The Adventure Zone: Here There Be Gerblins Sweepstakes!

The graphic novel adaptation of the podcast The Adventure Zone is available today from First Second Books! To celebrate, we want to send you a copy of The Adventure Zone: Here There Be Gerblins, along with a set of fun postcards and trading cards!

Welcome to the Adventure Zone!

SEE! The illustrated exploits of three lovable dummies set loose in a classic fantasy adventure!

READ! Their journey from small-time bodyguards to world-class artifact hunters!

MARVEL! At the sheer metafictional chutzpah of a graphic novel based on a story created in a podcast where three dudes and their dad play a tabletop role playing game in real time!

Join Taako the elf wizard, Merle the dwarf cleric, and Magnus the human warrior for an adventure they are poorly equipped to handle AT BEST, guided (“guided”) by their snarky DM, in a graphic novel that, like the smash-hit podcast it’s based on, will tickle your funny bone, tug your heartstrings, and probably pants you if you give it half a chance.

With endearingly off-kilter storytelling from master goofballs Clint McElroy and the McElroy brothers, and vivid, adorable art by Carey Pietsch, The Adventure Zone: Here There Be Gerblins is the comics equivalent of role-playing in your friend’s basement at 2am, eating Cheetos and laughing your ass off as she rolls critical failure after critical failure.

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 2:30 PM Eastern Time (ET) on July 17th. Sweepstakes ends at 12:00 PM ET on July 21st. 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.

Kill the Farm Boy

Once upon a time, in a faraway kingdom, a hero, the Chosen One, was born . . . and so begins every fairy tale ever told.
            
This is not that fairy tale.
            
There is a Chosen One, but he is unlike any One who has ever been Chosened.
            
And there is a faraway kingdom, but you have never been to a magical world quite like the land of Pell.
            
There, a plucky farm boy will find more than he’s bargained for on his quest to awaken the sleeping princess in her cursed tower. First there’s the Dark Lord, who wishes for the boy’s untimely death . . . and also very fine cheese. Then there’s a bard without a song in her heart but with a very adorable and fuzzy tail, an assassin who fears not the night but is terrified of chickens, and a mighty fighter more frightened of her sword than of her chain-mail bikini. This journey will lead to sinister umlauts, a trash-talking goat, the Dread Necromancer Steve, and a strange and wondrous journey to the most peculiar “happily ever after” that ever once-upon-a-timed.

[Read more]

Sleeps With Monsters: Naomi Novik’s Spinning Silver

There’s a strange phenomenon whereby one truly enjoys a novel, admires it for its craft and emotional impact, and still finds one element painfully frustrating.

Naomi Novik’s Spinning Silver is just such a novel, a glittering jewel of a novel influenced by fairytale and by—as far as I can tell—the history of medieval Hungary. Miryem is a moneylender’s daughter, who takes over her father’s business because he’s too soft-hearted to actually demand repayment. She’s so good at it that the Staryk—beings of winter who covet gold—come to believe she can turn silver into gold, and one of them sets her a challenge with her life as the stakes. Victory won’t bring her any joy, either: if she wins, the Staryk king will take her to be his queen, far from home.

[Read more]

Download Rocket Fuel: Some of the Best of Tor.com Non-Fiction for Free!

On Friday, July 20, 2018, Tor.com will turn 10 years old.

In that span of time we have published, along with over 700 pieces of award-winning original fiction, more than 30,000 articles. To commemorate this exceptional, intense, unicorn-dappled run of non-fiction, we have assembled Rocket Fuel, a free collection of some of the best feature articles from Tor.com’s 10-year history as an online sci-fi/fantasy literature magazine!

[Read more]

5 Things I Missed in Robert Jordan’s The Eye of the World (Until Now)

You’d think that—1. Having read the entirety of Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time fantasy saga. 2. Working at Tor.com, home of Leigh Butler’s amazing Wheel of Time Reread. 3. And writing deep-dives that wonder just how far Aviendha saw into her future—that the very first book in the series wouldn’t hold any surprises for me.

Sylas K. Barrett’s Reading The Wheel of Time has shown me the error in my thinking.

[Read more]

Horses and Horsemen in C.J. Cherryh’s Gate of Ivrel

When writers ask me how to tell whether a writer (of any genre) knows horses, I’ve tended to fumble around for examples, any examples, help me, wonky memory, you are my only hope.

Not any more. I finally reread Gate of Ivrel after quite a few years, and now all I need to do is point. “Read this. See what it does. Do likewise.” [Read more]

Paradise Crossed: The Cloven by Brian Catling

Adventurers, archaeologists and adherents alike have long sought—only to be stymied in their search for—the site of the Garden of Eden, that portion of paradise where many people believe humanity took root. In his phenomenal first novel, the poet, painter, and performance artist Brian Catling posited that it might at last be located in the Vorrh, a vast (albeit fictional) forest in the heart of Africa. In the ambitious if middling middle volume of what in 2017 turned out to be a trilogy, he expanded the scope of his suggestive story substantially, to take in characters from Bedlam in London, the colonial compound of Essenwald and a retirement home in Heidelberg: a litany of lost souls that would only be found, finally, in or in relation to the good woodland.

The Cloven closes the book on those disconsolate characters at the same time as advancing the overarching narrative of Catling’s exceptionally weird series, which can be seen in sum as a sinister subversion of the Christian tale of creation. Adam and Eve, it has it, were never meant to be anything more than minders in the Garden of Eden—they simply grew too big for their boots when they tasted of the forbidden fruit. The knowledge it contained was meant for the trees, you see, and they, as much more multifarious beings than we mere people can see, have had a chip on their sturdy shoulders ever since. Now, though… now the time has come for them to take what’s theirs, and I dare say it won’t end well if we stand in their way.

[Read more]

Rereading the Vorkosigan Saga: Diplomatic Immunity, Chapter 1

Welcome to Diplomatic Immunity! Can Miles still have his usual adventures now that he’s married and about to become a dad? This is a book suggests that he can, but he may have to accept some new limits.

Exciting news this weekthe Internet Speculative Fiction Database now has links that let you see all the print covers associated with a title on one page. The thanks of this grateful blogger—and I imagine many others—go out to the staff and volunteers at the ISFDB.

Tragically, most of the covers for Diplomatic Immunity are dreadful.

[Read more]

Series: Rereading the Vorkosigan Saga

The Fated Sky

Mary Robinette Kowal continues the grand sweep of alternate history begun in The Calculating Stars with The Fated Sky, available August 21st from Tor Books. The second novel looks forward to 1961, when mankind is well-established on the moon and looking forward to its next step: journeying to, and eventually colonizing, Mars.

Of course the noted Lady Astronaut Elma York would like to go, but there’s a lot riding on whoever the International Aerospace Coalition decides to send on this historic—but potentially very dangerous—mission. Could Elma really leave behind her husband and the chance to start a family to spend several years traveling to Mars? And with the Civil Rights movement taking hold all over Earth, will the astronaut pool ever be allowed to catch up, and will these brave men and women of all races be treated equitably when they get there? This gripping look at the real conflicts behind a fantastical space race will put a new spin on our visions of what might have been.

[Read more]

The Thin Line Between Monster and Warrior: Maria Dahvana Headley’s The Mere Wife

Hwaet!

Maria Dahvana Headley’s The Mere Wife has finally been loosed upon the world. I say finally because I think the world needs this book. In Headley’s hands, Beowulf is revealed to be the perfect story to bring forward from the depths of Western history. Headley has turned it over, poked its squishy underbelly, asked it a bunch of questions, and come out with an entirely new version of the tale, exploring new perspectives and revealing truths new and old.

It’s also a great, heart-wrenching read.

[Read more]

The Most Feminist Thing Doctor Who’s 11th Season Could Do is Refuse to Address Sexism

Jodie Whittaker is going to be the Thirteenth Doctor. We all know why this is a big deal—not just because the role is being taken up by yet another accomplished and talented actor, but because she will be the first woman to do it. I just have a small request to that effect:

Please don’t make the Doctor deal with sexism now that she’s a woman.

[Read more]