Pathfinder Tales: Liar’s Bargain Sweepstakes!

We want to send you a galley copy of Tim Pratt’s Pathfinder Tales: Liar’s Bargain, available June 7th from Tor Books!

The sequel to Hugo Award Winner Tim Pratt’s Liar’s Island! For charming con man Rodrick and his talking sword Hrym, life is all about taking what you can and getting away clean. But when the pair are arrested in the crusader nation of Lastwall, Rodrick faces immediate execution, with Hrym spending the rest of eternity trapped in an enchanted scabbard. Their only hope lies in a secret government program in which captured career criminals are teamed up and sent on suicide missions too sensitive for ordinary soldiers.

Trapped between almost certain death and actual certain death, the two join forces with a team of rogues and scoundrels, ready to serve their year-long tenure as best they can. Yet not everyone in their party is what they seem, and a death sentence may only be the start of the friends’ problems.

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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 11:30 AM Eastern Time (ET) on May 4th. Sweepstakes ends at 12:00 PM ET on May 8th. 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.

Kendare Blake’s Anna Dressed in Blood Movie Casts Its Leads

Twilight author Stephenie Meyer is adapting Kendare Blake’s YA ghost story Anna Dressed in Blood (from Tor Teen) for the big screen, Deadline reports, and the leads have just been announced. Cameron Monaghan (Shameless) will star as Cas Lowood, who is tasked with killing the dead—destroying ghosts that have stayed on for unfinished business, especially of the murderous sort. But when he comes across a deserted Victorian that has claimed the lives of everyone who enters it, he finds that the ghost, known as Anna Dressed in Blood (Maddie Hasson, who stars on Freeform’s Twisted) is less killer than cursed.

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The Temeraire Reread: Black Powder War

Hello, everyone! Welcome back to the Temeraire Reread, in which I recap and review Naomi Novik’s Temeraire series, one novel a week, leading up to the release of the final volume, League of Dragons, on June 14th. We continue this week with the third novel, Black Powder War, in which we return to Europe—and the Napoleonic Wars—via Istanbul. You can catch up on past posts at the reread index, or check out Tor.com’s other posts about Naomi Novik’s works through her tag.

Reminder: these posts may contain spoilers through all currently-published novels, but will contain no spoilers for the forthcoming League of Dragons (I’ve now read it, but I’m pretending I haven’t). If you have read League, absolutely no spoilers! But there’s no need to warn for spoilers about the published books, so spoil—and comment!—away.

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Series: The Temeraire Reread

Sexy Texas: Night Shift by Charlaine Harris

Midnight is a tiny village in of Texas at the crossroads of the middle nowhere to even more nowhere. It’s a place that attracts transients and those looking to live under the radar. Like the town of Bon Temps in Charlaine Harris’ other more famous series, Midnight is a quirky country town with a preponderance of magic. A lovelorn witch, an empathetic psychic, a vampire, a pair of fallen angels, a pack of weretigers, a mystical quickie mart manager, and a talking cat all call the town home, not to mention the professional hitwoman, the restaurant owners who aren’t who they claim, and the equally lovelorn pawnshop owner.

In the first two books of the “Midnight, Texas” rural fantasy trilogy, Charlaine Harris explores the deepest, darkest secrets of the townsfolk, and in Night Shift she digs into the evil under the town that drew them there and may end up killing them all. When strangers wander into the crossroads and start killing themselves in increasingly brutal ways, the Midnighters rally together to figure out why. Lemuel acquires help translating the ancient books Bobo found in the shop, and what he discovers offers no good news. A newcomer sparks the locals’ interest, especially since about the same time as his arrival a voice begins talking to Fiji. Turns out the town is built over an imprisoned demon and he wants out. Now. Unfortunately for Fiji, she’s the key to his escape as well as his continued imprisonment.

As bad as the spellwork required to battle the demon is, it’s her collapsing unrequited romance with Bobo that hurts her the most. It’s time for Fiji to take her life into her own hands. Saving the town and finding happiness are up to her, but only if the creeps following Olivia, the threat posed by Teacher and Madonna, and Lemuel’s risky dealmaking don’t get in the way first.

[“Fiji was not a happy witch.”]

Star Wars: Bloodline Should Definitely Be a Movie

Claudia Gray’s new Star Wars novel, Bloodline, is tense and exciting and galaxy-spanning in scope. You might even say it’s… cinematic. It would make such a good movie, is what I’m trying to say here. And as soon as that occurred to me, I starting dream-casting the new characters. Read on for my vision for Bloodline, and add your own in the comments! I’ve kept the post spoiler-free, but beware of any lurking in the comments—you can also check out my review of the book if you need more convincing that this movie NEEDS to happen.

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Announcing the 2016 Locus Award Finalists!

Locus Magazine has announced the finalists in each category of the 2016 Locus Awards! The winners will be announced during the Locus Awards Weekend in Seattle WA, June 24-26, 2016; Connie Willis will MC the awards ceremony.

We are honored to see various Tor Books and Tor.com authors and contributors nominated, including Gene Wolfe, Elizabeth Bear, and Daryl Gregory, as well as Kai Ashante Wilson (for Sorcerer of the Wildeeps) and Nnedi Okorafor (for Binti). We’re also gratified to see Ellen Datlow, Jonathan Strahan, and David Hartwell nominated in the Editor category, and Tor.com itself nominated in the Best Magazine category. Congratulations to all the nominees!

[Click through for the full list of nominees!]

Met Gala or Jupiter Ascending II?

The theme for this year’s Met Gala—the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s annual Costume Institute benefit—was “Manus x Machina: Fashion in an Age of Technology,” which gave fashionable Hollywood types an excuse to get really, really shiny. Some people interpreted the theme differently (or very loosely), but for the most part, it looked less like a regular red carpet and more like a very elaborate audition for a Jupiter Ascending sequel that we would absolutely watch. Claire Danes as a space queen in a light-up dress? Zoe Saldana in the longest space-train? Yes, please.

For the best take on the gala’s silver-dress spectacular, check out Genevieve Valentine’s glorious red-carpet rundown, which will tell you who looked like the patron saint of androids, and who enjoys feeling like a beautiful moon princess. (Besides Stubby, that is.)

Fiction Affliction: May Releases in Fantasy

May’s twenty-two fantasy novels are full of dragons, intrigue, and strange lands. Illustrator Todd Lockwood releases his first novel; Sarah J. Maas delves further into her Court of Thorns and Roses series; Ian C. Esslemont starts a new Malazan trilogy; and Guy Gavriel Kay returns. At this rate, your summer reading is already set!

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“It’s Make-believe, Isn’t It?” — Falling in Love with Little, Big

Little, Big by John Crowley is a brilliant, complex, perplexing paradox of a book. It’s deeply serious and yet utterly evanescent: a sophisticated, moving adult novel about fairyland. I first came across it on the recommendation of a very well-read friend, and I fell hard for it within the first few pages. The moment I want to shout about here is the one that first prompted this headlong topple.

So, some background: the novel is that rare and old-fashioned thing, a family saga. The Drinkwaters are an American family whose home, Edgewood, is a many-faced, labyrinthine, Beaux Arts country pile, not too distant from an unnamed city that is clearly New York. Yet the Drinkwaters are special, and what makes them special is that they’re related (by marriage) to fairies. Their family history, at diverse and unpredictable points, is implicated in “the Tale”—a longstanding fairy narrative that unfolds in a rhythm too slow, too magical, for human comprehension.

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Series: That Was Awesome! Writers on Writing

Star Trek The Original Series Rewatch: “Spectre of the Gun”

“Spectre of the Gun”
Written by Lee Cronin
Directed by Vincent McEveety
Season 3, Episode 1
Production episode 60043-56
Original air date: October 25, 1968
Stardate: 4385.3

Captain’s log. The Enterprise goes to Melkotian space, under orders to make contact with the locals, and they find a buoy which parallels the ship, adapting to every course change, and also closing in on them. When the ship stops moving forward, the buoy also stops and finally communicates: they have encroached upon the space of the Melkot (which they kind of already knew). Each crew member hears the buoy’s voice in their native tongue—English for Kirk, Vulcan for Spock, Russian for Chekov, and Swahili for Uhura. Kirk’s attempt to communicate back is met with silence, so Kirk decides to beam down anyhow.

[A lot of people and things have tried to kill me. You’d be surprised!]

Series: Star Trek: The Original Series Rewatch

Gesso on Linen: Zero K by Don DeLillo

“Everybody wants to own the end of the world,” begins Don DeLillo’s first new novel since Point Omega in 2010, and like the finest opening lines, Zero K’s is soaked through with significance.

Fittingly for a work of fiction interested in “fathers and sons,” this is a remark Ross Lockhart, a billionaire in his sixties, makes to Jeffrey—his aimless heir, and our narrator—as they stand in his opulent New York office, surrounded on all sides by abstract art and other markers of money: motifs readers will encounter repeatedly as they make their way through Zero K. It’s important to note, furthermore, that this phrase is not spoken in the moment, but rather recalled by “a man propelled into obsessive reflection.”

As to the words themselves… well. To own is to possess, yes, but these days, it also denotes domination, and this is what Ross wants: to use his dollars to dominate the end of the world. That’s not to say the apocalypse, but the end of the world as we mere mortals perceive it, at the very end of our selves—in death.

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Five Literary Worlds That Smacked Me in the Face

After years of writing and reading urban fantasy, it’s hard to be thrilled about the basic premise—which, as I see it, is supernatural creatures and ordinary humans interacting on a regular basis. But every now and then, when I open a book, I am delighted to find a world I could never have imagined myself. It’s a real joy to me to be astounded. When I got a chance to share this pleasure, I realized I had to limit my list in some way: so I decided to pick worlds created by women writers.

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Series: Five Books About…

Steeplejack Sweepstakes!

We want to send you a galley copy of A.J. Hartley’s Steeplejack, available June 14th from Tor Teen!

Seventeen-year-old Anglet Sutonga lives repairing the chimneys, towers, and spires of the city of Bar-Selehm. Dramatically different communities live and work alongside each other. The white Feldish command the nation’s higher echelons of society. The native Mahweni are divided between citylife and the savannah. And then there’s Ang, part of the Lani community who immigrated over generations ago as servants and now mostly live in poverty on Bar-Selehm’s edges.

When Ang is supposed to meet her new apprentice Berrit, she instead finds him dead. That same night, the Beacon, an invaluable historical icon, is stolen. The Beacon’s theft commands the headlines, yet no one seems to care about Berrit’s murder—except for Josiah Willinghouse, an enigmatic young politician. When he offers her a job investigating his death, she plunges headlong into new and unexpected dangers.

Meanwhile, crowds gather in protests over the city’s mounting troubles. Rumors surrounding the Beacon’s theft grow. More suspicious deaths occur. With no one to help Ang except Josiah’s haughty younger sister, a savvy newspaper girl, and a kindhearted herder, Ang must rely on her intellect and strength to resolve the mysterious link between Berrit and the missing Beacon before the city descends into chaos.

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 1:30 PM Eastern Time (ET) on May 3rd. Sweepstakes ends at 12:00 PM ET on May 7th. 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.