Tor.com content by

Justin Landon

Notes from the Shadowed City by Jeffrey Alan Love

There is imagination, the raw unformed stuff between the ears. And there is interpretation, the ability to condense the things we see and put it on the page. An artist does these things as a matter of course. They take the raw chaos and make it into something real, something tangible. There’s a lot of fiddly bits in between the chaos and the tangible, but that’s basically it.

This exercise of creation is not such a rare thing. Or, at least not as rare as we might want to believe it is. Most often it is couched within terms we know, boundaries we understand, rules and forms that comfort. Comfort allows us to see what the artist sees, to appreciate their interpretation. Most. Not all. Sometimes the exercise of art shatters the confines of the expected. It exposes us to that imagining, but also forces us to interpret it for ourselves. I would argue that’s more powerful. Such it is with Notes from the Shadowed City, a book of illustration and prose pulled from the mind of Jeffrey Alan Love.

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Five Reasons Robert Charles Wilson’s Spin is an SF Classic

Welcome to the Tor.com eBook Club! November’s pick is Spin, the first book in a sci-fi trilogy from Robert Charles Wilson. You have until Monday, November 7th to get your FREE ebook copy—but first, here’s what makes this Hugo award-winning novel stand out from the pack!

In the first Superman film, our hero flies around the Earth with such speed that it alters the rotation of the planet and begins to turn back time. This scene wouldn’t leave me alone as I read Robert Charles Wilson’s Spin for the second time. The book begins when three children witness the stars disappearing from the sky. The Earth, now encased inside a bubble, is thrust out of time, slowed to the point that for every year on Earth, millions pass outside the bubble or, as they call it, the Spin.

Wilson grounds his phenomenon in scientific terms, but I could not help but think of the Spin as Superman, flying along the equator, slowing down time to a crawl. I can’t imagine that’s what the author had in mind, but such is the beauty of reading. We bring what we will to the text.

Although the science fictional conceit is central to the plot, which follows the unraveling of who put the Spin in place around the Earth and why, Spin is actually more a family drama than science fictional adventure. Tyler Dupree and Diane and Jason Lawton watch the stars go out from the sky together. Through Jason’s father, E.D. Lawton, the trio find themselves at ground zero of humanity’s response to the Spin and our climb to free ourselves from its clutches.

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Rocket Talk Episode 81: Drew Magary and Jared Shurin

Welcome back to the Rocket Talk podcast!

Deadspin superstar Drew Magary joins Justin to talk about his new novel, The Hike. Jumping into the conversation is Drew Magary superfan, Jared Shurin of Pornokitsch. The trio discuss the intersection of sports and literature, the television show Chopped, Donald Trump, and a smattering of other things.

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Series: Rocket Talk: A Tor.com Podcast

Rocket Talk Episode 78: Netflix’s Voltron Remake

Welcome back to the Rocket Talk podcast! We’ve got an exciting episode this week as we’re joined by Lauren Montgomery and Joaquim dos Santos—the co-showrunners of the new Netflix show Voltron Legendary Defender! Together we discusses the new show, what attracted them to work on it, and some of the choices they made in remaking an 80s’ icon.

Season 1 is available now on Netflix!

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Series: Rocket Talk: A Tor.com Podcast

Rocket Talk Episode 77: Does Hamilton Count as Genre?

Welcome back to the Rocket Talk podcast! We’ve got some tremendous shows coming in the weeks ahead. So stay tuned!

This week’s show features Rocket Talk regular, Amal El-Mohtar. She joins Justin Landon to talk about Hamilton, the musical cultural sensation. The pair discuss what makes the musical so great, how it’s impacting the discussion, and whether or not it qualifies as “genre”. [Read more]

Series: Rocket Talk: A Tor.com Podcast

Rocket Talk Episode 76: Myke Cole and Isaac Fitzgerald

Welcome back to the Rocket Talk podcast! We apologize for a few weeks delay, but two recordings had to be discarded due to bad audio. Nevertheless, we return in fine fashion!

This episode brings fantasy writing standout Myke Cole back to the show and welcomes BuzzFeed Books Editor, Isaac Fitzgerald for the first time. Isaac gives us the straight dope on BuzzFeed’s mission and breaks down their approach to content. Myke and Isaac then start a conversation about the intersection of genre fiction and general fiction in the modern cultural environment. Finally, Myke convinces you to buy his book.

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Series: Rocket Talk: A Tor.com Podcast

Rocket Talk Episode 75: ESPN’s Keith Law

Welcome back to the Rocket Talk podcast!

This episode brings ESPN baseball writer Keith Law to the show. Keith is a dedicated fiction reader, who is slowly working his way through all of the Hugo Award-winning novels. The pair discuss his work in baseball, his general love of fiction, what science fiction is all about, and other things here and there.

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Series: Rocket Talk: A Tor.com Podcast

Rocket Talk Episode 74: Charlie Jane Anders

Welcome back to the Rocket Talk podcast!

Charlie Jane Anders visits the show this week, talking about her new novel All the Birds in the Sky. The conversation covers her ideas about the intersection of literary and genre fiction, her fascination with time, and whether or not she’ll listen to Hamilton before seeing it live. The two also discuss Anders’ long running Writers With Drinks series in San Francisco, among other things.

[Listen to Rocket Talk]

Series: Rocket Talk: A Tor.com Podcast

Rocket Talk Episode 73: V.E. Schwab and Miriam Weinberg

Welcome back to the Rocket Talk podcast!

This week, Justin is joined by V.E. Schwab and Miriam Weinberg, the author and editor team behind  A Darker Shade of Magic and its forthcoming sequel A Gathering of Shadows. They talk about their editorial relationship, Schwab’s path to publication, and the thoughts that went into creating the sensation that the series has become.

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Series: Rocket Talk: A Tor.com Podcast

Rocket Talk Episode 72: Robert Jackson Bennett

Welcome back to the Rocket Talk podcast!

This week, Robert Jackson Bennett invites Justin to his favorite restaurant. They share a sumptuous meal together, with wine and fine conversation. Their waiter, Giuseppe, comes by the table from time to time. The conversation itself covers Robert’s intentions with his new novel, City of Blades, his use of third person present, and Donald Trump.

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Series: Rocket Talk: A Tor.com Podcast

Rocket Talk Episode 70: Megan O’Keefe

Welcome back to the Rocket Talk podcast!

The podcast took some time off off to recharge the batteries, but we’re back and ready to go. This week, Justin is joined by Angry Robot author Megan O’Keefe, whose debut novel Steal the Sky was published earlier this month. The conversation covers her path to publication, Reddit, and soap making, among other things.

Additionally, we’re starting a new segment on Rocket Talk in which Justin reviews a book or short story at the end of every episode. This week’s title is Stina Leicht’s Cold Iron.

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Series: Rocket Talk: A Tor.com Podcast

A Risky Adaptation: Syfy’s The Expanse

Google is an amazing resource. For example, searching “define adaptation” quickly yields: a change or the process of change by which an organism or species becomes better suited to its environment. Also, a film about a confused L.A. screenwriter overwhelmed by feelings of inadequacy, sexual frustration, self-loathing, and the screenwriting ambitions of his freeloading twin brother Donald.

God damn it, Donald.

Spike Jonze and Charlie Kaufman knew something when they made Adaptation (2002), because the adaptation of James S.A. Corey’s Expanse novels into The Expanse television series from Syfy is fraught with expectation. And, of course, with expectation comes the fear of failure, inadequacy if you will, and, perhaps, sexual frustration. Nothing hurts the libido more than nerves, after all.

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