The Pauper Prince and the Eucalyptus Jinn April 22, 2015 The Pauper Prince and the Eucalyptus Jinn Usman Malik He will inherit the Unseen. The Ways of Walls and Words April 15, 2015 The Ways of Walls and Words Sabrina Vourvoulias Can the spirit truly be imprisoned? Ballroom Blitz April 1, 2015 Ballroom Blitz Veronica Schanoes Can't stop drinking, can't stop dancing, can't stop smoking, can't even die. Dog March 25, 2015 Dog Bruce McAllister "Watch the dogs when you're down there, David."
From The Blog
April 22, 2015
Daredevil, Catholicism, and the Marvel Moral Universe
Leah Schnelbach
April 22, 2015
The Old Guy Action Comeback: I’m Getting Too Old for This Sh*t
Ryan Britt
April 20, 2015
The Net is the Meat: Bruce Holsinger’s Middle Ages
David Perry
April 17, 2015
Spring 2015 Anime Preview: The Hellish Life of a Pizza Delivery Boy
Kelly Quinn
April 16, 2015
The Disney Read-Watch: Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs
Mari Ness
Mon
Apr 27 2015 4:00pm

Dress Up in Books: Maria Dahvana Headley’s Pop Quiz Interview

Maria Dahvana Headley

Welcome back to The Pop Quiz at the End of the Universe, a recurring series here on Tor.com featuring some of our favorite science fiction and fantasy authors, artists, and others!

Today we’re joined by Maria Dahvana Headley, author of the young adult fantasy novel Magonia, available from HarperCollins. With Neil Gaiman, she is the New York Times-bestselling co-editor of the anthology Unnatural Creatures, and with Kat Howard, she is the author of the novella The End of the Sentence—one of NPR’s Best Books of 2014. She lives in Brooklyn with a seven-foot stuffed crocodile and a collection of star charts from the 1700s.

Join us to find out which classic monster fuels Maria’s creative fires, and which bizarre sandwiches help get her through the long nights of endless writing.

[Join us!]

Mon
Apr 20 2015 11:30am

Half a War and Beyond

Half a War Joe Abercrombie

Is it just me, or has someone been fast-forwarding 2015?

Case in point: it can’t possibly have been more than a week or three since I blogged about Half the World by Joe Abercrombie, and yet the next volume—“the third and (for the time being) final book” of the aforementioned author’s Shattered Sea series—is almost upon us. Half a War is so very nearly here that we’ve got copy and the cover coming up, in addition to an overview of what Abercrombie is turning his attention to now that his work on the trilogy is pretty much finished.

But before we get ahead of ourselves again—as if that’s even feasible this year—behold the blurb. Slight spoilers ahead if you aren’t yet up to speed on the series so far!

[Read More]

Thu
Apr 9 2015 11:00am

Midnight in Karachi Episode 10: Andrew Smith and Musharraf Ali Farooqi

Midnight in Karachi

Welcome back to Midnight in Karachi, a bi-weekly podcast about writers, publishers, editors, illustrators, their books and the worlds they create, hosted by Mahvesh Murad.

In this episode of Midnight in Karachi, Mahvesh speaks with writer Andrew Smith about learning from teenagers, whether YA can be too dark and a certain interview that created a bit of an uproar a few weeks ago. And on Under the Radar we hear from Musharraf Ali Farooqi, translator of the Urdu fantasy epic Hoshruba, which is being serialised right here on Tor.com.

[Listen Now!]

Tue
Apr 7 2015 11:00am

Sleeps With Monsters: Young Adult Books You Should Be Reading

YA reviews sleeps with monsters

While my brain has been very slowly regenerating from the puddle of goo into which it dissolved at the end of February, I’ve been alternating my reading between romance novels and Young Adult books. (I’m not quite prepared to tackle anything that demands to be appreciated from several intellectual angles, rather than merely inviting one to do so.) Some of the YA novels are absolutely amazing, even with my presently-limited capacity.

[Read More]

Wed
Apr 1 2015 2:00pm

Catching Up with The 100

The 100

If you haven’t been watching The 100, a CW show adapted from the young adult works of Kass Morgan, then take it from me: you’ve been missing out. Full of complex, well-written characters and boasting a thoroughly diverse cast and crew, The 100 is easily one of the best things I’ve seen on TV in the last few years, and in the wake of the Season Two finale, this seems like an ideal time to stop and talk about why.

[Read More]

Wed
Mar 25 2015 12:00pm

Cover Reveal for Lindsay Smith’s Dreamstrider

Dreamstrider Lindsay Smith

Tor.com is pleased to reveal the cover for Lindsay Smith’s Dreamstrider, a high-concept espionage novel set in a world where dreams are the ultimate form of political intelligence.

Below, get a look at the full cover designed by Elizabeth H. Clark and illustrated by NastPlas, a creative duo based in Madrid, Spain. Author Lindsay Smith also shares her thoughts on the inspirations behind writing the novel, as well as what dreams mean in the world she has created. Dreamstrider publishes October 6th from Roaring Brook Press.

[Read More]

Mon
Mar 23 2015 11:00am

Your Truth But Not Mine: Insurgent

Insurgent movie review

To be honest, I didn’t have high hopes for Insurgent, the second movie in the Divergent trilogy based on Veronica Roth’s dystopian YA novels. The massive book was bogged down in Tris Prior’s self-loathing and self-sabotage, serving mostly as a link between the faction system in Divergent and the big, game-changing reveal that leads to Allegiant.

In the wake of Erudite (the intelligent faction, led by Kate Winslet as the faction-upholding Jeanine Matthews) enslaving the Dauntless army and using them to destroy selfless Abnegation, Tris Prior (Shailene Woodley), her brother Caleb (Ansel Elgort), Four (Theo James), and Peter (Miles Teller, having way too much fun with his role) are fugitives on the run, looking for shelter and allies in the other factions, which just want to protect themselves from more fracturing.

However, like the Hunger Games adaptations, Insurgent the movie manages to stand apart from its source material, with a leaner plot and clearer stakes. While some plot points are dispensed of and some of the nuance lost, Insurgent makes fascinating commentary on generational divides and clinging to the old ways, better depicting the breakdown of a dystopian society.

[Read more]

Thu
Mar 19 2015 4:00pm

A Bleak and Desperate Future: Monica Hughes’ Invitation to the Game

Invitation fo the GameIn previous books, Monica Hughes had given quick side looks at a badly overpopulated, dreary, desperate world. In Invitation to the Game, she takes us to that world, and it’s even bleaker and more desperate than it sounded at first glance.

So desperate, that when people get even a hint of something else—say, a mysterious, high risk game taking place in another location—they will do anything to enter it. Anything.

[Including just possibly giving up technology for a more low-tech, primitive culture. I know you’re shocked. Spoilery.]

Thu
Mar 12 2015 3:30pm

Keeping Someone Else’s Promise: The Promise

The Promise Monica HughesSandwriter was enough of a success that four years later, Monica Hughes returned with a sequel, The Promise. Antia and Jodril have now escaped the desert (yay) and are living a privileged, luxurious life in the royal palace of Malan, ruling the twin continents of Kamalant and Komilant. So that’s nice.

Alas, their marriage is not going all that well, since in the intervening eleven years, Antia has discovered that when she and Jodril wrote their names in the sand at the end of the last book, they were not, as she had fondly thought, just engaging in some romantic sand art to seal their bond, but actually promising to send their first born daughter, Rania, to the Sandwriter, as soon as the girl turns ten—to live as a hermit in the desert for the rest of her life.

And Jodril is insisting they go along with this, because, they made a promise.

Wait. WHAT?

[Do you have to keep a promise that you weren’t aware that you were making?]

Thu
Mar 5 2015 4:00pm

A Spoiled Princess in an Unspoiled Desert: Sandwriter

Monica Hughes SandwriterFor the most part, Monica Hughes’ work for young adults had focused on science fiction. In 1985, however, she tried something different: Sandwriter, a fantasy partly inspired by her early life in Egypt, partly inspired by her ongoing concerns about the environment.

As a princess and heir to two kingdoms, each of which spans a continent, Antia has grown up in luxury, ignorance, isolation and above all, boredom. She is not quite bored enough, however, to jump at the chance to spend several months on the desert island of Roshan, something she regards as a punishment since, as she immediately tells her aunt—and, more regrettably, Lady Sofi, the woman extending the invitation—that Roshan is nothing but desert and dirt and flies. And that’s the nicer part.

[In which everyone and everything except for the useful oil ends up getting exploited. Also, an annoyingly realistic princess. Spoilers.]

Thu
Mar 5 2015 11:00am

Girl Monsters: A Conversation With Nova Ren Suma

Nova Ren Suma The Walls Around Us

Critical darling Nova Ren Suma is already well-known for her gorgeous, genre-hopping, and distinctly sinister body of work. We talked about memory, ghosts, and unreliable and monstrous girls in advance of the March 23rd publication of her newest novel, The Walls Around Us, which is already garnering rave reviews.

[Read more...]

Wed
Mar 4 2015 5:00pm
Excerpt

Razorhurst (Excerpt)

Justine Larbalestier

Razorhurst Justine Larbalestier Sydney’s deadly Razorhurst neighborhood, 1932. Gloriana Nelson and Mr. Davidson, two ruthless mob bosses, have reached a fragile peace—one maintained by “razor men.” Kelpie, orphaned and homeless, is blessed (and cursed) with the ability to see Razorhurst’s many ghosts. They tell her secrets the living can’t know about the cracks already forming in the mobs’ truce.

Then Kelpie meets Dymphna Campbell, a legendary beauty and prized moll of Gloriana Nelson. She’s earned the nickname “Angel of Death” because none of her beaus has ever survived knowing her. Unbeknownst to Kelpie, Dymphna can see ghosts, too, and she knows that Gloriana’s hold is crumbling one henchman at a time. As loyalties shift and betrayal threatens the two girls at every turn, Dymphna is determined not only to survive, but to rise to the top with Kelpie at her side.

The notoriously bloody history of a mob-run Sydney, Australia neighborhood is fertile ground for Justine Larbalestier’s Razorhurst, a historical thriller with a paranormal twist—available now from Soho Press.

[Read an Excerpt]

Tue
Mar 3 2015 10:00am

Bridge of Snow

Ignore the stirrings of war. Let the carriage to a royal ball wait. There is a story to be told: of a starless night, a mother and her sick son, and a mortal who falls in love with the snow god, and will do anything to have her...

Read “Bridge of Snow,” originally published January 28, 2014 on Tor.com. The story is set in the world of Rutkoski’s novel The Winner’s Curse and its new sequel, The Winner’s Crime.

This short story was acquired and edited for Tor.com by Mac Kids editor Janine O’Malley.

[Read “Bridge of Snow” by Marie Rutkoski]

Mon
Mar 2 2015 2:30pm

Afternoon Roundup: “Live Long and Prosper” From Space

Vulcan salute space Leonard Nimoy death

Over the weekend, the Leonard Nimoy tributes just kept rolling in. We were particularly touched by astronaut Terry W. Virts’ Vulcan salute all the way from the International Space Station. The Washington Post has more of NASA’s history with Star Trek and Nimoy. Plus, Star Trek Online will create an in-game memorial for its millions of players.

Afternoon Roundup brings you a new sci-fi adventure from the woman who brought us Divergent, an Adventure Time movie, and office cats galore!

[Read more]

Thu
Feb 26 2015 4:00pm

Telepaths Versus Evil Computers: The Dream Catcher

Monica Hughes The Dream CatcherIn Monica Hughes’ The Dream Catcher, fourteen year old Ruth lives in what many people would consider a utopia: ArkThree, a post-apocalyptic society of telepaths and healers who live in nearly perfect harmony, sharing work and joy alike, with almost no conflict.

If this sounds a bit, well, idealistic, or even questionable: no, it’s real. These are telepaths, who find that joining their minds together in a great Web brings them happiness and security—and that they can only merge their minds if they remain largely conflict free. Thus, a discipline of pacifism and of sharing the most unpleasant tasks, with even the leaders having to take a turn at cleaning out the latrines now and again. With plenty of leisure time.

But Ruth is unhappy.

[Just wait until she finds out about the evil computer.]

Tue
Feb 24 2015 10:00am

The Coode Street Podcast Episode 221: Joe Abercrombie and Sean Williams

Joe Abercrombie Sean Williams Coode Street

Welcome to The Coode Street Podcast, an informal weekly discussion about science fiction and fantasy featuring award-winning critics and editors Jonathan Strahan and Gary K. Wolfe. The Coode Street Podcast debuted in 2010 and has been nominated for the Hugo, British Science Fiction, and Aurealis awards.

Is there a difference to writing for younger readers? Do they want or need different kinds of stories? Do they have different expectations from older readers? How do you structure a series? What makes for a rewarding reading experience and how do genre expectations relate to that?

With new young adult novels published recently, Joe Abercrombie (whose Half the World, second volume in the Shattered Sea series, is just out) and Sean Williams (whose second Twinmaker novel, Crashland, came out late last year) sit down with Jonathan to discuss this and more during a fascinating conversation recorded during the Perth Writer’s Festival.

[Listen to Coode Street]

Mon
Feb 23 2015 4:00pm

Bad Blood: The Death House by Sarah Pinborough

The Death House

A slim, sorrowful volume that splits the difference between The Fault in Our Stars and The Girl with All the Gifts, The Death House documents the last days of several students in a school full of Defectives: young people who have been taken from their parents and installed in an isolated location because of something bad in their blood. Something that’ll kill them all before long.

It’s school but not school. Like this whole place is life but not life. At least the teachers, who disappear off to their own wing once lessons are done, will get out of here. Sometimes I’ll catch one watching us as we work as if we’re animals in a zoo. I can never decide quite what the look is. Fascination or fear, or maybe a bit of both.

Maybe a bit of both is appropriate...

[Read More]

Fri
Feb 20 2015 5:00pm

Rainbow Rowell Says Carry On Isn’t Fanfiction, It’s Canon

Rainbow Rowell Carry On interview Simon Snow Baz fanfiction fantasyCan Rainbow Rowell’s next book Carry On be described as fanfiction if she’s writing about the magical adventures of her fictional characters’ favorite fictional characters? (She did create the mage-in-training roommates Simon Snow and Tyrannus Basilton “Baz” Pitch for her novel Fangirl, but as the stars of various fanfics.) And while she created a fantasy world detailed enough for her protagonist to write fanfic in, how does she make that fantasy world stand on its own?

Rowell answered these and other tricky questions in a new interview with Time, in which she discussed which fantasy tropes she embraced or discarded while writing Carry On, and why we should all thank the Harry Potter generation.

[Read more]

Thu
Feb 19 2015 4:00pm

You Mean Computers in Spines Aren’t A Great Idea? Devil on my Back

Monican Hughes Devil on my BackMonica Hughes’ Devil on my Back opens on a terrifying scene of five boys about to be hooked up to computers. The terror of this scene isn’t the computers, or the horrible food they are served directly before this (bad scrambled eggs and nearly inedible soy toast) but the people around them: slaves with horrible scars from surgically implanted sockets. The boys are thankful that they aren’t women who only think about worthless things.

And oh, yes, if they fail to access knowledge through their own surgically implanted sockets, their memories will be wiped and they will be turned into slaves. By page five, that happens to one of them. By page seven, another.

[This is the cheerful part!]

Thu
Feb 12 2015 6:00pm

An Increasing Hatred of Science: Space Trap

Space Trap“It’s progress,” said Frank definitively. “And you can’t stop progress.”

At a certain point in her life and career, Monica Hughes most definitely became interested in stopping progress—or at least, persuading many of us that progress was not a great idea. From exploring initial concerns of overpopulation, exploitation, and resource depletion, but maintaining hope that people could continue to find joy in such places, her novels gradually became calls to return to less technology based, smaller societies. (Often, I must add, by the happy expedient of just happening to find a nice unpopulated planet with plenty of oxygen and water and soil.) Space Trap, though focused largely on aliens, is one of her novels exploring that attitude shift.

[Also, moral questions about zoos.]