Tor.com content by

Tamsyn Muir

Fiction and Excerpts [8]
All

Fiction and Excerpts [8]

From Skulls to Swords: Dissecting the Cover for Gideon the Ninth

Galactic dirtbag Gideon the Ninth is now on bookshelves, trashing up the place and attracting furtive glances from all walks of life (and unlife). With a character like this, any artist would struggle to capture their sweaty immediacy. But not only did artist Tommy Arnold visualize it perfectly, he also included clues and details that perfectly conveys the life of Gideon, which is a terrible one, and need not be duplicated or admired.

[Read more]

Five SFF Books With Bad Old Men

The old man in science fiction and fantasy is multitudinous. He shows his age in ways physical and spiritual. He can be a wise old mentor or a forbidding elder. He can be a distant God or a loving grandfather. He can be a mad king or a cackling peasant. Sometimes he is ancient without looking it—Tom Bombadil—sometimes he is jolly and kind—Tom Bombadil—sometimes he is unearthly and strange—Tom Bombadil—sometimes he sucks and is awful—Tom Bombadil.

My favourite hideous old men in books are the ones who are dreadful, but whom I also love on sight. I love little old men who cackle, and I love dignified greybeards, and grizzled old soldiers. But mostly I love them when they make me want to drink the cursed red liquid from the mummy’s sarcophagus, and die.

[Here are five books about bad old men.]

Series: Five Books About…

Hugo Spotlight: Rebecca Roanhorse’s Trail of Lightning Is an Action-Adventure with Intricate Depth

In the lead-up to the 2019 Hugo Awards, we’re taking time to appreciate this year’s novel and short fiction Finalists, and what makes each of them great.

There is an argument to be made that, of all the skills in the writer’s toolbox, the one that makes a writer great is the skill marked NARRATIVE. The others—PROSE, CHARACTERISATION, IMAGINATION, DIALOGUE—are important, but I argue that no widely-renowned writer has ever had this said about them: “I only read X’s books for the dialogue.”

[Rebecca Roanhorse maxed out her points in storytelling.]

Read Gideon the Ninth: Chapter 8

PREVIOUSLY ON GIDEON THE NINTH:

Having landed on the waterlogged planet of the House of the First, hero G. Nav deals with some tiny Dumbledore-looking motherfucker called Teacher and gets a first look-in on the Third House, which consists of Tweedledee, Tweedledum, and a poser. She also heroically intervenes on the part of the lady of the Seventh House, who turns out to be quite cute but has Captain Trips, and is menaced by the lady’s cavalier primary, who is trepidatiously hench. Harrowhark is a useless goth as per usual.

[Read more]

Let Me Tell You About the Granddaddy of Bewildering New Zealand Kids’ Fantasy: The Halfmen of O

Freeman, Firstman, made the Motherstone, and laid the Halves on it, and put Humankind in balance… Light and dark contended and held each other in a deep embrace. Yes, Susan, that is it, you have the mark on you. There on your wrist. See how the light bends into the dark, see how dark leans into light. They hold each other, good and evil. And see, if you look close, in the light there is a spot of dark, and in the dark there is a spot of light.

Growing up, I tended to read NZ teen fiction more dutifully than passionately. My mother was a librarian and a driving force in the early days of the New Zealand Post Book Awards. You could always tell NZ teen lit in the school library because there was a silver fern sticker on the spine. I did not go to it except when desperate because, acknowledging a couple of extremely good exceptions—Tessa Duder and Fleur Beale, for instance—books for Kiwi teens tended to be worthy, earnest, and dreary. They were always set in Wellington or Auckland, and they were always about your friend who died, or the summer you lost your virginity, or the summer you lost your virginity to your friend who died, and at the end everyone moved to Australia.

One of the reasons I think these books seemed very tedious in my teens is because, by comparison, the NZ kid’s lit of my youth was unremittingly bananas. The Halfmen of O is not simply an example of this: it is the granddaddy of bewildering NZ kids’ fantasy.

[Read more]

Read Gideon the Ninth: Chapter 6

PREVIOUSLY ON GIDEON THE NINTH:

Harrowhark graciously shared correspondence from the King of Dead Kings with Gideon, detailing aspects of the holy sacrament they are about to partake of in the First House. Gideon continues to fail at perfectly reasonable things like painting herself in vestal skull paint and showing fealty to her Reverend Daughter, who is too well-bred to take offense.

[Read more]

Read Gideon the Ninth: Chapter 5

PREVIOUSLY ON GIDEON THE NINTH:

Now that Ortus Nigenad is out of the picture, Harrowhark condescends to offer Gideon his job, the honour of which she fails to recognise. Will Gideon choose to aid her Lady in becoming a necromantic saint, putting aside her crude broadsword for the elegant rapier, or will she continue to issue poor quality one-liners to her betters? (The answer, alas, was both.)

[Read more]

Read Gideon the Ninth: Chapter 4

PREVIOUSLY ON GIDEON THE NINTH:

Harrowhark adds religious piety to her growing list of virtues. Gideon is poorly behaved during a nice Locked Tomb mass wherein we learn that the Necrolord Prime, holy Emperor of the Reignited Sun, is offering all scions of the Nine Houses the chance to become his powerful Lyctors. Gideon, to whom this is all pearls before swine, is shown yet again the error of her ways.

[Read more]

Read Gideon the Ninth: Chapter 3

PREVIOUSLY ON GIDEON THE NINTH:

Harrowhark Nonagesimus, a hardworking girl looking after her parents’ interests, cunningly tricked the boorish Gideon into a battle Gideon might have easily won had she only possessed forethought, virtue, or a spade. Gideon is handily beaten through the dark and beautiful necromancy of the bone, which she does not appreciate, and we are delighted by the moral.

[Read more]

Read Gideon the Ninth: Chapters 1 and 2

The Emperor needs necromancers.

The Ninth Necromancer needs a swordswoman.

Gideon has a sword, some dirty magazines, and no more time for undead bullshit.

Tamsyn Muir’s heart-pounding epic science fantasy Gideon the Ninth unveils a solar system of swordplay, cut-throat politics, and lesbian necromancers. Available September 10th from Tor.com Publishing, it’s the most fun you’ll ever have with a skeleton. We’re excited to share the first two chapters with you below—what are you waiting for?!

[Read more]

Return of the Obra Dinn Proves Game Writing Deserves SFF Award Recognition

Lucas Pope’s Return of the Obra Dinn has a highly original premise : in the year 1807, an insurance adjuster is tasked with investigating the Obra Dinn, a washed-up East Indiaman missing since 1803 and whose sixty-man crew is now dead or gone.

How? With the “Memento Mortem”, a mysterious watch that lets you travel back in time to the last few moments before death. With proximity to a body, you can hear a few seconds previous to, and see in tableau, the very instant of their demise. How wonderful, I thought. A grisly corpse-activated Time Turner! A VR Alethiometer, one that is neither obscure nor has a go at you for being Catholic!

A couple days later I was jubilant over the future of what game narrative could do for SFF. Simultaneously, and not unlike the Obra Dinn herself, I was a wreck.

[Read more]

Read the First Chapter of Tamsyn Muir’s Gideon the Ninth!

The Emperor needs necromancers.

The Ninth Necromancer needs a swordswoman.

Gideon has a sword, some dirty magazines, and no more time for undead bullshit.

Tamsyn Muir’s heart-pounding epic science fantasy Gideon the Ninth unveils a solar system of swordplay, cut-throat politics, and lesbian necromancers. Available September 10th from Tor.com Publishing, it’s the most fun you’ll ever have with a skeleton. We’re excited to share the first chapter with you below—what are you waiting for?!

[Read more]

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.