Don’t Twist Your Ankylosaur!

AVP Comedy has brought us the strong female version of Jurassic World we’ve longed for! Their “Jurassic Park Box Set: High Heels Edition” gives us the tense dino action we love, with a fashion-forward focus on footwear. Check out the entire promo here, and let Ian Malcolm teach you how to run from dinosaurs with some flare.

Morning Roundup brings you X-Files rumors and X-Files truths, a meditation on a tiny hero, and suggestions for weird summer reading!

[Plus MacGyver!]

Five SFF Novels with Perfect Opening Lines

Before a title, before the characters, before anything else, I know my first line.

Since my first attempts as a writer, I couldn’t embark on a new project without knowing that first line—as if a simple sentence was the embryo for everything that was to follow. In The School for Good and Evil, for instance, those opening words: “Sophie had waited her whole life to be kidnapped” became my guiding light through the Endless Woods of dark fairy tale fantasy. Indeed, that first line became the series’ entire DNA template; when in doubt, I’d ritually look back at it to see not just a ‘beginning,’ but tone, theme, character, inspiration.

To writers new and old, then, I offer this list as a gentle encouragement to keep our ambitions low and our boldness high. After all, embarking on a quest to write the perfect novel is a fool’s fantasy. But a perfect first line is within all of our reach.

[Five great opening lines from fantasy novels]

Series: Five Books About…

Short Fiction Spotlight: Uncanny Magazine Issue #5

Welcome back to the Short Fiction Spotlight, a space for conversation about recent and not-so-recent short stories. Before a brief break, we’d discussed the special “Queers Destroy Science Fiction” issue at Lightspeed; this time around, I’d like to take a gander at the most recent installment of Uncanny Magazine (#5). This issue, for July/August, has six pieces of original fiction, one reprint, and a handful of essays, poems, and interviews.

[For our purposes, let’s discuss the original fiction]

Series: Short Fiction Spotlight

Celebrate Jo Walton’s Tiptree Award at Borderlands!

This past April, Monica Byrne and Jo Walton were both honored with the James Tiptree, Jr. Award for their novels The Girl in the Road and My Real Children. But while Byrne received her customary Tiptree tiara—and engaged in some impressive arm-wrestling—at the official ceremony at WisCon 39, Walton was unable to attend. As she was already attending Balticon 49 as the Guest of Honor, the Tiptree Award folks made sure she got crowned, albeit remotely.

But on August 9, San Francisco’s Borderlands Books is bringing the Tiptree Award to Jo Walton! They’ll be honoring her with all the fun of the award ceremony that she missed out on.

[Read more]

Star Trek The Original Series Rewatch: “Arena”

“Arena”
Written by Fredric Brown and Gene L. Coon
Directed by Joseph Pevney
Season 1, Episodes 19
Production episode 6149-19
Original air date: January 19, 1967
Stardate: 3045.6

Captain’s log. Kirk, Spock, McCoy, and the Enterprise‘s best tactical specialists are beaming down to the base on Cestus III—an isolated colony, and one commanded by Commodore Travers. Kirk and McCoy are looking forward to seeing Travers’s chef as much as they are the commodore himself.

When they materialize on the surface, however, they find a smoking ruin where the base should be. Kirk immediately puts the Enterprise on red alert. The base was obviously destroyed days ago, so the messages they received from Travers were faked. Spock takes tricorder readings, while Kirk sends Lang and Kelowitz to search for survivors. O’Herlihy sticks with Kirk, Spock, and McCoy, and they find one survivor who’s got bad radiation burns and internal injuries. Spock also detects non-human life nearby. O’Herlihy investigates and is vaporized by some kind of disruptor mortar.

[This place is a mineralogist’s dream!]

Series: Star Trek: The Original Series Rewatch

The School for Good and Evil Series Sweepstakes!

The Last Ever After, the conclusion to The School for Good and Evil trilogy by Soman Chainani, hits shelves from HarperCollins today, and we want to send you a prize pack to celebrate! One lucky winner will receive all three books in the series, including The School for Good and Evil and A World without Princes.

This year, best friends Sophie and Agatha are about to discover where all the lost children go: the fabled School for Good and Evil, where ordinary boys and girls are trained to be fairy-tale heroes and villains. As the most beautiful girl in Gavaldon, Sophie has dreamed of being kidnapped into an enchanted world her whole life. With her pink dresses, glass slippers, and devotion to good deeds, she knows she’ll earn top marks at the School for Good and graduate a storybook princess. Meanwhile, Agatha, with her shapeless black frocks, wicked pet cat, and dislike of nearly everyone, seems a natural fit for the School for Evil.

But when the two girls are swept into the Endless Woods, they find their fortunes reversed—and they’ll quickly find that the only way out of a fairy tale . . . is to live through it.

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 21th. Sweepstakes ends at 12:00 PM ET on July 25th. 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 United States of Japan Needs You!

When Angry Robot Books revealed what it’s billing as “the spiritual sequel to Philip K. Dick’s The Man in the High Castle” late last week, the name of the writer behind it rang a bell in my brain. I didn’t have to look long or hard or far to find out why—Peter Tieryas has written, in the first instance, some absolutely fantastic articles for Tor.com, not least this recent piece about the speculative underpinnings of Super Mario Brothers, and this bravura bit about navigating the Louvre with a little help from Nintendo.

And now? Now he’s written a novel. Not his first, in fact. Bald New World was one of the Best Science Fiction Books of 2014, per Publishers Weekly, and his new book sounds similarly subversive. “Set in a gripping alternate history where the Japanese Empire rules over America with huge robots,” United States of Japan is in part an exploration of the tragedies that took place in Asia during WWII.

[Read more]

Series: British Fiction Focus

What Your Favorite Joker Says About You

The Joker is one of those classic characters whose various (and widely varied) depictions will always be hotly debated. Now we understand why! This image neatly sums up just how different each iteration is, and clarifies which one truly lives up to his name. Interestingly, sounds like Mark Hamill is interested in resurrecting one of his best characters…

Afternoon Roundup brings you news of a Xena: Warrior Princess reboot, an argument for asking for higher-quality aliens, and the moment of Star Wars canon you’ve been waiting for!

[Read more]

Interspecies Friendship is Magic in the New Trailer for Disney/Pixar’s The Good Dinosaur

What if we told you that a mostly nonverbal trailer that ends with a dinosaur and a young caveboy howling like wolves would catch you right in the feels? If you guess that’s because it’s for a new Disney•Pixar movie, you’re probably already tearing up at the new trailer for The Good DinosaurThe first trailer altered history by having the infamous asteroid completely miss wiping out the dinosaurs; now, we find out what happens when they cross paths with furry little humans.

[Read more]

The Wheel of Time Reread Redux: The Great Hunt, Part 9

Who’s afraid of the Big Bad Reread Redux? Not by the hair of my chinny-chin-chin!

Today’s Redux post will cover Chapters 14 and 15 of The Great Hunt, 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!

[“We have doomed the wolf not for what it is, but for what we deliberately and mistakenly perceive it to be – the mythologized epitome of a savage ruthless killer – which is, in reality, no more than a reflected image of ourself.” ~Farley Mowat, Never Cry Wolf]

Series: The Wheel of Time Reread

Avoiding Angles is Harder Than It Sounds: “The Hounds of Tindalos”

Welcome back to the Lovecraft reread, in which two modern Mythos writers get girl cooties all over old Howard’s original stories—and some on his friends, too.

Today we’re looking at Frank Belknap Long’s “The Hounds of Tindalos,” first published in the March 1929 issue of Weird Tales. You can read it here.

Spoilers ahead.

[“No words in our language can describe them!”]

Series: The Lovecraft Reread

Covering Long Dark Dusk by JP Smythe

“I AM A SPOILER-FREE ZONE,” JP Smythe said to me—repeatedly, even—when I talked him into answering a couple of questions about Long Dark Dusk on the back the book’s big reveal last week, and he has every reason to be reticent: Way Down Dark, the first third of the Australia trilogy, ends with a twist that changes the name of the game completely. To talk about it would be to rob readers of one of the year’s most memorable moments, so I’ll hold off as long as possible.

What I will say, here in the header, is that Long Dark Dusk is destined to be a dramatically different text than its predecessor. Its narrative, in fact, is apt to be still more sinister than Way Down Dark’s, as Smythe explained when I asked him what lessons he’d learned writing for younger readers.

[Don’t make any distinctions between audiences when writing and you’ll be absolutely fine.]

Series: British Fiction Focus

The 2015 British Fantasy Awards Shortlists Have Been Announced!

The shortlists for the 2015 British Fantasy Awards have been announced! Four nominees in each category were decided by the votes of British Fantasy Society members, the attendees of FantasyCon 2014, and those of FantasyCon 2015. The winners will be announced at the awards ceremony on Sunday, 25 October 2015, at FantasyCon 2015 in Nottingham. You can find more information on the awards here, and see the full list of nominees below. Congratulations to all the nominees!

[Check out the full list of nominees below!]

All the Birds in the Sky, Chapter 1

Childhood friends Patricia Delfine and Laurence Armstead didn’t expect to see each other again, after parting ways under mysterious circumstances during high school. After all, the development of magical powers and the invention of a two-second time machine could hardly fail to alarm one’s peers and families.

But now they’re both adults, living in the hipster mecca San Francisco, and the planet is falling apart around them. Laurence is an engineering genius who’s working with a group that aims to avert catastrophic breakdown through technological intervention into the changing global climate. Patricia is a graduate of Eltisley Maze, the hidden academy for the world’s magically gifted, and works with a small band of other magicians to secretly repair the world’s every-growing ailments. Little do they realize that something bigger than either of them, something begun years ago in their youth, is determined to bring them together–to either save the world, or plunge it into a new dark ages.

A deeply magical, darkly funny examination of life, love, and the apocalypse, Charlie Jane Anders’ All the Birds in the Sky is available in January 2016 from Tor Books. Read chapter one below, and come back all week for additional excerpts!

[Chapter 1]