A Shaky Resolution: Luna: Moon Rising by Ian McDonald

Award-winning author Ian McDonald began his Luna trilogy in Luna: New Moon, and continued it in Luna: Wolf Moon. Now, in Luna: Moon Rising, the trilogy reaches its conclusion as the war that has raged between the Five Dragons of the Moon (and now has drawn representatives of Earth into the fray) enters its newest stage.

There’s just one major problem with Luna: Moon Rising: it doesn’t feel like a conclusion. It feels, in fact, a lot more like a prologue, like the end of an opening act of some much larger arc. For every thread that’s brought to some kind of conclusion, another one spreads its wings.

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The Book of Flora

In the wake of the apocalypse, Flora has come of age in a highly gendered post-plague society where females have become a precious, coveted, hunted, and endangered commodity. But Flora does not participate in the economy that trades in bodies. An anathema in a world that prizes procreation above all else, she is an outsider everywhere she goes, including the thriving all-female city of Shy.

Now navigating a blighted landscape, Flora, her friends, and a sullen young slave she adopts as her own child leave their oppressive pasts behind to find their place in the world. They seek refuge aboard a ship where gender is fluid, where the dynamic is uneasy, and where rumors flow of a bold new reproductive strategy.

When the promise of a miraculous hope for humanity’s future tears Flora’s makeshift family asunder, she must choose: protect the safe haven she’s built or risk everything to defy oppression, whatever its provenance.

Book three in the Road to Nowhere series, Meg Elison’s The Book of Flora is available April 23rd from 47North. Read an excerpt below!

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Six Bulky Classics Delivered by the Science Fiction Book Club

One benefit of being a reader of a certain vintage—old enough to remember inkwells in school desks, say, if not old enough to have used a dip pen —is the giddy joy of encountering insert ads in mass market paperbacks. It wasn’t just that they weakened the spines of the books or that some of them were youth-inappropriate cigarette ads. A fair fraction of them were variations on this ad.

Founded in the early 1950s, the mail order Science Fiction Book Club was a godsend for isolated readers like myself . Not only did they automatically send out books until actively stopped (a wonderful way for chronic procrastinators to encounter new authors), but they offered wonderful collections, anthologies, and omnibuses of unusual size. These were tomes heavy enough to stun a moose. For SF addicts, these books were like being able to order our drug of choice by the 100kg sack.

[Here favourites from the Before Times]

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.]

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