Tor.com content by

Charlie Jane Anders

Fiction and Excerpts [12]
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Fiction and Excerpts [12]

Doctor Who’s Missy Is Way Better When She’s Being Bad

At least since Tom Baker left the starring role of Doctor Who back in 1981, fans have wondered if the time-traveling eccentric could ever become a woman. And the show’s producers, over the years, have enjoyed trolling the fans by hinting that it might be possible this time, or by making extreme statements about why the Doctor must always be a bloke. (And then there’s Joanna Lumley…)

But meanwhile, for the past few years, one of Doctor Who’s most important characters, the Master, has been female-bodied. As fans know, she now goes by Missy, and as played by Michelle Gomez, she’s like Mary Poppins crossed with the Joker. And this year’s series has turned out to revolve around Missy, and whether she’s finally on her way to becoming a good person.

And I have to say, I vastly prefer Missy when she’s being bad.

[Spoilers for recent episodes follow…]

The Wild Magic of Karaoke

Some people don’t like karaoke. Some people even consider karaoke some kind of abomination, in which amateur singers inflict their dreadful tunesmithing on their fellow humans. I do not understand those people. To me, karaoke is a vital cultural tradition, that takes the best aspects of pop music and our pomo “remixing” and participatory culture and makes them even more amazing.

I have been a karaoke fiend for as long as I can remember, and I even once managed to be featured on Japanese television, doing a particularly energetic performance at a Tokyo karaoke bar. I used to be the designated karaoke-bar reviewer for a local San Francisco newspaper, and I adore any chance to bust out with a crazy over-the-top performance.

[Theatrical, weird, possibly queer, and definitely subversive…]

Growing Up, Wonder Woman Was the Hero I Really Wanted To Be

When I was a little kid, we bought a hardcover collection of classic Wonder Woman comics at a yard sale for a couple bucks. It was the fancy Ms. Magazine edition, with an introduction by Gloria Steinem, and it was full of these bonkers 1940s storylines about Nazis, Dr. Psycho, and Atomia, queen of the Atomic Kingdom.

I read that book until the covers fell apart, and then read it some more. I have a super vivid memory of being in bed sick, with a sore throat, and reading a scene where Wonder Woman gets captured. I thought to myself, “How is Wonder Woman going to escape from these bad guys when she has a sore throat?” And then I remembered that I was the one with the sore throat, not Wonder Woman.

I loved Doctor Who, growing up. I obsessed over Star Trek and Star Wars, and Tintin and Asterix. But the hero I identified with, deep down, was Wonder Woman.

[Here’s why…]

The Most Popular Movie in America Right Now Is All About Toxic Fatherhood

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 begins with one of the first movie’s trademark groovy 1970s songs, “Brandy (You’re a Fine Girl)” by Looking Glass, as we pan into an idyllic forest scene in 1980. A man and a woman drive past a Dairy Queen and go into the woods, and we realize we’re meeting Peter “Starlord” Quill’s father, played by a digitally-facelifted Kurt Russell. It’s comforting, friendly—until we go inside the strange flower that Peter’s dad has planted, and we see glimpses of some biological monstrosity, as the music echoes. This sequence is our first clue that the mystery of Starlord’s paternity will have turn out to have an ugly resolution.

Warning: Enormous spoilers for Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 ahead.

[Read more]

Margot and Rosalind

On International Women’s Day, several of the best writers in SF/F today reveal new stories inspired by the phrase “Nevertheless, she persisted”, raising their voice in response to a phrase originally meant to silence.

The stories publish on Tor.com all throughout the day of March 8th. They are collected here.

[Read “Margot and Rosalind” by Charlie Jane Anders]

Series: Nevertheless She Persisted

Karaoke Is Magic!

In this ongoing series, we ask SF/F authors to describe a specialty in their lives that has nothing (or very little) to do with writing. Join us as we discover what draws authors to their various hobbies, how they fit into their daily lives, and how and they inform the author’s literary identity!

Some people don’t like karaoke. Some people even consider karaoke some kind of abomination, in which amateur singers inflict their dreadful tunesmithing on their fellow humans. I do not understand those people. To me, karaoke is a vital cultural tradition, that takes the best aspects of pop music and our pomo “remixing” and participatory culture and makes them even more amazing.

[Read more]

All the Birds in the Sky, Chapter 4

Childhood friends Patricia Delfine and Laurence Armstead didn’t expect to see each other again, after parting ways under mysterious circumstances during high school. After all, the development of magical powers and the invention of a two-second time machine could hardly fail to alarm one’s peers and families.

But now they’re both adults, living in the hipster mecca San Francisco, and the planet is falling apart around them. Laurence is an engineering genius who’s working with a group that aims to avert catastrophic breakdown through technological intervention into the changing global climate. Patricia is a graduate of Eltisley Maze, the hidden academy for the world’s magically gifted, and works with a small band of other magicians to secretly repair the world’s every-growing ailments. Little do they realize that something bigger than either of them, something begun years ago in their youth, is determined to bring them together–to either save the world, or plunge it into a new dark ages.

A deeply magical, darkly funny examination of life, love, and the apocalypse, Charlie Jane Anders’ All the Birds in the Sky is available in January 2016 from Tor Books. Read chapter four below, or head back to the start with chapter one!

[Chapter 4]

All the Birds in the Sky, Chapter 3

Childhood friends Patricia Delfine and Laurence Armstead didn’t expect to see each other again, after parting ways under mysterious circumstances during high school. After all, the development of magical powers and the invention of a two-second time machine could hardly fail to alarm one’s peers and families.

But now they’re both adults, living in the hipster mecca San Francisco, and the planet is falling apart around them. Laurence is an engineering genius who’s working with a group that aims to avert catastrophic breakdown through technological intervention into the changing global climate. Patricia is a graduate of Eltisley Maze, the hidden academy for the world’s magically gifted, and works with a small band of other magicians to secretly repair the world’s every-growing ailments. Little do they realize that something bigger than either of them, something begun years ago in their youth, is determined to bring them together–to either save the world, or plunge it into a new dark ages.

A deeply magical, darkly funny examination of life, love, and the apocalypse, Charlie Jane Anders’ All the Birds in the Sky is available in January 2016 from Tor Books. Read chapter three below, and come back all week for additional excerpts!

[Chapter 3]

All the Birds in the Sky, Chapter 2

Childhood friends Patricia Delfine and Laurence Armstead didn’t expect to see each other again, after parting ways under mysterious circumstances during high school. After all, the development of magical powers and the invention of a two-second time machine could hardly fail to alarm one’s peers and families.

But now they’re both adults, living in the hipster mecca San Francisco, and the planet is falling apart around them. Laurence is an engineering genius who’s working with a group that aims to avert catastrophic breakdown through technological intervention into the changing global climate. Patricia is a graduate of Eltisley Maze, the hidden academy for the world’s magically gifted, and works with a small band of other magicians to secretly repair the world’s every-growing ailments. Little do they realize that something bigger than either of them, something begun years ago in their youth, is determined to bring them together–to either save the world, or plunge it into a new dark ages.

A deeply magical, darkly funny examination of life, love, and the apocalypse, Charlie Jane Anders’ All the Birds in the Sky is available in January 2016 from Tor Books. Read chapter two below, and come back all week for additional excerpts!

[Chapter 2]

All the Birds in the Sky, Chapter 1

Childhood friends Patricia Delfine and Laurence Armstead didn’t expect to see each other again, after parting ways under mysterious circumstances during high school. After all, the development of magical powers and the invention of a two-second time machine could hardly fail to alarm one’s peers and families.

But now they’re both adults, living in the hipster mecca San Francisco, and the planet is falling apart around them. Laurence is an engineering genius who’s working with a group that aims to avert catastrophic breakdown through technological intervention into the changing global climate. Patricia is a graduate of Eltisley Maze, the hidden academy for the world’s magically gifted, and works with a small band of other magicians to secretly repair the world’s every-growing ailments. Little do they realize that something bigger than either of them, something begun years ago in their youth, is determined to bring them together–to either save the world, or plunge it into a new dark ages.

A deeply magical, darkly funny examination of life, love, and the apocalypse, Charlie Jane Anders’ All the Birds in the Sky is available in January 2016 from Tor Books. Read chapter one below, and come back all week for additional excerpts!

[Chapter 1]

The Unfathomable Sisterhood of Ick

Tor.com is honored to reprint “The Unfathomable Sisterhood of Ick,” a short story by Charlie Jane Anders available now in the special “Women Destroy Science Fiction!” June 2014 issue of Lightspeed Magazine!

“The Unfathomable Sisterhood of Ick” explores the bonds and boundaries between friends in a future where one’s most intimate memories can downloaded and shared.

Guest-edited by longtime Lightspeed assistant editor Christie Yant, the “Women Destroy Science Fiction!” issue is over 180,000 words and features original short stories by Seanan McGuire, Charlie Jane Anders, N.K. Jemisin, Carrie Vaughn, Maria Dahvana Headley, Amal El-Mohtar, and many others. You can purchase the issue in a variety of ebook formats directly though Lightspeed or your preferred ebook retailer, as well as in print through Amazon or CreateSpace.

[Read “The Unfathomable Sisterhood of Ick”]