Where the Trains Turn November 19, 2014 Where the Trains Turn Pasi Ilmari Jääskeläinen His imagination runs wild. The Walk November 12, 2014 The Walk Dennis Etchison Creative differences can be brutal. Where the Lost Things Are November 5, 2014 Where the Lost Things Are Rudy Rucker and Terry Bisson Everything has to wind up somewhere. A Kiss with Teeth October 29, 2014 A Kiss with Teeth Max Gladstone Happy Halloween.
From The Blog
November 21, 2014
Never Wait for a Sequel Again: 17 Standalone Fantasy Novels
Stubby the Rocket
November 18, 2014
The Hollow Crown: Shakespeare’s Histories in the Age of Netflix
Ada Palmer
November 17, 2014
In Defense of Indiana Jones, Archaeologist
Max Gladstone
November 14, 2014
An Uncut and Non-Remastered List of Star Wars Editions!
Leah Schnelbach
November 13, 2014
Why Do We Reject Love as a Powerful Force in Interstellar?
Natalie Zutter
Thu
Nov 20 2014 2:00pm

Gaming Roundup: Dragon Age: Inquisition Takes Flight This Week

Gaming Roundup Dragon Age: Inqusition

With Dragon Age: Inquisition, industry heavyweight BioWare is diving back into the gaming waters with their first full-fledged RPG since 2012’s fantastic Mass Effect 3.

Dragon Age: Origins was a revelation to gamers in 2009 (two years after the launch of the first Mass Effect), helping to firmly establish its developer as a founding father of the modern RPG—as though the creators of Baldur’s Gate and Neverwinter Nights really needed any further cred. While Dragon Age II was widely viewed as a step backward for the franchise, BioWare promised to take the criticism (most commonly, repetitive gameplay and a distinct lack of environmental variety) to heart and put to rest any outstanding concerns in Inquisition. Did they succeed?

[Lead them or fall.]

Thu
Nov 20 2014 1:20pm

Aliette de Bodard Shatters Paris

Like Gollancz’s Gillian Redfearn, “I’ve long admired Aliette [de Bodard]’s writing,” as I asserted in this early edition of the Short Fiction Spotlight. So the news that the aforementioned author—which is to say “the winner of two Nebula Awards, a Locus Award and a BSFA Award”—has sold two new novels makes me a very happy chappy.

The two-book deal encompasses House of Shattered Wings and an as-yet untitled sequel. I dare say it marks the dawn of a new day for de Bodard, whose previous novels—the Obsidian and Blood trilogy comprising Servant of the Underworld, Harbinger of the Storm, and Master of the House of Darts—were published by Angry Robot Books. House of Shattered Wings, however—which is said to be “comparable to works of China Mieville and Iain M. Banks in epic scale and in delivering its ambitions”—will be in Gollancz’s hands.

So what are these new books about?

[Read more]

Thu
Nov 20 2014 1:00pm

A Read of Ice and Fire: A Dance with Dragons, Part 1

Welcome back to A Read of Ice and Fire! Please join me as I read and react, for the very first time, to George R.R. Martin’s epic fantasy series A Song of Ice and Fire.

Today’s entry is Part 1 of A Dance with Dragons, in which we cover the Prologue and Chapter 1 (“Tyrion”).

Previous entries are located in the Index. The only spoilers in the post itself will be for the actual chapters covered and for the chapters previous to them. As for the comments, please note that the Powers That Be have provided you a lovely spoiler thread here on Tor.com. Any spoileriffic discussion should go there, where I won’t see it. Non-spoiler comments go below, in the comments to the post itself.

And now, the post!

[“Part of me says I need to stop drinking like this. The other parts of me say ‘Stop listening to her, she’s drunk.’”]

Thu
Nov 20 2014 12:00pm

Words of Radiance Reread: Chapter 19

Words of Radiance reread Chapter 19Welcome back to the Words of Radiance Reread on Tor.com! Last week, Carl pointed out the Wile E. Coyote moment and a lot of disrespecting going on up on the training grounds. This week, we go back in time to a twelve-year-old Shallan and her deeply dysfunctional family life. Get out the tissues.

This reread will contain spoilers for The Way of Kings, Words of Radiance, and any other Cosmere book that becomes relevant to the discussion. The index for this reread can be found here, and more Stormlight Archive goodies are indexed here. Click on through to join the discussion.

[Her mind went blank.]

Thu
Nov 20 2014 11:00am

The Harry Potter Reread: The Goblet of Fire, Chapters 3 and 4

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, coverThe Harry Potter Reread will survive the dark hours of winter by pretending it’s still summer and wearing sunglasses all the time. (This is inadvisable. Do not listen to the reread.)

We are going to eat a slice of grapefruit for breakfast and then blow up someone’s living room! It’s chapters 3 and 4—The Invitation and Back to the Burrow.

Index to the reread can be located here! Other Harry Potter and Potter-related pieces can be found under their appropriate tag. And of course, since we know this is a reread, all posts might contain spoilers for the entire series. If you haven’t read all the Potter books, be warned.

[Read more]

Thu
Nov 20 2014 10:00am

We Are Family: Symbiont by Mira Grant

mira grant symbiont review

On the back of the unsightly excitement of Parasite, something like rigor sets in as the second half of what was a duology turns into the middle volume of a tolerance-testing trilogy. Symbiont isn’t a bad book by any means—it’s accessible, action-packed, and its premise remains appallingly plausible—but absent the ambiguity that made its predecessor so very unsettling, it’s lamentable for its length and lack of direction.

The first part of Parasitology chronicled the apocalyptic consequences of SymboGen’s latest and greatest innovation: the ubiquitous Intestinal Bodyguard—a magic pill meant to protect against allergy, illness and infection—was a worm which, in time, turned; a symbiotic organism supposed to support its host yet set, instead, on supplanting said. Before long, of course, this conflict of interests turned the population of San Francisco and its suburbs into zombies of a sort—sleepwalkers, as Mira Grant would have it.

The transition went differently for a few folks, though. After a catastrophic car crash, and at the cost of her every memory, Sally Mitchell’s parasite saved her life... or so she thought.

[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]

Thu
Nov 20 2014 8:00am

Morning Roundup: We Have Every Confidence in the Weyland-Yutani Dog Walking Corporation

Do you love your dog, but also occasionally daydream about an alien bursting forth from her chest? Or...at least about scaring the crap out of everybody at the dog park? Then do we have something for you! Storenvy created this fantastic alien facehugger harness, and we love them for it.

Morning Roundup wants to join Barbie’s computer class! We’ve got more discussion of Interstellar’s science stuff, and a look back at a holiday classic!

[Plus a thoughtful discussion of the marketing of Star Wars.]

Wed
Nov 19 2014 5:00pm

Meet Your Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell in the First Look at the BBC Miniseries

first look Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell BBC miniseries

The BBC has released the first promotional photo from its miniseries adaptation of Susanna Clarke’s Hugo-winning novel Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell! Here’s Bertie Carvel (Les Misérables) and Eddie Marsan (Sherlock Holmes, The World’s End) in-character as dueling magicians Jonathan Strange and Gilbert Norrell.

[Click through for the synopsis]

Wed
Nov 19 2014 4:00pm

Girl Magic: Jason and the Argonauts, translated by Aaron Poochigian

Jason and the Argonauts Not much is known about Apollonios Rhodios (Apollonios of Rhodes); a poet and scholar who lived in Alexandria in the third century BCE, he likely served as the royally appointed head of the Alexandrian Library. Though he produced at least one other significant piece, only one of his poetical works, the Argonautika, has survived more or less intact as a manuscript copied and recopied for hundreds of years by hand. While clearly influenced by Homer, Apollonios also retains his own distinctive voice, and the Argonautika is a vivid, gorgeous tapestry of bad deeds, bad dudes, and one very special teenage girl.

Poet Aaron Poochigian’s recent verse translation (titled Jason and the Argonauts) for Penguin is an accessible, nimble, and often beautiful edition of Apollonios Rhodios’s epic; his footnotes are thorough but useful and concise, and his approach is respectful to the text but not reverent (he describes Rhodios’s voice as “endearing” as well as elastic, which it often is).

[Read more...]

Wed
Nov 19 2014 3:30pm

Night Shift Sweepstakes!

Four masters of urban fantasy and paranormal romance plunge readers into the dangerous, captivating world unearthed beyond the dark in Night Shift, out on November 25th from Berkley!

With four novellas from Nalini Singh, Illona Andrews, Lisa Shearin, and Milla Vane, Night Shift delivers thrilling urban fantasy that fans of Mercy Thompson and Kitty Norville will love.

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 3:30 PM Eastern Time (ET) on November 19. Sweepstakes ends at 12:00 PM ET on November 23. 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.

Wed
Nov 19 2014 3:00pm

We Could Be Happy Underground. Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: “The Things We Bury”

Agents of SHIELD The Things We Bury

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. really pulled one over on me in this week’s episode “The Things We Bury.” With all the back and forth drama between Coulson’s mental state, Talbot and his haircut, Skye’s SkyeDad, the alien writing, the Divinery Obelisk, Hydra, Fitz’s recovery, Ward vs Ward, Mockingbird and Hance Lunter... I didn’t focus so much on Daniel Whitehall.

It’s not like the show has been hiding how weird Whitehall is, even. He was there in the season’s very first episode, hassling Our Agent Carter and being perpetually ageless, and he’s been masterminding Hydra’s efforts since then. Obviously something is up with him, it’s just that he’s so quiet in comparison to everyone else.

Now, though...now...don’t you just want him to die?

[Read more]

Wed
Nov 19 2014 2:20pm

Neil Gaiman and Daniel Handler in the Great Book Giveaway!

Neil Gaiman Daniel Handler Great Book Giveaway

What’s the perfect way to pit acclaimed authors Neil Gaiman and Daniel Handler (a.k.a. Lemony Snicket) against each other? Challenge them to give away the most books to a park full of eager fans, while also fending off the biting New York City cold! Gaiman and Handler came to Washington Square Park’s Garibaldi Plaza early this morning to take part in the the National Book Foundation’s Great Book Giveaway, alongside a portable reading room provided by the Uni Project.

Check out more photos from the event, plus a quick clip of Neil and Daniel facing off in their quest to give away the most books, below!

[Read More]

Wed
Nov 19 2014 2:00pm

Rich and Strange: “Without Faith, Without Law, Without Joy” by Saladin Ahmed

The Faerie Queene

I love Spenser’s The Faerie Queen. I love it with a geeky, earnest passion for its bleeding trees, its book-vomiting serpents, its undefeatable shield-maiden and her rescue of a woman named Love.

That said, I always read it with double vision—one eye always redacting, reading Duessa and the Saracen Knights against their ergot-laden grain. Of course the first really interesting female character we meet is a duplicitous evil-doer; of course being friends with the Queen of Night and getting her to spirit your boyfriend away before some (quite literal) kill-joy murders him means you’re a villain instead of a resourceful badass. It was strange, reading a book and loving it enough to spontaneously compose explanatory fanfic for its ugly parts, but that was most of my undergraduate English degree.

When I saw the title of Saladin Ahmed’s “Without Faith, Without Law, Without Joy,” I straightened up out of a slouch. I felt my eyes brighten with hope. He’s going to do it, I thought. He’s going to write my fanfic.

[SPOILER: he’s the one with the beard.]

Wed
Nov 19 2014 1:30pm

Avengers: Age of Pinocchio is a Scarily Good Mashup

Avengers: Age of Pinocchio trailer mashup

The Avengers: Age of Ultron trailer gave us all sorts of chills due in part to its creepy use of “I’ve Got No Strings” from Pinocchio—which, when you really think about it, is the most disturbing Disney movie. How to make both even creepier? Combine them!

[“You’re all puppets, tangled in... strings.”]

Wed
Nov 19 2014 1:10pm

Cover Reveal for Elizabeth Bear’s Karen Memory

Karen Memory Elizabeth Bear

I’m very excited to show-off the cover to Elizabeth Bear’s upcoming novel Karen Memorypublishing February 2015 from Tor Books. The art is by Cynthia Sheppard. She’s done a brilliant job of depicting a strong and resourceful character, someone that you believe has a story to tell. This is only the second time I have worked with Cynthia, I’m looking forward to many more covers from her in the future.

Head below the cut for the full cover art, and to learn more about Elizabeth Bear's new novel!

[Read More]

Wed
Nov 19 2014 1:00pm

Rereading Melanie Rawn: The Star Scroll, Chapters 1 and 2

WelMelanie Rawn Dragon Prince Star Scroll rereadcome to the weekly Wednesday reread of Melanie Rawn’s Dragon Prince trilogy! This week we start book two, The Star Scroll. It’s been fourteen years since the end of the first book when we reunite with old friends and enemies and meet new ones, and the intrigue and the politics fly fast and furious.

Part One: The Scroll
Chapter 1

So This Happens: This new installment in the Dragon Prince saga begins at Graypearl, Prince Lleyn’s palace on the island of Dorval. The camera zooms in to focus on a fourteen-year-old boy playing in the garden. We learn immediately that this is the High Prince’s heir.

[Read More]

Wed
Nov 19 2014 12:00pm

This is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things: Moral Ambiguity, YA Literature, and The Princess Bride

I’ve been thinking a lot about the movie The Princess Bride. Which, really, has been sort of a semi-consistent thing since childhood. Lately, though, something has occurred to me, and really, I don’t know why I didn’t think about this before. It’s about Westley. Namely, it’s the Dread Pirate Roberts problem.

Now, farm boy Westley is great—don’t get me wrong, but he’s a bit doormat-ish: sweet and kind, but lacking a little…something. Even as a child I though Buttercup was kind of a brat in the beginning and I wanted Westley to stick up for himself a little. So Farm Boy Westley wasn’t my thing. However, later in the film when he shows back up dressed all in black, expertly wielding a sword and full of swagger? We as the audience can’t help but love him.

[Except...the Dread Pirate Roberts takes no survivors, right?]

Wed
Nov 19 2014 11:45am

Watch the First Trailer for Disney’s Live-Action Cinderella

Cinderella trailer live-action Disney Kenneth Branagh Cate Blanchett Helena Bonham Carter

Kenneth Branagh's Cinderella, being backed by Disney, looks to be a pretty faithful remake of the animated classic. (No songs from the Brandy/Whitney Houston musical, or the complete reimagining of Ever After.) Downton Abbey's Lily James is poor Ella, forced to serve her evil stepmother (Cate Blanchett, who looks like she will be delightfully mean) and awful stepsisters. Until, that is, Ella's fairy godmother (Helena Bonham Carter) reveals herself and whips up a pumpkin carriage, blue dress, and glass slippers for Ella to enjoy the ball.

[Watch the trailer]

Wed
Nov 19 2014 11:00am

Rocket Talk Episode 35: Rob H. Bedford

Rocket Talk

Featuring blogger Rob Bedford, this week’s Rocket Talk podcast episode delves into the relationship between the author and reviewer.

In light of all the recent challenges with this dynamic, Justin asks questions ranging from how Rob views his own relationship to reviewing, how things have changed in the decade plus he’s been in the business, and whether or not there’s something we can do to improve it moving forward.

[Listen here!]