Reading the Wheel of Time: Mat Discovers a Trap, and So Does Faile in Robert Jordan’s The Dragon Reborn (Part 21)

Good morning and welcome to week 21 of the Read of The Dragon Reborn. This week, Thom is a stubborn ass for no reason, Mat seeks a remedy and finds the thing he was searching for all along, and Perrin starts to make some choices about his abilities and what they can be used for.

[That is what they call a Wisdom here—a Wise Woman. Wouldn’t Nynaeve like that!]

Series: Reading The Wheel of Time

Discovery Channel Sending Authors Myke Cole and Michael Livingston to Analyze Evidence of Alien Contact

It is a question that has plagued humanity since the first science fiction novel was set down on paper: When are we going to send authors Myke Cole and Michael Livingston to find aliens?

Now, the Discovery Channel hopes to find some sort of conclusive answer. [Read more]

SFF Horse Breeds: Justin Morgan’s Horse

Most horse breeds start within a geographical area, from stock that evolved for the conditions of that region. People breed what’s available nearby—the mare up the hill, the stallion down the road. Over time, the local horses take on a particular look and shared characteristics, as breeders gravitate toward specific types and functions.

Hence the Arabian, evolved in and for the desert and prized for its beauty, its speed and stamina, its fire. The Belgian draft horse, big and tremendously strong, famed for its pulling power. The Icelandic horse, bred in isolation for a thousand years, with its full-bore adaptation to the climate and terrain of Iceland.

Other breeds evolve out of a need or a fashion, and serve a specific function. The American Quarter Horse, originally a quarter-mile racer. The Thoroughbred, the king of the middle-distance race. The Standardbred, bred to meet a minimum standard of trotting speed.

Rarest of all is the breed that traces back to a single individual.

[Read more]

Evan Winter Explains How His Self-Published Book Was Picked Up By Orbit Books

To celebrate his debut novel, The Rage of Dragons, author Evan Winter dropped by r/fantasy for an AMA. Described as “Game of Thrones meets Gladiator,” and inspired by the Xhosa culture, The Rage of Dragons began as a self-published book before it was picked up by Orbit, later soaring to a #1 best-seller spot on Amazon. In his AMA, Winter breaks down how this came to be, as well as his influences, process, inspirations, author recommendations, and more. Check out the highlights below!

[Read more]

Cold Storage Sweepstakes!

For readers of Andy Weir and Noah Hawley comes an astonishing debut by the screenwriter of Jurassic Park: a wild and terrifying adventure about three strangers who must work together to contain a highly contagious, deadly organism – and we want to send you a copy!

When Pentagon bioterror operative Roberto Diaz was sent to investigate a suspected biochemical attack, he found something far worse: a highly mutative organism capable of extinction-level destruction. He contained it and buried it in cold storage deep beneath a little-used military repository.

[Read more]

The Lion King Is Just Sad, and We Have No One to Blame But Ourselves

The Lion King was a big deal for Disney because when it was originally conceptualized, no one thought it would make a dime. It proceeded to be one of the company’s most profitable films, and then went on to fuel an extremely successful international hit musical. But the concept of a “live action” CGI driven Lion King has had many fans scratching their heads, and wondering if this was perhaps a bridge too far for Disney.

And indeed, the bridge was very far.

[Read more]

Revealing The Unspoken Name, an Epic Fantasy Adventure from A.K. Larkwood

Earlier this year we announced a new three-book series from debut author A.K. Larkwood—an epic coming-of-age fantasy with a modern sensibility, featuring ruthless mages, hungry gods, ancient tombs, and rival sorcerers. Now we’re thrilled to share the cover for the first book, The Unspoken Name, publishing in February 2020 with Tor Books!

[Read more]

Under the Skin: Shape-Changing in Mexican Folklore

Witches in European folklore fly through the air on broomsticks, but in Latin America they change shapes, turning into different animals. This belief in shape-changing sorcerers, which is present in many Indigenous communities across Mexico and Central America, seems to be based on old Prehispanic concepts of the animal, the soul and the self.

[Read more]

11 Thoughts on Marvel’s Phase 4 Announcements at San Diego

On Saturday in Hall H at Comic-Con International in San Diego, Marvel Studios had their panel. Amazingly, up until now, we’ve had no idea what the next batch of Marvel movies were going to be. We knew some details—that Black Widow was finally happening, that there would probably be an Eternals movie, that Taika Waititi was directing another Thor film—but nothing concrete. When I saw Spider-Man: Far from Home in the theater there were no trailers for any superhero films at all, which is unusual, to say the least.

This rather impressive security on the future of the most popular film series in the history of the world is finally no longer necessary, as Kevin Feige announced not just the next batch of movies, but also what will be coming on the small screen on the forthcoming Disney+ service.

Here’s Tor.com’s full run-down of the full set of announcements Feige made at San Diego on Saturday, and here are some of my thoughts on these announcements…

[SPOILERS FOR AVENGERS: ENDGAME AND SPIDER-MAN: FAR FROM HOME LIE BELOW HERE! DON’T SAY I DIDN’T WARN YOU!]

Bad SF Ideas in Real Life: NASA’s Never-Realized Plans for Venus

Many readers may find the plots of some SF novels deeply implausible. “Who,” they ask, “would send astronauts off on an interstellar mission before verifying the Go Very Fast Now drive was faster than light and not merely as fast as light? Who would be silly enough to send colonists on a one-way mission to distant worlds on the basis of very limited data gathered by poorly programmed robots? Who would think threatening an alien race about whom little is known, save that they’ve been around for a million years, is a good idea?”

Some real people have bad ideas; we’re lucky that comparatively few of them become reality. Take, for example, a proposal to send humans to Venus. Not to land, but as a flyby.

[Read more]

Author C.S.E. Cooney Welcomes You to the Goblin Court

C.S.E. Cooney’s Desdemona and the Deep drops readers into an uncanny, richly painted underworld reminiscent of the early twentieth century. On the surface, Desdemona’s world is rife with industrial pollution that ruins the health of poor factory workers while the idle rich indulge themselves in unheard-of luxury. Below are goblins, mysterious kingdoms, and an entirely different hierarchy. Below, the goblin king himself welcomes you and yours to an enchanted evening filled with glittering guests and delectations. We recommend that you follow the rules.

A luxurious, dizzying fantasy, Desdemona and the Deep is available July 23 from Tor.com Publishing.

[There. That’s better.]

Star Trek: Discovery Season 3 Timeline and Location Might Be Different Than We Thought

Hit it! The future is here! On Saturday, straight from San Diego Comic-Con, new details dropped about season 3 of Star Trek: Discovery  and the big news is…the ship may not have ended up in the spot it was supposed to be. Remember when Burnham was really clear about the exact planet and time period in the season 2 finale? Well…it turns out they might not have arrived exactly where and when they planned. So, where are they in the timeline?

[Read more]

Westworld Season 3 Goes Full Blade Runner

If the brooding piano in the opening of credits of Westworld always makes you feel like you’re watching the sci-fi TV equivalent of a depressing Radiohead song, then season 3 might suddenly seem like a different show. Not that it won’t be depressing, but, basically, that the show is no longer secretive about who is a robot Host and who isn’t. If the previous seasons were Radiohead, the new season is full-on Daft Punk. The season 3 trailer for Westworld was revealed on Saturday at San Diego Comic-Con, and because the Hosts are out in the real world now, the show feels like what would happen if Blade Runner was a giant war.

[Read more]

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