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 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
November 11, 2014
The Well-Lit Knight Rises: How 1960s Batman Shaped Our Bat-Thoughts Forever
Ryan Britt
Fri
Nov 21 2014 11:00am

“How Guardians of the Galaxy Should Have Ended” is Even Sassier Than the Movie

How Guardians of the Galaxy Should Have Ended video

Most “How It Should Have Ended” videos follow the series’ name and rewrite the conclusions of movies like Frozen and Captain America: The Winter Soldier. However, the latest installment takes exception with several different plot points of Guardians of the Galaxy, pointing out a variety of alternate endings. Just one change could lead to Ronan drinking with the Joker and Sheev Palpatine, or with him basically deciding “if you can't beat ’em, join ’em” at the final battle.

[Watch the video]

Fri
Nov 21 2014 10:30am

Superheroes Anonymous Sweepstakes!

Everybody in Chicago has a “superhero sighting” story. So when a villain attacks editorial assistant Gail Godwin and she's rescued by superhero Blaze, it's a great story, and nothing more. Until it happens again. And again. Now the media has dubbed her Hostage Girl, nobody remembers her real name, and people are convinced that Blaze is just her boyfriend, Jeremy, in disguise.

Find out what happens next by winning one of our three copies of Superheroes Anonymous by Lexie Dunne, out now as an ebook and available in print next Tuesday from Harper Voyager Impulse!

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 9:30 AM Eastern Time (ET) on November 21. Sweepstakes ends at 12:00 PM ET on November 25. 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.

Fri
Nov 21 2014 10:00am

Never Wait for a Sequel Again: 17 Standalone Fantasy Novels

One of the things you get used to as a fantasy fan is that each new book is a commitment. Some people commit to other people, marriages, children, careers.... When fantasy fans start a new book, they do it knowing that they may still have to be reading about these characters 20 years later.

As a guide for those who maybe want a fling rather than a marriage, we asked Twitter to suggest standalone fantasies, and you did not disappoint: From Goblin Emperors to Fox Women to Raven Kings, here are 17 of your favorites!

[Read more]

Fri
Nov 21 2014 9:00am

Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell Reread: Part 7

Hello, everyone! Welcome back to the reread of Susanna Clarke’s Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell. You can find the full schedule for the reread in the introduction post; catch up on past posts at the reread index; or check out Tor.com’s other posts about this book through its tag.

Please note that these reread posts will contain spoilers for all of JS&MN plus The Ladies of Grace Adieu. There’s accordingly no need to warn for spoilers in the comments—and comments are highly encouraged.

This week, the reread covers chapters 31 to 34, in which there are seventeen dead Neapolitans and one ill King. But before we get started, check out the first promotional photo from the upcoming BBC miniseries—and compare it to these illustrations. I don’t know about you, but I’m pretty excited.

[“Place the moon at his eyes and her whiteness shall devour the false sights the deceiver has placed there.”]

Fri
Nov 21 2014 9:00am
Original Story

Prompt. Professional. Pop!

The Wild Cards universe has been thrilling readers for over 25 years. Walter Jon Williams' “Prompt. Professional. Pop!” shows that to make it in Hollywood, it’s not enough to be beautiful and talented; you’ve also got to take advantage of every opportunity that pops up.

This novelette was acquired and edited for Tor.com by George R. R. Martin.

[Read “Prompt. Professional. Pop!” by Walter Jon Williams]

Fri
Nov 21 2014 8:00am

Morning Roundup: Lightning. Fire. The Power of God or... Something

So you all remember Major Arnold Ernst Toht, right? The extra-evil Nazi who (in addition to being a freaking Nazi) threatens Marion Ravenwood with torture in Raiders of the Lost Ark, and then gets his face very deservedly melted off by the power of YHWH at the end? Well, thanks to the geniuses at Firebox, you can now own the sucker in candle form, and use the power of ZPPO to melt his awful Nazi face off yourself!

Morning Roundup has news of Chris Pratt’s future, Guardians of the Galaxy’s ending, and the terrifying fate of some doomed cups of water.

[Plus, we might be getting a confusing new Highlander!]

Thu
Nov 20 2014 5:30pm

Ticker Sweepstakes!

In Lisa Mantchev’s Ticker, a girl with the clockwork heart must make every second count. Penny Farthing's life is saved when brilliant surgeon Calvin Warwick implants a brass “Ticker” into her chest, making her the first of the Augmented. But when it comes to light that Warwick’s experimentation methods involve murder, things get much more complicated for Penny, her brother, Nic, and their parents, who have just disappeared under mysterious circumstances.

Ticker is available now on Kindle First, and releases in print on December 1st. We have three paperback copies for you to win today!

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 5:30 PM Eastern Time (ET) on November 20. Sweepstakes ends at 12:00 PM ET on November 24. 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.

Thu
Nov 20 2014 4:00pm

Dungeons & Dragons’ 5th Edition is Built on the Lessons Learned from Past Editions

Well, this is the edition to play. Dungeons & Dragons has gone through some vicissitudes over the last few years, but I think the 5th edition of the Player's Handbook puts any edition controversy to bed.

The 3rd edition, its Open Game License, and its 3.5th revision were a golden age for the hobby, but the more tactical combat-oriented 4th edition turned a lot of folks off; and it all went down while Pathfinder, the unofficial 3.75th edition, was coming on strong.

We all remember the dark days of the Edition Wars; they never left some dark corners of the Internet, but 5e seems to be largely immune. I playtested it in early versions and have been playing it with folks from around the Tor offices since then... and now it's bound and printed and finalized! It's different enough from rivals to be its own thing, and it's learned smart lessons from previous editions, combining AD&D 2e's relative simplicity with 3e's customization. There's more of 4e in there then some people will want to admit, too: at-wills, short rests, hit dice, all the bonus actions, races and powers.

[Read more]

Thu
Nov 20 2014 2:35pm

“A Giant of Literature”: Ursula K. Le Guin and Neil Gaiman at the 2014 National Book Awards

Ursula K. Le Guin National Book Awards

Last night at the 2014 National Book Awards in New York City, Neil Gaiman presented science fiction and fantasy legend Ursula K. Le Guin with the National Book Foundation’s Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters, an honor that has previously gone to such luminaries as Joan Didion, Ray Bradbury, and Toni Morrison.

Gaiman spoke of the debt he owes Le Guin, who was a major influence on him as a young writer, while Le Guin’s acceptance speech highlighted the importance of the award as a recognition of the place of science fiction and fantasy in literature. She also called upon the next generation of writers to push for the liberation of their art from corporate demands and profiteering.

[Read more]

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.