The Accidental Highwayman Sweepstakes!

We’ve given you a sneak peek at some of the rollicking adventure you can look forward to in The Accidental Highwayman by Ben Tripp, out from Tor Books on October 14th, and now we want to send you a galley, complete with footnotes and illustrations!

 In eighteenth-century England, young Christopher “Kit” Bristol is the unwitting servant of notorious highwayman Whistling Jack. One dark night, Kit finds his master bleeding from a mortal wound, dons the man’s riding cloak to seek help, and changes the course of his life forever. Gideon Smith amazon buy linkMistaken for Whistling Jack and on the run from redcoats, Kit is catapulted into a world of magic and wonders he thought the stuff of fairy tales.

Check for the rules below! 

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The Pop Quiz at the End of the Universe: Giacomo Cimini

Welcome back to The Pop Quiz at the End of the Universe, a recurring series here on featuring some of our favorite science fiction and fantasy authors, artists, and others!

Today we’re joined by Giacomo Cimini, director of The Nostalgist, a short sci fi film based on a original story by New York Times best-selling author Daniel H. Wilson (Robopocalypse, Amped). In the futuristic city of Vanille, with properly tuned ImmerSyst Eyes & Ears the world can look and sound like a paradise. But the life of a father and his young son threatens to disintegrate when the father’s device begins to fail. Desperate to avoid facing his own traumatic reality, the man must venture outside to find a replacement, into a city where violence and danger lurk beneath a skim of beautiful illusion. The film is available for pre-order at We Are Colony.

Find out Giacomo’s very simple solution to Jeff Goldblum’s fly problem, and watch the trailer for The Nostalgist below!

[Join us!]

Series: The Pop Quiz at the End of the Universe

Morning Roundup: Would Freddie Cougar Even Need Metal Claws?

Some of these Illustrated Twitter Typos are ridiculous, and some of them are, well, kind of dumb. But we thought Freddy Cougar was perfect. Oh, and The Rocksack… there’s just something about his excited smile. Check out more illustrated typos over on Tumblr, and for Strunk-&-White’s-sake, disable autocorrect!

Morning Roundup brings you streaming sci-fi, an update on American Gods, and a Star Trek gag reel!

[Plus a touching exchange between a Captain America cosplayer and a fan!]

Here’s Your First Full Look at the Batman v Superman Batmobile

Although we glimpsed the shiny new Batmobile for Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice a few months ago, we’re finally getting a close-up, detailed look at the thing without Sad Batman crying all over it. After some grainy Instagram photos (albeit featuring some cool, gull-wing-esque doors) circulated online, director Zack Snyder tweeted the actual photo, above.

Though at first we thought that the new Batmobile might share some inspiration with Tim Burton’s highly stylized take, we realize now that it hews much more closely to Christopher Nolan’s tumbler. Even so, it’s more armored tank than sleek car, especially the way it seems to extend out to either side. It’s the kind of car you’d notice on the street—which is interesting, considering the rumors that in the world of Batman v Superman, the Caped Crusader is an urban legend who no one has ever actually seen.

Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice comes to theaters March 25, 2016.

Photo: Twitter/@ZackSnyder

The Pop Quiz at the End of the Universe: Cristin O’Keefe Aptowicz

Welcome back to The Pop Quiz at the End of the Universe, a recurring series here on featuring some of our favorite science fiction and fantasy authors, artists, and others!

Today we’re joined by Cristin O’Keefe Aptowicz, the award-winning writer of Words in Your Face: A Guided Tour Through Twenty Years of the New York City Poetry Slam and popular touring poet and spoken word performer. She lives in Austin, Texas.

Gideon Smith amazon buy linkHer second nonfiction book is a mesmerizing biography of the brilliant and eccentric medical innovator who revolutionized American surgery and founded the country’s most famous museum of medical oddities. Dr. Mütter’s Marvels: A True Tale of Intrigue and Innovation at the Dawn of Modern Medicine, will be released by Gotham Books in Fall 2014.

[Join us!]

Series: The Pop Quiz at the End of the Universe

Silverblind (Excerpt)

Dorie Rochart has been hiding her fey side for a long time. Now, finished with University, she plans to study magical creatures and plants in the wild, bringing long-forgotten cures to those in need. But when no one will hire a girl to fight basilisks, she releases her shape-changing fey powers—to disguise herself as a boy.

While hunting for wyvern eggs, she saves a young scientist who’s about to get steamed by a silvertail—and finds her childhood friend Tam Grimsby, to whom she hasn’t spoken in seven years. Not since she traded him to the fey.

The wyverns are being hunted to extinction for the powerful compounds in their eggs. The fey are dying out as humans grow in power. Now Tam and Dorie will have to decide which side they will fight for. And if they end up on opposite sides, can their returning friendship survive?

Tina Connolly’s historical fantasy series Ironskin continues with Silverblind, available October 7th from Tor Books.

[Read an excerpt]

3D-Printed Prosthetic Hands Turn Little Kids Into Superheroes

This might be the best thing to come out of 3D printing. First you’ve got Enabling the Future, an organization that utilizes this technology to create prosthetic fingers and hands for people in need. Then you have the creative, geeky types who have hacked Enable’s prosthetic hand model to create specialized, superhero-themed prosthetics for children whose hands aren’t fully developed. Two lucky little boys can now call themselves Wolverine and Iron Man.

[We just have something in our eye…]

The Harry Potter Reread: The Prisoner of Azkaban, Chapters 7 and 8

The Harry Potter Reread is going to undergo hypnosis therapy to conquer its fear of tipping over while riding a bike, and magical spoons. These are legitimate concerns, it swears. And hypnosis seems like such a nice way of getting rid of all that worry…

This week there is so much pet abuse! Also the first trip to Hogsmeade for all children lucky enough to attend. (Hint: Not Harry.) We’ve got Chapters 7 and 8 of The Prisoner of Azkaban—The Boggart in the Wardrobe and Flight of the Fat Lady.

Gideon Smith amazon buy linkIndex to the reread can be located here! Other Harry Potter and Potter-related pieces can be found under their appropriate tag. And of course, since we know this is a reread, all posts might contain spoilers for the entire series. If you haven’t read all the Potter books, be warned.

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Series: The Harry Potter Reread

The Accidental Highwayman (Excerpt, Chapters 7 and 8)

In eighteenth-century England, young Christopher “Kit” Bristol is the unwitting servant of notorious highwayman Whistling Jack. One dark night, Kit finds his master bleeding from a mortal wound, dons the man’s riding cloak to seek help, and changes the course of his life forever. Mistaken for Whistling Jack and on the run from redcoats, Kit is catapulted into a world of magic and wonders he thought the stuff of fairy tales.

Bound by magical law, Kit takes up his master’s quest to rescue a rebellious fairy princess from an arranged marriage to King George III of England. But his task is not an easy one, for Kit must contend with the feisty Princess Morgana, goblin attacks, and a magical map that portends his destiny: as a hanged man upon the gallows…

Gideon Smith amazon buy linkThe Accidental Highwayman is author and illustrator Ben Tripp’s swashbuckling YA debut. Look for it October 14th from Tor Books, and find additional excerpts from the novel here on!

[Read an excerpt]

Rumor Has It Drax the Destroyer Will Join Avengers 3 to Put Fingers to Throats

This is not a metaphor: Wrestling site PW Mania (via Slashfilm) claims that pro wrestler Dave Bautista is banking on his success as literal antihero Drax the Destroyer by signing on for more Marvel movies than just Guardians of the Galaxy 2. Specifically, rumor has it that he’ll play “a significant role” in Avengers 3.

Considering that (if the rumors are to be believed) Thanos will dominate the third Avengers film with his continuing search for the Infinity Stones/Gems, this makes a lot of sense. After all, Drax has the biggest bone to pick. Although he would probably ask why we think he should waste his time picking bones, and just use his bare hands on Thanos.

Really, we’re expecting all of the Guardians to appear in Avengers 3, especially after James Gunn confirmed that the two films were definitely connected.

Photo: Marvel Studios

The Legend of Sleepy Hollow



A pleasing land of drowsy head it was,
Of dreams that wave before the half-shut eye;
And of gay castles in the clouds that pass,
For ever flushing round a summer sky.

Castle of Indolence


IN THE BOSOM OF one of those spacious coves which indent the eastern shore of the Hudson, at that broad expansion of the river denominated by the ancient Dutch navigators the Tappan Zee, and where they always prudently shortened sail, and implored the protection of St. Nicholas when they crossed, there lies a small market town or rural port, which by some is called Greensburgh, but which is more generally and properly known by the name of Tarry Town. This name was given, we are told, in former days, by the good housewives of the adjacent country, from the inveterate propensity of their husbands to linger about the village tavern on market days. Be that as it may, I do not vouch for the fact, but merely advert to it, for the sake of being precise and authentic. Not far from this village, perhaps about two miles, there is a little valley, or rather lap of land, among high hills, which is one of the quietest places in the whole world. A small brook glides through it, with just murmur enough to lull one to repose; and the occasional whistle of a quail or tapping of a woodpecker is almost the only sound that ever breaks in upon the uniform tranquillity.

[Continue reading The Legend of Sleepy Hollow]

A Read of Ice and Fire: A Feast for Crows, Part 30

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 30 of A Feast for Crows, in which we cover Chapter 41 (“Alayne”) and Chapter 42 (“Brienne”).

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 Any Gideon Smith amazon buy linkspoileriffic 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!

[“Your head looks like a really clean carrot. Poit!”]

Series: A Read of Ice and Fire

RoboCop Just Got His Doctorate in Art History

Or, you know, Buckaroo Banzai, or Admiral Alexander Marcus, if you prefer. Deciding that his (frankly epic) acting career just wasn’t enough for him, Peter Weller has also pursued art history studies for over a decade. As reported by the UCLA Alumni Facebook page, he just earned his doctorate in Italian Renaissance Art History and Ancient Roman History at UCLA! We would like to imagine that he showed up to his dissertation defense dressed as Robocop, and said something like, “Give me my doctorate. You have 20 seconds to comply.” but more likely he just presented a thoroughly-researched lecture, filled with relevant visuals, to underscore his theory that Padua was responsible for much of the glory of the Italian Renaissance, and that the assumed Florentine dominance of that period is overrated.

But we still like our version better.

Go Bruins! Stay out of trouble!

Words of Radiance Reread: Interlude 1

Welcome back to the Words of Radiance Reread on! Last week, we finished Part One, “Alight,” as Kaladin finally began to formally practice his Windrunner skills and was surprised by the arrival of a “hero.” This week, we’re moving into the Interludes, beginning with our very first Parshendi point of view.

This reread will contain spoilers for The Way of Kings, Words of Radiance, and any other Cosmere book that becomes relevant to the discussion. The index for this reread can be found here, and more Stormlight Archive goodies are indexed here. Read on, and join us in the Gideon Smith amazon buy linkcomments—there’s a lot to discuss this week.

[They had named it Narak—exile—for it was where they had come to be separated from their gods.]

Series: Words of Radiance Reread on

Please Look After This Bear: A Bear Called Paddington

“A bear? On Paddington station?” Mrs Brown looked at her husband in amazement. “Don’t be silly, Henry. There can’t be!”

In general, I am inclined to agree with Mrs Brown: There can’t be a bear on Paddington Station. Then again, as I know all too well from personal experience, alas, Paddington Station can be a bewildering and terrifying place. Which means, I suppose, that if you are going to find a bear on a train station anywhere in the world, it might well be this one. Perhaps especially if the bear in question is—gasp—a stowaway from Darkest Peru, carefully tagged with “Please look after this bear. Thank you.”

Gideon Smith amazon buy linkCertainly, someone has to look after this bear, however polite he is, and equally certainly, those someones are going to be the first family that happen to encounter him, the Browns. And given the bewildering nature of Paddington Station, and the bear’s own apparent belief that most people are inherently good, it’s perhaps not surprising that the bear immediately takes up the first available invitation he gets to leave the place, and happily agrees to drop his incomprehensible name and instead become known as A Bear Called Paddington.

[Paddington Bear: making triumph out of disaster.]

The Ghostbusters are an Antidote to Lovecraft’s Dismal Worldview

Ghostbusters is the best comedy ever made about the limits of the Lovecraftian worldview.

The movie’s back in theaters for its 30th anniversary, so my wife Steph, our friend Dan and I all went to see it last weekend. It’s perfectly structured. Desire lines are clear scene by scene. Act breaks are sharp and propulsive. Every payoff is set up early in the film, including Mr. Stay-Puft. The film even bothers to make sure we know why ghosts are appearing at this particular point in human history—the dead rise as Gozer approaches.

I remembered this movie being funny, but a lot of lines that skipped over my head when I was a kid bit deep this time—Tully’s “You’re the Ghostbusters? Who does your taxes?” (Honestly, everything Rick Moranis says or does on screen is hilarious.) Young Max also didn’t appreciate the sheer amount of damage the Ghostbusters do to the hotel in their first outing. I got the joke of Slimer dodging neutron beams, sure; I didn’t have the running cost-of-repair tally in the back of my head. The cake they blow up used to be a prop; now I know that cake. I’ve been to weddings with that cake. Its explosion is a lot more than an excuse to shower people with frosting. It’s a wonderful, visceral, hilarious film, with a great soundtrack, and y’all should go see it in theaters while you have the chance.

But, leaving the theater, all three of us kept saying one word in particular: heart. We all mentioned how much heart the movie had, how modern films we’d seen recently seemed heartless by comparison. But what is this strange, ephemeral “heart”? The Potter Stewart test is, as always, unsatisfying—we know it when we see it, sure, but what is it that we’re seeing? Why does Winston’s “I love this town!” at the end strike home, even though the question of whether he loves this town or not is never raised in the movie before this moment?

[As usual, I’m kicking about a theory.]

Great Opening Lines: God’s War by Kameron Hurley

I didn’t have to wait very long for the—as the guidelines for the That Was Awesome series phrase it—“small and/or crystallizing moment that [I] absolutely loved in a fellow author’s book or story” in Kameron Hurley’s God’s War.

It came on the very first line.

In case you haven’t read it yet, here it is: “Nyx sold her womb somewhere between Punjai and Faleen, on the edge of the desert.”

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Series: That Was Awesome! Writers on Writing

Morning Roundup: Patrick Stewart Grants a Vulcan Wish!

So, we’ll give you the bullet points on James Barker’s photo here. The young Vulcan got in touch with Make-A-Wish, and asked to meet Sir Patrick Stewart. They arranged for a meeting at DragonCon. Patrick Stewart, being Patrick Stewart, crushed the young Vulcan in this bear hug. Gaze upon this, humanity.

Morning Roundup brings you a yummy Benedict Cumberbatch, film recommendations from Bill Hader, and Phillip K. Dick on sex! Huh. Uh-huh.

[And, finally, do you know me now?]