Tor.com content by

Stubby the Rocket

The Small Beer Press Humble Bundle Wants to Add a Little Fabulism to your World!

If the words “Small Beer Press” don’t make your eyes tingle in excitement… well, we’re not sure what to tell you. Since 2000, SBP has been publishing some of the coolest genre-bending stories we’ve ever read. Now the good folks of Humble Bundle are offering a package of “Intoxicating, Extraordinary Fiction”, featuring some of the best books from Small Beer’s history!

For the next 13 days, you can pay what you wish to get $184 worth of digital books, including Kelly Link’s all-time classic Stranger Things Happen, Joan Aiken’s The Monkey’s Wedding and Other Stories, and The Liminal People by Ayize Jama-Everett. For a larger donation you can get North American Lake Monsters and A Stranger in Olondria, and for even (slightly) more The Archivist Wasp could be yours forever.

Head on over to the Humble Bundle to support the charity of your choice in the best way possible – by reading fantastic fiction!

Science Fiction, Alchemy, or a Little Bit of Both?

John Crowley, the author of classic Little, Big, believes he’s found the strongest contender for “oldest SF story,” and he loves the story so much, he’s working on a new translation of it for Small Beer Press. The story, The Chemical Wedding, appeared in Germany in 1616 and purported to be the work of Christian Rosencreutz, the legendary founder of Rosicrucianism. A theologian and utopian named Johann Valentin Andreae admitted to authorship years later, and called the book a “ludibrium”—which can mean hoax or joke—but by then it had already become one of the foundational texts of the Rosicrucian movement. And Crowley thinks the book is much more than that.

[Read more]

Iä! Iä! Cthulhu Colors!

Doesn’t this look like a page from the most disturbing coloring book? Artist Andrey Fetisov illustrates the madness-inducing horror of some of H.P. Lovecraft’s best stories, including “The Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath,” “The Dunwich Horror,” “The Shadow Over Innsmouth,” and (of course) “The Call of Cthulhu.” Just look at those colors! As vivid as our nightmares.

[via Imgur]

Pick a Door, Any Door…

As this excellent comic from SlugBooks demonstrates, magical doors come in many shapes and sizes, and inspire hours of endless debate over which fantastical world (some portal fantasies, others not) you’d like to visit. We can’t help but think of Seanan McGuire’s Every Heart a Doorway, with endless possible worlds into which you can tumble. But who says you have to pick just one? As we already discovered, nearly all magical worlds can be mapped into a multiverse—so why not take the TARDIS to Hogwarts, Narnia, and 221 Baker Street?

We’d recommend avoiding Westeros, but we know our own Emily Asher-Perrin would definitely pick Neverland. Which doorway(s) would you choose?

Go Behind the Fiction in These 17 Essay Collections and Biographies

Non-fiction is often overlooked for its flashier fictional counterpart, especially in the varied alien worlds and magical kingdoms of science fiction and fantasy. But with upcoming essay collections from genre authors Neil Gaiman and Kameron Hurley, we’re getting more excited for great works of non-fiction—sometimes there’s nothing better than a smart SFF fan writing critically about how and why genre works, or reading firsthand about the real lives and motivations behind our favorite stories.

To that end, we’ve gathered a compendium of essays, literary criticism, and biography that explore the craft of science fiction and fantasy, and the lives of luminaries from Hugo Gernsback to Samuel Delany. We’re sure we missed some great books, so please tell us about your favorite SFF non-fiction in the comments!

[Read more]

What if Elsa was a Jedi and Met Toothless?

Perhaps you believed that yesterday’s Force Awakens/Frozen crossover was the most adorable thing you’d ever seen? Well, we see that and raise it: here is a small human, in Elsa/Rey mashup cosplay, gleefully brandishing an icy lightsaber, while riding Toothless!

Take that, internet! And by all means click through for more amazing shots of the small human as she battles her way across Wizard World Comic Con in Des Moines.

[Read more]

How Long Can You Survive on Each Planet?

This sounds like the greatest reality show of all time! Unfortunately, “How Long Can You Survive on Each Planet” is actually a helpful reminder, via Neil deGrasse Tyson, that there’s no place like Earth. (Or at least if there is, we haven’t discovered it yet.)  Thrill as the astrophysicist explains just how quickly you’d die on each non-Earth planet in our solar system! Become slightly nervous as he keeps using the word vaporize!

[Vaporize!]

Disney Synergy at Work!

We’ll admit to being pretty tired of Frozen at this point, but Tumblr-er PannaN has made us love it all over again! Poor Hux just want to coax his buddy Kylo out for some fun, but Kylo is too busy sulking and mourning the loss of Darth Vader. Keep trying Hux! Someday he’ll come out of his shell. Maybe if you sweeten the deal? Try asking him to build a Starkiller Base, and see if that does it.

Stephen King Hints That The Dark Tower Movie Will Actually Be a Sequel to The Dark Tower Books

Stephen King has let slip some potentially massive news about The Dark Tower movie currently in progress. It is EXTREMELY SPOILERY, and talking about it at all requires discussing the ending of the books.

If you’d prefer to go into the movie totally blind, stop here. The rest of you, follow us below the cut and we’ll tell you the details.

[A tower of spoilers awaits!]

Great. Now There are Even More Pokémon to Catch! Will Our Toil Never End?

Dust off your Poké Balls everyone! UK-based artist Dan Martin has discovered thirty new types of Pokémon. He posted the new creatures on his site, Deathbulge, and we have to say some of them look quite formidable. “Drown’d” shouldn’t be too much work, but “Wardroab”? “Full English?? Beeeeee??? That’s six e’s. That’s going to be a tough battle.

Head on over to Deathbulge to see the rest of the new generation!

[via Nerd Approved!]

One of the Very First Robots SPAT FIRE and Now the London Science Museum is Trying to Rebuild It?

In 1928, less than a decade after Karel Čapek’s science fiction play R.U.R. coined the term robot, the U.K. built its first humanoid robot. Eric debuted at the Society of Model Engineers’ exhibition, where he (or it, as some outlets prefer) wowed attendees with his movements and speech. The 6-foot-tall, 100-pound machine also understandably scared a few humans, thanks to the sparks that flew from his mouth (ON PURPOSE) when he spoke (generated by 35,000 volts of electricity). On an international press tour of sorts, Eric and his fellow robot George wowed Americans, who dubbed him “a nearly perfect man,” according to NPR.

But here’s where the story veers into why-hasn’t-this-been-made-into-an-Oscar-movie-already territory: George was destroyed by a bomb in World War II, and Eric disappeared. Now, the London Science Museum wants to rebuild him from scratch.

[Read more]