A Cup of Salt Tears August 27, 2014 A Cup of Salt Tears Isabel Yap They say women in grief are beautiful. Strongest Conjuration August 26, 2014 Strongest Conjuration Skyler White A story of the Incrementalists. Seven Commentaries on an Imperfect Land August 20, 2014 Seven Commentaries on an Imperfect Land Ruthanna Emrys Stories of Tikanu. Hero of the Five Points August 19, 2014 Hero of the Five Points Alan Gratz A League of Seven story.
From The Blog
August 25, 2014
Animorphs: Why the Series Rocked and Why You Should Still Care
Sam Riedel
August 20, 2014
The Welcome Return of the Impatient and Cantankerous Doctor Who
David Cranmer
August 19, 2014
The Wheel of Time Reread Redux: Introductory Post
Leigh Butler
August 19, 2014
Whatever Happened to the Boy Wonder? Bring Robin Back to the Big Screen
Emily Asher-Perrin
August 15, 2014
“Perhaps It Was Only an Echo”: The Giver
Natalie Zutter
Aug 26 2014 3:30pm

The Pop Quiz at the End of the Universe: Rod Duncan

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 Rod Duncan, novelist, screenwriter, and proud dyslexic. The Bullet-Catcher's Daughter, the first book in his Gas-Lit Empire series, is available now from Angry Robot. Find out more about the novel's cover from designer Will Staehle, and join us below to learn which magic spell would be vital to Rod's fighting style.

[Read More]

Aug 26 2014 3:00pm

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Rewatch: “Sacrifice of Angels”

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Rewatch on Tor.com: Sacrifice of Angels“Sacrifice of Angels”
Written by Ira Steven Behr & Hans Beimler
Directed by Allan Kroeker
Season 6, Episode 6
Production number 40510-530
Original air date: November 3, 1997
Stardate: unknown

Station log: We get a summary of “Favor the Bold,” and then we see the two fleets facing off. Sisko has the small attack ships target the Cardassian vessels and then run, hoping that the Cardassians will get angry enough to break formation to go after them. (The Jem’Hadar are too disciplined to do that.) That might open a hole they can punch through to get to the station.

And then the battle is joined. On the station, Dukat, Damar, the female changeling, and Weyoun consult in Ops. Dukat figures out Sisko’s strategy, and plans to let it work up to a point, pretending to open a hole and then closing it on him before he can get through.

[Cannon to the right of them, / Cannon to the left of them, / Cannon in front of them / Volley’d and thunder’d.]

Aug 26 2014 2:12pm

Joss Whedon Teaches Jeremy Renner How to Hawkeye

Hawkeye Jeremy Renner Joss Whedon set photo Avengers: Age of Ultron funny crossbow

One of our favorite bits from shooting the first Avengers movie were the set photos and GIFs of Joss Whedon putting up his dukes alongside the rest of the cast in costume. Clearly he had fun trying out Hawkeye’s bow, because he’s at it again in this Avengers: Age of Ultron set photo, schooling Jeremy Renner in proper arrow shooting technique.

We’re not sure what’s better, Whedon’s pose or Jeremy Renner’s expression. He’s all “Dude, did you see me shoot a Chitauri out of the sky without even looking? I got this.” Oh, and Hawkeye’s new costume is cool, too.

Photo: Empire Magazine (via Comic Book Movie)

Aug 26 2014 2:00pm

Claustrophobia Under Strange Skies: “The Mound”

HP Lovecraft reread The MoundWelcome 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 Mound,” written in the winter of 1929-1930 and first published in the November 1940 issue of Weird Tales. You can read the story here. Spoilers ahead.

Summary: An unnamed ethnologist visits Binger, Oklahoma, chasing the legend of a mound haunted by the apparition of a man during the day, and a headless woman at night. Those who visit often come back mad, or don’t return at all.

[“It was not the all-covering dust and cobwebs of immemorial aeons, the fluttering winged things, the shriekingly loathsome sculptures on the walls, the bizarre form of the many basins and braziers, the sinister pyramidal altar with the hollow top, or the monstrous, octopus-headed abnormality in some strange, dark metal leering and squatting broodingly on its hieroglyphed pedestal, which robbed him of even the power to give a startled cry.”]

Aug 26 2014 1:30pm

Echopraxia: The Latest Attempt by Peter Watts to Stomp Your Assumptions to Death

Peter Watts Echopraxia review Scientist Daniel Brüks is what everyone sneeringly calls a baseline, a human being with so few augments that even the drugs he uses to make himself smarter (drugs required so he can qualify for tenure at his university job) are taken in pill form rather than via the clever synthesizer and pump arrangement all the cool kids use. He accesses the Internet much as we do, looking at displays rather than dumping the information right into his brain.

This outmoded and retro approach to technology gets him branded ‘old school’ by people who really mean technophobic, wimpy, and downright eccentric. But Dan has bigger PR problems than mere Luddism. Some of his research has been used to kill people, and guilt has driven him out to the desert. There he camps, hides, and commits research, sampling the local wildlife to see whether any of them might be baselines in their own right, or if all of their DNA has been overridden by humanity’s various runaway biotech projects.

[Can’t a fellow even enjoy a good sulk without the zombies showing up?]

Aug 26 2014 1:00pm

The Wheel of Time Reread Redux: From the Two Rivers Prologue

From the Two Rivers Eye of the World Wheel of Time reread Robert JordanGreetings, my peoples! Welcome to the first official post of the Wheel of Time Reread Redux! Today’s Redux post will cover “Ravens,” the prologue of From the Two Rivers: Part One of the Eye of the World.

All original posts are listed in The Wheel of Time Reread Index here, and all Redux posts will also be archived there as well. (The Wheel of Time Master Index, as always, is here, which has links to news, reviews, interviews, and all manner of information about the Wheel of Time in general on Tor.com.)

The Wheel of Time reread is also now available as an ebook series, except for the portion covering A Memory of Light, which should become available soon.

All Reread Redux posts will contain massive spoilers for the entire Wheel of Time series, so if you haven’t read, read at your own risk.

And now, the post!

[“Don’t regret growing older. It is a privilege denied to many.”]

Aug 26 2014 12:20pm

Sansa Stark: “I Would Love to Go on a Massive Killing Spree”

Sophie Turner Sansa Stark killing spree Game of Thrones season 5 The Winds of Winter Gollum

Raise your hand if you cheered when Sansa Stark finally entered the game near the end of this season of Game of Thrones. Well, Sophie Turner had just as much fun donning that crow-feather dress and scheming with Littlefinger, because she told Vulture she wants to see Sansa go even darker next season. As in, a combination Red and Purple Wedding killing spree.

[Also, Sansa Stark is Gollum]

Aug 26 2014 12:00pm

Who’s Your Daddy? (Star-Lord Edition)

Chris Pratt Star-Lord Guardians of the Galaxy Peter Quill

It’s the question that’s on everybody’s mind (at least after “How do I get my own Groot?”): who is the man that fathered Chris Pratt’s lovable half-human scoundrel in Guardians of the Galaxy?

The origin of 616-Comic-Book-Star-Lord is incredibly convoluted and full of retroactive changes, but the Marvel Cinematic Universe offers a new opportunity to streamline and reimagine his story. We’ll have to wait until July 28, 2017 for the definitive answer, but in the meantime, we can follow the breadcrumbs that were left behind in the film and subsequent publicity interviews around it, and they might lead us to a few rational theories about the identity of our mystery man...

[Read More]

Aug 26 2014 11:45am

Genre at the Emmy Awards: Sherlock Won, Game of Thrones Got Snubbed, and George R. R. Martin Got a Typewriter

Emmy winners 2014 Sherlock Benedict Cumberbatch Martin Freeman Steven Moffat Mark Gatiss Game of Thrones snubbed True Detective Breaking Bad

To the delight of genre fans, Sherlock was among the top winners at last night’s Emmy Awards, though it didn’t entirely sweep the major awards. That honor went to Breaking Bad—no surprise, considering its final season—which took home Drama Series, Lead Actor in a Drama, and Supporting Actor in a Drama. It’s probably for the best, then, that Sherlock was listed as a miniseries.

[Read more]

Aug 26 2014 11:15am

Donald Glover Finally Becomes Our Favorite Wall-Crawler!

Well, kinda. Donald Glover will be the voice of Miles Morales in in an upcoming episode DisneyXD’s Ultimate Spider-Man: Web Warriors. Our whole brain is crying happy tears! The plot’s a little convoluted, but here goes: The series stars a (white) Peter Parker as Spider-Man, who has to travel across dimensions on a hunt for the Green Goblin, who’s stealing DNA from as many Spider-Men as he can find. Peter gets to one universe where he’s already dead, and Miles has taken on the role of Spider-Man. (Just like the Spider-Man in the Ultimate Comics line.) Perhaps Donald Glover can voice Miles approximately forever after that? Watch a clip from the episode over at USA Today!

Aug 26 2014 11:00am

Sleeps With Monsters: Some Books and a Night of Awards

Fairs' Point Queen of the Tearling Hardship

Fairs’ Point by Melissa Scott (Lethe Press, 2014) is the long-awaited novel-length continuation of the novels of Astreiant. The first two Astreiant books, Point of Hopes and Point of Dreams, were co-written by Scott and her late partner, Lisa A. Barnett, over a decade ago. In 2012, Scott released a novella, Point of Knives, whose events take place between the original two novels, but this is the first true sequel.

And damn, is it an excellent book. The city of Astreiant is a vivid and compelling setting, in all its early-modern-approximate glory—it feels like a real and complex city, with a real city’s currents swirling through its streets. The magic of Astreiant’s world is the magic of Hermetic science, reliant on astrology—but astrology is a key part of everyone’s lives, and everyone consults horoscopes: I love it.

[Read More]

Aug 26 2014 10:47am

George R. R. Martin’s Scream is Pretty Amazing

White Walker

George R.R. Martin, having been challenged by “that bastard Neil Gaiman,” has taken the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge! And before you say, “Oh, I have seen so many of those, surely I do not need to watch another,” allow us to assure you that GRRM emits sounds that must be heard to be believed. We advise you to click through, and enjoy. 

[Valar morghulis, everybody!]

Aug 26 2014 10:00am

Unlocking John Scalzi’s Lock In

Lock In John Scalzi review

You know who’s going to love Lock In? John Scalzi fans. If you fit into that category, stop reading and just go buy the book. Read this article later. If, like me, your relationship with John Scalzi is complicated, keep reading.

Once, I loved Scalzi’s work. I found it witty and charming, with a perfect blend of action, humor, and drama. Once, I found his work indulgent and repetitive, with an overreliance on one voice and one perspective to carry the day. In both instances I was convinced I knew who John Scalzi was as a writer.

With Lock In, it’s time to reevaluate again.

[Unlocking Lock In]

Aug 26 2014 9:00am
Original Story

Strongest Conjuration

A tale of the Incrementalists—a secret society of two hundred people, with an unbroken lineage reaching back forty thousand years. They cheat death, share lives and memories, and communicate with one another across nations and time. They have an epic history, an almost magical memory, and a very modest mission: to make the world better, a little bit at a time. Their ongoing argument about just how to accomplish this is older than most of their individual memories. They first appeared in the 2013 novel The Incrementalists by Steven Brust and Skyler White; subsequently, Tor.com published an Incrementalists story by Brust, “Fireworks in the Rain.” “Strongest Conjuration” takes place directly after the events of the novel.

This novelette was acquired and edited for Tor.com by senior editor Patrick Nielsen Hayden.

[Read “Strongest Conjuration” by Skyler White]

Aug 26 2014 8:00am

Morning Roundup: Venkman and Stay Puft Put the Past Behind Them

Bill Murray Stay Puft

So, yesterday was National Kiss and Make Up Day, which is why the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man posted this photo on Twitter. Does this mean all is forgiven? Did Puft apologize for stepping on a church in Venkman’s town?

Morning Roundup has news of what may soon be the greatest television show of all time, and interview with Haruki Murakami, and the origin story of America’s next great astronaut.


Aug 25 2014 5:00pm

Fiction Affliction: September Releases in Fantasy

fiction affliction new releases september fantasyTwenty-six new fantasies hit the shelves this month, including new series beginnings from, among others, Charlie Holmberg (Paper Magician), Angus Watson (Iron Age), Joseph Delaney (Starblade Chronicles), J.F. Lewis (Grudgebearer Trilogy), M.C. Planck (World of Prime), Karen Miller (Tarnished Crown Quintet), and Holly Black and Cassandra Clare (Magisterium).

Fiction Affliction details releases in science fiction, fantasy, urban fantasy, paranormal romance, and “genre-benders.” Keep track of them all here. Note: All title summaries are taken and/or summarized from copy provided by the publisher.

[Read about this month’s releases.]

Aug 25 2014 4:00pm

Firebug (Excerpt)

Lish McBride Firebug Ava is a firebug—she can start fires with her mind. Which would all be well and good if she weren’t caught in a deadly contract with the Coterie, a magical mafia. She’s one of their main hitmen… and she doesn’t like it one bit. Not least because her boss, Venus, killed Ava’s mother.

When Venus asks Ava to kill a family friend, Ava rebels. She knows very well that you can’t say no to the Coterie and expect to get away with it, though, so she and her friends hit the road, trying desperately to think of a way out of the mess they find themselves in—preferably keeping the murder to a minimum.

Amazon buy button Firebug Check out an excerpt below from Lish McBride’s Firebug, available September 23rd from Henry Holt! You can also find out more about the cover design process here.

[Read an excerpt]

Aug 25 2014 3:30pm

The Clockwork Dagger Sweepstakes!

Clockwork DaggerWe gave you an excerpt from Beth Cato’s debut novel, The Clockwork Dagger, and Michael R. Underwood told you why it was awesome. Now we want to send three winners a copy of this original, intriguing steampunk adventure, out on September 16 from Harper Voyager!

Comment in the post to enter!

NO PURCHASE NECESSARY TO ENTER OR WIN. A purchase does not improve your chances of winning. Sweepstakes open to legal residents of 50 United States and D.C., and Canada (excluding Quebec). To enter, comment on this post beginning at 2:30 PM Eastern Time (ET) on August 25. Sweepstakes ends at 12:00 PM ET on August 29. Void outside the United States and Canada and where prohibited by law. Please see full details and official rules here. Sponsor: Tor.com, 175 Fifth Ave., New York, NY 10010.

Aug 25 2014 3:00pm

12 Reasons to Read and Love Terry Pratchett’s Discworld

Terry Pratchett

Terry Pratchett needs no introduction as one of the most successful fantasy authors the UK has ever produced. He’s written science fiction, both on his own and in collaboration, children’s books, essays and popular science, but he’s best known for The Discworld.

[12 Reasons to Read and Love Discworld]

Aug 25 2014 2:00pm

“Brave People are Afraid. I’m Not Afraid Anymore.” Kameron Hurley’s The Mirror Empire

The Mirror Empire Kameron Hurley review Kameron Hurley’s nonfiction writing recently won awards in two separate categories at this year’s Hugo ceremony (Best Fan Writer and Best Related Work, to be exact). Her first science fiction novel, God’s War, was shortlisted for, among others, the Arthur C. Clarke Award and the BSFA Award. The Bel Dame Apocrypha trilogy (God’s War, Infidel, and Rapture) heralded the arrival of new, uncompromising voice in the SFF field. Hurley’s first outings proved her ability to innovate: to mix really weird elements of worldbuilding with visceral brutality and strong characterisation, in stories that have interesting arguments about social change, war, and survival at their core.

Stories with a deeply, angrily, feminist vein.

The Mirror Empire takes what Hurley’s already shown us she’s capable of with regard to science fiction, and applies it to the vast canvas of epic fantasy. This isn’t the epic fantasy we’re all used to, though, recognisably inspired by cultures from our own history—and that mostly northern European ones. No: this is epic fantasy that builds its world from the ground up, and that world is deeply, fascinatingly weird.

[Filled with bad shit on its way...]