Politics and Fairy Tales: Early Versions of “The Three Little Pigs”

Recently, author Chuck Wendig got into a minor spat on Twitter with another Twitter user who insisted that stories do not have to be political. As an example, the Twitter user mentioned “The Three Little Pigs.”

My screams probably could have heard on the other side of the ocean.

So, even though Chuck Wendig already did a good job of explaining just why this story is perhaps not the best example of non-political storytelling, I thought it might be worthwhile to take a more in depth look at the tale here and its history. Even though I HATE THIS STORY. And even though many early versions don’t even MENTION pigs at all…

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Oathbringer Reread: Interludes One, Two, and Three

Welcome back to the wide world of Roshar! As we examine the first set of Interludes, our scope once again widens to include parts of the world we haven’t observed, at least recently: the far eastern coast of New Natanatan, the western slopes of the Horneater Peaks, and a chasm near the center of the Shattered Plains. All three center on the aftereffects of the Everstorm.

[Sequels always have to be bigger.]

Series: Oathbringer Reread

Rekindling Planetary Romance: Old Mars and Old Venus, edited by George R. R. Martin and Gardner Dozois

In this bi-weekly series reviewing classic science fiction and fantasy books, Alan Brown looks at the front lines and frontiers of the field; books about soldiers and spacers, scientists and engineers, explorers and adventurers. Stories full of what Shakespeare used to refer to as “alarums and excursions”: battles, chases, clashes, and the stuff of excitement.

Today’s review looks at a pair of books that, despite being published in 2013 and 2015, harken back to an older style of science fiction, back to the days when Mars and Venus were depicted as not only habitable, but inhabited. Back when the planets were home to ancient races, decaying cities, mysteries and monsters. Back to the days before interplanetary probes brought back harsh truths about our neighbor planets. Back to the days of Old Mars and Old Venus.

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“F— Batman”: The First Titans Trailer is Insane…ly Bad

The DC Universe streaming platform has revealed the first trailer for its ~dark and ~gritty series Titans, and it’s… basically the equivalent of a rebellious teenager acting out, against the backdrop of music that keeps repeating DARKNESS DARKNESS DARKNESS over and over. Or is that MADNESS? We can’t tell, because we can’t stop laughing watching it.

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Watching the Best Episodes of Star Trek Makes It Feel as Dark as Black Mirror

Supposedly, the sunny universe of Star Trek is all about exploring outer space, meeting interesting alien cultures, and coming up with peaceful, contemplative solutions to important problems, usually while sitting in a comfortable chair. But, if you only look at the very best episodes of Star Trek, it’s very clear the franchise isn’t about strange new worlds, but instead, exploring screwed up terrible ones. Stand-out episodes of all versions of Trek tend to create trippy scenarios that would make the weirdest Black Mirror episode blush. In other words, the best episodes of Star Trek are almost always exceptions to the supposed rule that Trek is a hopeful vision of the future full of people holding hands and loving each other even if they are a space hedgehog named Neelix.

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The Nearest

When a detective, a new mother, is assigned to the case of a horrific triple murder, it appears to be a self-contained domestic tragedy, a terrible event but something that doesn’t affect the rest of the community. But it slowly becomes clear that something much darker may be at play, something that spreads out from the scene of the crime to corrode the closest relationships of everyone it touches.

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A Collaboration Made in Faerun: The Adventure Zone: Here There Be Gerblins

The Adventure Zone started as a family endeavor: three grown-up brothers and their child-at-heart dad set out to play a game of Dungeons & Dragons, and to share it with the internet. Magnus the human fighter (Travis McElroy), Merle the dwarf cleric (Clint McElroy), and Taako the elf wizard (Justin McElroy)—and of course their brave and longsuffering DM, Griffin McElroy—took on gerblins, evil scientists, and fashionable ghouls, and in the course of it all became heroes and master storytellers. That (the podcast ; The Balance Arc) was chapter one. Then there were the follow-up campaigns, the fanart, the cosplay, the live shows and the Reddit theories, original music, bonus episodes, and crossover events—a lot for one tabletop-game-turned-podcast. This week, the McElroys, under the care and pen of still another player, artist Carey Pietsch, have added a podcast-turned-comic to the mix. And it does not disappoint.

If you’re here for the goofs, you’ll find plenty of ‘em. If you’re here for metacommentary on RPGs, you’ll find that too. Beautiful new art? Check. Fully-realized characters fighting against fate like it’s their baby brother or son? Check. And if you’re looking for adventure, well, needless to say, you’ll find it in The Adventure Zone .

[Queue intro music]

Anne Charnock is the Winner of the 2018 Arthur C. Clarke Award

The winner of the 32nd annual Arthur C. Clarke Award was announced today at a special ceremony held at Foyles’ flagship store in London. Anne Charnock was honored with the UK’s most prestigious award for science fiction literature for her novel Dreams Before the Start of Time, a near-future tale that explores the intended and unintended consequences of reproductive technology when infertility is a thing of the past.

“Humanity’s attitudes to reproduction have been core to science fiction at least as far back as Frankenstein,” Andrew M. Butler, chair of judges for the 2018 award, said in the official announcement. “Anne Charnock’s Dreams Before the Start of Time explores the theme with a delightfully rich but unshowy intergenerational novel that demands rereading.” Award director Tom Hunter added: “This is a much-deserved win for a writer whose time has definitely come. Charnock’s multi-generational vision of expanding human reproductive technologies is smart, science-literate fiction that embraces the challenge of humanising big ethical questions, and succeeds by exploring possible future scenarios that feel utterly real.”

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Bad Ways to Live Forever Part 397: H.P. Lovecraft and Henry Whitehead’s “The Trap”

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 reading H. P. Lovecraft and Henry Whitehead’s “The Trap,” written in 1931 and first published in the March 1932 issue of Strange Tales of Mystery and Terror. Spoilers ahead.

[“And in some outrageous fashion Robert Grandison had passed out of our ken into the glass and was there immured, waiting for release.”]

Series: The Lovecraft Reread

Tor.com 10th Anniversary Pint Glass Sweepstakes!

Tor.com turns 10 years old this week, and to celebrate, we want to send you a present! Ten lucky readers will each receive one of these nifty Stubby the Rocket pint glasses—perfect for toasting our birthday (or other happy occasion) and reading the free ebook collection of some of our best articles. With the beverage of your choosing, naturally.

Comment in the post to enter!

NO PURCHASE NECESSARY TO ENTER OR WIN. A purchase does not improve your chances of winning. Sweepstakes open to legal residents of 50 United States and D.C., and Canada (excluding Quebec). To enter, comment on this post beginning at 1:00 PM Eastern Time (ET) on July 18th. Sweepstakes ends at 12:00 PM ET on July 22nd. Void outside the United States and Canada and where prohibited by law. Please see full details and official rules here. Sponsor: Tor.com, 175 Fifth Ave., New York, NY 10010.

The Black God’s Drums

In an alternate New Orleans caught in the tangle of the American Civil War, the wall-scaling girl named Creeper yearns to escape the streets for the air—in particular, by earning a spot on-board the airship Midnight Robber. Creeper plans to earn Captain Ann-Marie’s trust with information she discovers about a Haitian scientist and a mysterious weapon he calls The Black God’s Drums.

But Creeper also has a secret herself: Oya, the African orisha of the wind and storms, speaks inside her head, and may have her own ulterior motivations.

Soon, Creeper, Oya, and the crew of the Midnight Robber are pulled into a perilous mission aimed to stop the Black God’s Drums from being unleashed and wiping out the entirety of New Orleans.

P. Djèlí Clark’s immersive debut novella The Black God’s Drums is available August 21st from Tor.com Publishing.

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The Future Tornadoes Want: Twister

When Jan de Bont released Twister in May of 1996, he probably thought he was being sneaky. He probably didn’t expect anyone to figure out that he’d made a horror film in which the monster represents the death of heteronormativity in the American nuclear family structure. He probably thought he got away with it. Well, I’ve got bad news for you, Jan…

(Oh, did you think Jan de Bont was safe from this essay series? Did you think I wouldn’t come after the director of Speed 2: Cruise Control? Did you think that just because he also directed Speed 1: It’s Actually Just Called Speed, I wouldn’t force a too-small hand-knit sweater of literary analysis over the narrow shoulders of one of his summer blockbusters? Welcome to Hell, where the essays are long and the tornadoes are feminists. The only way out is through. Let’s do this. Twister.)

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Luke Cage’s Queer Characters Are a Good Starting Point — But We Deserve More

For a connected universe that confidently approaches its violence and criminality bluntly and with little embellishment, the Netflix fraction of the Marvel Cinematic Universe is surprisingly big on symbolism and poetics. Luke Cage, a show that wavered in its first season between being so much better and suddenly so much worse than its Netflix peers, has actually become a much more interesting show in its second season.

[Spoilers for Season 2 of Luke Cage follow.]

[Perhaps the most interesting aspect of the new season are the character relationships that centre around love]

Announcing a Pair of Solarpunk Novellas from Becky Chambers

In 2014 Becky Chambers burst onto the science fiction scene with her debut novel, The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet. Nominated for pretty much every major science fiction award, it took the SF world by storm.

We are absolutely thrilled to be able to announce that Becky will be writing a new solarpunk novella series for Tor.com Publishing, though you’re going to have to wait a little while for them (sorry!).

Ever since I read The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet I’ve wanted to work with Becky. She has a lightness of touch that makes you want to keep turning the page. So, when I contacted her and she suggested we work together on a couple of solarpunk books I was delighted. There’s a lot of darkness in the world, today, and I can’t wait to bring you Becky‘s trademark adventure style, wrapped up in a bundle of positive SF. It’s what we need, right now.

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