The Pauper Prince and the Eucalyptus Jinn April 22, 2015 The Pauper Prince and the Eucalyptus Jinn Usman Malik He will inherit the Unseen. The Ways of Walls and Words April 15, 2015 The Ways of Walls and Words Sabrina Vourvoulias Can the spirit truly be imprisoned? Ballroom Blitz April 1, 2015 Ballroom Blitz Veronica Schanoes Can't stop drinking, can't stop dancing, can't stop smoking, can't even die. Dog March 25, 2015 Dog Bruce McAllister "Watch the dogs when you're down there, David."
From The Blog
April 22, 2015
Daredevil, Catholicism, and the Marvel Moral Universe
Leah Schnelbach
April 22, 2015
The Old Guy Action Comeback: I’m Getting Too Old for This Sh*t
Ryan Britt
April 20, 2015
The Net is the Meat: Bruce Holsinger’s Middle Ages
David Perry
April 17, 2015
Spring 2015 Anime Preview: The Hellish Life of a Pizza Delivery Boy
Kelly Quinn
April 16, 2015
The Disney Read-Watch: Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs
Mari Ness
Apr 27 2015 4:00pm

Dress Up in Books: Maria Dahvana Headley’s Pop Quiz Interview

Maria Dahvana Headley

Welcome back to The Pop Quiz at the End of the Universe, a recurring series here on featuring some of our favorite science fiction and fantasy authors, artists, and others!

Today we’re joined by Maria Dahvana Headley, author of the young adult fantasy novel Magonia, available from HarperCollins. With Neil Gaiman, she is the New York Times-bestselling co-editor of the anthology Unnatural Creatures, and with Kat Howard, she is the author of the novella The End of the Sentence—one of NPR’s Best Books of 2014. She lives in Brooklyn with a seven-foot stuffed crocodile and a collection of star charts from the 1700s.

Join us to find out which classic monster fuels Maria’s creative fires, and which bizarre sandwiches help get her through the long nights of endless writing.

[Join us!]

Apr 27 2015 3:00pm

The Coode Street Podcast Episode 231: James Bradley and Ian Mond

Coode Street Hugo Awards

Welcome to The Coode Street Podcast, an informal weekly discussion about science fiction and fantasy featuring award-winning critics and editors Jonathan Strahan and Gary K. Wolfe. The Coode Street Podcast debuted in 2010 and has been nominated for the Hugo, British Science Fiction, and Aurealis awards.

This week James Bradley and Ian Mond join Jonathan to discuss the five novels that have made the final Hugo Awards ballot. The shortlisted novels are:

  • Ancillary Sword by Ann Leckie (Orbit US; Orbit UK)
  • The Dark Between the Stars by Kevin J. Anderson (Tor Books)
  • The Goblin Emperor by Katherine Addison (Sarah Monette) (Tor Books)
  • The Three-Body Problem by Cixin Liu, translated by Ken Liu (Tor Books)
  • Skin Game by Jim Butcher (Roc Books)

We almost completely avoid issues surrounding the ballot, and instead focus on discussing the novels and what might make them interesting to read.

[Listen to Coode Street]

Apr 27 2015 2:00pm

JordanCon 2015: Bride of Con Report, Part 1

Another year, another JordanCon, amirite? I AM.

Haaaay, it’s your Auntie Leigh, Tor.commers! And as is my annual wont, I have sallied forth to the rather unreasonably rainy depths of surburban Atlanta to experience the joys (and woes, it develops) of JordanCon Numero Seveno, aka “Con of the Red Hand”, and no one can say I didn’t, because I have photographic evidence. Dun!

Most of which are stuffed into this post and the one after it, so ‘ware, ye of slow and/or stingy internet connections. Ye of speedy and/or free connections, have no fear. But whatever speed of data you be, I be here to verbose your ear off about it, so click on to see! IF YE DARE.

[Yo listen up here’s a story]

Apr 27 2015 1:30pm

Afternoon Roundup: Batman Takes Inspiration from the Joker’s New Look

Joker meme Batman tattoos

After seeing the Joker’s supposed new look for Suicide Squad, Bruce Wayne obviously felt like he needed to up his game. We’re just imagining Alfred sighing and pulling on the latex gloves (“Are you absolutely sure you want me to write ’I’m Batman’ over and over on your ribcage, Master Wayne?”). Though we’re surprised he forgot the most obvious recent one—“Do you bleed?”

In actuality, the tatting up of the Dark Knight by Twitter user @DrinkingQuest is just one of many wonderful memes that the Internet dreamed up in reaction to this first look at Jared Leto’s Joker. (Related: “What if other cinematic characters had forehead tattoos?”) According to some insiders and on-set photos, that image was just a promo shot and does not depict the actual Suicide Squad Joker.

Now that that’s cleared up, Afternoon Roundup brings you Hannibal spoilers, Disney’s staggering film slate, and Stephen Hawking using his powers for the well-being of teenage girls everywhere.

[Read more]

Apr 27 2015 1:30pm

No One Gets Out Alive Sweepstakes!

Enter to win one of our three copies of No One Gets Out Alive by Adam Nevill, out in the U.S. tomorrow from St. Martin’s Press!

When Stephanie moves to the notoriously cheap Perry Bar neighborhood of Birmingham, she’s just happy to find an affordable room for rent. The eccentric landlord seems nice and welcoming enough, the ceilings are high, and all of the other tenants are also girls. Things aren't great, but they're stable. Or at least that's what she tells herself when she impulsively hands over enough money to cover the first month’s rent and decides to give it a go.

But soon after she becomes uneasy about her rash decision. She hears things in the night. Feels them. Things...or people...who aren't there in the light.

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 1:30 PM Eastern Time (ET) on April 27. Sweepstakes ends at 12:00 PM ET on May 1. Void outside the United States and Canada and where prohibited by law. Please see full details and official rules here. Sponsor:, 175 Fifth Ave., New York, NY 10010.

Apr 27 2015 1:00pm

Rereading the Empire Trilogy: Mistress of the Empire, Part 7

Mistress of the EmpireWelcome back to the reread of Mistress of the Empire by Raymond E. Feist and Janny Wurts! This week, it’s CSI: Tsuranuanni, with Detective Arakasi and Detective Shinzawai on the case.

Spoiler: the assassins did it.

Chapter 7: Culprit

Oh come now, Feist and Wurts, you know you wanted to call this chapter ‘Near Death by Chocolate.’

[Read More]

Apr 27 2015 12:00pm

Why Minority Settings in RPGs Matter

Never Alone

Role-playing games offer participants limitless opportunities to explore new places, characters, and ideas. Do you want to be a vampire pirate? Cool! A cyberpunk android? All right! Do you want your game to take place in a medieval fantasy kingdom, a post-apocalyptic dystopian wasteland, or even other galaxies? No problem! With imagination the only barrier for what can be created, there should be a vast field of narratives told through games. Yet, role-playing games are often more narrowly defined.

Role-playing games have an established history of leaving setting and characters a blank slate, while often loosely drawing inspiration from Western themes. For example, when I was a kid and I played Dungeons and Dragons with my friends, we came in with unexamined expectations—the city we saved was always filled with white people, the mayor of the town was always a man, the kingdom was always vaguely built around an imagined medieval Europe. As an adult, I still see these elements and themes repeated in games today.

This is a common pitfall that minority advocates in gaming have come to call “defaultism.”

[Read More]

Apr 27 2015 11:50am

Landing The Apollo Quartet

Ian Sales All That Outer Space Allows

Having lifted off in mid-2012 with Adrift on the Sea of Rains, achieved orbit by way of both The Eye with Which the Universe Beholds Itself and Then Will the Great Ocean Wash Deep Above in 2013, Ian Sales’ BSFA Award-winning Apollo Quartet is to land at long last later this week with the release of All That Outer Space Allows, the saga’s novel-length finale.

It is 1965 and Ginny Eckhardt is a science fiction writer. She’s been published in the big science fiction magazines and is friends with many of the popular science fiction authors of the day. Her husband, Walden, has just been selected by NASA as one of the New Nineteen Apollo astronauts... which means Ginny will be a member of the Astronaut Wives Club.

Although the realities of spaceflight fascinate Ginny, her gender bars her from the United State space programme. Her science fiction offers little in the way of consolation—but perhaps there is something she can do about that...

[Read More]

Apr 27 2015 11:00am

The Last Herald Mage: Forst Reach

Magic's Price Valdemar rereadChapters 8-14 of Magic’s Price feel like summer vacation. This is partly because it is—Vanyel and Savil take Stefen with them to visit Forst Reach. Stefen has been worn down by weeks of constant performance, both to block pain for King Randale and to demonstrate his Gift for the Healers. He needs to recover, and Withen invited him.

The more relaxed feeling also comes from the focus of this section. This is the love story, and while it has a few tense and dangerous moments, its focus on the relationship between Stefen and Vanyel is a lot like a romance novel. The Heralds of Valdemar trilogy neglected its central romance. Magic’s Pawn provided a longer look at Vanyel’s relationship with Tylendel, but ended it in the first half of the book. This chunk of Magic’s Price explores Vanyel and Stefen’s relationship in a more sustained way.

[It’s nice to see them in love.]

Apr 27 2015 10:00am

Message Fiction: Politics in Sci-Fi and Fantasy Literature

Black Company

I want to talk about politics in science fiction and fantasy. But first, a story…

I spent the summer of 2000 in Croatia, a country most people now associate with sun, wine, seafood—fun stuff. But in those days the first thing that sprung to mind, for most people at least, was war. And an ugly war at that—one that pitted neighbor against neighbor; the one that gave us the term “ethnic cleansing.” But the war was over, and Croatia in 2000 was an undeniably nice place—full of all that fun stuff people think of now. And I loved it. People were incredibly hospitable, the food was fresh and delicious, and the Dalmatian coast…well, it’s something everyone should see in their lifetimes. But the war still cast a long shadow.

[Warning: unexploded ordinance in vicinity.]

Apr 27 2015 9:00am

Game of Thrones Season 5, Episode 3: “The High Sparrow”

Game of Thrones The High Sparrow

This week’s divisive episode departs significantly from the books, meaning readers have a choice to make about Game of Thrones: keep playing or take yourself off the board to wait for more novels.

Personally, I enjoy both incarnations of Martin’s materials and recognize that each medium has its own strengths and weaknesses. Tonight’s big changes from A Dance with Dragons put a significant number of new players together and into harm’s way in the coming weeks, while in another region of the world, we seem to get confirmation that a big character from the fifth novel will not be making an appearance. There are a lot of interesting implications to chew on.

Also in this hour: All hail Queen Margaery. Again. First of Her Name and Ruler of Disgruntled Daughter-in-Laws everywhere.

Spoiler alert: Major episode spoilers for the currently aired season. Spoilers for the currently published George R. R. Martin novels are discussed in the review and fair game in the comments. We highly suggest not discussing spoilers for leaked episodes or early preview chapters, but if you must, white it out. Have courtesy for the patient among us who are waiting for next week’s airing or waiting and waiting (and waiting) for The Winds of Winter. Play nice. Thanks.

[“The North remembers.”...]

Apr 27 2015 8:00am

Morning Roundup: Alton Brown Has the Nerdiest Celebrity Crush

Alton Brown celebrity crush Terminator 2 compactor

We should have expected that Alton Brown, the nerdiest cook and cooking show host there is, would have a unique answer to Who’s your celebrity crush? For BuzzFeed’s tongue-in-cheek Q&A, he drew his ode to the compactor that helps saves the day in The Terminator. Check out the rest of his answers, which include the best word association for Voldemort (“hug” before he corrects it with “nose”—you didn’t have to correct it, Alton, knew).

Morning Roundup ponders The Force Awakens theories and another Spider-Man movie, while reminding you that it takes a lot to make a stew.

[Read more]

Apr 24 2015 2:00pm

Afternoon Roundup: Creating New Life is Exhausting Work

first look Frankenstein Igor James McAvoy Daniel Radcliffe

Our first look at the latest take on Frankenstein sees hot young Viktor von Frankenstein (James McAvoy) and his less aesthetically-blessed assistant Igor (Daniel Radcliffe) looking by turns bemused and concerned about their little lab experiment. We don’t know much about the movie, aside from the fact that it’s from Igor’s point of view.

Afternoon Roundup brings you Neil deGrasse Tyson’s geeky rallying cry; Oregon Trail as a determiner of generaton status; and more horror movies with dizzying camera angles to make you more nauseous than scared.

[Read more]

Apr 24 2015 1:00pm

5 Extremely Accurate Predictions For Star Trek Beyond

Remember Star Trek? It was your favorite before you started freaking out about the new Star Wars movies. Sure, things have been a little bumpy since Star Trek Into Darkness made its googly-eyed way across the screen, and some have worried that it may have cast a dismal pall over the entire franchise, stalling it completely. The story of Star Trek 3's development didn't help in that regard: one director left (J. J. Abrams) and the next got kind of fired (Roberto Orci), and for awhile nobody seemed to have a clue as to what would happen next.

But our faith holds strong! More recently, Simon Pegg was brought on as a co-writer for Star Trek 3 and things have started looking up. The movie now has a rumored-to-be-true title—Star Trek Beyondwhich matches stylistically with Simon Pegg's statement that the next Star Trek film will return the series to its explorative roots. What could all of this mean? Here are five predictions based on nothing but circumstantial evidence, hunches, and my own Trekkie excitement.

[Read more]

Apr 24 2015 12:00pm

Malazan Reread of the Fallen: Orb Sceptre Throne, Chapter Seventeen

Ian C Esslemont Orb Sceptre Throne Malazan rereadWelcome 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 readers. In this article, we’ll cover chapter seventeen 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.

[Read More]

Apr 24 2015 11:00am

Five Books About Magical Realism

Rockwell Kent Moby Dick

What do we want when we write fiction? We want to explode heads, to break hearts, to wring tears and terror from our readers. We want to make magic.

I co-created, co-write and draw Concrete Park, the graphic novel series from Dark Horse Comics (with Erika Alexander). It’s an epic set on a distant, desert planet where young human exiles, Earth’s unwanted poor, must build a new world or perish. We set out to make sci-fi that was gritty and real.

Then the magic in our story snuck up on us.

[Read More]

Apr 24 2015 10:00am

The Dragonlance Chronicles Reread: Guest Highlord Kamila Shamsie on Kitiara

Dragons of Winter Night

Things were getting way too exciting in the Chronicles—what with a unicorn, some magic stools and the fiery fate of the Que-Shu village. This means it is time for our irregularly-scheduled guest post.

Our Guest Highlord this month is Kamila Shamsie. Kamila has been shortlisted for the Orange Prize for Fiction and her latest novel, A God in Every Stone, is currently a finalist for the Baileys Women’s Prize. She is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, and in 2013 was named as one of Granta’s Best Young Novelists. And, like any properly celebrated literary novelist, she’s a huge fan of Dragonlance.

Caution: unlike our normal reread posts, this contains spoilers for the rest of the Chronicles. But you probably would’ve gathered that from the title.

[Read More]

Apr 24 2015 9:00am

Breakout Female Voices of the British Fantasy Scene

British female fantasy authors

In a recent interview, I was asked about fantasy writing in Britain today and specifically whether I thought there was a female fantasy scene. If there is, who are the authors, what are they writing and how are their works contributing to fantasy as a genre? To answer the first question, you don’t have to go far afield. The future of British fantasy looks bright thanks to a host of new authors, each of whom is bringing a fresh perspective to some well-mined tropes—tropes we all know and love. In January, I embarked on a quest to read as many of their books as I could. I wanted to get a sense of the themes that women deem important in fantasy fiction and how their exploration of those themes enriches the genre as a whole.

What follows is not a ‘best of’ list. It’s an honest look at the books that just a few women are writing today in Britain. Some names you’ll know, others perhaps you won’t, but I hope one or two will strike a chord and convince you to give their books a try.

[Read More]

Apr 24 2015 8:00am

Morning Roundup: Aren’t You a Little Underdressed For A Stormtrooper?

Star Wars Celebration, John Boyega

In fine convention tradition, new Star Wars family member John Boyega walked the floor of Star Wars Celebration in a masterful disguise! That’s him, on the right, in the helmet. He posted the picture on his incredibly charming Instagram account, which all of you should follow post-haste.

Morning Roundup brings you news of the greatest battle of our time, thoughts on the second season of Daredevil, and more on the world of Tomorrowland!

[Plus environmental fiction and environmental fact!]

Apr 23 2015 4:00pm

The Harry Potter Reread: The Order of the Phoenix, Chapters 3 and 4

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix coverThe Harry Potter Reread has typed “Harry” so many times that it’s starting to mess up from sheer repetition and accidentally type “Haryr” instead. Which just looks hilarious.

We’re about to meet our very first Metapmorphmagus and visit the worse house in all of wizardom. It’s Chapters 3 and 4 of The Order of the Phoenix—The Advance Guard and Number Twelve, Grimmauld Place.

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]