Leviathan Breaks: Nemesis Games by James S. A. Corey

For science fiction fans with more of an interest in kick-ass action than extrapolated mathematical accuracy, The Expanse has been brilliant: a breath of fresh air in a genre with a regrettable tendency to taste stale instead.

And yet, in premise, it isn’t particularly original. In each part of The Expanse so far, an expanding cast of roguish do-gooders have broken the rules to do good in a galaxy on the brink of going bad. Add to that drawback the characters—characters who felt familiar from the first, and haven’t done much to differentiate themselves since—and the setting, which is essentially the same as a hundred other interstellar sagas.

This, then, is a series that really shouldn’t work…

[…but I’ll be damned if it doesn’t.]

Fiction Affliction: Genre-Benders for June

Genre is an iffy proposition for twenty-six books releasing in June, with steampunk making a mini-comeback. Look for new titles from, among others, Charlie N. Holmberg, Ed Greenwood, Garth Nix, Michael Logan, Christopher Golden, and Felix J. Palma. Also check out three star-studded anthologies: The Year’s Best Science Fiction and Fantasy: 2015; The Year’s Best Dark Fantasy & Horror: 2015; and The Year’s Best Science Fiction and Fantasy Novellas, 2015.

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]

Crowd-Sourced Storytelling with Tor Authors!

It all started with a just simple robotic unicorn. We thought the necromantic giant squid, brooding in his mountain top monastery, was behind it all. No one—no one, not even the Wise—was prepared for the true terror of the Loafer Conspiracy and Darth Weasley. Worlds within worlds, worlds without end. But through it all, looming Lovecraftian existential dread. This is not my beautiful wife! This is not my beautiful house! Well, how did I get here?

I’ll tell you how: the Tor.com Crowd-Sourced Storytelling panel at BookCon, featuring Fran Wilde, Seth Dickinson and Lawrence M. Schoen, hosted by yours truly!

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They Are the Ones Called Sailor Bros!

Fighting evil by moonlight, winning love by daylight… We had to smile at this cheeky Sailor Moon crossplay from Animazement 2015, in which a group of men tapped into their inner Sailor Scouts. (They’ve even got the color schemes down!) They’re called The Cos-Playboys, and they’ve also embodied Pokemon. You can see them strutting their stuff in a cosplay music video from Animazement.

Afternoon Roundup brings you The Odyssey, a.k.a. the original The Hunger Games; your very own Iron Man armor; and the thing that made Chris Pratt cry.

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Planning For Your Future: The Top Five Colleges of Magic

School is almost out, and it’s time to take stock and figure out where you will be continuing your education in the fall. This is a very important decision that will greatly influence your life (and indeed, your lifespan), so there are many factors to consider. We have therefore compiled a list of the top five institutions of higher education for the aspiring practitioner of magic.

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Rereading Melanie Rawn: Sunrunner’s Fire, Chapters 21 and 22

Welcome to the weekly Wednesday reread of Sunrunner’s Fire! This week a number of long-festering conflicts break wide open.

Chapter 21—Dragon’s Rest: 33 Spring

So This Happens: Ostvel is riding hard to Dragon’s Rest with Donato and a pair of guards. He’s feeling his age, and he’s had to struggle to find mounts and lodgings on the way. When he comes in sight of the palace, it seems serene, but Ostvel’s mind feels muddled and he’s suspicious.

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Series: Rereading Melanie Rawn’s The Dragon Prince Trilogy

Visit Tor/Forge Books at the 2015 American Library Association Conference!

The 2015 ALA Annual Conference takes place June 26-29 in San Francisco, and Tor/Forge Books has an exciting schedule filled with panels, author events, and book signings. Find out what speculative fiction gets right (and wrong) about technological innovation; hear from YALSA’s 2015 Alex Award winner John Scalzi and Stonewall Book Award honoree Jo Walton; and even participate in a speed-dating event with children’s authors and illustrators. Tor/Forge Books will be at booth #1013 for signings and more; stop by and say hello!

[Click through for the list of events and signings]

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.

[BEEEEEES!!!]

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!

[Read more]

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