The language of the originators defines reality, every word warping the world to fit its meaning. Its study transforms the mind and body, and is closely guarded by stodgy, paranoid academics. These hidebound men don’t trust many students with their secrets, especially not women, and more especially not “madwomen.” Polymede and her lover Erishti believe they’ve made a discovery that could blow open the field’s unexamined assumptions, and they’re ready to face expulsion to make their mark. Of course, if they’re wrong, the language will make its mark on them instead.
Gormenghast Castle is hidden. When Titus Groan, the Earl of Gormenghast, finally escapes, he is shocked to find that no one has ever heard of it. The walls of his ancestral home that stretch for miles; the jagged towers and crumbling courtyards, the endless corridors, staircases, and attics, the weirdos and cutthroats who live there—it all goes unseen by the outside world. Whatever happens there happens in shadow and obscurity.
But all that might soon change. The Gormenghast books, in this moment of dragon queens and sword swingers, seem poised for a long overdue resurgence. November 17th marked the fiftieth anniversary of author Mervyn Peake’s death. That means his dark fantasy trilogy (Titus Groan, Gormenghast, and Titus Alone) is headed into the public domain this year, while a potential TV adaptation is swirling about, with Neil Gaiman and other notables attached.
The Thirteenth Doctor’s first season has come to an end with a final battle against a familiar face…
Update: We mistakenly identified this as an entirely new trailer when it was just the first trailer with some added footage. We’ve updated accordingly and will post when the real second trailer is released.
The latest footage from Godzilla: King of the Monsters continues to be lyrical and weirdly affecting, establishing that humans are the real monsters and the mythological titans must save us from ourselves. Including Godzilla, of course, but also King Ghidorah, who gets the big (albeit grainy, so not the top image) reveal in this trailer.
Netflix has released the first teaser for The Umbrella Academy, its television adaptation of Gerard Way and Gabriel Bá’s comic about a dysfunctional group of superpowered siblings who must prevent the apocalypse.
Okay, so we all care about what’s happening to our super friends in Avengers: Endgame, but you know who else we care about? All the normal people who were hanging around doing normal stuff when Thanos’s Snappening happened—you know, like the Avengers: Infinity War post-credits scene barely scratched the surface of showing. This wouldn’t be the first story that saw a world forced to reckon with a sudden and massive population culling, but you wouldn’t know it from the first trailer. Considering how brilliantly series like The Leftovers and Y: The Last Man addressed these kinds of worldbuilding details, we can’t help but we curious about what happens in this universe.
Oh, Viggo. Truly, you are the only Aragorn for us. Er, the only Strider. Only Elessar. Whatever.
Viggo Mortensen did a few things with his character that transcended typical actorly dedication; he only used his heavy steel sword on set, rather than the lighter aluminum ones built for stunts (and the stunt guys had the bruises to prove it). He was prone to dragging the sword around everywhere, and got stopped by the cops when he was spotted carrying it in public. He asked for more of his lines to be written in elvish. He once kicked a helmet so hard that he broke his toes, but still stayed in character for the take.
It’s pretty well-known that his casting in Lord of the Rings occurred late in the game, after they had already started shooting, but do you know the other names that were considered? Because they’re mostly big-deal picks, and imagining any one of them in the role leads to a strange alternate reality.
If there’s anything cooler and geekier than writing science fiction, it’s designing games. I’ve been fortunate in that I’ve been able to do both during the course of my career—I’ve published thirteen novels and over a hundred game products. While I’m probably best known in game circles for my work on the Dungeons & Dragons game and the Forgotten Realms world, there’s one game that is especially near and dear to my heart: Axis & Allies Naval Miniatures.
So here’s the story of how I got to make my favorite game.
Snacks that make you shrink (or grow gigantic), mad tea parties, murderous croquet: Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland is a bonkers enough story on its own that it’s impressive to see the ways in which so many authors have been able to retell it.
In these thrillers and pastiches and history lessons, Alice Liddell is a princess on the run, a mad inmate, or only a tangential part of the story; some retellings focus on other citizens of Wonderland, from the maligned White Rabbit to the misunderstood Queen of Hearts. No matter which of the many ways into Wonderland these writers choose, the stories are as enticing as a bottle that says DRINK ME.
In one year, the Uncanny X-Men creative team of Chris Claremont and Dave Cockrum managed two retcons of the character of Magneto that changed everything we knew about the character—the year in question being 1982, two decades after the character was introduced in Uncanny X-Men #1 by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby.
The first was to establish in issue #150 that Magneto was a survivor of the Nazi concentration camps during World War II. Eleven issues later, a flashback issue showed that Magneto and Professor Charles Xavier actually met for the first time before Xavier founded the X-Men, and were dear friends before becoming arch-enemies. When the X-Men were adapted to the screen in 2000, that backstory was the spine of the film, and the plan after X-Men Origins: Wolverine was to do a similar movie for Magneto.
That didn’t quite happen, and we got X-Men: First Class instead…
There are a number of unexpected open mysteries present within Fire & Blood, George R. R. Martin’s fictional history of the Targaryen reign of Westeros, many of them ripe for theorizing upon. Considering that the book chronicles events 300 years before the main Song of Ice and Fire novels, it’s a pleasant surprise to find any surprises at all within the text, let alone some that may actually have some bearing on the story within the main series.
Here are 6 mysteries that caught our attention here in the Tor dot office. (Along with some theories, of course!)
Spoilers for Fire & Blood ahead.
Content Warning: Brief discussion of suicide.
Fantasy fiction is best known for its giant, door-stopping series that come in trilogies or longer. Of course, not everyone wants to embark on a ten-book project. And even if you love series, sometimes it’s nice to read a standalone story that provides a satisfying resolution within a single book. With that in mind, I’ve set out to provide a list of ten fantasy stories that have all the thrills of a series but stand alone as a single volume.
It’s been half a year since the Infinity War stunned fans all over the world. Now we’ve got our first look at the final (for this crew, at least) Avengers film…
The Tor.com office’s favorite thing on the Internet today is this brilliant chart from Twitter user @crunchleaf a.k.a. Alex, one half of the Hamsteak Podcast. Combining Chekhov’s gun, Pavlov’s dog, Frankenstein’s monster, and other well-known sayings/writing rules/random movie synopses, the intersections become beautifully weird new rules to live by. And after laughing ourselves silly at “Actually, Pavlov was the dog,” we knew that we had to apply the same logic to other SFF aphorisms/catchphrases/what-have-you.
The Empire of Fantasy, unlike Gaul, can be divided, very roughly, into two parts, based on where it is set. On one side there is fantasy that focuses and is set on Earth. This is contemporary fantasy, with urban fantasy being the dominant form and flavor of that particular fantasy. From Seanan McGuire to Jim Butcher, it is a familiar and extremely popular half of fantasy, even if it is not quite as predominant as it once was.
On the other side, there is secondary world fantasy, which comes in sizes, scales, and flavors from sword and sorcery, to low fantasy to city-state fantasy, and all the way to epic fantasy that spans kingdoms, continents, and worlds. Secondary world fantasy, whether in the Tolkien, Jordan, Jemisin, Martin, or Elliott tradition, comes in a multitude of settings and subtypes. Recent developments, from grimdark to the increased use of settings and cultural inspirations far beyond Medieval Europe have made secondary world fantasy a hotbed of experimentation.
Portal fantasies bridges these two sides of fantasy, and is where Edward Lazellari’s Guardians of Aandor, concluding with Blood of Ten Kings, sits.
Lethe Press has been a consistent source of queer speculative fiction for more than a decade now, with an ever-expanding catalogue of writers from diverse and engaging backgrounds. In fact, some of the earliest Queering SFF posts I wrote for Tor.com included an interview with the owner of the press, Steve Berman—and a review of Wilde Stories 2010, his annual best-of gay sff collection. I was twenty years old at the time and I’d been reading Wilde Stories since I was a teenager, hungry for openly marked queer content. In the intervening years, Lethe’s reach has expanded to include lesbian and trans years-best collections, multiple Lambda awards for novels and short fiction alike, and so forth.
However, this year’s edition marks the final release of Wilde Stories. In honor of that long run—and to give a sense of the delightful breadth and depth of queer short fiction the press is producing in 2018—I thought I’d do a review roundup of three recent collections, all published in the past six months, including the last volume of the series that brought my attention to Lethe in the first place.