4 Theories For What Pepper Potts is Doing in Avengers: Endgame

The Avengers: Endgame trailers are meant to leave us with many questions because that’s what trailers do, particularly when they are teasing the end to a decade-long film arc. But it’s easy to get stuck on just one of those questions, which is what happens to me every time Tony Stark starts recording that message through his Iron Man helmet at the start of the trailer. Because we know the message is supposed to try and make it’s way back to Earth somehow, but there is something that we don’t know—where is Pepper Potts?

There are many potential answers to this question, but the more obvious one is devastating, and the trailers won’t tell us, so I’m going to think it through for my own peace of mind.

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Exploring the People of Middle-earth: Míriel, Historian of the Noldor (Part 2)

In this biweekly series, we’ll be exploring the evolution of both major and minor figures in Tolkien’s legendarium, tracing the transformations of these characters through drafts and early manuscripts through to the finished work. This installment is the second of a two-part exploration of the Noldorin weaver and historian, Míriel. Feel free to request characters in the comments below!

It would be nice if the story ended where we left it last time. There’s resolution of sorts, and the threads appear to be neatly tied together. Míriel gets her corporeal form back; Finwë is reunited (more or less) with his first love; Míriel graciously accepts Finwë’s choice of Indis and even praises her and her sons for the ways in which they’ll eventually redress Fëanor’s wrongs. Míriel then becomes a sort of family historian whose tapestries are so intricate and vibrant that they look alive. She’s able to recognize that her decision, even if it was an error of judgment on her part, did not lead exclusively to evil ends. But, predictably, Tolkien couldn’t leave it alone. It apparently bothered him that Míriel was in some sense at fault for Fëanor’s later actions because she chose to abandon her family so abruptly. Indeed, her own words, “I erred in leaving thee and our son” (X 248), condemn her.

But what could be done? We’ve seen already the various manipulations of reason the Valar go through to untangle this particularly messy situation. None of them work; there’s always another objection to be made. The text itself, “Of the Statute of Finwë and Míriel,” never actually comes to a conclusion about its most belabored question: Was Míriel at fault? Would things have gone down differently if she had stuck around or reincarnated?

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Magic for Liars: Prologue

Ivy Gamble was born without magic and never wanted it. Ivy Gamble is perfectly happy with her life—or at least, she’s perfectly fine. She doesn’t in any way wish she was like Tabitha, her estranged, gifted twin sister.

Ivy Gamble is a liar.

When a gruesome murder is discovered at The Osthorne Academy of Young Mages, where her estranged twin sister teaches Theoretical Magic, reluctant detective Ivy Gamble is pulled into the world of untold power and dangerous secrets. She will have to find a murderer and reclaim her sister—without losing herself.

Sarah Gailey’s Magic For Liars is available June 4th from Tor Books. Read the prologue below, and stay tuned for additional chapters soon!

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Cthulhu Versus the Long Island Expressway: N.K. Jemisin’s “The City Born Great”

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.

This week, we’re reading N.K. Jemisin’s “The City Born Great,” first published on Tor.com in September 2016. Spoilers ahead.

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Series: The Lovecraft Reread

War is Hell: The Light Brigade by Kameron Hurley

It seems like we get one of these novels every decade or two—a retelling of Heinlein’s Starship Troopers with a modern twist of characterization, themes, or how the story is told, whether that’s time dilation, honest-to-goodness time travel, or bioengineering. Remarkably, not only do these retellings pop up regularly, but many, like Joe Haldeman’s The Forever War and Old Man’s War by John Scalzi, have gone on to become SF classics in their own right.

Kameron Hurley’s The Light Brigade is the latest in this line of novels to modernize Heinlein’s classic tale, and like those that have come before, it too is an important, critical look at the role of how war bends and warps modern society. It is also every bit as good as The Forever War and Old Man’s War, and has the potential to become the next great Military SF classic.

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An Explosive Debut: The Perfect Assassin by K.A. Doore

K.A. Doore’s The Perfect Assassin is a priceless gift of a book.

Or so it felt to me, anyway. I’ve been finding it difficult to enjoy reading lately, to concentrate on how the words fit together into the pattern of a narrative, to see what works and what doesn’t and find pleasure in it. The Perfect Assassin is easy to enjoy, sharp and clean without being straightforward, a debut novel invested in being both good and fun.

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The Works of Robin McKinley and Why Fantasy Should Seem Real

As a young child devouring every fantasy book I could get my hands on, I was incredibly lucky to have not only a mentor in my school librarian but also an unlimited transatlantic supply of books from my grandmother’s bookshop back home in the UK. One of the books Grandma sent me was Robin McKinley’s Outlaws of Sherwood; that and the duology of The Blue Sword and The Hero and the Crown cemented my profound love of McKinley’s characterization and accessibility.

I’d read lots of high fantasy before encountering McKinley, and the enormous difference between her heroes and, say, Tolkien’s struck me as both new and welcoming. McKinley’s protagonists are people, not archetypes—fallible, unsure of themselves, practical, vulnerable. As a young reader I could fit myself into Aerin or Harry or Robin or Marian (or Cecily) in a way I’d never been able to fit into Tolkien’s people.

[You couldn’t imagine Eowyn having problems with her horse…]

Spring 2019 Books We Cannot Wait to Read!

The Spring Equinox is upon us! And we plan to celebrate it in the best way possible: reading as many books as we can stuff into our brains.

And yes, that is how we celebrate everything, because it’s the best way.

We’re gathered up some of our picks like so many newly-blooming flowers, and we’re excited to recommend them to you! And, as always, we’d love to hear about your most anticipated books in the comments.

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Cosmere Cuisine: More Meals Inspired by Brandon Sanderson’s Mistborn Books

Welcome Sanderson Fans, Cosmerenauts, and foodies to Tor.com’s newest adventures through the culinary Cosmere! Here we ask the important questions about what the people on the worlds of Brandon Sanderson eat along with their ingested metals and investiture.

Join Deana Whitney, a Sanderson Beta-reader and foodie, as she continues to explore the different cuisines in the Cosmere food chains. In this installment, we’ll take a delicious journey through Scadrial during Era 2.

[Gotta keep the stomach guessin’, mate.]

Sleeps With Monsters: Intimate Space Operas

Ever since I read E. K. Johnston’s Exit, Pursued By A Bear, I’ve been a fan of her quiet, understated approach to narrative. The work of her books is, as far as I can tell, closely circling thematic resonances, interpersonal tension, and character development, rather than the splashier and more obvious tensions and drives of action-led novels: thrillers, adventures, capers and heists. Even when her novels include such action, it’s always in service to the development of the character arc. The stakes are always intensely personal.

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Series: Sleeps With Monsters

Managing Temporal Changes: Alastair Reynolds’ Permafrost

How do you change history to stop an apocalypse, but without changing recorded history and suffering the severe consequences and chaos from doing so?

Time travel manipulation on a fine scale is a tightrope of a problem and the stakes are for the fate of the world. The world is dying. Time is running out for humanity, living on stored food that is running out. To save humanity, the Permafrost project seeks to use time travel to make a small change, a change that can bring hope to the future. But changing recorded history has enormous risks and challenges, the paradox can be ferocious and the consequences not entirely clear. And when it is clear that there is more than one agenda is brewing, that there might be other agents seeking different changes to history, the perils of changing the time stream might prove personally deadly.

These are the central questions and story at the heart of Alastair Reynolds time travel novella, Permafrost.

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Cory Doctorow’s Radicalized Examines Our Dark Present, and Our Possibly Slightly Less Dark Future

Sometimes things are broken, and sometimes the only way to fix them is to break them even more.

Furious, funny, and smart, Cory Doctorow’s Radicalized is a quick, cracking read, full of the brave ideas and humanistic optimism that have marked Doctorow as one of our best writers and activists. The four novellas in Radicalized grow from a fundamental truth: That things in 2019 America are horrifyingly broken. And the four novellas in Radicalized show that Doctorow wants to break them even further.

The only thing he might want to do more is fix them.

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