Tor.com content by

Chris Lough

Fiction and Excerpts [1]
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Fiction and Excerpts [1]

Does The Geek’s Guide to Dating Work on a Real Date?

, || Finding someone to date shouldn't be like trying to party up in an MMORPG: running around, repeatedly spamming chat channels for a group, and anxiously seeking a random encounter. (Random casual encounters are for Craigslist. This isn't that kind of book.) No, seeking out Player Two is more like an old-school RPG: a gradual progression that, with the right walkthrough, becomes much, much easier.

Mapping Brandon Sanderson’s Cosmere Raises So Many Questions About His Future Books

In fall of 2016 fantasy author Brandon Sanderson officially revealed in the Arcanum Unbounded collection that almost all of his books take place in a single cosmos, known as the “Cosmere”. Along with charts of each star system known about in the Cosmere (here’s an example), the book hinted that characters from the Mistborn, The Stormlight Archive, Elantris, and Warbreaker series had already begun quietly appearing on other worlds (i.e. other books) within Sanderson’s fictional universe.

These “worldhoppers” hold the secret to the larger epic underpinning Brandon Sanderson’s novels and stories, so I got curious…what do we know so far about them?

[Read more]

How Long Did The Wheel of Time’s “Endless Summer” Last?

One of the many ways the The Dark One attempts to unmake the world in Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time series is by influencing the weather. When the series begins an unnaturally long chill has pressed itself over the land, and it is broken only by the emergence of the series’ savior, The Dragon Reborn. Later on in the series, the world (or at least the part of the world that we see) is beset by an endless summer. Heat pervades, drought persists, and there is no doubt that The Dark One is doing so in an attempt to smother the denizens of the world into submission. The threat is considered so great that the advancing plot of the entire series is eventually called to a halt so that this “endless summer” can be thwarted.

Last year, New York City, and really the entire northeastern United States, experienced the hottest summer in recorded history. This endless steamroom of a season was probably what Rand, Mat, Egwene, and company had to suffer through in The Wheel of Time. As we gear up for another potential four month-long heatwave, I got to wondering: how long did the world of Jordan’s Wheel of Time have to hold out?

[Read more]

How Much Does the Star Trek: Discovery Trailer Reveal?

Oddly, we don’t actually see the U.S.S. Discovery in the first Star Trek: Discovery trailer!

The absence of the titular ship is just one of many interesting aspects hiding in the first trailer for Star Trek: Discovery, the new Star Trek show coming to CBS this fall. Although light on plot information, there are nevertheless several key visuals that promise a deep exploration of Trek lore for longtime fans of the franchise.

Let’s take a look!

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Okay, Bring Back Firefly…But Not the Crew of The Serenity

Another turn around the sun, another hope for the return of Joss Whedon’s beloved Firefly. This year’s tendril of possibility comes courtesy of a statement made by Fox Broadcasting’s President of Entertainment (what a job title!) David Madden at January’s Television Critics’ Association panel, where TV networks typically reveal the ideas they’re working on for the coming year. According to Rotten Tomatoes:

…Madden said he’d be open to a Firefly reboot if Joss Whedon himself wanted to revisit it. Madden suspects Whedon is now too busy with movies, and he would not consider doing Firefly without Whedon.

Sounds great! Except…I don’t know. Maybe it doesn’t?

[Read more]

Sci-Fi/Fantasy Classics That Would Make Great Video Games

It hit me while checking out Fred Saberhagen’s fantasy classic The Book of Swords: This should be a video game.

The Book of Swords has a great out-of-the-box premise. “For a game the gods have given the world twelve Swords of Power so that they might be amused as the nations battle for their possession. But Vulcan the Smith has had his own little joke: the Swords can kill the gods themselves.”

I would play the heck out of that game. Even more so if there were dual storylines where you could play through as a human hunting down a God-slaying sword, or a God collecting the swords before all the humans can kill you.

[Read more]

Carl Sagan Lived His Life Believing Science Belonged to All of Us

It’s difficult to put into words the kind of impact Carl Sagan has had on fans of genre fiction. The combination of his enthusiasm for science education, his patience, and his outreach made him the unique man that we honor today, and if I wrote non-stop for a year I doubt I would be able to find a way to encapsulate that.

Which is when it occurred to me that I didn’t need to do that. At the 2013 New York Comic Con I was lucky enough to get to sit in on the panel for Cosmos and heard Sagan’s wife Ann Druyan and host Neil deGrasse Tyson speak of the man they loved, the man who set the example for what they were trying to accomplish. What they spoke was deeply thoughtful and brazenly passionate, and I’d like to share that with you now.

[“…he believed that science belonged to all of us…”]

Series: On This Day

Finally a Handy Chart of the “Big 5” Book Publishers and Their Imprints

Trade book publishing is dominated by the “Big 5”: five book publishing companies that own or partner with over 100 different publishers and imprints, and who are responsible for the lion’s share of books that you see on shelves. As such, it can get confusing as to which imprint (like Tor Teen) is owned by which publisher (Tor/Forge Books) is owned by which “Big 5” company (Macmillan).

Designer and author Ali Almossawi recently collected this information into an easy online info chart, allowing curious folks to quickly identify imprints and publishers owned by the same “Big 5” company. This is publicly available information, but it can be difficult to track down in some cases. Almossawi’s chart greatly simplifies that information.

It should be noted that not all publishers are included in the chart, just the ones that are considered the five most prominent. (Harry Potter publisher Scholastic Books, for example, is not included.) So the chart should not be considered a complete representation of the book publishing industry. Nevertheless, it’s an extremely handy collection.

Dirk Gently Sneak Peek Eases the Distance Between Doctor Who and Sherlock

Check out this sneak peek from Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency, coming to BBC America on October 22nd. Fans of Doctor Who and Sherlock (Which is all of us, right? Probably all of us.) will find the rhythm of the show very familiar, as Samuel Barnett and Elijah Wood display the same appealing mix of jocularity, adorableness, and failure that you can find between Sherlock and Watson, or the Doctor and whomever he is currently taunting.

[Read more]

How Long Was the “Endless Summer” in The Wheel of Time?

One of the many ways the The Dark One attempts to unmake the world in Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time series is by influencing the weather. When the series begins an unnaturally long chill has pressed itself over the land, and it is broken only by the emergence of the series’ savior, The Dragon Reborn.

Later on in the series, the world (or at least the part of the world that we see) is beset by an endless summer. Heat pervades, drought persists, and there is no doubt that The Dark One is doing so in an attempt to smother the denizens of the world into submission. The threat is considered so great that the advancing plot of the entire series is eventually called to a halt so that this “endless summer” can be thwarted.

New York City, and really the entire northeastern United States, is still reeling from experiencing the hottest summer in recorded history. This endless steamroom of a season was probably what Rand, Mat, Egwene, and company had to suffer through in The Wheel of Time. While autumn has finally broken what felt like a four month-long heatwave here in NYC: how long did the world of Jordan’s Wheel of Time have to hold out?

[Read more]

50 Years of Star Trek People Drinking Coffee

It’s obvious to us now that Starfleet ships are not fueled by antimatter but rather, coffee.

Be it a raktajino (Klingon coffee) or just coffee–black–a surprising number of Starfleet’s finest can’t seem to function without pounding back a pint of the dark stuff before considering yet again whether to fire Chakotay.

In our eyes, Captain Janeway is the golden standard-bearer of coffee consumption in the 24th century, but she’s simply reinforcing a long tradition of Star Trek characters subsisting on coffee coffee COFFEE. Without further introduction, we present a stately walk through Starfleet’s love of the bean.

[Read more]

The Soviet Version of The Hulk is a Giant Bear With a Machine Gun

Hey, who wants to see a giant bear with a gatling gun? The answer is: everyone.

A trailer for the Russian-made movie Guardians has been lighting up the internet in the past few days, drawing comparisons to 2012’s The Avengers in regards to sheer, eyeball-widening superhero action. The plot is terrifically simple. A machine army is attacking a present-day Soviet Union (according to the press materials, although the trailer says differently!) and the government has mere days to assemble disparate Soviet/Russian superheroes into a fighting force the likes the world has never…I’m sorry I can’t hold it in anymore…THEIR HULK TURNS INTO A GIANT BEAR AND IT’S ALL I’VE EVER WANTED.

[Watch]

Winnie the Pooh and Piglet Too…at Tanagra!

Temba, his arms wide! Kira at Bashi “Winnie the Pooh and Piglet Too…at Tanagra”. Bastian, atop Falkor!*

*Yeah sorry we only have so much of the Tamarian language available so I’m subbing in human pop culture here. Anyway, I found this over on Geek Club Facebook and thought it too perfect not to share!

Update: Thank you, Tor.com commenters, for identifying the original artist of this piece as Lar DeSouza! This and many other funny sci-fi/fantasy comic illustrations can be found on his Twitter account.