“Something Happened Here, But We’re Not Quite Sure What It Was” by Paul McAuley is a complex sf story about politics and xenophobia when human colonists on an Earth-like planet are faced with the possibility of reaching out to alien cultures, especially when a big organization that has previously done harm is in charge of the operation.
Believe it or not, it’s the Wheel of Time Reread Redux! We never thought we could feel so free-ee-ee!
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!
Series: The Wheel of Time Reread
When Gollancz calls The Medusa Chronicles “one of the most anticipated SF books of 2016,” it isn’t overstating the case. A meeting of two of finest minds in modern science fiction, specifically Stephen Baxter of the Xeelee Sequence and Alastair Reynolds of Revelation Space fame, inspired, in turn, by another meeting—A Meeting with Medusa, even—which the former author calls Arthur C. Clarke’s “last great work of science fiction” and the latter terms “a touchstone text,” the forthcoming collaboration represents rather an embarrassment of riches.
A continuation of “the story of Commander Howard Falcon over centuries of space-exploration, interaction with AI, first contact and beyond,” The Medusa Chronicles has been a nearly-known quantity since its announcement in April. Now, on the other side of the summer—and what a waste of a summer it was otherwise—Gollancz today gave the rest of the game away by way of an updated blurb and an early look at the book’s classic cover art.
Series: British Fiction Focus
The first trailer for Disney’s live-action remake of The Jungle Book tells you quite a bit about director Jon Favreau’s vision: We get a sense for how Mowgli (Neel Sethi) interacts with most of the animals in the forest, even if we don’t yet get to hear Bill Murray, Idris Elba, or Christopher Walken speak. The only voiceover we get is Scarlett Johansson as silly, devious snake Kaa, though right now she sounds more like the OS Samantha from Her.
What makes a world compelling? In fiction, piling on details about food, home decor, and clothing can be a quick way to introduce a reader to larger issues of class and gender roles. And particularly in genre literature, clothing and jewelry can be imbued with significance (and sometimes magic) that can turn the tide of a plot.
We’ve rounded up some of the most significant sartorial choices in all of science fiction and fantasy, but we wanted to start you off with that glorious image above, in which Donny Osmond’s teeth almost manage to outshine the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat itself. The original Coat of Many Colors landed Joseph in a pretty serious scrape, but it also led to adventure, an Andrew Lloyd Webber musical, and a classic Dolly Parton song. All of the clothes and accessories we’ve gathered here likewise either have great, story-altering significance, or act as catalysts to adventure!
Welcome back to the Lovecraft reread, in which two modern Mythos writers get girl cooties all over old Howard’s original stories.
Today we’re looking at the second half of “The Dunwich Horror,” first published in the April 1929 issue of Weird Tales. You can read it here; we’re picking up this week with Part VII.
Series: The Lovecraft Reread
We want to send you a copy of Gamelife, Michael Clune’s memoir, out now from Farrar, Straus and Giroux!
You have been awakened.
Floppy disk inserted, computer turned on, a whirring, and then this sentence, followed by a blinking cursor. So begins Suspended, the first computer game to obsess seven-year-old Michael, to worm into his head and change his sense of reality. Thirty years later he will write: “Computer games have taught me the things you can’t learn from people.”
Gamelife is the memoir of a childhood transformed by technology. Afternoons spent gazing at pixelated maps and mazes train Michael’s eyes for the uncanny side of 1980s suburban Illinois. A game about pirates yields clues to the drama of cafeteria politics and locker-room hazing. And in the year of his parents’ divorce, a spaceflight simulator opens a hole in reality.
In telling the story of his youth through seven computer games, Michael W. Clune captures the part of childhood we live alone.
Check out Clune’s piece on Five Books About Imaginary Religions, and comment in the post to enter!
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There are so many books by brilliant authors that I want to talk about, and I can’t read fast enough to keep up. This is immensely frustrating. Just the to-read pile has at least a dozen recent or forthcoming novels (Loren Rhoads, Karina Sumner-Smith, Lisa Goldstein, Nnedi Okorafor, Angélica Gorodischer, Laura Anne Gilman, Cassandra Rose Clarke, Alyx Dellamonica, AND STILL MORE), while the to-read shelves are groaning under the ambitions of my backlog. (Cecelia Holland’s Floating Worlds, Monica Byrne’s The Girl In the Road, more of the Foreigner novels by C.J. Cherryh, oh, mountains and mountains of things.)
Series: Sleeps With Monsters
It is late in the workday and I am really annoying Carl Engle-Laird, assistant editor for Tor.com Publishing and the acquiring editor for Alter S. Reiss’ novella Sunset Mantle. He explains the plot of the story to me, this congenial monolith standing before a shrieking, bone-wielding ape, but it is not enough.
“Okay, Carl…but what is the book about?”
Now that John Scalzi’s The End of All Things—sequel to Old Man’s War-verse novel The Human Division—is available in print and ebook form, Tor Books is offering a free download of this special appendix featuring deleted and alternate scenes from the first episode, The Life of the Mind!
As Scalzi explains in his introduction to the Extras, he had a number of false starts while writing The End of All Things, resulting in an opening that, while covering roughly the same events as the finished novel, presents a very different narrative spin. Read the full intro below, and start your free download of the Extras in PDF, .epub, or .mobi format!
It is perhaps a hundred years in the future, our civilization is gone, and another is in place in North America, but it retains many familiar things and structures. Although the population is now small, there is advanced technology, there are robots, and there are clones.
E. A. Smithe is a borrowed person. He is a clone who lives on a third-tier shelf in a public library, and his personality is an uploaded recording of a deceased mystery writer. Smithe is a piece of property, not a legal human.
A wealthy patron, Colette Coldbrook, takes him from the library because he is the surviving personality of the author of Murder on Mars. A physical copy of that book was in the possession of her murdered father, and it contains an important secret, the key to immense family wealth. It is lost, and Colette is afraid of the police. She borrows Smithe to help her find the book and to find out what the secret is. And then the plot gets complicated.
Gene Wolfe’s new science fiction novel, A Borrowed Man, is available October 20th from Tor Books!
Finder of awesome things Cory Doctorow shared this, the awesomest thing. We’re assuming somebody called Threepio “Goldenrod” a few too many times, and he was like, “I am fluent in over 6 million forms of communication, but I’m going to pretend I can’t read a ‘No Smoking’ sign in any of them.”
Morning Roundup brings you news of the Sorcerer Supreme, a plea to level up in Super Mario Maker, and a case for a new Bond.
Upon beginning his Reddit AMA, The Traitor Baru Cormorant author Seth Dickinson certainly brought a lot of talking points: He’s 26 and a social psychologist; he loves games, having written for Destiny and created many a house rule for the Battlestar Galactica board game; and of course, there’s the polarizing but compelling character of Baru Cormorant herself. The AMA mostly stayed around those three points, though there were some amusing side threads (like the Misery List), and we discovered that his favorite adjective is “terrible.” (“It’s so good!”)
Dickinson also shared the original query letter for his novel, fielded feels, exhaustively explained his worldbuilding ethos, and looked ahead to writing the sequel and where Baru would go next. Check out the highlights!
Welcome, my lovelies, to the semi-annual fest of inanity and repetition that is the new television schedule. Most of the shows premiering this season you’ve seen before in some boring iteration or another – loose cannon cop/doctor/lawyer/federal agent butts heads with a rules-driven superior and maybe gets it on with some hot chicks; period piece where gruff bearded men fight other gruff bearded men and maybe get it on with gruff but hot warrior maidens; zombies; movie translated to the small screen and even smaller budget, thus losing what little was actually interesting to begin with; superheroes; etc. – but there are some bits of gold dust scattered in the mud pile.
Who here isn’t filled with rapturous glee at the prospect of Ash vs. Evil Dead, Jessica Jones, Supergirl, The Man in the High Castle, and The Wiz Live!? (OK, so no one actually believes that last one will be quality television, but I loved that movie as a kid so shut up, don’t judge me.)
Mistress Gideon is a witch. The locals of Edda’s Meadow, if they suspect it of her, say nary a word—Gideon has been good to them, and it’s always better to keep on her good side. Just in case.
When a foolish young shapeshifter goes against the wishes of her pack, and gets herself very publicly caught, the authorities find it impossible to deny the existence of the supernatural in their midst any longer; Gideon and her like are captured, bound for torture and a fiery end.
Should Gideon give up her sisters in return for a quick death? Or can she turn the situation to her advantage?
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 September 14th. Sweepstakes ends at 12:00 PM ET on September 18th. 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.
Little Robot is just starting out. But what a strange and confusing place the world is!
These short stories of Little Robot’s adventures first appeared on Art and Adventure, author and illustrator Ben Hatke’s website. They inspired his upcoming graphic novel, Little Robot, which features an all-new version of the robot star of these strips. Get to know the original Little Robot and some of its pals in the strips below, and be sure to check out an excerpt from the graphic novel here on Tor.com!