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Showing posts by: Robert Charles Wilson click to see Robert Charles Wilson's profile
Mon
Oct 21 2013 4:00pm
Excerpt

Burning Paradise (Excerpt)

Robert Charles Wilson

Burning Paradise Robert Charles Wilson Check out Burning Paradise by Robert Charles Wilson, available November 5th from Tor Books!

Cassie Klyne, nineteen years old, lives in the United States in the year 2015—but it’s not our United States, and it’s not our 2015.

Cassie’s world has been at peace since the Great Armistice of 1918. There was no World War II, no Great Depression. Poverty is declining, prosperity is increasing everywhere; social instability is rare.

But Cassie knows the world isn’t what it seems. Her parents were part of a group who gradually discovered the awful truth: that for decades—back to the dawn of radio communications—human progress has been interfered with, made more peaceful and benign, by an extraterrestrial entity. That by interfering with our communications, this entity has tweaked history in massive and subtle ways. That humanity is, for purposes unknown, being farmed...

[Read More]

Thu
Aug 5 2010 8:30am
Reprint

Divided by Infinity

We hope you enjoy this reprint, originally published in Starlight 2, edited by Patrick Nielsen Hayden, Tor Books, 1998.

I

In the year after Lorraine’s death I contemplated suicide six times. Contemplated it seriously, I mean: six times sat with the fat bottle of Clonazepam within reaching distance, six times failed to reach for it, betrayed by some instinct for life or disgusted by my own weakness.

I can’t say I wish I had succeeded, because in all likelihood I did succeed, on each and every occasion. Six deaths. No, not just six. An infinite number.

Times six.

There are greater and lesser infinities.

[But I didn’t know that then.]

Wed
Jun 24 2009 9:22am

Oliver Who? (A Mathom from the Time Closet)

I’ve done three or four interviews now in which I’ve been asked about the literary models I used in my new novel Julian Comstock.

The name I generally mention is Oliver Optic—always good for a blank stare.

Now, I put it to you boys, is it natural for lads from fifteen to eighteen to command ships, defeat pirates, outwit smugglers, and so cover themselves with glory, that Admiral Farragut invites them to dinner, saying, “Noble boy, you are an honor to your country!

That’s Louisa May Alcott in her novel Eight Cousins, describing the sort of books she called “optical delusions.”  She was talking about Oliver Optic, who was sufficiently well-known in the day that she didn’t have to belabor the point.  Her description of his work is perfectly apt, but the effect it had on me (and perhaps other readers) was the opposite of the one she intended:  Cripes, is there such a book? And if so, where can I find it?

[More pirates and unnatural adventures below the fold...]

Tue
Jun 16 2009 8:09am
Excerpt

Julian Comstock, Chapters 2 and 3

Tor.com is proud to present chapter two of the highly-anticipated Julian Comstock: A Story of 22nd-Century America, by Robert Charles Wilson, the Hugo-winning author of Spin.

In the reign of President Deklan Comstock, a reborn United States is struggling back to prosperity. Over a century after the Efflorescence of Oil, after the Fall of the Cities, after the Plague of Infertility, after the False Tribulation, after the days of the Pious Presidents, the sixty stars and thirteen stripes wave from the plains of Athabaska to the national capital in New York City. In Colorado Springs, the Dominion sees to the nation’s spiritual needs. In Labrador, the Army wages war on the Dutch. America, unified, is rising once again.

As an added bonus, after you’re done reading, you can listen to the first, second, and third chapters of the audio version of Julian Comstock using the widget below the excerpt. 

Fri
Jun 12 2009 9:29am

Sarah Waters vs. Forbidden Planet: A Ghost Story

This isn’t a formal review of Sarah Waters’ excellent new novel The Little Stranger, but you can consider it a strong recommendation.  If you haven’t read Sarah Waters, she’s a British writer with a superb command of voice, cultural history, and the art of storytelling.  Her first novel was Tipping the Velvet, an unputdownable tour of gender conventions and their bending in Victorian London.  Her latest, The Little Stranger, is a ghost story set in a crumbling manor house in post-World-War-II Warwickshire.

[More on ghosts, architecture, and the Krell below the fold...]

Fri
Jun 5 2009 9:25am

The Ruins of Tomorrowland

This week ABC broadcast a two-hour documentary special called Earth 2100 that used art, narrative and interviews to sketch a doomsday scenario for the next 90 years.  The problems the show enumerates—climate change, population pressure, and ever-fiercer competition for ever-scarcer resources—are inarguably real, though their consequences and potential solutions remain fiercely debated. 

What struck me, however, as I watched Bob Woodruff walk us through the collapse of civilization, was how far our consensus vision of the future has evolved.  Since when? Well, take as a baseline the year 1955, when TV viewers were exposed to another art-driven, scientifically-based panorama of the near future:  Disney’s Man in Space, broadcast in three parts (Man in Space, Man and the Moon, and Mars and Beyond) on the Sunday-night program then called Disneyland

[More Disney and apocalypse below the fold...]

Thu
Jun 4 2009 1:27pm

Mathoms from the Time Closet (1)

Apologies to Gene Wolfe for borrowing the title of his story from Again, Dangerous Visions, but it’s a phrase that’s stuck with me for years.  I’m sure my family is tired of hearing me exclaim “Mathoms from the time closet!” whenever we drag out Christmas decorations, old newspapers, sneakers down at the heel, or any other of the other numberless objects that linger in limbo between daily use and the yard sale.  It seemed apt for this post, because I want to talk here about books, the mathomy sort of books: books old, obscure, out of print, or unjustly ignored; books that spring at you from dark places and take you by surprise.

Subject of today’s sermon is David Bradley’s No Place to Hide.  It isn’t science fiction, or fiction at all, but if you harbor a fondness for surreal Ballardian cold-war landscapes, or anything involving atom weapons, Bradley’s 1948 memoir is likely to ring your bell.

[More below the fold...]

Tue
Jun 2 2009 8:18am
Excerpt

Julian Comstock, Chapters 1 and 2 (Excerpt)

Tor.com is proud to present the intial chapters of the highly-anticipated Julian Comstock: A Story of 22nd-Century America, by Robert Charles Wilson, the Hugo-winning author of Spin.

In the reign of President Deklan Comstock, a reborn United States is struggling back to prosperity. Over a century after the Efflorescence of Oil, after the Fall of the Cities, after the Plague of Infertility, after the False Tribulation, after the days of the Pious Presidents, the sixty stars and thirteen stripes wave from the plains of Athabaska to the national capital in New York City. In Colorado Springs, the Dominion sees to the nation’s spiritual needs. In Labrador, the Army wages war on the Dutch. America, unified, is rising once again.

As an added bonus, after you’re done reading, you can listen to both the first and the second chapters of Julian Comstock using the widget below the excerpt.