The Wild Cards universe has been thrilling readers for over 25 years. “Naked, Stones and Stabbed” is an fantastic new tale from acclaimed sci-fi writer Bradley Denton, about the hidden truths revealed when a Who concert goes haywire.
Freddie’s looking for answers. Freddie’s also a bit unconventional: in his looks, in his music tastes, and oh yeah, he’s also a nascent ace who can manipulate sound. But he’s got a gig as a roadie for The Who and the opportunity of a lifetime in New York City. See, the only thing Freddie wants is the opportunity to meet his older half-sister — and not even a suspicious fire at the Bowery Ballroom can stop him.
The planet of Quányuán is arid to the point of being uninhabitable. Wetness is a concept left back on Earth. That doesn’t stop one elderly woman from stepping outside the safety of the colony whenever she can for the brief opportunity to fully experience the outside world.
For millions of years, life on Earth has taken its cues from the rising and setting of the sun, and for most of human history we’ve followed the same rhythm. But if that shared connection was broken, and we each fell under the sway of our own private clock, could we still hold our lives together? One family is about to find out.
A suspenseful near-future story about what happens during the vetting process of a researcher from the Middle East, who is trying to enter the US to continue his studies, and the immigration lawyer assigned to his case, who is dying of cancer.
It all started, we’re told, with a picture of a faun, walking through a snowy wood and carrying some parcels and an umbrella. The image had come to C.S. Lewis when he was 16 years old, and many years later it became the seed of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe—which, incidentally, celebrates its anniversary today, having been published on October 16, 1950.
It’s a strange scene, symbolic of the wonderful mythological hodgepodge that passes for Narnia’s worldbuilding. In most myths up until that point, fauns weren’t particularly child-friendly, known mostly as symbols of fertility or followers of the wise drunkard Silenus. We definitely wouldn’t expect them to be trotting along with an umbrella and parcels (we’re never told what’s in those parcels or where they came from). Mr. Tumnus (that’s the polite little faun’s name) also has a long tail which he drapes over his arm…an odd detail for someone who is half goat.
Lewis’s disregard for cohesive worldbuilding was cause for critique among a number of his friends. J.R.R. Tolkien didn’t appreciate the mythological jumble. Poet Ruth Pitter complained that if it’s always winter in Narnia, the Beaver family shouldn’t be able to grow potatoes or serve fresh marmalade rolls. In fact, Lewis burned an earlier draft of something similar to The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe because, “It was, by the unanimous verdict of my friends, so bad that I destroyed it.”
Welcome to Tor.com’s new column on History and SFF!
My name is Erika Harlitz-Kern, and I will be your guide during the coming months in discussing the ways that history is used in fantasy and science fiction. But don’t worry—I won’t be dissecting your favorite story digging for historical inaccuracies and judging its entertainment value based on what I find… The purpose of this column is to take a look at how authors of SFF novels and novellas—with a focus on more recent works, published after the year 2000—use the tools of the trade of historians to tell their stories.
When any scholar does research, they use a set of discipline-specific tools to make sense of their sources and the material and the information they find. Historians are no different. In history, these tools consist of techniques on how to evaluate texts, how to critique the research of other historians, how to think critically about the past, and how to be transparent when presenting research results. This column will delve into how authors use these same tools to tell their stories and build worlds.
Is it worth it to watch the Watchmen—Damon Lindelof’s nine-episode remix/sequel that takes place in a modern version of an alternative United States? Based on the first hour I’m going to say yes, that Lindelof and his team have done the improbable and built a compelling work of television that justifies adding on to an iconic story. The opening episode, “It’s Summer and We’re Running Out of Ice” is absolutely riveting, and plays with familiar Watchmen iconography in surprising ways.
I’ll give some backstory and review the episode below—making sure to mark out any spoilers as we go. And let me know what you thought of tonight’s episode in the comments!
She-Ra and the Princess of Power is adding more LGBTQ+ representation into both its show and its casting! While a new non-binary cast member named Double Trouble was revealed at New York Comic Con, Deadline has announced that the character will be voiced by non-binary writer and producer Jacob Tobia. [Read more]
Amazon has debuted a trailer for its upcoming series, The Feed, based off of Nick Clark Windo’s 2018 novel, by the same title. Set in the nearish future, it depicts a world that’s been entirely connected by an advanced communications network — and the chaos that ensues when it collapses.
This book did not go where I expected it to go at all. The title, to start with: I expected something like Forever War meets I, Robot. Protagonist finds himself kidnapped and hauled off into space to fight. I just read a Norton novel that did exactly that, Secret of the Lost Race.
For a fair few chapters I kept expecting this to happen. Planetary prince Andas expects to be chosen as the Emperor’s heir, but wakes up on an alien world with an assortment of other, more or less equally royal, noble, or politically powerful people. Or are they people? There’s been an interplanetary conspiracy to replace influential personages with android doubles.
The final trailer for Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker will debut on Monday, October 21st some time between 9:30 and 10:00 PM ET, during the halftime break of ESPN’s Monday Night Football.
But until this evening, the internet/Disney/etc. is teasing the trailer, as it is wont to do. It’s a bit of an endless game chasing teasers, but: This one–if accurate!–seems to promise a crazy confrontation.
Robin Hobb calls Myke Cole’s Sacred Throne trilogy “ruthless and heart-wrenching” – and we want to send you the entire series, including a galley of the final book The Killing Light!
In a world where any act of magic could open a portal to hell, the Order insures that no wizard will live to summon devils, and will kill as many innocent people as they must to prevent that greater horror. After witnessing a horrendous slaughter, the village girl Heloise opposes the Order, and risks bringing their wrath down on herself, her family, and her village.
Prepare your ears for a world of ghosts, zombies, serial killers, and many more dark characters! Nightfire’s new anthology Come Join Us By the Fire, available exclusively on Google Play Books, has harnessed the talents of your favorite masters of horror including China Miéville, Paul Tremblay, Carmen Maria Machado, and more to bring you 35 terrifying tales you’re sure to enjoy. You can download the entire anthology of 35 stories, or pick and choose your favorites to download individually.
For all of the tendency in fantasy lately to look at perspectives outside of the aristocratic, the powerful, and the noble, there is a satisfaction in that mode of epic fantasy. Sometimes you want the people at the center of power, the classic rock of epic fantasy where the movers and shakers, and those adjacent to them scheme, jockey and manipulate each other. Multiple viewpoints and perspectives, but generally from that social class help make it seem like a pressure cooker of intrigue and drama. So it is with S.C. Emmett’s The Throne of the Five Winds.
The first Maleficent film had its snagging points, but delivered on emotion and fairy tale reimaginings far better than many of Disney’s subsequent live-action remakes. But a sequel? Did we really need a sequel, complete with Angelina Jolie’s Maleficent gnashing her teeth at a domineering Michelle Pfeiffer?
Truth is, if Disney had a little more guts, they would have made this a trilogy, and given it the care that other major fantasy epics receive. Because Maleficent: Mistress of Evil only needed a bit more investment to make it one of the better fantasy films of the decade.
Winter's Heart ebook cover art by Scott M. Fischer
Power is a most persistent taxman. As interesting as those examples are of the bodily tariff that attends tapping into extreme power (see Rock Lee’s Lotus taijutsu in his examination fight with Gaara in Naruto, the Elric brothers losing limbs in an attempted resurrection in Fullmetal Alchemist), I am much more fascinated by the intangible requisitions. Sure, you may be willing to sacrifice an arm or perhaps even your eyesight to wield the power necessary to defend/avenge your loved ones, but would you sacrifice your goodness? Would you sacrifice your sanity? In Robert Jordan’s masterwork series, The Wheel of Time, it is a question asked of every male channeler who wields saidin. Go ahead and tap into the One Power, energy powerful enough to manipulate the universe. We kindly ask that you leave your mental health at the door. That way lies madness.
(Note: That way also lies spoilers for the Wheel of Time series.)
HBO’s adaptation of His Dark Materialsdoesn’t air for another two weeks, but already the cast and crew are hard at work adapting The Subtle Knife for season two. Ahead of the premiere date, Lin-Manuel Miranda, who plays Lee Scoresby, sat down with Entertainment Weekly, and had all sorts of interesting things to say about filming with puppets, daemon-human dynamics, his Texan accent, and His Dark Materials season two. Here’s what we learned!
When I talk about The Terror: Infamy, which concluded last Monday, the word that I keep using is frustrated. Frustrated because Infamy has two potentially great stories going on: a J-horror tale of intergenerational trauma, and a real-life suspense drama about being unjustly incarcerated by one’s own government, and neither of those stories is executed with the finesse that I was hoping for. Frustrated because I—an Asian-American adoptee of Korean descent—have been hungry all my life for more Asian-American representation in popular media; a prestige drama with a predominantly Asian core cast is a huge step forward and I was rooting for it hard. Frustrated because the incarceration of thousands of Japanese-American citizens under Executive Order 9066 is a piece of American history that we need to confront, particularly since American immigration policies of the last two years have made those events uncomfortably relevant all over again.
Lost Transmissions: The Secret History of Science Fiction and Fantasy is a fascinating illustrated history of lost, overlooked, and uncompleted works of science fiction and fantasy, by Desirina Boskovich and featuring a foreword by award-winning author Jeff VanderMeer – and we want to send you a copy!
Science fiction and fantasy reign over popular culture now. Lost Transmissions is a rich trove of forgotten and unknown, imagined-but-never-finished, and under-appreciated-but-influential works from those imaginative genres, as well as little-known information about well-known properties. Featuring writing from Charlie Jane Anders, Meg Elison, John Chu, William Gibson, Neil Gaiman, Lev Grossman, Annalee Newitz, Jeannette Ng, Mark Oshio, Ekaterina Sedia, K.M. Szpara, Paul Tremblay, and more.
Before I looked for girls or boys, I was looking for doors first.
It made sense, being born under a Nebraska sky that went on for miles: farm boy land. A dust bowl town was not a place for a queer girl-child; the whicker of wind through corn stole your breath if you tried to breathe too deeply, feel too much. It wasn’t a town for being yourself. It was a town for being farm girls, waiting for their farm boys. Farm boys, farm girls, and nothing in-between. Certainly not farm girls who crushed too hard on their best friends, and were then crushed in return. There was no escaping the endless plain. Not in a cornfield that was a kingdom and stalks rattled like dried bones in the night.
There was only one way, one kind of book, where farm kids got the kind of story I needed.