Pigs! In! Space! Freddy and the Spaceship

Freddy and the Spaceship (1953) begins with a forest fire. Among the losses: several fine trees and a house where the Bismuths, cousins of Mrs. Bean, have been staying for awhile after Mr. Bismuth lost his job in Cleveland. This forces them to move into the Bean Farm, for the detriment of all concerned.

Mr. and Mrs. Bismuth, not to put too fine a point on it, are grifters. Oh, Mr. Bismuth worked a job or two there in Cleveland, but once he arrives at the Bean Farm, he starts exercising his real talents: taking advantage of people’s hospitality and eating a lot, whining his way into favors, demanding payment for terrible home repairs, and framing others for his thefts.

But the real problem arises when Mr. Bismuth starts selling tickets to Mars.


The Olympic Archer Who Trained Jennifer Lawerence Cosplays as Katniss

Behold the athlete who trained Katniss, dressed as Katniss.

The woman in the pictures is Khatuna Lorig, the Olympic athlete who taught Jennifer Lawrence how to handle a bow for her role as Katniss Everdeen in The Hunger Games. Lorig recently completed the bow and arrow competitions at this year’s summer Olympics and posed yesterday for a picture of herself decked out as Katniss, complete with a mockingjay pin.

Throughout her career, Lorig has competed in the Olympics for three countries: U.S.S.R., Georgia, and most recently the U.S. She’s taken a bronze medal in the past but narrowly missed out on the bronze during the current games. (She did hit a “perfect 10” according to The Washington Post.)

She’s also happy with how much more attention archery has received since Katniss-fever took off. 

“We have a great sport, a unique sport, and it deserves this recognition. Hollywood is bringing archery out to the open more, and a lot of kids are loving it. I think it will be great if more kids start the sport, keep them off the street.”

We think Khatuna Lorig is our new hero.

[News via The Mary Sue, Hollywood Reporter, and Washington Post]

Stubby the Rocket is the voice and mascot of Tor.com. Stubby is faster than a Katniss and Khatuna at running, but not faster than their arrows.

Technology Isn’t the Bad Guy: H+: The Digital Series

We joke about it all the time. One day, we’re all just gonna have chips in our heads and we won’t need things like TV or computers anymore. But what if that actually happened?

That’s the starting point for a new web series produced by Warner Bros. and Bryan Singer called H+: The Digital Series, which launches next week. Although, “web series” is a bit of a limited term. Web experience, more like, as H+ is going to be hugely interactive, allowing viewers to watch episodes out of order, edit them together differently, and create their own experience of the world, much like the characters are able to do with their web experiences in the context of the show.

I had the chance to speak with H+ star, Alexis Denisof (Angel, Dollhouse), and producer, Jason Taylor (Bryan Singer’s Bad Hat Harry Productions), about this unique and exciting sci-fi project.

[Humanity goes offline. Survival goes on.]

First Photos From Joss Whedon’s Much Ado About Nothing

Set to debut at the Toronto Film Festival in early September, Joss Whedon’s modern day interpretation of Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing stars many familiar faces from the Whedonverse. Nathan Fillion is Dogberry, Amy Acker is Beatrice, Sean Maher is Don John, Clark Gregg is Leonato, and Alexis Denisof is Benedick. The first photos from the film have appeared online! Look at them! Love them! Click any of them to enlarge.

[More photos below the cut]

The Glorious, Terrible, Strange USSR: Francis Spufford’s Red Plenty

What a wonderful world we live in where a book like Francis Spufford’s Red Plenty can be published! It came out in the UK in 2010 and it has just been published in a new US edition.

It’s not SF. It’s not really fiction, though it’s not non-fiction either. It’s something strangely between the two, a fictionalised non-fiction book about the Soviet Dream. Reading it partakes of some of the pleasures of reading especially geeky SF, and some of the pleasure of reading solid well-written nonfiction on a fascinating subject. It’s about history, economics, how technology and ideology interact, and how theory and practice are different, with examples. What it’s most like is reading an extended version of one of Neal Stephenson’s more adorable infodumps, only with footnotes and a proper end. Or it’s as if a non-fiction writer got carried away when giving examples and started to make them into actual stories with characters. Indeed, that may be what happened and it’s very relevant to the book — the USSR were starting off with textbook examples that were going to rationally want x of this and y of that, except that they didn’t have those examples, they had people. And when Khrushchev said it, he really thought that they would bury us.

[Read more: But why are you interested in the economics of the USSR, Jo?]

Forge of Darkness, Chapter Two (Excerpt)

The latest book in Steven Erikson’s Malazan series—out on September 18—begins the Kharkanas Trilogy, a new story set millennia before the main Malazan sequence and a new jumping on point for fantasy fans interested in taking on a new epic.

To whet your appetite, Tor.com will be releasing the first five chapters of Forge of Darkness in the coming weeks! We continue with Chapter Two:

Now is the time to tell the story of an ancient realm, a tragic tale that sets the stage for all the tales yet to come and all those already told…

It’s a conflicted time in Kurald Galain, the realm of Darkness, where Mother Dark reigns. But this ancient land was once home to many a power. And even death is not quite eternal. The commoners’ great hero, Vatha Urusander, is being promoted by his followers to take Mother Dark’s hand in marriage, but her Consort, Lord Draconus, stands in the way of such ambitions. The impending clash sends fissures throughout the realm, and as the rumors of civil war burn through the masses, an ancient power emerges from the long dead seas. Caught in the middle of it all are the First Sons of Darkness, Anomander, Andarist, and Silchas Ruin of the Purake Hold…

[Read more]

Series: Forge of Darkness on Tor.com

Christopher Eccleston is Now the Big Baddie in Thor: The Dark World

It’s looks as though Thor: The Dark World has traded a Bond villain for a Time Lord! Mads Mikkelsen (Casino Royale) was originally rumored to be playing Thor’s nemesis Malekith the Accursed, but now Deadline is reporting Christopher Eccleston is stepping into the role. Though we think of Eccleston here mostly as the Ninth Doctor of Doctor Who, he’s played bad guys before in 28 Days Later and G.I. Joe: Rise of Cobra

Now he’s nose-to-nose with the God of Thunder. Maybe if we’re lucky, Eccleston’s Malekith will make it to Avengers 2. 

Stubby the Rocket is the voice and mascot of Tor.com and is aware of Thor’s involvement in the Time War.

Reopening The X-Files: “Redux”/”Redux II”

Season 5, Episodes 1 and 2: “Redux”/”Redux II”
Original Airdates: November 2 and November 9, 1997

Let’s talk about Mulder, and let’s talk about his life’s work. His life’s work is a quest (for the truth) built on a faith (that the truth is out there). In “Gethsemane,” Mulder was led to believe that his faith was misplaced and that aliens might not exist at all. Then, we were led to believe that the merest suggestion of this would immediately make Mulder suicidal, or at least very very very sad. The Reduxes continue in this vein, reconstructing the Mulder we know as a man who might not believe, after all.

[Level 4 clearance. That means I get to dine at the officer]

Series: Reopening The X-Files

5 Reasons Why the Next X-Men Movie Should Be “Days of Future Past”

It’s being reported that Fox, the movie studio behind X-Men: First Class and the other host of X-Men films, registered the title “Days of Future Past” with the MPAA, leading to speculation that director Matthew Vaughn’s upcoming sequel to X-Men: First Class, which begins filming next year, will encompass the classic time-traveling X-Men story. Update: And now Bryan Singer has confirmed it. We’re getting Days of Future Past.

If true, I could not be more excited. The X-Men movie franchise is not only well positioned enough to pull this off, I would argue that it’s absolutely necessary that they do. Here are 5 reasons why.

[Read more]

Girl of Nightmares, Chapter Two (Excerpt)

The sequel to Kendare Blake’s Anna Dressed in Blood is coming on August 7th, but that’s not fast enough. We’ve shown you chapter one, and you deserve a second boost for waiting all this time — here’s chapter two of Girl of Nightmares!:

It’s been months since the ghost of Anna Korlov opened a door to Hell in her basement and disappeared into it, but ghost-hunter Cas Lowood can’t move on.

His friends remind him that Anna sacrificed herself so that Cas could live—not walk around half dead. He knows they’re right, but in Cas’s eyes, no living girl he meets can compare to the dead girl he fell in love with.

Now he’s seeing Anna everywhere: sometimes when he’s asleep and sometimes in waking nightmares. But something is very wrong…these aren’t just daydreams. Anna seems tortured, torn apart in new and ever more gruesome ways every time she appears.

Cas doesn’t know what happened to Anna when she disappeared into Hell, but he knows she doesn’t deserve whatever is happening to her now. Anna saved Cas more than once, and it’s time for him to return the favor.

[Read more]

Series: Girls’ Nightmare Out

Morning Roundup: The Adorable Blade Runner Polaroids

In our daily search for the most perfect/beautiful pictures of Harrison Ford/Sean Young/Rutger Hauer, we got really lucky and found these polaroids. It’s like if they all had Facebook accounts in Blade Runner. Which really, they probably did.

Below the cut is another polaroid with Rutger Hauer. Also your daily offsite links. 

Highlights include:

  1. Where we should be looking for aliens
  2. The crazy 3D glasses for The Hobbit.
  3. Ride a motorcycle like Batman.

[Read on]

Our Hyperbolically Perfect Birthday Meet-up Is Tomorrow Night in NYC!

Tomorrow, party peoples. The night you’ve been waiting for. Tor.com is having a 4th birthday meet-up, and we want you to be there! (You and your friends.) If you’re in New York City this Thursday, August 2nd, then you’ll be at our party.

The details: the meet-up is FREE and starts at 6 PM on Thursday, August 2nd. Professor Thom’s is located at 219 2nd Avenue between East 13th and 14th Street. We’ll be in the upstairs bar. Come have a drink and hang out! Our special “Rocket Fuel” cocktail from Barker and Mills will be on hand to get you blasted alongside our rocket-themed cakes and party favors. At this point, our meet-ups are legendary, so you can’t miss it.

RSVP at our Facebook invite here.

Kirk/Spock DJ illustration by Chris Whetzel

Stubby the Rocket is the voice and mascot of Tor.com and will make an appearance at this party.

Fiction Affliction: “Genre-Benders” for August

So, can we talk? Sure, we could discuss the new Extreme Zombies anthology, the new novel from Jim Hines, or the illustrated guide to Scott Westerfeld’s Leviathan series or the others among this month’s sixteen genre-benders. But let’s talk instead about, for lack of a better term, “derivative paranormal fiction” or “mashups.” Romeo and Juliet have been turned into vampires, as have the girls from Little Women. Jane Austen and other books from authors of the same period seem to have been hiding major zombie issues. And, had he lived in the right time and place, Abraham Lincoln could have slain them all. This month, we have My Favorite Fangs, and somehow in the Alps, a fanged Julie Andrews is spinning on a grassy knoll. But is she singing “The hills are alive….”?

Fiction Affliction details releases in science fiction, fantasy, urban fantasy, paranormal romance, and “genre-benders.” Keep track of them all here.

[Read about this month]

The Philip K. Dick Movie Report Card

Friday will see the release of a new Total Recall, which aims to erase our memories of another movie called Total Recall. Do films remember other films wholesale? Or do films dream of electric films? In either case, it remains to be seen if Total Recall is a cinematic imposter of a Philip K. Dick story or is instead just the second variety of a well-worn 90’s action movie.

In the meantime, join me as I turn my scanner, darkly, toward all of the films made from Philip K. Dick’s work and try to figure out which of them are quality movies and which actually have something in common with the source material. I’ll give each movie two letter grades: one for being a good or bad movie and one for being faithful to the source material. (Note: faithful doesn’t always mean just following the plot, but capturing the themes and essence as well.)

[Read on and discuss!]

Read the The Quantum Thief for $2.99!

From now until the 4th of September, in the United States you can purchase the ebook version of Hannu Rajaniemi’s debut novel The Quantum Thief for just $2.99! Released by Tor Book in 2011, The Quantum Thief was highly praised for its originality and readability.

Charles Stross had this to say: 

“The next big thing in hard SF. Hard to admit, but I think he’s better at this stuff than I am.” 

Get it for $2.99 at these or your favorite eBook retailer.

Amazon / B&N / Apple

Farscape Rewatch: “Family Ties”

Family Ties
Written by David Kemper and Rockne S. O’Bannon, directed by Tony Tilse
Season 1, Episode 22

1st US Transmission Date: 28 January 2000
1st UK Transmission Date: 5 June 2000
1st Australian Transmission: 27 January 2001

Guest Cast: Lani Tupu  (Capt. Bialar Crais), Wayne Pygram (Scorpius), David Franklin (Lt. Braca)

‘You remember the day I left? You told me that every man has a chance to become his own kind of hero. Well, I don’t think I’ll be coming home, so I won’t get that ticker tape parade, and I doubt that I’ll have kids, so I won’t get the chance to be a hero to them, but I think I know what you meant.’

[Read more]

Series: Farscape Rewatch on Tor.com

vN (Excerpt)

After our review, we know you’d like a closer look at Madeline Ashby’s debut novel, vN, and you’re in luck! Check it out:

Amy Peterson is a self-replicating humanoid robot known as a VonNeumann.

For the past five years, she has been grown slowly as part of a mixed organic/synthetic family. She knows very little about her android mother’s past, so when her grandmother arrives and attacks her mother, Amy wastes no time: she eats her alive.

Now she carries her malfunctioning granny as a partition on her memory drive, and she’s learning impossible things about her clade’s history – like the fact that she alone can kill humans without failsafing…

[Read more]