Tor.com content by

Seth Dickinson

Fiction and Excerpts [3]
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Fiction and Excerpts [3]

Please Undo This Hurt

, || Ever feel like you care too much? After a breakup, after the funeral…it feels like the way to win at life is to care the least. That's not an option for Dominga, an EMT who cares too much, or her drinking buddy Nico, who just lost his poor cat. Life hurts. They drink. They talk: Nico's tired of hurting people. He wants out. Not suicide, not that — he'd just hurt everyone who loves him. But what if he could erase his whole life? Undo the fact of his birth? Wouldn't Dominga be having a better night, right now, if she didn't have to take care of him? And when Dominga finds a way to do just that, when she is gifted or armed with a terrible cosmic mercy, she still cares enough to say: I am not letting him have this. I am not letting Nico go without a fight.

The Traitor Baru Cormorant, Chapter 2

|| Baru Cormorant believes any price is worth paying to liberate her people-even her soul. When the Empire of Masks conquers her island home, overwrites her culture, criminalizes her customs, and murders one of her fathers, Baru vows to swallow her hate, join the Empire's civil service, and claw her way high enough to set her people free.

I Tell Lies About Last Song Before Night

Stories about truth begin with a lie.

Let me tell you a lie: Last Song Before Night is an epic fantasy about a band of young poets on a quest to uncover an ancient secret and save the world from absolute evil.

The archvillain of Last Song is a censor (and he could be nothing else). His trade is the mutilation of truth. I like to think he’d appreciate this lie I’ve told you, just there. It’s a very good lie, because Last Song is about all those things, they’re in the story, it’s true!

[But that is not the true shape of the story…]

My Kinda Scene: The Car “Chase” in Children of Men

Everyone turns up for a car chase at the end of the world, and the cars won’t start.

Alfonso Cuarón’s Children of Men is a movie of exquisite direction, and I’m madly in love with the action scenes. Violence in Cuarón’s movie is sudden and unemphasized: the camera doesn’t flinch, the sound mixing doesn’t dwell, and that gives the action a terrible power. Children of Men knows a subtle secret.

Clive Owen’s in a paramilitary compound with the last pregnant woman on Earth. He needs to sneak her away. In the early morning he creeps out, sabotages the other cars, bundles his friends into the last working automobile, and gets it rolling. But the car won’t start! Alarms start ringing. Gunmen converge.

So Clive and buddies have to get out and start pushing.

[Read more]

Please Undo This Hurt

Ever feel like you care too much? After a breakup, after the funeral…it feels like the way to win at life is to care the least. That’s not an option for Dominga, an EMT who cares too much, or her drinking buddy Nico, who just lost his poor cat. Life hurts. They drink. They talk: Nico’s tired of hurting people. He wants out. Not suicide, not that — he’d just hurt everyone who loves him. But what if he could erase his whole life? Undo the fact of his birth? Wouldn’t Dominga be having a better night, right now, if she didn’t have to take care of him? And when Dominga finds a way to do just that, when she is gifted or armed with a terrible cosmic mercy, she still cares enough to say: I am not letting him have this. I am not letting Nico go without a fight.

[Read “Please Undo This Hurt” by Seth Dickinson]

How Baru Cormorant Would Overthrow Emperor Palpatine, Kill Voldemort, and Stop Sauron

Please enjoy some helpful advice for some of the best-known heroes and heroines of science fiction and fantasy, courtesy of Baru Cormorant, the brilliant protagonist of one of September’s most hotly anticipated titles. No stranger to sinister villainy and evil empires, Baru is more than capable of helping out everyone from humble hobbits to vengeance-driven superheroes with her unique brand of no-nonsense pragmatism…

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Haves and Have Nots in Epic Fantasy

In Last First Snow, Max Gladstone writes about Craft, a code of law powerful enough to shape reality. A Craftsperson can throw fire and live forever as a kick-ass skeleton, but, more vitally, they can work with invisible power, people power, as tangibly as flame or stone. They can make contracts between the will of the people and the power of the elite.

In The Traitor Baru Cormorant, Seth Dickinson introduces us to the Masquerade. They’re a thalassocracy, an empire whose power comes from sea strength and trade,. They don’t have much history, or much territory, or much of an army. But they’re good at navigation, chemistry, bureaucracy, sanitation, and building schools. They’re like an octopus—soft, dependent on camouflage and cunning.

In some ways, these novels couldn’t be more different. The truth is, they share a common foundation: they’re books about power and change; about the Haves and the Have-nots; about uprisings and revolutions; and about the struggle between those wishing to preserve the status quo, and those desperate to make a better world.

Naturally, we had to lock the brains behind these books in a room together, just to see what would happen.

[Begin Transmission]

The Traitor Baru Cormorant, Chapter 2

Baru Cormorant believes any price is worth paying to liberate her people-even her soul. When the Empire of Masks conquers her island home, overwrites her culture, criminalizes her customs, and murders one of her fathers, Baru vows to swallow her hate, join the Empire’s civil service, and claw her way high enough to set her people free.

Sent as an Imperial agent to distant Aurdwynn, another conquered country, Baru discovers it’s on the brink of rebellion. Drawn by the intriguing duchess Tain Hu into a circle of seditious dukes, Baru may be able to use her position to help. As she pursues a precarious balance between the rebels and a shadowy cabal within the Empire, she orchestrates a do-or-die gambit with freedom as the prize. But the cost of winning the long game of saving her people may be far greater than Baru imagines.

Seth Dickinson’s highly anticipated debut novel, The Traitor Baru Cormorant, is available September 15th from Tor Books and Tor UK. Get a closer look at the cover art for both the US and UK editions here. Read chapter two below, or get started with Chapter 1.

[Read an excerpt]

The Traitor Baru Cormorant, Chapter 1

Baru Cormorant believes any price is worth paying to liberate her people-even her soul. When the Empire of Masks conquers her island home, overwrites her culture, criminalizes her customs, and murders one of her fathers, Baru vows to swallow her hate, join the Empire’s civil service, and claw her way high enough to set her people free.

Sent as an Imperial agent to distant Aurdwynn, another conquered country, Baru discovers it’s on the brink of rebellion. Drawn by the intriguing duchess Tain Hu into a circle of seditious dukes, Baru may be able to use her position to help. As she pursues a precarious balance between the rebels and a shadowy cabal within the Empire, she orchestrates a do-or-die gambit with freedom as the prize. But the cost of winning the long game of saving her people may be far greater than Baru imagines.

Seth Dickinson’s highly anticipated debut novel, The Traitor Baru Cormorant, is available September 15th from Tor Books and Tor UK. Get a closer look at the cover art for both the US and UK editions here!

[Read an excerpt]