5 Things That Obi-Wan Kenobi Should Have Told Luke Skywalker (Instead of LIES)

Calling yourself “Old Ben” is fine. Saying mean things about someone’s uncle is rude yet necessary. Pretending that you don’t remember your BBF’s old copilot droid is crappy, but saves time. Does that excuse all the outright lies that Obi-Wan Kenobi tells to Luke Skywalker? Maybe if those lies were truly essential to getting the kid to bring down the Empire. But they’re not, so most of those lies (and omissions) are pretty egregious.

Here are a few things that Obi-Wan could have said to avoid the most ridiculous ones. Because let’s face it, most of Ben’s lies are just kind of… ill-conceived.

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Download a Free Ebook of Lovecraftian Saga Winter Tide by Ruthanna Emrys

From now to the end of October 20th, Tor.com Publishing is offering a free ebook download of Ruthanna Emrys’ Winter Tide when you sign up for their monthly newsletter.

Winter Tide is the first book in Emrys’ Lovecraftian saga about the last survivors of Innsmouth, which continues with Deep Roots in summer 2018.

This offer is available worldwide from 12 PM EST on October 17th to 12 PM EST on October 20th.

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Meet the Valar! (And the Foundations of Middle-earth)

In Which We Take A Roll Call of the Valar and Their Maiar Compatriots, and In Which Melkor Rearranges the Furniture

The Valaquenta—the “Account of the Valar”—is a sort of cast list for the earliest days of the Valar in the newly minted universe of Eä, and also an introduction to another group: the Maiar. Although there’s no real action there, there is some delectable stage-setting and real estate talk. Then we’ll start right into the Quenta Silmarillion, the “Tale of the Silmarils.” Its first chapter, “Of the Beginning of Days,” describes the earliest conflicts with Melkor, which involve some impressively large (if glaring) floor lamps, followed by some cool arboreal nightlights, and how the face of the world is changed forever.

[Scatter cloud and darkness, and read on.]

Series: The Silmarillion Primer

Listen to Steal the Stars Episode 12: “All That Sky”

Steal the Stars is the story of Dakota Prentiss and Matt Salem, two government employees guarding the biggest secret in the world: a crashed UFO. Despite being forbidden to fraternize, Dak and Matt fall in love and decide to escape to a better life on the wings of an incredibly dangerous plan: they’re going to steal the alien body they’ve been guarding and sell the secret of its existence.

And we’re down to the final three episodes!

If you haven’t yet listened to Tor Labs’ sci-fi noir audio drama written by Mac Rogers and produced by Gideon Media, you can read our non-spoiler review and catch up on the first eleven episodes: “Warm Bodies,” “Three Dogs,” “Turndown Service,” “Power Through,” “Lifers,” “900 Microns,” “Altered Voices,” “The Walls of the Maze,” “The Real Stuff,” “Protocol,” and “Checkpoints.” Then click through for this week’s installment, in which Dak and Matt’s escape turns desperate.

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Season of the Witch: 5 Horror Reads for Fall

Fall comes at you pretty fast. If you don’t stop and smell the pumpkin spice, you could miss it…

Summer’s end is always a bit of a downer, but for some of us, falling leaves and harvest moons herald the most wonderful time of the year. Autumn is usually seen as the perfect time for new horror releases. Whether that’s actually true or just an outdated marketing ploy is arguable; I read excellent horror year-round. Still, I’d rather be inundated with good books than gourd-infused lattes, or, Cthulhu forgive, Christmas sales.

This fall sees a grab-bag of debut fiction, anxiety-inducing anthologies, and a love letter to horror that, actually, were you an enterprising and early bookworm, would make a pretty perfect gift for the horror fan on your list, be it for Halloween or some other, less fun holiday.

[Doubles, dolls, and lots of Satanic Panic…]

Not Just Another Fantasy Assassin: the Vlad Taltos Novels by Steven Brust

When someone asks me for my personal favorite fantasy series, I usually hem and haw for a while and try to sneak at least two or three extra series into my answer. But if you were to force me, under threat of violence, to trim it down to just one, it would be Steven Brust’s Vlad Taltos series. Vallista, the fifteenth novel in the long-running series, is due out on October 17th, making this an excellent time to try and convert some new readers to the Gospel of Taltos.

Explaining what exactly is so wonderful about this series is tricky, partly because it’s so unique and partly because it’s hard to do without including huge spoilers, but at its heart it’s the story of Vlad Taltos, a human assassin living in the Dragaeran Empire, as well as the story of the Dragaeran Empire itself.

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Tor.com Publishing Wants to Tell You About the Last Survivors of Innsmouth

For 72 hours only, from now to the end of October 20th, Tor.com Publishing is offering a free ebook download of Ruthanna Emrys’ Winter Tide when you sign up for their monthly newsletter.

Winter Tide is the first book in Emrys’ Lovecraftian saga about the last survivors of Innsmouth, which continues with Deep Roots in summer 2018.

This offer is available worldwide from 12 PM EST on October 17th to 12 PM EST on October 20th.

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“There Is Juju in This Book”: Exploring Nnedi Okorafor’s Akata Witch series

Hey you! Yeah, you. C’mere and take a seat. I’m about to tell you about a fantastic middle grade/young adult series by the amazing Nnedi Okorafor. The Akata Witch series is an electrifying tale about an inspiring African girl. It’s gorgeously written and filled with magic, excitement, and even a little romance. It beats the Chosen One trope at its own game with the help of West African deities and socio-cultural traditions. I know I always say “you need to read this,” but you really need to read this.

[“My name is Sunny Nwazue and I confuse people.”]

Robert Jordan Birthday Sweepstakes!

In 1990, gleeman Thom Merrilin declaimed “You want stories?” through what was then a little-known fantasy novel called The Eye of the World.

Epic fantasy author Robert Jordan would provide those stories in abundance for the next three decades, crafting a rich epic we know now as The Wheel of Time.

In celebration of Robert Jordan’s birthday, Tor.com wants to send one lucky winner a framed pressing of that seminal quote, in remembrance of that gleeman who came to town all those years ago, in honor of the stories he brought to life.

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 12:30 PM Eastern Time (ET) on October 17th. Sweepstakes ends at 12:00 PM ET on October 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.

Sleeps With Monsters: My Year In Queer

Are we reaching some kind of critical mass this year in terms of queer content in books published by mainstream SFF imprints? Where queer people have a central role to play, and where, moreover, being queer does not end universally badly? Maybe it’s just me, but it seems that this year—including some novels I’ve read that aren’t published quite yet—is a banner year.

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Series: Sleeps With Monsters

How to Tell If You’re Living In a Dystopia — And Why It Matters

If you’re a character in a piece of genre fiction these days, there’s a good chance you’re living in some kind of dystopian reality. From teenagers killing each other as blood sport to women forced into lives of terrified obedience by a system that views them as expendable vessels, there are so many flavors of fictional systematized cruelty these days that we’re beginning to question whether we’ve finally achieved “Peak Dystopia Fatigue,” at least when it comes to a particular brand of Blade Runner-esque futuristic urban hellscapes. But is that all there is to the genre? Just an endless slog of unrelenting bleakness? Is that what dystopias are all about?

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Oathbringer by Brandon Sanderson: Chapters 22-24

Start reading Oathbringer, the new volume of Brandon Sanderson’s Stormlight Archive epic, right now. For free!

Tor.com is serializing the much-awaited third volume in the Stormlight Archive series every Tuesday until the novel’s November 14, 2017 release date.

Every installment is collected here in the Oathbringer index.

Need a refresher on the Stormlight Archive before beginning Oathbringer? Here’s a summary of what happened in Book 1: The Way of Kings and Book 2: Words of Radiance.

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Series: Oathbringer by Brandon Sanderson

Star Wars: From a Certain Point of View is the Mashup You’ve Been Looking For

The new trailer for The Last Jedi was not the only exciting Star Wars news this past week. In celebration of A New Hope’s 40th anniversary, Del Rey has published an anthology of 40 stories that weave in and out of the original film. Whether it’s Greedo, Antilles or the red droid (you know the one), A New Hope is bursting at the seams with weird and fantastic side characters. Star Wars: From a Certain Point of View hands those characters over to 43 weird and fantastic authors. The set-list alone is amazing: scifi heavyweights (Nnedi Okorafor, Ken Liu), seasoned SW veterans (Jason Fry, Jeffrey Brown), comic book writers (Kelly Sue DeConnick, Kieron Gillen), and media luminaries (Griffin McElroy, Mallory Ortberg) offer up a diverse range of tone, form, and lore.

There’s nothing new under two suns in a sprawling franchise that’s celebrating its 40th year. What the Expanded Universe hasn’t covered, fanfiction has laid its messy, beautiful little hands on. But the EU has already been reshuffled by the reboot, and the playground feels fresh and new. Where there’s still love for a story, there’s still room to explore it—and there is still a whole lot of love in the galaxy for scrappy, fresh-faced rebels destroying evil galactic empires.

[In a galaxy far away…]

Rereading the Vorkosigan Saga: Memory, Chapters 10-11

This week’s chapters deal with Miles’s 30th birthday. Happy birthday, Miles!  

My copy of Memory was purchased from the Oberlin College Cooperative Bookstore shortly after I turned twenty. That was a very different time to be reading about Miles turning thirty than now, almost exactly twenty-one years later. Thirty seemed old then. I sort of got what Miles said to Martin about middle age being a moveable feast, always ten years older than you are, but it really hit home on this read. Miles is striking me as shockingly young this week because I finally noticed that his birthday means that he must have been killed at twenty-nine. Or possibly at twenty-eight—it was a long convalescence. He’s been leading the Dendarii for slightly more than a decade, and he’s been assigned to ImpSec for approximately seven years. Rank notwithstanding, his career has been meteoric; he has come an incredibly long way as a result of a few impulsive decisions he made to impress a girl while vacationing at age seventeen. Gregor has already asked him not to return the the Dendarii, but I think he needs to go further. Miles is Not Safe to be out of direct Imperial control. He’s dangerous; he needs a job.  

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Series: Rereading the Vorkosigan Saga