Hoshruba: The Land and the Tilism: Book 1, Episode 50

When Tilism-e Hoshruba was first published in Lucknow, India in 1883, it was already a beloved oral history that had been performed for years in public and private. What Hoshruba’s fans did not know, however, was that professional storyteller Mir Ahmed Ali and his disciples had engineered a massive literary hoax, writing Hoshruba themselves and falsely attributing it to the epic poem cycle The Adventures of Amir Hamza. But less important than Hoshruba’s provenance was its impact: The story of the tilism (an inanimate object transformed into its own world) of Hoshruba, defended by Emperor Afrasiyab against rival tilism as well as the trickster Amar Ayyar, has become one of the foremost fantasy tales in Urdu. For a more in-depth look at the epic’s sorcerers, formidable women, and grimdark (long before the genre existed) battles, read Mahvesh Murad’s Under the Radar review.

Hoshruba (which translates to “ravishing the senses”) is part of the dastan tradition of oral storytelling and is being translated into English for the first time as Hoshruba: The Land and the Tilism. In its original form, Hoshruba was published in Urdu, in eight volumes totaling over eight thousand pages. In translating the epic into English, Pakistani-Canadian writer Musharraf Ali Farooqi has split each volume into three, for a total of 24 volumes. Over the next few months, you will be able to read all 50 episodes—the entire first volume of Hoshruba—on Tor.com, with one new episode going up every day. You can also purchase the entire novel through Barnes & Noble or Amazon.

[Afrasiyab recited a spell and struck his hands.]

Series: Hoshruba: The Land and the Tilism

The Professor X/Magneto Chess Match Just Got Meta

Do you have a prescheduled annual meeting with a nemesis to settle your moral quandaries through the beautiful art of chess? Or perhaps you need to cheat death again, to win a few increasingly desperate days of precious life? Why not use a Thanos chess piece to checkmate the Grim Reaper! The DC and Marvel chess pieces from Eaglemoss will allow you to take an already nerdy occupation to new and magnificent heights. [Chess set image via Toyland!]

Morning Roundup welcomes its U.S.-based readers into what is hopefully a wonderful long weekend. It is the true beginning of summer, and the next crest in the glorious wave of summer movie season. We bring you the Mad Max meme you’ve been waiting for, reading suggestions for the SF-challenged, and HATEBEAK.

[Also, a song for a blowfish.]

The Unnoticeables Sweepstakes!

The Unnoticeables by Robert Brockway of Cracked.com hits shelves from Tor Books on July 7th, and we want to send you a galley right now!

There are angels, and they are not beneficent or loving. But they do watch over us. They watch our lives unfold, analyzing us for repeating patterns and redundancies. When they find them, the angels simplify those patterns and remove the redundancies, and the problem that is “you” gets solved.

Check for the rules below!

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The Harry Potter Reread: The Order of the Phoenix, Chapters 11 and 12

The Harry Potter Reread really thinks we should make synchronized swimming a thing again. It’s just so pretty. And it expands the amount of fun you can have a pool, which is always a win, right?

We’re back at Hogwarts and we’re about to get a closer look at the new DADA teacher! (oh no.) It’s chapters 11 and 12 of The Order of the Phoenix—The Sorting Hat’s New Song and Professor Umbridge.

Index to the reread can be located here! Other Harry Potter and Potter-related pieces can be found under their appropriate tag. And of course, since we know this is a reread, all posts might contain spoilers for the entire series. If you haven’t read all the Potter books, be warned.

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Series: The Harry Potter Reread

What are Neville Longbottom’s Abs Hiding?

So we’ve all seen the Neville Longbottom pictures, right? In which Attitude, a magazine tailored to gay men, and Matthew Lewis once again prove that Hogwarts produced some, er, remarkably fit and attractive wizards? And then J.K. Rowling came in to be the most adorable mom ever?

After a lot of quiet introspective thought, we wondered…what if that was actually Neville on the cover? Because there’s something missing, isn’t there?

[Something wonderful.]

Failed Expectations: Supernatural Season 10

Supernatural has been on for 10 years. Ten long, long years. Some of it has been fun, a bit of it incredible, and most of it grating, unfulfilling, and regressive. Season 10 wasn’t the worst thing ever created, but it was far from good. We need to have a heart-to-heart, Supernatural. Your fans, we love you, but you’re throwing away your best years on pointless distractions and meaningless philosophizing. You’re 10 years old now, you’re too old for this nonsense. If you want to stop re-enacting the past and grow up, here are 6 ways to do it.

Spoilers for season 10 ahoy…

[“Can you think of a worse hell?” “Well, there’s Hell.”]

What Are the Zoning Ordinances for Starships?

OK, you might think you’re a Star Trek fan. but Liu DeJian is so in love with the series that he licensed rights from CBS so he could create a building-sized homage to the U.S.S. Enterprise. The building is home to NetDragon Websoft, and you’ll have to go to China if you want to visit it. You can see more of the building over at Nerd Approved!

Afternoon Roundup brings you naughty picture of Neville Longbottom….and really we don’t remember the rest of it. There’s probably some stuff about Tomorrowland and Fury Road but seriously we just keep going back to the whole Neville thing…

[NEVILLE.]

A Read of Ice and Fire: A Dance with Dragons, Part 21

Welcome back to A Read of Ice and Fire! Please join me as I read and react, for the very first time, to George R.R. Martin’s epic fantasy series A Song of Ice and Fire.

Today’s entry is Part 21 of A Dance With Dragons, in which we cover Chapter 35 (“Jon”) and Chapter 36 (“Daenerys”).

Previous entries are located in the Index. The only spoilers in the post itself will be for the actual chapters covered and for the chapters previous to them. As for the comments, please note that the Powers That Be have provided you a lovely spoiler thread here on Tor.com. Any spoileriffic discussion should go there, where I won’t see it. Non-spoiler comments go below, in the comments to the post itself.

And now, the post!

[“Now you listen to me, Mr. Grand High Poobah of Upper Butt Crack! I’m just about half-past give a shit with your fun and games!”]

Series: A Read of Ice and Fire

Words of Radiance Reread: Chapter 39

Welcome back to the Words of Radiance Reread on Tor.com! Last week, Shallan navigated the treacherous waters of her introduction to Alethi politics. This week, we’ll return to that happiest of times and places, Shallan’s childhood on the Davar estate. Oh, wait…

This reread will contain spoilers for The Way of Kings, Words of Radiance, and any other Cosmere book that becomes relevant to the discussion. The index for this reread can be found here, and more Stormlight Archive goodies are indexed here. Click on through to join the discussion.

[“I don’t know what happened. I don’t remember it.”]

Series: Words of Radiance Reread on Tor.com

Kenstibec is Back

Good news, Ficial fans! Kenstibec, the anti-hero at the artificial heart of Jon Wallace’s pacey dystopian debut, will return in a sequel this summer. Furthermore, a final volume will follow, completing the circle Barricade began.

With Steeple revealed, I reached out to the aforementioned author to talk about the new novel. Among a number of other subjects, we discussed the hard work of building a world, the balancing act involved in making the middle of a trilogy accessible at the same time as satisfying returning readers, and the mixed bag of comparisons many reviewers (including yours truly) made between Barricade and… let’s call it a lost and found of other fiction.

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Series: British Fiction Focus

Midnight in Karachi Episode 13: Nnedi Okorafor

Welcome back to Midnight in Karachi, a bi-weekly podcast about writers, publishers, editors, illustrators, their books and the worlds they create, hosted by Mahvesh Murad.

This week, World Fantasy Award winner Nnedi Okorafor joins Mahvesh to talk about writing for different age groups, Lagos, teaching to stay sane and stories that are powerful juju.

[Listen to Midnight in Karachi]

Series: Midnight in Karachi Podcast

Tor.com Redesign Bug Fix Update

Pe’el! BIpIv’a’?* The redesigned Tor.com is now into its second week of life and we’ve been pretty busy behind the curtain fixing bugs and functionality issues. While we’re still working hard on fixes, here’s an update on the progress made so far.

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30 Years Later, Real Genius is Still the Geek Solidarity Film That Nerd Culture Deserves

It’s interesting to me that Revenge of the Nerds, while still full up of the nostalgia that the 80s lends us, is lately being repositioned in the zeitgeist. What was viewed for many years as a bit of harmless fun that waved the banner for nerds everywhere is finally being called out for exactly what it is; an Us vs Them revenge fest that never lets go of racism or misogyny, and damages the image of geek culture more than it applauds for it. That shouldn’t be surprising—RotN was always just a frat house comedy with a thin nerdy gloss applied to it. And that’s fine with me, because that was never my go-to movie for feeling the geeky solidarity.

No, my friends. That movie was Real Genius.

[“Your mother puts license plates in your underwear? How do you sit?”]

Disney’s Post-War Constraints: The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad

Walt Disney spent the years after World War II scrambling to recover. Most of his pre-war films had lost money, and World War II had been a particularly hard financial blow for the studio, which survived only by making training films and propaganda shorts featuring Donald Duck. Disney, always ambitious, wanted far more than that: a return, if possible, to the glory days of Pinocchio. Instead, he found himself cobbling together anthologies of cartoon shorts, releasing six between the full length features Bambi and Cinderella.

The last of these was The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad. It is, to put it kindly, mixed.

[Or, to put it less kindly, one of the weakest parts of the Disney canon.]

You Shall Not PURRRRRR

We would watch the hell out of a Lord of the Rings remake starring LEGO mini-figs and giant cats. This image comes courtesy of French artist Samsofy, who sums his work up thusly: “My work combines the techniques of photography, street art, model making and installations; in my created microcosms, I play with scale and material to alter perception.” He has indeed made us perceive the Balrog as a big old kitty, and that has made our morning. [via Bored Panda!]

Morning Roundup brings you honest talk with Clive Barker, an honest trailer with the Wachowskis, and some more thoughts on Mad Max: Fury Road!

[Plus Jules Feiffer!]

New SFWA Board Announced

The Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America has announced who has been elected to its board going forward from July 1, 2015.

Ballots have been tallied and certified.  The current board serves until June 30th. On July 1, 2015 current Vice President Cat Rambo will start a two year term as president, and current Secretary Susan Forest  continues for two years in that post. Current Chief Financial Officer Bud Sparhawk was re-elected for one year as is newly-elected Vice President M.C.A. Hogarth. Newly elected Director-at-Large Jennifer Brozek starts a two year term, joining current Directors-at-Large Lee Martindale, Tansy Rayner Roberts, and Sarah Pinsker, as well as re-elected Director-at-Large Matthew Johnson.

Current president Steven Gould and Director Jim Fiscus will step down on June 30. New election guidelines going forward have also been announced. You can find more info at the SFWA site.

Bill Nye’s Spacecraft Has Launched Successfully and Wait How Did We Get Here?

The Planetary Society, headed by its CEO Bill Nye “The Science Guy,” has announced the successful launch and deployment of their LightSail solar sail in Earth’s orbit. In a statement, the guy in the bow tie who I used to stare at puzzlingly on Saturday morning television said:

While we celebrate this step, LightSail’s biggest tests are still ahead. Over the next days, we will be monitoring our CubeSat as we prepare for the big show: the day LightSail deploys its super shiny Mylar sails for flight on sunlight. Stay tuned; the best is about to happen.

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The First Season of CW’s The Flash Was a Massive Pop-Paradox

In contrast with something like Marvel’s new Daredevil series, The Flash comes across a little schmaltzy—like the guy who is pretending to like hardcore rock, but who gets freaked out at a real mosh pit. In truth, I am always that guy in real life, so I like The Flash more than Daredevil even though I’d have to admit Daredevil is “better.” But The Flash is great at what it does: it’s a paradoxical throwback that’s more satisfying than maybe it should be.

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