Tor.com content by

Leah Schnelbach

The VanderMeers Fully Fund The Octavia Project for 2017

The Octavia Project has just announced that their 2017 programming will be funded by none other than Ann and Jeff VanderMeer! The Octavia Project is a free summer program that teaches girls about science and technology using science fiction and fantasy. Founded in Brooklyn in 2014, it offers programs to girls from underserved communities both to help them acquire solid 21st Century skills, and to foster a love of SFF, and was “created to honor, support, and celebrate the imaginations of black and brown girls in Brooklyn, immigrant girls, and LGBTQ youth.”

The VanderMeers will be funding OP through VanderMeer Creative, and in addition to fiscal support, they’re offering “an all-expense paid scholarship (including air travel) to one 2017 Octavia Project participant to attend their summer writing intensive Shared Worlds at Wofford College in South Carolina in 2018.”

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George R.R. Martin Gives Updates on The Winds of Winter and Picks His Favorite Warriors

George R.R. Martin attended the Guadalajara International Book Fair and discussed his progress on The Winds of Winter, and Uproxx shared some highlights! Be warned: things are only getting bleaker. He also made an important choice, ranking the three fighters he would choose if he ever needed to engage in trial by combat.

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Jeff and Ann VanderMeer Announce a New Anthology, The Big Book of Classic Fantasy

Jeff and Ann VanderMeer are following up their Big Book of Science Fiction with another behemoth of an anthology: The Big Book of Classic Fantasy! The book, which is currently scheduled for a 2018 release, will include works from about 1850 up to World War II. This will be the pair’s fourth anthology, after The Big Book of Science Fiction, The Time Traveler’s Almanac, and The Weird, which won a World Fantasy Award for Best Anthology in 2012.

Jeff VanderMeer announced the new book on his blog, saying, “Will this anthology include not just your favorite classics from the English language, but also translations from all over the world? Yes. Will it include never-before-translated new stories? Yes. Will it include the best of the Decadents and the Surrealists in a fantastical vein? Oh yes, most certainly. We hope to widen our net on the translation side, focusing on areas of the world that have been underrepresented in prior anthologies.”

The VanderMeers will be working with editor Tim O’Connell and editorial consultant Dominik Parisien. You can learn more about the upcoming anthology over at Jeff Vandermeer’s blog.

Did You Win NaNoWriMo? Let Agent Eric Smith Guide You Through Your Next Steps!

We’ve reached the shining light at the end of another NaNoWriMo! How did everyone do? Does anyone have a complete novel burning a hole in a desk drawer/Dropbox? Before you start querying agents, we have some advice from agent and author Eric Smith about your next steps that will strengthen your book and give you a better shot at finding the best agent for your work.

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The Wild Cards Have a New Home on the Web!

George R.R. Martin took to his Not a Blog to announce some great news: Wild Cards has a new website! The new online home includes sample stories, character biographies, author Q&As, games, and a blog. Martin says “There’s tons of content there, and we hope to be adding more regularly. Head on over and explore, and mark it down as a place to visit regularly. And of course we’d love to hear your thoughts. What do you think of the place, and what would you like to see us add in the future?”

For those new to the game, Wild Cards is a series of shared universe anthologies featuring science fiction superheroes. The series is primarily set in an alternate history version of the United States, in which some humans have contracted the alien “Wild Card virus,” which causes mutations ranging from utter incapacitating physical conditions (Jokers) to superpowers (Aces).

The series began when Martin acted as gamemaster for a long-running campaign of an RPG called Superworld. He and some of his fellow players enjoyed he world of the game so much they decided to develop it into a series of short stories, and the first book, Wild Cards, was released in January 1987. Twenty-three books have been published in the series as of August, 2016, and a future triad of books is being written for release through Tor Books.

Head on over to Wild Cards World to check out the new content!

[via Not a Blog]

The Morning in Publishing: November 30th, 2016

Great news for cryptographers and fans of fantastical plants: this month, Yale University Press released the first complete photo facsimile of The Voynich Manuscript! This book is a centuries-old, lushly illustrated, densely coded alchemical treatise…unless it’s all a hoax. It was acquired by an antiquarian bookseller named Wilfrid M. Voynich in 1912, who spent years attempting to decode the text and find meaning in the 113 plant illustrations. After Yale University bought the book in 1969, they released it online in 2004, and finally uploaded higher resolution images in 2014, which led to the book becoming something of a cult hit. Now you can purchase your own painstakingly recreated version, complete with essays on alchemy and cryptography that will prove illuminating, even if you can’t truly understand the meaning of the Manuscript itself. Now, join us back in the present for a roundup of publishing news!

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Dive into the Incredible Worldbuilding of Studio Ghibli!

Photographer Asher Isbrucker recently posted a great exploration of Studio Ghibli’s filmography called “The Immersive Realism of Studio Ghibli.” While Ghibli’s films have become legendary because of their complex characters and iconic fantasy creatures like Totoro and No-Face, Isbrucker looks beyond the obvious stars of the films to focus on the background. By looking at tiny details like storefronts, light quality, and even how different characters run, Isbrucker shows us an often overlooked aspect of Ghibli’s worldbuilding.

Click through for the full video, but be sure to set some time aside for a Ghibli marathon, because you’re going to want to watch Spirited Away again after you see this.

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Frederik Pohl Made Doing Literally Everything Look Easy

Frederik Pohl was one of those people who seem to make up the constellations of science fiction, a man who seemed to live five or six different lives in the time most of us only live one.

He was born in 1919, and his family travelled constantly in his early childhood, before his family settled in Brooklyn. He co-founded The Futurians, and belonged to that group as well as the Young Communist League during the 1930s. He left the Communists in 1939, joined the Army in 1943, and remained a sci-fi fan throughout. After World War II he worked as a writer, editor, and SF literary agent. He was married five times and had four children. He did, almost literally, everything.

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A Definitive Ranking of Every MST3K Short

This post was originally published on November 17, 2015, but since MST3K is an eternal joy, we wanted to share it with you one more time. It’s our way of thanking you, the reader, for teaching us to laugh about love…again. Also, please be advised that the annual Mystery Science Theater 3000 Turkey Day Marathon will return tomorrow at noon, featuring new intro segments from Joel Hodgson and the host of the upcoming return of MST3K, Jonah Ray, and giving you a perfect excuse to duck out of uncomfortable conversations with relatives. For more information on streaming the marathon, click here. For more information about Screaming Skulls, click here. Now, on with the post!

Since the return of MST3K is a lock at this point (and some classic episodes are coming out on Rifftrax, too!) my fellow MSTies are going to be faced with a daunting task: we need a way to indoctrinate our non-MSTie friends. Compared to most cult-inspiring TV shows, MST3K is a shambling beast. They’re all two hours long! And you have to navigate which host to go with, whether TV’s Frank is there, Corbett vs. Beaulieu… it gets complicated. The best way I’ve found to avoid all of those issues is to show people the shorts. They’re quick, the hosts don’t matter as much, and they’re so deeply weird that they make for a pure, concentrated does of MST3K. To that end, I have compiled a definitive wholly subjective ranking of almost every short!

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Did We Come Across Town For This? Revisiting A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving

A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving is the least of the Big Three Peanuts holiday specials. The Peanuts Gang’s take on Halloween gave us The Great Pumpkin, and A Charlie Brown Christmas became the standard by which all other Christmas specials were judged. When the Gang tackled Thanksgiving, however, there just wasn’t as much to dig into.

Or so I remembered.

But when I rewatched this one I found that the show packed a surprising amount of depth in between all the Snoopy shenanigans and toast-buttering montages. In fact if you look closely enough, I think you might find a statement about what it means to be an American.

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