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Our Favorite Badass Female Scientists in SFF

Ready to celebrate some of our favorite, most BADASS women in the STEM field?! Check out our round-up of kick-ass female scientists in sci-fi here!


By Julia Bergen

When I was a little girl, books and movies were filled with the “lady scientist” trope. She never seemed to do much actual science but seemed more focused on supporting the male characters. Think Sigourney Weaver’s play on this character type in Galaxy Quest. Now that I’m raising a daughter of my own, I’m so excited that culture has moved away from this outdated idea of what women in STEM can be, and that she’ll have so many awesome scientists of all genders to read about and root for!

image-alt5Evelyn Caldwell from The Echo Wife by Sarah Gailey

Evelyn Caldwell’s personal life might be messy (that’s one word for it when your husband cheats on you…with your clone…and gets her pregnant) but her career is truly aspirational. She’s an award-winning geneticist at the top of her game. Her husband works in the field as well, but it’s clear that she has never played second fiddle to him.

image-alt4Kira Navárez from To Sleep in a Sea of Stars by Christopher Paolini

Kira Navárez is a talented xenobiologist, who travels the stars conducting her research surveys. Basically, the dream job. Until she finds an artifact that pulls her into galactic war. But hey, science isn’t always easy. Kira’s curiosity pulls her into a grand adventure across the galaxy which might not be the most pleasant for her, but is fascinating to read about.

image-alt3Jack from The Wayward Children series by Seanan McGuire

Both Jack and her more murderous twin Jill are such fascinating characters, the type that only Seanan McGuire can conjure. Growing up, Jack’s parents dress her in frilly dresses and never let her play sports or do anything traditionally masculine. They don’t even let anyone call her Jack, instead insisting she always be called Jacqueline. It isn’t until Jack and Jill venture into the magical world of the Moors that they’re able to become their full selves. For Jill, that means terrorizing villagers and hanging out with a vampire, but for Jack, she’s finally able to embrace her love of science, while studying under Dr. Bleak in his windmill laboratory.

image-alt-2Ye Wenjie from The Three-Body Problem by Cixin Liu

Liu’s entire trilogy is filled with incredible female scientists. I picked Ye Wenjie for this article not just because she’s a brilliant astrophysicist, but because she’s such a morally complex character. After seeing her father executed she decides Earth is beyond saving itself, and makes way for the alien Trisolarans to invade. She also kinda starts a cult. Yet through it all, the reader is always able to understand her motivations and see that her goal was always to help humanity. Women who are awesome at science and also deal with difficult ethical questions? Yes, please!

image-alt1The narrator from Annihilation, by Jeff VanderMeer

Annihilation actually contains not just one, but four badass women who are experts in their fields. The narrator is the biologist of the group tasked with mapping the mysterious “Area X,” a vast plot of land teaming with bizarre organisms. Every mission beforehand has ended…poorly, but that doesn’t stop these women from using their knowledge and expertise to explore the unknown and attempt to bring order to the chaos of “Area X.”

image-altNaomi Nagata, from The Expanse series by James S. A. Corey

Naomi Nagata, chief engineer of the Rocinante, is a genius when it comes to spaceships. Frequently the Rocinante and its crew would be killed in a variety of nasty ways if it wasn’t for her. She’s strong as hell, but Corey expertly avoids making her a Strong Female Character™ by giving her a depth and humanity that makes her such an amazing character.

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eBook Sale: The Weird by Jeff Vandermeer & Ann Vandermeer

Image Placeholder of - 2 The ebook edition of The Weird edited by Jeff Vandermeer & Ann Vandermeer is on sale now for only $12.99! This offer will only last for a limited time, so order your copy today.

About The Weird: From Lovecraft to Borges to Gaiman, a century of intrepid literary experimentation has created a corpus of dark and strange stories that transcend all known genre boundaries. Together these stories form The Weird, and its practitioners include some of the greatest names in twentieth and twenty-first century literature.

Exotic and esoteric, The Weird plunges you into dark domains and brings you face to face with surreal monstrosities. You won’t find any elves or wizards here…but you will find the biggest, boldest, and downright most peculiar stories from the last hundred years bound together in the biggest Weird collection ever assembled.

The Weird features 110 stories by an all-star cast, from literary legends to international bestsellers to Booker Prize winners, including William Gibson, George R. R. Martin, Stephen King, Angela Carter, Kelly Link, Franz Kafka, China Miéville, Clive Barker, Haruki Murakami, M. R. James, Neil Gaiman, Mervyn Peake, and Michael Chabon.

Order Your Copy

kindle nook ebooks.com Image Placeholder of google play- 25 ibooks2 3 kobo

This sale ends May 31st.

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The Power of a Great Time Travel Story

The Power of a Great Time Travel Story

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Time-Travelers-AlmanacWritten by Ann VanderMeer

Fiction is to the grown man what play is to the child; it is there that he changes the atmosphere and tenor of his life. —Robert Louis Stevenson

A few months ago I was interviewed on BBC4 Radio along with Dr. Ronald Mallett, a physicist from the University of Connecticut. Our subject was time travel. Some might find it odd that a fiction editor promoting a new anthology would be appearing on a show with a noted scientist to talk honestly about time travel. But Dr. Mallett isn’t just any scientist. His life was changed completely after encountering The Time Machine by H. G. Wells.

Prior to the interview I had spent several months completely engrossed in the subject. Time travel stories exhibit an astonishing variety. The very conundrum of time travel—Can you actually change the past or future? What happens if you meet yourself in the past?—has resulted in a number of amazing stories. Time machines may be the most popular vehicle for such travel, but hidden doors, mutations, or rips in the space-time continuum can also send travelers hurtling into unexpected moments of history—or into the future. And not all time travelers go willingly.

Then I read Dr. Mallet’s book, Time Traveler: A Scientist’s Personal Mission to Make Time Travel a Reality. When Mallett was ten years old, his father passed away suddenly of a heart attack. Greatly affected, he lost himself in reading, a pastime his father strongly encouraged, and discovered The Time Machine. Motivated by a powerful desire to see his father again, and maybe even prevent his death at the all-too-early age of thirty-three, Mallett dreamed that he could build his own time machine. As he has said, “My fundamental goal in life has always been to build a time machine” (quoted from the YouTube video, “Dr. Mallett Builds a Time Machine”).

As we talked in the interview, it struck me that reading a science fiction story so deeply shaped his future and set him on this journey. Often stories are influenced by real life, but in this case, a story that was over 100 years old not only gave hope to a young boy, but eventually led him to become part of a team of scientists trying to create a real, working time machine.

I was happy to discover that all of Dr. Mallet’s classic favorite time travel stories were in The Time Traveler’s Almanac. And he shared with me that he found many new stories in the anthology that he enjoyed.

Some of the best time travel stories, indeed the best science fiction stories, are about the connections that people make with each other through science. Reaching into the past to better understand history, sending a message or warning to prior generations or just having the opportunity for a do-over. For more than a century, readers have been enthralled by time travel stories. Whether adventurous, cautionary, or thrilling, these imaginative what-if tales transport us to other worlds.

Today, time travel is as familiar a concept to readers as space travel. Such stories are more popular than ever, including such recent bestsellers as Stephen King’s 11/22/63, Charles Yu’s How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe, and Audrey Niffenegger’s The Time Traveler’s Wife attest. The resurgence of iconic TV series like “Doctor Who” has fed into this trend. Time travel also has been popular with teens ever since the publication of such classics as Madeleine L’Engle’s A Wrinkle in Time, extending to the present-day and such popular youth novels as When You Reach Me by Newberry winner Rebecca Stead. Meanwhile, movies like The Terminator, Back to the Future, Looper, Time Bandits, Donnie Darko, and Safety Not Guaranteed have shown the cinematic range of such tales.

The power of a great time travel story is that not only can it change the reader, as we see with Dr. Mallett, it can also change the course of the world.

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* This post originally appeared in the March 17, 2014 newsletter.

SFF Holiday Sweepstakes

SFF Holiday Sweeps Collections

Want to make your shelves the envy of genre fans everywhere this holiday season? We’re offering the chance to win your choice of boxes of sci-fi or fantasy novels, from authors like John Scalzi, Brandon Sanderson, Elizabeth Bear, and more. Sign up for the Tor Newsletter for you chance to win now!

And don’t forget to let us know which collection you’d like to win below.

(more…)

Not at San Diego Comic-Con Sweepstakes – Swag Bag #1

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We hope to see many of you San Diego Comic-Con! If you are there, stop by Booth #2707 to say hi or to participate in one of our many events.

Can’t make it? You can still get some or our swag when you enter our Not at San Diego Comic-Con Sweepstakes! Just sign up for our newsletter, and you’ll be entered for a chance to win this awesome swag bag:

SDCC swag bag

This prize includes:

  • Wheel of Time bag
  • California Bones coaster set
  • Lock In keychain
  • Dragon Age poster
  • The Way of Kings magnet set
  • The Accidental Highwayman by Ben Tripp
  • Among Others by Jo Walton
  • Blindsight by Peter Watts
  • California Bones by Greg van Eekhout
  • Dark Shadows: Wolf Moon Rising by Lara Parker
  • Dragon Age: The Masked Empire by Patrick Weekes
  • Glamour in Glass by Mary Robinette Kowal
  • Lock In by John Scalzi
  • The Omen Machine by Terry Goodkind
  • Hurricane Fever by Tobias S. Buckell
  • Three Parts Dead by Max Gladstone
  • The Time Traveler’s Almanac edited by Ann & Jeff VanderMeer

Sign up for your chance to win today!

And, after you sign up to enter this sweepstakes, head over here to enter for a chance to win our other amazing swag bag!

NO PURCHASE NECESSARY TO ENTER OR WIN. A purchase does not improve your chances of winning. Sweepstakes open to legal residents of 50 United States, D.C., and Canada (excluding Quebec), who are 18 or older as of the date of entry. To enter, complete the entry form here beginning at 12:00 AM Eastern Time (ET) July 23, 2014. Sweepstakes ends at 11:59 PM ET July 27, 2014. Void outside the United States and Canada and where prohibited by law. Please see full details and official rules here. Sponsor: Tom Doherty Associates, LLC, 175 Fifth Ave., New York, NY 10010.

Tor Books Announces Programming for San Diego Comic-Con 2014

Tor Books is heading to San Diego Comic-Con!

Place holder  of - 76 Once again Tor (Booth# 2707) continues our wildly popular *in-booth signings and giveaways, offering you a chance to meet your favorite authors up close and personal and pick up free books. We’ve got a great line up including appearances by: John ScalziGreg van EekhoutTobias Buckell, and Tor Teen debut author Ben Tripp.

 


Thursday, July 24th

  • 12:00 – 1:00am Panel: Fairy Tale Remix, Room 32AB
    Tor Teen author Ben Tripp (The Accidental Highwayman) joins Marissa Meyer (The Lunar Chronicles) and others that will give insight to the fairy tales of old, and new!
  • 1:30pm – 2:30 pm Signing to follow in the autographing area, Table AA09
  • 1:30pm – Author Reading Spotlight – John Scalzi, Science Fiction Author Cosplay, Horton Grand Theater, 444 4th Ave, between Island and J Street.
    John Scalzi reads from his forthcoming near-future thriller, Lock In, answers audience questions and maybe even serenades them on the ukulele!
  • 3:00pm – 4:00pm Panel: When Magic & Myth Meet Main Street, Room 25ABC
    When stories mix modern cities like Paris, LA, New York with magic, myth and demon spawn they are collectively known as Urban Fantasy, and many of today’s popular authors are adding their otherworldly ingredients to the melting pots of modern (and not-so-modern) society. Join some of today’s top urban fantasy authors, including Greg van Eekhout (California Bones), Jim Butcher, Seanan McGuire and others as they discuss why something old with something new equals gold.
  • 4:30pm – 5:30pm Signing to follow in the autographing area, Table AA09

Friday, July 25th

  • 1:00pm – 2:00pm Panel: 101 Ways to Kill a Man, Room 32AB
    Coming up with creative ways to commit mayhem and murder is the lifeblood of these talented thriller authors. A fatal chimera virus; hybridized bioengineered parasites; murderous microchips; lethal electric stimuli; deathstrike via satellite targeting. How many ways can you kill someone? Join top thriller authors Tobias Buckell (Hurricane Fever)Greg Hurwitz (Don’t Look Back) and others as they discuss the art of delivering deadly thrills. But don’t worry too much. A little light reading never killed anyone.
  • 2:30pm – 3:30pm Signing to follow in the autographing area, Table AA09

Saturday, July 26th

  • 12:00pm Tor Booth (#2707) Signing: Hurricane Fever – Tobias Buckell
  • 2:30pm – 3:30pm Panel: The Art of Fear, Room 8
    Horror novels have been keeping us at night for years. From puppets that come to life, to creepy-crawly worm, haunted towns, demons out for blood, killer wolves, possible possessions, to the apocalypse, these authors give you goosebumps while you read. Glen Hirschberg (Motherless Child), moderates this panel featuring, Mira Grant and others as they discuss their novels, the writing process, and why you keep the light on while you read.
  • 4:00pm – 5:00pm Signing to follow in the autographing area, Table AA09

Make sure to follow @TorBooks on Twitter for up to date information and last minute events!

All Tor Booth signings are on a first come first serve basis and while supplies lasts. Limit one book per person.

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The Power of a Great Time Travel Story

Time Traveler's Alamanc edited by Ann VanderMeer and Jeff VanderMeer

Written by Ann VanderMeer

Fiction is to the grown man what play is to the child; it is there that he changes the atmosphere and tenor of his life. —Robert Louis Stevenson

A few months ago I was interviewed on BBC4 Radio along with Dr. Ronald Mallett, a physicist from the University of Connecticut. Our subject was time travel. Some might find it odd that a fiction editor promoting a new anthology would be appearing on a show with a noted scientist to talk honestly about time travel. But Dr. Mallett isn’t just any scientist. His life was changed completely after encountering The Time Machine by H. G. Wells.

Prior to the interview I had spent several months completely engrossed in the subject. Time travel stories exhibit an astonishing variety. The very conundrum of time travel—Can you actually change the past or future? What happens if you meet yourself in the past?—has resulted in a number of amazing stories. Time machines may be the most popular vehicle for such travel, but hidden doors, mutations, or rips in the space-time continuum can also send travelers hurtling into unexpected moments of history—or into the future. And not all time travelers go willingly.

Then I read Dr. Mallet’s book, Time Traveler: A Scientist’s Personal Mission to Make Time Travel a Reality. When Mallett was ten years old, his father passed away suddenly of a heart attack. Greatly affected, he lost himself in reading, a pastime his father strongly encouraged, and disovered The Time Machine. Motivated by a powerful desire to see his father again, and maybe even prevent his death at the all-too-early age of thirty-three, Mallett dreamed that he could build his own time machine. As he has said, “My fundamental goal in life has always been to build a time machine” (quoted from the YouTube video, “Dr. Mallett Builds a Time Machine”).

As we talked in the interview, it struck me that reading a science fiction story so deeply shaped his future and set him on this journey. Often stories are influenced by real life, but in this case, a story that was over 100 years old not only gave hope to a young boy, but eventually led him to become part of a team of scientists trying to create a real, working time machine.

I was happy to discover that all of Dr. Mallet’s classic favorite time travel stories were in The Time Traveler’s Almanac. And he shared with me that he found many new stories in the anthology that he enjoyed.

Some of the best time travel stories, indeed the best science fiction stories, are about the connections that people make with each other through science. Reaching into the past to better understand history, sending a message or warning to prior generations or just having the opportunity for a do-over. For more than a century, readers have been enthralled by time travel stories. Whether adventurous, cautionary, or thrilling, these imaginative what-if tales transport us to other worlds.

Today, time travel is as familiar a concept to readers as space travel. Such stories are more popular than ever, including such recent bestsellers as Stephen King’s 11/22/63, Charles Yu’s How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe, and Audrey Niffenegger’s The Time Traveler’s Wife attest. The resurgence of iconic TV series like “Doctor Who” has fed into this trend. Time travel also has been popular with teens ever since the publication of such classics as Madeleine L’Engle’s A Wrinkle in Time, extending to the present-day and such popular youth novels as When You Reach Me by Newberry winner Rebecca Stead. Meanwhile, movies like The Terminator, Back to the Future, Looper, Time Bandits, Donnie Darko, and Safety Not Guaranteed have shown the cinematic range of such tales.

The power of a great time travel story is that not only can it change the reader, as we see with Dr. Mallett, it can also change the course of the world.

…………………………

From the Tor/Forge March 17th newsletter. Sign up to receive our newsletter via email.

…………………………

More from the March 17th Tor/Forge newsletter:

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Starred Review: The Time Traveler’s Almanac edited by Ann & Jeff VanderMeer

The Time Traveler's Almanac edited by Ann VanderMeer and Jeff VanderMeer“Completely satisfying, this collection will appeal on some level to every sf reader…So accept the (il)logic of time travel, and enjoy the ride.”

Ann & Jeff VanderMeer’s The Time Traveler’s Almanac got a starred review in Library Journal!

Here’s the full review, from the February 15th issue:

Place holder  of - 67 In this amazing tome, the husband-and-wife team who also edited the World Fantasy Award–winning The Weird survey the literary development of the time travel genre from the 1880s to the present. The anthology starts with Charles Yu’s delightful essay “Top Ten Tips for Time Travelers,” which advises readers to forget about the so-called rules of time travel. The book is then divided into four sections: Experiments; Reactionaries and Revolutionaries; Mazes and Traps; and Communiques. Each section wraps up with an educational, nonfiction gem. Authors of the more than 70 stories include Douglas Adams, Ray Bradbury, H.G. Wells, and Connie Willis.
Verdict Completely satisfying, this collection will appeal on some level to every sf reader. Although these stories were written over time, from the first time travel story ever published, “The Clock That Went Backward” (1881) by Edward Page Mitchell, to “Thirty Seconds from Now” (2011) by John Chu, they each prove timeless. So accept the (il)logic of time travel, and enjoy the ride.

The Time Traveler’s Almanac will be published on March 18th.

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Book Trailer: The Time Traveler’s Almanac edited by Ann and Jeff VanderMeer

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The Time Traveler’s Almanac edited by Ann and Jeff VanderMeer

The Time Traveler’s Almanac is the largest and most definitive collection of time travel stories ever assembled. Gathered into one volume by intrepid chrononauts and world-renowned anthologists Ann and Jeff VanderMeer, this book compiles more than a century’s worth of literary travels into the past and the future that will serve to reacquaint readers with beloved classics of the time travel genre and introduce them to thrilling contemporary innovations.

This marvelous volume includes nearly seventy journeys through time from authors such as Douglas Adams, Isaac Asimov, Ray Bradbury, William Gibson, Ursula K. Le Guin, George R. R. Martin, Michael Moorcock, H. G. Wells, and Connie Willis, as well as helpful non-fiction articles original to this volume (such as Charles Yu’s “Top Ten Tips For Time Travelers”).

In fact, this book is like a time machine of its very own, covering millions of years of Earth’s history from the age of the dinosaurs through to strange and fascinating futures, spanning the ages from the beginning of time to its very end. The Time Traveler’s Almanac is the ultimate anthology for the time traveler in your life.

Contributors:
Geoffrey Landis, Richard Matheson, Robert Silverberg, Alice Sola Kim, Eric Schaller, C.J. Cherryh, Michael Swanwick, Steve Bein, Ursula K. Le Guin, Cordwainer Smith, H.G. Wells, Michael Moorcock, Henry Kuttner and C. L. Moore, John Chu, Harry Turtledove, David Langford, Connie Willis, George R. R. Martin, Kage Baker, Steven Utley, Ellen Klages, Garry Kilworth, Rosaleen Love, Elizabeth Bear, George-Oliver Châteaureynaud, Max Beerbohn, Edward Page Mitchell, Theodore Sturgeon, Kim Newman, Douglas Adams, Joe Lansdale, Peter Crowther, Karin Tidbeck, Barrington J. Bayley, Greg Egan, Adrian Tchaikovsky, Gene Wolfe, Langdon Jones, David I. Masson, Vandana Sing, Tony Pi, Dean Francis Alfar, Norman Spinrad, Eric Frank Russell, Ray Bradbury, Genevieve Valentine, Jason Heller, Stan Love, Tanith Lee, Karen Haber, Isaac Asimov, Bob Leman, Tamsyn Muir, Carrie Vaughn, Richard Bowes, Nalo Hopkinson, Adam Roberts, Kristine Kathryn Rusch, Rjurik Davidson, E.F. Benson, Molly Brown, Pamela Sargent, William Gibson, and Charles Stross.

The Time Traveler’s Almanac, edited by Ann and Jeff VanderMeer, publishes on March 18th.

January Grab Bag Sweepstakes

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