Introducing Cruella de Vil: The Hundred and One Dalmatians

Dodie Smith’s The Hundred and One Dalmatians wastes no time in explaining a fundamental truth that a certain segment of dog lovers have already known for quite some time: Dogs are not, as it happens, pets. Rather, humans are the real pets—of dogs. And the occasional cat. It’s a completely understandable misunderstanding: after all, although many dogs can understand Human—or at least most of it—they can’t speak Human, which creates difficulties. And alas, Humans are not quite clever enough to understand Dog.

Although these linguistic barriers and misunderstandings are not always a bad thing—especially if you are two dogs who need to rescue a lot of puppies. And I do mean a lot. 97 of them, to be exact.

[Why Cruella de Vil is awesome, even just in text form]

Witness Google’s Trippy Deep Dreams!

In looking for patterns among images on the Internet, Google’s Deep Dream source code often creates psychedelic versions of whatever it comes across. So what happens when you get Google to Deep Dream about pop culture images? Flavorwire has a whole gallery. And here we thought there was no way to make Mad Max: Fury Road even more bonkers!

Afternoon Roundup brings you a live-action Aladdin prequel, the pitch meeting for Wishbone, and a whole new way to watch (or should we say, listen to) The Wizard of Oz.

[Read more]

A Read of Ice and Fire: A Dance With Dragons, Part 29

Welcome back to A Read of Ice and Fire! Please join me as I read and react, for the very first time, to George R.R. Martin’s epic fantasy series A Song of Ice and Fire.

Today’s entry is Part 29 of A Dance With Dragons, in which we cover Chapter 49 (“Jon”).

Previous entries are located in the Index. The only spoilers in the post itself will be for the actual chapters covered and for the chapters previous to them. As for the comments, please note that the Powers That Be have provided you a lovely spoiler thread here on Tor.com. Any spoileriffic discussion should go there, where I won’t see it. Non-spoiler comments go below, in the comments to the post itself.

And now, the post!

[It’s at the intersection of Nastywrong Avenue and the DIAF Freeway]

Series: A Read of Ice and Fire

Follow Tor.com Publishing on Facebook and Twitter!

For eight years now, we have been publishing original short fiction on Tor.com. As you know, we are expanding that program via a new imprint! Tor.com Publishing is dedicated to publishing novellas, shorter novels, serializations, and any other pieces of fiction of 17,500 words or more. It will have a heavy digital focus but all titles will be available via print-on-demand and audio formats.

If you want to keep up with all things Tor.com Publishing, follow us on Facebook and Twitter! We’ll be posting news and tidbits about our upcoming novellas (check out the gorgeous covers), the first of which will be available September 1.

Midnight in Karachi Episode 21: Maria Dahvana Headley

Welcome back to Midnight in Karachi, a weekly podcast about writers, publishers, editors, illustrators, their books and the worlds they create, hosted by Mahvesh Murad.

This week on the podcast, Mahvesh speaks with writer Maria Dahvana Headley on writing short stories to release extra ideas, mixing genres in YA, writing uniforms of vintage ballgowns and flight suits, and Grendel’s mother.

[Listen to Midnight in Karachi]

Series: Midnight in Karachi Podcast

Chasing the Phoenix

In the distant future, Surplus arrives in China dressed as a Mongolian shaman, leading a yak which carries the corpse of his friend, Darger. The old high-tech world has long since collapsed, and the artificial intelligences that ran it are outlawed and destroyed. Or so it seems.

Darger and Surplus, a human and a genetically engineered dog with human intelligence who walks upright, are a pair of con men and the heroes of a series of prior Swanwick stories. They travel to what was once China and invent a scam to become rich and powerful. Pretending to have limited super-powers, they aid an ambitious local warlord who dreams of conquest and once again reuniting China under one ruler. And, against all odds, it begins to work, but it seems as if there are other forces at work behind the scenes.

Michael Swanwick’s Chasing the Phoenix is available August 11th from Tor Books.

[Read more]

Forbidden Sweepstakes!

We have five galleys of Cathy Clamp’s Forbidden, coming out August 18th from Tor Books, and we want to give them to you!

Ten years have passed since the war that destroyed the Sazi Council and inflicted a horrible “cure” on thousands of Sazi, robbing them of their ability to shapeshift.

Luna Lake, isolated in Washington State, started as a refugee camp for Sazi orphans. Now it’s a small town and those refugees are young adults, chafing at the limits set by their still-fearful guardians.

There’s reason to fear: Sazi children are being kidnapped. Claire, a red wolf shifter, is sent to investigate. Held prisoner by the Snakes during childhood, Claire is distrusted by those who call Luna Lake home.

Before the war, Alek was part of a wolf pack in Chicago. In Luna Lake he was adopted by a parliament of Owls, defying Sazi tradition. The kidnappings are a painful reminder that his little sister disappeared a decade ago.

When Claire and Alek meet, sparks fly–but the desperate race to find the missing children forces them to set aside their mutual attraction and focus on the future of their people.

Check for the rules below!

[Read more]

Getting Medieval on George R. R. Martin

As my fellow medievalists around the world will attest, telling people that you specialize in the Middle Ages (roughly dated from 500 to 1500 CE) is a decent way to start up a conversation with strangers. Few people that I meet aren’t fascinated with the medieval period, and they almost always have a question or two they want to ask an expert about the “real” Middle Ages.

These days, that means questions about Game of Thrones, HBO’s stratospherically popular television adaptation of George R. R. Martin’s staggeringly popular series of epic fantasy novels, A Song of Ice and Fire. Millions of readers anxiously await Martin’s sixth volume in the book series, and millions more viewers recently wrapped up the fifth season of the television series. Combined, the works are now a cultural touchstone, one that is branded—both by its own advertising and by the media and mainstream popular culture—as a “medieval” series. So the question I’m asked more than any other these days is this:

[How medieval is Game of Thrones?]

The Pastry Game is Over, Man

While Lou Lou P’s Delights also creates, and we can’t believe we’re typing this, GAME OF THRONES CAKE POPS, our favorite example of their inventive bakery fare was this chest-burster macaron. The confluence of high pastry culture and body horror just makes us happy in ways we’d rather not investigate. [via Laughing Squid!]

Morning Roundup brings you Pluto, definitive superhero movie rankings, and more Pluto!

[What? We’re excited about Pluto.]

Under the Dome: “Redux” and “The Kinship”

Episodes 3 and 4 of Under the Dome see the return of our old friend, Gibberish. After everyone crawls out of their pus-pods, dripping with goop, they discover they’ve been doped up with Oxytosin (Gibberish Word #1) and dreamed an entire year that doesn’t exist. Lopsided Lipped Marg Helgenberger, the fake FEMA therapist who is either an alien or a lesbian, turns to Dead Girl Melanie and says, “You had a job: lead the people to be cocooned so the egg could infuse them with the Life Force,” which might not even be English, then Melanie “died during the download” which isn’t a real thing either, and Lips sneers that she should have “cocooned you just like the others.”

The only person speaking actual English words that make sense is Fivehead Norrie who, upon observing that they’re all still trapped Under the Dome, sneers, “Oh yay. We’re still trapped inside this Hell Bubble.”

[Read more]

The Entropy of Bones

Chabi doesn’t realize her martial arts master may not be on the side of the gods. She does know he’s changed her from being an almost invisible kid to one that anyone—or at least anyone smart—should pay attention to. But attention from the wrong people can mean more trouble than even she can handle.

Chabi might be emotionally stunted. She might have no physical voice. She doesn’t communicate well with words, but her body is poetry.

Ayize Jama Everett’s The Entropy of Bones is available August 25th from Small Beer Press! This spellbinding novel shares a setting—the present day, layered with magic—with Jama-Everett’s The Liminal People and The Liminal War, but it stands well on its own.

[Read an excerpt]

Star Trek The Original Series Rewatch: “The Squire of Gothos”

“The Squire of Gothos”
Written by Paul Schneider
Directed by Don McDougall
Season 1, Episodes 18
Production episode 6149-18
Original air date: January 12, 1967
Stardate: 2124.5

Captain’s log. Enterprise is proceeding to Beta VI to deliver supplies, and they’re travelling via a large void between star systems. To everyone’s surprise, a planet appears out of nowhere directly in their flight path. Spock finds it hard to believe nobody charted this before, but they don’t have time to investigate. Kirk orders Uhura to alert the authorities to this new planet, Spock to gather as much data as possible while they fly by, and Sulu to veer forty degrees to starboard.

However, Uhura can’t punch through subspace interference, and Sulu just disappears. Kirk runs over to the helm to see what happened—and he disappears, too.

[“Hip hip hoorah”? And I believe it is pronounced, “tally-ho!”]

Series: Star Trek: The Original Series Rewatch

Guy Gavriel Kay Explores Fantasy Renaissance Europe in New Novel Children of Earth and Sky

New American Library announced today that it will publish fantasy writer and Order of Canada member Guy Gavriel Kay’s 13th novel, Children of Earth and Sky. As with many of his works, Guy will use fantasy to recreate famous historical periods. Unlike his last two novels, Under Heaven and River of Stars, he won’t be looking to China’s Tang Dynasty for inspiration: Instead, Children of Earth and Sky is set in a world inspired by Renaissance Europe.

[Click through for the summary and full cover!]

Cover Art and Table of Contents for The Apex Book of World SF 4!

Tor.com is pleased to share this exciting new cover design for the fourth volume of The Apex Book of World SF! (Apex is also generously offering a special discount off their cover price for Tor.com readers, which you can take advantage of by following that link!) The series began in 2009 with Lavie Tidhar and Apex Publications putting the focus on global science fiction by showcasing authors from Africa, Latin American, Asia, and Europe. The fourth volume of World SF is back with incredible new stories, a new editor in Mahvesh Murad, and a sleek new cover design.

Find out more about the anthology below including an exclusive look at the full table of contents.

[Read more]

If Someone Asks You if You’re a God, Do You Say Yes?

It’s a perennial question among comics fans: flight or invisibility? This is a simple test to see where your values are. If you answer flight, you’re a free-spirited romantic. Invisibility? You’re a skeevy perv not fit for human society. Insist that those choices suck, and that you want something really cool like invincibility or teleportation? Then your friends will just yell at you.

[The real point of the question is to force you to make a choice.]