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Christina Orlando

Five Spooky Fiction Podcasts That Go Bump in the Night

Halloween may be eight months away, but we’re declaring Friday the 13th honorary spooky season! It’s time to plug your headphones in to haunted houses, creepy townspeople, and terrifying alien invasions. The music fades in, a soft piano, but maybe just slightly out of tune. The wind blows by your ear. The footsteps of a tall, mysterious figure draw closer and closer. A twig snaps somewhere off in the distance. And suddenly, there are chills racing up your spine.

Ready to get lost? Here are a few great places to start.

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23 Retellings of Classic Stories From Science Fiction & Fantasy Authors

We love a good retelling—whether it’s a favorite fairy tale, ancient myth, or epic tale, it’s always great to see old things made new. Part of the reason we love these stories is because they’re so malleable; with themes that span the breadth of the human experience, tales of love, revenge, and adventure can find a home in any place and time, with characters that feel both familiar and fresh at the same time.

As we started thinking about of favorite retellings of classic stories, so many brilliant adaptations, updates, and re-workings came to mind. Here are just a few that we adore! Please feel free to add your own in the comments.

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2010-2019: A Decade of Change in Science Fiction & Fantasy

This December brings us to the close of a truly extraordinary and transformative decade for SFF. Epic series like The Wheel of Time finally concluded as A Song of Ice and Fire rose to mainstream prominence on television (with Wheel of Time to follow suit?). Newer stars like N.K. Jemisin rose, while familiar faces like Neil Gaiman published some of their most innovative work yet. We saw the rise of fiction that dealt directly with the ongoing Climate Crisis, works that wrestled with the tumultuous political shifts, cozy space opera, gritty space opera, and literal space opera, with like, actual singing. Zombies faded from favor while orcs and goblins and fishmen found their time to shine. Readers went from celebrating Strong Female Characters to asking for Complicated Female Characters, and the literary landscape became much more inclusive for writers who had previously been marginalized. And, as in every decade, the villains threatened to steal the show entirely.

Four members of the fam, Publicity Coordinator Christina Orlando, writers Leah Schnelbach and Natalie Zutter, and Tor Books’ Senior Marketing Manager Renata Sweeney sat down for a rollicking, five-hour-long conversation about the decade in genre, discussing trends, favorite books, the heroes and villains who have stuck with them, and even a look forward to some titles that will help define the next decade.

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The 25 Most Anticipated SFF Books of 2020

2019 was a really good year for genre fiction. I mean, really good. Between new epics from Leigh Bardugo, Erin Morgenstern, Chuck Wendig, Sarah Gailey, Paul Krueger, Annalee Newitz, and other favorites, we were given the gift of Tamsyn Muir’s lesbian necromancers in Gideon the Ninth, brought through to new worlds in Alix E. Harrow’s The Ten Thousand Doors of January, and introduced to several new shining stars in the galaxy of Science-Fiction and Fantasy books. But as the year comes to a close, we’re starting to look forward to the start of a new decade. After all, a to-be-read pile can never be tall enough—our bookshelves might be starting to cave in, but that’s not going to stop us!

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Five Fiction Podcasts That Go Bump in the Night

The medium of radiodrama started back in the 1880s with sketches and short skits written specifically for radio, and became a phenomenon with Orson Welles’ iconic War of The Worlds in 1938. Some of our favorite SFF stories have existed as radio plays, including Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, which was broadcast in 1978, and Neil Gaiman’s Neverwhere, adapted for radio in 2013. With the popularity of fictional podcasts like Welcome to Night Vale, The Bright Sessions, and The Message, fans of riveting fiction experiences now have tons of stories available to them. The act of listening becomes an immersive experience—with a great sound designer, a few top-notch voice actors, and a great script, fictional podcasts provide a new way to escape the real world.

Now that it’s spooky season, it’s time to plug your headphones in to haunted houses, creepy townspeople, and terrifying alien invasions. The music fades in, a soft piano, but maybe just slightly out of tune. The wind blows by your ear. The footsteps of a tall, mysterious figure draw closer and closer. A twig snaps somewhere off in the distance. And suddenly, there are chills racing up your spine.

Ready to get lost? Here are a few great places to start.

[Read more]

Not Another Race Panel: “Geeks of Color” Celebrates Fandom Joy at NYCC

The fact of the matter is that we’re all sick of diversity panels focused on how people of color are othered. We’re tired of sitting on panels talking about race, gender, sexuality, disability, and all the many ways we feel ostracized from our industries and the SFF community. It just makes people of color feel even more like our identities separate us out from the majority, like we’re invited to do diversity panels but not invited to take part on panels for our fandoms. It feels like we’re here to share our traumas, not our joys.

The Geeks of Color panel at NYCC is in its seventh iteration this year, so moderator Diana M. Pho (Hugo-Award nominated editor for Tor Books) had an idea. What if a diversity panel didn’t talk about race at all, but instead was given the opportunity to talk about the work they do and the fandoms they enjoy?

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Five Wheel of Time Fan Podcasts to Plug Into

It’s pretty safe to say there’s no shortage of fandom content for Robert Jordan’s epic fantasy series, The Wheel of Time. Trust us, we’ve seen it all—art, fanfic, games, t-shirts, jewelry, cosplay, and everything else you could possibly think of. Like any good fandom, Wheel of Time fans put in the work to show just how much they love their favorite series. And that includes spending hours poring over the details, working through themes both large and small, finding holes in the plot to poke at, and going over every little decision their favorite character has made.

Podcasting offers the perfect way for fans to share their enthusiasm in a more engaging way—listening to a great literary podcast feels like hanging out with your friends and talking about your favorite books, exploring the stories we hold so dear. And as the television adaptation draws nearer, more and more readers are finding and rediscovering The Wheel of Time. Good news is, with these podcasts, there’s something for everyone. Whether you’re new to the series, coming back to it after a long time away, or maybe re-reading it for the millionth time, there’s a podcast to connect to. Here are five great discussion-style podcasts for you to get your geek on with.

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Traveling Between Genders in V.E. Schwab’s A Darker Shade of Magic

I am fifteen. I am in a white, floor-length beaded dress that corsets at the back. My hair is curled, set with hairspray, with flower-shaped crystal clips set in. For the first time in my life I have fake acrylic nails, squared off at the tip, with a delicate floral pattern painted on the ring finger. My mother has loaned me her jewelry, a delicate diamond necklace that sits just over my collarbone. I am on my way to my first prom.

Lila Bard is nineteen. She is in Calla’s clothing shop in Red London surrounded by finery. She picks up a black half-mask with two horns spiraling up from the temples. Forgoing the available dresses, she wears a black tunic, fitted trousers, and a pair of black boots made of soft, supple leather. She selects a dramatic high-collared black velvet coat with a half-cloak over her shoulders and glassy red clasps. She is on her way to a masquerade at the palace.

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“Dani and Bryce are the Abbi and Ilana of Crescent City”: Sarah J. Maas Talks About Her Adult Debut

Sarah J. Maas did not appear at BookExpo this past weekend. There weren’t even promotions available for her new novel series, Crescent City, which publishes early next year. Fans might not even know that she was here—unless they’ve spotted her walking around with her husband and her newborn baby. In a place where book authors become rockstars, Sarah J Maas is flying under the radar this year.

Crescent City marks the NYT Bestselling author’s adult debut—something she seems fairly nonplussed about, frankly. The series follows Bryce, a young woman living in a city filled with shapeshifters, vampires, and more. It’s different from the traditional fantasy she’s done in the past, taking a decidedly modern route. Crescent City’s population may be supernatural, but they still have cellphones and nightclubs and jobs to go to in the morning. It’s a shift in her career, but Maas’ fans are ready and hungry for it, having grown up with her two massive fantasy series, Throne of Glass and A Court of Thorns and Roses. And her fans are, well, fanatic. Maas started writing the Throne of Glass series at just sixteen years old, and they’ve stuck by her the whole way.

But after working on that series for nearly half her life, it’s time for Sarah J. Maas to do something new.

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