Rereading the Vorkosigan Saga: A Civil Campaign, Chapters 7 and 8

This week, Mark, Kareen, Ekaterin, and Enrique visit the Vorkosigans’ District to look at possible new facilities for their butter bug enterprise. They also collect some rocks for Miles’s garden and some samples of Barrayaran native vegetation for Enrique, and have lunch with Tsipis. To his great dismay, Miles was excluded from this trip because there wasn’t room for him in the lightflyer. He seems to have taken a hand in the arrangements for lunch at the Count’s Residence in Hassadar. In other news, Mark and Kareen still aren’t having sex. They would both love to, but she doesn’t feel independent enough to flaunt Barrayar’s rules while living on the planet. She’s a very honest person—not the sort of person who feels comfortable leading a double life. Mark has led a double life before at several notable points in the past, and I don’t think he was comfortable with it either. He’s frustrated with Kareen’s decisions, but he keeps that to himself and respects her boundaries.

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Series: Rereading the Vorkosigan Saga

Your Favorite Band Cannot Save You: Publishing Acquires Scotto Moore’s Debut Novella

Playwright and author Scotto Moore joins Publishing with his debut novella Your Favorite Band Cannot Save You, a story of music, of obsession, of violence, and of madness.

Kieron Gillen (The Wicked + the Divine, Phonogram) said it best when he said that Scotto Moore “understands a key truth about Ziggy Stardust: Rock and roll messiahs are really fucking scary.”

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Death Doesn’t Bargain

The Deadmen are back, but so are the demons who have broken free of their eternal prison and are bent on mankind’s destruction. The worst of the lot is Vine, determined to claim their lives for taking hers. She will see the world burn…and has the perfect lure to destroy them all. One of their own.

Kalder Dupree has never known a day of mercy. Born to the cruelest of mer-races, he sacrificed himself for his crew and is in Vine’s hands. He expects no mercy or rescue.

Yet Cameron Jack is determined to set Kalder free. As a Hellchaser, it’s her calling, and she cannot allow even a not-so-innocent to be tortured for an act of kindness that spared her damnation.

To defeat evil, it sometimes takes an even worse evil, and Cameron is willing to do whatever she must to make this right. If Vine thought she had her hands full before, she hasn’t seen anything nearly as powerful as Cameron’s resolve.

Death Doesn’t Bargain is the second historical fantasy title in Sherrilyn Kenyon’s Deadman’s Cross series—available May 8th from Tor Books.

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Five Essential Books About Plagues and Pandemics

So, when people want to know what subjects you’re interested in, they’re probably expecting to hear something like “art” or “the Boston Red Sox” or “Batman.” Not “ways in which thousands or even millions of people die.” Which is why I usually keep this fascination to myself—it sounds a little weird.

But I’ve been intrigued by plagues, pandemics, and epidemiology for decades now. Plague, Inc. was on my phone until I realized that this game was taking up time I needed to reserve for things like “work,” “eating,” and “sleep.” The Pandemic board game is played more frequently than any other at my house. And yes, I get a flu shot every year (and if you don’t have specific medical reasons to avoid it, you should too).

It was a book that first got me intrigued—infected me, you might say (if you have a weakness for puns, which I do). Books have taught me the facts of these diseases and about the incredible drama surrounding them, both in fiction and in reality.

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Series: Five Books About…

Star Wars: Last Shot is a Flurry of Fashion, Non-Stop Action, Non-Binary Pilots, and Ewoks Who Slice

Now that Solo: A Star Wars Story is about to hit theaters, the world is primed for more Han and Lando adventures—

—no, wait, I have to stop myself. The world has always been primed for more Han and Lando adventures. And thanks to Daniel José Older’s Last Shot, the world can have what it rightly deserves.

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Westworld Season 2, Episode 1: “Journey into Night”

Attention, ticket-holders.

Due to an earlier incident involving a homicidal robot uprising, Westworld park will remain closed indefinitely. There are no refunds. The waiver you pretended to read before signing absolves Delos Corporation of any liability for your untimely demise and, also, like other evil mega-corporations before it, grants troubling privacy permissions. Very troubling.

We apologize for any inconvenience.

Now, saddle up. Spoilers ahead.

[You’re in my dream…]

Why Are There So Few Female Horses in Speculative Fiction?

As with just about anything else in our culture, when it comes to the myth and lore of horses, stallions persistently get top billing. From Shadowfax to the Black Stallion to Secretariat to the Dancing White Stallions of Vienna, it’s boys, boys, boys. Mares get the standard range of sexism: gentle lady’s mare, saggy old broodmare, too slow to keep up with the boys in a race, too weak to dance the dance of the equestrian manege.

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Characters Who SHOULD Meet in Avengers: Infinity War, But Probably Won’t

Avengers: Infinity War is almost upon us, and it promises to be an explosive experience where a full decade worth of characters and stories collide in roughly two-and-a-half hours of majesty. But despite everything that this film is trying to be, there are at least a few things it can’t be. And no matter how many characters are stuffed into this cinematic turducken, we know we won’t get to see every single one of them.

Which is sad, really. Because there are so many MCU characters we want to put in a room together. Here are just a few perfect, headcanon meetings that are unlikely to grace us on the silver screen this week.

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Five Books With Deadly Pop Music

If reading has taught me anything, it’s that pop stars are not to be trusted. They’re all up to something—whether they’re fleshy marionettes of literal spiders from Mars (as in David Lapham’s Young Liars) or just run-of-the-mill Satanists and serial killers. And that’s just the talent. If you have the extreme misfortune of meeting a producer… don’t take their card or shake their thick, ring-encrusted hand; just run.

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The Word-Worlds of Neal Stephenson’s Anathem

Anathem, by Neal Stephenson, is one of my favorite books of all time—a thousand-page journey to another world that feels just a step removed from ours. It achieves this “existence-next-door” effect in a hundred different ways, but one of the most significant and pervasive is the book’s vocabulary, the very language Stephenson uses to tell his story.

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“I’m not the bad guy” — Daredevil

Daredevil was created in 1964 by Stan Lee and Bill Everett, based on a character design by Jack Kirby. DD has one of the more ingenious superhero disguises, as his secret identity is a blind lawyer named Matt Murdock. Thanks to the early-Marvel catch-all of radiation = super-powers, young Matt was blinded by a radioactive canister, but his other senses were expanded a hundredfold.

The character was always something of a B-lister, never having the same level of prominence as Spider-Man and the Avengers and the Fantastic Four throughout the 1960s and 1970s, and in the 1980s, the title was on the verge of cancellation, when writer Roger McKenzie departed the title and his artist, Frank Miller, was given the chance to write the book. Under Miller’s guidance, the book was increased to monthly and became immensely popular, as Miller built on the darker tone McKenzie had started, and focused on DD as a city vigilante, fighting gangsters and such, in particular a minor Spider-Man villain, the Kingpin of Crime, as well as ninjas—lots of ninjas.

DD’s popularity meant that the spate of early 21st-century movies featuring Marvel characters almost had to include ol’ Hornhead.

[Muggers don’t usually wear rose oil or high heels—at least not this far from Chelsea……]

Series: 4-Color to 35-Millimeter: The Great Superhero Movie Rewatch

Fractured Bonds: Revealing Kim Wilkins’ Sisters of the Fire

We’re excited to share the cover for Sisters of the Fire, the second book in Kim Wilkins’ Norse-flavored fantasy series. In Daughters of the Storm, five very different sisters—the warrior, the magician, the lover, the zealot, the gossip—team up against their stepbrother to save the kingdom. The series continues in Sisters of the Fire, as an old enemy threatens the fragile peace they have built…

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The Wheel of Time Named One of America’s 100 Most Beloved Books

Tor Books and are excited to announce that Robert Jordan’s iconic work of fantasy, The Wheel of Time, has been named as one of American’s 100 most beloved books by PBS’ Great American Read series!

Jordan’s epic will be included in its entirety (all 10,173 pages!) making it the longest entry in the list of 100 books vying to be named America’s favorite in PBS’ Great American Read, an eight-part television and online series, hosted by Meredith Vieira and designed to spark a national conversation about reading.

[More titles included in the Great American Read]

Black Lightning: The Family That Fights Together, Stays Together

In the very first moments of the premiere of Black Lightning, a bleeding Jefferson Pierce lies face-up in a bathtub, open wounds gushing all over him, as he gazes into his wife Lynn’s eyes and promises that he will leave the superhero game for good.

Obviously, if you’re watching a show called Black Lightning, it’s because you assume that he will never keep this promise. Part of us may even cruelly want to see how long Jefferson can keep toeing the line between his own sense of duty and the concerns of his family. How does one keep the streets clean and keep their family’s minds at ease at the same time? Many a superhero show would have their protagonist hide from that pressure for as long as they possibly could.

This show takes a different path—not only does Lynn already know the score, but Jefferson’s daughters Anissa and Jennifer learn about his superhero moonlighting quite early compared to other shows of its kind, and they also learn that they’re all irrevocably connected to the troubled history of their hometown itself. As it stands, they have very little choice about whether they will be forced to respond to that history—the only questions are how, and how much will be asked of them.

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