Processing Grief in Helene Dunbar’s Prelude for Lost Souls

Dec, Russ, and Annie are all alone. Well, not totally alone, but close enough. Dec’s parents were killed a few years back in a tragic accident. Now he’s being raised by his older sister, avoiding his younger sister, and confiding his secrets in the ghost boy who haunts his house. His best friend is Russ, although that relationship has been strained lately. Russ’ mother walked out on him and his father when Russ’ abilities to commune with spirits proved to be one straw too many. Now his father works himself to the bone and they barely see each other, passing like ships in the night. Annie left her home in Russia as a child to become a famous classical pianist under the tutelage of an eccentric mentor. His death—and his obsession with an unfinished piano piece—throws the three teens together.

[Read more]

Read an Excerpt From Matthew Baker’s Why Visit America

The citizens of Plainfield, Texas, have had it with the broke-down United States. So they vote to secede, rename themselves America in memory of their former country, and happily set themselves up to receive tourists from their closest neighbor: America. Couldn’t happen? Well, it might, and so it goes in the thirteen stories in Matthew Baker’s brilliantly illuminating, incisive, and heartbreaking collection Why Visit America—available now from Henry Holt & Co.

We’re pleased to share an excerpt from “The Tour” below!

[Read more]

The Evil Dead Reboot: Stealing Sam Raimi’s Soul

Since Sam Raimi’s Evil Dead II is essentially a remake of The Evil Dead, the film that had launched his career six years earlier, you might think that yet another remake would be gory, superfluous overkill. And you wouldn’t be wrong. The 2013 Evil Dead reboot, directed by Fede Álvarez, takes the Raimi originals as a blueprint and borifies them by about 50%. In doing so, though, the newer Evil Dead highlights what was brilliant in Raimi’s work—and shows why a conventionally well-made movie and a good movie are often not the same thing.

[Read more]

Never Say You Can’t Survive: Hold On To Your Anger. It’s a Storytelling Goldmine

Charlie Jane Anders is writing a nonfiction book—and Tor.com is publishing it as she does so. Never Say You Can’t Survive is a how-to book about the storytelling craft, but it’s also full of memoir, personal anecdote, and insight about how to flourish in the present emergency.

Below is the eleventh chapter, “Hold On To Your Anger. It’s a Storytelling Goldmine.” which begins section 3, “Your Feelings are Valid—and Powerful.” You can find all previous chapters here. New chapters will appear every Tuesday. Enjoy!

[Read more]

Series: Never Say You Can’t Survive

The Gideon the Ninth Reread: Chapters 35 and 36

SO MANY EMOTIONS. It’s time for another deep dive into Gideon the Ninth by Tamysn Muir, and it’s so close to the end that I am having all the feels. I’m your host, Yosaffbridge, and today we are rooting around in chapters thirty-five and thirty-six of this kick-ass Locus Award-winning novel. Which is out in paperback, so your book group has no excuse not to read it now.

There are only four more chapters of Gideon left, so grab your blankie and some tissues, because this shit’s about to get feels. And, remember, there’s no party like a Gideon the Ninth discussion party, because a Gideon the Ninth discussion party has spoilers.

[Read more]

Series: Gideon the Ninth Reread

Read an Excerpt From C.L. Polk’s The Midnight Bargain

From the author of Witchmark comes a sweeping, romantic new fantasy set in a world reminiscent of Regency England, where women’s magic is taken from them when they marry. A sorceress must balance her desire to become the first great female magician against her duty to her family…

C.L. Polk’s The Midnight Bargain publishes October 13th with Erewhon Books—we’re excited to share an excerpt below!

[Read more]

But You Have Hopes of Your Own — Play the Minigame for C.L. Polk’s The Midnight Bargain!

It’s a beautiful day in Bendleton, and you are a horrible ingenue…

In advance of the release of C.L. Polk’s new book, The Midnight Bargain, the author and her team at Erewhon Books have put together a Choose Your Own Adventure minigame to introduce readers to the world of the novel! Read an introduction from C.L. Polk below, play the A Beautiful Day in Bendleton game, and then check the bottom of this post for a link to the first chapter!

[Read more]

John Boyega and Darren Criss to Lead Sci-Fi Thriller Podcast There Be Monsters

Since the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic shut down TV and film productions worldwide, with casts and crews only just beginning to return, creatives have turned to audio productions to tell their stories. There’s Big Finish’s line of Doctor Who radio plays, as well as Audible’s massive Sandman adaptation, just to name a few. Joining the mix is a new 10-part podcast from iHeartRadio starring John Boyega and Darren Criss, Deadline reports, which completed production during quarantine by sending each cast member a “Studio in a Box.” Entitled There Be Monsters, the narrative is a sci-fi thriller about tech companies that sounds like Ex Machina meets Limitless, with a side of Cronenbergian body horror.

[Read more]

Eliminating Blackface Doesn’t Start By Pretending It Didn’t Happen

Stop me if you’ve heard this one before. A 20-something Black and Puerto Rican college student walks into a Halloween party in the late 2000s. All of a sudden, he hears the voice of a close friend from across the room. He doesn’t see their face but sees they’re wearing normal clothes.  The twenty-something Black and Puerto Rican college student walks up behind their friend and says “Who are you supposed to be?” The friend turns around—and reveals they’re wearing blackface. With a smile, the friend says to the 20-something Black and Puerto Rican college student, “I’m you.”

Unfortunately, the scenario I described is not an edgy opening bit for my future Netflix comedy special. It’s something that happened to me at a Halloween event some years ago. I hadn’t thought about that stomach-churning night until I saw a headline about 30 Rock a few weeks ago. Tina Fey, along with the show’s co-creator Robert Carlock, announced that she wanted to address the instances of blackface within the comedy series. She issued an apology and pledged to remove certain episodes from the series on various streaming platforms. Fey would make these scenes disappear. 

As I watched other creators follow Fey’s lead, the memory of that Halloween night kept haunting me like a really, really offensive ghost. And I knew why. It’s because I know something that Fey and all those creators didn’t know about addressing the pain of blackface in your past: 

Making it disappear doesn’t work. 

[Read more]

Rhythm of War Read-Along Discussion: Chapters Four and Five

Welcome back to the read-along post for discussion of this week’s preview chapters of Rhythm of War! Alice and I are so excited to dig into this week’s material, and we’re so happy to have you along for the ride.

If this is your first time joining us, in the article we’ll bring up any relevant plot points or character progression notes that we feel are worthy of discussion, as well as putting in some reminders to things that you may have forgotten from previous books (or things you may never have picked up on to begin with, like the existence of the Aimians, which is pretty subtle and Easter-egg-y). Remember that the comments section is available to you for any comments you have on the chapters for this week, for everything from simple squee-ing over how much you liked something to in-depth theory-crafting. Just be respectful of others’ opinions and have fun!

[It was time for Veil to take over.]

Series: Rhythm of War by Brandon Sanderson

Read Rhythm of War by Brandon Sanderson: Chapters Four and Five

On November 17, 2020, The Stormlight Archive saga continues in Rhythm of War, the eagerly awaited fourth volume in Brandon Sanderson’s #1 New York Times bestselling fantasy series.

Tor.com is serializing the new book from now until release date! A new installment will go live every Tuesday at 9 AM ET.

Every installment is collected here in the Rhythm of War index.

Once you’re done reading, join our resident Cosmere experts for commentary on what this week’s chapters have revealed!

Want to catch up on The Stormlight Archive? Check out our Explaining The Stormlight Archive series!

[Read more]

Series: Rhythm of War by Brandon Sanderson

Andre Norton Goes Gothic in The White Jade Fox

Gothic romance has a long and lively history, from Horace Walpole’s The Castle of Otranto to the works of Ann Radcliffe and the Brontë sisters. Jane Austen did a sendup of the genre in Northanger Abbey, which tells you how popular it was at the beginning of the nineteenth century. And it kept right on going. Daphne du Maurier’s Rebecca was a huge bestseller from 1938 onward, and her heirs, including Anya Seton, Victoria Holt, and Mary Stewart, carried on the tradition the way through the end of the millennium and into the next.

Andre Norton seems to have gone through a Gothic phase in the Seventies and early Eighties. The White Jade Fox (1975) ticks all the boxes. Nineteenth-century setting, orphaned heroine, epically dysfunctional family, mysterious and possibly haunted estate, it’s all there.

[Read more]

Ask Not What Your Family Can Do For You — The Umbrella Academy’s Second Season Is Even Better Than Its First

After a triumphant first season, The Umbrella Academy returns to Netflix with a new story arc. Based on the various comic book miniseries by Gerard Way and Gabriel Bá (who are also co-executive producers of the TV adaptation), this second season borrows bits and pieces from the comics miniseries Dallas, but mostly tells its own story.

On the one hand, it delivers pretty much the same basic beats as season one. On the other hand, the story is leaner, more coherent, better structured, and makes excellent use of all seven of the main characters.

[SPOILERS for The Umbrella Academy season two herein!]

Star Trek: Voyager Rewatch: “Fair Trade”

“Fair Trade”
Written by Ronald Wilkerson & Jean Louise Matthias and André Bormanis
Directed by Jesús Salvador Treviño
Season 3, Episode 13
Production episode 156
Original air date: January 8, 1997
Stardate: unknown

Captain’s log. Neelix, who apparently isn’t busy enough with being the ship’s cook and morale officer and local guide, is bugging both Tuvok and Torres about the possibility of putting in time with both security and engineering.

[What kind of medical supplies are those?]

Series: Star Trek: Voyager Rewatch

Hannibal and Steven Universe Are the Same Show

Since Hannibal hit Netflix last month, a lot of people have been discovering it for the first time, while others are using it as a convenient excuse for a rewatch. I saw a fellow Tor co-worker refer to it as comfort television, and was started to realize I agree. This is a brilliant, difficult, graphically violent show about serial killing, but yes, watching it is relaxing.

A day later I saw a discussion about works of art that define different eras, with the poster positing that Hamilton was the defining work of the Obama era. That made me wonder about the defining works of our current era, and the more I let the question jangle through my brainmeat the more I came back to Hannibal—although the show is a few years old (originally airing 2013-15), it seems to be coming into its own now in a way it never did while it was on NBC. But the more I thought about, a second answer bobbed to the surface, and revealed a startling truth: The defining works of art of this era tell the same story, and those two works are Hannibal and Steven Universe.

[Read more]

Our Privacy Notice has been updated to explain how we use cookies, which you accept by continuing to use this website. To withdraw your consent, see Your Choices.