A Bear with Little Brain: Winnie-the-Pooh and The House at Pooh Corner

In August 1921, author A.A. Milne bought his one year old son, Christopher Robin, a teddy bear. This did not, perhaps, seem all that momentous at the time either for literary history or for large media conglomerate companies that used a mouse and a fairy as corporate logos. But a few years later, Milne found himself telling stories about his son and the teddy bear, now called “Winnie-the-Pooh,” or, on some pages, “Winnie-ther-Pooh.” Gradually, these turned into stories that Milne was able to sell to Punch Magazine.

[A bear with very little brain, and a fondness for honey]

Finn Wields His Lightsaber in New Teaser for Star Wars: The Force Awakens!

The latest teaser for Star Wars: The Force Awakens comes to you via Instagram, which has expanded its photo and video borders to make posts even more cinematic! They’ve certainly achieved that with this awesome (but oh-so-short) spot showing Finn facing off against Kylo Ren. Blue lightsaber versus red… classic.

You can watch the teaser here!

Star Wars: The Force Awakens comes to theaters December 18.

Never Get Chomped Again with This Zombie-Proof Swiss Army Multi-Defense Tool!

While most zombies shamble along, they usually come at you fast enough that you can’t waste time rummaging in a duffle bag for exactly the weapon you need. That’s why wise Instructables member seamster has come up with the perfect zombie-fighting weapon: This souped-up Swiss Army knife includes a machete (obviously), plus a hatchet, two types of wrenches, and more! Though it’s unclear how you’re supposed to hold it… (Hat-tip to Neatorama for finding exactly what we need to defend ourselves in the zombie apocalypse.)

Afternoon Roundup brings you an evil AU Harry Potter, playing with the structure of short stories, and Galaxy Quest news!

[Read more]

A Read of Ice and Fire: A Dance With Dragons, Part 35

Welcome back to A Read of Ice and Fire! Please join me as I read and react, for the very first time, to George R.R. Martin’s epic fantasy series A Song of Ice and Fire.

Today’s entry is Part 35 of A Dance With Dragons, in which we cover Chapter 59 (“The Discarded Knight”) and Chapter 60 (“The Spurned Suitor”).

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.

And now, the post!

[Humzum Hagnag Style!]

Series: A Read of Ice and Fire

Luna: New Moon

The Moon wants to kill you. Whether it’s being unable to pay your per diem for your allotted food, water, and air, or you just get caught up in a fight between the Moon’s ruling corporations, the Five Dragons. You must fight for every inch you want to gain in the Moon’s near feudal society. And that is just what Adriana Corta did.

As the leader of the Moon’s newest “dragon,” Adriana has wrested control of the Moon’s Helium-3 industry from the Mackenzie Metal corporation and fought to earn her family’s new status. Now, at the twilight of her life, Adriana finds her corporation, Corta Helio, surrounded by the many enemies she made during her meteoric rise. If the Corta family is to survive, Adriana’s five children must defend their mother’s empire from her many enemies… and each other.

Ian McDonald’s Luna: New Moon is the first in a exciting new near-future series—available September 22nd from Tor Books (US) and September 17th from Gollancz (UK).

[Read an excerpt!]

Words of Radiance Reread: Chapter 52

Welcome back to the Words of Radiance Reread on Tor.com! Last week, Adolin took Dalinar’s place to meet Eshonai and discuss her proposal, only to find it withdrawn and defiance in its place. This week, Shallan and Kaladin each improve their Radiant skills as they take steps toward their intermediate goals.

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!

[“The winds are not what I fear.”]

Series: Words of Radiance Reread on Tor.com

Captain America: Civil War Teams (Maybe) Revealed

Comic book and sci-fi movie review vlogger Mr. Sunday Movies has reportedly scooped a look at the teams for the next Marvel movie Captain America: Civil War.

Mr. Sunday Movies states that the concept art revealing these teams is akin to a stereo that “fell off the back of the truck,” so take this information with many grains of salt. Still, even if they’re just cut-and-pastes from DeviantArt, it’s still fun to speculate on whether these should be the teams!

[Read more]

Witches of Lychford Audio Excerpt

Fans of Paula Brackston’s audiobooks will recognize a familiar, and appropriately “witchy,” voice when listening to the audio edition of Paul Cornell’s Witches of Lychford as read by voice actress Marisa Calin. Calin is a British actress, screenwriter, and novelist, who has narrated a number of audiobooks, including the aforementioned works from Paula Brackston, Kerstin Geir’s Ruby Red trilogy and Sophie McKenzie’s Close My Eyes.

[Listen to an excerpt from Witches of Lychford]

How Baru Cormorant Would Overthrow Emperor Palpatine, Kill Voldemort, and Stop Sauron

Please enjoy some helpful advice for some of the best-known heroes and heroines of science fiction and fantasy, courtesy of Baru Cormorant, the brilliant protagonist of one of September’s most hotly anticipated titles. No stranger to sinister villainy and evil empires, Baru is more than capable of helping out everyone from humble hobbits to vengeance-driven superheroes with her unique brand of no-nonsense pragmatism…

[Read more]

Open the Garage Door, HAL

Quick, if you look at the house pictured above, can you guess which director’s oeuvre it’s based on? If you guessed Stanley Kubrick, you are correct! Artist Frederico Babina has done a wonderful thing with his Archidirector series: he takes directors and re-imagines their individual styles as houses! This is a unique way to see the essence of an artist. You can check out the whole series here, where he honors Ridley Scott, Jacques Tati, Charlie Chaplin, Tim Burton, and more!

Morning Roundup brings you the latest news from Mars, a tricky conversation between Ryan Britt and Austin Grossman, and the darker side of Banksy!

[Read more]

Last Song Before Night Sweepstakes!

Last Song Before Night, the debut novel from Ilana C. Myer, arrives from Tor Books on September 29th, and we want to send you a galley now!

Her name was Kimbralin Amaristoth: sister to a cruel brother, daughter of a hateful family. But that name she has forsworn, and now she is simply Lin, a musician and lyricist of uncommon ability in a land where women are forbidden to answer such callings.

On the eve of a great festival, Lin learns that The Red Death, an ancient scourge, has returned to the land of Eivar. Its resurgence brings with it the memory of an apocalypse that transformed half a continent. Long ago, magic was everywhere, rising from artistic expressionfrom song, from verse, from stories. But in Eivar, where poets once wove enchantments from their words and harps, the power was lost. Forbidden experiments in blood divination unleashed the plague that is remembered as the Red Death, killing thousands before it was stopped. The Red Death’s return can mean only one thing: someone is spilling innocent blood in order to master dark magic.

Read our excerpt here, and then check for the rules below!

[Read more]

Rocket Talk Episode 62: David Liss

Welcome back to the Rocket Talk podcast! This week’s episode features first time science fiction and middle grade author, David Liss. Justin asks Liss about what led him to write middle grade science fiction after a decade of publishing historical fiction, before discussing the differences between children’s literature and adult fiction. Ultimately, the conversation concludes with what makes his new novel, Randoms, such a delight.

[Listen to Rocket Talk]

Series: Rocket Talk: A Tor.com Podcast

Why We’re Creating More Uncanny: Still a Real Magazine, Now With a Fake Future History

The glowing amber crystal floats in the void, then snaps into the console with a sharp click.

“Show me the recorded history of Uncanny Magazine.” The Curator’s voice booms through the chamber, resonant from years of addressing their fellow space unicorns.

Before their eyes, a sparkling cloud solidifies into figures. Distinguished people in mid-21st century suits and gowns mingle as a Theremin orchestra plays early century hits. The Curator recognizes “Space Unicorn,” followed by “All About That Bass.” An older woman motions for quiet, and a distinguished older couple walks vigorously up to a podium, hand in hand.

[Read more]

Falling Off a Cliffhanger in Terry Brooks’ The Elfstones of Shannara

I have always been drawn to intelligent villains who don’t fall for the Evil Overlord tricks. But even more, I’m drawn to books that keep me up way too late at night, and I can trace this fixation back to 8th grade.

Let me paint the picture. I had borrowed The Elfstones of Shannara from the library. As I started reading it, I made a series of predictions about how the story would end. One by one, the author toppled those assumptions and then jerked me into a perilous journey that left me sitting bolt-upright, eyes wide and straining to read by a humming fluorescent bulb, devouring each scene that got progressively more intense. And this was less than a hundred pages into the book.

[Read more]

Series: That Was Awesome! Writers on Writing

Reading Melanie Rawn: The Dragon Token, Chapters 1-5

Welcome to the weekly Wednesday read of Melanie Rawn’s Dragon Star Trilogy!

This week we start the second volume: The Dragon Token. The book begins immediately after the end of Stronghold, and gets everybody moving and interacting right away. And for the first time, after four books, we get a summary of the previous book. Maybe there were complaints about the total-immersion beginning of Stronghold? Or was there Editorial Concern about new readers starting here? Because really, these books have to be read in order from the beginning. They’re a full-on, cast-of-thousands, plot-bunnies-proliferating-everywhere, big fat Saga.

[Here’s What’s Happening]

Series: Rereading Melanie Rawn

Hurricane Katrina: Dystopia, in Real Time

Ten years ago this Saturday, August 28, 2005, I sat at a table in a crowded Cracker Barrel restaurant (don’t judge) in Slidell, Louisiana, eavesdropping. At the next table sat a Louisiana State Police officer, eating with his family. “Drive to Jackson or Birmingham,” he told his wife as he answered a radio call and got up to leave. “I’ll call you as soon as I can.”

His kids cried. His wife cried. The officer had a sheen of tears in his eyes.

Me? I was just scared, reluctantly leaving home four hours before the roads leading out of the New Orleans metro area were to be shut down. All ten lanes of I-10 had been converted to head only north as a monstrous Category 5 hurricane barreled toward us. With an elderly parent, a friend, and three pets, I was headed for what would turn out to be an extended stay in a single hotel room in Bossier City, near Shreveport, then weeks living on the charity of friends.

We were at the beginning of the greatest mass displacement of Americans in history—more than a million people from the Gulf Coast and New Orleans, scattered to every state in the U.S. except the ones we called home.

In case you’ve been under a rock, August 29 is the tenth anniversary of Hurricane Katrina. Chances are, you’re sick of hearing about it. You’re tired of hearing about the 1,800 people who died, almost 1,600 of them in Louisiana. Tired of the images outside the Louisiana Superdome and New Orleans convention center. Tired of hearing about the $108 billion in damages, still the costliest hurricane in U.S. history. Tired of pondering the failure of government at all levels.

Those of us who lived it are tired of it too, but it changed us. We know about the bad, but there also was good that can be seen a decade later. In speculative fiction, it brought us new authors, new outlooks, and the resurgence of an old genre.

[Read more]