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
Tor.com
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
Mon
Oct 20 2014 7:00am

Morning Roundup: Horror on the Half Shell!

Teeneage Mutant Ninja Turtles Slasher action figures

Have we mentioned that we love Halloween? And that the mere presence of Halloween makes October the best month? And that part of October being the best month is that suddenly horror movies and horror movie accessories are everywhere? Here, for example, are the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, made even better through the miracle of modern kit-bashing in Dan Polydoris’s Sewer Slashin’ Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles! Really, the only thing this collection lacks is April O’Neill as Asami Yamazaki...

Morning Roundup has so much to tell you! There are thoughts on the mathematical truths to be found in The Simpsons, explorations of the state of the gaming world from Cory Doctorow and Anita Sarkeesian, and a studio tour with a comics master!

[Plus, Bill Murray Explains it All!]

Tue
Oct 14 2014 1:30pm

Short Fiction Spotlight: Shearman, Fearman

Fearsome Magics

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.

Robert Shearman may be best known for bringing back the Daleks, but as a dyed-in-the-wool Doctor Who doubter, he’s more familiar to me because of his award-winning short stories, a great swathe of which were collected last year in the deeply creepy Remember Why You Fear Me. More recently, ChiZine released They Do The Same Things Different There, an equally excellent assemblage of the author’s more fantastical fiction.

‘Ice in the Bedroom,’ the closing story of the second volume of Fearsome Magics: The New Solaris Book of Fantasy, skillfully straddles the line between the two types of stories Shearman writes. It’s as strange as it is unsettling and as suggestive as it is effective—in other words, good reading for the spooky season!

[Read More]

Tue
Oct 7 2014 8:30am
Excerpt

An English Ghost Story (Excerpt)

Kim Newman

Kim Newman excerpt An English Ghost Story A dysfunctional British nuclear family seek a new life away from the big city in the sleepy Somerset countryside.

At first their new home, The Hollow, seems to embrace them, creating a rare peace and harmony within the family. But when the house turns on them, it seems to know just how to hurt them the most—threatening to destroy them from the inside out.

An English Ghost Story—available now from Titan Books—is a stand-alone novel from acclaimed author Kim Newman. Read an excerpt from the haunted house tale below!

 

 

[Read an Excerpt]

Fri
Oct 3 2014 11:00am

The Bloody Books of Halloween: William Peter Blatty’s The Exorcist

The Exorcist William Peter Blatty

Grady Hendrix, author of Horrorstör, and Will Errickson of Too Much Horror Fiction are digging deep inside the Jack o’Lantern of Literature to discover the best (and worst) horror paperbacks. Are you strong enough to read THE BLOODY BOOKS OF HALLOWEEN???

The preeminent 1970s bestselling horror novel. Millions of copies adorning nightstands and coffee tables everywhere. The unfocused cover photograph of a young girl in torment. The exotic, sibilant title—exorcist—why, the word itself sounded evil. If you were of an impressionable age at the time, surely the iconic imagery of the book alone made a nightmarish impact, even if you didn’t read it. Perhaps even more so, because I’m not even sure The Exorcist (first published in May 1971), the fifth novel from William Peter Blatty (b. 1928, NYC), really is a horror novel.

I know, I know, that old argument: what makes horror fiction, well, horror? The Exorcist has some of the most infamous and eternal moments of shock and terror in popular culture, but is horrifying readers its sole raison d’être? I’d argue non.

[Read More]

Thu
Oct 2 2014 7:00am

Morning Roundup: OK, OK! We’ll Stop Haunting Your Sister’s Steps!

Eeek! Karl Urban is attacking! This shot really should have been included in one of the Lord of the Rings films. Or possibly in all of the Lord of the Rings films, whether it was appropriate to the plot or not. Join_You_In_The_Sun shared a whole collection of unedited publicity photos from The Two Towers, and they’re pretty fun! Sean Astin looks like he’s in a trance state as Sam, and Viggo Mortensen’s hair apparently just always does the thing where it’s all windswept and epic all the time. And Elijah Wood looked so young...hey. Waaaait a minute. He still looks exactly like that! What the heck, genetics??!

Morning Roundup goes behind-the-scenes with some cantankerous Boxtrolls, gathers a list to provide you with all you Every-Day-in-October-is-Halloween needs, and an extended interview with novelist David Mitchell!

[Plus an irascible Jedi Knight!]

Wed
Oct 1 2014 1:00pm

The End of the Sentence: A Conversation with Kat Howard and Maria Dahvana Headley

The End of the Sentence Maria Dahvana Headley Kat HowardI’ve long been a fan of Kat Howard and Maria Dahvana Headley’s fiction; both writers have a magician’s knack for mixing up the uncanny with the real, resulting in haunting stories that stick with you for a long time. I was thrilled to hear they’d joined forces for The End of the Sentence, a collaboratively written novella available now from Subterranean Press—and even more thrilled upon reading it to discover that it was every bit as deliciously creepy and gorgeously terrifying as I’d hoped.

I chatted a bit with Kat and Maria about monsters, love, co-writing, and kissing scenes.

[Read more...]

Tue
Sep 30 2014 12:30pm

Ghostwritten: The End of the Sentence by Maria Dahvana Headley & Kat Howard

The End of the Sentence Maria Dahvana Headley Kat Howard review

In the aftermath of a tragic accident that made a mess of his marriage, Malcolm Mays retreats to rural Oregon in an attempt to begin again, however he gets more than he bargained for when he moves into a foreclosed home in Ione.

In a sense he inherits its former occupant, a convicted criminal called Dusha Chuchonnyhoof, who—having been unjustly jailed for two lifetimes and a day, he says—is preparing to reclaim his property. “The homeowner is only absent, you must understand. Not gone. The end of the sentence approaches [...] and when it comes, I will return.”

[Read More]

Mon
Sep 22 2014 3:00pm
Excerpt

Horrorstör (Excerpt)

Grady Hendrix

Grady Hendrix Horrorstor Something strange is happening at the Orsk furniture superstore in Cleveland, Ohio. Every morning, employees arrive to find broken Kjerring bookshelves, shattered Glans water goblets, and smashed Liripip wardrobes. Sales are down, security cameras reveal nothing, and store managers are panicking. To unravel the mystery, three employees volunteer to work a nine-hour dusk-till-dawn shift. In the dead of the night, they’ll patrol the empty showroom floor, investigate strange sights and sounds, and encounter horrors that defy the imagination.

Grady Hendrix’s latest novel, Horrorstör, is traditional haunted house story in a thoroughly contemporary setting—available September 23rd from Quirk Books. It comes packaged in the form of a glossy mail order catalog, complete with product illustrations, a home delivery order form, and a map of Orsk’s labyrinthine showroom.

[Read an excerpt]

Mon
Sep 22 2014 1:00pm

The Pop Quiz at the End of the Universe: Grady Hendrix

Grady Hendrix pop quiz interview 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 writer and journalist Grady Hendrix, who heads up The Great Stephen King Reread and Under the Dome recaps, plus co-writes the Summer of Sleaze pulp fiction reread here on Tor.com. A former film critic for the New York Sun, Grady has also written for Slate, the Village Voice, Time Out New York, Playboy, and Variety.

Grady’s latest novel, Horrorstör, is traditional haunted house story in a thoroughly contemporary setting—available September 23rd from Quirk Books. While researching the novel, Grady learned some weird Ikea facts, which he happily shares with us below!

[Join us!]

Fri
Sep 19 2014 8:00am

Angels and Ending: Jay Lake’s Last Plane to Heaven

Jay Lake Last Plane to Heaven The title story in Jay Lake’s Last Plane to Heaven: The Final Collection is about a girl who falls from the sky... and into the hands of those who see her, first and foremost, as a possible military asset. To that end, a team of mercenaries in the South Gobi desert is tasked with (really, blackmailed into) assessing her combat-readiness. Perhaps not surprisingly, this doesn’t end well for Team Free World.

“Last Plane to Heaven: A Love Story” is something of a tough love opener: it’s not without flashes of sweetness, but the mercenary at its core is rough-edged, unpleasant and at the end of his proverbial rope. The bleak backdrop of Outer Mongolia, vividly evoked in Lake’s always-precise prose, adds to the sense of menace in this piece. As an entry point into the book, it makes a definitive statement: these tales wind a path through places of shadow and fire.

[Read more...]

Fri
Sep 12 2014 10:00am

Summer of Sleaze: Guy Smith’s The Sucking Pit and The Walking Dead

The Sucking Pit Guy SmithSummer of Sleaze is 2014’s turbo-charged trash safari where Will Errickson of Too Much Horror Fiction and Grady Hendrix of The Great Stephen King Reread plunge into the bowels of vintage paperback horror fiction, unearthing treasures and trauma in equal measure.

He enjoys tobacco. He loves guns. He does not like street lights. Truly, Guy N. Smith is a man of many facets, but he’s best known for his crabs. From 1976 until 2012 he wrote Night of the Crabs, Killer Crabs, The Origin of the Crabs, Crabs on the Rampage, Crabs’ Moon, Crabs: The Human Sacrifice, and Killer Crabs: The Return. Along with about 93 other books. But apart from being a prolific writer of all things crab, what does Guy N. Smith have to offer the modern reader?

[Read More]

Thu
Sep 11 2014 12:30pm
Reprint

The Legend of Sleepy Hollow

Washington Irving

The Legend of Sleepy Hollow art by Greg Manchess

 

FOUND AMONG THE PAPERS
OF THE LATE DIEDRICH KNICKERBOCKER

A pleasing land of drowsy head it was,
Of dreams that wave before the half-shut eye;
And of gay castles in the clouds that pass,
For ever flushing round a summer sky.

Castle of Indolence

 

IN THE BOSOM OF one of those spacious coves which indent the eastern shore of the Hudson, at that broad expansion of the river denominated by the ancient Dutch navigators the Tappan Zee, and where they always prudently shortened sail, and implored the protection of St. Nicholas when they crossed, there lies a small market town or rural port, which by some is called Greensburgh, but which is more generally and properly known by the name of Tarry Town. This name was given, we are told, in former days, by the good housewives of the adjacent country, from the inveterate propensity of their husbands to linger about the village tavern on market days. Be that as it may, I do not vouch for the fact, but merely advert to it, for the sake of being precise and authentic. Not far from this village, perhaps about two miles, there is a little valley, or rather lap of land, among high hills, which is one of the quietest places in the whole world. A small brook glides through it, with just murmur enough to lull one to repose; and the occasional whistle of a quail or tapping of a woodpecker is almost the only sound that ever breaks in upon the uniform tranquillity.

[Continue reading The Legend of Sleepy Hollow]

Fri
Aug 22 2014 10:00am

Summer of Sleaze: The Unsung Horrors of Ken Greenhall

Hell Hound Ken Greenhall Summer of Sleaze is 2014’s turbo-charged trash safari where Will Errickson of Too Much Horror Fiction and Grady Hendrix of The Great Stephen King Reread plunge into the bowels of vintage paperback horror fiction, unearthing treasures and trauma in equal measure.

A confession: although I come here to sing the praises of little-known horror writer Ken Greenhall, I myself know nearly nothing about him! He was born in Detroit in 1928 and in the 1970s and ’80s wrote a handful of paperback horror novels under his own name and the pseudonym Jessica Hamilton (I was able to learn that was his mother’s birth name). No interviews or photos are online, and only the scantest biographical info is available.

Shame, because would I love to know more about the guy who penned two obscure yet virtual masterpieces of vintage horror fiction: Elizabeth, written under the Hamilton pseudonym, published in 1976, and Hell Hound, by his own name, from 1977.

[Read More]

Tue
Aug 19 2014 12:30pm

Many Peculiar Bottles: “The Terrible Old Man”

Terrible Old Man HP Lovecraft comic rereadWelcome back to the Lovecraft reread, in which two modern Mythos writers get girl cooties all over old Howard’s original stories. Today we’re looking at “The Terrible Old Man,” first published in the Tryout in July 1921. You can read the story here. Spoilers ahead.

Summary: No inhabitant of Kingsport remembers a time when the Terrible Old Man was young, and few know his real name. Rumor has it he was once captain of an East India clipper; since he pays for all his purchases with antique Spanish coins, rumor also has it he’s hidden a considerable fortune in his ramshackle house. The front yard of this ancient abode features gnarled trees and standing stones painted like idols. (Scary stones are an ongoing theme in this story.)

[“He is, in truth, a very strange person, believed to have been a captain of East India clipper ships in his day; so old that no one can remember when he was young, and so taciturn that few know his real name.”]

Wed
Aug 13 2014 3:00pm

Dangerously Awkward: Mortal Danger by Ann Aguirre

Mortal Danger Ann Aguirre review

Mortal Danger is the cheerful story of Edith, a girl torturously bullied to the brink of suicide by her classmates. Her life is saved by a handsome boy with a Faustian deal granting her the power to get revenge, in exchange for a later, undisclosed, repayment. With taglines like, “Revenge is a dish best served cold!” and the focus of the summary on Edith’s quest for retribution, one could be forgiven for tackling this book with the expectation that they’re reading a modern Carrie-style revenge fantasy.

It seems base to complain about a book for being responsibly complex on the issue of bullying. I bet it’s rare that people are annoyed with an author for creating a detailed, thoughtful narrative which was more evolved than Bad-Guy-Go-Boom. Or characters who are too relateable, so that each one gives you a tinge of pain when they go. The problem is, when you empathise with all the bad guys, there’s no enjoyment in their ultimate demise, which robs the book of its promising draw.

[Read More]

Tue
Aug 12 2014 9:00am

The Annals of All the Solar System: “The Shadow Out of Time”

Astounding Stories HP Lovecraft reread The Shadow out of TimeWelcome back to the Lovecraft reread, in which two modern Mythos writers get girl cooties all over old Howard’s original stories. Today we’re looking at “The Shadow Out of Time,” first published in the June 1936 issue of Astounding Stories. You can read the story here. Spoilers (and concomitant risk of temporal paradox) ahead.

Summary: Nathaniel Peaslee is normal. Though he teaches at Miskatonic University in whisper-haunted Arkham, he comes from “wholesome old Haverhill stock.” He’s married, with three kids, and has no interest in the occult. But during a lecture, after “chaotic visions,” he collapses. He won’t return to our normal world for five years, though his body soon regains consciousness.

[“There was a mind from the planet we know as Venus, which would live incalculable epochs to come, and one from an outer moon of Jupiter six million years in the past. Of earthly minds there were some from the winged, star-headed, half-vegetable race of palaeogean Antarctica...”]

Tue
Jul 29 2014 12:00pm

Introduction to the H. P. Lovecraft Reread

The Lovecraft Reread

Welcome to the H. P. Lovecraft reread, in which two modern Mythos writers get girl cooties all over old Howard’s original stories. We hope to explore both the awesome and the problematic, both the deliberately and accidentally horrific. Reading order will be more or less random. As the Great Race of Yith would point out, if they cared enough to do so, linear time is merely an illusion anyway.

We’ll start today with a discussion of what drew us to Lovecraft in the first place, and what we’ve found there since.

[Read more...]

Fri
Jul 25 2014 8:00am

Summer of Sleaze: The Alternative Horrors of Kathe Koja

Kathe Koja

Summer of Sleaze is 2014’s turbo-charged trash safari where Will Errickson of Too Much Horror Fiction and Grady Hendrix of The Great Stephen King Reread plunge into the bowels of vintage paperback horror fiction, unearthing treasures and trauma in equal measure.

In January 1991, a new line of horror paperback originals from Dell Books appeared under the imposing imprint of Abyss. Spearheaded by editor Jeanne Cavelos, the Abyss line even included in each book an ambitious mission statement on the very first page.

[Horror unlike anything you’ve ever read before...]

Fri
Jul 18 2014 1:00pm

Summer of Sleaze: James Herbert’s The Rats and The Fog

James Herbert The RatsSummer of Sleaze is 2014’s turbo-charged trash safari where Will Errickson of Too Much Horror Fiction and Grady Hendrix of The Great Stephen King Reread plunge into the bowels of vintage paperback horror fiction, unearthing treasures and trauma in equal measure.

Books win awards. Books drink white wine. Books are discussed in hushed tones by earnest scholars. Books are genteel, books are mellow, books are housed in libraries where there is no talking. It’s hard to remember that books can be a punch in the nose, a bottle of beer broken over the head, a gob spat in the eye. Amiri Baraka’s in-your-face plays, Tom Wolfe’s go-go new journalism, Kathy Acker’s punk poetry. These writers set literature on fire and readers could either get on board or fuck off. James Herbert was one of them.

By the time he died last year he was a mainstream success, but his two earliest books are nasty, mean, angry pieces of anti-establishment sleaze torn straight out of his id, redeemed by Herbert’s complete conviction to Go There. That conviction is what keeps these two books in your hands long after you might otherwise throw them across the room. Read Herbert and you’re like a baby gripping a 10,000 volt cable, hands smoking, unable to tear them away even as your brain turns to cinders.

[Read More]

Thu
Jul 17 2014 3:30pm

Dracula, Frankenstein, the Mummy, and More to Team Up in New “Avengers”-Style Films

Universal classic Movie Monsters reboot Alex Kurtzman Chris Morgan The Mummy reboot

With Marvel and DC’s superhero films proving that geeky franchises can flourish, it makes sense that Universal is peering back into the vault at its OG franchise: classic monster movies.

We’re talking, of course, about the black-and-white Frankenstein, Dracula, and Creature From the Black Lagoon on which we all grew up—or, for younger movie audiences, watched other movies parody and reference without achieving the same staying power as these horror masterpieces.

We’ve known for a while that such a massive revival was in the works, but now we know who’s helming it: Alex Kurtzman and Chris Morgan.

[It’s aliiive!]