5 Vampire Novels That Don’t Sparkle

The vampire, perennial monster, has received somewhat of a makeover in recent years. For almost two decades it has become romantic hero and seducer, often aimed at younger consumers. Twilight as well as the Vampire Diaries series may be the most obvious exponents of this trend, but the seeds were already planted in shows like Buffy (remember Angel?), and the territory continues to be watered with numerous vampire men in the urban fantasy or romance section of the bookstore, who must invariably profess eternal love to a nubile woman.

Before this trend kicked into full gear, vampires were more likely to be rich counts out to bite pretty young lasses à la Christopher Lee or Bela Lugosi. Sexually magnetic, perhaps, but not boyfriend material.

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Series: Five Books About…

Romance Found Unseen: A Taste of Honey by Kai Ashante Wilson

Kai Ashante Wilson’s short novel A Taste of Honey is just as beautiful and peculiar and painful as his much-lauded The Sorcerer of the Wildeeps. A Taste of Honey is set elsewhere in the same world, and while it doesn’t share the same characters or themes, it touches—slantwise—on some of the same concerns.

Aqib bmg Sadiqi is a fourth cousin to the royal family of Great Olorum, younger son and chosen heir to the Master of Beasts. An embassy from Daluça has lately come to Great Olorum, and Aqib finds himself caught up in a scandalous—and dangerous, for in Great Olorum sexual relationships between men are forbidden, as against the Saintly Canon—whirlwind romance with a handsome Daluçan soldier called Lucrio. They have met only ten days before Lucrio will return home with the rest of his embassy: how can their romance possibly last?

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Sleeps With Monsters: Fun’s Important

If you follow my Twitter feed, you might have noticed me talking about my mental health in the last while. Sometimes, things get bad. It can be sudden and unpredictable: one week I’m rolling along, perfectly all right, and the next I’m besieged by visions of walking into traffic.* (Or my throat closes up with panic, or I feel exhausted and worthless. Or I can’t make decisions, because everything is too much. Things like that.)

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Series: Sleeps With Monsters

Chris Pine Cast as Dr. Murry in A Wrinkle in Time

The Murry family is almost complete! One day after Black Mirror‘s Gugu Mbatha-Raw was announced as Dr. (Mrs.) Murry in Disney’s adaptation of Madeleine L’Engle’s A Wrinkle in Time, the other Dr. (Mr.) Murry was revealed: Chris Pine! The Hollywood Reporter broke the news that the Star Trek Beyond star will be joining the multiracial Murry family (Storm Reid will play Meg) in Ava DuVernay’s film (from a screenplay by Frozen‘s Jennifer Lee), which starts shooting next week. Now to find Charles Wallace…

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Announcing The Murderbot Diaries by Martha Wells

I’ve been sitting on this news for a little while, and I’m so happy to be able to finally announce that Tor.com Publishing has acquired two books in a new science fiction series—The Murderbot Diaries—from the brilliant Martha Wells.

All Systems Red is the first book in the series, and it follows a security droid assigned to protect a team of scientists on a new planetary expedition. But when a neighbouring expedition suddenly becomes silent it’s up to the newly self-aware droid and its distinctly unadventurous charges to investigate. But sometimes things are best left alone…

Martha said:

This novella came out of nowhere, when I was in the middle of writing the climax to my next fantasy novel.  I thought, “I’ll just write down a few lines so I don’t forget this before I have time to come back to it,” and before I knew it I had five pages written. I went back to it the day after I finished the rough draft of the novel and fell into a new world. I’m thrilled and delighted that this novella and its sequel could find a home at Tor.com.  I hope people enjoy reading about Murderbot as much as I enjoy writing it.

The books were acquired by Tor.com Publishing’s senior editor, Lee Harris, from Jennifer Jackson at the Donald Maass Literary Agency.

All Systems Red will be published in ebook and trade paperback in summer 2017.

Series: Editorially Speaking

Amnesty Is Just Another Mask: Supergirl, “Welcome to Earth”

Yes, Supergirl writer Derek Simon confirmed on Twitter, last night’s episode is named for Will Smith’s iconic line from Independence Day. So, while the plot of “Welcome to Earth” is about President Olivia Marsdin’s (Lynda Carter) visit to National City, it’s really about the Alien Amnesty Act she’s signing, which will invite aliens to step out of the shadows. But, considering the line’s origins, it may not be a warm welcome.

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Rereading Katherine Kurtz: Camber the Heretic, Chapters 4-5

Welcome to the weekly reread of Camber the Heretic!

Last time, the humans finally began making their move against the Deryni, plotting to control the regency after the ailing king dies. This week Camber gets up close and personal with the human-Deryni conflict. Cinhil makes a momentous and most likely fatal decision. And Rhys shows his ruthless side.

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Series: Rereading Katherine Kurtz

Sci-Fi and Mystery Author Sheri S. Tepper, 1929-2016

Locus Magazine reports the passing of horror, science fiction, and mystery author Sheri S. Tepper. A prolific voice whose works were often known for themes of feminism and ecology, Tepper published dozens of novels, short works, and essays, some of them under pseudonyms. She won the World Fantasy Life Achievement Award in 2015, and many of her novels were shortlisted for various awards, including the Hugo, Tiptree, and Clarke Awards. As a single mother of two during the 1960s, Tepper began by writing poetry and children’s stories before remarrying in the late 60s. She worked at Planned Parenthood for 24 years–eventually as Executive Director at the Rocky Mountain Colorado branch–before leaving to write full-time, later running a guest ranch in Santa Fe, New Mexico. She is known for her True Game Series, as well as the Arbai Trilogy, and standalone novels such as Beauty, The Fresco, The Gate to Women’s Country, and Gibbon’s Decline & Fall.

In an interview with Locus Magazine back in September, 1998, Tepper had a few words about the universe and the passage of time that seem truly fitting:

“What do I have to say to the universe? A soul ought to have something to say to the universe if it’s going to be immortal. But the world has something to say to the universe, all of these systems have things to say to the universe, and we’re part of that. You go in the ground, and the grass grows over your bones, and that’s good too! I take a lot more comfort out of that than I would out of some notion of the feathery form rising up, strumming a harp. Harp music can get dreadfully dull!”

Tepper passed away on October 22, 2016. She was 87 years old. Our thoughts are with her family and friends, and everyone who was touched by her work–she will be dearly missed.

Willful Child: Wrath of Betty (Excerpt)

From New York Times bestselling author Steven Erikson comes Willful Child: Wrath of Betty, a new Science Fiction novel of devil-may-care, near calamitous, and downright chaotic adventures through the infinite vastness of interstellar space. These are the voyages of the starship A.S.F. Willful Child. Its ongoing mission: to seek out strange new worlds on which to plant the Terran flag, to subjugate and if necessary obliterate new life-forms, to boldly blow the…

And so we join the not-terribly-bright but exceedingly cock-sure Captain Hadrian Sawback and his motley crew on board the Starship Willful Child.

Willful Child: The Wrath of Betty is the sequel to Willful Child–available November 1st from Tor Books.

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Belle Chasse Sweepstakes!

We want to send you a galley copy of Suzanne Johnson’s Belle Chasse, available November 8th from Tor Books!

Suzanne Johnson’s “strong and intriguing” (Publishers Weekly) urban fantasy series The Sentinels of New Orleans continues with Belle Chasse. With the wizard-elven treaty on the verge of collapse, the preternatural world stands on the brink of war. Unless former wizard sentinel DJ Jaco manages to keep the elven leader, Quince Randolph, focused on peace and not personal matters.

With no one on the throne, Faerie is in chaos, with rival princes battling for power. The still-undead pirate, Jean Lafitte, is building his own army of misfits, and DJ—stripped of her job and hiding in the Beyond to avoid the death sentence handed down by the wizard Council of Elders—can’t get anywhere near her beloved New Orleans or her significant something-or-other, Alex.

It’s time to choose sides. Friends will become enemies, enemies will become allies, and not everyone will survive. DJ and her friends will learn a hard lesson: sometimes, even the ultimate sacrifice isn’t enough.

Comment in the post to enter!

NO PURCHASE NECESSARY TO ENTER OR WIN. A purchase does not improve your chances of winning. Sweepstakes open to legal residents of 50 United States and D.C., and Canada (excluding Quebec). To enter, comment on this post beginning at 3:30 PM Eastern Time (ET) on October 24th. Sweepstakes ends at 12:00 PM ET on October 28th. Void outside the United States and Canada and where prohibited by law. Please see full details and official rules here. Sponsor: Tor.com, 175 Fifth Ave., New York, NY 10010.

Rereading the Vorkosigan Saga: The Warrior’s Apprentice, Chapter 21 and Epilogue

Miles arrives at Vorhartung Castle for his trial, and Ivan helpfully reminds him that he has to get out of the lightflyer now that he’s there. This week, he’s fighting for his life, and also auditioning for Barrayar’s next historical vid drama for children. Just like Vorthalia the Bold!

This is the LAST WEEK in the re-read of The Warrior’s Apprentice. Next week, we embark upon The Vor Game, which raises questions about when we get to talk about Jole. As stated, the reread spoiler embargo expires with the next book. I’m not yet certain whether that means “the very second we start reading it” or “when we actually meet Jole.” The final decision is, of course, mine, but I welcome input on this issue should the comments wander in that direction.

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Series: Rereading the Vorkosigan Saga