“Orphan Pirates of the Spanish Main” by Dennis Danvers is a science-fiction novelette that follows Stan and his brother Ollie, children of alien (or crazy) parents who receive a mysterious postcard from their father, who with their mother, disappeared decades earlier into the “Abyss” in New Mexico.
Your shelves will be groaning with the weight of the fifty-one new releases in fantasy this month! Naomi Novik’s Temeraire series comes to an end, while plenty of other series take flying leaps forward; our heroes and heroines include monster-fighting bartenders, magical teens, secretive librarians, witch-hunters, and ever so many more.
Welcome to this week’s installment of the Kage Baker Company series reread! In today’s post, we’ll finish up In the Garden of Iden, covering chapters 22 through 24. The reread’s introduction (including the reading order we’ll be following) can be found here, and the index of all previous posts here.
Before we get started, the usual warning: this reread contains spoilers for the entire series, so be careful unless you don’t mind finding out plot elements and major revelations from later books.
And with that, we’re off!
Series: Rereading Kage Baker
George R.R. Martin read from a new The Winds of Winter chapter at Balticon over the weekend. Given the choice of hearing from Mercy, Aeron, or a “fake history” regarding Aegon’s sons, fans overwhelmingly voted for Aeron Greyjoy, AKA Damphair, the youngest of Balon’s brothers and a priest of the Drowned God. Titled “The Forsaken,” Martin promised a dark chapter that would appeal to “Ramsay fans.” Yeesh…
Several redittors have compiled a comprehensive summary of the chapter, which details the Damphair’s fate following the Kingsmoot. Spoilers abound, of course, and we warn you that Martin wasn’t kidding about how brutal the whole thing gets. And check out our full list of available chapter excerpts and summaries from The Winds of Winter.
Series: A Song of Ice and Fire
The shelves of the Future Library Project have now doubled in number of books! A year after Margaret Atwood handed over her manuscript for Scribbler Moon—which will not be read until 2114—the FLP has announced its next participant: Cloud Atlas author David Mitchell. He is the second author of 100 invited to write a new poem, short story, novel, or piece of nonfiction—the style doesn’t matter, so long as it matches creator and curator Katie Paterson’s vision of “the theme of imagination and time, which they can take in so many directions.” Mitchell turned in his novel, From Me Flows What You Call Time, down to the wire of his 1 a.m. deadline before boarding a plane to Norway to hand over the completed manuscript.
Bestselling author Patricia A. McKillip (The Riddle-Master of Hed, Harpist in the Wind, and The Sorceress and the Cygnet, among others) is one of the most lyrical writers gracing the fantasy genre. Her latest short fiction collection, Dreams of Distant Shores, is a true ode to her many talents. Within these pages you will find a youthful artist possessed by both his painting and his muse, and seductive travelers from the sea enrapturing distant lovers; the statue of a mermaid comes suddenly to life, and two friends are transfixed by a haunted estate.
Fans of McKillip’s ethereal fiction will find much to delight them; those lucky enough to be discovering her work will find much to enchant them. Featuring three brand-new stories and an original introduction by Peter S. Beagle, McKillip’s Dreams of Distant Shores is available June 14th from Tachyon Publications. Below, read an excerpt from “Mer,” one of the new stories in the collection.
Come visit Tor Books at Phoenix Comicon 2016! PCC begins this Thursday, June 2nd, and continues through the weekend with a plethora of panels featuring Tor authors, including Brandon Sanderson, V. E. Schwab, and Mary Robinette Kowal. See below for all of the programming, including a multi-author event on Wednesday at The Poisoned Pen Bookstore. For more information and the full list of events, you can visit Phoenix Comic Con’s official website.
We want to send you a galley copy of F. Paul Wilson’s Panacea, available July 5th from Tor Books!
Medical examiner Laura Hanning has two charred corpses and no answers. Both bear a mysterious tattoo but exhibit no known cause of death. Their only connection to one another is a string of puzzling miracle cures. Her preliminary investigation points to a cult in the possession of the fabled panacea—the substance that can cure all ills—but that’s impossible.
Laura finds herself unknowingly enmeshed in an ancient conflict between the secretive keepers of the panacea and the equally secretive and far more deadly group known only as 536, a brotherhood that fervently believes God intended for humanity to suffer, not be cured. Laura doesn’t believe in the panacea, but that doesn’t prevent the agents of 536 from trying to kill her.
A reclusive, terminally ill billionaire hires Laura to research the possibility of the panacea. The billionaire’s own body guard, Rick Hayden, a mercenary who isn’t who he pretends to be, has to keep her alive as they race to find the legendary panacea before the agents of 536 can destroy it.
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Prequels can be tricky things for authors. One obvious obstacle is that being a prequel, the story is robbed of at least some of its natural narrative tension, as readers already know that this or that character will not die, that this or that battle will not be won. Authors also run the risk of having painted themselves into narrative corners via the original work—this character has to do A to end up at C, this thingamabob has to appear because it’s the signature thingamabob of Character X and so on. In weaker prequels, it all feels very mechanical, as if the author just traced the lines backward and dutifully filled in the obvious and necessary plot points, character appearances, and portentous arrivals of requisite talismans. Even the author who successfully navigates all the prequel pitfalls can end up losing, à la an army of irate fans complaining, “Hey, that’s not how I imagined it happening!” Talk about a thankless task.
Well, it’s true that while reading Ian Cameron Esselmont’s Malazan prequel, Dancer’s Lament, I did several times think to myself, “That’s not how I imagined it happening!” And it’s also true that one or two signature thingamabobs (cough cough walking stick cough) make their appearance. But it was all to the good, because those moments are representative of the sort of balance between the familiar and the unexpected that is required of a good prequel. And Dancer’s Lament is just that. Equally impressive is that the prequel works just as fine as an entry point into the massive (and massively complex) Malazan universe. I’m not going to argue it’s a “better” entry point than Gardens of the Moon (by Steven Erikson), the usual starting point, but I would argue it’s a more accessible one.
Malka Older’s near-future political thriller, Infomocracy, comes out next week, and she’s appearing in a number of cities on the East Coast over the summer to discuss her debut novel, her innovative take on elections, and her extensive history working in humanitarian aid all over the world. If you’re in New York City, Washington, D.C., or Massachusetts, check out where you can see Malka below the cut. Stay tuned for news on more events happening this summer!
Harry Potter and the Cursed Child goes into previews in exactly one week, which means that we get our first peek at the cast. Here are Jamie Parker, Poppy Miller, and Sam Clemmett as Harry, Ginny, and Albus! All photographs are by Charlie Gray.
You gotta know when to walk away, Wheel of Time Reread Redux, and know when to run!
All original posts are listed in The Wheel of Time Reread Index here, and all Redux posts will also be archived there as well. (The Wheel of Time Master Index, as always, is here, which has links to news, reviews, interviews, and all manner of information about the Wheel of Time in general on Tor.com.)
The Wheel of Time Reread is also available as an e-book series! Yay!
All Reread Redux posts will contain spoilers for the entire Wheel of Time series, so if you haven’t read, read at your own risk.
And now, the post!
Series: The Wheel of Time Reread
Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, who basically already plays a superhuman in the Fast and the Furious franchise, is stepping fully into the superhero realm with his new project: He’ll play scientist, inventor, and explorer Doc Savage, a.k.a. the “Man of Bronze,” a.k.a. the pulp legend who inspired Man of Steel Clark Kent. While various iterations of a Doc Savage movie have been in the works since at least 2008, Shane Black’s (Iron Man 3) project is set to be released in 2017.
X-Men: Apocalypse is a story meant to bridge the gap between the previous generation of characters fans have been rooting for since 2011’s First Class, and the mutants they came to know from the first Bryan Singer films in the early aughts. Because of that, Apocalypse has quite a lot to of ground to cover, and a lot of characters to juggle.
Does the film manage that circus act? Um… very yes and very no.
In 2005, Lev Grossman of Time Magazine declared that George R. R. Martin was “the American Tolkien.” Since then, you’ll be able to find the phrase splashed on just about every one of Martin’s wonderful novels.
And for good reason, of course. That’s a really awesome blurb. I’d love it on my own novels. Or how about just “the American Pullman”? I would be totally cool with that, Mr. Grossman!
Unfortunately, I think that my series The Shards of Heaven—while it follows Philip Pullman’s superb His Dark Materials in ultimately positing a new origin story for the gods—would not be the right fit for the comparison. Pullman’s series is a parallel world fantasy fundamentally in dialogue with John Milton, William Blake, and C. S. Lewis; my series is a historical fantasy set during the time of Antony and Cleopatra that dialogues with history, legend, and myth. He and I are really doing different things. And the same kind of differentiation is true, I think, of Martin and Tolkien. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire might exist in the shadow of The Lord of the Rings—I’ve written elsewhere about its quasi-“medieval” setting—but they are tremendously different works in tone, scale, and intent. As terrific as his work is (and, seriously, you can put down the pitchforks if you’re a fan of Westeros), George R. R. Martin isn’t the American Tolkien.
John Persons is a private investigator with a distasteful job from an unlikely client. He’s been hired by a ten-year-old to kill the kid’s stepdad, McKinsey. The man in question is abusive, abrasive, and abominable. He’s also a monster, which makes Persons the perfect thing to hunt him. Over the course of his ancient, arcane existence, he’s hunted gods and demons, and broken them in his teeth.
As Persons investigates the horrible McKinsey, he realizes that he carries something far darker than the expected social evils. He’s infected with an alien presence, and he’s spreading that monstrosity far and wide. Luckily Persons is no stranger to the occult, being an ancient and magical intelligence himself. The question is whether the private dick can take down the abusive stepdad without releasing the holds on his own horrifying potential.
We’re pleased to reveal the cover for Cassandra Khaw’s Hammers on Bone, a new dark fantasy noir novella available October 11th from Tor.com Publishing. Check out the full cover, illustrated by Jeffrey Alan Love and designed by Christine Foltzer, and read an exclusive excerpt below!