Remembering Terry Pratchett, Champion of Humor, Kindness, and Practical Witchery

I can tell you the exact moment I discovered Terry Pratchett’s Discworld series. I was about fifteen and fortunate enough to be on a trip to England with my father and stepmother. Though I considered myself to be lucky, I was also in dire straits—my Walkman was dead, I’d read all my books, and I was stuck in a car with two adults who were constantly fighting and all of my coping mechanisms had been used up. I was desperate for a book. I think any lifelong reader will understand the panic of being stuck somewhere stressful without a good book. (Or really any book, for that matter.)

We had stopped to see some famous rock circle—I can’t remember which one, only that it wasn’t Stonehenge. However, I do remember that they had a little gift shop, and in that little gift shop amongst the knickknacks and postcards was ...

Lish McBride Terry Pratchett hug meeting in person fan story
Pyromantic Lish McBride

Remembering Terry Pratchett, Champion of Humor, Kindness, and Practical Witchery

I can tell you the exact moment I discovered Terry Pratchett’s Discworld series. I was about fifteen and fortunate enough to be on a trip to England with my father and stepmother. Though I considered myself to be lucky, I was also in dire straits—my Walkman was dead, I’d read all my books, and I was stuck in a car with two adults who were constantly fighting and all of my coping mechanisms had been used up. I was desperate for a book. I think any lifelong reader will understand the panic of being stuck somewhere stressful without a good book. (Or really any book, for that matter.)

We had stopped to see some famous rock circle—I can’t remember which one, only that it wasn’t Stonehenge. However, I do remember that they had a little gift shop, and in that little gift shop amongst the knickknacks and postcards was ...

Lish McBride Terry Pratchett hug meeting in person fan story
Pyromantic Lish McBride

Did We ALL Write a Book About Space Elevators? Why Unfortunate Coincidences Happen in Science Fiction

An author has an epiphany, spots a story idea nobody ever had before, writes it in the white heat of inspiration, sends it off and gets a cheque in the mail. All is as it should be. At least, that is, until they discover someone else had the exact same idea at exactly the same time. Or worse—the other person’s version saw print first.

One of the more remarkable examples of this type of unfortunate concurrence occurred in 1979. Working on opposite sides of the planet in an era long before everyone had email, Charles Sheffield and Arthur C. Clarke wrote novels about…well, let me just quote Mr. Clarke’s open letter, which was reprinted at the end of Sheffield’s book…

Early in 1979 I published a novel, The Fountains of Paradise, in which an engineer named Morgan, builder of the longest bridge in the world, tackles a far more ...

Charlie Jane Anders, Annalee Newitz, and Malka Older Talk about the Future at BEA!

Charlie Jane Anders, Malka Older, and Annalee Newitz at BookExpo America Charlie Jane Anders, author of the Nebula Award-winning All the Birds in the Sky, moderated a lively BEA panel, “Women in Science Fiction” featuring Infomocracy author Malka Older and Autonomous author Annalee Newitz. The trio talked about imagining the future, balancing worldbuilding with strong characters, and the experience of first novelist. Read on!   Anders opened by saying that Infomocracy and Autonomous share an interest in future history. How do the two writers create a realistic future, when the present is so tumultuous? Malka Older: It depends on how far in the future you want to go. Infomocracy is set about sixty years in the future. I wanted to comment on “now” with enough distance to comment on where we’re heading. Now that I’m working on the third book in the series, it’s gotten harder to keep updating a future because the present is changing so rapidly. Annalee Newitz: ...

Charlie Jane Anders, Annalee Newitz, and Malka Older Talk about the Future at BEA!

Charlie Jane Anders, Malka Older, and Annalee Newitz at BookExpo America Charlie Jane Anders, author of the Nebula Award-winning All the Birds in the Sky, moderated a lively BEA panel, “Women in Science Fiction” featuring Infomocracy author Malka Older and Autonomous author Annalee Newitz. The trio talked about imagining the future, balancing worldbuilding with strong characters, and the experience of first novelist. Read on!   Anders opened by saying that Infomocracy and Autonomous share an interest in future history. How do the two writers create a realistic future, when the present is so tumultuous? Malka Older: It depends on how far in the future you want to go. Infomocracy is set about sixty years in the future. I wanted to comment on “now” with enough distance to comment on where we’re heading. Now that I’m working on the third book in the series, it’s gotten harder to keep updating a future because the present is changing so rapidly. Annalee Newitz: ...

Announcing the 2017 Locus Award Finalists

Locus Magazine has announced the finalists in each category of the 2017 Locus Awards! The winners will be announced during the Locus Awards Weekend in Seattle, WA, June 23-25, 2017; Connie Willis will MC the awards ceremony. We are honored to see various Tor Books and Tor.com Publishing authors and titles nominated. Click through for the complete list of finalists. Congratulations to all the nominees! SCIENCE FICTION NOVEL
  • Company Town, Madeline Ashby (Tor)
  • The Medusa Chronicles, Stephen Baxter & Alastair Reynolds (Gollancz; Saga)
  • Take Back the Sky, Greg Bear (Orbit US; Orbit UK)
  • Visitor, C.J. Cherryh (DAW)
  • Babylon’s Ashes, James S.A. Corey (Orbit US; Orbit UK
  • Death’s End, Cixin Liu (Tor; Head of Zeus)
  • After Atlas, Emma Newman (Roc)
  • Central Station, Lavie Tidhar (Tachyon)
  • The Underground Railroad, Colson Whitehead (Doubleday; Fleet)
  • Last Year, Robert Charles Wilson (Tor)
FANTASY NOVEL

What is the Best Collective Noun for Authors?

Writing, when you get down to the nuts and bolts of actually putting words on paper, is one of the loneliest professions. But then there are conventions, panels, collaborative serialized storytelling experiments, and (thanks to social media) Twitter hashtag fun and Reddit AMAs, all of which see authors congregating in the same physical or digital space. But what do you call it when these famously reclusive creatures are all collected together? Like a mob of kangaroos or a unkindness of ravens, we thought writers deserved their very own descriptive collective noun. We came up with “a mischief of authors,” but we want to hear yours! A collective noun could be useful in all sorts of situations, really, including our fanfic about Lord Byron’s ghost story competition (the one that lead to Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein). Oddly, one never comes up in Mike Carey’s The Unwritten, which features cameos from ...
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John Scalzi is Optimistic about Cockroaches, Novels, and the Future of Science Fiction

John Scalzi, The Collapsing Empire John Scalzi made his reputation when he serialized Old Man’s War online, and attracted a huge readership and the notice of Tor Books’ Patrick Nielsen Hayden. Now he’s tackling a brand new space opera, The Collapsing Empire. He recently spoke with the good folks of The Verge about his new book, the future of publishing, and the power of optimism. Check out a few highlights below! Scalzi talked a bit about making sure his new space opera forged a new path. First, he’s drawing on the “golden age” of exploration to deal with an Empire as it runs into a major setback. The civilization of The Collapsing Empire relies on an alternate dimension called The Flow, which has allowed the populace to travel long distances… and has also resulted in planets forming a completely interdependent web of supplies and trade. In pondering the way that Europe used ocean currents and ...

John Scalzi is Optimistic about Cockroaches, Novels, and the Future of Science Fiction

John Scalzi, The Collapsing Empire John Scalzi made his reputation when he serialized Old Man’s War online, and attracted a huge readership and the notice of Tor Books’ Patrick Nielsen Hayden. Now he’s tackling a brand new space opera, The Collapsing Empire. He recently spoke with the good folks of The Verge about his new book, the future of publishing, and the power of optimism. Check out a few highlights below! Scalzi talked a bit about making sure his new space opera forged a new path. First, he’s drawing on the “golden age” of exploration to deal with an Empire as it runs into a major setback. The civilization of The Collapsing Empire relies on an alternate dimension called The Flow, which has allowed the populace to travel long distances… and has also resulted in planets forming a completely interdependent web of supplies and trade. In pondering the way that Europe used ocean currents and ...

Join John Scalzi on His The Collapsing Empire Tour!

John Scalzi The Collapsing Empire author tour dates In John Scalzi’s new space opera The Collapsing Empire, our universe is ruled by physics and faster than light travel is not possible—until the discovery of The Flow, an extra-dimensional field we can access at certain points in space-time that transport us to other worlds, other stars. Humanity flows away from Earth, into space, and in time forgets our home world and creates a new empire, the Interdependency, whose ethos requires that no one human outpost can survive without the others. It’s a hedge against interstellar war—and a system of control for the rulers of the empire. The Flow is eternal—but it is not static. Just as a river changes course, The Flow changes as well, cutting off worlds from the rest of humanity. When it’s discovered that The Flow is moving, possibly cutting off every human world from faster than light travel forever, three individuals—a scientist, a starship ...

Five Authors with Magical Worldbuilding Skills

The Time of the Dark cover art by David Mattingly (1981) I doubt that anyone who’s read any of my fiction will be surprised to learn that I like strong women, both in my own life and as characters and as authors. I expect most people would be unsurprised to discover that I like literary universes with strongly recognized world building and stories which explore individual responsibility, risk-taking, and price-paying characters. Or that I love the English language. So, I thought I’d talk briefly about five authors, all of whom fall within several of those parameters: Anne McCaffrey, Katherine Kurtz, Patricia McKillip, Mercedes Lackey, and Barbara Hambly. I first met Anne McCaffrey in Dragonflight, which I read in serialized format while I was still in high school, and I thought “Wow!” I realize the Pern novels sort of straddle the line between fantasy and science fiction, but that’s fine. In fact, that’s a lot more than just fine. Her ...
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For Mary Shelley, Creating a Monster was Only the Beginning

Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley Please enjoy this encore post on the career of Mary Shelley, originally published on Friday, Oct 14, 2016. Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley will always be linked to the novel Frankenstein and those who know her name might think of her as having had her life defined by that single iconic work. But when the book was first published in 1818, Mary was a girl of twenty-one. Many other endeavors became important to her as she grew in maturity. Frankenstein was merely the first major accomplishment. In her lifetime, she wrote six more novels, numerous short stories, two dramas, travelogues, biographies, and she compiled collections of poems by her late husband Percy Bysshe Shelley that brought him international attention. She first met the young, then-unknown poet at one of her father’s salon dinners in 1812. He was there to obtain financial backing from the renowned author William Godwin, Mary’s father. In June ...
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Robert Jordan: The American Tolkien

Robert Jordan America's Tolkien

< p class="frontmatter">Please enjoy this encore post on Robert Jordan’s legacy, originally published May 2016. In 2005, Lev Grossman of Time Magazine declared that George R. R. Martin was “the American Tolkien.” Since then, you’ll be able to find the phrase splashed on just about every one of Martin’s wonderful novels. And for good reason, of course. That’s a really awesome blurb. I’d love it on my own novels. Or how about just “the American Pullman”? I would be totally cool with that, Mr. Grossman! Unfortunately, I think that my series The Shards of Heaven—while it follows Philip Pullman’s superb His Dark Materials in ultimately positing a new origin story for the gods—would not be the right fit for the comparison. Pullman’s series is a parallel world fantasy fundamentally in dialogue with John Milton, William Blake, and C. S. Lewis; my series is a historical fantasy set during the time ...
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The gunner's view of Vietnam.
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Shirley Jackson’s Haunted Houses and Haunted Psyches

Shirley Jackson In the middle of the last century, as male writers duked it out for the Great American Novelist with stories about men trying to make it in society—Ralph Ellison! Saul Bellow! Ernest Hemingway! James Jones! Vladimir Nabokov! Philip Roth!—an acerbic faculty wife and mother of four was working away in Vermont, writing some of the most psychologically astute novels that have ever seen print, while juggling her family’s needs, a constant whirl of literary society, and her own neuroses and writer’s block. The Haunting of Hill House and We Have Always Lived in the Castle are now recognized as classics of modern Gothic literature, but Jackson also churned out stories and novels that probed the psyches of abuse survivors, tackled the symptoms of dissociative disorder, and lambasted the casual anti-Semitism and racism that was common among her fellow 1950s Americans. Shirley Jackson could have had a very different life ...

James Patterson and Simone Biles Debut on the Indie Bestseller List

Merry Christmas, Alex Cross (GalleyCat)We’ve collected the books debuting on Indiebound’s Indie Bestseller List for the week ending December 4, 2016–a sneak peek at the books everybody will be talking about next month. (Debuted at #5 in Mass Market) Merry Christmas, Alex Cross by James Patterson: “The tree decorating is barely underway before his phone rings again-a horrific hostage situation is quickly spiraling out of control. Away from his own family on the most precious of days, Alex calls upon every ounce of his training, creativity, and daring to save another family.” (November 2016) (Debuted at #11 in Young Adult) Courage to Soar by Simone Biles: “Here, in her own words, Simone takes you through the events, challenges, and trials that carried her from an early childhood in foster care to a coveted spot on the 2016 Olympic team. Along the way, Simone shares the details of her inspiring personal story—one ...

Stephen King Defends Bob Dylan as Nobel Prize Choice

Author Stephen King thinks that people should stop criticizing the Swedish Academy for selecting Bob Dylan as the recipient of The Nobel Prize in Literature. In a piece penned for Rolling Stone, King defended Dylan and discussed the importance of Dylan’s influence on writing. Here is an excerpt:

People complaining about his Nobel either don’t understand or it’s just a plain old case of sour grapes. I’ve seen several literary writers who have turned their noses up at the Dylan thing, like Gary Shteyngart. Well, I’ve got news for you, Gary: There are a lot of deserving writers who have never gotten the Nobel Prize. And Gary Shteyngart will probably be one of them. That’s no reflection on his work. You have to rise to the level of a Faulkner if you’re an American.

A.J. Jacobs: ‘Empathy is such an important skill for writers…’

AJ Jacobs (GalleyCat)A.J. Jacobs has lived an incredibly interesting life. To the delight of his readers, he chronicles his experiments in articles for Esquire magazine and in his funny books which include The Know-it-All, The Year of Living Biblically, My Life as an Experiment, and Drop Dead Healthy. Recently, we spoke Jacobs to discuss the intricacies of writing, the Global Family Reunion event, and all the experiments he has intends to tackle in the near future. Check out the highlights from our interview below… Q: How did you land your first book deal?
A: I wrote an article for a (now-defunct) magazine called The Nose. It wasn’t even an article. It was a silly little chart about the alleged similarities between Elvis Presley and Jesus Christ (Jesus walked on water in The Sea of Galilee; Elvis surfed in the movie Blue Hawaii — that kind of thing). For some reason, I was deluded enough to think ...

James Patterson to Speak at University of the Pacific Commencement

Bestselling author James Patterson will be the commencement speaker at the University of Pacific’s graduation ceremony. Patterson’s involvement is personal. The Class of 2017 includes four aspiring teachers that attended the university thanks to support from the Patterson Family Foundation. The foundation has given out $7 million in scholarships to help support student teachers at universities around the country. Pacific’s graduation will take place on May 13. “I am so blessed to be here at Pacific and it is because of Mr. Patterson’s generous financial contribution to my college education that my dreams are coming true,” stated Taylor Dorsey, one of the recipients of the scholarship. “I can’t wait to begin my career as a teacher so I can make a difference in other people’s lives as Mr. Patterson has made in mine. I will never forget what he has done for me.”