Blood of an Exile - Tor/Forge Blog



Dragons Vs. Sharks: Tokyo Drift Style

Welcome to Dragon Week: Tokyo Drift, our third year celebrating of all things Dragon!

Back in 2019, we put some of our favorite dragons and sharks in glorious battle for honor, accolades, and internet fame. So we decided, LET’S DO IT AGAIN! Introducing, Dragons Vs. Sharks: TOKYO DRIFT STYLE! Check out our contenders below!

Theodore vs. The Sharks

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Match Prediction: For Round 1 of Dragons vs. Sharks, we placed the adorable Theo from The House in the Cerulean Sea against the amazing dancing Sharks from West Side Story! So who wins in the battle of cuteness vs. rhythm? Cuteness, duh! We predict the Sharks will be so won over by the power of friendship, Theo’s innate cuteness, and his collection of hidden treasure (AKA the buttons they happily surrender) that they attempt to adopt our favorite wyvern and make him their newest member. Theo is swiftly retrieved by his caretaker Arthur Parnassus, much to the disappointment of the Sharks.

Street Sharks vs. Rand al’Thor

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Match Prediction: It’s time for ROUND 2! We’ve pitted the Street Sharks against Rand al’Thor from the Wheel of Time series and wow, what a match. The Street Sharks have the combined strength of four half-human whale sharks, but Rand al’Thor IS the Dragon Reborn, the champion of the Light in the battle against the Dark One, the prophesied savior and breaker of the world, AND the reincarnated soul of Lews Therin Telamon so…yeah. This one is going to Rand al’Thor.

The Meg vs. Falkor from The NeverEnding Story

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Match Prediction: For Round 3, we’ve put The Meg (of MEG fame) and Falkor from The NeverEnding Story in a match TO THE DEATH!!!! Or…okay, maybe not to the death. We predict that Falkor would use his gifts of luck and flight to zoom away from The Meg, leaving this insanely large Megalodon without its meal for the day. Let’s call it a tie, shall we?

Needle-Throated Verdun vs. Sharknado

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Match Prediction: The Needle-Throated Verdun from Blood of an Exile by Brain Naslund for the most part just wants to eat, sleep, and chill, so the victory here is going to the Sharknado, hands-down. And really, how would one fight an ENTIRE TORNADO OF SHARKS anyway?!

Which sharks do you think make the best dragon snacks? Which Tor staff members could beat both a dragon AND a shark with their bare hands? Tell us in the comments and keep the Dragon Week: Tokyo Drift fun going!


$2.99 eBook Sale: July 2020

$2.99 eBook Sale: July 2020

The holiday weekend is almost here and we have some great books for you to add to your digital TBR pile! Check out all the books you can snag the ENTIRE month of July for only $2.99 here:

Image Placeholder of - 50Blood of an Exile by Brian Naslund

Bershad stands apart from the world, the most legendary dragonslayer in history, both revered and reviled. Once, he was Lord Silas Bershad, but after a disastrous failure on the battlefield he was stripped of his titles and sentenced to one violent, perilous hunt after another. Now he lives only to stalk dragons, slaughter them, collect their precious oil, and head back into the treacherous wilds once more. For years, death was his only chance to escape. But that is about to change.

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Image Place holder  of - 3A Natural History of Dragons by Marie Brennan

All the world, from Scirland to the farthest reaches of Eriga, know Isabella, Lady Trent, to be the world’s preeminent dragon naturalist. She is the remarkable woman who brought the study of dragons out of the misty shadows of myth and misunderstanding into the clear light of modern science. But before she became the illustrious figure we know today, there was a bookish young woman whose passion for learning, natural history, and, yes, dragons defied the stifling conventions of her day.

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Poster Placeholder of - 33The Bard’s Blade by Brian D. Anderson

Mariyah enjoys a simple life in Vylari, a land magically sealed off from the outside world, where fear and hatred are all but unknown. There she’s a renowned wine maker and her betrothed, Lem, is a musician of rare talent. Their destiny has never been in question. Whatever life brings, they will face it together. Then a stranger crosses the wards into Vylari for the first time in centuries, bringing a dark prophecy that forces Lem and Mariyah down separate paths. How far will they have to go to stop a rising darkness and save their home? And how much of themselves will they have to give up along the way?

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Place holder  of - 54An Alchemy of Masques and Mirrors by Curtis Craddock

Born with a physical disability, no magical talent, and a precocious intellect, Princess Isabelle des Zephyrs has lived her life being underestimated by her family and her kingdom. The only person who appreciates her true self is Jean-Claude, the fatherly musketeer who had guarded her since birth. All shall change, however, when an unlikely marriage proposal is offered, to the second son of a dying king in an empire collapsing into civil war.

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Placeholder of  -64Powersat by Ben Bova

Two hundred thousand feet up, things go horribly wrong. An experimental low-orbit spaceplane breaks up on reentry, falling to earth over a trail hundreds of miles long. And it its wake is the beginning of the most important mission in the history of space. A sweeping mix of space, murder, romance, politics, secrets, and betrayal, Powersat will take you to the edge of space and the dawning of a new world.

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How to Procrastinate #MagicXMayhem Style

Writers of the world RELATE because we’re talking procrastination. There’s no end to the distractions from writing, but everyone needs a break sometimes. All work no play does something that is undesirable (we’ve heard). So we sat down our Magic X Mayhem authors (Actually we sent them emails–they may have been sitting?) and asked about their favorite distractions from writing and editing the work we love so much.

What’s your favorite way to procrastinate when you should be writing?

(We promise not to tell your editor)


Andrew Bannister, author of Iron Gods

I am a world-class procrastinator. I’m so good that I don’t actually have to do anything active. I can procrastinate while sitting still. I can procrastinate while simply breathing. But that said, listening to records is a favourite, as anyone who seeks me out on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter will quickly discover.

Sarah Gailey, author of Magic for Liars

Right now, as I’m writing this, I’m on book tour, so the way I’m procrastinating is by collapsing onto my hotel bed, watching old episodes of Chopped, and eating as many Chees-Its as I can fit into my face. When I’m at home, I like to procrastinate by cleaning and coming up with elaborate recipes to try out. You know I’m on a tight deadline if I’m scrubbing the baseboards or googling ‘where to buy lamb tongue’.

Max Gladstone, author of Empress of Forever

Category error! Writing is a way to procrastinate from the rest of life.

Cate Glass, author of An Illusion of Thieves

Place holder  of - 47Small scale? Spider solitaire is excellent for clearing the mind of the modern and mundane before diving into a difficult scene. Or large scale? Binge-watching four seasons of Lucifer in three nights is necessary in order to study the story and character arcs and experience the rising tension to remember what I’m striving for, even if it means staying up far too late…


Duncan Hamilton, author of Dragonslayer

It’s not procrastinating, it’s ideating!

Saad Z. Hossain, author of The Gurkha and the Lord of Tuesday

I game for hours at night, often with a crew of three or four friends. We live in different countries, so gaming together, talking shit is a priceless way of keeping touch. Right now we are playing Red Dead Redemption 2 online. It’s a cowboy game, we spend a lot of time hunting, fishing, and hogtying random people. Not sure this is procrastination though. My view is that during downtime, your brain is still trying to process the story. Whenever you actually put down something on paper, I don’t know it’s like a quantum event almost, all those other possibilities just seem to die and you can’t get them back even if you go for rewrites or edits or whatever. So sometimes procrastination is good, it’s healthy. I look like I’m not doing anything but in reality… ok fine I’m not doing anything.

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S.L. Huang, author of Null Set

Beating people up on the mat! (Or getting beaten up.) It’s okay, you can tell my editor—she does it too!

Tamsyn Muir, author of Gideon the Ninth

I play Donkey Kong Country on the SNES, because I am so unbelievably bad at Donkey Kong Country that after ten minutes I am more than ready to switch to something that I am more competent at than playing Donkey Kong Country, which is anything else.

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Brian Naslund, author of Blood of an Exile:

I have a low-key addiction to reading “Today I Learned” facts on Reddit and going down Wikipedia rabbit holes about obscure animal behavior that could potentially be applied to dragons down the road.
I also have a bird feeder right outside the window by my desk, so I am definitely guilty of getting stuck with a scene, and spending 20 minutes looking at chickadees, which rarely helps solve the problem.

JY Yang, author of The Ascent to Godhood

I’m pretty sure he [my editor] knows anyway, he sees me posting about it on Twitter. My favourite way to procrastinate is some kind of eldritch combination between Tumblr, Instagram, and making art.


Stay tuned for more #magicXmayhem all summer long!



Would You Swipe Right for These SFF Characters?

Would You Swipe Right for These SFF Characters?

Look some of us have already dreamed of dating fictional heroes (and villains). But what if SFF characters had Tinder profiles?

Authors Sarah Gailey, Duncan Hamilton, Tamsyn Muir, Brian Naslund, S.L Huang, Saad Z. Hossain, and Cate Glass indulged us and wrote up Tinder profiles for a few Magic X Mayhem characters.

Swipe up. We dare you.*

Please do not swipe in any direction, these are fake buttons.

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TEACHER, 10,000
???? miles away

Welcome! Welcome, on this happy day, to my Tinder profile. For ten thousand years I have waited in holy silence and solemn adoration of the one who is beyond death, the Kindly Resurrector, and now the time has arrived for me to be taken to the IHOP. Will it be you, child, who is found worthy of buying me a plate of Original Full Stack Buttermilk Pancakes? Perhaps it will. Or perhaps it will not! But oh, how glorious to fail in so sacred an endeavour. Lightly your bones shall lie, honoured for all time as one who gave their life’s blood to procure me an order of Rooty Tooty Fresh ‘n Fruity(R) Pancakes at the IHOP, along with a vanilla milkshake, which is my favourite. I cannot tell you how to take me to the IHOP; I do not know where the nearest IHOP is. Indeed, I am unsure whether the IHOP is even open at this time. This is a path that only you can walk – you, and the others who have come here in hope of the ultimate prize. There is little I know, and less I understand. All my faith tells me is that by the end of today – either on your dime, or another’s – I will be tucking into a heaped platter of Mexican Tres Leches Pancakes and a deliciously chilled vanilla milkshake, and that to me is the most beautiful mystery of them all.



Ivy Gamble, mind your own business

Seeking: No one, whatever, anyone
About: I’m probably too busy for friends or dating but whatever, I’ll try this thing out. Let’s get together for lots of drinks and no conversation about our pasts or emotions. Needy people need not apply. Don’t message me (please message me).


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Guillot dal Villevauvais, Gill for short

Former renowned swordsman seeks female, 30-40, for activities including, but not limited to, dragonslaying, overthrowing tyrants, and encountering ancient evils.

And romantic walks.



Silas Bershad, 32

6′ 5″, 230 pounds

Full disclosure, I was convicted of a horrific crime by the King of Almira. But that was more than 10 years ago and it was a total misunderstanding.

Hobbies: Stalking dragons, killing dragons, drinking after killing dragons. Down to meet up for a beer before a slaying, too, in case I die.

Pretty outdoorsy. Mostly because I’m not technically allowed to sleep indoors or the king’ll have my head cut off (’cause of the whole exile thing). If you can bring your own tent, that’s a plus.

Swipe right if you like dragon tattoos, I have a bunch of them. But I also have a lot of body scarring from dragon-related injuries. Not the hot kind, though, like Geralt of Rivia. My body is kind of a mess. Just trying to be transparent here.

Not looking for anything long term because it’s very likely I’ll be dead in a week
Can’t host due to the 14-year exile / technically being homeless

What the people of Almira are saying about Silas Bershad:

“Don’t believe those stories about his foot-long cock. I mean, it’s fine, but it’s not legendary or anything.” – The Baroness of Umbrik’s Glade

“Silas Bershad is an asshole.” – The Baron of Umbrik’s Glade



Melek Ahmer, ageless and undying

Melek Ahmer. Djinn King of Tuesday. And Mars. And copper. The Red King. Really just an all round top guy. Asleep for 5000 years so well rested. I like long walks, trampling the wildlife, and causing extinction level events. There will definitely be candlelight dinners, as electrical systems tend to malfunction around me. I also enjoy pets, specially mountain goats because they are very useful and we can eat them if we are hungry and also I can makes shoes and sarongs out of them.

I’m really interested in settling down with someone not a violent psychopath, someone who gets me, and cares about the simple things in life like eating, drinking, partying and occasional tyranny.



Cas Russell, MYOB
Los Angeles

Independent ace mercenary seeks same. Don’t expect calls, texts, or any level of emotional support. But if people are out to kill you, I’ve got your back.

Note: I sleep with my gun.



Zanj, 5000
Pirate Queen

old school > new school

“Anything less than the best is a felony”



Placidio di Vasil

Background: Don’t ask. I mean, really don’t.

Swordfighting > Weaving

Swordfighting > Bathing

Swordfighting > Singing

Mead > Ale

Scars (mine) > Death (mine)

Considering the three elements of combat > Diving into a fight like a lunatic (you know who you are)

Ignore the hot woman I hang with (yes, I do respect her mind.) And ignore the feisty lad (not my kid, because I just don’t—reasons private) and the married guy who does weird things with paint, because I have nothing in common with him. Or any of them.

OK, never mind. I knew you were going to say that.


Stay tuned for more #magicXmayhem all summer long!




The Best and Worst Pop Culture Dragon Slayers

Welcome to Dragon Week, a celebration of all things Dragon!

Today, Blood of an Exile author Brian Naslund joins us to talk dragonslayers. Some are heroes. Some are villains. Some of them should LEAVE THOSE DRAGONS ALONE.

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The 6 Best Dragonslayers and Hunters in Pop Culture

By Brian Naslund

People have been writing about dragons for a long time. The first mention of a dragon in literature was (arguably) a Sumerian poem during the Middle Bronze Age. And for almost the entire time people have been writing about dragons, they’ve also been writing about people trying to kill them.

Pop culture has come a long way since Sumerian poems, so I thought I’d run through the best dragon slayers fiction has to offer. Also, since few heroes work alone, I included supplementary shout-outs to the un-sung champions behind the dragon-slaying scenes.


The O.G. dragon slayer in European literature, Beowulf only killed one dragon, but he did it in style. After 50-years of peaceful king-stuff in the wake of killing Grendel and Grendel’s Mother, Beowulf catches word that there’s a pissed off lizard nearby. Does he send his lackeys to deal with the reptile (like most elderly gentleman with aching knees would have)? No. No, he does not. He grabs his sword and shield and goes to get his slay on.

First thing that happens? The dragon bites B-Wulf in the throat. But he doesn’t give up. He slams his massive sword onto the dragon’s head, which breaks his trusty steel. Still, he perseveres—drawing a dagger and gut-stabbing the lizard, killing it.

Beowulf died shortly thereafter, too, but he still goes down in history as a pioneer of dragon-slaying technique.

Supplementary shout-out goes to: Wiglaf, the only one of Beowulf’s thanes who didn’t run away when the dragon showed up. He got his arm toasted by dragon fire and definitely deserves an assist on the slaying. (Depending on what account you read, he might even deserve full credit.)

Bard the Bowman

Moving on to a Tolkien classic: the grim, bird-language understanding, sharpshooting captain of the Lake Town archers. Bard the Bowman smoked Smaug with his lucky arrow, thus saving the day and (most of) the people in the city.

The movie version certainly wins points for suspense and the helping hand from his son to form a human ballista, but either way you cut it, Bard crushed it when it comes to killing dragons.

Supplementary shout-out goes to: the thrush who told Bard where the weak spot was in Smaug’s bejeweled armor. That bird’s the real hero in this situation.


Next, we travel east to Japanese dragon mythology. Tokoyo might not be on the tip of everyone’s dragon-slaying tongue, but she should be. Here’s the condensed version of how awesome she is:

Tokoyo’s father was a samurai who gets banished from the realm. This sucks, but Tokoyo isn’t one to just lay back on something like that, so she goes looking for him on a remote island chain. Before she finds him, she runs across a priest who’s about to sacrifice a young girl to the gods for “reasons.” What does Tokoyo do? Pulls a Catniss Everdeen and volunteers herself as tribute in the girl’s stead. Then she puts a dagger between her teeth and jumps off a cliff into the sea.

Turns out there’s a dragon down there. But Tokoyo stays cool. First things first, she stabs the dragon in the eye with her dagger. Then she just goes ballistic and keeps on stabbing till it’s dead.

I won’t get into the details, but in the aftermath of this badassery, the Emperor’s life is saved and Tokoyo’s father’s banishment is lifted. Oh, and she got a city named after her that you might have heard of.

Supplementary shout-out: Nobody. Tokoyo slays solo and she’s damn good at it.

Geralt of Rivia

Curveball coming here. The gravel-voiced anti-hero of The Witcher novels, video games (and soon, Netflix series) is one of the most infamous monster hunters around. So, you’d think he’s killed his fair share of dragons, too, right? Wrong. Geralt’s personal code of ethics (which has enough gray area to put GRRM to shame) precludes killing dragons because they’re sentient, intelligent, almost extinct, and don’t attack humans without being provoked.

So, why’d I just include him in a list of the best dragon slayers? Because if that’s how dragons behave in your fictional world, refusing to kill them is the best thing you can do.

Supplementary shout-out goes to: Geralt’s dubious moral compass.

The Dragonborn

I’m gonna bullet-point the Dragonborn’s bonafides because this is the internet and attention spans are probably running thin.

  • Gender- and race-fluid: The Dragonborn is whoever you create in Helgen.
  • Eats dragon souls like they’re sweet rolls:
  • Crafts their bones into weapons and armor afterwards: Assuming you max your smithing skill.
  • Stops a dragon from literally eating the world: MVP move.

Supplementary shout-out goes to: Lydia, obviously. For carrying all those burdens.

And of course:
Silas Bershad

Silas Bershad lives in a world where dragon slayers aren’t heroes. They’re criminals. As punishment for their crimes, they get a ceremonial face tattoo and a donkey, then they get told to go kill dragons for the rest of their lives. Most of them live for about a week.

Bershad’s been killing lizards for 14 years and counting.

This vexes the king, who exiled Bershad under the assumption that he’d be dead before the next full moon. The secret behind Bershad’s ability to live so long doing the most dangerous job in the world is a topic of conjecture, but I did write a book with more details.

Supplementary shout-out: Rowan (Bershad’s sidekick and closest friend) and Alfonso (the aforementioned donkey who carries all Bershad’s gear, eats apples, and craps loyalty).


Order Your Copy of Blood of an Exile:

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Tor Books Presents: Dragon Week!


Ok. Now that we’ve got that out of our systems, here’s your home for all things #DragonWeek. Check out our expert advice and ebook deals through the links below and follow the discourse on Twitter!

How to Survive A Dragon Attack

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Deadliest Dragons
With Spine of the Dragon author Kevin J. Anderson

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Dragon Conservation
With A Natural History of Dragons and Turning Darkness Into Light author Marie Brennan

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Top Dragon Slayers with
With Blood of an Exile author Brian Naslund

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Famous Dragons vs. Famous Sharks!

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Celebrate Dragon Week With These Epic Ebook Deals!



The Best and Worst SFF Worlds—According to Our MagicXMayhem Authors

Some fantasy worlds leave us aching for a passport to another world. Some futures seem worth skipping the present for. Others…not so much. We asked our Magic X Mayhem authors which SFF worlds they would most and least like to try out and—not to sound like a lousy clickbait article—some of their answers might surprise you.

What are the SFF worlds you would most and least like to live in?


Sarah Gailey author of Magic for Liars

Most: The world of Abhorsen by Garth Nix. The magic system is just so COOL. I’d have to learn how to whistle, though.
Least: The world of Harry Potter. We’ve got enough regular fascists, I don’t need wizard fascists too.

Duncan Hamilton, author of Dragonslayer

Most: Westeros, north of the wall. I’ve never seen so much untracked powder…

Tamsyn Muir, author of Gideon the Ninth

Most: Dinétah from Rebecca Roanhorse’s Trail of Lightning so that I could, with sweaty palms and dry mouth, shake Maggie Hoskie’s hand.
Least: Dinétah from Rebecca Roanhorse’s Trail of Lightning, because I am weak and would just be gnawed to death or shot before I ever got to sweatily shake Maggie Hoskie’s hand. I guess I could nod respectfully at her as I died.

Brian Naslund, author of Blood of an Exile

Most: Tamriel, because I’ve spent enough time playing Elder Scrolls games that you can drop me anywhere and two weeks later I’ll be a moderately successful adventurer with a decent house. (Or I’ll have been killed by a mud crab within five minutes, but I’m willing to risk it.)
Least: Mad Max Universe, because I’m very prone to rashes and a desert apocalypse environment seems very rash-inducing, with very few options for treating said rashes. Also, murderous raiders don’t seem like great neighbors.

JY Yang, author of The Ascent to Godhood

Most: Honestly I would love to live a long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away…. Star Wars was the first thing that truly got me into SFF as a child, I just loved its textures and its sense of fun. The juxtaposition of its high-gloss centers of power and sand-crusted backwaters. I too would like to silence irritants during work meetings with the power of my mind, or tell the fuzz that these are not the droids you are looking for…
Least: The worlds I would least like to live in are all the post-apocalyptic ones. Sure, Fury Road was fun and everything, but would I actually want to LIVE there? Hell no.

Max Gladstone, author of Empress of Forever

Most: Peter F. Hamilton has a knack for making weird, cool, adventurous and above all livable futures—before he takes a sledgehammer to them. The first half of The Reality Dysfunction, and most of Judas Unchained, are essentially Escape Velocity fanfic: sprawling adventurous futures in deep SPAAAACE, rich with secrets and opportunity. Yeah, eventually ghosts and aliens show up, but by the time they do you’re really bought into the future they’re wrecking! Banks’ Culture certainly seems like the most pleasant future on offer, so long as you’re not drowning in feces on a secret mission. Lois McMaster Bujold’s Vorkosiverse would also be a good choice. There are a lot of things to do there.

Least: Most worlds with a destined savior, chosen one, or whatever. Not because I dislike the concept of destiny! But because worlds that turn around a Destined One tend to be pretty uninteresting if you’re not the One. What’s everyone else doing with their time?

S.L. Huang, author of Null Set

Most: Yoon Ha Lee’s Machineries of Empire. It may be a terrible and violent dystopia, but I’d be able to do magic with MATH!
Least: …Yoon Ha Lee’s Machineries of Empire.

Saad Z. Hossain, author of The Gurkha and the Lord of Tuesday

Most: I’d like to live in the Culture universe. Post-scarcity human society, totally utopian, sarcastic machine minds that are almost more human than human, glands that let you experience a plethora of mind-altering states without ill effect, killer drones at your beck and call… it doesn’t get better.
Least: The most horrible is probably Joe Abercrombie’s world. I mean it’s a standard dark fantasy world but the way he gives it to his characters, it’s almost impossible to believe anyone will get out with any shred of dignity, let alone an actual happy ending.

Cate Glass, author of An Illusion of Thieves

Least: Game of Thrones world. Whew. You can’t trust anybody.

Most: Roger Zelazny’s Amber, though only if I was one of the royal family and I could actually travel through Amber’s many reflections, finding one that was just perfect for me.

Andrew Bannister, author of Iron Gods

Least: This is going to seem strange, but the sff world I would least to live in would be anything that resembled Iain M Banks’ Culture. At first sight that must seem strange because who wouldn’t want to live in a utopia like that? No work, no ill health, unlimited leisure – what’s not to like? But Iain knew exactly what he was doing. The only time anything interesting happens in the Culture is as a result of external threat; so much so that the really interesting people join a secretive body called Special Circumstances which practically has the remit of going out to look for trouble. Without that, the people of the Culture are fundamentally unchallenged and bored.

Most: That leaves the question of where I would most like to live. A place where stuff is happening, I think. A place, a civilization in flux, experiencing some challenge. And I fancy somewhere sunny. How about the near-future South Africa of Lauren Beukes’ ‘Zoo City’? My only condition being that I would like to be one of the people with money.


Stay tuned for more #magicXmayhem all summer long!


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The Ultimate Magic X Mayhem Playlist

We asked the authors of Magic X Mayhem to pick theme songs for their main characters. And the resulting playlist is definitely full of mayhem. We advise listening to it on shuffle to maximize the chaos.



Pick a Theme Song for Your Main Character


JY Yang, author of The Ascent to Godhood

YOU HAVE NO IDEA HOW LONG I’VE BEEN WAITING FOR SOMEONE TO ASK ME THIS because in the process of writing the first two Tensorate novellas I definitely came up with theme songs for the Sanao twins. They’re classic Mandopop songs from my childhood and now I have a chance to inflict them upon the world:
Akeha’s theme song is “潇洒走一回” (loosely meaning like “to live without care/restraint”): It’s hard to explain the meaning of the song, just enjoy the music.)
Mokoya’s theme song is “橄榄树” (The Olive Tree): (“Don’t ask me where I’m from/Home is far away/Why do I wander?/Wander these lost places”)

Brian Naslund, author of Blood of an Exile:

“When the Levee Breaks”, Led Zeppelin

Tamsyn Muir, author of Gideon the Ninth

This already got picked for me, so Gideon’s theme song is Cobra Starship’s “Good Girls Go Bad”, sorry.

S.L. Huang, author of Null Set

Eye of the Tiger”.

Saad Z. Hossain, author of The Gurkha and the Lord of Tuesday

“I’m too Sexy” by Right Said Fred

Duncan Hamilton, author of Dragonslayer

I picked my villain for this – Amaury, the Prince Bishop – “Wannabe”, by the Spice Girls.

Cate Glass, author of An Illusion of Thieves

For Romy? “Black Magic Woman” from Santana. “I’ve got a black magic woman; got me so blind I can’t see…”

Max Gladstone, author of Empress of Forever

For Vivian Liao, tech billionaire turned far-future survivor: “Power,” by Kanye West (from My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy).
“Living in the 21st Century / doing something mean to it”

For Zanj, imprisoned pirate queen: “What’s Up Danger”, by Blackway & Black Caviar (from the Spiderman: Into the Spider-Verse Soundtrack).

Sarah Gailey author of Magic for Liars

“Don’t Ask Me” by OK GO

Andrew Bannister, author of Iron Gods

Goodness, that’s difficult. But I think “Isobel” by Bjork comes close. It captures her sense of separation, of the unbreakable self-contained core of her.


Stay tuned for more #magicXmayhem all summer long!


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Download a Free Digital Preview of Blood of an Exile by Brian Naslund!

Image Placeholder of - 88Start reading Brian Naslund’s Blood of an Exile, a fast-paced adventure perfect for comic readers and fans of heroic fantasy, with a free digital preview. Blood of an Exile will be officially available on August 6.

About Blood of an Exile:

Bershad was supposed to die…

When he was caught trying to assassinate a fellow noble, Flawless Bershad was given a death sentence. Fight monsters so that he would die serving the kingdom. But Bershad can’t die.

He’s never lost a fight, the most successful dragon slayer in history but marked as a doomed man, Bershad stands apart from the world. But that is about to change.

The man who sentenced Bershad to his fate has just given him an out. Kill a king and walk free forever. But Bershad could care less about the fates of kings and kingdoms, until, that is, he discovers he is the only person able to save an innocent child and, possibly, the life of every creature in Terra.

Download Your Free Digital Preview:

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Magic or Mayhem?

Our year of Magic X Mayhem is about to kick into high gear, and our authors are more than ready.

We asked them: Magic or Mayhem? and the results are pretty wild. But then again, we expected no less.

Magic or Mayhem?

Andrew Bannister, author of Iron Gods

Definitely mayhem, because people are the cause and the cure (if it needs during) of mayhem, and people are my favorite thing. Magic, on the other hand, seems to me to be somehow detached from people. Also, let’s face it, mayhem is fun!

Sarah Gailey, author of Magic for Liars

Magic, because I’ve already had enough Mayhem to last me a little while.

Max Gladstone, author of Empress of Forever

Mayhem! Especially for Empress of Forever. Magic is many things to many people—it’s a tool for revolution or a technology for control. Mayhem is always and truly mayhem.

Cate Glass, author of An Illusion of Thieves

Place holder  of - 97Magic most definitely! Designing and writing magic is at least as cool as doing magic. It’s fun teaching it to your characters, especially in a world like the Chimera world, where there are no schools of magic, no books of lore, and asking questions about it can get you dead. I enjoy deciding what it feels like and watching them mess up and discover the cost. I do occasionally deprive my beloved characters of body parts—or at least the temporary use of them—and I’ve been known to stuff an extra soul into a person’s body, which I think would qualify as mayhem. That is the price of them having me write their stories. It is all for their own good.

Duncan Hamilton, author of Dragonslayer

Mayhem! Because, well, MAYHEM!!

Saad Z. Hossain, author of The Gurkha and the Lord of Tuesday

I gotta go with magic. Magic just gives us endless possibilities and fun. I think we spend our whole lives trying to actually find some magic, and this search for magic is what keeps us alive. Do you remember that childhood yearning for actual magic to exist, any little bit of it, that desperate wish for hidden worlds to exist, even if we can’t see them or be a part of them? The sense of wonder? The conviction that impossible things might happen any minute? We become beggars when we lose that, plodding along trying to get ahead of some useless drudgery.

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S.L. Huang, author of Null Set

Mayhem. Because let’s be real, if I had magic, I’d just use it to create more mayhem.

Andrew Bannister, author of Creation Machine

Magic or mayhem? Definitely mayhem, because people are the cause and the cure (if it needs curing) of mayhem, and people are my favourite thing. Magic, on the other hand, seems to me to be somehow detached from people. Also, let’s face it, mayhem is fun!

Tamsyn Muir, author of Gideon the Ninth

Magic, because I am aspirational and can already cause mayhem on my own.

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Brian Naslund, author of Blood of an Exile:

Mayhem! Spells and incantations are cool, but anarchy is far more interesting. Life’s always a little more colorful when the world is completely falling apart.

JY Yang, author of The Ascent to Godhood

insert “Why not both?” gif, and also “Both. Both is good.”*

(Note from Tor: Reader, we inserted the .gifs)

But if I really had to pick one, it would be magic. Why? Because mayhem is fun, but magic actually gets shit done.


Stay tuned for more #magicXmayhem all summer long!


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