Fiction Affliction: August Releases in Urban Fantasy

August is a huge month for urban fantasy fans (and paranormal fantasy and contemporary fantasy). We can look forward to thirty-five new books filled with fins, fangs, and fur this month, including new series offerings from, among others, Chloe Neill (Chicagoland Vampires), Rob Thurman (Cal Leandros), Kat Richardson (Greywalker), Hannah Jayne (Underworld Detection Agency), Karina Cooper (St. Croix Chronicles), Marlene Perez (Nyx Fortuna), Elizabeth Bear (Promethean Age), Kevin J. Anderson (Dan Shamble, Zombie P.I.), Richard Kadrey (Sandman Slim), and Simon R. Green (Ghost Finders).

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 releases.]

Thrones and Bones Sweepstakes!

Karn and Thianna are outsiders. He’d rather play a board game than inherit the family farm and she’s a half human, half frost giantress that isn’t truly accepted in either world. When family intrigue forces them to flee their homes, they’ll have to team up to face a 1,500-year-old dragon, undead warriors, an evil uncle, and an assortment of angry beasts. Even if they do survive, neither of them will ever be the same again.

We want to introduce you to Lou Anders’ debut novel before its August 5th release from Crown Books! Three lucky winners will receive a copy of Frostborn along with an awesome set of four trading cards inspired by Karn’s favorite game! 

Check out a preview of the card set below the cut, and comment in the post to enter! 

[Read more]

Trial by Fire (Excerpt)

This world is trying to kill Lily Proctor. Her life-threatening allergies keep her from enjoying experiences that others in her hometown of Salem take for granted, which is why she is determined to enjoy her first high school party with her best friend and longtime crush, Tristan. But after a humiliating incident in front of half her graduating class, Lily wishes she could just disappear.

Suddenly, Lily is in a different Salem—one overrun with horrifying creatures and ruled by powerful women called Crucibles. Lily realizes that what makes her weak at home is exactly what makes her extraordinary in New Salem. It also puts her life in danger. Thrown into a world she doesn’t understand, Lily is torn between responsibilities she can’t hope to shoulder alone, and a love she never expected.

Josephine Angelini’s Trial by Fire publishes September 2nd from Feiwel & Friends!

[Read an Excerpt]

When Your House Obsession Becomes A Kid’s Book: The Children of Green Knowe

Young Toseland Oldknow—Tolly, please, if you must give him a nickname, not Towser, or worse, Toto (I am trying to look past the implied insult to Oz here, everyone)—is off to live with his great-grandmother in a very old house that to him feels very far away. He is both scared and slightly hopeful: since the death of his mother, his only real family is a distant father and a well meaning but generally clueless stepmother, so a great-grandmother feels like something. She might even be real family.

Spoiler: she is. What Tolly didn’t expect—and couldn’t expect—were the ghosts. Or, if you prefer, The Children of Green Knowe.

[When you are not about to let a little thing like a plague distract you from living, playing, and dealing with evil haunted trees.]

Holly Black Will Write the Twelfth Doctor’s Next Adventure

Doctor Who may be returning to the airwaves on August 23, but the BBC won’t be the only place for fans to follow the Twelfth Doctor’s escapades through time and space. In October, Puffin will release its ebook anthology Doctor Who: 12 Doctors, 12 Stories—and now we know who’s penning the latest adventure! 

After Twitter rumors had previously pointed to Frank Cottrell Boyce and J.K. Rowling, The Guardian reveals that The Coldest Girl in Coldtown author Holly Black will be the one to take on Peter Capaldi’s Twelve in a new short story, called “Lights Out.”

[Read more]

Lords of the Fallen Demoralizes the Masses at SDCC

Lords of the Fallen capped off my weekend of gaming through SDCC in rather violent, merciless fashion. The game is a joint venture between Polish developer CI Games and German studio Deck13 Interactive, and to date, much of its fame stems from its reputation as being a “next-gen” Dark Souls. While the developers haven’t done much to dissuade gamers from that comparison, they certainly want a game that’s able to stand on its on merit, rather than be known as a next-gen Dark Souls knockoff—and so, I checked in to play through the dungeon on preview to see where the game is at.

[So much death. Why can’t we all just get along?]

Be Careful What You Wish For in the First Into the Woods Teaser Trailer

Into the Woods has caused considerable furor long before its Christmas Day release, with rumors that Disney had cut the musical’s sexiest song for the movie adaptation. (Don’t worry, they didn’t.) Now, the first teaser trailer is out, allowing us our first chance to ponder the movie based on actual footage and not just set photos and hearsay.

[“I wish…”]

Chris Hemsworth, Evans, Pratt, and Pine Need to be a Boy Band

Our new favorite person is the Twitter user who had this brainstorm earlier today:

And our other new favorite person is Cuddlebuggery’s Meg Morley who then Photoshopped our dreams into reality.

Forget *NSYNC’s surprise greatest-hits album, or NKOTBSB, or even One Direction—the 2010s are about to see the greatest boy band of its time. Because they’re all named Chris, they all play geek icons, and they’re already used to fighting off screaming fans.

We can’t wait til their first single, “Assemble Your Love,” drops. Not to mention their Christmas (hee) album. What an amazing time we live in.

Image: @megsaysthings

A Read of Ice and Fire: A Feast for Crows, Part 24

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 24 of A Feast for Crows, in which we cover Chapter 33 (“Jaime”) and Chapter 34 (“Cat of the Canals”).

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!

[“I think we’ve all arrived at a very special place. Spiritually, ecumenically… grammatically…”]

Series: A Read of Ice and Fire

The Harry Potter Reread: The Chamber of Secrets, Chapters 17 and 18

The Harry Potter Reread has passed through what Americans call a “sophomore year,” which is a useless word, in that it is designed to make it seem as though something was accomplished instead of just saying oh, good work on that second year. Seriously, it means nothing, but it sounds terribly important. (Also, it’s Harry and Rowling’s birthday today, so… cake? Do we have a cake? We should get some cake.)

Which does not detract from the fact that we’ve reached the end of the second book! I knew the first two went by faster than the rest, but this has been a total blur. I’m just sort of stunned and wobbly. Like a newly-freed house-elf? We’ve got two chapters left of The Chamber of Secrets—The Heir of Slytherin and Dobby’s Reward.

Index 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.

[Read more]

Series: The Harry Potter Reread

“You Did Me and My Dragons Real Proud” Anne McCaffrey on John Schoenherr’s Illustrations

Illustrator Ian Schoenherr recently published a letter Anne McCaffrey wrote to his father, John Schoenherr, thanking him for his dragons! The elder Schoenherr provided some wonderful illustrations to accompany two of McCaffrey’s early Pern stories in Analog Magazine, making these the earliest depiction of F’lar, Lessa, and Mnementh! “Weyr Search” and “Dragonrider” were published in October and December of 1967, respectively, and each served as the magazine’s cover story.

[DRAGONNNNS]

Words of Radiance Reread: Chapter 7

Welcome back to the Words of Radiance Reread on Tor.com! Last week we got some interesting perspectives on human activity from a spren viewpoint, and ended in screams, shouts, and smoke. This week, we’ll find out what all the shouting was about and witness… well… Oh, nothing could go wrong here, could it? No tragedies, or anything. Not here.

This reread will contain spoilers for The Way of Kings, Words of Radiance, and any other Cosmere books that become relevant. Most of those will be in the comments, though. At least this week.

[It really wanted to stay a ship.]

Series: Words of Radiance Reread on Tor.com

Hey, Anyone Live in Atlanta and Want to Play Hank Pym in Ant-Man?

Don’t worry, Ant-Man hasn’t lost another cast member. But if you’re a 5’ 10″ (“not an inch shorter or an inch taller”) man between the ages of 30 and 60 living in Atlanta, you could be Michael Douglas’ stand-in.

Answer this casting call and you’ll get to be scientist Hank Pym, who enlists the help of con man Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) to protect the secrets of his shrinking Ant-Man suit, but also to become the titular hero himself, by pulling off the world’s greatest heist.

Well, you’ll get to play Hank Pym before the cameras start rolling, at least.

Poster: Marvel Studios

Suitcase of Pain! Read Tom Hiddleston’s Adorable Avengers Thank-You Letter to Joss Whedon

A new excerpt from Joss Whedon: The Biography (out August 1) reveals that, after reading the first draft of the Avengers screenplay, Tom Hiddleston wrote Joss Whedon a heartfelt, effusive, funny, adorable email thanking Whedon for writing the part of Loki for him.

Wait, it’s Tom Hiddleston. Why are we even surprised? Read the entire letter—plus Whedon’s response—and get ready for the feels.

[“His closely guarded suitcase of pain” is our new favorite Loki phrase]

Dovebuckets and Face-Crabs: The Sandman: Overture Issue 3

The Sandman: Overture Issue #3 has finally arrived! I’ll skip over the part where I snark about how long it’s taking, because the art is so amazing I’m cool with it taking three times this long. I’ll also say upfront that I think some of the writing is shaky in this issue, but that I’m still happy to be along for Morpheus’ journey to try to save the universe. Again.

I am faced with my usual conundrum of how much to say here… I want to talk about the issue, but I also want to stay as non-spoilery as possible. Let’s start off with the basic plot…

[Read More]

Fairy Tale Remix: “What Else is Disney Not Telling Us?”

What gives fairy tales such power? Why do writers return to them, again and again? And what do fairy tales reveal about the people who love, hate, and choose to retell them?

Thursday’s Fairy Tale Remix panel at San Diego Comic-Con explored all of these questions, with an entertaining, well-matched panel of new and veteran authors who have all put their own spin on traditional tales. Moderated by Shannon Hale (Ever After High series), the panel brought together Marissa Meyer (The Lunar Chronicles), Cornelia Funke (The Inkheart trilogy), Ben Tripp (The Accidental Highwayman), Tony DiTerlizzi (The Spiderwick Chronicles), Danielle Page (Dorothy Must Die), John Peck (Charming series), and Katherine Harbour (Thorn Jack) to talk character development, genre mashing, and their particular approaches to reclaiming and reinterpreting fairy tales.

[Read more]

The Best, Funniest, and Most Ridiculous Harry Potter Memes to Come Out of J.K. Rowling’s Wizarding World

Harry Potter turns 34 today, while the Potter fandom is about half as old. We decided that the best way to honor The Boy Who Lived, and the wizarding world in which he lives, is with a best-of list of all the Internet memes the series has inspired—videos, GIFs, crossovers, and mashups.

Now, we’re never going to track down every meme, because they keep popping up with the same frequency as Harry’s Hogwarts letters. But these are our favorites. Some came about from the movies, while others only needed the books for inspiration. Some originated the meme, while others elevated preexisting ones. And should we really be surprised that Severus Snape is at the center of most of them? Nope.

[“What is that mysterious ticking noise?”]

Ten Awesome Prehistoric Crocs

All of today’s crocs look more or less the same. Alligators, gharials, crocodiles, and their cousins are all armored ambush predators that spend much of their time lurking in rivers and swamps. But the greater group to which they belong—the crocodylomorphs—evolved in dramatically-different ways. There were dinosaur-hunters, short-skulled herbivores, and marine hypercarnivores, just to name a few, within the group’s prehistoric ranks. If you’re looking for inspiration for a monster or fearsome creature from another world, prehistory’s crocs can be excellent muses.

[See you later, alligator…]

Morning Roundup: The Map is Right. The Ennui is Killing Us…

Tor.com contributor Thom Dunn shared this map of how to die in each state! We like the Florida is its own cause of death, and we definitely second Hastur as the biggest danger in Louisiana. But are vampires really that bad in Alaska?

Morning Roundup has some more prep for those of you going to Guardians of the Galaxy this weekend, or, as we like to call you: EVERYONE. (End Gary Oldman voice.) We also have worldbuilding advice, and a Facehugger!

[Plus Chris Pratt talks about dinosaurs!]