I Tell Lies About Last Song Before Night

Stories about truth begin with a lie.

Let me tell you a lie: Last Song Before Night is an epic fantasy about a band of young poets on a quest to uncover an ancient secret and save the world from absolute evil.

The archvillain of Last Song is a censor (and he could be nothing else). His trade is the mutilation of truth. I like to think he’d appreciate this lie I’ve told you, just there. It’s a very good lie, because Last Song is about all those things, they’re in the story, it’s true!

[But that is not the true shape of the story…]

The Many Ways the Hero of K.J. Parker’s The Last Witness is Doomed

The main character of K.J. Parker’s new novella The Last Witness has a special ability: he can wipe and transfer…actually you know what? I’ll just let him explain it.

When you need a memory to be wiped, call me.

Transferring unwanted memories to my own mind is the only form of magic I’ve ever mastered. But now, I’m holding so many memories I’m not always sure which ones are actually mine, any more. Some of them are sensitive; all of them are private. And there are those who are willing to kill to access the secrets I’m trying to bury…


I’m being silly. There is a complex story behind Parker’s character in The Last Witness, but what I kept coming back to were the astounding number of ways that the main character invited personal misery and certain peril! Ways like…

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Is This the Face of a Man Who Just Walked on the Moon?

Why yes, yes it is! The Project Apollo Archive has just uploaded thousands of hi-res photos into their Flickr account, including this endearing shot of Neil Armstrong fresh from his moonwalk. There’s also a Facebook page which you should all go and like and look at forever. Kipp Teague, the founder of the Archive, has uploaded over 8,000 photos so far, and is hoping to get all 13,000 images up soon, and we can’t wait to see every single one of them!

[Humans. In. SPAAAAAAACE.]

Getting Out of Your Headspace at 120 MPH

In this ongoing series, we ask SF/F authors to descibe a speciality in their lives that has nothing (or very little) to do with writing. Join us as we discover what draws authors to their various hobbies, how they fit into their daily lives, and how and they inform the author’s literary identity!

The truth is writing has always been my passion and I’ve never really found a hobby to do in my down time that competes with it. I am always looking though. Every time I finish a book and have a little breathing space, I try out a different hobby. I’ve tried the more sedate ones like needlepoint, sewing, puzzles, and taking up piano again, but I’ve also tried more exciting things like zip lining as well, which was surprisingly disappointing.

[But I LOVE amusement park rides…]

Fear the Walking Dead, S1 E6: “The Good Man”

The first season of Fear the Walking Dead has been quite the ride. Not an especially good one, mind, but at least I don’t regret giving up 6 hours of my life to it. High praise, indeed. Most of the season arcs were wrapped up in a neat little bow by the end of “The Good Man,” with strong hints to where they’re headed next year. I’ll be there waiting, but not with bated breath.

[“You can get out, but there’s nowhere to go.”]

Old, Familiar Tropes: Last Song Before Night by Ilana C. Myer

Last Song Before Night is Ilana C. Myer’s debut novel, out last month from Tor Books. It is a novel of music, magic, and a darkness at the heart of a kingdom. Unusually among debut fantasy novels with an epic bent, it stands alone. And I wanted to like it a lot more than, it turns out, I actually did.

Maybe it’s just that I’m getting more jaded as I get older. Maybe it’s that Last Song Before Night feels like a version of a story I’ve seen many hundreds of times before: a more adult and more elevated version of one of those Mercedes Lackey novels with bards and evil magic. There’s nothing particularly wrong with writing a new story that uses old tropes in familiar configurations. Indeed, in many cases I’m quite fond of them, and Last Song Before Night is confidently written, with a solid touch for evoking believable characters.

[Read more]

Mistborn Map Sweepstakes!

A few months ago, we gave away the Mistborn Trilogy boxed set, which came with a foldout poster map of Luthadel. We’ve got 10 extra maps, and we want to give you one!

In the Mistborn trilogy, Luthadel is the capital of the Central Dominance and of the Final Empire, and the heart of the Lord Ruler’s power. Yet all is not as it seems: Luthadel was once known as Terris, and houses the Well of Ascension. Most interestingly, this updated map comes with a mysterious (and slightly cheeky) note from Nazh, whose writings have appeared in Alloy of Law and Words of Radiance.

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 5th. Sweepstakes ends at 12:00 PM ET on October 9th. 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.

The Coode Street Podcast Episode 252: Cecelia Holland

Welcome to The Coode Street Podcast, an informal weekly discussion about science fiction and fantasy featuring award-winning critics and editors Jonathan Strahan and Gary K. Wolfe. The Coode Street Podcast debuted in 2010 and has been nominated for the Hugo, British Science Fiction, and Aurealis awards.

This week we welcome distinguished historical novelist Cecelia Holland back to the podcast to discuss her new fantasy novel Dragon Heart, her classic SF novel Floating Worlds, the relationships between SF, fantasy, and historical fiction, and historical and political themes in the work of writers like Kim Stanley Robinson and George R.R. Martin.

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Series: The Coode Street Podcast

Dobby is A Free Elf (For the Suggested Donation of One Sock)

OK, there’s a lot to unpack here. Apparently the people behind the WB Studios tour decided it was perfectly cool to prop up a dead Dobby in a glass case, because you want people on the tour to burst into unending tears before they’re allowed to go on to the Bug Bunny exhibit or whatever. But, because Harry Potter fans are amazing, people have been leaving socks. For Dobby’s corpse. To free him.

We may need a minute.

Morning Roundup brings you deep thoughts on Lex Luthor’s motivations, an argument for Rick Sanchez’ scientific method, and so much Mars!

[All the Mars. All of it.]

A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms

Taking place nearly a century before the events of A Game of Thrones, A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms compiles the first three official prequel novellas to George R. R. Martin’s ongoing masterwork, A Song of Ice and Fire. These never-before-collected adventures recount an age when the Targaryen line still holds the Iron Throne, and the memory of the last dragon has not yet passed from living consciousness.

Before Tyrion Lannister and Podrick Payne, there was Dunk and Egg. A young, naïve but ultimately courageous hedge knight, Ser Duncan the Tall towers above his rivals—in stature if not experience. Tagging along is his diminutive squire, a boy called Egg—whose true name (hidden from all he and Dunk encounter) is Aegon Targaryen. Though more improbable heroes may not be found in all of Westeros, great destinies lay ahead for these two… as do powerful foes, royal intrigue, and outrageous exploits.

Featuring more than 160 all-new illustrations by Gary Gianni, A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms is a must-have collection that proves chivalry isn’t dead—yet. Available October 6th from Bantam!

[Read an excerpt]

More Fine Dining at Matt Wallace’s Sin du Jour!

The first in Matt Wallace’s hilarious Sin du Jour series—Envy of Angels—comes out in a month’s time. When we commissioned Matt to write this, plus the sequel (Lustlocked—January 2016), we always hoped that others would get as big a kick out of them as we do. And it seems they are. As the reviews start to roll in, it’s becoming obvious that Matt’s series is something special (seriously—go read a sample here).

So, it’s with great delight that we’re able to announce that—even before Book 1 is out—we’ve asked Matt to write books 3 and 4 for us! To no-one’s great surprise (because Matt is awesome, and he loves these books just as much as us) he said yes!

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Series: Editorially Speaking

The Martian will Restore Your Faith in Science

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.

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Monster Mixtape: The Tusseladd

It’s that time of the year again. There’s a slight chill to the late summer evenings. Leaves are starting to bring out their fall colors. Each day is just a bit shorter than the last. We can all feel what these changes signify. No, not going back to school, but that it’s the season for monster movies! Between now and Halloween I’ll be highlighting ten of the best toothy, sharp-clawed, and mutated aberrations to shred the silver screen. Some are old classics, others are newcomers, but all are awesome.

“Fairy tales are for kids. Trolls are animals. Predators. They eat, shit, and mate. Eat anything they can.” Let’s talk about the Tosserlad from Troll Hunter.

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John Hurt Will Return as the War Doctor!

Didn’t get enough of John Hurt’s grizzled War Doctor? The acting icon is returning to the role in a new audio series from Big Finish! The War Doctor’s audio adventures will be stretch over four box sets, each containing three linked hour-long episodes. The first box set, Only The Monstrous, will be written and directed by Nicholas Briggs, whose previous work includes the BBC Audio Award-winning masterpiece Doctor Who: Dark Eyes.

[More War!]

The Metallic Revolution: A Non-Spoiler Review of Brandon Sanderson’s Shadows of Self

Following the 2011 release of The Alloy of Law, the Twinborn lawman Waxillium Ladrian, his time-bending buddy Wayne, and eager, public servant Marasi are back, bounding through the streets of the metropolis that Elendel has become. Taking place several centuries after the original Mistborn trilogy, Sanderson has taken his world of metallic magic and thrown it into the midst of Scadrial’s industrial revolution, complete with electricity, automobiles, and skyscrapers. Though there may not be as many people flinging themselves off of every curve of steel they see, there’s plenty of mischief and mayhem for our heroes to take care of.

Picking up one year after Alloy, Sanderson’s Shadows of Self begins with Wax, Wayne, and Marasi carving out lives for themselves in the city proper.

[Read more]

First Look at Tor’s New Logo, Celebrating 35 Amazing Years!

This year marks the 35th anniversary of Tor Books, and we’re celebrating with a look back at some of the many highlights of the last several decades, as well as unveiling a new logo: an update of the classic Tor mountain peaks that have graced many of our favorite books over the years. The timeline below serves to remind us of just a few of the wonderful moments we’ve experienced as part of the extended Tor family of readers, authors, editors, artists, and the legions of people working tirelessly behind the scenes to bring each new book to life, year in and year out—it would be impossible to list all of these milestones, but we hope you’ll share your own favorite Tor-inspired moments in the comments!

Even as we celebrate the past, however, our new logo serves as a reminder to always focus on the future, where there are always new mountains to scale, and uncharted worlds to explore. We’d like to offer our congratulations to Tom Doherty, our fearless leader who started this great adventure way back in 1980, and our sincere thanks to all of our fellow fans and readers who’ve joined together on this journey and make it all possible. Here’s to many more years of life-changing fantasy, science fiction, and shared stories!

[Tor Timeline and History]

Is Your Pet Excited About The Force Awakens Yet?

It’s officially the first full week of October, which means it’s officially time to start obsessing over a costume. It’s also officially only eleven weeks until we’re all going to go see a Star War. In light of those two giddy facts, we can think of little else besides dressing our pets up as Star Wars characters. Look at this Bantha-Dog! Granted, the dog doesn’t look so giddy, but that’s probably just because he’d rather be a major character wielding a lightsaber than a beast of burden. Rubies Costume Company has other potential Star Wars looks for your dog, though, so if he’s more of a Yoda or an Artoo, there are options. But if you have a cat, remember: all cats are C-3P0.

The Peripheral Sweepstakes!

The Peripheral by William Gibson is available in trade paperback from Berkley on October 6th, and we want to send you a copy!

Flynne Fisher lives down a country road, in a rural near-future America where jobs are scarce, unless you count illegal drug manufacture, which she’s trying to avoid. Her brother Burton lives, or tries to, on money from the Veterans Administration, for neurological damage suffered in the Marines’ elite Haptic Recon unit. Flynne earns what she can by assembling product at the local 3D printshop. She made more as a combat scout in an online game, playing for a rich man, but she’s had to let the shooter games go.

Wilf Netherton lives in London, seventy-some years later, on the far side of decades of slow-motion apocalypse. Things are pretty good now, for the haves, and there aren’t many have-nots left. Wilf, a high-powered publicist and celebrity-minder, fancies himself a romantic misfit, in a society where reaching into the past is just another hobby.

Burton’s been moonlighting online, secretly working security in some game prototype, a virtual world that looks vaguely like London, but a lot weirder. He’s got Flynne taking over shifts, promised her the game’s not a shooter. Still, the crime she witnesses there is plenty bad.

Flynne and Wilf are about to meet one another. Her world will be altered utterly, irrevocably, and Wilf’s, for all its decadence and power, will learn that some of these third-world types from the past can be badass.

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 3rd. Sweepstakes ends at 12:00 PM ET on October 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.