The Builders Sweepstakes!

Daniel Polansky’s novella The Builders is available November 3rd from Publishing, and we want to send you a galley! (Check out an excerpt from The Builders, and the highlights of Polansky’s recent Reddit AMA.)

A missing eye.
A broken wing.
A stolen country.

The last job didn’t end well.

Years go by, and scars fade, but memories only fester. For the animals of the Captain’s company, survival has meant keeping a low profile, building a new life, and trying to forget the war they lost. But now the Captain’s whiskers are twitching at the idea of evening the score.

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 7th. Sweepstakes ends at 12:00 PM ET on October 11th. Void outside the United States and Canada and where prohibited by law. Please see full details and official rules here. Sponsor:, 175 Fifth Ave., New York, NY 10010.

The Perils of Communal Living: High-Rise

I was predisposed to like High-Rise, given my admiration for J.G. Ballard’s fiction and Ben Wheatley’s films. Wheatley is a Fantastic Fest favorite; his previous films Down Terrace, Kill List, Sightseers, and A Field in England all had their US premieres there in previous years, so it’s no surprise that High-Rise was one of the hot tickets for this year’s festival.

Advance word out of TIFF was fairly polarized, and reactions at Fantastic Fest were similarly split. High-Rise is not to all tastes. Overly literal minds will spend too much time wondering why Laing doesn’t just leave the high-rise and go to Tesco instead of doing the notorious thing that he does for food in the opening scene. Some may be slightly disappointed by the fact that it is what they envisioned when they heard “Ben Wheatley is directing an adaptation of High-Rise” and thus lacks some surprise. However, the film largely succeeds—Ben Wheatley and screenwriter/co-editor Amy Jump have created a visually striking, splendidly acted adaptation that accurately captures the sardonic humour and the gimlet observations of human behaviour of Ballard’s novel.

[Mild spoilers, for those who haven’t read the novel]

Last Song Before Night Author Ilana C. Myer Talks About Writing and Sword Fighting!

Ilana C. Myer’s debut novel Last Song Before Night is out now! In the world of Last Song, art and magic are intertwined, and poets must recover their lost enchantments in order to avert cataclysm—at great cost to themselves. Ff you live in the Northeast, you can catch her on tour with Seth Dickinson, the author of The Traitor Baru Cormorant, but in the meantime she took to reddit to talk about writing, music, and swordfighting, Check out the highlights below!

[So much writing advice!]

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: Welcome to Season Three

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!

[Read more]

This Van Can Make the Kessel Run in Less than 12 Parsecs

This is both the bossest van in all of van history, and also the greatest toy ever crafted by human hands. In fact, we’re not even convinced this was made by human hands. We think this toy is just pure concentrated Force, converted into plastic and extruded into a van shape, with the image of Han Solo already emblazoned upon it.

Afternoon Roundup brings you the science of The Martian, an explanation for Loki’s absence from a certain superhero sequel, and the director’s cut of an iconic literary work!

[Plus, a zombie walks into a bar…]

Reading Melanie Rawn’s Skybowl: Chapters 1–5

Welcome to the weekly Wednesday read of Melanie Rawn’s Dragon Star Trilogy! This week we begin the last volume of the trilogy and the conclusion of the series. It’s the longest of all the books, with all the threads it has to tie up, so will take a bit longer than the previous volumes. I’ll do five chapters a week, and we’ll advance to the end.

In these opening chapters of Skybowl, we pick up right after we left off in The Dragon Token. All the players are advancing toward the big showdown, and complications abound–while a long-standing and bitter rivalry declares a (probably temporary) truce. [Read more]

Series: Rereading Melanie Rawn

Malazan Reread of the Fallen: The Healthy Dead, Part Four

Welcome to the Malazan Reread of the Fallen! Every post will start off with a summary of events, followed by reaction and commentary by your hosts Bill and Amanda, and finally comments from readers. In this article, we’ll continue our coverage of The Healthy Dead.

A fair warning before we get started: We’ll be discussing both novella and whole-series themes, narrative arcs that run across the entire series, and foreshadowing. Note: The summary of events will be free of major spoilers and we’re going to try keeping the reader comments the same. A spoiler thread has been set up for outright Malazan spoiler discussion.

[Read more]

Series: Malazan Reread of the Fallen

Where to Begin with Margaret Atwood

There’s no denying this: Margaret Atwood is She Who Can Do No Wrong. At least, as far as her fans are concerned. Everyone who isn’t her fan is probably someone who hasn’t read her work. Or so feel her fans.

(See where this is going?)

Atwood has been steadily producing work of incredible literary quality and imagination since her first novel in 1969, Edible Woman. Ten years later, her fourth novel Life Before Man was shortlisted for the Governor General’s Award in her native Canada but it was 1985’s The Handmaid’s Tale which won not just the Governor General’s Award but also the Arthur C. Clarke Award and was shortlisted for the Booker. That Atwood was a force to reckon with couldn’t have been any clearer. Incredible vision, serious writing chops and the ability to be startlingly prescient is something she’s now known for in every sort of fandom, but there are still people who haven’t yet read her work—shocking, I know! Her latest novel is the hilarious, disturbing The Heart Goes Last, which began life as a serialised story for Byliner—Atwood isn’t one to be left behind by technology either.

[So where do you start?]

Envy of Angels

In New York, eating out can be hell.

Everyone loves a well-catered event, and the supernatural community is no different, but where do demons go to satisfy their culinary cravings? Welcome to Sin du Jour—where devils on horseback are the clients, not the dish.

We’re pleased to present an excerpt from Envy of Angels, the first novella in Matt Wallace’s new Sin du Jour series—available in paperback, ebook, and audio format October 20th from!

[Read more]

Revealing Kathleen Jennings’ Cover Art for Tremontaine

We’re pleased to present Kathleen Jennings’ cover art for the first three episodes of Tremontaine, a serial novel and prequel to Ellen Kushner’s Swordspoint and the rest of the Riverside series! Released in weekly episodes by Serial Box, Tremontaine begins October 28th and is written by Ellen Kushner, Alaya Dawn Johnson, Malinda Lo, Joel Derfner, Racheline Maltese, and Patty Bryant. You can subscribe now via!

Learn more about the novel below, plus check out the entire cover design process, including artist Kathleen Jennings’ early sketches and comments from Serial Box Art Director Charles Orr!

[Read more]

Sail the Ether: Jim Butcher’s The Aeronaut’s Windlass

When I heard Jim Butcher had a new series coming out, I was a little apprehensive. Of course I wanted to see what he would do with a new book, but I only knew him from his Dresden Files series. When I heard that it was steampunk, in particular, I had mixed reactions.

I love steampunk (I’ve even been accused of writing it) but would Butcher’s version be different enough? Would The Aeronaut’s Windlass have something new to say?

[Grab your goggles and take to the skies to find out…]

Hold-Time Violations


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.

[Read “Hold-Time Violations” by John Chu]

Never Mind the Messenger: The Rest of Us Just Live Here by Patrick Ness

In the suggestive sentence attached to the first chapter of The Rest of Us Just Live Here, “the Messenger of the Immortals arrives in a surprising shape, looking for a permanent Vessel; and after being chased by her through the woods, indie kid Finn meets his final fate.”

The world is ending again, evidently. But never mind the Messenger—the impending apocalypse its presence heralds is not the point of Patrick Ness’ latest revelation. There are indeed dark times ahead for the friends of indie kid Finn—this Immortals nonsense will lead to any number of melodramatic deaths—but the household heroes of The Rest of Us Just Live Here are safely outside of said circle.

[Just living keeps them plenty busy]

Echoes: Little Sister Death by William Gay

As his friend Tom Franklin notes in the intimate introduction with which Little Sister Death begins, the late, great William Gay’s lost horror novel “is the most metafictional thing [he] ever wrote—it’s about a writer, obsessed with a haunting, who moves his family to the site” of said unearthly events.

Gay, for his part, didn’t go quite as far as that, but he had “long been fascinated with the Bell Witch phenomenon in Tennessee, and even had his own encounter with, perhaps, an echo of the Bell Witch herself.” That true tale acts at a capstone on the unsettling story at the centre of Little Sister Death, but there’s a goodly amount of truth, too, in the several hundred posthumously published pages preceding the author’s authentic account of his own eerie experience.

[Read more]

David Wong Prize Pack Sweepstakes!

To celebrate the publication of David Wong’s Futuristic Violence and Fancy Suits (available October 6th from Thomas Dunne Books), we’re giving away a prize pack featuring all three of Wong’s novels, including John Dies at the End and This Book is Full of Spiders: Seriously, Dude, Don’t Touch It.! Plus, you’ll get some cool alternate book cover posters for Futuristic Violence and Fancy Suits!

Wong’s first two books saw David Wong and John discover the “sauce” that gives you a window into another dimension, fend off intergalactic invaders, and try to warn others of insidious brain spiders. With Futuristic Violence and Fancy Suits, he jumps a bit forward in time, to a near-future where social networks track your every move, anyone can be famous, and superhuman villains control what’s happening behind the scenes. When Zoey Ashe gets stalked by a murderous Internet celebrity, she instead uncovers secrets about her father’s disappearance and finds herself the target of a megalomaniac.

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 6th. Sweepstakes ends at 12:00 PM ET on October 10th. Void outside the United States and Canada and where prohibited by law. Please see full details and official rules here. Sponsor:, 175 Fifth Ave., New York, NY 10010.

Star Trek The Original Series Rewatch: First Season Overview

Star Trek First Season
Original air dates: September 1966 – April 1967
Executive Producer: Gene Roddenberry
Producer (“Miri” forward): Gene L. Coon

Captain’s log. After a false start with “The Cage,” a more promising pilot in “Where No Man Has Gone Before,” the series settled into something like a rhythm. The Starship Enterprise travelled to the edge of the galaxy, met more than one powerful being—Charlie X and the Thasians, Trelane and his parents, the Metrons, the Organians—made a number of first contacts—the First Federation, the Gorn—and encountered more than its share of dangers—a salt vampire, a bunch of Augments, flying vomit that makes you crazy, more than one machine-run world, a disease that makes you act drunk, a malfunctioning transporter, a quasar-like phenomenon, Harry Mudd.

[I am attempting to construct a mnemonic circuit using stone knives and bear skins.]

Series: Star Trek: The Original Series Rewatch

Five Weird Books by Women

A “weird tale,” Ann and Jeff VanderMeer tell us in their compendium The Weird, is “fiction in which some other element, like weird ritual or the science fictional, replaces the supernatural while providing the same dark frisson of the unknown.”

Though writers such as Lovecraft have become the face of the Weird tale, many women have written such stories: Joyce Carol Oates, Caitlín R. Kiernan and Shirley Jackson, to name a few. My five selections cannot encompass the whole breath and variety of such writers but I hope they are a delicious samples of the uncanny.

[Read more]

Series: Five Books About…

Ann Leckie Talks About Tea, Radchaai Sympathy, and Ancillary Mercy!

Ann Leckie, author of the Hugo, Nebula, Arthur C. Clarke, Locus, BSFA and Golden Tentacle Award-winning novel Ancillary Justice, the BSFA and Locus Award-winning sequel to that, Ancillary Sword, and the conclusion to the trilogy, Ancillary Mercy, which is available now! Leckie took to reddit to answer fan questions about gender, her writing process, and the vital importance of tea, and to explain exactly why she once typed out an entire C.J. Cherryh novel. You can read the AMA here, and we’ve rounded up highlights below!

[Justice, Swords, and Mercy!]

Welcome to the Neighborhood: The Best American Science Fiction and Fantasy 2015

The Best American Science Fiction and Fantasy 2015, collected by series editor John Joseph Adams and guest editor Joe Hill, has a very important job: it must bring our rocketships, our magic, our monsters, and our hearts to the rest of the reading world. But it has to be more than an olive branch to the world of readers who want to know more about the state of American science fiction and fantasy; it has to be a welcoming present to the neighborhood. And what a present it is: together, Adams and Hill have run through the collective summer forest of our community, coaxed twenty bright, beautiful, and ethereal fireflies into a jar, and given them to the world to enjoy in this collection.

Is one firefly brighter than the others? Does one story cut deeper, or make you feel larger or smaller in your existence? Maybe. All mileage may vary, in the end, but at the core of this collection, Adams and Hill have crafted a wonderful welcome-to-the-neighborhood collection of short stories.

[Read more]