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 25, 2014
The Goblet of Fire, Chapters 11 and 12
Emily Asher-Perrin
December 22, 2014
What is it Like to be a Malfoy Post-Battle of Hogwarts? Rowling Reveals All on Pottermore
Stubby the Rocket
December 18, 2014
Mistborn Fans Will Get TWO New Novels Next Year!
Tor.com
December 15, 2014
Steven Erikson: On Completing Malazan
Tor.com
December 12, 2014
When My Wife Put Her Face in a Fireball for Epic Fantasy
Brian Staveley
Mon
Dec 1 2014 9:00am

Songs That Did (and Didn’t) Work in Genre Movies and TV

Seal Kiss From a Rose Batman Forever

An animated girl-power narrative undermines its entire message with a cringingly cheesy soundtrack. A way-modern band shatters the illusion of a period film. Two superheroes decide to consummate their relationship in-costume, only for the mournful strains of Leonard Cohen to completely kill the mood. Music choice is everything, but especially in genre stories where you have a specific world and tone to match.

Many unsuitable songs are shoehorned into genre movies and television series, the worst ones coming off so anathema to the scene being set that they make viewers say “huh?” Below, we list songs that did that for us, but we also list instances where the music paired with a movie absolutely kills it. Relive the greatness and badness of these songs! (And add your own!)

[Read more]

Thu
Nov 20 2014 9:00am

Are Slowed-Down Songs in Movie Trailers Getting Played-Out?

No strings on me

There’s much to love about the last few trailers for Avengers: Age of Ultron, but is the use of “I’ve Got No Strings” from Pinocchio really all that great? Slowed down-familiar songs being used “eerily” in movie trailers are becoming an epidemic, threatening to replace the oppressive single-note BRAAAM noise-fad which found its inception in the trailers for, well, Inception in 2010. And while those brassy-slams were bad, are these slowed-down creepy songs any better?

[Read more]

Tue
Apr 22 2014 11:00am

Short Fiction Spotlight: Come As You Are

Nirvana Adam Johnson

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.

Which, as it happens, is exactly what The Sunday Times EFG Short Story Award is trying to do too: raise readers’ awareness of a form of fiction that’s obscenely easy to overlook. That said, this a prize with a particularly high profile. Each year, the winner of the world’s richest and most rewarding award for a single short story takes home £30,000—a princely pot that has given short fiction valuable visibility since the Sunday Times first presented the prize in 2010.

[Read More]

Mon
Mar 31 2014 8:45am

Can You Name All 43 Cartoon Theme Songs in This Mashup?

Carnegie Hall’s Ensemble ACJW decided to put their musical talents to the best possible use—mashing up 43 different cartoon theme songs into one performance! The video has animated clues sprinkled throughout (such as the piccolo player dressed as Spider-Man, above), so close your eyes if you want to guess each theme without any hints! How many do you recognize?

[The ending is perfect.]

Thu
Jan 16 2014 2:00pm

A Sloth in Space is a Very Fine Thing

Sloths in Space by The Weebl

Here’s the important info: There’s a song. About a sloth in space. It’s really catchy. It’s somehow not by Parry Gripp but is by The Weebl. There’s a Space Science Button that the sloth uses to do space science. Get out of the way! It’s sloths in space!

[Naptime rampages]

Tue
Dec 31 2013 9:00am

Painting Ziggy Stardust for Rolling Stone

We hope you enjoy this encore post from our Bowie Week series, which originally appeared in January 2012.

In a chaotic January day, I was asked by Rolling Stone to work on a cover. The subject was Ziggy Stardust, and celebrating 40 years since he landed on earth. Music is one of the things in this world that makes life better. It can make you laugh or cry or move or imagine. Bowie holds a very special place in my heart. As an artist, he pushes boundaries. Man or woman, human or alien, rocker, disco, soul, metal, singer/songwriter, Bowie is always ahead of the curve. I suppose the often repeated analogy of a chameleon is not right, though it is true for most artists, as they take the form of what is already there. Bowie went to a new place and people followed.

The creation of Ziggy Stardust asked his fans to meet a new person. You suspended what you thought you knew of Bowie and instead looked at him as a musical visitor. Nothing lasts forever and Bowie moved on. It stands as one of the most bold creations in the history of music and one does not have to look far to see how musicians today are applauded as ‘innovators’ for wearing outrageous clothes. Really?

[Read more and see all the cover drafts!]

Mon
Dec 23 2013 10:00am

The Complete American Gods Mix Tape

Neil Gaiman American Gods If you’re familiar with Neil Gaiman’s work, then you know that music tends to play an important part in his writing, both on and off the page. This is certainly the case with American Gods, a road trip novel with its own offbeat, colorful soundtrack. When we started our American Gods Reread, I decided to keep track of each song mentioned or alluded to in the novel, to see how the music fit in with the events of each week’s chapters. Along the way, I added in some song choices of my own, where they seemed to fit in—in part because it’s fun to think ahead to the TV series and what the show’s soundtrack might be like—I, for one, already have my heart set on a theme song….

The songs below range from classical music to classic rock, pop songs to power ballads, show tunes to traditional folk melodies, and each song plays a part in the larger narrative—I’m still surprised by how much the musical references can inform and illuminate one’s reading of the text, once you start paying attention. I’ve covered each song in relative depth, chapter by chapter, but without further ado, here’s the complete American Gods Mega-Mix, for your listening enjoyment!

[A playlist worthy of the gods...as long as the gods like karaoke]

Wed
Dec 18 2013 11:27am

Christopher Lee Wants You to Have a Heavy Metal Christmas

Christopher Lee, Jingle Hell, heavy metal

Did you know that in addition to fighting Nazis, knowing everything about Lord of the Rings, and changing his own Dracula dialogue because he didn't like it, Christopher Lee has also released heavy metal music about the Holy Roman Emperor Charlmagne? (Note: Everything listed above is entirely true. We're not being cute because no one is allowed to be cute about Christopher Lee.)

Well, Saruman is back this year to wish us a very merry holiday with his new metal track, “Jingle Hell.” (Note: We are still entirely serious.)

[Also Frank Sinatra's “My Way” gets covered.]

Wed
Dec 4 2013 10:10am

Benedict Cumberbatch Tells Us What Smaug’s Favorite Music is in Twitter Interview

In a cute, short Twitter interview, Benedict Cumberbatch gave answers to fan questions to promote the upcoming Hobbit film. While all of his reponses were charming as usual, we were particularly tickled when he was asked what sort of music Smaug favored:

“Liberace. A little bit of Burt Bacharach. And Enya.”

That is one sparkle-tastic answer. There are more of them over at Cumberbatchweb, where you can see his answers to questions about Martin Freeman, motion capture dots versus neutron cream, and whether he would prefer to fly or breathe fire. Check it out!

Fri
Nov 15 2013 1:30pm

Perfect Infant Stops Crying When the Star Wars Theme Plays

For your dose of “awwww” before the weekend rolls around, we offer up this excellent video of an adorable baby who has the one thing every parent dreams of—a No Cry Switch. And this particular switch is the majestic chords of John Williams’ “Star Wars Theme.”

We’re melting.

[Click for all the cute.]

Mon
Oct 28 2013 4:00pm

Marching Band Has Been Won by These Movie Nerds—Everyone Else Go Home

Ohio State marching band, Superman

Okay, we know that marching band is a noble endeavor, attempted by only the most valiant souls. But for a good portion of the population... they just don’t get it. Why can’t you just play your music sitting down? Or standing in place?

Well, maybe because you could never form a walking, eating T-Rex that way. Or the Eye of Sauron. Or fighting pirate ships.

[These guys over in Ohio...]

Mon
Oct 14 2013 4:00pm

William Shatner Has Performed “Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds” With Sir Paul McCartney

William Shatner, singing New York Comic Con

The great William Shatner was all too keen to talk about his upcoming prog rock album with fans at his NYCC panel, which adorably confused about half the audience. There was some kind of metaphor about how prog rock is to music what science fiction is to fiction, and about how it was exploring new boundaries, and how he doesn’t understand musicians because he can never figure out when he has to come in on a track.

This is why you go to a Shatner panel, of course. He is master of the ambling metaphor.

[And you find out about that one time he sang on stage with a Beatle.]

Wed
Oct 2 2013 4:10pm

“Space Oddity”-Singing Astronaut Chris Hadfield Slowly Turning Into David Bowie

Chris Hadfield, David Bowie, Aladdin Sane, Christopher Wahl

Remember that awesome video of Chris Hadfield singing David Bowie’s “Space Oddity” aboard the International Space Station? You should. It was kind of the best thing ever.

But photographer Christopher Wahl didn’t think his transformation went far enough. When he was asked to do a photoshoot with the returned astronaut, he decided it was time to blend Bowie and Hadfield into one. Check out the transformation in the video below!

[A lad insane...]

Thu
Sep 5 2013 10:45am

Daft Punk’s “Get Lucky” as Performed in Mario Paint

Is there anything Mario Paint can’t do? YouTube user jeonghoon95 recently used the 21 year old game’s music editor to re-create Daft Punk’s current earworm “Get Lucky” and the results are adorable. Take a listen!

[Daft Punk’s “Get Lucky” as performed in Mario Paint]

Thu
Aug 29 2013 6:30am

A Fight Song for a Friend: “Unfettered”

“Unfettered,” the tune:Unfettered it’s a fight song. It incorporates every story in the anthology of the same name. I wrote it to help a friend—to help anyone fighting cancer. And you can listen to it on Tor.com first.

The best answer to most questions is: Music. I’ll illustrate with a story. When asked by Shawn Speakman to contribute a video describing my involvement in the Unfettered anthology—to help get the word out—I replied: How about I write a song instead. Besides writing fiction, I’m also a musician. And music hath charms.

[Read more]

Wed
Aug 21 2013 11:35am

Avril Lavigne Music Video Creates Steampunk SharkBear Comics Genre. Yes(?)

Avril Lavigne Rock N Roll video steampunk sharkbear comics

Okay, so we’re all confused as to how Avril Lavigne is still a thing, since her skater-girl-teen-queen years have passed, but if she’s determined to hold that throne... well, no one’s going to take it from her, so that’s okay?

While most of us geeks would normally be ambivalent to her progress as an artist(e), one can’t help but notice that her new music video contains a strange mondo-mixture of... well, “nerd-cred” was already a passe term on inception, so I’m just going to say that you should watch the “Rock N Roll” music video at least once.

[Billy Zane? Why are you rocketing away from Earth?]

Wed
Aug 21 2013 10:40am

Kermit the Frog and Steve Martin Face Off With Banjos: Wednesday is Saved!

Steve Martin Kermit the Frog Deuling Banjos

There aren’t too many celebrity banjo players in this world, so when the top two get together for a duet we want to share it with the world! Near-Muppet Steve Martin faces off with Kermit the Frog for a rendition of “Dueling Banjos”...which has somehow never happened before? The last time Steve brought bluegrass to the Muppets it was with a jug band that was not Emmet Otter’s, so the rendition below makes for an epic moment in the history banjo-based music and felt. 

[Can we request “Foggy Mountain Breakdown” next?]

Tue
Aug 6 2013 12:30pm

Hodor From Game of Thrones is a DJ and Sometimes This Life is so Rewarding, You Know?

Hodor Kristian Nairn DJ direwolf

As if Game of Thrones actor Kristian Nairn wasn’t already cooler than we’ll ever be, now it turns out that He Who Is Hodor is a well-respected DJ under the moniker “kharmonix”!

The news came out in 2011, so we’re late to this realization, but also OVERJOYED. We want Hodor to spin at our parties and other assorted important life events. We promise not to bother him with bad song requests. (Does Meredith Brooks’ “Bitch” count?)

[What does he sound like? Hodor spins for you]

Fri
Jul 19 2013 10:05am

George R. R. Martin Busts Up Paul & Storm’s Show Like They’re the Stark Family

George R. R. Martin Paul & Storm Neil Gaiman wootstock

Run, Paul & Storm, run like the wind.

During a performance at Wootstock on Thursday night, nerdy folk duo Paul & Storm summoned the very subject of their Song of Ice and Fire themed song “Write Like The Wind (George R. R. Martin)With deadly results.

Watch the video, taken by Veronica Belmont, of the whole thing below. GRRM really commits to his vengeance and it is kind of the best thing ever. Then someone else shows up to reign in Paul & Storm and it somehow becomes even more of the best thing ever.

[Paul & Storm get schooled by George R. R. Martin]

Wed
Jul 10 2013 1:30pm

Watch This Kitten Wander In to Help Play a Ukelele Nerd Love Song

Nerd Love Song ukelele kitten DeAnne Smith

DeAnne Smith’s “Nerdy Love Song” had already reached One of the Best Things Ever status, what with the ukelele and the bow tie and everything—but then Clark the foster kitten wanders onto camera and STEALS THE SHOW. Watch the kitty make it nearly impossible for Smith to keep a straight face while she plays her song.

[NSFW, because you won’t want to do anything else today but keep watching this.]