For over a decade, Jim Killen has served as the science fiction and fantasy book buyer for Barnes & Noble. Every month on The B&N Sci-Fi & Fantasy Blog and Tor.com, Jim shares his curated list of the month’s can’t-miss new SF/F releases.
This month at Tiamat’s Terrain the cluster of SFF features frame big questions: Both Israeli writer Tidhar and Cypriot director Kyriacou want to know “What’s a superhero anyhow?” Palestinian-American Abdelrazaq and Lebanese-Canadian El-Mohtar think through the ever-present questions of displacement and coping in times of war. Noura Al Noman explores what Arabic fantasy literature and world building look like, while Franscesco Verso has started a publishing house for speculative fiction in translation, wanting to open doors into how other cultures and languages write about tomorrow. And finally, last year’s IPAF winner has an English publication date.
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!
Welcome back to the reread of Servant of the Empire by Raymond E Feist and Janny Wurts! If you’re here for the political drama, look no further than this chapter. House of Cards, eat your heart out.
Okay, I was kidding about this last week, but really? A chapter called Resolution? Was this a placeholder?
On the other hand, after all the tension of the book so far, I’m quite looking forward to some resolution. Bring it.
Sidekicks are the spice you throw into a novel to liven up a bland hero. Who else is going to contradict your hero’s bold morality, joyfully argue for the benefits incurred by walking away from this noble quest, then pull their fat out of the fire when they get in over their head? Bruce Campbell knew the answer in Sky High—so say it along with me now, children...
But freed from the need to be nice to people, sidekicks get all the best lines. Which is why I’ve rounded up the five snarkiest sidekicks in all of literature to bring you some of the wittiest, most lovable buddies you could ever hope to have at your side.
The Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America has announced that Larry Niven will be honored with the organization’s Damon Knight Memorial Grand Master Award at this year’s Nebula Awards. Past grand masters have included Samuel R. Delany, Gene Wolfe, and Connie Willis, among others.
Best known for his Hugo- and Nebula-winning novel Ringworld, Niven has also written television scripts, comics, and political action in support of the conquest of space. He will be honored at the 50th annual Nebula Awards Weekend held June 4-7 in Chicago, Illinois, at the Palmer House Hilton.
After vanquishing undead serial killers and discovering the dark secrets of her family history, wizard sentinel DJ Jaco must now stop the coming preternatural war in Suzanne Johnson’s Pirate’s Alley, out on April 21st from Tor Books.
We want to send you a galley right now, so check for the rules below!
Beautiful princesses! Sexy pirates! Questionable plots! Villains pulled directly from Disney cartoons! Truly awesome evil cars! (Well, one truly awesome evil car, at least.) Yes, we’re back for the return of the fourth season of ABC’s Once Upon a Time! SPOILERS AHEAD.
When we left our hero last week, he was slouching moodily towards Haven, hoping he would someday be a Bard. This week, we’re looking at chapters four through six (and a tiny sliver of chapter seven) of Magic’s Pawn.
Here, Vanyel meets his aunt Savil for the second time, and begins to settle in to his new life. At first, things look bleak, but Vanyel’s mood improves dramatically by the end of the section.
Long before Game of Thrones, there was a time in history when HBO stood for “Hey, Beastmaster’s on!” A time when, if you asked for a dragon, you got a puppet instead of CGI. A time when the words “fantasy hero” didn’t call to mind a pensive Viggo Mortenson or a bespectacled Daniel Radcliffe—nay, but a shirtless, bemuscled Arnold Schwarzenegger (or cheaper facsimile) dripping with oil.
I have travelled back to that time to bring forth the Ultimate 1980s Fantasy Epic Ranking List Post! And By Crom, I swear I’ve gotten… most of them. Join me below to celebrate the 1980s fantasy epic, in all of its loincloth-wearing, phallic-sword-waving, secret-wing-unfurling, spandex-bulging, camel-punching glory.
Oh, this is gorgeous. Artist Burdge (a.k.a. Brigid Vaughn) has given us a more realistic take on Harry Potter’s lightning-shaped scar! It makes sense that something as devastating as the Avada Kedavra curse would leave this raised burn mark rather than the perfectly angled scar we’re used to...
Morning Roundup brings you thoughts on diversity in SFF, Ice-T improving our childhoods, and a look at the making of Chappie!
March is a special month for me—my birthday month, as a matter of fact—but if you can’t count on cake, a bunch of new books will have to do. And when I say a bunch, I really do mean it, thanks in large part to a strong showing by Titan and the re-emergence of Angry Robot, beginning with The Buried Life by Carrie Patel.
Beyond that, there’s The Buried Giant—the first new novel by Kazuo Ishiguro since Never Let Me Go—and Persona by Genevieve Valentine, but The Mechanical by Ian Tregillis must be the book I’m most looking forward to in the fortnight forthcoming.
This (huge) edition of the Hitlist also features new books by Catherynne M. Valente, Dan Simmons, Ferrett Steinmetz, Kelly Link, T. C. Greene, Jo Walton, Sebastien de Castell, Michelle de Kretser, S. T. Joshi, George R. R. Martin & Gardner Dozis, Col Buchanan, Lauren DeStefano, Leigh Evans, Simon Kurt Unsworth, Rowena Cory Daniells, James Goss, Pat Kelleher, John Twelve Hawks, Luke Scull, Lauren Oliver, Marie Rutkoski, Jonathan Wood and George Mann.
“Leonard Nimoy just died.”
You hear things like that in an office all the time, especially when everyone works on the internet. And normally hearing those words are sad, but you can bounce back from them. You are aware that public grief is a strange beast, made more strange by social media. Countless pieces get written on this phenomena, on participating in grief by sharing articles and ‘liking’ statuses, on whether it means anything. But at the moment, I just can’t be bothered with that kind of analysis. What we feel is real.
And Leonard Nimoy meant something to me.
Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Seventh Season
Original air dates: September 1998 – June 1999
Executive Producer: Rick Berman
Executive Producer: Ira Steven Behr
Station log: Just as with TNG, DS9 went into its seventh season knowing it would be the last. Even more than the show it spun off of, though, DS9 went even further with it, knowing that they would have to end the war, and also with a much bigger cast of characters to deal with.
And one of those characters was new, as in addition to closing out the series, they had to introduce a new Dax, with Nicole de Boer joining the cast as Ezri, the newest host of the Dax symbiont, following Terry Farrell’s departure.
With the news that Twin Peaks is returning after twenty-five years, I’ve been thinking about what, to me, made the show so great. It wasn’t the mysteries: like so many shows based around secrets, once they were revealed, they were kind of anticlimactic. But the characters embroiled in them never grow trite or dull, even after a quarter century.
FBI Agent Dale Cooper is our point man in Twin Peaks, the outsider through whose eyes we learn about this strange little town. He’s also his own kind of crazy, so it’s as much fun to watch them meet him as it is vice-versa. But he’s only half the story, and half the leading men. The other is Sheriff Harry S. Truman, played by Michael Ontkean.
The Warden is in the house this month as JR Ward releases a new Black Dagger Brotherhood title among the twenty-two new paranormal romance titles hitting the shelves in March. In addition to Ward, look for series additions from, among others, Shannon K. Butcher (Sentinels Wars), Sara Humphreys (Dead in the City), Molly Harper (Half Moon Hollow), Jacquelyn Frank (Immortal Brothers), Christine Warren (Gargoyles), Donna Grant (Dark Kings), Dani Harper (Grim), and Rebecca Zanetti (Sin Brothers).
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.
Yesterday the runaway llamas united us, and then #TheDress tore us apart. We can think of no better way to represent this polarizing, reality-changing debate than the Captain America: Civil War meme. Your eyes are playing tricks on you, Tony! Read the Wired article all about it. But no, he won’t give Steve the satisfaction of agreeing with him. And so—superhero war!
Afternoon Roundup brings you more Blade Runner (woo!), more Robin Hood (meh), Katee Sackhoff’s feelings about Power/Rangers, and an argument for CGI in movies.
In his classic story of spies and crossed fates, “The Garden of Forking Paths,” Jorge Luis Borges imagines a labyrinthine manuscript, “a growing, dizzying web of divergent, convergent, and parallel times.” The fictional book of the story is unfinished, not only because its author is murdered before he can complete it, but also because its form is necessarily infinite, encompassing all timelines generated by every decision of every character: an inescapable maze.
Yet the structures of some real books resemble what Borges had in mind. Not only do these novels challenge our understanding of narrative linearity, they invite us to participate in the making of the story, to play along with each reading. And just as with a well-built maze, getting lost in each of these books can be a lot of fun.
We are saddened to learn that Leonard Nimoy has passed away.
Nimoy was something of a Renaissance Man: an actor, a poet, a musician, a director, a writer, and so much more. His love of acting began when he was just a boy of eight, and he worked in theater, television, and film for practically all of his life.
But he is a pop culture icon to most of the world (and genre fans especially) for his portrayal of Spock on Star Trek. That role—easily one of the most famous in science fiction—followed Nimoy throughout his life, and he was known for his kindness to fans and enthusiasts the world over.
Last year, Nimoy revealed that he had COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease), and he had been in and out of hospitals recently. He was taken to UCLA Medical Center on February 19th of this year, and passed away this morning at his home. He was 83 years old, and leaves behind a wife, two children (Julie and Adam Nimoy), one step-son, six grandchildren, and one great-grandchild. Our condolences to his family, and to everyone who has been touched by his life.
Even in his final words to his audience, Nimoy was poetic and compassionate:
A life is like a garden. Perfect moments can be had, but not preserved, except in memory. LLAP— Leonard Nimoy (@TheRealNimoy) February 23, 2015
We'll miss you, Mr. Nimoy. We can never thank you enough for the impact you have made.
Welcome back to the Malazan Reread of the Fallen! Every post will start off with a summary of events, followed by reaction and commentary by your hosts Bill and Amanda (with Amanda, new to the series, going first), and finally comments from Tor.com readers. In this article, we’ll cover chapter five of Ian Cameron Esslemont’s Orb Sceptre Throne.
A fair warning before we get started: We’ll be discussing both novel and whole-series themes, narrative arcs that run across the entire series, and foreshadowing. Note: The summary of events will be free of major spoilers and we’re going to try keeping the reader comments the same. A spoiler thread has been set up for outright Malazan spoiler discussion.