Announcing the Radiance Cinema Contest at WORD Bookstore

Radiance by Catherynne M. Valente

WORD Bookstore is hosting a Radiance-inspired film contest!

Catherynne Valente has written a lot of books that take her readers to a lot of places—but her new novel is something special indeed. Severin Unck is the daughter of a famous filmmaker, and an artist in her own right. But when she vanishes from her latest film set, no one seems to know what happened. Told in screenplays, gossip columns, transcribed conversations, and more genres than you can count on one hand, Radiance is a glorious trip both backward and forward in time; it takes place in an alternate past where we traipse among the planets with ease.

In honor of the filmmaking Uncks and their event with Valente on October 20, WORD is now accepting submissions of your own short films inspired by Radiance. The judges are asking that the short films be inspired by the below excerpt from the book. Visit their site for more guidelines and information regarding the cinema contest.

From the Personal Reels of Percival Alfred Unck

[SEVERIN UNCK stands amid a tangle of cables on the set of The Abduction of Proserpine. Vampire extras mill around her, touching up their makeup, chatting, taking their teeth out to smoke. She is very small, perhaps four or five. She wears a black dress with a black bow and black stockings. Her face is painted deathly white. She looks up at a demonic ice dragon with sword whiskers and icicle teeth, a massive puppet managed by the renowned TALMADGE BRACE and his team. She does not see her Uncle Madge pulling on the puppet’s works. It towers over her. She stares at its tinfoil eyes intently, quietly, hands clasped behind her back. She rocks up on her toes.]

Did you eat that big old city all up?

[The ice dragon nods solemnly. His lines creak.]

What a bad thing you are. You ought to be pun-

[The ice dragon nods again. TALMADGE works his lines and pulleys just out of frame, slumping the creature’s snow-puff shoulders in deep shame. He can barely suppress his amusement.]

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Nicotine Kiss is Now on Sale for $2.99

Nicotine Kiss by Loren D. EstlemanThe ebook for Nicotine Kiss by Loren D. Estleman is now on sale for $2.99!*

About Nicotone Kiss: In this installment of Loren Estleman’s signature PI series, Amos Walker, the quintessential hard-boiled detective, proves that he’s mortal after all. Jeff Starzek, an old friend who smuggles cigarettes for a living, saves Walker’s life, getting him to the hospital after he’s taken a bullet in the leg. A month later, still convalescing, Walker gets a panicked phone call from Starzek’s sister. Jeff is missing. One of the few leads is a Homeland Security agent who’s after Starzek, in connection with a counterfeiting operation that may have terrorist ties.

Though Walker doubts Starzek is a terrorist, he finds treasury paper at a church run by Starzek’s brother. Then Starzek’s brother disappears too. Back to square one, Walker follows his best hunch, driving Starzek’s usual cigarette route along the Lake Huron shore, and finally gets a solid lead on the paper hangers. But before Walker can break the case, someone tries to shoot him–and he’s accused of murder. Walker will need all of his intestinal fortitude, injured leg notwithstanding, to stay alive long enough to figure out who’s doing what to whom, in time to save his friend.

Buy Nicotine Kiss today: B&N Nook | | Google Play | iBooks | Kindle | Kobo


*sale ends October 30th.

Monsters of the Earth eBook is Now on Sale for $2.99

Monsters of the Earth by David DrakeThe ebook for Monsters of the Earth by David Drake is now on sale for $2.99!*

About Monsters of the Earth: Governor Saxa, of the great city of Carce, a fantasy analog of ancient Rome, is rusticating at his villa. When Saxa’s son Varus accompanies Corylus on a visit to the household of his father, Crispus, a retired military commander, Saxa joins the party with his young wife Hedia, daughter Alphena, and a large entourage of his servants, making it a major social triumph for Crispus. But on the way to the event, something goes amiss. Varus, who has been the conduit for supernatural visions before, experiences another: giant crystalline worms devouring the entire world.

Soon the major characters are each involved in supernatural events caused by a struggle between two powerful magicians, both mentored by the deceased poet and mage Vergil, one of whom wants to destroy the world and the other who wishes to stop him. But which is which? There is a complex web of human and supernatural deceit to be unraveled.

Monsters of the Earth is a gripping and intricate work of fantasy in David Drake’s ongoing chronicles of Carce, The Book of Elements.

Buy Monsters of the Earth today: B&N Nook | | Google Play | iBooks | Kindle | Kobo


*sale ends October 30th.

Saturn is Now on Sale for $2.99

Saturn by Ben BovaThe ebook for Saturn by Ben Bova is now on sale for $2.99!*

About Saturn: Second in size only to Jupiter, bigger than a thousand Earths but light enough to float in water, home of crushing gravity and delicate, seemingly impossible rings, it dazzles and attracts us:


Earth groans under the thumb of fundamentalist political regimes. Crisis after crisis has given authoritarians the upper hand. Freedom and opportunity exist in space, for those with the nerve and skill to run the risks.

Now the governments of Earth are encouraging many of their most incorrigible dissidents to join a great ark on a one-way expedition, twice Jupiter’s distance from the Sun, to Saturn, the ringed planet that baffled Galileo and has fascinated astronomers ever since.

But humans will be human, on Earth or in the heavens-so amidst the idealism permeating Space Habitat Goddard are many individuals with long-term schemes, each awaiting the tight moment. And hidden from them is the greatest secret of all, the real purpose of this expedition, known to only a few….

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*sale ends October 30th.

Crack’d Pot Trail is Now on Sale for $2.99

Crak'd Pot Trail by Steven EriksonThe ebook for Crack’d Pot Trail by Stephen Erikson is now on sale for $2.99!*

About Crack’d Pot Trail: It is an undeniable truth: give evil a name and everyone’s happy. Give it two names and…why, they’re even happier.

Intrepid necromancers Bauchelain and Korbal Broach, scourges of civilization, raisers of the dead, reapers of the souls of the living, devourers of hope, betrayers of faith, slayers of the innocent, and modest personifications of evil, have a lot to answer for and answer they will. Known as the Nehemoth, they are pursued by countless self-professed defenders of decency, sanity, and civilization. After all, since when does evil thrive unchallenged? Well, often–but not this time.

Hot on their heels are the Nehemothanai, avowed hunters of Bauchelain and Korbal Broach. In the company of a gaggle of artists and pilgrims, stalwart Mortal Sword Tulgord Vise, pious Well Knight Arpo Relent, stern Huntsman Steck Marynd, and three of the redoubtable Chanter brothers (and their lone sister) find themselves faced with the cruelest of choices. The legendary Crack’d Pot Trail, a stretch of harsh wasteland between the Gates of Nowhere and the Shrine of the Indifferent God, has become a tortured path of deprivation.

Will honor, moral probity, and virtue prove champions in the face of brutal necessity? No, of course not. Don’t be silly.

Buy Crak'd Pot Trail today: B&N Nook | | Google Play | iBooks | Kindle | Kobo
*Sale ends October 30th.

Tor Books Announces Programming for New York Comic-Con 2015

It’s time for New York Comic Con again! This year, we are pleased to announce that the Tor: The Next Generation! stage from BEA has been chosen as a panel. As always, Tor Books will continue its popular in-booth (#2223) signings and giveaways, offering you a chance to meet your favorite authors and pick up free books! Our exciting line-up includes author appearances by John Scalzi, Catherynne M. Valente, Charlie Jane Anders, and more!

Be sure to follow @TorBooks on Twitter for up-to-date information and last minute events.

Thursday, October 8th

• 12:00pm Tor Booth Signing: The End of All Things – John Scalzi

• 1:30pm – 2:30pm Tor: The Next Generation!, Room 1A18
Tor Books celebrates 35 years of publishing quality SFF by some of the biggest names in genre today! But even Orson Scott Card and Brandon Sanderson were once unknowns. Meet 2015’s new authors and see what makes them tick in a game of “Would You Rather” with host John Scalzi (The End of All Things) and featuring: Ilana C. Myer (Last Song Before Night), Seth Dickinson (The Traitor Buru Cormorant), Lawrence M. Schoen (Barsk: The Elephant’s Graveyard), and Fran Wilde (Updraft).
Panelists: Seth Dickinson, Ilana C. Myer, Lawrence M. Schoen, Fran Wilde
Moderator: John Scalzi
Rm: 350 seat room

• 2:45pm – Signing to follow, Bookstore Hall 1-B

• 2:00pm Tor Booth Signing: 24: Rogue – David Mack

• 5:00pm Tor Booth Signing: Updraft and Barsk: The Elephant’s Graveyard – Fran Wilde and Lawrence M. Schoen joint signing

Friday, October 9th

• 12:00pm Tor Booth Signing: Last Song Before Night – Ilana C. Myer

• 2:00pm Tor Booth Signing: Luna: New Moon – Ian McDonald

• 5:00pm Tor Booth Signing: The Traitor Baru Cormorant – Seth Dickinson

• 5:15pm Science in Fiction, Room 1B03
Look at something like The Martian vs. The Fold vs. the Iron Man movies. Is hard science always a good thing? Authors discuss the pros and cons and the sometimes slippery slope of including hard science in a work of fiction, especially in a paradigm era of technological development.
Panelists: A.G. Riddle, Mindy McGinnis, Robin Wasserman, Ian McDonald, Barry Lyga
Moderator: Peter Clines

• 6:45 PM – Signing to follow, Bookstore Hall 1-B

Saturday, October 10

• 12:00pm Tor Booth Signing: Trial of Intentions – Peter Orullian

• 1:30pm Masters of Unreality: Heavy Metal and SFF, Room 1A18
It’s well known that heavy metal songs have been based on fantasy novels; however, it can be argued that they’re also the perfect soundtrack to any battle scene, whether deep in the forest or in deep space. Authors Myke Cole, Michael Fletcher, and Peter Orullian are not just talented writers, but they’ve all been in metal bands! Join them along with James Dashner as they discuss what they listen to as they write epic scenes, discuss seminal albums and how the two cross reference each other.
Panelists: Peter Orullian, Myke Cole, Michael R. Fletcher
Moderator: Tricia Narwani of Del Rey

• 1:45pm Signing to follow

• 2:00pm Tor Booth Signing: All the Birds in the Sky – Charlie Jane Anders

• 4:00pm Books to Movies Wishlist, Room A101
The Martian. Foundation. American Gods. Redshirts: So many iconic SFF novels are finally scheduled to it the big screen, thanks to the rabid fandom of recent dramatizations of Game of Thrones, Outlander, The Hunger Games, and Divergent. But what’s on the big screen wish list of this panel of bestselling speculative fiction superstars? They all agree that the obvious franchises have been done already – and now, they want to discuss with NYCC attendees what lesser-know/cult fave titles should invade theaters and march into cable programming! Join us for a nerdy-fun discussion about which science fiction and fantasy must-reads would really make celluloid magic!
Panelists: Christopher Golden, Chuck Wendig, Jennifer Armentrout, Charlie Jane Anders
Moderator: Michael Underwood

• 5:15pm Signing to Follow, Bookstore Hall 1-B

• 5:00pm Tor Booth Signing: Radiance – Catherynne M. Valente

Sunday, October 11

• 12:00pm Tor Booth Signing: Chasing the Phoenix – Michael Swanwick

• 1:30pm Get Out of Your Chair and Off the Planet! Room A101
Whether it’s satisfying readers’ desires for interstellar armchair travel or sparking ambitions for SF fans to pursue extra-terrestrial encounters, in actuality, science fiction is the fiction of the imagination and inspiration. Authors Michael Swanwick, Jay Allen, Catherynne M. Valente, Judd Winnick, CH Higgin stake readers to the final frontier … and beyond.
Panelists: Michael Swanwick, Catherynne M. Valente, CH Higgins, Judd Winnick
Moderator: Maryelizabeth Hart

• 2:45pm Signing to follow, Bookstore Hall 1-B

*Giveaways are on a first-come, first-served basis Entry: Skymouth

Copyright Fran Wilde 2013(Last Modified: 11 August, 2015 at 16:43:24 by Fran Wilde, skymouth historian)

I set out to write a straightforward explanation of the monsters in Updraft—honest. But (as my dear and patient editor knows far too well), straight isn’t always one of my primary directions. I love to tell things slant. So instead, I give you a first-ever (but hopefully not last) entry in The Torpedia—a collaborative cataloging of flora and fauna particular to Tor Books.


For other uses, see skymouth (disambiguation).

[Image File 1: carving: city scene featuring stylized skymouth tentacles, or clouds. In style of mid-Rise era. Artist: post author. [1]]

[Image File 2: carving: skymouth attacking tower, in style of the late Rise era. Medium: bone. Attributed to legendary artist Jainiat Lith*, or possibly a conglomeration of individuals. [Torpedia note: file missing or corrupted.]]

The skymouth (/sky*mouth/ or /skaɪ-mauʊð/)[2] is a creature of traditional song and legend featuring unusually large proportions and appetite. Skymouths travel in packs within and above the clouds. Their passage through a city quadrant is known as a migration. Reports of individual skymouths plucking fliers unsuspecting from the skies without warning have been received. [Torpedia Warning to post author: preceding claim not verified by a secondary source. Please verify or remove. Second notice.]

A skymouth—as opposed to any other airborne predator within and around the bone towers—is first distinguished by one or more of the following:

  • A distinct lack of birds in the area.
  • An oily roil to air currents.
  • A pronounced turmoil within and around gardens and terraces.
  • Screaming from nearby towers.
  • The sounding of bone horns to warn citizens to take cover.

Species classification: nominally cephalopod, with pronounced skin abnormalities (camouflaging behaviors, repelling surfaces), unceasing hunger, and a giant oral cavity lined with glass teeth. Omnivore.

[Torpedia Editor Note: we believe “cephalopod” is a term of art in this instance. Our copy editor has suggested “highly aggressive tentacular creature of size”. Review of this term is underway by committee.]

Few reports from survivors exist. One record from a tower observer indicates:

“A squall broke hard against the tower, threatening a loose shutter. Then the balcony’s planters toppled and the circling guards scattered. One guard, the slowest, jerked to a halt in the air and flew, impossibly, backwards. His leg yanked high, flipping his body as it went, until he hung upside down in the air. He flailed for his quiver, spilling arrows, as the sky opened below him, red and wet and filled with glass teeth. The air blurred as slick, invisible limbs tore away his brown silk wings, then lowered what the monster wanted into its mouth.

By the time his scream reached us, the guard had disappeared from the sky.” ~ Kirit Densira, Densira Tower[3]

Updraft by Fran Wilde
History and appearance in culture: Skymouths appear in songs and carvings across history, including—it is believed—the Ginth Panorama from the mid-Rise period. [Torpedia Warning to Post Author: as the Ginth Panorama is currently being reassembled by scholars, this claim requires verification. First warning.]

Cultural impact: Skymouths have been associated with bad luck by many citizens, including all hunters, city councilmen, and most tower residents. Actions taken to ward off skymouths include symbolic gestures, the closing of shutters, and—in rare cases—the expulsion of extremely unlucky or unsafe citizens, lest they attract a skymouth to the vicinity.

Population impact: the number of skymouth-related deaths in the bone towers is unknown.

Notes & Research Used:

  1. Source: Author’s private journal. All rights reserved.
  2. Pronunciation guide as told to author by aural experts, known as Singers.
  3. Source: Updraft (Tor 2015), by Fran Wilde. ISBN: 0765377837

About the author: Noted skymouth historian Fran Wilde’s short stories have appeared in publications including Asimov’s, Beneath Ceaseless Skies, Nature, and Fran’s debut novel Updraft is out now. Fran lives in Philadelphia and can be found on Twitter, Facebook, and on her website.

Buy Updraft today:
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Books-a-Million | iBooks | Indiebound | Powell’s

The Complete Wheel of Time eBook is Now on Sale for $44.99

The Complete Wheel of Time by Robert Jordan and Brandon SandersonJoin the millions of readers worldwide who love The Wheel of Time! Here’s your chance to get all 14 ebooks in the series, plus the prequel novel New Spring, for only $44.99.

The Wheel of Time turns and Ages come and go, leaving memories that become legend. Legend fades to myth, and even myth is long forgotten when the Age that gave it birth returns again. In the Third Age, and Age of Prophecy, the World and Time themselves hang in the balance. What was, what will be, and what is, may yet fall under the Shadow.

Buy The Complete Wheel of Time today: B&N Nook | Google Play | iBooks | Kindle | Kobo

*sale ends September 8

Earthseed eBook is Now on Sale for $2.99

Earthseed by Pamela SargentThe ebook for Earthseed by Pamela Sargent is now on sale for $2.99!*

About Earthseed: Ship hurtles through space. Deep within its core, it carries the seed of humankind. Launched by the people of a dying Earth over a century ago, its mission is to find a habitable world for the children—fifteen-year-old Zoheret and her shipmates—whom it has created from its genetic banks.

To Zoheret and her shipmates, Ship has been mother, father, and loving teacher, preparing them for their biggest challenge: to survive on their own, on an uninhabited planet, without Ship’s protection. Now that day is almost upon them…but are they ready to leave Ship? Ship devises a test. And suddenly, instincts that have been latent for over a hundred years take over. Zoheret watches as friends become strangers—and enemies. Can Zoheret and her companions overcome the biggest obstacle to the survival of the human race—themselves?

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*sale ends October 2nd