How to Train Your Velociraptor

The scariest part of Jurassic Park’s Velociraptor isn’t the dinosaur’s speed, teeth, or claws. It’s the saurian’s brain. Smarts are what made this agile carnivore so terrifying. Tyrannosaurus is a force of nature—brute strength driven by the need to feed—but it’s not nearly as creepy as a dinosaur that can set a trap for you.

Jurassic World takes raptor intelligence to the next level. The sequel’s star dinosaurs are smart enough that they can follow commands from keeper Owen Grady (Chris Pratt). Would this actually be possible? Would a revived Velociraptor be smart enough to learn to be a pal instead of a predator?

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Last First Snow Sweepstakes!

We have 15 galleys of Last First Snow, out from Tor Books on July 7th, and we want to send them to you!

Forty years after the God Wars, Dresediel Lex bears the scars of liberation-especially in the Skittersill, a poor district still bound by the fallen gods’ decaying edicts. As long as the gods’ wards last, they strangle development; when they fail, demons will be loosed upon the city. The King in Red hires Elayne Kevarian of the Craft firm Kelethres, Albrecht, and Ao to fix the wards, but the Skittersill’s people have their own ideas. A protest rises against Elayne’s work, led by Temoc, a warrior-priest turned community organizer who wants to build a peaceful future for his city, his wife, and his young son.

As Elayne drags Temoc and the King in Red to the bargaining table, old wounds reopen, old gods stir in their graves, civil blood breaks to new mutiny, and profiteers circle in the desert sky. Elayne and Temoc must fight conspiracy, dark magic, and their own demons to save the peace-or failing that, to save as many people as they can.

Check for the rules below.

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Ah! Everyone! Look! Godzilla Is Promoting Tokyo!

In the interest of leaving the past in the past, Japan has made Godzilla its newest tourism ambassador. While some might say Godzilla has a volatile relationship with the city of Tokyo, we’re sure the God-Lizard will take his new ambassadorial duties seriously. Just look at how proud he is to be wearing that sash!

Morning Roundup contains wonders including: a song sung in praise of Total Recall, even still yet more behind-the-scenes information about Mad Max: Fury Road, and SO MANY BEES.


Midian Unmade Sweepstakes!

Midian Unmade: Tales of Clive Barker’s Nightbreed comes out from Tor Books on July 28th, and we want to send you a galley now!

Midian Unmade tells the stories of the Nightbreed after the fall of their city, Midian. Driven from their homes, their friends and family members slain before their eyes, the monsters become a mostly-hidden diaspora. Some are hunted; others, hunters. Some seek refuge. Others want revenge. The collection is edited by Joseph Nassise and Del Howison, with stories by Seanan McGuire, Amber Benson, and many more, and an introduction by Clive Barker himself.

Check for the rules below!

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Fiction Affliction: June Releases in Science Fiction

Technology threatens to be the end of us all this month as twenty-two science fiction titles hit the shelves in June! New series titles from, among others, Kevin J. Anderson, Sharon Lee and Steve Miller, James S.A. Corey, and Jane Lindskold. Also look for weekly installments to begin in John Scalzi’s newest serial release in his Old Man’s War series, and a new anthology from Baen of military science fiction and space opera short stories.

Fiction Affliction details releases in science fiction, fantasy, urban fantasy, paranormal romance, and “genre-benders.” Keep track of them all here. Note: All title summaries are taken and/or summarized from copy provided by the publisher.

[Read about this month’s releases]

Aurora Australis: Stories, Stories, and More Stories!

Welcome back to Aurora Australis, a monthly round-up of publishing news and highlights from Australia and New Zealand! Since our last installment, the weather is getting chilly in most parts and New Zealand has had a wee earthquake. And Australia has cut a bunch of funding to the arts, so that’s fun. ANYWAY: there’s also a whole bunch of story submission-opening-periods ahead, plus a new award and announcements of new collections of stories!

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Series: Aurora Australis

Star Trek The Original Series Rewatch: “The Conscience of the King”

“The Conscience of the King”
Written by Barry Trivers
Directed by Gerd Oswald
Season 1, Episode 12
Production episode 6149-13
Original air date: December 8, 1966
Stardate: 2817.6

Captain’s log. We open with Kirk and an old friend of his named Dr. Thomas Leighton watching a production of Macbeth. Leighton insists that Anton Karidian, the leader of the theatre company, who’s playing the title role, is Kodos the Executioner. Leighton is so sure that he lied to Kirk, telling him he’d discovered a synthetic food that could end famine, diverting the Enterprise. Kirk is sure that Kodos is dead, but Leighton is convinced that Karidian is Kodos, and he’s going to prove it by inviting the theatre company to a cocktail reception at his house that night. Kirk, though, just goes back to the Enterprise.

[Caesar, beware the ides of March!]

Series: Star Trek: The Original Series Rewatch

Five Books About Dead People That Don’t Stay Dead

I have the interesting conundrum of loving scary things and being absolutely terrified by them. The first time my dad read me “The Tell-Tale Heart” (As a bedtime story! Thanks, Dad!) I couldn’t sleep until I took my ticking clock off the wall and buried it under towels in the hall closet. Yet on our next trip to the bookstore, I begged for my parents to buy me the complete works of Poe, ready to be scared again.

That’s because, despite my inherent wimpiness, I love nothing more than a good spooky story…

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Series: Five Books About…

Your D&D Adventures Out of Context and in Comic Form

A lot of retelling Dungeons & Dragons campaigns is that “you had to be there” mentality. Now, A.C. Stuart is bridging that gap with Your D&D Stories, illustrated comics depicting the kookiest moments from tabletop quests. This dragon comic comes from a challenge he put out, asking for one-sentence, out-of-context D&D quotes. (via MetaFilter)

Afternoon Roundup trains for alien invasion through video games, practices making illuminated manuscripts, and gets inspired by Shia LaBeouf.

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The Wheel of Time Reread Redux: The Great Hunt, Part 3

Am I just paranoid, or is this yet another Wheel of Time Reread Redux? No reason it can’t be both! Today’s Redux post will cover Chapter 3 of The Great Hunt, originally reread in this post.

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 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!

[I always feel like somebody’s watching me / And I have no privacy / Whoa-oh-oh]

Series: The Wheel of Time Reread

Friendly Ghouls and Truant Gods: “Dream Quest of Unknown Kadath,” Part 2

Welcome back to the Lovecraft reread, in which two modern Mythos writers get girl cooties all over old Howard’s original stories.

Today we’re looking at the second half of “The Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath,” written in 1926 and 1927, and published posthumously in 1943 by Arkham House. You can read the story here and get caught up with our previous post—this week we pick up at “One starlight evening when the Pharos shone splendid over the harbour the longed-for ship put in.”

Spoilers ahead.

[“For another minute suspense was keen, and then the brief instant of full silhouette and revelation came.”]

Series: The Lovecraft Reread

Sleeps With Monsters: Amanda Downum Answers Six Relatively Short Questions

Amanda Downum’s most recent novel, Dreams of Shreds and Tatters (out now from Solaris Books), is a book I unexpectedly loved. Downum has previously written an excellent trilogy, the Necromancer Chronicles, which I can also highly recommend.

Today she’s joined us to talk about unpronounceable cults, nightgaunts, and the difference between writing contemporary and second-world fantasy.

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Series: Sleeps With Monsters

We Want More of This Homage to Hayao Miyazaki!

If we could live in any world, it would be a Hayao Miyazaki world. But a Miyazaki world that also includes just a hint of legendary designers Syd Mead and Mœbius? Well, that’s just an embarrassment of imaginary world riches. French animation student Gwenn Germain has created just such a world, told a complete story, and homaged the heck out of Miyazaki all in under three minutes in his short, “Celles et Ceux des Cimes et Cieux”. The short, created for his final project at Créapole, features the reverence for nature and sense of looming ecological disaster common to early Miyazaki works, along with some scenes that celebrate the sheer joy of flight…and that’s all before you get to the character in the Mononoke Hime mask. We don’t just want to see this as a feature, we want to live in this movie.

Check it out below!

[There’s also cameo by the animator himself!]

Celebrate June with Young Heroes!

Somewhere in the liminal space between YA fiction and fiction, there exist books with young protagonists who are dearly beloved of full-fledged grownups! Books like Huckleberry Finn, To Kill a Mockingbird, and IT give us adult levels of emotional depth and world-weary truth, but seen through the eyes of youth. From Mia Havero to Kvothe, we’re excited to present a rambunctious gathering of young SFF protagonists…most of whom are in over their heads! And be sure to add your favorite young protagonists in the comments!

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The Life of the Mind

Humans expanded into space…only to find a universe populated with multiple alien species bent on their destruction. Thus was the Colonial Union formed, to help protect us from from a hostile universe. The Colonial Union used the Earth and its excess population for colonists and soldiers. It was a good arrangement… for the Colonial Union. Then the Earth said: no more.

Now the Colonial Union is living on borrowed time—a couple of decades at most, before the ranks of the Colonial Defense Forces are depleted and the struggling human colonies are vulnerable to the alien species who have been waiting for the first sign of weakness, to drive humanity to ruin. And there’s another problem: A group, lurking in the darkness of space, playing human and alien against each other—and against their own kind—for their own unknown reasons.

In this collapsing universe, CDF Lieutenant Harry Wilson and the Colonial Union diplomats he works with race against against the clock to discover who is behind attacks on the Union and on alien races, to seek peace with a suspicious, angry Earth, and keep humanity’s union intact… or else risk oblivion, and extinction—and the end of all things.

Hugo-award winning author, John Scalzi returns to his best-selling Old Man’s War universe with The End of All Things, the direct sequel to 2013’s The Human Division. The End of All Things will be published by Tor Books in four ebook-only episodes throughout the month of June, beginning with The Life of the Mind on June 9th. Preview John Harris’ cover art for all four episodes here, and read an excerpt below!

[Read an excerpt]