Read an Excerpt from Last Tango in Cyberspace

Hard to say when the human species fractured exactly. Harder to say when this new talent arrived. But Lion Zorn is the first of his kind—an empathy tracker, an emotional soothsayer, with a felt sense for the future of the we. In simpler terms, he can spot cultural shifts and trends before they happen.

It’s a useful skill for a certain kind of company.

Arctic Pharmaceuticals is that kind of company. But when a routine em-tracking job leads to the discovery of a gruesome murder, Lion finds himself neck-deep in a world of eco-assassins, soul hackers and consciousness terrorists. But what the man really needs is a nap.

Author Steven Kotler combines a unique blend of cutting-edge technology and traditional cyberpunk in his new near-future thriller about the evolution of empathy in Last Tango in Cyberspace—available now from St. Martin’s Press.

[Read an excerpt]

8 SFF Characters that Embody the Green Man

The forest calls to us. It is at once breathtaking and mystical, yet foreboding and dangerous. We go “into the woods” and come out of it changed people. So it is any surprise that our ever-watchful guardian of the forest, a certain Green Man, crops up everywhere in artwork and fiction? They come with poetry, with history, with songs of old. Don’t forget that they’re waiting in the woods…

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Defending Kylara: Dragonquest, Part Three

Sure, Impressing a dragon and becoming one of the dragonriders of Pern might seem like the ultimate wish fulfillment. I mean, a dragon! A dragon that can take you anywhere and anywhen! A dragon that will share your every thought and always, always love you, ensuring that you will never be alone again.

Can you imagine losing something like this, though?

You could well go insane… as Anne McCaffrey describes in Dragonquest.

Buckle up, everyone. This might not be an entirely pleasant post.

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Series: Dragonriders of Pern Reread

Longer Sweepstakes

In LongerMichael Blumlein explores dauntingly epic topics—love, the expanse of the human lifespan, mortality—with a beautifully sharp story that glows with grace and good humor even as it forces us to confront deep, universal fears. And we want to send you a copy!

Gunjita and Cav are in orbit.

R&D scientists for pharmaceutical giant Gleem Galactic, they are wealthy enough to participate in rejuvenation: rebooting themselves from old age to jump their bodies back to their twenties. You get two chances. There can never be a third.

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Game of Thrones Asks What Kinds of Stories Ultimately Matter

It borders on cliché that writers tend to metadiscursively tout the importance of storytelling at critical moments. Tyrion’s speech about the importance of a good story in choosing a king in the final episode of Game of Thrones may as well be Benioff and Weiss’ winking plea that the audience trust their judgement. Many are disinclined to do so after a season that was poorly paced and often gave viewers whiplash with the rapid introduction and dissolution of major plots within the course of an episode.

But I will cut to the chase and say that in the end, I loved the finale of Game of Thrones. It took its time and did its best to pull out of the nosedive that many viewers assumed it was in, and—whether or not you feel that Benioff and Weiss earned the trust they solicited in Tyrion’s speech (I myself am very skeptical)—the point they make about the importance of storytelling stands, not just as a pat on the back that privileges writers as the ultimate power-brokers of the human experience, but within the actual narrative: what kind of stories matter and what kind of stories ought to matter in a world like Westeros where power structures are built on the post-hoc justification of conquest? As it turns out, Game of Thrones values, as it always has, stories about the futility of justification.

[Read more]

Series: HBO’s Game of Thrones

Read an Excerpt from The Sol Majestic

Kenna, an aspirational teen guru, wanders destitute across the stars as he tries to achieve his parents’ ambition to advise the celestial elite.

Everything changes when Kenna wins a free dinner at The Sol Majestic, the galaxy’s most renowned restaurant, giving him access to the cosmos’s one-percent. His dream is jeopardized, however, when he learns his highly-publicized “free meal” risks putting The Sol Majestic into financial ruin. Kenna and a motley gang of newfound friends—including a teleporting celebrity chef, a trust-fund adrenaline junkie, an inept apprentice, and a brilliant mistress of disguise—must concoct an extravagant scheme to save everything they cherish. In doing so, Kenna may sacrifice his ideals—or learn even greater lessons about wisdom, friendship, and love.

Please enjoy the second chapter of Ferrett Steinmetz’s out of this world science fiction adventure The Sol Majestic, out on June 11th from Tor Books. Chapter One can be found on the Tor/Forge website.

[Read more]

QUILTBAG+ Speculative Classics: The Way of Thorn and Thunder by Daniel Heath Justice (Part 1)

Daniel Heath Justice’s Indigenous epic fantasy trilogy The Way of Thorn and Thunder (The Kynship Chronicles) was originally published between 2005 and 2007 by Kegedonce Press, in three separate volumes: Kynship, Wyrwood, and Dreyd. The revised and expanded 2011 reissue from the University of New Mexico Press appeared in one huge omnibus volume: one novel now divided into seven cycles. I only have the re-release, but I decided to review it in three installments roughly corresponding to the original three volumes—there is simply too much material otherwise to fit into one of my standard-size columns.

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Will George R. R. Martin’s Books End Like Game of Thrones? “Yes. And No. And Yes.”

Following the Game of Thrones series finale, George R.R. Martin has weighed in on David Benioff and D.B. Weiss’ ending to his epic fantasy series. On his Not A Blog, the author and TV writer/producer waxed nostalgic on his first meeting with HBO and the showrunners over a decade ago, thanking the hundreds of people involved in bringing his vision from the page to the screen.

Reflecting on the bittersweet feeling of this life-changing journey wrapping up, he made the point that “last night was an ending, but it was also a beginning” for all involved.

Part of that beginning? Finishing A Song of Ice and Fire.

[Read more]

Trauma and Disorientation: Her Silhouette Drawn in Water by Vylar Kaftan

Bee doesn’t remember her life before prison, not really. She knows what she’s been told by the only other person who shares her confinement in a twisty maze of rock chambers occasionally filled with large insect-like alien lifeforms that compete with them for food and sustenance: that she’s a telepath, and that she’s here because she killed a lot of people.

That other person is Chela, her lover, a telepath like Bee. Chela is everything Bee’s not: a better climber and survival expert, tall and light-skinned and model-gorgeous, invested in exploring their prison and keeping alive. But unlike Bee, she’s not determined to map the limits of their prison, to find a way out—and in the meanwhile, to find what beauty she can in the inside.

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And Now Her Watch Is Ended: Writing 8 Years of Game of Thrones Reviews

Millions of fans watch Game of Thrones like it’s their job, but when you review television, it is in fact your job.

All the recent articles looking back on the early days of Thrones might have you reminiscing about what was going on in your life when the show first started, and everyone in your circle was eagerly awaiting the same pop culture mega-event.

For me, there were colleagues who joined me in ducking out of work early to stalk the Game of Thrones’ food trucks; my BFF helped create themed cocktail recipes for crowded viewing parties; and there were so many knowing looks passed between two strangers both reading ASoIaF books on the subway.

This was before people started ducking out on the show because of lack of time, general boredom, or because they didn’t like the amount of violence on display, especially sexual violence. Then there are the book-only stans who preferred to avoid spoilers for George R. R. Martin’s still unpublished books. (Poor, hopeful and deluded souls.) In the meantime, friends moved away, had babies. Coworkers got new jobs.

A lot can happen in ten years.

In light of the last season, here are some reflections and observations I’ve made about writing about Game of Thrones on the internet. It’s hopefully a not-too-self-indulgent peek behind the curtain into the salacious life and times of a TV blogger.

There was a lot of tea and fretting. But sometimes cool perks and hard lessons.

[“A lion doesn’t concern itself with the opinion of sheep…”]

Series: HBO’s Game of Thrones

Netflix Reveals Black Mirror Season 5 Episode Titles and Teasers

The first trailer for Netflix’s Black Mirror season 5 (coming in just a few weeks) teased plenty of eye-popping visuals and potential storylines for its impressive roster of guest stars, while still keeping most of the plot blurry. With just a few weeks until the new season drops, Netflix has shared three new teasers, one for each episode, revealing the titles for each dystopian near-future tale. This time around, virtual assistants, fertility apps, and ride-shares are the pieces of tech that bring out the worst in their human consumers.

[Read more]

Rereading The Ruin of Kings: Chapters 36 and 37

Like sands through the hourglass, so are the Rereads of the Ruins of Our Kings! Violins intensify!

This blog series will be covering The Ruin of Kings, the first novel of a five-book series by Jenn Lyons. Previous entries can be found here in the series index.

Today’s post will be covering Chapter 36, “Testing the Lock”, and Chapter 37, “The New Tutor.” Please note that going forward, these posts will likely contain spoilers for the entire novel, so it’s recommended that you read the whole thing first before continuing on.

Got that? Great! Click on for the rest!

[Luckily, no one gets turned into a leopard while possessed by Satan. YET]

Series: The Ruin of Kings by Jenn Lyons

Read the First Four Chapters of Kel Kade’s Fate of the Fallen

Not all stories have happy endings.

Everyone loves Mathias. Naturally, when he discovers it’s his destiny to save the world, he dives in head first, pulling his best friend Aaslo along for the ride.

However, saving the world isn’t as easy, or exciting, as it sounds in the stories. The going gets rough and folks start to believe their best chance for survival is to surrender to the forces of evil, which isn’t how the prophecy goes. At all. As the list of allies grows thin, and the friends find themselves staring death in the face they must decide how to become the heroes they were destined to be or, failing that, how to survive.

Fate of the Fallen is the start of a brand new adventure from author Kel Kade—publishing November 5th with Tor Books.

[Read more]

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