The Dragonlance Chronicles Reread: Dragons of Winter Night Part III, Chapters 1 and 2

Welcome back to the Dragonlance Reread!

Last week we (finally) got Silvara to confess her big secret! Well, we didn’t—but Fizban did. And he’s so beyond the Fourth Wall that he’s probably reading this now. (Hi Fizban!) With Silvara spilling and Fizban fussing and Laurana listening and Gilthanas gawking and Tas taking off, we’re now out of a) alliteration and b) the Kagonesti storyline. And, frankly, thank the gods of Good, Evil and Neutrality for it.

Let’s see what our other friends are up to, shall we?

[Read more]

Series: Dragonlance Reread

What’s Next? Mass Gap Cupcakes?

You may have heard some exciting science news yesterday: scientists confirmed that they’ve detected gravitational waves! And that’s groundbreaking, an incredible moment in human history, and supports a theory that Einstein wrestled with 100 years ago. But what we’re really interested in is that cake. You see, when Goddard Space Flight Center research associate Erin Lee Ryan tweeted that picture of a cake, she was unwittingly breaking an embargo on the gravitational wave announcement by about 15 minutes. Hilariously enough, this isn’t the first time she’s broken an embargo with a pastry pic, but, well, “That’s how we’d get people from other labs to come over, by telling them we had food.”

But what’s even more interesting to us is… how do you choose a top-secret baker for your scientific-breakthrough-celebration-cakes? Is there like a secret branch of Carvel all ready to go with “Yay for Describing CP Violation!” written out on Fudgy the Whale’s grinning mug?

The Harry Potter Reread: The Deathly Hallows, Chapters 9 and 10

The Harry Potter Reread would like to be everyone’s Valentine! In a cool let’s-hang-out-and-watch-movies-instead-of-going-to-an-overcrowded-restaurant sort of way.

This week we’re going to escape from a bleak situation and hang out in a house we thought we’d left for good. It’s chapters 9 and 10—A Place to Hide and Kreacher’s Tale.

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.

[Read more]

Series: The Harry Potter Reread

Mare Infinitum: The Guns of Ivrea by Clifford Beal

With Gideon’s Angel and The Raven’s Banquet, Clifford Beal handily established himself as an author of fast-paced historical fiction with a generous splash of the supernatural, but in the first of his Tales of Valdur, he goes full-on fantasy with a book best described as Black Sails meets Peter V. Brett’s Demon Cycle series.

Instead of the seventeenth-century England of the cracking Cromwell novels, The Guns of Ivrea takes place in a secondary world reminiscent of the Mediterranean where piracy is rife and unrest is on the rise…

[Read more]

When Historical Pirates Did PR: The Writings of Captain John Smith

A Generall Historie of Virginia, or, to give it its correct title, The Generall Historie of Virginia, New-England, and the Summer Isles: With the Names of the Adventurers, Planters, and Governours from Their First Beginning, Ano: 1584. To This Present 1624. With the Procedings of Those Several Colonies and the Accidents That Befell Them in All Their Journyes and Discoveries. Also the Maps and Descriptions of All Those Countryes, Their Commodities, People, Government, Customes, and Religion Yet Knowne. Divided into Sixe Books, and I think we all need to take a quick breath now. Pause. Better? OK, moving on, by Captaine John Smith sometymes Governour in those Countryes and Admirall of New England, starts off with a fulsome dedication to the Duchess of Richmond and Lennox that even the most ardent aristocrat might find just a touch overdone. It then continues with a preface assuring us that kings are great, before continuing on with no less than ten (count them, I did) poems assuring us that author John Smith is one awesome, awesome guy.

Even by 17th-century standards, this is quite something; several editions of the Bible, Shakespeare and Spenser have more modest introductions. And if, reading this, your first thought was that Captain John Smith had just a few public relations issues and/or really, really really needed money, or both, you’d be right.

[Read more]

We Finally See a Bat-Fight in the Final Trailer for Batman v. Superman!

The final trailer for Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice has been released! In a Bat-centric clip, we finally get to see the Caped Crusader’s fighting style, before Lex Luthor outlines the movie’s theme: the battle between Batman and Superman is “The greatest gladiator match in the history of the world.” We only get a few tantalizing glimpses of said battle, but much more importantly we hear Wonder Woman’s first line!

Check out the full trailer below!

[Also? Lex says “psychotic is a three syllable world for any thought too big for little minds”!]

Birds Do It, Bees Do It: Lois McMaster Bujold’s Gentleman Jole and the Red Queen

Victorian Britons were deeply culturally invested in the idea of mothers as “Angels In The Home,” providing a gentle moral example to their husbands and children. This fantasy proposed that women could act as agents of reform in the British Empire both despite and because of not having the right to own property or vote. Being deprived of legal and political rights excluded women from effective participation in the public sphere, the realm of all politics and business. But these public matters intruded into the private sphere of the household, and women’s concerns extended out of it. Cordelia Naismith Vorkosigan would be appalled by Victorian Britain, and it would be in awe of her. In her career in Barrayar’s empire, Cordelia is intimately familiar with the darkest depths of the overlapping portions of the Venn diagram of public and private.

Lois McMaster Bujold’s announcement of Gentleman Jole and the Red Queen gave rise to both excitement and trepidation, the last coming from readers who wanted more space opera from their Vorkosigans and less romance than other recent volumes in the series have offered. With due respect to readers who prefer public stories to private ones, or space battles to smooching, for Vorkosigans the categories are inextricably intertwined. In space opera, our heroes go to war. In romance, we get to see them come home. In Cordelia’s case, the space opera has had dramatic personal impacts, and the idea of coming home raises complicated questions. Where is home? What does it mean to go there?

[This is pretty romantic, though.]

Taraji P. Henson to Star in Untold Story of NASA’s Black Female Mathematicians

Taraji P. Henson (who is killing it on Empire as Cookie Lyon) has signed on to star in director Ted Melfi’s (St. Vincent) adaptation of Margot Lee Shetterly’s book Hidden Figures: The Story of the African-American Women Who Helped Win the Space Race. Set during the Civil Rights era, this is the untold story of NASA’s black female mathematicians, focusing on four in particular; Henson will play Katherine Johnson, with the other roles yet to be cast.

[Read more]

Words of Radiance Reread: Chapter 70

Welcome back to the Words of Radiance Reread on Tor.com! Last week, Kaladin and Shallan acrimoniously began their trek through the chasms back to the warcamps.  This week, once Shallan finds a way to distract the chasmfiend from trying to eat them, they plod mistrustfully on together.

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!

[Storms. She must look like the aftereffect of a lightning bolt hitting a jar of red ink.]

Series: Words of Radiance Reread on Tor.com

Midnight in Karachi Episode 43: Sarah Pinborough

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

This week British Fantasy Award winner Sarah Pinborough joins the show to talk about YA fiction, whether trigger warnings are needed and her new YA crime thriller 13 Minutes (available February 18 in the UK from Gollancz).

[Read more]

Series: Midnight in Karachi Podcast

Far-Flung Destinations for the Fantasy Tourist

Fantasy fiction is a journey to a place nobody has ever been in waking life, a chance to meet the locals (unfriendly), sample their traditional wares (murder) and take in the picturesque scenery (volcanos and blasted wastelands). The most common destinations of fantasy fiction are rooted in Medieval Europe, a tradition that began with romances like Amadis of Gaul and Orlando Furioso and was revivified (with a sizable dash of Germanic and Celtic folklore) by Tolkien’s Middle-earth. Worlds drawing on Europe remain the most popular ports for the fantasy tourist.

The Tiger and the Wolf, my new novel from Tor UK, draws on other times and places—pre-Colombian America, the early bronze age, even palaeontological deep time. Similarly, although it’s always fun to spend a weekend break watching rival kings brain one another and spoil each other’s weddings, there are plenty of worlds off the beaten track for the intrepid tourist.

[Read more]

United States of Japan

We’re proud to present an excerpt from Peter Tieryas’ United States of Japan, a spiritual successor to Philip K. Dick’s The Man in the High Castle, out March 1 from Angry Robot Books.

Most of United States of Japan takes place in 1989 following Captain Beniko Ishimura in the office of the censor and Agent Akiko Tsukino, member of the Tokko (the Japanese secret police). Los Angeles is a technological mecca, a fusion of Silicon Valley, Hollywood, and Tokyo. During WWII, one of the biggest weaknesses the Japanese Empire had was its dependency on oil to which it had very little access. After their shared victory with the Germans, they prioritized developing solar energy and electrical batteries for all their vehicles. That sensibility is reflected in the entire aesthetic of this new Los Angeles, clean, pristine, grand, and gleaming in neon. At the same time, I wanted to contrast this by showing the dark origins of the USJ. To do this, I felt it was important to know what happens in the direct aftermath of the Japanese Empire’s victory in WWII. This was in part influenced by a visit I made to the Japanese American Museum in San Jose, learning about (and being horrified by) the history of what happened back then. This opening chapter takes place forty years before the events of USJ and is about Ben’s parents who were locked away in a Japanese-American Internment Camp, waiting to find out their fate. —Peter Tieryas

[Read an Excerpt]

What Are You Reading (When You’re Not Reading Science Fiction/Fantasy)?

One of the best things about working at Tor.com is that we get to spend so much time immersed in the science fictional and fantasy worlds that we love—from the books, comics, and movies that we grew up on through the newest releases of the year, we tend to eat, sleep, and breathe SFF both in and out of the office. As voracious readers, though, we also like to stretch our wings and venture into other literary genres, and so we thought we’d share some recommendations from our recent forays into history and historical fiction, biography, anthropology, criticism, and more. We hope that you’ll share some of your own suggestions in the comments, and let us know what other genres help to round out your TBR pile!

[A whole slew of staff recommendations below…]

Visit Beautiful Atmospheric Venus

The last few years have seen a heartening spike in people’s love of SPACE. Between Gravity, Interstellar, The Martian, Curiosity’s selfies, the Twitter-based love affair of Rosetta and her Philae Lander, The Expanseall of the various SpaceX projects, and astronaut Scott Kelly’s #YearinSpace, Earthlings seem to have decided to take space travel seriously again. Now, NASA and JPL have given us a new take on Space Travel – a series of gorgeous posters from Invisible Creature design!

[Best vacation ever.]