New George R. R. Martin Book Fire & Blood Arrives November 20th

George R. R. Martin’s latest tale of Westeros, Fire and Blood, will be released on November 20, 2018, and is available for pre-order nowFire and Blood: 300 Years Before A Game of Thrones (A Targaryen History) will look back at some of the history that led to the events of A Song of Ice and Fire, focusing on the intrigue and tragedy of the Targaryen family. The book is a continuation of a much shorter piece in 2014’s illustrated in-world history The World of Ice & Fire, that was written by Martin and collaborators Elio Garcia and Linda Antonsson.

F&B promises the “full tapestry” of the Targaryen’s history, and includes the origin of the three dragon eggs that changed the course Daenerys’ life.

[Click through for the full cover and blurb]

Precarious Lighthouses: George T. Wetzel’s “Caer Sidhi”

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 looking at George T. Wetzel’s “Caer Sidhi,” first published in August Derleth’s Dark Mind, Dark Heart anthology in 1962. Spoilers ahead.

[“The aqueous wall grew to awesome heights, reaching almost to the waning stars…”]

Series: The Lovecraft Reread

Ten Excellent SFF ‘Ships

As the hosts of the One True Pairing podcast, we love romance (duh), and have a tendency to swoon over the same people over and over and over and over AND OVER again (Leo DiCaprio and Claire Danes, Romeo + Juliet FTW). But the SFF genre has so many incredible pairings, so we wanted to take a hot minute to share our favorites with you. Herein lie our choices for the greats SFF ’ships.

If this term is new for you, it’s not like the ship that took down Leo *sobs*. Your ’ship is the couple you love the most from your favorite fandom, whether it’s a TV show, movie, book, or real life! They can be an already established couple or two people you think make the perfect pair. Some of our picks are are SFF staples, some are a bit more obscure, some even dip into the romance world, but we hope you like them all—and if you don’t know them, we hope our pitches get you to research and find them and love them too!

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Elemental Rome: From Unseen Fire by Cass Morris

Lately, it’s really difficult to be enthusiastic about books. Perhaps I’ve read too many of them. Perhaps—though less likely—I haven’t read enough, and if I read a few more, the enthusiasm will come back. But it’s particularly difficult to be enthusiastic about books that aren’t self-contained: a novel that begins a series without paying off any of the narrative threads that it sets up in the same volume is really difficult to love.

The odd thing is that From Unseen Fire should be right up my tree. My background is ancient history, and From Unseen Fire sets itself in an alternate version of Rome—a Rome by a different name, and one where certain individuals have magical talents related to elements, but a Roman Republic nonetheless.

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The City of Bicycles: Creating the World of Witchmark

Witchmark, C. L. Polk’s debut novel, is a fantasy in an original world that loosely resembles our own around the turn of the 20th century. Kingston, the capital city in which the story unfurls, is an old town on the brink of transformation by recent inventions, bright lights and modern applications electrified by the new national Aether network. Below, Polk describes the history of this booming era’s favorite method of commuting: the bicycle.

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Why I Don’t Care if Anyone Dies in Avengers: Infinity War

Avengers: Infinity War is a culmination of over ten years of work, eighteen films, and nearly a dozen television shows. To say that it is surprising to live in a era when everyone is waiting for the next superhero movie can’t be overstated—though there were early-comers to this trend, Marvel Studios has made these stories “must-see” blockbusters and dominated summer after summer at the box office.

And yet, when it comes to expectations and theories about the new movie, only one question seems to hang in the air: Who’s gonna die?

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Myke Cole to Tackle Space Opera in Two New Novels

In science fiction, we have taken every branch of the U.S. military into space. Except one.

And oddly, it is the one perhaps best-suited for space exploration.

In 2019, Angry Robot Books will publish two new space opera novels by Myke Cole, author of the Shadow Ops series from Ace Books and Tor.com Publishing’s The Armored Saint trilogy.

About the first book, as yet untitled, in the SAR-1 series:

A lifelong Search-and-Rescuewoman, Coast Guard Captain Jane Oliver is ready for a peaceful retirement. But when tragedy strikes and Oliver loses her husband and her plans for the future, she finds herself thrust into a role she’s not prepared for. Suddenly at the helm of the Coast Guard’s elite SAR-1 lunar unit, Oliver is the only woman who can prevent the first lunar war in history, a conflict that will surely consume not only the Moon, but Earth as well.

Below, author Myke Cole explains his desire to bring the unique Coast Guard branch of the U.S. military forward into the future, and forward into space:

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The Manifest Destiny of Women and Men on Middle-earth

In Which Finrod Makes First Contact With the Secondborn, Men Start Picking Teams, and A Woman Shows How It’s Done

It’s time for another hit of the Rewind button as we reach Chapter 17, “Of the Coming of  Men Into the West.” Gondolin is well into its two hundred years of peace, yet before Aredhel the White Lady of the Noldor goes out and begets a son, the race of Men finally makes their way to this corner of Middle-earth. You know, the corner where the Eldar keep all their stuff, the Dwarves mind their own business, and the Dark Enemy of the World broods in confinement.

This chapter is sort of the Mannish counterpart to Chapter 5, “Of Eldamar and the Princes of the Eldalië,” in that Tolkien lobs another volley of names at us. It’s not always easy to keep them straight, given their lovely if bewildering alliterative and assonantic nomenclatures. But some of them may be familiar to you already, such as Beren “One-Hand,” who may or may not someday need to shop at the Leftorium.

[“Now the world runs on swiftly to great tidings.”]

Series: The Silmarillion Primer

How John Scalzi’s Head On Envisions the Future of Esports

Ah, spring. Every North American sports fan’s favorite time of year.

The smell of hot dogs and scuffed leather wafts into the bleachers once more on the crisp ballpark breeze. Inside the arenas, boards rattle and teeth skitter across the ice, tiny smears of pink on a long white sheet, as hockey playoffs begin. Rubber-soled sneakers squeak across the hardwood as the biggest personalities in the NBA face off for the ultimate prize.

And under the soft electric-blue glow of a long row of 4k monitors, Kim “Geguri” Se-yeon is making history, becoming the first woman to debut in one of North America’s fastest-growing sports leagues you’ve probably never heard of.

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Sky in the Deep Audio Exerpt

Raised to be a warrior, 17-year-old Eelyn fights alongside her Aska clansmen in an ancient rivalry against the Riki clan. Her life is brutal but simple: train to fight and fight to survive. Until the day she sees the impossible on the battlefield—her brother, fighting with the enemy. The brother she watched die five years ago…

In her highly-anticipated debut novel, Adrienne Young brings to life a lush, vivid world that will enchant listeners everywhere. Sky in the Deep is mythic in scope and speaks straight to the heart. Listen to an excerpt from the audiobook below, read by Khristine Hvam.

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Fantasy with Ballgowns and Explosions: The Defiant Heir by Melissa Caruso

It is difficult, sometimes, to speak about something that you loved wholeheartedly. To set out to review a work that carries you away and lifts you out of yourself with delight is to set out to reveal the vulnerability of your joy—and that can be a frightening thing.

I really liked Melissa Caruso’s The Tethered Mage. But I loved its sequel, The Defiant Heir: wholeheartedly and without reservation, so much that I doubt my ability to be fair about it. In The Tethered Mage, the reader was introduced to the world—the Venetian-esque empire of Raverra, with its enemies—and to characters who were only beginning to discover their hidden depths. In The Defiant Heir, Amalia Cornaro is no longer a young woman unsure of her ability to step up to the mark, far more confident of her skill with scholarship than politics; and the fire warlock Zaira—linked to Amalia against her will in The Tethered Mage and conscripted into the magical arm of Raverra’s military, the Falcons—is no longer quite so unwilling or unable to trust anyone. I’m a sucker for stories about friendship, and The Defiant Heir centres around (among other things) the complicated friendship between Zaira and Amalia, and between Zaira and her maybe-lover, a fellow Falcon called Terika.

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Pull List: Bow Down Before Raven the Pirate Princess and The Prince and the Dressmaker

I don’t know about you, but 2018 hasn’t exactly been a great year as far as I’m concerned. Is it better than the trashfire that was 2017? Only time will tell. But it’s only April and I’m already about done with everything. When I start to get all stressed out like this, the best way to calm me down is with a good book, or, in the case of this column, a good comic. So here are two tales about spunky royals and the unusual yet exciting circumstances they find themselves in. I give you the lovely, engaging, smile-inducing Princeless: Raven: The Pirate Princess and The Prince and the Dressmaker.

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9 Fantasy Duos Bound By Fate

Sometimes in fantasy, fate is as simple as a pair of pine needles dropping on the foreheads of two newborns a month apart—one in a region where no pine trees grow. It’s a feather, snatched out of the air by a chubby little hand. A small omen that joins two players in an epic prophecy—but, even more significant than its potential to change the world is the moment in which it unites two halves, each searching for the other person who will complete them.

Imagine living your life in loneliness and then meeting your soul’s twin. Gods of light and dark, chaos and order. Threadsisters. Angels and demons. Heroes and goddesses. A princess and her shadow. Meet nine duos fated to find one another and, in many cases, to change the world.

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