a book memorable? If you ask ten people, you may get ten different answers. Personally, I don’t really fall in love with places or descriptions. I didn’t even fall in love with plots. I fall in love with characters—with their insights and angst, their unique way of seeing the world, all of the elements that make up a character’s Voice. When I’m enamored with characters’ Voices, I’ll follow them blindly wherever they go.
For me, no book captures Voice better than Jandy Nelsen’s I’ll Give You The Sun. This contemporary young adult novel is the story of artist twins (a brother, Noah and a sister, Jude) whose relationship degrades right around the time they lose their mother in a tragic accident. The story is told in alternating points of view, and through their individual accounts of events, we begin to put together the pieces of how their relationship unraveled. In the hands of any other writer, this story might have been mundane. The plot itself is not particularly unique, and at times, the novel was a little predictable.
For over a decade, Jim Killen has served as the science fiction and fantasy book buyer for Barnes & Noble. Every month on the B&N Sci-Fi & Fantasy Blog and Tor.com, Jim shares his curated list of the month’s can’t-miss new SF/F releases.
So long as the Internet exists, there will be headscratching crossover cosplay, like these amazing PokeRangers who must have entertained everyone they came across at Otakon. Click through for a bevy of amusing photos, from them goofing around to even posing for a fake movie poster. (Interesting how Magikarp is the clear leader, even over Mega Charizard X.) Forget the Power Rangers reboot, this is the movie that children of the ’90s demand.
Afternoon Roundup brings you #NewHarryPotterBooks, the most epic entry in summer TV programming, and Disney princes you may not want to be part of your world!
Previous entries are located in the Index. The only spoilers in the post itself will be for the actual chapters covered and for the chapters previous to them. As for the comments, please note that the Powers That Be have provided you a lovely spoiler thread here on Tor.com. Any spoileriffic discussion should go there, where I won’t see it. Non-spoiler comments go below, in the comments to the post itself.
Welcome back to the Words of Radiance Reread on Tor.com! Last week, Shallan pored over maps and practiced her Lightweaving on the way to meet with her dazzling betrothed. This week, we jump back in time to see the effects of her Middlefest interventions… and the lack thereof.
This reread will contain spoilers for The Way of Kings, Words of Radiance, and any other Cosmere book that becomes relevant to the discussion. The index for this reread can be found here, and more Stormlight Archive goodies are indexed here. Click on through to join the discussion.
Welcome back to Midnight in Karachi, a weekly podcast about writers, publishers, editors, illustrators, their books and the worlds they create, hosted by Mahvesh Murad.
This week’s guest on the podcast is Rebecca Levene, writer of Smiler’s Fair and The Hunter’s Kind. Here, she talks about worldbuilding without cultural appropriation, Once Upon a Time and working on the Zombies Run! app.
From the depths of my mourning for Hannibal’s cancellation, I wanted to think about the good times, and focus on some of the show’s best corpse sculpture.
See that picture up there where Will Graham is happily fixing a boat motor, surrounded by his loving puppies? That is the last happy picture you will see in this post. This post is literally made of (fictional) dead people. So proceed with caution. Also, there will be spoilers for the ENTIRE SERIES.
We have five galleys of Kendare Blake’s thrilling conclusion of the Goddess War series, Ungodly, coming out September 22nd. We are thrilled for the final book of this trilogy and we want to give it to you!
For the Goddess of Wisdom, what Athena didn’t know could fill a book. That’s what Ares said.
So she was wrong about some things. So the assault on Olympus left them beaten and scattered and possibly dead. So they have to fight the Fates themselves, who, it turns out, are the source of the gods’ illness. And sure, Athena is stuck in the underworld, holding the body of the only hero she has ever loved.
But Hermes is still topside, trying to power up Andie and Henry before he runs out of time and dies, or the Fates arrive to eat their faces.
And Cassandra is up there somewhere too. On a quest for death. With the god of death.
Just because things haven’t gone exactly according to plan, it doesn’t mean they’ve lost. They’ve only mostly lost. And there’s a big difference.
Tor.com is proud to announce the winners of the first annual Dinosaur Awards! The proud tradition of the Dinosaur Awards began in 2015 when local malcontent Chris Lough mispronounced the title of Victor Milán’s The Dinosaur Lords. The awards were presented on whatever day this article goes up, during a short, respectful ceremony up in the Tor.com production office.
Congratulations to the winners and nominees! You’ve all been dead for millions of years.
Who rule the stained glass equivalent of BarterTown? Why, Master Glasster of course! Nerd Approved shared this gorgeous R2-D2/Tiffany glass mashup, which is available in Master Glasster’s Etsy shop, along with a beautiful glass TARDIS, and art inspired by Avatar and Pokemon.
Morning Roundup brings you the future of viewing pleasure, an awesome British rock/Pluto connection, and Neil Gaiman’s time-tested cure for writer’s block!
Used to be, you could slaughter a dwarf and gnaw his gnarly bones all the way home without attracting any undesirable attention. Now? Not so much. It’s a new world, you know? And it might just be that the new world needs a new breed of evil.
In The Good, the Bad and the Smug, Tom Holt—aka K. J. Parker—proposes exactly that as the premise of a satirical and sublimely self-aware fairytale that brings together the wit and the wickedness of the author’s alter ego with the whimsy and the nefarious wordplay which have made the YouSpace series such a sweet treat so far.
If you’re wondering who would brave the midday heat in New York City to discuss revenge dramas on a Tuesday, the answer is Max Gladstone, author of Last First Snow! (We have to say, any kind of snow seems appealing right now.) He teamed up with the Bryant Park BookClub and Oxford University Press to lead a discussion on Shakespeare’s famous text at the Reading Room, an open air library in Midtown Manhattan.
Check below the cut for Gladstone’s thoughts on Hamlet, the reluctant avenger!
If you’re like me, the best way to get ready for Jurassic World is not to binge-watching Parks and Recreation while wearing a Velociraptor mask, but instead to do some reading—while wearing a Velociraptor mask. But what are you going to do when you’ve finished re-reading Michael Crichton’s science-heavy page-turners Jurassic Park and The Lost World? Luckily there are still plenty of insane science fiction books with dinos running through them for you to devour and then blabber about about endlessly.