Fiction Affliction: July Releases in Fantasy

Thirty new fantasies launch in June, with political takeovers galore and an alarming resurgence of fairy tale characters. New releases including series additions from, among others, E.C. Blake (Masks of Aygrima); C.S. Pacat (Captive Prince); Anthony Ryan (Raven’s Shadow); Chris Willrich (Gaunt and Bone); Django Wexler (Shadow Campaigns); Max Gladstone (Craft Sequence), and Joe Abercrombie (Shattered Sea).

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 fantasy releases!]

Mo’s Turn: The Annihilation Score by Charles Stross

The Annihilation Score is the sixth installment of Charles Stross’s “Laundry Files” series. And, for a change of pace that I found delightful, the narrator this time around isn’t Bob Howard: this story is Mo’s, and it picks up exactly where The Rhesus Chart left off.

The gist of the problem is that due to the confluence that is the beginning of Case Nightmare Green, regular humans have started cropping up with talents that they perceive to be superpowers. Mo, as a representative of the Laundry, has to find some way of managing this suddenly very public appearance of the paranormal. She’s also dealing with the increasingly unpleasant task of being the holder of the Eric Zahn original violin she calls Lecter—one cause for the separation that means Bob is more or less entirely out of the picture in this book.

[A review.]

About a Girl

Eighteen-year-old Tally is absolutely sure of everything: her genius, the love of her adoptive family, the loyalty of her best friend, Shane, and her future career as a Nobel prize-winning astronomer. There’s no room in her tidy world for heartbreak or uncertainty—or the charismatic, troubled mother who abandoned her soon after she was born.

But when a sudden discovery upends her fiercely ordered world, Tally sets out on an unexpected quest to seek out the reclusive musician who may hold the key to her past—and instead finds Maddy, an enigmatic and beautiful girl who will unlock the door to her future. The deeper she falls in love with Maddy, the more Tally begins to realize that the universe is bigger—and more complicated—than she ever imagined. Can Tally face the truth about her family—and find her way home in time to save herself from its consequences?

About a Girl—available July 14th from St. Martin’s Press—is the powerful and entrancing conclusion to Sarah McCarry’s Metamorphoses trilogy.

[Read an excerpt]

We Will Witness You, Animal!

Artist Justin Ponsor gives us “Mad Max Mayhem” because, like all the best people, he sees Muppets everywhere. And while Animal is the best possible choice for Max, and Janice makes a stellar Furiosa, we are deeply, deeply happy that he spared us the site of Fozzy Bear as Nux. So Shiny. So Wakka.

Afternoon Roundup brings sad news from the Black Panther production, highly spurious news from a comet, and bittersweet news from Terry Brooks!

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You Should Know What The Fermi Paradox is Before Reading The Dark Forest

Time for some Real Talk: Cixin Liu’s Three-Body Problem trilogy has trouble presenting non-stereotypical characters but I CAN’T STOP READING IT and that’s because it takes all these great theories about physics and the universe and threads them together into a fantastically epic story that determines the course of all humanity. It’s like someone wrote fanfic based on I Fucking Love Science and it’s GREAT. And knowing just one thing ahead of time makes it that great.

(Mild spoilers for Cixin Liu’s The Three-Body Problem ahead.)

[Read more]

Join John Scalzi on The End of All Things Tour!

Join Hugo-award winning author John Scalzi on his upcoming tour for The End of All Things—set in the Old Man’s War universe and the direct sequel to The Human Division. Humans expanded into space, only to find a universe populated with multiple alien species bent on their destruction. Thus was the Colonial Union formed, to help protect us from a hostile universe…

The End of All Things will be available in hardcover and compiled ebook on August 11, and Tor.com is pleased to feature excerpts from all four novella-length episodes.

The tour begins this August, so check out the full schedule below and see if Scalzi’s coming to a town near you!

[Check out the dates below!]

By the Sword: The March

In last week’s blog post, Kerowyn committed to hauling herself and her mercenary company from Bolthaven (location unknown, but likely in or near Rethwellan), to Valdemar to fulfill Rethwellan’s promises, defend the realm from the evil sorcery of Ancar of Hardorn and his former nanny, answer the stirrings of Need, and possibly be reunited with her lover, the Herald Eldan.

It’s been a long time since Hulda appeared in the books, even though it’s only been a year or two since the characters on the page had to deal with her. When last we saw Hulda, she was all-but-humping Ancar’s leg while torturing Talia. The time before that, she was plotting evilly with parties unknown (but almost certainly Orthallen) to deprive Elspeth of the throne—she sort of graduated from a plot to ruin the life of an innocent child to a plan to arrange a marriage between that child and another kid who she had more successfully corrupted.

[All Roads Lead to Elspeth]

Series: The Valdemar Reread

Updraft Sweepstakes!

Fran Wilde’s debut novel Updraft, coming out September 1st, is so highly anticipated that even Gregor “The Mountain” Clegane from Game of Thrones did not want to give it up one of the coveted galleys of the book. Check out our excerpt, and then enter to win one an advance copy!

Welcome to a world of wind and bone, songs and silence, betrayal and courage.

Kirit Densira cannot wait to pass her wingtest and begin flying as a trader by her mother’s side, being in service to her beloved home tower and exploring the skies beyond. When Kirit inadvertently breaks Tower Law, the city’s secretive governing body, the Singers, demand that she become one of them instead. In an attempt to save her family from greater censure, Kirit must give up her dreams to throw herself into the dangerous training at the Spire, the tallest, most forbidding tower, deep at the heart of the City.

As she grows in knowledge and power, she starts to uncover the depths of Spire secrets. Kirit begins to doubt her world and its unassailable Laws, setting in motion a chain of events that will lead to a haunting choice, and may well change the city forever-if it isn’t destroyed outright.

Check for the rules below!

[Read more]

Shut Up And Take My Money: The Price of Valor by Django Wexler

2014’s The Shadow Throne, the second of a projected five volumes in Django Wexler’s gunpowder epic fantasy “The Shadow Campaigns,” set a very high bar for subsequent instalments to reach. While 2013’s The Thousand Names was a solid, engaging effort to tell a story reminiscent of Bernard Cornwell’s Sharpe in a fantasy milieu, The Shadow Throne kicked the series into much higher gear. It delighted me extremely, in part because I didn’t expect such a glorious step up from its predecessor—and that astonished marvel and, yes, relief, contributed in large part to my delight.

It would have been asking a bit much for The Price of Valor, the third and latest “Shadow Campaigns” novel to surpass The Shadow Throne by as much as The Shadow Throne overleapt The Thousand Names. That kind of rocket-propelled acceleration is something we’re lucky to see once a series. But The Price of Valor is a worthy successor: Wexler hasn’t let down the expectations he raised so high with The Shadow Throne. I’m very happy to say, for the second time in relation to this series, SHUT UP AND TAKE MY MONEY.

[Minor spoilers included. Contents may settle during transit.]

Here’s What Batman Would Look Like as a Viking, Iron Man, and More!

The LEGO Batman Movie will reportedly acknowledge every era of the Caped Crusader on-screen—but before we take that stroll down memory lane in 2017, let’s turn our eyes to the Batmen that could have existed. 3D character artist Caleb Nefzen dreamed up what Batman would look like as a fearsome Viking warrior (above); on deviantART, DenisM79 reimagines the Dark Knight as a greaser punk; and even more artists have envisioned Batman in every era.

[Read more]

The Stargate Rewatch: SG-1 Season Ten

Stargate SG-1 Season 10
Executive producers: Robert C. Cooper, Brad Wright, Joseph Mallozzi, Paul Mullie
Original air dates: July 14, 2006 – June 22, 2007

Mission briefing. There are now four Ori warships in the Milky Way, which make incredibly short work of the fleet at the supergate. The Korolev and most of the Lucian Alliance ships are destroyed, and the Odyssey is badly damaged. On one of those warships, Vala gives birth to a daughter whom she names Adria, after her awful stepmother. However, the Ori used Vala as a vehicle to sneak one of their own into the corporeal world, so Adria grows to adulthood in a few days and takes command of Ori forces in the Milky Way, starting with invading Chulak.

[You better not be messing with me.]

Series: Stargate Rewatch

Raised By Apes and Wolves: Fiction’s Top 11 Feral Children

Everyone knows that you’ve got a great fictional destiny if you were raised by animals or in the wild. It’s a one-two mythic punch, like the right foundation for a cathedral or the New York water in good pizza dough (it’s scientifically proven, folks). But who are our favorite feral children? Let’s look at ten of the best, from the classics right up through some unforgettable pop culture offerings.

[Read more]

The Ghostbusters 3 Movies That We Almost Got

Last year’s Sony email hack revealed a treasure trove of Hollywood intel, including Ivan Reitman’s proposal for a Ghostbusters 3 that would reunite the original Ghostbusters as well as pave the way for the next generation. In a 2013 email to Sony Pictures Entertainment co-chairman Amy Pascal, Reitman laid out the plot for what he called Ghostbusters: Alive Again. However, with Harold Ramis’ passing in 2014, this version was scrapped.

While it sounds like the strongest idea for a third installment, it’s definitely not the first. Ghostbusters 3 has stopped and started so many times since the 1990s, with at least five different versions rumored over the past 20 years. Read on for Dan Aykroyd’s multiple drafts, Reitman’s pitch, and what Ghostbusters 3 director Paul Feig is actually planning to do.

[Read more]

David Bowie Is Sci-Fi and Fantasy Personified

As an artist, David Bowie has spent a lifetime blurring the lines between performer and stage persona: after all, The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders From Mars was famously advertised with the slogan “David Bowie is Ziggy Stardust”—while, in smaller type, the words “Ziggy Stardust is David Bowie” ran across the bottom of the ad.

This confusion between creator and creation is something Bowie has played upon from the very beginning—and then there’s the fact that, over the last couple decades, he himself has become the direct inspiration for various fictional characters, from the Lucifer of Neil Gaiman’s Sandman to The Venture Bros. shapeshifting leader of The Guild of Calamitous Intent. So let’s take a look at a few of Bowie’s more interesting incarnations, both as an actor and as a character, the dreamer and the dream, beginning with his acting debut in the unsettling 1967 short film The Image.

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The Great Stephen King Reread: The Regulators

The title for The Regulators came to Stephen King first, the gimmick came second, the book came third, and like one of Roger Corman’s AIP productions, where the poster and title were developed long before anyone started writing a script, the results are 1% inspiration, 99% exasperation. This is the book version of Reptilicus or Muscle Beach Party—thin, undemanding entertainment that doesn’t add up to much. Normally, that’s fine, except King had just turned in one of his best-loved books, The Green Mile, and one of his most important books, Desperation.

The Regulators can’t hold a candle to either of these predecessors, and so it winds up feeling even thinner than it already is. King doesn’t help matters by turning the writing over to Richard Bachman, who should have stayed dead.

[Read more]

Series: The Great Stephen King Reread

Robot Overlords Sweepstakes!

Three years ago the Earth was conquered by a force of robots from a distant world. Their only rule? Stay in your homes. But Sean Flynn and his friends can’t wait any longer. They’re willing to risk instant vaporization in their quest to find Sean’s father, a missing fighter pilot who fought in the war against the robots. Out now from Gollancz, Robot Overlords is the companion novel to the recent film starring Gillian Anderson and Ben Kingsley, and we’ve got three copies we want to share with you!

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 2:30 pm Eastern Time (ET) on July 3, 2015. Sweepstakes ends at 12:00 PM ET on July 7, 2015. 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.

Five Mythical Islands of the Atlantic Ocean: Your Guide to Summer Adventure

Summer is here and it’s time to take a vacation! But why settle for a mundane location when you could pitch your tent on one of the top five mythical islands of the Atlantic Ocean? Sally forth with your ancient map and your colonialist zeal—nothing can stand between you and an island adventure!

But first you have to pick a destination…

[Read more]

School Celebrates Books with Literary Lockers!

School hallways can be grim places, but a group of teachers at Biloxi Junior High School found a way to lighten the mood. They’ve turned the 8th grade English hallway into an “Avenue of Literature” by transforming 189 unused lockers into the spines of books! This seems like the best possible thing that could ever happen to a locker. One question though: if you paint them to look like C.S. Lewis books, will the lockers become doorways to Narnia?

We hope everyone is embarking into an exciting weekend! Morning Roundup sends you off with thoughts on sci-fi, fond remembrances of filmic phone phreakers, and some fabulously dark fairy tales.

[Oh, and the coming robopocalypse.]