Tor.com content by

Marie Rutkoski

Fiction and Excerpts [4]
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Fiction and Excerpts [4]

Bridge of Snow

, || Ignore the stirrings of war. Let the carriage to a royal ball wait. There is a story to be told: of a starless night, a mother and her sick son, and a mortal who falls in love with the snow god, and will do anything to have her...

Bridge of Snow

Ignore the stirrings of war. Let the carriage to a royal ball wait. There is a story to be told: of a starless night, a mother and her sick son, and a mortal who falls in love with the snow god, and will do anything to have her…

Read “Bridge of Snow,” originally published January 28, 2014 on Tor.com. The story is set in the world of Rutkoski’s novel The Winner’s Curse and its new sequel, The Winner’s Crime.

This short story was acquired and edited for Tor.com by Mac Kids editor Janine O’Malley.

[Read “Bridge of Snow” by Marie Rutkoski]

The Winner’s Crime (Excerpt)

A royal wedding is what most girls dream about. It means one celebration after another: balls, fireworks, and revelry until dawn. But to Kestrel it means living in a cage of her own making.

As the wedding approaches, she aches to tell Arin the truth about her engagement: that she agreed to marry the crown prince in exchange for Arin’s freedom. But can Kestrel trust Arin? Can she even trust herself? For Kestrel is becoming very good at deception. She’s working as a spy in the court. If caught, she’ll be exposed as a traitor to her country. Yet she can’t help searching for a way to change her ruthless world… and she is close to uncovering a shocking secret.

Marie Rutkoski’s follow-up to The Winner’s Curse reveals the high price of dangerous lies and untrustworthy alliances. The truth will come out, and when it does, Kestrel and Arin will learn just how much their crimes will cost them. The Winner’s Crime is available March 3rd from Farrar, Straus & Giroux.

[Read an Excerpt]

Bridge of Snow

Ignore the stirrings of war. Let the carriage to a royal ball wait. There is a story to be told: of a starless night, a mother and her sick son, and a mortal who falls in love with the snow god, and will do anything to have her…

Read “Bridge of Snow,” which is set in the world of Rutkoski's newest novel The Winner's Curse.

This short story was acquired and edited for Tor.com by Mac Kids editor Janine O’Malley.

[Read “Bridge of Snow” by Marie Rutkoski]

The Winner’s Curse (Excerpt)

Check out The Winner’s Curse, the first novel in Marie Rutkoski’s new YA series, available March 2014!

As a general’s daughter in a vast empire that revels in war and enslaves those it conquers, seventeen-year-old Kestrel has two choices: she can join the military or get married.

But Kestrel has other intentions. One day, she is startled to find a kindred spirit in a young slave up for auction. Arin’s eyes seem to defy everything and everyone. Following her instinct, Kestrel buys him—with unexpected consequences. It’s not long before she has to hide her growing love for Arin.

But he, too, has a secret, and Kestrel quickly learns that the price she paid for a fellow human is much higher than she ever could have imagined.

[Read an Excerpt]

Jacks and Queens at the Green Mill

Few know that the Great Chicago Fire was started deliberately, bringing genocide to deadly creatures called Shades. Fewer still know that they didn’t die, not quite…and one human will confront the truth when an ominous beauty makes him gamble for his life.

Read “Jacks and Queens at the Green Mill,” which is set in the world of Rutkoski’s newest novel The Shadow Society.

This story was edited and acquired for Tor.com by Farrar, Straus, and Giroux editor Janine O’Malley.

[Read “Jacks and Queens at the Green Mill”]

Bizarre Love Triangles

One of my students came to class toting a Team Jacob water bottle. Another day, she showed up wearing a Team Edward shirt, which made me think I had misremembered her water bottle. Usually I make it a policy not to comment on my students’ sartorial choices, yet when I was taking attendance I couldn’t help blurting out, “So which team, exactly, are you on?”

“Edward for the books,” she said, “and Jacob for the movies.”

Fair enough. That’s the beauty of being a reader or watcher: you never have to choose (or, at least, a multiplicity of choices isn’t likely to cause any controversy in your personal life). Her answer pointed out how narrow-minded I was in phrasing my question.

And speaking of being narrow-minded, let’s consider the almost excruciatingly conservative nature of the image alongside this text. No wonder the people in it look bored! Though love triangles traditionally feature a woman who must choose between two men, that is not, of course, the only possible permutation. Whatever genders are involved, there is usually a lot of angst and even a sense of mourning—any good love triangle (in my opinion) should make the people involved (and the people watching it) aware that, even if the The One is chosen, it will not be without cost. As the Runner-Up exits stage left, the Judge of the triangle should feel deeply that s/he’s losing something forever. This is what makes Stephenie Meyer’s love triangle in Twilight so compelling. Whomever Bella chooses, she will lose something (if Edward, she loses the chance at a normal, sort of human existence with Jacob; if Jacob, she loses eternal love).

What makes a love triangle work?

[This post isn]

Buffy, “Intervention,” and King Lear

I haven’t forgotten my promise to give Buffy Season 8 another go, I’ve just had trouble laying my hands on the latest issues. And speaking of having trouble laying hands on something, how about a consideration of Buffy S5’s episode “Intervention,” in which Spike’s fascination with the Slayer leads to the making of a Buffy he can touch: the Buffybot.

In this episode, Buffy’s worried that being the Slayer makes it difficult for her to love, so she goes on a spiritual quest in the desert to sort her inner self out. Meanwhile, back in Sunnydale, very unspiritual things are afoot. Spike’s playing sexy role playing games with his new, incredibly lifelike and adoring Buffy robot, and hilarity ensues—until Spike is kidnapped by Big Bad Glory’s minions, who think that, since “Buffy” treats him as “precious,” he must be the Key in human form. One sniff of the vampire tells Glory what he is, and that he can’t be the human Key. But she can torture who IS out of him.

Buffy—the real Buffy (“the other, not so pleasant Buffy,” as Spike puts it)—comes home and is confronted by her friends, who say they’ve seen her having sex with Spike.

[Read more]

Buffy Season 8, and What Makes a Series Good

Throughout my college years, I’d watch my sister squeal every Christmas as she unwrapped another Buffy DVD set. I didn’t know much about the series, but I was filled with that obnoxious self-importance that comes from having decided to be an Academic Who Reads Serious Things. I tried to have a conversation with my sister about Buffy.

“So,” I said. “It’s funny?”

“Yes, but—”

“I don’t like funny.”

“It can be sad, too. And sweet, and sexy—”

“And there are vampires, right?”

“Yes. You see—”

“Sounds pretty silly to me.”

She sighed. “You have no clue.”

Almost ten years later, my eyes fiery holes in my head after having stayed up until 4 am watching Season 2, I gave her a call. “You were right,” I said. “I had no clue.”

[Read more]

Breaking Rules and Making Babies

 It takes a while for me to process things. It’s been about a month since The Guardian published an article offering several well-known writers’ advice for other writers, in the form of 10 rules. I read it eagerly, squinting at my iPhone while my 16-month-old son squealed and tore around the playroom in our apartment building basement. Some of the old saws were there (Adverbs: bad! He said, she said: good!), and while I don’t know everything about writing, I know enough to realize that no one should follow any of these rules zealously, because the result would be stiff and artificial. But I found myself feeling, oh, a little guilty of certain writing sins, and then came the anxiety, and then came Richard Ford’s Rule #2: Don’t have children.

It was a little mysterious. It came in the midst of seemingly sound advice, like that you should marry someone who believes it’s a good idea for you to be a writer, and that you shouldn’t drink and write at the same time. But no babies? Plenty of great writers had/have children: Joyce, Shakespeare (ok, he basically never saw them, but whatever), Toni Morrison, Alice Munro…. It didn’t seem to impede their genius. Or did Ford mean it in a personal happiness kind of way (i.e., “It’ll be hard on you to be a parent and a writer at the same time,” or “Writers make bad parents.”)?

[Throw out the baby with the bathwater?]