Ellie is on her way to visit her comatose mother when her sister sends her to repair physics. Each universe has skunkworks that generate the universe within it, making this multiverse a set of matryoshka dolls. The skunkworks that generate this universe have become faulty, and the physical constants suddenly…aren’t. In order to fix the skunkworks, to make physics self-consistent again, and to make the world work as it’s supposed to, Ellie will have to remember everything her mother has taught her.
Vera is a spy for the Barstadt Empire, a powerful country with a rigid class structure and a seedy underbelly. Her mission is to weed out the corruption that holds this society together, but for Vera it’s not political, it’s personal. And her next mission is anything but routine, as long as she’s not blinded by revenge and can see that in the shadows of Barstadt City, things are seldom what they seem.
Ever feel like you care too much? After a breakup, after the funeral…it feels like the way to win at life is to care the least. That’s not an option for Dominga, an EMT who cares too much, or her drinking buddy Nico, who just lost his poor cat. Life hurts. They drink. They talk: Nico’s tired of hurting people. He wants out. Not suicide, not that — he’d just hurt everyone who loves him. But what if he could erase his whole life? Undo the fact of his birth? Wouldn’t Dominga be having a better night, right now, if she didn’t have to take care of him? And when Dominga finds a way to do just that, when she is gifted or armed with a terrible cosmic mercy, she still cares enough to say: I am not letting him have this. I am not letting Nico go without a fight.
Let me begin with the obvious: The Martian is a great, tense, often terrifying tale of survival and ingenuity. It’s a celebration of the human desire to explore in the face of doom, and it makes me wish I was better at science. It’s also hilarious. While the book was considered a little too techie at times (NASA loves it, astronauts love it, and if you watch Andy Weir’s Author Talk at Google you’ll see that the nerds over there really really love it) the story has been turned into a film that is accessible and often fun, without sacrificing scientific accuracy.
Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. has returned with a bang: Coulson is back, but his left hand is not, and his “right hand,” May, is taking her own sweet time getting back. Skye is back, but is now going by her birth name, Daisy. Mack and Hunter are back, being competent and cracking jokes. Bobbi is back, but working in the lab rather than as a field agent while she recovers from wounds. Fitz is back, but searching for clues to Simmons’ disappearance in the field rather than in the lab. And Simmons has been having more than a little trouble getting back. The team has immediately found themselves at odds with a new agency, as well as a shadowy monster, and a resurgent Hydra. Today, we recap the first two episodes of the season. And this post will start a thread to give everyone a chance to discuss future episodes as the season progresses.
Only Agents cleared to observe SPOILERS should proceed beyond this point!
The latest installment in Brandon Sanderson’s Cosmere is out! It’s been landing at bookstores, doorsteps, mailboxes, and e-readers, and now we need to talk about it. Tor.com has most graciously given us a playground for Shadows of Self-related spoilers, questions, debates, and general fannish chaos, so let’s dive in! But first, if you’re looking for a non-spoiler review of the novel, head over here!
Waxillium, Wayne, Steris, and Marasi are all back in fine form, taking on crime and the social elite of Elendel in their own special ways. Humor, tension, back stories, character development, and a culture in transition—yup, it’s Sanderson, all right. Also, giraffes.
Why does a geek journalist write about things that they don’t like?
The answer to that is simple, but it requires having a solid definition of the demands of a journalist covering geeky topics, and judging from the “New Geeky Journalism” panel at 2015’s New York Comic Con, that definition is amorphous and ever-changing.
Childhood friends Patricia Delfine and Laurence Armstead didn’t expect to see each other again, after parting ways under mysterious circumstances during high school. After all, the development of magical powers and the invention of a two-second time machine could hardly fail to alarm one’s peers and families.
But now they’re both adults, living in the hipster mecca San Francisco, and the planet is falling apart around them. Laurence is an engineering genius who’s working with a group that aims to avert catastrophic breakdown through technological intervention into the changing global climate. Patricia is a graduate of Eltisley Maze, the hidden academy for the world’s magically gifted, and works with a small band of other magicians to secretly repair the world’s every-growing ailments. Little do they realize that something bigger than either of them, something begun years ago in their youth, is determined to bring them together—to either save the world, or plunge it into a new dark ages.
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 3:30 PM Eastern Time (ET) on October 9th. Sweepstakes ends at 12:00 PM ET on October 13th. 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.
“Fine Feathered Finks”/ “The Penguin’s a Jinx” Written by Lorenzo Semple Jr.
Directed by Robert Butler Season 1, Episodes 1 & 2 Production code 8703
Original air dates: January 19 & 20, 1966
The Bat-signal: Three guys in black suits and bowler hats start giving out umbrellas outside a jewelry store, the House of Ali Baba, with the promise of possible prizes inside. The umbrellas all then open on their own inside the store, spraying gas, blowing fireworks and confetti, and making horrible noises and spitting out gas and comedy snakes. At police HQ, O’Hara says it’s like a fingerprint—the Penguin, who has an umbrella fetish, and he was just released from prison three days ago. Gordon picks up the Bat-phone.
This is it. This is the nerdiest thing. If you click below, and we urge you to do so, what you’ll find is a mashup of Rockwell’s deliriously dorky 1980s hit “(I Always Feel Like) Somebody’s Watching Me” and the classic sci-fi show Quantum Leap. The lyrics, which obviously include the chorus “I always feel like I’m gonna quantum leap” explore the psychological ramifications of being a scientist who’s being bounced through time and forced to inhabit other people’s bodies by God, Fate, Time, or Whatever. This wonderful video was created by song parodist Bonecage, who is a huge fan of QL. We love this video. We love it even more than we love Al “Bingo” Calavicci’s terrible fashion sense.
Wonderful New York Comic-Con-goer @gaminette shared what may be the greatest tribute to J.R.R. Tolkien we’ve ever seen! Also? All you procrastinating-type people who don’t have a Halloween costume yet? Here’s your Halloween costume. You’re welcome. We want the streets of this nation to run grey with sexy Gandalfs!
Afternoon Roundup brings news from Westeros, celebrates an honor for John Williams, and the new trailer for Pride and Prejudice and Zombies!
I was excited to read Carry On because of how much I loved Rainbow Rowell’s previous book, Fangirl. The combination of tension and affection at the heart of the relationship between Fangirl’s protagonist, Cath and her sister, Wren, spoke to me, as did Cath’s emergency supply of “too anxious to eat in the dining hall” energy bars. Cath found relief from the drama of her personal life through her fanfiction about Simon Snow and his friends at Watford School of Magicks. Carry On is the book Cath was waiting for – the final volume in the (tragically non-existent) Simon Snow series. I love that this book now actually exists, and that it is simultaneously so magical and so real.
Cath’s fanfic made Simon Snow sound like a darker, sexier Harry Potter. It was difficult to tell whether that was a result of Cath’s interpretation, or an aspect of the fictional source material that was the focus of her work. Carry On quickly resolves this question. The simple profiles in Olga Grlic’s cover illustration convey a degree of interpersonal chemistry that didn’t appear in the Harry Potter books until Sirius and Lupin forgave each other in Prisoner of Azkaban. The cover blurb from Lev Grossman assures me that I’m not making this up.
Tor: The Next Generation stormed New York Comic-Con this year! John Scalzi moderated a lively panel featuring Tor authors Fran Wilde (Updraft), Lawrence Schoen (Barsk: The Elephants’ Graveyard), Seth Dickinson (The Traitor Baru Cormorant) and Ilana C. Myer (Last Song Before Night). Scalzi opened the panel by warning that author panels “have the potential to be awful and boring” so he’s turned the whole ordeal into a game of Would You Rather! The panel revealed many important truth, chief among them that Seth Dickinson is a modern military genius, and that, no matter the odds against her, Fran Wilde will find a way to game the system. Check the panel highlights out below!
SyFy gave the crowd at NYCC a sneak peak of The Expanse, hosting a showing of the pilot episode, plus a panel featuring executive producers Mark Fergus and Hawk Ostby, and stars Thomas Jane, Steven Strait, Cas Anvar, and Florence Faivre. Expository text tells us that Earth (now run by the U.N.), Mars, and the Outer Planets – an asteroid belt mined for its resources – have been locked in an uneasy balance but now Earth and Mars have begun escalating a Cold War over who controls the Belt, while Belters themselves are beginning to demand more rights. The adaptation of James S.A. Corey’s novels has been described as Game of Thrones in space, and at least the pilot made good on that blurb.
The SyFy channel is continuing its trend of producing thought-provoking TV with a new series, Hunters, coming next year. Based on Whitley Streiber’s Alien Hunter books, the show was developed by Natalie Chaidez , a former producer of The Sarah Connor Chronicles and SyFy’s current 12 Monkeys series, and Gale Anne Hurd, the legendary producer behind The Terminator, Aliens, and The Walking Dead. It follows F.B.I. agent Flynn Carroll as he joins the ExoTerroismUnit, a secret government agency who capture the aliens, called Hunters, who live among us. His partner, Regan is a Hunter who has taken the humans’ part, and she’ll be key to helping him find his kidnapped wife. Click through for the full trailer!
Ever since Snow White, Disney had been struggling with two separate animation issues: effects sequences and the process of transferring animation art to film without going disastrously over budget. Some film tricks—using cornflakes to create something that more or less looked like snow, for instance—had helped with the first, and the xerographic process introduced in One Hundred and One Dalmatians had been a lifesaver for recent film budgets. But some of those techniques also caused problems: the cornflake technique could often be tricky to film, and the xerographic process generally resulted in characters outlined with thick black lines, and limited the ability of animators to add the subtle color shadings that had been featured in Pinocchio and Fantasia.
But in the 1980s, something new and miraculous entered the picture: computers. They could, animators thought, solve multiple issues: the transfer process; effects shots (Disney animators had been thrilled by the computer animation created by Pixar for Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan); and even—possibly—filming. They decided to try to insert computer generated images into their next upcoming film. And, they thought, they could also try out a new animation transfer technique, animation photo transfer (APT) for a few scenes.
Unfortunately, audiences were introduced to both in Disney’s second all time greatest animation flop: The Black Cauldron.
The Harry Potter Reread currently cannot stop eating gummy bears, and it’s probably not a good thing since they’re basically corn syrup and gelatin. But at least it’s not compulsively eating candy corn, which is basically corn syrup and wax?
We’re going to get a fancy new textbook and find out a bit about Voldemort’s relatives! It’s chapters 9 and 10—The Half-Blood Prince and The House of Gaunt.
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.
We want to send you a copy of the all-women H.P. Lovecraft anthology She Walks in Shadows, edited by Silva Moreno-Garcia and Paula R. Stiles, available October 13th from Innsmouth Free Press, with stories by Angela Slatter, Gemma Files, Molly Tanzer, and more!
They emerge from the shadows, to claim the night…
Women from around the world delve into Lovecraftian depths, penning and illustrating a variety of Weird horrors. The pale and secretive Lavinia wanders through the woods, Asenath is a precocious teenager with an attitude, and the Ancient Egyptian pharaoh Nitocris has found a new body in distant America. And do you have time to hear a word from our beloved mother Shub-Niggurath?
Defiant, destructive, terrifying, and harrowing, the women in She Walks in Shadows are monsters and mothers, heroes and devourers. Observe them in all their glory. Iä! Iä!
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 3:30 PM Eastern Time (ET) on October 8th. Sweepstakes ends at 12:00 PM ET on October 12th. 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.
Empire Ascendant is Kameron Hurley’s fifth novel. The second volume of her epic fantasy “Worldbreaker Saga” from Angry Robot Books, it follows last year’s The Mirror Empire, and builds upon the grim and terrible events of that novel to depict a world facing cataclysmic events. The invading Tai Mora have suffered a minor setback, but their legions still pour through rents in the world. The country of Saiduan has already been torn apart. Now the Tai Mora are pouring into Dorinah and the land of the Dhai—and worse is yet to come, because the dark star Oma is not yet fully risen.
I will admit up front that I have a strange affection for Prince Charming. He inspired the Charming Tales(available at fine book portals everywhere), and got me started on the road to a career as an author, or at least a published author. However, what made me interested in writing a story about Prince Charming was not that he was a particularly interesting character, but that he was entirely uninteresting. In fairytales filled with iconic beautiful princesses like Cinderella, Snow White, Beauty, and Briar Rose, the prince is, almost without exception, a non-entity. In fact, in fairytales prince characters are comically nondescript and interchangeable. Would the stories of Cinderella or Sleeping Beauty or Snow White be any different if Prince Phillip or Prince Charming or Prince “Noname” (literally—the prince in Snow White is never given a name) were swapped?
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 39 of A Dance With Dragons, in which we cover Chapter 66 (“Tyrion”) and Chapter 67 (“The Kingbreaker”).
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.
Marvel Studios just announced an update to their already-titanic Phase 3 movie slate, which kicks off with 2016’s Captain America: Civil War. The update includes an Ant-Man movie sequel titled Ant-Man and The Wasp, some mysteries, and some reshuffling of Black Panther and Captain Marvel.
Welcome back to the Words of Radiance Reread on Tor.com! Last week, a full disadvantaged duel was fought; a full disadvantaged duel was won; and a full disadvantaged duel was wasted. This week, the aftermath: a lot of shouting and unwarranted stubbornness.
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.
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.
Hugo award winner Kameron Hurley is on the podcast this week to talk about the meaning of grimdark, her honesty about the business of writing, pushing boundaries, and her new novel Empire Ascendant—available October 6th from Angry Robot. Read an excerpt from Empire Ascendant, sequel to The Mirror Empire, here on Tor.com.