Tor.com content by

Meghan Ball

Pick a Path to Romance: The Forgotten 1980s D&D Romance Novels

I have spent a lot of my time this pandemic being deeply obsessed with Dungeons & Dragons. I started watching a ton of D&D shows like Critical Role, Oxventure, and Dimension 20, and I’ve joined a D&D group to play the game myself. We meet every Tuesday, my terrible wizard has only 30 hit points, and it’s the highlight of my week. D&D lets you live out some of your most deeply desired fantasies; having a friend group to hang out with, earning an appropriate amount of money for any work you do, and actually getting to take a long rest once in a while. And, back in the ’80s, you could add romance to that wish list.

[Read more]

Beyond Critical Role: Four More D&D Shows You’ll Love

You’ve probably been hearing a lot about Dungeons & Dragons and Critical Role lately, and with good reason: We’re currently in a sort of renaissance for tabletop RPGs, with live stream shows leading the charge to make these games feel accessible and exciting. Critical Role has blazed a trail over the last seven years, adapting their live stream home game into everything from a podcast to graphic novels to a new animated version of their first campaign, The Legend of Vox Machina, premiering January 28th on Amazon Prime. If you’re new to live-watching D&D games (or to D&D in general), then welcome! You have so much awesome content awaiting you…

[Read more]

Roll for Romance: The Forgotten D&D Romance Novels of 1983

I have spent a lot of my time this pandemic being deeply obsessed with Dungeons & Dragons. I started watching a ton of D&D shows like Critical Role, Oxventure, and Dimension 20, and I’ve joined a D&D group to play the game myself. We meet every Tuesday, my terrible wizard has only 30 hit points, and it’s the highlight of my week. D&D lets you live out some of your most deeply desired fantasies; having a friend group to hang out with, earning an appropriate amount of money for any work you do, and actually getting to take a long rest once in a while. And, back in the ’80s, you could add romance to that wish list.

[Read more]

15 SFF Books That Demand a Soundtrack

There are two main obsessions in my life: books and music. You can usually find me hunched over a book with a pair of headphones slapped securely over my ears. Both obsessions have lead me to wonderful things; I am an avid writer and a truly abysmal guitar player. They’ve also started to mix together in my weird, wormy brain. Books have begun to take on soundtracks of their own as I read them. Words become notes and chords, narrative themes become bands, and soon I can’t read a certain book without having to pair it with an album or playlist, like pairing wine with a specific dish.

[Read more]

The Enduring Legacy of Garth Nix’s Sabriel: Necromancy, Loss, and the Afterlife

Despite the best efforts of my parents, I grew up weird. They tried to interest me in wholesome, appropriate activities like horseback riding and ballet and in return I spent hours laying on my floor with my arms crossed over my chest wondering what a grave felt like. I don’t know why I did it. My sister is incredibly (by most standards) “normal,” in the sense of NOT being fascinated by things like death or witchcraft. I can’t tell you why some little girls become Misty of Chincoteague and others become Wednesday Addams. All I know is that I spent a lot of my childhood learning about various afterlifes, mummification, and Victorian memento mori.

My mother, who tried so damn hard to make me “normal,” did her best to keep me in books. She felt books were a safe place for my mind and they kept me out of trouble. I was a voracious reader and devoured any book placed in my hands. My mother was a teacher and would work the yearly Scholastic Book Fair, always squirreling away some books for me. That’s how I think Garth Nix’s Sabriel, one of the foundational books of my life, first found its way into my hands. I don’t think my mother had read the back of the book, or else she would have never given it to me. She saw the paperback cover, recognized it as a fantasy novel in the same vein as the others stacked high in my bedroom, and figured it would be fine.

[Read more]

Five More Books That Deserve Awesome Soundtracks

We’re officially more than halfway through 2020 and the less said about the first half, the better. Thankfully, two things that are eternally welcome, especially during a pandemic, are good books and fun playlists. In spite of everything, incredible new books are still coming out and great bands and artists are still releasing new music. We might not be able to browse our favorite bookstores or go to our local music venue to catch a show, but we can still enjoy these pastimes while we’re staying safe at home. Yes, friends, it’s that time again: I’m Meghan, your friendly music-obsessed book nerd, and I’m here again to pair up some fantastic new and recent releases with some excellent songs to help take your reading experience to a whole new level…

Grab a book, grab your headphones, and settle in!

[Read more]

Five Amazing New Novels That Deserve Their Own Soundtrack

We are three months into 2020 and the world might seem pretty bleak at the moment, with spring still a couple weeks away in the Northern Hemisphere… Good thing your friendly neighborhood book DJ is back again to highlight five more amazing books that deserve equally amazing soundtracks.

There is nothing quite as soothing to the soul as good music paired with good literature, and this season has been an embarrassment of riches where great new books are concerned. Each one is more dazzling and inventive than the last and you are sure to lose a few hours of sleep if you make the mistake of starting these books before bedtime. (Don’t say I didn’t warn you.) There’s something for everyone here, everything from hair-raising cosmic horror to vigilante librarians and more!

[Read more]

Series: Five Books About…

Five SFF Books That Demand a Soundtrack

There are two main obsessions in my life: books and music. You can usually find me hunched over a book with a pair of headphones slapped securely over my ears. Both obsessions have lead me to wonderful things; I am an avid writer and a truly abysmal guitar player. They’ve also started to mix together in my weird, wormy brain. Books have begun to take on soundtracks of their own as I read them. Words become notes and chords, narrative themes become bands, and soon I can’t read a certain book without having to pair it with an album or playlist, like pairing wine with a specific dish.

Some books come preloaded with music in their pages. Grady Hendrix’s excellent ode to metal, We Sold Our Souls, is all Black Sabbath and Slayer and Metallica. Catherynne M. Valente’s hilarious Space Opera is the very best of glam rock like David Bowie and T. Rex and the glittery disco-pop of ABBA. Science fiction and fantasy books specifically about music are relatively rare, though—it’s hard to distill a purely auditory experience into book form unless you’re actually writing about rock stars or the music business. And yet, some books still demand their own playlists, turning my brain into a Spotify algorithm gone rogue. Some books crackle with the same jangly energy as the Rolling Stones or have the same brittle pop charm as Taylor Swift. Some books dance or mosh or stage dive. Some books are a solo guitar and the reek of bad whiskey and cigarettes, while others thrum with the lyrical rush of a perfectly delivered rap battle victory.

Here is a small sampling of some recent books that, in my mind, evoke particular bands and music genres…

[Read more]

Series: Five Books About…

Good Omens, Part 9: It’s the End of the World as We Know It, And I Feel Fine

Here we are. The final battle. It all comes down to this. Welcome, my friends, to the end of the world. It’s been my absolute pleasure to be your guide, the Virgil to your Dante, for the last few weeks as we traveled the winding roads of Good Omens that have led us up to this point. This is where it all goes down. It’s finally time to see which side wins. Are you ready? Here we go…

[Read more]

Series: Good Omens Reread

Our Privacy Notice has been updated to explain how we use cookies, which you accept by continuing to use this website. To withdraw your consent, see Your Choices.