Tor.com content by

Justin Landon

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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The Expanse’s Line in the Sand: Caliban’s War

I was surprised when SyFy decided to launch The Expanse with the story from Leviathan Wakes. Although Leviathan Wakes is the first book in the Expanse series by James S.A. Corey, it also unquestionably the weakest book in the series. Its plot is a bit absurd and it lacks perspective, not to mention the characters aren’t terribly interesting. Instead, I hoped it would begin with Caliban’s War, which I have called the best science fiction novel of the millennium, cramming the events of the first novel in through flashbacks or info dumps.

But the pilot episode makes it clear the show will do the opposite: In bringing Chrisjen Avasarala on immediately, despite the fact she never appears in Leviathan Wakes, they are sort of cramming the events of Caliban’s War into the opening salvo. Avasarala introduces the viewer to the larger conflict between Martians, Belters, and Earthers, which is central to the series at large, but is backgrounded in Leviathan Wakes. This is necessary. This is good. Avasarala is a brilliant character, with richer layers than either of the main characters: Jim Holden and Detective Miller. Her inclusion in the first season of the television show bodes well for how Caliban’s War, the second novel in the Expanse series, will be incorporated into the small screen narrative. But, it doesn’t tell us everything.

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Rocket Talk Episode 69: Kate Elliott and Emma Newman

Welcome back to the Rocket Talk podcast!

This week’s episode features fantasy and science fiction authors Kate Elliott and Emma Newman. Having read both of their most recent novels, Justin asks them about what it’s like to write aged characters and what kinds of resistance exists in society to hearing those stories. They also discuss the rarity of anxiety disorders in fiction.
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Series: Rocket Talk: A Tor.com Podcast

Rocket Talk Episode 68: Patrick S. Tomlinson

Welcome back to the Rocket Talk podcast!

This week’s episode features Patrick S. Tomlinson, the author of The Ark from Angry Robot Books. The pair discuss the current status of Milwaukee as a cultural hot bed, the dearth of humor in science fiction and fantasy, and what Tomlinson was trying to accomplish in his new novel. Warning: mild sports talk.
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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 Jonez 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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Rereading Joe Abercrombie’s First Law Trilogy, Last Argument of Kings: “After the Rains” and “Answers”

Well, my dear friends, we are rapidly approaching the end of this epic reread that has taken far too long to complete. This week is probably the last time I’ll do these paired chapter formats because the chapters get increasingly short from here on out. Answers to questions are coming fast and furious, although I suspect we will not learn the answer to the most important question of all.

On this this week’s chapters!

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Series: The Joe Abercrombie First Law Trilogy Reread

Rocket Talk Episode 67: Matt Wallace and Kameron Hurley

Welcome back to the Rocket Talk podcast!

Justin is visited by authors Matt Wallace and Kameron Hurley. The trio discuss the current status of Southern California, professional wrestling, reality television, and Playboy‘s decision to nix nudity. They even manage to make it all relevant to genre publishing and their recent releases, Envy of Angels and Empire Ascendant, respectively.
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Series: Rocket Talk: A Tor.com Podcast

Rereading Joe Abercrombie’s First Law Trilogy, Last Argument of Kings: “Open the Box”, “Dark Paths”, and “Reckonings”

I promised three chapters this week and I will deliver! For brevity’s sake though, I’m going to keep the summaries pretty short. Thankfully there’s quite a bit of combat type stuff in these three and that generally means shorter recaps.

I also think it’s important to point out that I am now going to work while it’s still dark outside. This is one of the great crimes in American labor. It makes Bayaz’ law breaking minor in comparison. So say we all.

On to this week’s chapters!

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Series: The Joe Abercrombie First Law Trilogy Reread

Rereading Joe Abercrombie’s First Law Trilogy, Last Argument of Kings: “Sacrifices”

Point of personal privilege. Last week, the literary program draft for ConFusion 2016 was due. This is a somewhat nonevent for 99.9999% of the population, but a rather significant one for me. I’ve been tasked with chairing said program. So, I’ve been furiously writing panels and the like. This has meant less reread time.

But, more awesome thinking about stuff time, which means that ConFusion 2016 is going to kick ass. It’s already one of the best local cons in the country, but this year will be particularly impressive. Guests like Alaya Dawn Johnson, Ann Leckie, Kelley Armstrong, and agent Cameron McClure headline the event, but dozens of stand-out writers will be there like John Scalzi, Cherie Priest, Victoria Schwab, Brian McClellan, Wesley Chu, Jim Hines, Diana Rowland, Kameron Hurley, Tobias Buckell, and many, many more. I’d encourage any of you to check it out and see if you’d be able to attend. You won’t regret it.

While you consider that, and forgive me for being less prolific in my rereading, check out this week’s chapter.

[“Sacrifices”]

Series: The Joe Abercrombie First Law Trilogy Reread

Rereading Joe Abercrombie’s First Law Trilogy, Last Argument of Kings: “Questions” and “The Day of Judgement”

Remember that promise that I wouldn’t miss anymore weeks after my long break? I’m sorry! I have a really good excuse. Speaker John Boehner resigned last week and it absolutely decimated my attention for anything else. I work a politically associated field, and I spent the rest of the week figuring out who is likely to succeed him. As I trolled through the delegation to find the answer, I was finding myself looking at a lot of folks who reminded me of Bayaz, a few whom called up associates to Jezal, and one-or-two that might be best put alongside Glokta. Sadly, I found few even as well oriented for the job as Collem West might be.

It was at this point that I realized, that like the characters in the First Law Trilogy are not qualified to be magnanimous leaders, there not be any leaders in Congress ready to assume the Speaker’s gavel in the House of Representatives. Of course, then I found myself considering the American political system as a classic case of grimdark. I think this analogy may hit disconcertingly close to the truth.

[On to this week’s chapters.]

Series: The Joe Abercrombie First Law Trilogy Reread

Rocket Talk Episode 65: Amal El-Mohtar and Kameron Hurley

Welcome back to the Rocket Talk podcast!

Recently released from Tor, Seth Dickinson’s The Traitor Baru Cormorant has spawned a multitude of reactions across the genre community. Amal El-Mohtar and Kameron Hurley join Justin on Rocket Talk to discuss how this response reflects a larger conversation: how has social media and online book discussion impacted how we engage one another in dialogue about the things we love? It’s an honest and riveting conversation that doesn’t shy from controversial subjects.

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Series: Rocket Talk: A Tor.com Podcast