Tor.com content by

Ron Hogan

What’s Missing in the Winter’s Tale Movie?

One of the first things I did after seeing the trailer for Akiva Goldsman’s adaptation of Winter’s Tale was to look it up on IMDB to see if that was really William Hurt playing Beverly’s father (it was) and then to see what else I could learn about the cast who weren’t featured in that preview. I could see Jennifer Connelly would be playing Virginia Gamely, but who’d be playing her husband, Hardesty Marratta? Who’d be playing their mutual employer, Isaac Penn, and his dim-witted arch nemesis, Craig Binky? Who’d be playing the otherworldly engineer, Jackson Mead?

It turns out none of them are listed in the cast of characters, and that makes it seem likely that the trailer isn’t just cherrypicking elements of the love story between Peter Lake and Beverly Penn for the sake of a streamlined trailer—my guess is that the film itself has jettisoned huge chunks of Mark Helprin’s 750-page novel in favor of just one of its storylines. Granted, in many ways it’s the most obvious storyline to pluck from the book, lending itself most readily to an economically viable cinematic venture. And yet I fear that, in an effort to capture “the heart of the book,” Goldsman may miss the mark rather widely.

[Dragging the mythic city back down to earth…]

Latch-key Fantasia or Noir Subversion? Nelly Reifler’s Elect H. Mouse State Judge

The first signs that something’s amiss in Nelly Reifler’s debut novel come in the opening scene, as H. Mouse sets up his ballot box in his front yard, looking up and down his street at his neighbors’ houses. “All had real outlets with real electricity,” Reifler writes, “in which you could plug real lamps that really lit up.” The houses have other things inside, as well, but it’s hard to shake that initial unease: Why do we have to specify that some things are real?

Elect H. Mouse State Judge unfolds perhaps not so much like a dream, but like a perverse playdate with the contents of a 1970s toy box dumped onto the floor. When H. Mouse’s two daughters are kidnapped by a religious cult modeled after Mattel’s Sunshine Family dolls, he can’t call the police—an official investigation would halt the election and derail his judgeship—so he turns to Barbie and Ken, private investigators/freelance enforcers who spend most of their downtime having sex with each other by popping off their partner’s heads and limbs and sticking their hands in the holes as Skipper, left to her own devices, watches…

[Read more]

Series: Genre in the Mainstream

Moebius, Kirby, and a Heavy Dose of Manga: The New Graphic Novel at Book Expo America 2013

BookExpo America, the annual trade show highlighting the publishing industry’s plans for fall and winter seasons, was held at Manhattan’s Javits Center last week, and among all the other things I did over those four days, I sat in on a panel discussion on “The New Graphic Novel” hosted by Publishers Weekly senior news editor—and PW Comics World co-editor—Calvin Reid.

[Moebius and Jack Kirby and manga and…]

“This Is A Strange Town”: Hemlock Grove, Episodes 1-3

When I reviewed Brian McGreevey’s Hemlock Grove last year, I described the novel as “a post-Lynchian melodrama,” a blurring of the line between Gothic and prime-time soap opera that, two decades after Twin Peaks, didn’t have to worry about audiences being confused by the intrusion of the uncanny. In a way, it’s actually just a natural extension of the melodrama—to crib from myself, “a genre of failed repression, [where] the harder you try to cover up the sins or the traumas of the past… the more damage they will cause when they finally erupt.”

The announcement that Hemlock Grove would be a 13-episode Netflix series came right around the time of the novel’s release, and I’ve been curious to see how McGreevey’s soap opera dynamic would play out on the screen. Well, all 13 episodes were released Friday, and I’ve had a chance to watch the first three, which I’ll share some quick thoughts about now… and, over the next week or so, we’ll catch up to the rest. A word of caution: I’ve definitely got spoilers for episodes 1-3; the comments are likely to reveal things from even later in the series. (Heck, I might not even read the comments until I’ve got a few more episodes under my belt….)

[“I brought evil into our house!”]

The Human Division Read-Along, Episode 13: “Earth Below, Sky Above”

Welcome to the final installment of the Tor.com read-along for John Scalzi’s The Human Division—each week, as a new episode in this serialized novel was released, we’ve used this space to talk about how you think the story’s going so far and discuss your theories about where it might be headed. We’ve also gotten behind-the-scenes info from Scalzi, as well as the occasional insight from his editor Patrick Nielsen Hayden, too.

And though I strove to err on the side of caution when I talked about each episode’s plot points, this read-along was meant to be a zone where people who have already read the story could talk about it with each other. There were spoilers.

And there are going to be even more spoilers as we dig into the final episode: “Earth Below, Sky Above.”

[Now that’s a season finale…]

Series: The Human Division

The Human Division Read-Along, Episode 12: “The Gentle Art of Cracking Heads”

Welcome to the Tor.com read-along for John Scalzi’s The Human Division—each week, as a new episode in this serialized novel is released, you can use this space to talk about how you think the story’s going so far and put forward your theories about where it might be headed. You’ll also get behind-the-scenes info from Scalzi, as well as the occasional insight from his editor Patrick Nielsen Hayden… and maybe a few other special guest stars along the way.

Warning: Although I’ll strive to err on the side of caution when I talk about each episode’s plot points, this read-along is meant to be a zone where people who have already read the story can talk about it with each other. Expect spoilers.

Okay, then! Let’s talk about Episode 12, “The Gentle Art of Cracking Heads.”

[We all found the Trek easter egg, right?]

Series: The Human Division

The Human Division Read-Along, Episode 11: “A Problem of Proportion”

Welcome to the Tor.com read-along for John Scalzi’s The Human Division—each week, as a new episode in this serialized novel is released, you can use this space to talk about how you think the story’s going so far and put forward your theories about where it might be headed. You’ll also get behind-the-scenes info from Scalzi, as well as the occasional insight from his editor Patrick Nielsen Hayden… and maybe a few other special guest stars along the way.

Warning: Although I’ll strive to err on the side of caution when I talk about each episode’s plot points, this read-along is meant to be a zone where people who have already read the story can talk about it with each other. Expect spoilers.

Okay, then! Let’s talk about Episode 11, “A Problem of Proportion.”

[Break out the emergency box of tissues…]

The Human Division Read-Along, Episode 10: “This Must Be The Place”

Welcome to the Tor.com read-along for John Scalzi’s The Human Division—each week, as a new episode in this serialized novel is released, you can use this space to talk about how you think the story’s going so far and put forward your theories about where it might be headed. You’ll also get behind-the-scenes info from Scalzi, as well as the occasional insight from his editor Patrick Nielsen Hayden… and maybe a few other special guest stars along the way.

Warning: Although I’ll strive to err on the side of caution when I talk about each episode’s plot points, this read-along is meant to be a zone where people who have already read the story can talk about it with each other. Expect spoilers.

Okay, then! Let’s talk about Episode 10, “This Must Be the Place.”

[Who’s Hart Schmidt when he’s not on the Clarke?]

Series: The Human Division

The Human Division Read-Along, Episode 9: “The Observers”

Welcome to the Tor.com read-along for John Scalzi’s The Human Division—each week, as a new episode in this serialized novel is released, you can use this space to talk about how you think the story’s going so far and put forward your theories about where it might be headed. You’ll also get behind-the-scenes info from Scalzi, as well as the occasional insight from his editor Patrick Nielsen Hayden… and maybe a few other special guest stars along the way.

Warning: Although I’ll strive to err on the side of caution when I talk about each episode’s plot points, this read-along is meant to be a zone where people who have already read the story can talk about it with each other. Expect spoilers.

Okay, then! Let’s talk about Episode 9, “The Observers.”

[It’s like Philo Vance… IN SPACE!]

Series: The Human Division

The Human Division Read-Along, Episode 8: “The Sound of Rebellion”

Welcome to the Tor.com read-along for John Scalzi’s The Human Division—each week, as a new episode in this serialized novel is released, you can use this space to talk about how you think the story’s going so far and put forward your theories about where it might be headed. You’ll also get behind-the-scenes info from Scalzi, as well as the occasional insight from his editor Patrick Nielsen Hayden… and maybe a few other special guest stars along the way.

Warning: Although I’ll strive to err on the side of caution when I talk about each episode’s plot points, this read-along is meant to be a zone where people who have already read the story can talk about it with each other. Expect spoilers.

Okay, then! Let’s talk about Episode 8, “The Sound of Rebellion.”

[Three CDF soldiers walk into a hofbrauhaus…]

Series: The Human Division

The Human Division Read-Along, Episode 7: “The Dog King”

Welcome to the Tor.com read-along for John Scalzi’s The Human Division—each week, as a new episode in this serialized novel is released, you can use this space to talk about how you think the story’s going so far and put forward your theories about where it might be headed. You’ll also get behind-the-scenes info from Scalzi, as well as the occasional insight from his editor Patrick Nielsen Hayden… and maybe a few other special guest stars along the way.

Warning: Although I’ll strive to err on the side of caution when I talk about each episode’s plot points, this read-along is meant to be a zone where people who have already read the story can talk about it with each other. Expect spoilers.

Okay, then! Let’s talk about Episode 7, “The Dog King.”

[Tragedy tomorrow, comedy tonight!]

Series: The Human Division

The Human Division Read-Along, Episode 6: “The Back Channel”

Welcome to the Tor.com read-along for John Scalzi’s The Human Division—each week, as a new episode in this serialized novel is released, you can use this space to talk about how you think the story’s going so far and put forward your theories about where it might be headed. You’ll also get behind-the-scenes info from Scalzi, as well as the occasional insight from his editor Patrick Nielsen Hayden… and maybe a few other special guest stars along the way.

Warning: Although I’ll strive to err on the side of caution when I talk about each episode’s plot points, this read-along is meant to be a zone where people who have already read the story can talk about it with each other. Expect spoilers.

Okay, then! Let’s talk about Episode 6, “The Back Channel.”

[All Systems Are Gau!]

Series: The Human Division

The Human Division Read-Along, Episode 5: “Tales from the Clarke

Welcome to the Tor.com read-along for John Scalzi’s The Human Division—each week, as a new episode in this serialized novel is released, you can use this space to talk about how you think the story’s going so far and put forward your theories about where it might be headed. You’ll also get behind-the-scenes info from Scalzi, as well as the occasional insight from his editor Patrick Nielsen Hayden… and maybe a few other special guest stars along the way.

Warning: Although I’ll strive to err on the side of caution when I talk about each episode’s plot points, this read-along is meant to be a zone where people who have already read the story can talk about it with each other. Expect spoilers.

Okay, then! Let’s talk about Episode 5, “Tales from the Clarke.”

[Jack Ryan… IN SPACE!]

Series: The Human Division

The Human Division Read-Along, Episode 4: “A Voice in the Wilderness”

Welcome to the Tor.com read-along for John Scalzi’s The Human Division—each week, as a new episode in this serialized novel is released, you can use this space to talk about how you think the story’s going so far and put forward your theories about where it might be headed. You’ll also get behind-the-scenes info from Scalzi, as well as the occasional insight from his editor Patrick Nielsen Hayden… and maybe a few other special guest stars along the way.

Warning: Although I’ll strive to err on the side of caution when I talk about each episode’s plot points, this read-along is meant to be a zone where people who have already read the story can talk about it with each other. Expect spoilers.

Okay, then! Let’s talk about Episode 4, “A Voice in the Wilderness.”

[It’s the future of talk radio!]

Series: The Human Division

The Human Division Read-Along: Episode 3: “We Only Need the Heads”

Welcome to the Tor.com read-along for John Scalzi’s The Human Division—each week, as a new episode in this serialized novel is released, you can use this space to talk about how you think the story’s going so far and put forward your theories about where it might be headed. You’ll also get behind-the-scenes info from Scalzi, as well as the occasional insight from his editor Patrick Nielsen Hayden… and maybe a few other special guest stars along the way.

Warning: Although I’ll strive to err on the side of caution when I talk about each episode’s plot points, this read-along is meant to be a zone where people who have already read the story can talk about it with each other. Expect spoilers.

Okay, then! Let’s talk about Episode 3: “We Only Need the Heads.”

[“Space: It’s FANTASTIC.”]

Series: The Human Division