A Long Spoon December 18, 2014 A Long Spoon Jonathan L. Howard A Johannes Cabal story. Burnt Sugar December 10, 2014 Burnt Sugar Lish McBride Everyone knows about gingerbread houses. Father Christmas: A Wonder Tale of the North December 9, 2014 Father Christmas: A Wonder Tale of the North Charles Vess Happy Holidays from Tor.com Skin in the Game December 3, 2014 Skin in the Game Sabrina Vourvoulias Some monsters learn how to pass.
From The Blog
December 9, 2014
The Eleventh Doctor’s Legacy Was Loss and Failure
Emily Asher-Perrin
December 9, 2014
Tor.com Reviewers’ Choice: The Best Books of 2014
December 8, 2014
How Fast is the Millennium Falcon? A Thought Experiment.
Chris Lough
December 8, 2014
Tiamat’s Terrain: Tales of the Marvellous and News of the Strange
Alex Mangles
December 4, 2014
Potential Spoiler Leak for Star Wars: The Force Awakens Reveals Awesome Details
Emily Asher-Perrin
Showing posts tagged: Science click to see more stuff tagged with Science
May 16 2014 1:00pm

Soul Music: The Voices by F. R. Tallis

The Voices FR Tallis review Maybe you haven’t heard of it—maybe you weren’t born yet; maybe you’re based elsewhere—but in Great Britain, the summer of 1976 went down in history. It was the hottest single season since records began some 400 years ago, and people in these parts weren’t prepared. There were droughts. Deaths.

It was an indescribably violent time, all told. Hate crimes were a daily affair many commentators attributed to the incredible temperatures. “What a world to bring a child into,” as our couple comments on the first page of F. R. Tallis’ haunting new novel, The Voices. But that’s exactly what Christopher and Laura Norton plan to do. Indeed, on the day they decide to spend their once-substantial savings on “a substantial Victorian edifice [...] concealed in a pocket of London’s complex topography,” their infant daughter is born. They name her Faye, meaning belief—which, though they have in her, they lack, alas, in one another.

A year later, the Nortons have settled into their new property nicely, but things between Faye’s parents have gone to pot in short order, and a terror more malignant than the recent uptick in temperature is about to make its malevolent presence felt.

[Read More]

May 16 2014 12:40pm

Check Out the First Trailer for Christopher Nolan’s Interstellar!

Christopher Nolan Interstellar trailer

The world has run out of food in Christopher Nolan’s latest epic of epicness, Interstellar, and only pilot/engineer Matthew McConaughey can...well, we don’t know. The first trailer for Nolan’s highly anticipated sci-fi movie is vague on plot but heavy on the feelings and we want to see it now. We want to see the super sad true space movie now!

[Click through for the latest volley of the McConnaissance!]

May 15 2014 1:38pm


Hoverbike for sale Aero X


Two years ago Aerofex introduced the world to its hoverbike, the Aero-X, and now they think they’ll begin selling commercial models as early as 2017! The bikes will cost around $85,000 and are propelled by rotors, allowing the rich and mobile to literally spray dirt in our face as they whiz by laughing.

All class war aside, we would buy one of these things immediately if we could. The Aero-X can reach 45 mph, hovers at about twelve feet off the ground, seats two, and is extremely useful for chasing fugitives across the alkali flats. Don’t forget to wear a menacing helmet!

[Click through to see a video of the bike in flight]

May 9 2014 9:00am

The Drugs Don’t Work: Glow by Ned Beauman

Ned Beauman Glow Though admiring them is absolutely natural, it’s not always easy to enjoy Ned Beauman’s novels. Take Boxer, Beetle and The Teleportation Accident: two basically brilliant books, but both are unabashedly bizarre, and decidedly distasteful. No less so Glow, in which one of Britain’s best and brightest new writers trains his tremendous talents on today as opposed to the improbable parts of the past he’s explored before.

On the surface it sounds almost normal—a conspiracy thriller above a lovelorn Londoner caught up in a plot by an ailing organisation which aims to make massive amounts of money by monopolising the market for a revolutionary new recreational drug—but peer beneath this veneer and Glow is revealed to be as progressive, and at the same time excessive, as its predecessors.

[Read More]

Apr 10 2014 10:45am

I Just Lost Hours Reading This Geological History of Westeros

Game of Thrones geological history of Westeros

The Stanford geologists at Generation Anthropocene are my new favorite people. They recently assembled a presentation that extrapolates from clues in the books how the continent of Westeros in A Song of Ice and Fire / Game of Thrones came to be formed, from the salt flats of Dorne to the granite of Winterfell, and it is an exceptionally clever work that breathes new color into George R. R. Martin’s world.

They also nail down precisely how big the planet is—an attempt I made myself last year with less precise methods—figure out where the tectonic plates are, find missing volcanoes, and discover a period in the planet’s history where winter thoroughly won the fight.

Check out the full thing here. Don't fret over not knowing anything about geology. The writing in the presentation presents everything very clearly and concisely, allowing anyone to follow the progression of Westeros from southern hemispheric lump to its jagged current-day self. Here’s hoping they publish an update that folds Essos and the Known World into the mix!

Apr 8 2014 3:30pm

I Seriously Doubt Kate Mulgrew Believes the Sun Revolves Around the Earth

Kate Mulgrew Captain Janeway Star Trek

Hey, guess what? Kate Mulgrew took a voice-over gig that has turned out to be narration for a documentary made by a Holocaust-denier that is titled The Principle, which claims that the sun revolves around the Earth. So now we know, for sure, that the Captain Kathryn Janeway that we (sort of) grew up with believes something that was disproved hundreds of years ago.

[Or, more likely, she doesn’t]

Mar 26 2014 4:00pm

Roses Are Red: A Love Like Blood by Marcus Sedgwick

A Love Like Blood review Marcus Sedgwick

I’ve often heard it said that the littlest things in life can have the biggest impact—an assertion evidenced by Charles Jackson, a Captain in the Royal Army Medical Corps whose subsequent career in the field of haemophilia springs from something seemingly insignificant. Celebrating the liberation of Paris from the hands of the Nazis, he hunkers down in a bunker, only to half-see something weird: someone gulping blood from the warm body of a woman.

A vampire? Perhaps. But more likely a mere madman. “It was ludicrous; it was, as I’ve said, something I should not have seen, something wrong. Not just violence, not just murder, but something even more depraved than those acts.” Absent any evidence that a crime has been committed, Charles does his level best to dismiss this wicked thing he’s witnessed. But the damage is done, and the unsettling story told in A Love Like Blood begun.

[Read More]

Mar 25 2014 11:00am

Short Fiction Spotlight: The Science of the Supernatural

The Elivs Room Stephen Graham Jones

Welcome back to the Short Fiction Spotlight, a weekly column dedicated to doing exactly what it says in the header: shining a light on the some of the best and most relevant fiction of the aforementioned form.

The sixth in a series of darkly fantastic chapbooks bearing the This Is Horror hallmark, ‘The Elvis Room’ by Stephen Graham Jones is an unsettling exploration of the science of the supernatural.

[Read More]

Mar 24 2014 3:00pm

That Galaxy is Shooting Lasers. The Science of Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey Episode 3: “When Knowledge Conquered Fear”

Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey episode 3 science Isaac Newton

Want to know more about the Really Cool Things behind the science and history revealed in this week’s episode of Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey? This must be the place!

This week we’ll dig deeper into episode 3, “When Knowledge Conquered Fear” and look at the constellations of Middle-earth, galaxies that SHOOT LASERS, how awesome-not-awesome Isaac Newton was, and the galactic cataclysm pinwheeling towards us right now.

[Read more]

Mar 19 2014 10:00am

SUPER CORN! The Science of Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey Episode 2: “Some of the Things That Molecules Do”

Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey episode 2: Some of the Things That Molecules Do

As a mostly educational program Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey is meant to inspire a sense of wonder in its viewers, regardless of their background, along with a desire to explore the worlds around them in the same curious manner as host Neil deGrasse Tyson’s Ship of the Imagination.

Towards that end, instead of simply recapping and reviewing each episode, I’ll be assembling a list of Really Cool Things behind the science. Want to learn more about what you saw in the program? Come this way!

This week we’ll dig deeper into episode 2, “Some of the Things That Molecules Do” and meet some adorable foxes, raise an eyebrow at What We’ve Done To Corn, and see a map of Titan that could double as an epic fantasy world.

[Read more]

Mar 18 2014 2:30pm

Watch Andrei Linde React to Being Told His Big Bang Inflation Theory is Correct

Andrei Linde Big Bang Inflation

The world of astrophysics got the shaking of a lifetime earlier this week with the discovery of proof that the universe began with a bang. (Or cosmic inflation theory as it is more accurately known.) Now watch as Stanford University surprises Andrei Linde, one of the proponents of the theory, with the news of the discovery!

[It’s about to get emotional all up in this science]

Mar 6 2014 11:10am

What Makes Carl Sagan’s Cosmos So Great?

Carl Sagan's Cosmos

Cosmos is returning to our screens this Sunday, March 9th, updated for the early 21st century in look, style, and discovery. But what was it about its originator Carl Sagan’s Cosmos that inspired such a need to see it continue?

As fans of science fiction and fantasy, and as fans of entertaining science education, the answer to that question feels obvious. This is a show that effectively explained the fourth spatial dimension with nothing more than a piece of paper and a box, this is a show that taught us how to figure out how much alien life there could actually be around us.

But there’s more to it than that. As Brit Mandelo discovered when she rewatched the show for us in 2013, watching Carl Sagan’s Cosmos takes you on your own journey. Read her own explorations of each episode and see where the show might lead you.

Feb 24 2014 11:15am

Are You Ready for Some Star Stuff? Cosmos Returns March 9th!

Neil deGrasse Tyson is donning his shades and taking us on a glorious adventure across time and space! And, given those shades, we're assuming that he's ditching Carl Sagan's shag-carpeted starship for some sort of Delorean, or at least a totally boss van. Fox has premiered a glorious trifecta of techno-driven Cosmos trailers, and we are just slightly excited.

[Click through for all three trailers!]

Feb 11 2014 3:10pm

Marvel Body Mass Index Study Reveals Nearly 1/3 of Female Characters Are Underweight

Captain America, Bob Hall, Kitty Pryde, Terry Dodson

In the world of comics art there are plenty of fans who take exception to the way most women are depicted artistically on the page. This is not difficult to understand: breasts are defying all forms of gravity, waist-to-hip ratios clock in at Barbie levels of discomfort, and everyone is usually fighting in heels.

The return argument is that the men in comics are depicted in an equally unrealistic capacity, though any good feminist will tell you that there’s a difference between female objectification and male power fantasies. But it goes well beyond that realm, too. In fact, it might just be plain unhealthy. Literally.

[An interesting study...]

Jan 31 2014 4:30pm

To Live or Die on Mars: The Martian by Andy Weir

The Martian Andy Weir

We all have our dreams and desires.... or we all had them. How sad!

Andy Weir, at least, did something with his. Fascinated by space exploration from an early age, “like most kids growing up [he] wanted to be an astronaut. Instead, he wrote a book—The Martian—which he self published on Amazon in 2012.”

By all accounts, it went down very well, in the wake of which overwhelmingly positive and in all probability profitable response, an assortment of proper publishers came a-calling. The result is a novel with problematic priorities that begs for the suggestions of a more determined editor. That it is a gripping and largely satisfying text nevertheless speaks to how marvellous The Martian might have been.

[Read More]

Jan 29 2014 2:30pm

They Built a Machine To Give You All the Feels

MIT Media Lab sensory fiction

Imagine wearing a book. Imagine the characters in that book asserting their emotions onto you physically, from triumph to tragedy. When they’re sad, you feel sad. When they’re cold, you’re shivering, and so on... Vice reports that MIT’s Media Lab has created a prototype for a “sensory fiction” device that will mimic what the characters in a book are feeling.

[Read more]

Jan 13 2014 9:00am

Subject Number One: The Girl With All the Gifts by M. R. Carey

MR Carey The Girl with All the Gifts

There’s been a bunch of buzz about this book in the six months since its announcement. Aside a hearty helping of hyperbole, however, we’ve had next to nothing to go on: only an unsettling excerpt about a girl who loves “learning about spelling and sums and the world outside the classroom” evidently being kept in captivity; and the fact that M. R. Carey is an ever-so-slight pseudonym for the author of the five Felix Castor novels and any number of awesome comics, not least Lucifer and more recently The Unwritten.

So what is The Girl With All the Gifts?

[Read More]

Jan 2 2014 2:00pm

Resistance is Futile: Scientific American Explores How the Internet is Changing Your Brain

Until recently, humans have relied on each other to distribute and share memory, in a world where the human brain was the pinnacle of data storage. But the Internet has radically and rapidly changed our relationship with this transactive memory system. In the December issue of Scientific American, Daniel M. Wegner and Adrian F. Ward explore the phenomenon in “How Google is Changing Your Brain.”

“Human! We used to be exactly like them. Flawed. Weak. Organic. But we evolved to include the synthetic. Now we use both to attain perfection. Your goal should be the same as ours.”

–Borg Queen, Star Trek: First Contact

For those of us who recall the shadowy time before the rise of the Internet and Google, if you had a question, you were promptly sent to the dictionary, encyclopedia, or library (up hill, in the snow, both ways) to try to find the answer. Today, a question barely has time to cross our minds before we are tapping away on our phones or computers to Google the answer. When a proper noun becomes a verb, you know something big has happened.

[Watch your future’s end.]

Jan 1 2014 1:00pm

Ten Scientific Non-Fiction Books to Fire Up Your Imaginations

We are smack in the middle of a holiday week, and you know what holiday weeks mean: reading giant fat books that we don’t usually have time for! We here at Tor.com love giant fat books, so we took to Twitter to ask you about some of your favorite scientific non-fiction, and you came back with a wonderful variety of suggestions. I’ve collected ten of them here, and I would love it if you pepper the comment thread with even more! There’s nothing quite like charging into a new year armed with giant fat erudition.

[Read more, and then read more!]

Dec 30 2013 8:00am

These New-Fangled Books Will Doom Us All!

Bad For You techno panic timeline Kevin C. Pyle Scott CunninghamBehold the techno-panic timeline!

In Bad For You, coming on January 7th from Henry Holt, authors Kevin C. Pyle and Scott Cunningham expose the long-standing campaign against fun for what it really is: a bunch of anxious adults grasping at straws, ignoring scientific data, and blindly yearning for the good old days that never were.

In this handy graphic, they point out the repeated panics we’ve had over new technology, from the printing press to books to telephones and everything in between and around. It turns out we’re really super into blaming new things for existing problems!

If only we could invent some kind of device that would impart information from previous years and eras, as a way to...read history...in hopes of not, um, not...

No, wait, it’ll come to us....

[The techno-panic timeline]