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.

[Read more]

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!

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J.R.R. Tolkien and George R.R. Martin Battle, Epically, Through Rap

Epic Rap Battles of History tend to be hit-or-miss, but their latest falls on the ‘hit’ side of the spectrum. George R.R. Martin takes on J.R.R. Tolkien, and both gentlemen get in some decent jabs, with Martin pointing out that “There’s edgier plots in David the Gnome” and Tolkien countering that “C.S. Lewis and I were just discussing how you and Jon Snow both know nothing.” And yes, Led Zeppelin makes a cameo appearance. Watch below!

[Click through for the full battle!]

The Wheel of Time Reread Redux: The Dragon Reborn, Part 18

Team Wheel of Time Reread Redux is on the move!

Today’s Redux post will cover Chapters 37 and 38 of The Dragon Reborn, 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 Tor.com.)

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 mean, I don’t know about anyone else, but Rowling had me at “Diagon Alley”]

Series: The Wheel of Time Reread

In the Game of Shots, You Throw Yours Away or You Die

I imagine death so much it feels more like a memory. It’s one of Alexander Hamilton’s most stirring lines in Hamilton, but it could just as well apply to the cast of Game of Thrones, plagued as they are by double-crossings and grisly murders. Which is why we were so tickled to find these House sigils for the show’s massive cast. Good timing, too—Hamilton just broke Tony Award records with 16 nominations, with Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Musical pitting three of the stars against one another. Guess we should prepare for House Washington, House Jefferson, and House Hanover to form some interesting alliances.

[Read more]

Rereading Kage Baker’s Company Series: In the Garden of Iden, Chapters 11-12

Welcome to this week’s installment of the Kage Baker Company series reread! In today’s post, we will cover chapters 11 and 12 of In the Garden of Iden.

You can find the reread’s introduction (including the reading order we’ll be following) here, and the index of previous posts here. Please be aware that this reread will contain spoilers for the entire series.

For this week’s post, I decided to try something different and do a separate summary and commentary for each chapter, rather than dealing with both chapters at the same time.

[How cold it was, the storm beating at the window.]

Series: Rereading Kage Baker

A Political Thriller with a Personal Core: Star Wars: Bloodline by Claudia Gray

Claudia Gray’s Star Wars: Bloodline is unmissable. Her previous Star Wars book, the young adult novel Lost Stars, was thoroughly enjoyable, but Bloodline’s tense politics, vivid new characters, and perfectly characterized Leia make it feel as central to the Star Wars universe as one of the films. It’s a vital piece of connective tissue, a story that takes place at a key moment in the life of Leia Organa while reflecting on all she’s done—and giving us the rich backstory to the events we know are coming.

Almost 25 years after the defeat of the Empire, the New Republic is at a stalemate, the Senate divided between Centrists and Populists. The fractious government can’t agree on anything except that the other side is wrong. (Sound familiar?) At the dedication of a statue of Bail Organa, Leia watches the crowd, sharply observing the invisible divide between her political peers. She is the person we know—the temperamental, intuitive, impatient, sympathetic, brilliant woman we met in A New Hope, grown into adulthood with a huge weight on her shoulders. She’s done this for so long that when one of her smart young staffers asks what she wants to do, she answers honestly: She wants to quit.

[Read more]

Add These 100 SFF Novels Written by Women to Your TBR Stack!

Book Riot has done us all a great service by sharing a fantastic list of one hundred science fiction and fantasy novels written by women across nearly every subgenre and category imaginable! YA classics from Alanna: The First Adventure by Tamora Pierce to Madeleine L’Engle’s A Wrinkle in Time are represented, with stops along the way for everything from the swashbuckling Swordspoint by Ellen Kushner, to Mary Doria Russell’s haunting spiritual journey in The Sparrow, to the twisted fairy tale of Helen Oyeyemi’s Mr. Fox, to Cherie Priest’s steampunk extravaganza Boneshaker!

Head over to Book Riot for the full list, and be sure to check out further suggestions in the comments! One word of caution, though: you may feel the need to drop everything and read your way through this entire list.

A Universe of Possibilities: The Best of James H. Schmitz

In this monthly series reviewing classic science fiction books, Alan Brown will look at the front lines and frontiers of science fiction; books about soldiers and spacers, explorers and adventurers. Stories full of what Shakespeare used to refer to as “alarums and excursions”: battles, chases, clashes, and the stuff of excitement.

Science fiction opens a universe of possibilities for the author and the reader. New worlds, new creatures, and new civilizations can all be created to serve the story. And this broad canvas, in the right hands, can be used to paint stories of grand adventure: spaceships can roar through the cosmos, crewed by space pirates armed with ray guns, encountering strange beings. The term “space opera” was coined to describe this type of adventure story. Some authors writing in this sub-genre became lazy, and let their stories become as fanciful as the settings, but others were able to capture that sense of adventure and wonder, and still write stories that felt real, rooted in well-drawn characters and thoughtful backdrops.

One such author was James H. Schmitz. If you were reading Analog and Galaxy magazines in the 1960s and 70s, as I was, you were bound to encounter his work, and bound to remember it fondly.

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