Cold Wind April 16, 2014 Cold Wind Nicola Griffith Old ways can outlast their usefulness. What Mario Scietto Says April 15, 2014 What Mario Scietto Says Emmy Laybourne An original Monument 14 story. Something Going Around April 9, 2014 Something Going Around Harry Turtledove A tale of love and parasites. The Devil in America April 2, 2014 The Devil in America Kai Ashante Wilson The gold in her pockets is burning a hole.
From The Blog
April 13, 2014
Game of Thrones, Season 4, Episode 2: “The Lion and the Rose”
Theresa DeLucci
April 11, 2014
This Week’s Game-Changing Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Was Exactly The Problem With The Show
Thom Dunn
April 8, 2014
Let’s Completely Reimagine Battlestar Galactica! Again. This Time as A Movie!
Emily Asher-Perrin
April 4, 2014
The Age of Heroes is Here. Captain America: The Winter Soldier
Chris Lough
April 3, 2014
A Spoonful of Music Makes the Nanny: Disney’s Mary Poppins
Mari Ness
Showing posts by: Leah Schnelbach click to see Leah Schnelbach's profile
Mon
Apr 14 2014 10:00am

Charlie Jane Anders Hugo Award

Writers are a special type of human. They write because they feel like they have to—very few of them actually enjoy it. Because of this, the internet has spawned an entire cottage industry of writing columns, ostensible to give advice, but really to offer frustrated wordsmiths a (slightly) less guilt-inducing form of procrastination.

Many of these columns focus on “literary” writing, but one of our favorites is a genre-writing crash course taught by Charlie Jane Anders. Anders, co-editor of io9, Tor.com contributor, and author of the Hugo Award-winning “Six Months, Three Days,” offers “Writing Advice” posts on io9 that deftly pull off the most difficult trick: they actually make you want to pick up pen or keyboard, and dive into the work!

[Words of Writerly Wisdom!]

Mon
Mar 31 2014 10:00am

Russell Crowe as Noah

Wait a minute, shouldn’t Aronofsky have made... Numbers? Little Pi joke, there, guys.

So we seem to be in another one of these interesting cultural moments when filmmakers adapt stories from the Hebrew Bible and New Testament into screen works. (I’m using “Hebrew Bible” and “New Testament” to try to avoid any of the political implications of any of the other words for those books.) Last year saw the mini-series The Bible, produced by Mark Burnett and his wife, Touched by an Angel actress Roma Downey, who were both very vocal about their desire to make the show as an act of faith. They’ve since used the success of the show as a springboard for Son of God, which is currently playing. Another religious film, God is Not Dead, features Kevin Sorbo as an atheist professor who apparently has nothing better to do than taunt his students’ religious beliefs. And later this year, Ridley Scott will bring us Exodus, with Christian Bale as a violently angry Moses. My hope is that Wes Anderson’s next project is an adaptation of Deuteronomy. Maybe the Coen brothers can tackle Leviticus? But until then, we have Aronofsky’ s Noah.

[Here comes the rain again...]

Fri
Mar 28 2014 11:00am

Popeye

Tattoos are pretty socially acceptable nowadays, but there was a time when just having interesting ink marked you as an outsider, a rebel, or even a criminal. Writers have used them for years to literally mark their characters, either to push them toward the edge of society, or to mark them as special, mystical, in touch with a magical word invisible to others.

We asked on Twitter for the best tattooed SFF characters, and we’ve collected some of the responses below. See if your favorite is here, and let us know who we missed in the comments!

[Read More]

Fri
Mar 28 2014 10:00am

So, the wait finally ended! After a bit of a delay, Sandman Overture #2 was released into the world. I have many thoughts on it, so first I’ll just say that I think this issue is A) beautiful, and B) a potentially extraordinary addition to the Sandman series. There’s still more throat-clearing here than I wanted, but I’m starting to feel like we’re rolling into a real story. Hopefully I’m right?

From here on down the recap will be full of details and spoilers, so go read the issue before you continue!

[There also might be a cameo by Isaac Asimov!]

Wed
Mar 12 2014 11:00am

As soon as it was announced that True Detective was an anthology show, with new crimes and new sleuths each season, Twitter lit up with suggestions for new partners. My favorites include @blairelliott with “Dog & Capybara in Kiddie Pool” and @kellyoxford with “Matthew McConaughey and Kim Novak.” I just hope they solve crimes at the Oscars! Then Nic Pizzolato came out and said that Season Two is going to involve “Hard women, bad men, and the secret occult history of the U.S. transportation system.” So far, so good. He also said, “…I realize I need to keep being strange. Don’t play the next one straight.” Even better.

Since he’s already tackled Robert Chambers, Ambrose Bierce, H.P. Lovecraft, and Apocalypse Now, we here at Tor.com thought some suggestions for further literary inspiration were in order.

[Gnostics on the Highways!]

Mon
Mar 10 2014 3:00pm

True Detective Road Trip

Are you satisfied with yourselves, True Detective fans? You crashed HBO Go! I’m hoping everyone did the responsible thing and ditched work this morning to finish the show.

So. Are all the questions answered? Not remotely! Is every clue explained? Hell no. Am I OK with that? …mostly? I think so? The longer it sits in my brain, the more I think this is one of the strongest finales I’ve seen, and that the resolution works so well thematically, I’m willing to overlook any loose threads that are still hanging. So join me if you will for one last wild tear through Carcosa!

Will there be spoilers? Sheeee-it yes, boy!

[Making flowers???]

Thu
Feb 27 2014 11:00am

true detective

True Detective has been on the air for six weeks now, and has already kicked up enough internet speculation, breathless hype, inevitable backlash, and Cthulhu mythos research to… wait. Wait, that last one seems out of place here.

The fact that the show introduced some Cthulhu Mythos started off a giant wave of internet speculation, and I’m sure someone else at Tor.com will get to that in time. But personally, I don’t think the Mythos matters here, because there may be a far more terrifying truth at the center of the show. Be warned: there will be spoilers for those who are not caught up through Episode 6. (Why aren’t you caught up through Episode 6?)

[Start watching the right fuckin’ television.]

Thu
Feb 20 2014 8:00am

Richard MathesonIn writing some of the On This Day features for Tor.com, I’ve been privileged to learn more about some of the greatest writers in the SFF canon. One thing that has continually impressed me is the way these people treated writing as a job. They didn’t wring their hands over their genre’s marginalization, or complain about writers block – they just told stories. Sometimes the stories hit, sometimes they didn’t, but these writers knew there’d always be another one to tell, and in the meantime the rent was due and the kids needed to be fed. Richard Matheson, whose birthday we celebrate today, is an excellent example of this old school work ethic.

[Cue evil Zuni doll cackling]

Mon
Feb 17 2014 11:30am

Strange Bodies Marcel TherouxSo, where to begin? Is Strange Bodies a literary zombie tale? A meditation on Frankenstein and his monster? A literary thriller about stolen identity? An exploration of the Nikolai Fyodorov and the Russian cosmism movement, ala Hannu Rajaniemi’s Quantum Thief?

Well… yes. Yeah, Strange Bodies is each of those things, as well as an unlikely love letter to Samuel Johnson, and a memoriam to a type of academic work that’s nearly extinct, and one of the best books I’ve read in years.

[Laugh at my attempt at explaining the book below, then go read it!]

Sun
Feb 2 2014 11:00am

Groundhog Day succeeds as a film because of the way it plays with, subverts, and outright mocks the tropes of each of the genres it flirts with. While some people would call it a time travel movie, or a movie about small town America, or the most spiritual film of all time, or a rom-com, it is by breaking the rules of each of those types of films that it ultimately transcends genre entirely.

[It’s cold out there today. It’s cold out there every day.]

Tue
Jan 21 2014 5:00pm

Well. That was something, wasn’t it? I’m not even sure how to recap this beast, because two hours of Sleepy Hollow means about an entire season’s worth of emotions and crazy plot twists.

So, let’s just start with ZOMBIE GEORGE WASHINGTON and go from there, shall we?

[How Headless got his guns back...]

Tue
Jan 14 2014 2:30pm

Sleepy Hollow Vessel

And we’re back! This week saw a welcome return to form for Sleepy Hollow, and as much as I loved Carl’s write-up of Mr. Potato Horror, I felt like the Mystery Science Flashback Theatre was getting pretty worn out at this point—holy crap, Ichabod’s third cousin has an important message from the past and is also related to Abbie’s family in some way!—but last night my favorite time travelling Chosen One finally got back to what he does best: using archaic languages to thwart demons.

It also finally said those two little words we’ve been waiting to hear: dry cleaning.

[Oh, show, how I’ve missed you...]

Thu
Jan 9 2014 6:00pm

In 1992, a filmmaker named Terrence Francis made a documentary for BBC2 about the portrayal of black characters in science fiction, the work of black sci-fi and fantasy writers, and the roles that these writers might take in creating fiction in the future. The doc features interviews with Octavia Butler, Samuel R. Delany, Mike Sargent, Steven Barnes, and Nichelle Nichols. Unfortunately, it seems like most of the film has been lost, but a few clips have surfaced on YouTube!

[Click through to watch these fascinating interviews!]

Wed
Jan 1 2014 2:00pm

We are smack in the middle of a holiday week, and you know what holiday weeks mean: reading giant fat books that we don’t usually have time for! We here at Tor.com love giant fat books, so we took to Twitter to ask you about some of your favorite scientific non-fiction, and you came back with a wonderful variety of suggestions. I’ve collected ten of them here, and I would love it if you pepper the comment thread with even more! There’s nothing quite like charging into a new year armed with giant fat erudition.

[Read more, and then read more!]

Mon
Dec 30 2013 12:00pm

The Italian Job

There is nothing quite like a great heist story for pure awesome escapism. You can create a fun and spine-tingling escape sequence, ala The Italian Job or Oceans Eleven. Or, you can be Breaking Bad, and use the format to break the audience’s collective heart. But in the end, they’re just about the teams, and the way all these weird skills like lock-picking, acrobatics, phone phreaking, and Cockney Rhyming Slang can come in handy in tight situations.

With some help from your answers on Twitter, here’s a list of some of the best capers in film, television, and literature!

[We’re pulling you all in for one last job...until the sequels!]

Fri
Dec 20 2013 5:00pm


He-Man and She-Ra: A Christmas Special

Lots of shows decide they need a little Christmas come December, but they’re not quite sure how to do it. Do you talk about the big Jesus-shaped elephant in the room? Do you just focus on Santa? Do you, I don’t know, cast Juliana Hatfield as an angel or make miracles happen on Walker, Texas Ranger?

This late-December urge becomes extra fun when sci-fi shows try it — they don’t actually want to deal with the religious aspect of Christmas, but they still have to find a way to explain Santa and presents (and maybe just a dash of Christianity) to aliens who are already confused enough just trying to deal with humans. So most of them fall back on humans teaching aliens about “goodwill” or “being kind to others.” This leads to some amazing moments, as we’ll see.

[Click through for special holiday times with ALF!]

Tue
Dec 17 2013 10:15am

Death and Dream, Sandman

The Endless, from Neil Gaiman’s Sandman comics, are not people. They are—as Destruction says—patterns, ideas, repeating motifs. It’s one thing to learn their stories, but something quite different to imagine who could embody them.

But now that Joseph Gordon-Levitt has confirmed a forthcoming Sandman movie, we thought we’d take a crack at casting them anyway! And we’ve got some picks that will either enthrall or enrage you, so you should probably join us.

[She is Death, just as he is Dream, and that one is Desire.]

Fri
Dec 6 2013 10:00am

The Company of Wolves

For centuries, when people have had to explain the harshness of this world to their children, they’ve turned to fairy tales. Not to soften the blow, or to give things a fictive sheen—rather they’ve used them to stare unflinchingly into the darkest places of the human psyche. They have given us monstrous husbands who murder their brides; starving children abandoned in the woods; beasts, and the beauties who love them. A variety of cultures have adapted these stories to their own needs, and it’s because of this resonance that so many authors go back to fairy tales to explore changes in society. Victorians turned them into harsh but G-rated bromides to keep kids in line, without scaring them too much. Disney scoured off any weirdness and slapped happy, heteronormative endings on every story.

With this in mind I took a look at some of our readers’ favorite fairy tale retellings, especially some of your Twitter suggestions! What I found is that some of the best modern tales use the lens of the fantastic to examine issues of gender, class, and race, going beyond a basic “feminist” version or “racially diverse” version of a story to dig into some of the darkness that haunts society today. The best of the books, television, and film I looked at give us ways to see old stories from new perspectives, and if you’re looking for reading and viewing over the holiday season, the following titles will not let you down.

[Grab some breadcrumbs and let’s start walking...]

Wed
Dec 4 2013 11:00am

Each year I host a marathon of Lord of the Rings. We begin at about 9:30 in the morning, watch all the extended editions, and we eat. And eat and eat. We do all seven Hobbit meals (we eat both dinners) which, it turns out, can be scheduled perfectly around each disc of the DVDs. This marathon has turned into a tradition – one friend uses it as an excuse to try a new scone recipe, another always brings Munchkins, and one friend tweaks his vegetarian faux-coney stew each year, always inching closer to perfection. Since we live in Manhattan and have a thematically appropriate hobbit-sized kitchen, we’ve also been more open to ordering one of the meals. (Surely there’s a Middle-earth pizza joint? Maybe in Minas Tirith.)

Since The Hobbit: Desolation of Smaug is coming to theaters next week, and there are still more holidays coiled in the back of this year's cave, waiting to strike, I wanted to share some of the best Hobbity recipes resources I've found! 

[There and Snack Again]

Fri
Nov 29 2013 10:00am

CS Lewis Artwork by David A. Johnson

Today would have been C.S. Lewis’ 115th birthday. Last week was the 50th anniversary of C.S. Lewis’ death, and he was honored with a memorial in Poets’ Corner in Westminster Abbey.

C.S. Lewis had three different lives professionally. He was an academic, a medievalist who taught at both Oxford and Cambridge and published extensively in his field. (His book Allegory of Love still considered a classic). He was also a Christian Apologist and lay-theologian, with works like Mere Christianity, Miracles, and The Screwtape Letters exploring faith and doubt. Finally, the career that made him famous and became his lasting legacy was that of a fantasy and science fiction author. His Chronicles of Narnia are classics of children’s literature, and have sparked devotion and serious exploration from authors like Philip Pullman, Neil Gaiman, and Lev Grossman.

[Read More]