Tor.com content by

Chuck Wendig

Fiction and Excerpts [4]
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Fiction and Excerpts [4]

Invasive

|| Hannah Stander is a consultant for the FBI—a futurist who helps the Agency with cases that feature demonstrations of bleeding-edge technology. Her latest case is a horrifying murder that points to the impossible—someone weaponizing the natural world in a most unnatural way.

“The Forever Endeavor” (Excerpt)

"The Forever Endeavor," is a serialized story by Chuck Wendig, published digitally by Fireside Magazine. The story is about a man who finds a very special box with a very special button that does a—well, obviously, a very special thing...

Five Books With Birds in Their Titles

The Miriam Black books are known in part for their titles, which always contain birds—because, of course, Miriam develops the ability over the course of the books to inhabit the minds of birds. (That, in addition to her normal psychic powers, which are to see how people are going to die and how to mystically figure out the meanest and most profane thing to say at any given time.) Usually I joke that if I write enough of these books, I’ll end up with Book 17: Booby Nuthatch or Book 23: Rough-Faced Shag. (Actually, wait, that last one is a pretty good title. I call dibs. Dibs!)

So, it seemed appropriate to recommend a list of books whose titles contain some manner of birdliness. (Which I know is not a word, shut up.) Initially, I wasn’t certain I’d be able to pull enough of these out of my hat, but about three minutes into it I had a list that was over ten books long, so I’m going to cheat here and add a handful of unofficial entries to the list: Leigh Bargudo’s Six of Crows, Maggie Stiefvater’s The Raven Cycle books, Seanan McGuire’s Sparrow Hill Road, Daniel O’Malley’s The Rook, plus some classics: Still Life With Woodpecker, A Feast for Crows, To Kill A Mockingbird, Harry Potter and the Goslings of Revenge. Pretty sure that last one is the best in the Harry Potter series, if we’re being honest with each other.

Anyway! Onto the list.

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Series: Five Books About…

Invasive

Hannah Stander is a consultant for the FBI—a futurist who helps the Agency with cases that feature demonstrations of bleeding-edge technology. It’s her job to help them identify unforeseen threats: hackers, AIs, genetic modification, anything that in the wrong hands could harm the homeland.

Hannah is in an airport, waiting to board a flight home to see her family, when she receives a call from Agent Hollis Copper. “I’ve got a cabin full of over a thousand dead bodies,” he tells her. Whether those bodies are all human, he doesn’t say.

What Hannah finds is a horrifying murder that points to the impossible—someone weaponizing the natural world in a most unnatural way. Discovering who—and why—will take her on a terrifying chase from the Arizona deserts to the secret island laboratory of a billionaire inventor/philanthropist. Hannah knows there are a million ways the world can end, but she just might be facing one she could never have predicted—a new threat both ancient and cutting-edge that could wipe humanity off the earth.

Chuck Wendig’s Invasive is available August 16th from Harper Voyager.

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Five Books That Prove Mankind Shouldn’t Play With Technology

Technology is amazing. Our lives are driven by it—and made better by it. Smartphones! Solar power! Google (er, sorry, Alphabet?)! Sex toys that connect to the Internet! Remote control quadcopter drones that can spy on our neighbors and deliver packages—and deliver Gandalf to Mordor. (Pretty sure that’s how it happened. I haven’t read LOTR in a while, sorry.)

But tech can go the wrong way, too. Nuclear power can instead mean nuclear bombs. We can genetically modify new foods to feed the world, or engineer a new plague to destroy it. Even something so simple as fire can be used to cook food or burn down your enemy’s house.

In fiction, we are used to seeing the dark side of technology because ultimately, that’s what fiction does: fiction doesn’t work very well when everything is shiny and happy. We need conflict and drama and all the foods that feed the reader. The important thing to note is that these books aren’t anti-technology or anti-science—they are, instead, acknowledging that human influence can be a corrupting influence.

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Series: Five Books About…

Giving a Story Room to Breathe: Joe Hill’s NOS4A2

As storytellers we’re led to believe that people don’t have attention spans anymore. That their patience is blown out like the elastic in an old pair of tighty-whities. We’re cautioned to give readers no time to bow out. We have to grab them by their short-and-curlies right out of the gate or they’ll bail after five pages to go take a dirty Snapchat of themselves Vine-ing their latest game of Candy Crush.

And so we caution one another as writers to begin fast, go in hard, start with action. In the first five pages we need mystery and karate and explosions, maybe a car chase or three. Gotta be bodies on the ground. Fire in the jungle. Apocalyptic fol-de-rol. The promise of the premise punched into the brain of the reader. (This is told to screenwriters, too, though folks seem to forget that even with a high-octane damn-near-perfect action movie like Die Hard we get a whole first act full of toe exercises, domestic tension, and corporate socializing, devoid of Gruber-led terrorists.)

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Series: That Was Awesome! Writers on Writing

“The Forever Endeavor” (Excerpt)

Check out “The Forever Endeavor,” a new serialized story by Chuck Wendig, published digitally by Fireside Magazine. On his blog, Wendig writes,  “that story […] is about a man who finds a very special box with a very special button that does a—well, obviously, a very special thing.”

Read part one of “The Forever Endeavor” below, and check out part two in Issue 5 of Fireside!

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Gods and Monsters: Unclean Spirits (Excerpt)

Take a look at Chuck Wendig’s new novel, Gods and Monsters: Unclean Spirits, out on May 7 from Abbadon Books:

Five years ago, it all went wrong for Cason Cole. He lost his wife and son, lost everything, and was bound into service to a man who chews up human lives and spits them out, a predator who holds nothing dear and respects no law. Now, as the man he both loves and hates lies dying at his feet, the sounds of the explosion still ringing in his ears, Cason is finally free. The gods and goddesses are real. A polytheistic pantheon—a tangle of divine hierarchies—once kept the world at an arm’s length, warring with one another for mankind’s belief and devotion. It was a grim and bloody balance, but a balance just the same. When one god triumphed, driving all other gods out of Heaven, it was back to the bad old days: cults and sycophants, and the terrible retribution the gods visit on those who spite them. None of which is going to stop Cason from getting back what’s his…

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