Nata spends her time zipping through the black in her ugly yet bad-ass spaceship, taking pride in being the best smuggler the Imperial regime has never caught. When she takes on an expensive mystery cargo, however, the risk reaches far beyond her pride.
It was during the end of Three Parts Dead, with its many reversals and its clash between different and intricate rule-based magic systems, that we both recognized the inner thrill of reading a new Brandon Sanderson story. Except…Three Parts Dead isn’t a Sanderson novel, it’s a Max Gladstone book from a few years back.
I love Stephen King, as a writer, as a proclaimer of the greatness of genre literature, and, maybe most of all, as a guy. He was the first author I knew who—actually, scratch that. Stephen King was the first author I knew.
I recognized the names of children’s authors, and some of the bigger pulpy adult authors that my parents read (my mother was a huge Dick Francis fan, and our house had the requisite copies of Clan of the Cave Bear and Shogun) but King was the first author I saw being interviewed on TV. He was the only author I knew who wrote introductions to his own books, and I got a real sense of him as a person form reading them. Later, when I read Danse Macabre and On Writing, I discovered that he could carry that conversational, regular-guy writing style through an entire book, and the more I write myself, the more impressed I am. I think what really came through, more so even than in his fiction, was his weird, dark sense of humor.
It is in this spirit that I present to you, oh my brothers and sisters and neithers and others, a Stephen King Movie Moment Retrospective.
As we all—well, at least some of us—prepare to view Disney’s live-action Beauty and the Beast once it arrives on Netflix in just a few more days, I thought it might be fun to look at the other live action adaptation currently available on Netflix: the 2014 Beauty and the Beast, a French-German film starring Lea Seydoux and Vincent Cassel as Belle and the Beast, respectively.
Black Mirror creator/mastermind Charlie Brooker, fresh off winning two Emmys for last season’s beloved episode “San Junipero,” has announced the first group of authors who get to play in his twisted world for Black Mirror: Volume I. Or, as he calls it, Black Mirror: Paper Edition.
According to the announcement on Penguin Random House UK’s website, the first of three volumes (edited by Brooker) will feature three novella-length stories (with plots soon to be announced) by Cory Doctorow, Claire North, and Sylvain Neuvel.
Brightlords and ladies, parshendi and spren! Have you gotten your fill of speculation after reading chapters 10-12 of Oathbringer? Well, you’ve come to the right place, because this week Alice and I are tackling chapters 7 and 8 of Edgedancer! These chapters are considerably meatier than those we’ve analyzed so far, so strap in and prepare yourselves for some Diabolical Deeds, Awesome Adventures, and Scrupulous Spren! Alice, you got any more fun alliterative descriptions of these chapters?
Alice: Edgedancer Eavesdropping and Purloined Pancakes, naturally!
Series: Edgedancer Reread
There’s a certain type of sci-fi story that we all know: visitors from beyond make contact with humans and teach us something important about who we are and where we’re heading. It’s in 2001, Arrival, and Independence Day—well, maybe not the last one so much, but you get the idea. One of the great things about Gattaca, Andrew Niccol’s 1997 masterpiece, is that it doesn’t need an outside other to deliver a powerful, moving message about humanity; instead of aliens, we get a meditative, deeply introspective examination of the human spirit that’s limited strictly to humans. The result, I’d argue, is one of the greatest sci-fi movies ever made.
The Hobbit has been inspiring artists and readers for generations, ever since its publication 80 years ago today. Artwise, I’ve always had a soft spot for The Hobbit; I love that it lends itself equally well to delightful and weighty interpretations. Below, let’s take a look at how just a few of the unofficial band of “Tolkien artists” have approached Bilbo’s story.
Above, Over Hill and Under Hill by Chris Rahn.
Last week, The Verge revealed the cover for Martha Wells’ Artificial Condition, the second book in the Murderbot Diaries series. Murderbot, a human-like android, has bucked its restrictive programming and would rather be left alone, away from humanity and small talk. Unfortunately for Murderbot, it keeps getting sucked back into adventure after adventure—and we couldn’t wait to reveal book three, Rogue Protocol. Check out the full cover by artist Jaime Jones below!
Old science magazines can be an unexpected source of pathos. I own a copy of National Geographic from February 1958 that features, among other topics, a long piece titled “Exploring Our Neighbor World, the Moon.” It was that February when the U.S. Senate convened a committee with the aim of establishing a new government agency to explore outer space. Several months later, NASA would be born. The first moon probes would not follow until shortly thereafter. So, this article, which describes in detail a stroll on the lunar surface, is largely a work of speculative fiction.
This is my favorite kind of writing about the moon, untainted by too much direct knowledge. I like, especially, H.G. Wells’ heroic effort in 1901—The First Men in the Moon is breathtaking because it was so far off the mark. When Dr. Cavor’s homemade space sphere lands in the basin of a vast crater, the surface appears dead on arrival: “a huge undulating plain, cold and gray, a gray that deepened eastward into the absolute raven darkness of the cliff shadow.”
Welcome back to the Lovecraft reread, in which two modern Mythos writers get girl cooties all over old Howard’s sandbox, from those who inspired him to those who were inspired in turn.
Today we’re looking at Bram Stoker’s “The Judge’s House,” first published in the December 5 1891 issue of Illustrated Sporting and Dramatic News. Spoilers ahead.
Series: The Lovecraft Reread
The future is here; the future is unknown. We’ve put together a Tor Books and Tor.com Publishing prize pack of four very different books about the here, now, and yet to come, and we want to send it to you!
In Infomocracy, it’s been twenty years and two election cycles since Information, a powerful search engine monopoly, pioneered the switch from warring nation-states to global micro-democracy. The corporate coalition party Heritage has won the last two elections. With another election on the horizon, the Supermajority is in tight contention, and everything’s on the line.
Walkaway takes place in a future when anyone can design and print the basic necessities of life—food, clothing, shelter—from a computer. There seems to be little reason to toil within the system. It’s still a dangerous world out there, the empty lands wrecked by climate change, dead cities hollowed out by industrial flight, shadows hiding predators animal and human alike—but when the initial pioneer walkaways flourish, more people join them. Then the walkaways discover the one thing the ultra-rich have never been able to buy: how to beat death. Now it’s war – a war that will turn the world upside down.
In All Systems Red‘s corporate-dominated spacefaring future, planetary missions must be approved and supplied by the Company. Exploratory teams are accompanied by Company-supplied security androids, for their own safety. On a distant planet, a team of scientists are conducting surface tests, shadowed by their Company-supplied ‘droid — a self-aware SecUnit that has hacked its own governor module, and refers to itself (though never out loud) as “Murderbot.” Scornful of humans, all it really wants is to be left alone long enough to figure out who it is. But when a neighboring mission goes dark, it’s up to the scientists and their Murderbot to get to the truth.
Autonomous‘s Jack is an anti-patent scientist turned drug pirate, traversing the world as a pharmaceutical Robin Hood, fabricating cheap scrips for poor people. But her latest drug hack has left a trail of lethal overdoses as people become addicted to their work, doing repetitive tasks until they become unsafe or insane. Eliasz, a brooding military agent, and his robotic partner, Paladin, are hot on her trail. As they race to stop information about the sinister origins of Jack’s drug from getting out, they begin to form an uncommonly close bond that neither of them fully understand.
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It’s a period of turmoil in Britain, with the country’s politicians electing to remove the UK from the European Union, despite ever-increasing evidence that the public no longer supports it. And the small town of Lychford is suffering.
But what can three rural witches do to guard against the unknown? And why are unwary hikers being led over the magical borders by their smartphones’ mapping software? And is the immigration question really important enough to kill for?
A Long Day in Lychford is the third book in Paul Cornell’s Witches of Lychford series, available October 10th from Tor.com Publishing.
Happy as I hope we all are, on the whole, I expect each and every one of us has lived through a few bad days too.
Now I don’t mean those days when we have to deal with death or ill health or anything actively awful. I’m talking about those days that just suck a bunch; those days when nothing seems to go your way. Maybe it starts with a letter from the taxman and spirals up, up and away from there. Maybe the milk is spoiled so you can’t have your morning coffee. Maybe traffic makes you late for work even though you left early. Whatever the particulars, these are the days when everything that can go wrong does go wrong, and damn your plans.
These days don’t destroy us, because we’re reasonably well adjusted human beings. Tomorrow’s another day, we tell ourselves. It’s not like the world is ending or anything. But it is in Patrick Ness’ ninth novel. Like The Rest of Us Just Live Here and More Than This before it, Release is a smart and sensitive standalone story that mixes the mundane with the magical in order to underscore the extraordinary qualities of the ordinary. It’s a brief book about a bad day as bold and as beautiful as any finely-honed tome about the rise of Rome.
Last week, in the Thomas Jefferson Building auditorium at the Library of Congress, the newest U.S. Poet laureate, Tracy K. Smith, gave her inaugural reading.
Why am I writing about this on Tor.com, you might ask? Read on, friends. Smith has nerd cred to spare.
In grade school, Smith says she found poetry’s meter and rhyme scheme “akin to magic.” (from her memoir, Ordinary Light.) Sure sure, you say. Everyone tosses “magic” around. And the literary world in general sometimes seems to want nothing to do with science fiction, except to play with the shiny bits. But wait, there’s more…
In 1968, the late Brian Aldiss published Farewell, Fantastic Venus! This anthology, which reprinted writers as diverse as Edgar Rice Burroughs, Carl Sagan, C.S. Lewis, and Olaf Stapledon, celebrates the image of Venus that had once dominated science fiction stories—a planet full of jungles, swamps, adventure, and mystery—and would soon be forever eclipsed by the lifeless inferno the first space probes discovered.
I admit that this description of a British science fiction anthology from 1968 may seem an odd way to open an article on a film made seven years earlier behind the Iron Curtain, yet Aldiss’s anthology kept coming to mind as I watched Czech director Karel Zeman’s 1961 Baron Prášil, better known to Western audiences as The Fabulous Baron Munchausen. Zeman’s film opens with Tony, a stolid astronaut (or cosmonaut—we never do learn his nationality), sensibly clad in a bulky spacesuit, exiting his space capsule to plant his flag and make his giant leap for mankind. He is, of course, perturbed when he sees a whole path of footprints stretching away from his capsule.