Tor Authors Take the Ice Bucket Challenge

If you’ve been on social media at all lately, chances are you’ve seen the videos. Someone announces that they’ve accepted the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, and promptly gets a bucket full of ice water dumped over their heads. The resulting expressions of surprise and frantic jumping around are great entertainment for those of us watching.

Three Tor authors have accepted the challenge, helping to promote awareness of ALS. We wanted to gather all three of those videos for you in one handy place, so you can enjoy watching Brandon Sanderson, Alex Bledsoe, and David Brin get a dousing!

Brandon Sanderson

First up, Brandon Sanderson, the author of Words of Radiance. After watching this, we’re not entirely certain Brandon’s actually human. But we love an author who can keep working, no matter what!


 
From Brandon’s blog:

Now, the point of this challenge is that you either donate $100 to the ALS Association, or you do the ice bucket thing and donate $10. As I did the ice bucket thing, we’re choosing to donate $10 to ALS, and instead give the $100 to the Cure Alzheimer’s Fund in the name of Sir Terry Pratchett. I figured it would be worthwhile to spread the love from this charity drive around.

Click through to read the rest, including who Brandon nominated for the challenge!

Alex Bledsoe

Next up, we have Alex Bledsoe, the author of both the Eddie LaCrosse series, and the Tufa novels. For the ALS challenge, Alex got a little help from his boys—who don’t exactly have perfect aim. Close enough, though!


 

Our favorite part? “No, you didn’t miss!”

David Brin

Our final video for this roundup features David Brin, the author of Existence. I have to say, I think the way David handles the challenge is almost…Shakespearean. And the replay at the end is great!


 

Edited to add:

Dan Wells

And we have another Tor author taking up the challenge! Dan Wells, the author of the John Cleaver series, has a whole group of kids available to dump some very cold water on his head.


 

So: who’s going to take the challenge next? Have we missed any of our authors participating? And, finally, find out more about the challenge, ALS, and how to donate on the ALS Association website.

People of the Morning Star & Cahokia

About People of the Morning Star: Bestselling authors and archaeologists Michael and Kathleen Gear begin the stunning saga of the North American equivalent of ancient Rome in People of the Morning Star.

The city of Cahokia, at its height, covered more than six square miles around what is now St. Louis and included structures more than ten stories high. Cahokian warriors and traders roamed from the Great Lakes to the Gulf of Mexico. What force on earth would motivate hundreds of thousands of people to pick up, move hundreds of miles, and once plopped down amidst a polyglot of strangers, build an incredible city?

A religious miracle: the Cahokians believed that the divine hero Morning Star had been resurrected in the flesh. But not all is fine and stable in glorious Cahokia. To the astonishment of the ruling clan, an attempt is made on the living god’s life. Now it is up to Morning Star’s aunt, Matron Blue Heron, to keep it quiet until she can uncover the plot and bring the culprits to justice. If she fails, Cahokia will be torn asunder in warfare, rage, and blood as civil war consumes them all.

Book Trailer: Unwept by Tracy Hickman and Laura Hickman


 
Unwept by Tracy Hickman and Laura Hickman

Unwept is the beginning of a spellbinding new trilogy by Tracy Hickman and Laura Hickman, bestselling co-creators of Dragonlance and Ravenloft.

Gamin, Maine, is a remote seaside town where everyone seems to know Ellis Harkington better than she knows herself—but she doesn’t remember any of them.

Unknown events have robbed Ellis of her memory. Concerned individuals, who claim to be friends and loved ones, insist that she simply needs to recuperate, and that her memories may return in time. But, for her own sake—so they claim—they refuse to divulge what has brought her to this state.

Ellis finds herself adrift in a town of ominous mysteries, cryptic hints, and disturbingly familiar strangers. The Nightbirds, a clique of fashionable young men and women, claim her as one of their own, but who can she truly trust? And what of the phantom suitor who visits her in her dreams? Is he a memory, a figment of her imagination, or a living nightmare beyond rational explanation?

Only her lost past holds the answers she seeks—if she can uncover its secrets before she falls prey to an unearthly killer.

Unwept, by Tracy Hickman and Laura Hickman, will publish on July 1st.

Book Trailer: All Those Vanished Engines by Paul Park


 
All Those Vanished Engines by Paul Park

In All Those Vanished Engines, Paul Park returns to science fiction after a decade spent on the impressive four-volume A Princess of Roumania fantasy, with an extraordinary, intense, compressed SF novel in three parts, each set in its own alternate-history universe. The sections are all rooted in Virginia and the Battle of the Crater, and are also grounded in the real history of the Park family, from differing points of view. They are all gorgeously imaginative and carefully constructed, and reverberate richly with one another.

The first section is set in the aftermath of the Civil War, in a world in which the Queen of the North has negotiated a two-nation settlement. The second, taking place in northwestern Massachusetts, investigates a secret project during World War II, in a time somewhat like the present. The third is set in the near-future United States, with aliens from history.

The cumulative effect is awesome. There hasn’t been a three part novel this ambitious in science fiction since Gene Wolfe’s classic The Fifth Head of Cerberus.

All Those Vanished Engines, by Paul Park, will publish on July 1st.

Book Trailer: Earth Awakens by Orson Scott Card and Aaron Johnston


 
Earth Awakens by Orson Scott Card and Aaron Johnston

The story of The First Formic War continues in Earth Awakens.

Nearly 100 years before the events of Orson Scott Card’s bestselling novel Ender’s Game, humans were just beginning to step off Earth and out into the Solar System. A thin web of ships in both asteroid belts; a few stations; a corporate settlement on Luna. No one had seen any sign of other space-faring races; everyone expected that First Contact, if it came, would happen in the future, in the empty reaches between the stars. Then a young navigator on a distant mining ship saw something moving too fast, heading directly for our sun.

When the alien ship screamed through the solar system, it disrupted communications between the far-flung human mining ships and supply stations, and between them and Earth. So Earth and Luna were unaware that they had been invaded until the ship pulled into Earth orbit, and began landing terra-forming crews in China. Politics and pride slowed the response on Earth, and on Luna, corporate power struggles seemed more urgent than distant deaths. But there are a few men and women who see that if Earth doesn’t wake up and pull together, the planet could be lost.

Earth Awakens, by Orson Scott Card and Aaron Johnston, published on June 10th.

Book Trailer: The Zodiac Deception by Gary Kriss


 
The Zodiac Deception by Gary Kriss

Summer, 1942: The con man known as David Walker didn’t exactly volunteer, but OSS chief Wild Bill Donovan convinced him that serving his country and the cause of freedom by posing as German astrologer Peter Kepler was a better use of his time than going to prison for impersonating a Princeton University professor. His mission: use his skills in illusion, sleight of hand and deception to gain Heinrich Himmler’s trust and persuade him to assassinate Adolph Hitler.

In a plot that involves German resistance members in high places, Walker walks a tightrope of deceit, playing on the high command’s fascination with the occult to penetrate the highest levels of Nazi power in a daring plan to eliminate the Nazi Führer.

In action that takes him from Berlin to Paris to Cairo; from Hitler’s Eagle Nest to Himmler’s occult Wewelsburg Castle, Gary Kriss’s The Zodiac Deception is a memorable debut, an unforgettable thrill ride through the dark heart of World War II Germany.

The Zodiac Deception, by Gary Kriss, published on May 6th.

Book Trailer: Cartboy Goes to Camp by L. A. Campbell


 
Cartboy Goes to Camp by L. A. Campbell

In the tradition of Diary of a Wimpy Kid comes this laugh-out-loud sequel to L. A. Campbell’s Cartboy and the Time Capsule.

Hopelessly hapless Hal Rifkind, a.k.a. Cartboy, is off to summer camp. And not just any old camp, but history camp. Campers have to learn how to churn butter, plant maize, and carry water from the stream—or they get punished for not doing their chores. What else could possibly go wrong for Cartboy? Read Hal’s journal to find out!

Filled with photos, drawings, and timelines, Hal’s journal chronicles his hilarious adventures at Camp Jamestown—where nothing has changed in 400 years.

Cartboy Goes to Camp, by L. A. Campbell, publishes on June 10th.

Book Trailer: The Kraken Project by Douglas Preston


 
The Kraken Project by Douglas Preston

Wyman Ford is back again in The Kraken Project, the thrilling new novel from New York Times bestselling author Douglas Preston.

NASA is building a probe to be splashed down in the Kraken Mare, the largest sea on Saturn’s great moon, Titan. It is one of the most promising habitats for extraterrestrial life in the solar system, but the surface is unpredictable and dangerous, requiring the probe to contain artificial intelligence software. To this end, Melissa Shepherd, a brilliant programmer, has developed “Dorothy,” a powerful, self-modifying AI whose true potential is both revolutionary and terrifying. When miscalculations lead to a catastrophe during testing, Dorothy flees into the internet.

Former CIA agent Wyman Ford is tapped to track down the rogue AI. As Ford and Shepherd search for Dorothy, they realize that her horrific experiences in the wasteland of the Internet have changed her in ways they can barely imagine. And they’re not the only ones looking for the wayward software: the AI is also being pursued by a pair of Wall Street traders, who want to capture her code and turn her into a high-speed trading bot.

Traumatized, angry, and relentlessly hunted, Dorothy has an extraordinary revelation—and devises a plan. As the pursuit of Dorothy converges on a deserted house on the coast of Northern California, Ford must face the ultimate question: is rescuing Dorothy the right thing? Is the AI bent on saving the world… or on wiping out the cancer that is humankind?

The Kraken Project, by Douglas Preston, publishes on May 13th.

Book Trailer: American Craftsmen by Tom Doyle


 
American Craftsmen by Tom Doyle

In modern America, two soldiers will fight their way through the magical legacies of Poe and Hawthorne to destroy an undying evil—if they don’t kill each other first.

US Army Captain Dale Morton is a magician soldier—a “craftsman.” After a black-ops mission gone wrong, Dale is cursed by a Persian sorcerer and haunted by his good and evil ancestors. Major Michael Endicott, a Puritan craftsman, finds gruesome evidence that the evil Mortons, formerly led by the twins Roderick and Madeline, have returned, and that Dale might be one of them.

Dale uncovers treason in the Pentagon’s highest covert ranks. He hunts for his enemies before they can murder him and Scherie, a new friend who knows nothing of his magic.

Endicott pursues Dale, divided between his duty to capture a rogue soldier and his desire to protect Dale from his would-be assassins. They will discover that the demonic horrors that have corrupted American magic are not bound by family or even death itself.

In Tom Doyle’s thrilling debut, American Craftsmen, Seal Team Six meets ancient magic—with the fate of the United States hanging in the balance….

American Craftsmen, by Tom Doyle, publishes on May 6th.

Book Trailer: Three by Kristen Simmons


 
Three by Kristen Simmons

Kristen Simmons’ fast-paced, gripping YA dystopian series continues in Three.

Ember Miller and Chase Jennings are ready to stop running. After weeks spent in hiding as two of the Bureau of Reformation’s most wanted criminals, they have finally arrived at the safe house, where they hope to live a safe and quiet existence.
And all that’s left is smoking ruins.

Devastated by the demolition of their last hope, Ember and Chase follow the only thing left to them—tracks leading away from the wreckage. The only sign that there may have been survivors.

With their high profile, they know they can’t stay out in the open for long. They take shelter in the wilderness and amidst the ruins of abandoned cities as they follow the tracks down the coast, eventually finding refugees from the destroyed safe house. Among them is someone from Chase’s past—someone he never thought he’d see again.

Banding together, they search for a place to hide, aiming for a settlement a few of them have heard about…a settlement that is rumored to house the nebulous organization known as Three. The very group that has provided Ember with a tiny ray of hope ever since she was first forced on the run.

Three is responsible for the huge network of underground safe houses and resistance groups across the country. And they may offer Ember her only chance at telling the world her story.

At fighting back.

Three, by Kristen Simmons, publishes on February 11th.