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Throwback Thursday: Q&A with Karen Traviss

Welcome to Throwback Thursdays on the Tor/Forge blog! Every other week, we’re delving into our newsletter archives and sharing some of our favorite posts.

Wars may end, but the consequences continue long after the last shot is fired. That’s one of the themes at the core of Halo: Mortal Dictata, by Karen Traviss, which was just published in January. To celebrate the release of the newest Kilo-Five novel, we’re looking back to the publication of Halo: Glasslands in November of 2011, and an interview with the author. We hope you enjoy this blast from the past, and be sure to check back every other Thursday for more!

Halo: Glasslands by Karen TravissHalo: Glasslands is the first novel in an all-new HALO® trilogy by #1 New York Times bestselling author and game writer Karen Traviss. Traviss, critically acclaimed for her original series “The Wess’har Wars” as well as novels written in the Star Wars® and Gears of War® universes, managed to find time in the midst of her Gears of War 3 insanity (she serves as lead writer on the game) to sit down with her publicist at Tor Books and talk HALO.

Justin Golenbock:  How did you first become involved with the HALO franchise?

Karen Traviss: I was asked if I wanted to write a novella for HALO: Evolutions. I’m endlessly curious and always up for anything new if it sounds cool so I was interested. I was working on Gears at the time (as I still am) so I wanted to be sure they were cool with it, and they thought it was a great idea. If it’s military, if it’s a game, if it’s an IP I know nothing about (essential—I can’t work on things that I might have a pre-existing opinion on) and it has the moral grey areas I work best in, then I’ll probably give it a go if I have the time.

JG: Glasslands has been highly-anticipated by HALO fans as the first book or game in the franchise to delve deep into the chaos of the post-HALO 3 universe. Can you reveal anything about the plot for eager gamers and readers?

KT: As a former defence correspondent and a military writer,  I approach HALO as a real situation. War is bad enough, but when a relatively straightforward war—two sides, clear stakes—ends, then fragmentation usually takes place. Hostility doesn’t end cleanly. Factions emerge. You’re not sure where the threat is coming from, and it keeps changing. In HALO, it’s like the end of the Cold War. So who operates best in this uncertain landscape, where conventional force – weapons and ships – have no targets or conventional wars to fight? Intelligence. Enter ONI, the Office of Naval Intelligence. If your enemy is off balance and licking his wounds, you grab that chance to knock him down so hard he never gets up again. You use black ops techniques using smart, adaptable people who can operate off the grid and handle themselves in the most dangerous environments in deniable operations. ONI assembles a team of ODSTs, a Spartan II, a civilian Sangheili expert, and an AI spy. It ought to be a simple case of doing the dirty on the bad guys by sneaky means, but things get very complicated when the secret roots of the Spartan programme is blown wide open….

ONI also has its hands full with another problem—Halsey has been a very bad girl and strolled off with a few Spartans mid-battle. While they’re hunting for her, she’s stranded in a Dyson sphere with “her” Spartans, some Spartan IIIs she views as third rate,  and Chief Mendez. It’s a sealed world. They could be the last sentient life in the galaxy. They don’t know if the Dyson sphere will turn out to be a haven or a hell, or indeed if it’s already inhabited. They’re cooped up with one another for what might be forever and now they have to face the previously unspoken tension, guilt, and blame about a shocking era in Earth’s history – the terrible abuse of kidnapped children to create Spartans. It’s very uncomfortable and now it’s about to get personal and really painful. Cue mayhem!

JG: What was it like integrating characters of your own creation into the lives and stories of those who have already lived on the page (and in the games)?

KT: First and foremost, I’m still a news journalist at heart. I want to start from scratch, ask my questions, and get answers. I want to be objective, tell the truth, and let the interviewees speak for themselves, without twisting their words or injecting my own opinions—to see the world through their eyes.

So I decided which existing characters I wanted to follow, and looked again at the raw data—the absolute neutral basic  facts, i.e. what they did and when they did it. Then I rebuilt the characters using psychological profiling techniques.  The result is that you’ll see characters you think you know portrayed differently, perhaps too differently for some fans’ tastes, but I’ve done what i always do—build or rebuild fully realised characters who behave like real people, place them in the environment, and then follow where they lead, seeing the situation and the events through their eyes. They won’t always see the event the same way and there will be contradictions—the reader has to do some work and make their mind up about who they believe. No easy answers, no heroes or villains—just people, even if those people are aliens. Make up your own mind.

I think fans will find a very different Mendez to the one they’ve seen before. This is a CPO, and if you’re navy (as I am!)  then you know the power of the Chief. And this guy is hardcore. He trains SBS/ SEALS, effectively. He certainly won’t wilt in the face of Catherine Halsey, believe me. He doesn’t give a damn about her Ph.Ds and he’s as stained by the Spartan programme as she is. Then there’s Halsey herself. Boy, as a journalist, I’d love to have interviewed a real individual like her. I have to see the world as she sees it, to be her for the duration of her point of view scenes, and getting into her head means that the logic and justification that makes sense to her must also make sense to me, however much I feel repelled by it when I step outside her head. Not even a serial killer sees himself (or herself – let’s not be sexist) as evil. Their world makes perfect sense to them. I don’t inject my opinions or steer readers. The joy of writing for me is to explore other minds totally unlike my own. Sometimes it’s fun, sometimes it’s unsettling and even unpleasant, but it’s always new. Maybe Halsey is right and she’s a patriot, maybe she’s a monster like Dr. Mengele. It’s your call.

And then there’s Margaret Parangosky. She’s solid gold for a writer like me. I couldn’t believe nobody had developed her before. A 92-year-old serving admiral who’s also the chief spook? Damn, she’s got to be one tough old bird. She and Halsey, alpha female to alpha female – one of the most rewarding scenes I’ve ever “reported.”

Oh, and Lucy. Lucy the Spartan III. I’m big on dialogue, but how do I tackle a character who can’t speak? Read the book and find out…

JG:  Let’s talk 2012.  What can your fans look forward to after the publication of Halo: Glasslands and the great, big, massively-anticipated release of Gears of War 3?

KT: The next year is going to be spent catching up with my novel schedule—I’ve been tied up with Gears 3 for a couple of years and I have to write more books now! I’m going to be getting on with my new creator-owned series, Privateers (Simon & Schuster), which isn’t the usual speculative fiction you’ve seen from me. It’s set on Earth a few years from now, in an even more uncertain world than we face today, and it’s about private military contractors, sometimes unkindly called mercenaries. But it’s still full of the mucky politics, authentic military action, and vivid characters you’ve come to expect from me. Some of my friends work for PMCs and I thought it was time a few fictional stereotypes were dispelled. So the first book is out next year, title to be announced. There’ll be another Gears of War book out next year, too—The Slab—and I’m continuing the Gears comic series, as well as the next HALO novel, obviously. So busy, busy, busy. Very busy.

JG: Thank you for your time Karen, and good luck with both upcoming releases!! Halo: Glasslands will be available online and in bookstores nationwide on October 25, 2011. For more information on Karen Traviss and her books and other projects visit www.karentraviss.com.

This article is originally from the November 2011 Tor/Forge newsletter. Sign up for the Tor/Forge newsletter now, and get similar content in your inbox twice a month!

Not at San Diego Comic-Con Sweepstakes

Tor Books is heading to San Diego Comic-Con!

Image Placeholder of - 41We hope to see many of you there. Stop by Booth #2707 to say hi or to participate in one of our many events and signings.

But for those of you who couldn’t make it out to California, we wanted to offer you the chance to grab some of the same amazing swag and books that we’re promoting at #SDCC. To enter for the chance to win one of these five prize bundles, leave a comment on this post telling us one fabulous thing that you’ll be doing this week while you are #NotAtComicCon. Whether you’re battling Dragon Army, matching wits with Tyrion Lannister, or chauffeuring your kids to soccer practice, we hope that you have a wonderful week.

Here’s a look at the prize:

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And here’s a list of what’s included in each prize bundle:

  • Ender’s Game movie poster
  • Ender’s Game T-shirt and cap
  • Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card
  • The Way of Kings quote magnets
  • Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake
  • Article 5 by Kristen Simmons
  • The Eternity Artifact by L. E. Modesitt, Jr.
  • The Eye of the World by Robert Jordan
  • The Eye of the World: The Graphic Novel: Volume 3 based on the novel by Robert Jordan, written by Chuck Dixon, and illustrated by Marcio Fiorito and Francis Nuguit
  • Forge of Darkness by Steven Erikson
  • Girl Genius Omnibus Volume One by Phil Foglio and Kaja Foglio
  • Halo: Glasslands by Karen Traviss
  • Homeland by Cory Doctorow
  • The Hum and the Shiver by Alex Bledsoe
  • The Human Division by John Scalzi
  • Hunters of Dune by Brian Herbert and Kevin J. Anderson
  • Ironskin by Tina Connolly
  • Johnny Hiro: Half Asian, All Hero by Fred Chao
  • London Falling by Paul Cornell
  • The Omen Machine by Terry Goodkind
  • River Road by Suzanne Johnson
  • Sea Change by S. M. Wheeler
  • The Walking Dead by Robert Kirkman and Jay Bonansinga
  • Wild Cards I edited by George R. R. Martin

Plus, one winner will receive this display exclusive – a Redshirts booth poster!

Redshirts SDCC Booth Display Poster

NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. You must be 18 or older and a legal resident of the 50 United States or D.C. to enter. Promotion begins July 18, 2013 at 10:00 a.m. ET. and ends July 22, 2013, 12:00 p.m. ET. Void in Puerto Rico and wherever prohibited by law. Please see full details and official rules go here. Sponsor: Tom Doherty Associates, LLC.

Tor Books Announces Programming for San Diego Comic-Con 2013

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Celebrating LOCUS Magazine’s Best Publisher for the 26th year in a row!

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 CORY DOCTOROW, BRANDON SANDERSON, and a special appearance and celebration for beloved Tor author JAY LAKE, author of Mainspring, Escapement, Green, Pinion, Endurance, and Kalimpura.

The big news this year is Summit Entertainment’s showcase for the highly anticipated film adaptation of

ENDER’S GAME

Coming to theaters November 1, 2013!

Summit will present never-before-seen new footage, appearances by cast members and filmmakers, and several massive, interactive fan events. A full slate of activities related to the film to be unveiled at this year’s Comic-Con, including:

Hall H Panel – The studio’s panel on Thursday, July 18th 3:50-4:50pm will feature ENDER’S GAME filmmakers and cast, including producer Bob Orci, director Gavin Hood, and cast members Harrison Ford, Asa Butterfield, Hailee Steinfeld and Abigail Breslin.

Exclusive Fan Experience – Attendees will be able to visit an elaborate, specially constructed ENDER’S GAME exhibit outside of the Hilton Gaslamp, featuring 8 unique rooms representing the most iconic environments of Ender’s world, complete with original film props and set pieces used in the movie. Throughout the experience, attendees will be able to see exclusive film footage on LED screens, interact with new digital content, integrate photos of themselves into the highly anticipated Battle Room, and register to win a home make over.

Convention Floor Booth – Summit Entertainment’s booth located within the Grand Hall will highlight ENDER’S GAME footage. Premium promotional items will be distributed to the 120,000 attendees walking the convention floor, and booth visitors will be given the opportunity to win “fast passes” to the ENDER’S Game Exclusive Fan Experience, granting them entry without having to wait in line.

Thursday, July 18th

  • 10:30 – 11:30am Panel: Paranormal Passion, Room 24ABC
    Tor Teen favorite Kendare Blake (Antigoddess) joins Maryelizabeth Hart of Mysterious Galaxy for a discussion with Christine Feehan (Guest of Honor), Claudia Gray (Spellcaster) and others to discuss the inclusion of romantic elements in their action-packed novels.
  • 12 – 1pm Signing to follow in the autographing area, Table AA09
  • 12pm Tor Booth (#2707) Giveaway! The Hum and the Shiver by Alex Bledsoe, a Kirkus Reviews Top Pick for 2011!
  • 1:45 – 2:45pm Panel: Ode to Nerds, Room 6A
    Everyone knows that published science fiction authors reign on the Geek Heirarchy charts because the Internet tells us so! Join us on this epic panel as the genre’s top names in publishing celebrate all things geeky and nerdy with Charlie Jane Anders of io9.com! Geek out with Charlie Jane and Cory Doctorow (The Rapture of the Nerds), Chuck Palahniuk (Doomed), Austin Grossman and others.
  • 3:15 – 4:15pm Signing to follow in the autographing area, Table AA09
  • 2pm Tor Booth (#2707) KENDARE BLAKE will sign advanced copies of Antigoddess
  • 5pm Tor Booth (#2707) Bestselling author CORY DOCTOROW will sign copies of Pirate Cinema

Friday, July 19th

  • 12pm Tor Booth (#2707) JAY LAKE has candidly documented his battle with cancer on his blog and will appear at Comic-Con thanks to the kindness of friends and family. Tor is proud to host an in-booth signing and will offer copies of Green.
  • 2pm Tor Booth (#2707) Dr. Who writer, PAUL CORNELL will sign copies of London Falling
  • 2:30 – 3:30pm Panel: Epic Fantasy, Room 24ABC
    Brandon Sanderson (Mistborn and the Wheel of Time series) joins genre’s biggest authors as they discuss the worlds of their own creation and what fantasy has to say about our own world: Robin Hobb (Blood of Dragons), Christopher Paolini (the Inheritance cycle), and Daniel Abraham (The Tyrant’s Law) and others.
  • 4 – 5pm Signing to follow in the autographing area, Table AA09
  • 5pm Tor Booth (#2707) New York Times bestselling author BRANDON SANDERSON will sign copies of The Way of Kings
  • 7 – 8pm Panel: Publishing SF/F in the Digital Age, Room 25ABC
    Moderated by Timothy Travaglini (Open Road Integrated Media); authors Kevin J. Anderson (Sisterhood of Dune), Rebecca Moesta (WordFire Press), Cory Doctorow (Homeland), Andy Briggs (Tarzan: The Greystoke Legacy), Sherri L. Smith (Orleans), and Nick Cole (The Old Man and the Wasteland), and bookseller Maggie Tokuda-Hall (Books, Inc) discuss impact of the digital age on writing, publishing, reading, bookselling, and the traditional book as we know it.

Saturday, July 20th

  • 10 – 11am Panel: Urban Fantasy, Room 7AB
    Paris, Los Angeles, Minneapolis, Tucson, and cities of our own imagination come to life when tales of myth and magic are blended with the urban landscape. These stories 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 authors Max Gladstone (Three Parts Dead), Jim Butcher (Cold Days), Kevin J. Anderson (Dan Shamble, Zombie P.I.) and others.
  • 11:30 – 12:30am Signing to follow in the autographing area, Table AA09
  • 12pm Tor Booth (#2707) Giveaway of signed copies of the Ender’s Game movie tie-in novel
  • 5pm Tor Booth (#2707) MAX GLADSTONE will sign advanced copies of Two Serpents Rise

Sunday, July 21st

  • 12pm Tor Booth (#2707) S. M. WHEELER burst on the scene this year with her critically acclaimed debut novel, Sea Change. Meet the author and get a signed copy while supplies last.
  • 2 – 3pm Panel: Witches and Fey, Room 24ABC
    That vamp’s a tramp; this witch is a real bitch. Pixies will pinch; and the fey go beyond fairly frightening. The ghouls are ghastly, and we mere mortals are growing testy. S. M. Wheeler (Sea Change) joins Brom (Krampus), Amber Benson (The Calliope Reaper-Jones series), Seanan McGuire (The October Daye series) and Rachel Caine (the Morganville Vampires series) to provide perspective on the monsters of myth.
  • 3:30 – 4:30pm Signing to follow in the autographing area, Table AA08

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.

Not at New York Comic-Con Sweepstakes

Not at New York Comic-Con Sweepstakes

Tor Books is heading to New York Comic-Con!

Poster Placeholder of - 58We hope to see many of you there. Stop by Booth #920 to say hi or to participate in one of our many events and signings.

But for those of you who couldn’t make it out to New York, we wanted to offer you the chance to grab some of the same amazing swag and books that we’re promoting at #NYCC. To enter for the chance to win one of these five prize bundles, leave a comment on this post telling us one fabulous thing that you’ll be doing this week while you are #NotAtComicCon.

Here’s a look at the prize:

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And here’s a list of what’s included in each prize bundle:

  • Wheel of Time backpack
  • Halo patch
  • Article 5 by Kristen Simmons
  • The Battle of Blood and Ink written by Jared Axelrod and illustrated by Steve Walker
  • The Clockwork Sky Volume One by Madeleine Rosca
  • Dead Space: Martyr by Brian Evenson
  • Earthseed by Pamela Sargent
  • Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card
  • The Eye of the World by Robert Jordan
  • The Eye of the World: Graphic Novel: Volume 2 Based on the novel by Robert Jordan, written by Chuck Dixon, illustrated by Andie Tong
  • For the Win by Cory Doctorow
  • Gardens of the Moon by Steven Erikson
  • The Gift of Fire/On the Head of a Pin by Walter Mosley
  • Green by Jay Lake
  • Halo: Cryptum by Greg Bear
  • Halo: Glasslands by Karen Traviss
  • Hellhole by Brian Herbert and Kevin J. Anderson
  • Inside Straight edited by George R.R. Martin
  • Johnny Hiro: Half Asian, All Hero written and illustrated by Fred Chao
  • Off Armageddon Reef by David Weber
  • Old Man’s War by John Scalzi
  • The Omen Machine by Terry Goodkind
  • Only Superhuman by Christopher L. Bennett
  • Personal Demons by Lisa Desrochers
  • Three Parts Dead by Max Gladstone
  • The Way of the Kings by Brandon Sanderson

NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. You must be 18 or older and a legal resident of the 50 United States or D.C. to enter. Promotion begins October 11, 2012 at 10:00 a.m. ET. and ends October 15, 2012, 12:00 p.m. ET. Void in Puerto Rico and wherever prohibited by law. Please see full details and official rules go here. Sponsor: Tom Doherty Associates, LLC.

Not at San Diego Comic-Con Sweepstakes

Tor/Forge Blog

Tor Books is heading to San Diego Comic-Con!

Placeholder of  -85We hope to see many of you there. Stop by Booth #2707 to say hi or to participate in one of our many events and signings.

But for those of you who couldn’t make it out to California, we wanted to offer you the chance to grab some of the same amazing swag and books that we’re promoting at #SDCC. To enter for the chance to win one of these five prize bundles, leave a comment on this post telling us one fabulous thing that you’ll be doing this week while you are #NotAtComicCon. Whether you’re fighting a clone army, rescuing damsels in distress (or princelings in peril), zipping across galaxies at light speed, or just conquering your laundry pile, we hope that you have a great week.

Here’s a look at the prize:

Poster Placeholder of - 85

And here’s a list of what’s included in each prize bundle:

  • Wheel of Time backpack
  • Signed copy of Redshirts by John Scalzi
  • Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake
  • The Battle of Blood and Ink written by Jared Axelrod and illustrated by Steve Walker
  • Dark Companion by Marta Acosta
  • Existence by David Brin
  • Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card
  • The Eye of the World by Robert Jordan
  • The Eye of the World: Graphic Novel: Volume 2 Based on the novel by Robert Jordan, written by Chuck Dixon, illustrated by Andie Tong
  • Eyes to See by Joseph Nassise
  • Gardens of the Moon by Steven Erikson
  • Girl Genius Omnibus Volume 1 by Phil Foglio and Kaja Foglio
  • Halo: Cryptum by Greg Bear
  • Halo: Glasslands by Karen Traviss
  • Inside Straight edited by George R.R. Martin
  • Johnny Hiro: Half Asian, All Hero written and illustrated by Fred Chao
  • Laddertop: Volume 1 written by Orson Scott Card and Emily Janice Card Art by Honoel A. Ibardolaza
  • Off Armageddon Reef by David Weber
  • The Omen Machine by Terry Goodkind
  • Passion Play by Beth Bernobich
  • Personal Demons by Lisa Desrochers
  • The Way of the Kings by Brandon Sanderson

NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. You must be 18 or older and a legal resident of the 50 United States or D.C. to enter. Promotion begins July 12, 2012 at 10:00 a.m. ET. and ends July 16, 2012, 12:00 p.m. ET. Void in Puerto Rico and wherever prohibited by law. Please see full details and official rules go here. Sponsor: Tom Doherty Associates, LLC.

Tor Books Announces Programming for San Diego Comic-Con 2012

Poster Placeholder of - 42 Brandon Sanderson, John Scalzi and Steve Englehart as Comic-Con Special Guests!

This year at Tor’s Booth (#2707), we continue our popular *in-booth signings and giveaways, offering you a chance to meet your favorite authors up close and personal. This year we’re pleased to include the legendary

ORSON SCOTT CARD

author of New York Times Bestselling Ender’s Game, soon to be a major motion picture from Summit Entertainment!

Thursday, July 12th

  • 3pm – 4pm Tor Booth (#2707) New York Times bestselling author and Comic-Con Special Guest, BRANDON SANDERSON, will sign copies of The Way of Kings.
  • 2:30pm – 3:30pm Panel: The Dark Knight Rises: Is Batman Broken? Room 26AB
    Strong, smart, and heroic, he’s the Dark Knight we want on our side. But is Batman also out of his mind? Comic-con Special Guest, STEVE ENGLEHART joins Catwoman herself, Lee Meriwether, to discuss Bruce Wayne’s relationships, strengths and weaknesses. Does the Dark Knight have bats in his belfry?
  • 4:45pm – 5:45pm Panel: The Fiction of Halo 4, Room 6BCF
    Halo 4 heralds the return of one of gaming’s most iconic heroes, the Master Chief, in a new, epic sci-fi saga. Expanding and enriching the narrative, 343 Industries, panelists share how the development of stories across the GREG BEAR Forerunner saga, the KAREN TRAVISS Kilo-Five trilogy, Halo 4: Forward Unto Dawn, Halo 4 Campaign and Halo Infinity Multiplayer have become connective tissue for Halo 4.
  • 5pm – 6pm Tor Booth (#2707) Bestselling, award-winning futurist DAVID BRIN, will sign copies of his new high concept novel Existence, his first major work in over a decade.

Friday, July 13th

  • 10am – 11am Panel: Art of the Thrill Kill, Room 24AB
    From psycho killers and sociopaths to the vast unknowable emptiness of deep space, these authors know that it takes more than just blood and gore to keep their readers awake at night. DAN WELLS joins other top horror and thriller novelists to discuss how they balance ratcheting suspense with perfectly paced creepiness to create stories that are both psychologically and atmospherically disturbing.
  • 12pm – 1pm Signing in the autographing area, AA09
  • 12pm – 1pm Tor Booth (#2707) Legendary science fiction author ORSON SCOTT CARD & co-author AARON JOHNSTON sign Invasive Procedures a taut science fiction medical thriller. Five lucky people will get a chance to receive a signed copy of Earth Unaware: The First Formic War set in the popular Ender’s series, on-sale July 17th!
  • 12pm – 1pm Spotlight on BRANDON SANDERSON, Room 25ABC
    Author, educator, and Comic-Con Special Guest BRANDON SANDERSON talks about his growth from a nonreader in his youth to become one of the most popular fantasy writers working today. Sanderson’s books include his own Mistborn trilogy and his continuation of the late Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Timeseries, which wraps up in January 2013.
  • 2:30pm Duo Paul & Storm join us in the Tor Booth (#2707) to serenade fans as they wait in line to meet New York Times bestselling author and Comic-Con Special Guest JOHN SCALZI! Then at 3pm, John signs copies of Old Man’s War, the book that launched his career!
  • 3:30pm– 4:30pm Panel: Epic Fantasy War, Room 6A
    Brandon Sanderson (The Way of Kings), joins the top names in fantasy fiction to discuss how the key to writing a real epic fantasy novel lies in the word epic-which doesn’t just mean ambitious in scale, scope, and size.
    5:00pm – 6:00pm Signing in the autographing area, AA09
  • 5pm – 6pm Tor Booth (#2707) DAN WELLS will sign copies of his the book that started it all, I Am Not A Serial Killer.

Saturday, July 14th

  • 10am – 11am That 70s Panel, Room 23ABC.
    STEVE ENGLEHART makes a Comic-con Special Guest Spotlight appearance on this panel. Get out your pet rocks!
  • 12pm – 1pm Comics Arts Conference Focus on STEVE ENGLEHART , Room 26AB
    Travis Langley (Batman and Psychology: A Dark and Stormy Knight) moderates a discussion of Englehart’s stellar career writing the adventures of Captain America, Silver Surfer, Doctor Strange, Coyote, Night Man, the Justice League, and dozens of other characters.
  • 12:00pm – 1:00pm Panel: The Naked Truth About Tarzan and Jane: The First 100 Years of Spectacular Tarzan Imagery, and One of Literature’s Best-Loved Couples as They Enter Their Second Century, Room 25ABC
    Bestselling novelist Robin Maxwell (Jane: The Woman Who Loved Tarzan) and author Scott Tracy Griffin (Tarzan: The Centennial Celebration) gather with illustrator Joe Jusko (The Art of Joe Jusko) to discuss these iconic literary characters. Join them for a presentation and Q&A session hosted by Jim Sullos, president of Edgar Rice Burroughs, Incorporated, the official licensing entity for Tarzan and John Carter of Mars.
    Room 25ABC
  • 2pm – 3pm Tor Booth (#2707) Iconic science fiction author GREG BEAR signs copies of Halo: Primordium, Book Two of the Forerunner Saga.
  • 12pm – 1pm Tor Booth (#2707) Father/daughter duo ORSON SCOTT CARD & EMILY SCOTT CARD sign copies of their first writing collaboration, Laddertop, Volume 1.
  • 3pm – 4pm Panel: A Wrinkle in Time, Room 23ABC
    From the far-flung reaches of the Milky Way to the mind-bending possibilities of time travel, let the authors of speculative fiction tell you what they see when they venture to other dimensions. With DAVID BRIN & ORSON SCOTT CARD.
    4:30pm – 5:30pm Signing in the Autographing area, AA09
  • 5pm – 6pm Tor Booth (#2707) STEVE ENGLEHART will sign copies of The Long Man.
  • 5:30pm – 6:30pm Spotlight Panel with JOHN SCALZI, Room 7AB
    Comic-Con special guest JOHN SCALZI (Redshirts) talks about his latest work, his upcoming novel, video game, and film projects, takes questions and generally tries to amuse the hell out of you for an hour. With him as moderator/interviewer/conspirator: Wil Wheaton (Tabletop). It’ll be the most fun you can have while respirating.
    3:30pm – 4:30pm Solo Autographing, AA18

Sunday, July 15th

  • 10pm – 11am Panel: Stunted Fools and Scary-Ass Clowns: Humor in Science Fiction and Fantasy Room 25ABC
    Join in for an irreverent hour celebrating sly wit and unholy humor with some of the most devilish quipsters, wisecrackers, and satirists writing today. JOHN SCALZI (Redshirts) plays ringmaster to some of the best SFF humor writers in the field.
    11:30am – 12:30pm Signing in the autographing area, AA04
  • 2:45pm – 3:45pm Panel: Heroes for the Middle Grade Reader: Books That Will Rock Your Socks Off, Room 5AB
    EMILY JANICE CARD (yes, daughter of THAT Card) teamed up with her famous father to write a science fiction manga, Laddertop, Volume 1 aimed at middle grade readers, and will join a panel discussing adventurers and unexpected champions that we can all cheer for.
    4pm – 5pm Signing in the Autographing area, AA09
  • 12pm Tor Booth (#2707) giveaway, The Omen Machine by New York Times bestselling author, Terry Goodkind.
  • 2pm – 3pm Tor Booth (#2707) giveaway, Dark Companion the YA debut of Marta Acosta.

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.

Announcing the title and release date of the second Halo® novel in the “Kilo-Five Trilogy”

New York, NY – March 12, 2012 – Tor Books, an imprint of Tom Doherty Associates, LLC—the largest publisher of science fiction in the world—is excited to reveal the title and release date for the second novel in the “Kilo-Five Trilogy” written by bestselling novelist and veteran game writer Karen Traviss. Halo: The Thursday War will release in hardcover alongside a simultaneous audio edition on October 2, 2012.

Traviss, whose first foray into the Halo Universe came with the short story “Human Weakness” in Fall 2009’s New York Times bestselling “Halo: Evolutions” anthology, launched her new trilogy last fall with the acclaimed bestseller Halo: Glasslands. A veteran author who has penned number one bestselling novels in the Star Wars universe, bestselling novels for the Gears of War franchise (she most recently served as lead game writer for Gears of War 3), as well as her own critically acclaimed science fiction series “The Wess’Har Wars,” Traviss has an incredible gift for writing believable and compelling military science fiction.

“From the very first page, The Thursday War propels you into a universe on the brink of chaos,” says Frank O’Connor, Franchise Development Director, 343 Industries.  “It will immerse you immediately and enthrallingly into the events and circumstances that will come to define the state of the Halo universe in Halo 4. I can’t wait for fans and newcomers alike to experience the sequel to Glasslands.”

Halo: The Thursday War picks up immediately where Halo: Glasslands left off, with forces on Earth and among the Covenant threatening a peace that is precarious at best. With a splinter group among the Sangheili pushing for war, some human colonies rebel against earth authority; and as ONI policy continues to shift with the volatile situation in space, the discovery of a trove of Forerunner technology on Onyx provokes leaders on Earth to seek uses for it in the conflict. For the fight is far from over…

“I wanted to focus on what it feels like to operate in a fragile ceasefire that’s turning into a mass of small, unpredictable wars where the enemy is much harder to spot and define,” says author Karen Traviss. “It’s not about big set piece space battles, superheroes, and hardware; this is a messy conflict seen at close quarters by real people with their own problems, whether those people are human, alien, or artificial intelligences.”

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Q&A with Karen Traviss

Place holder  of - 2Halo: Glasslands is the first novel in an all-new HALO® trilogy by #1 New York Times bestselling author and game writer Karen Traviss. Traviss, critically acclaimed for her original series “The Wess’har Wars” as well as novels written in the Star Wars® and Gears of War® universes, managed to find time in the midst of her Gears of War 3 insanity (she serves as lead writer on the game) to sit down with her publicist at Tor Books and talk HALO.

Justin Golenbock:  How did you first become involved with the HALO franchise?

Karen Traviss: I was asked if I wanted to write a novella for HALO: Evolutions. I’m endlessly curious and always up for anything new if it sounds cool so I was interested. I was working on Gears at the time (as I still am) so I wanted to be sure they were cool with it, and they thought it was a great idea. If it’s military, if it’s a game, if it’s an IP I know nothing about (essential—I can’t work on things that I might have a pre-existing opinion on) and it has the moral grey areas I work best in, then I’ll probably give it a go if I have the time.

JG: Glasslands has been highly-anticipated by HALO fans as the first book or game in the franchise to delve deep into the chaos of the post-HALO 3 universe. Can you reveal anything about the plot for eager gamers and readers?

KT: As a former defence correspondent and a military writer,  I approach HALO as a real situation. War is bad enough, but when a relatively straightforward war—two sides, clear stakes—ends, then fragmentation usually takes place. Hostility doesn’t end cleanly. Factions emerge. You’re not sure where the threat is coming from, and it keeps changing. In HALO, it’s like the end of the Cold War. So who operates best in this uncertain landscape, where conventional force – weapons and ships – have no targets or conventional wars to fight? Intelligence.  Enter ONI, the Office of Naval Intelligence. If your enemy is off balance and licking his wounds, you grab that chance to knock him down so hard he never gets up again. You use black ops techniques using smart, adaptable people who can operate off the grid and handle themselves in the most dangerous environments in deniable operations. ONI assembles a team of ODSTs, a Spartan II, a civilian Sangheili expert, and an AI spy. It ought to be a simple case of doing the dirty on the bad guys by sneaky means, but things get very complicated when the secret roots of the Spartan programme is blown wide open….

ONI also has its hands full with another problem—Halsey has been a very bad girl and strolled off with a few Spartans mid-battle. While they’re hunting for her, she’s stranded in a Dyson sphere with “her” Spartans, some Spartan IIIs she views as third rate,  and Chief Mendez. It’s a sealed world. They could be the last sentient life in the galaxy. They don’t know if the Dyson sphere will turn out to be a haven or a hell, or indeed if it’s already inhabited. They’re cooped up with one another for what might be forever and now they have to face the previously unspoken tension, guilt, and blame about a shocking era in Earth’s history – the terrible abuse of kidnapped children to create Spartans. It’s very uncomfortable and now it’s about to get personal and really painful. Cue mayhem!

JG: What was it like integrating characters of your own creation into the lives and stories of those who have already lived on the page (and in the games)?

KT: First and foremost, I’m still a news journalist at heart. I want to start from scratch, ask my questions, and get answers. I want to be objective,  tell the truth, and  let the interviewees speak for themselves, without twisting their words or injecting my own opinions—to see the world through their eyes.

So I decided which existing characters I wanted to follow, and looked again at the raw data—the absolute neutral basic  facts, i.e. what they did and when they did it. Then I rebuilt the characters using psychological profiling techniques.  The result is that you’ll see characters you think you know portrayed differently, perhaps too differently for some fans’ tastes, but I’ve done what i always do—build or rebuild fully realised characters who behave like real people, place them in the environment, and then follow where they lead, seeing the situation and the events through their eyes. They won’t always see the event the same way and there will be contradictions—the reader has to do some work and make their mind up about who they believe. No easy answers, no heroes or villains—just people, even if those people are aliens. Make up your own mind.

I think fans will find a very different Mendez to the one they’ve seen before. This is a CPO, and if you’re navy (as I am!)  then you know the power of the Chief.  And this guy is hardcore. He trains SBS/ SEALS, effectively. He certainly won’t wilt in the face of Catherine Halsey, believe me. He doesn’t give a damn about her Ph.Ds and he’s as stained by the Spartan programme as she is. Then there’s Halsey herself. Boy, as a journalist, I’d love to have interviewed a real individual like her. I have to see the world as she sees it, to be her for the duration of her point of view scenes, and getting into her head means that the logic and justification that makes sense to her must also make sense to me, however much I feel repelled by it when I step outside her head. Not even a serial killer sees himself (or herself – let’s not be sexist) as evil. Their world makes perfect sense to them. I don’t inject my opinions or steer readers. The joy of writing for me is to explore other minds totally unlike my own. Sometimes it’s fun, sometimes it’s unsettling and even unpleasant, but it’s always new. Maybe Halsey is right and she’s a patriot, maybe she’s a monster like Dr. Mengele. It’s your call.

And then there’s Margaret Parangosky. She’s solid gold for a writer like me. I couldn’t believe nobody had developed her before. A 92-year-old serving admiral who’s also the chief spook? Damn, she’s got to be one tough old bird. She and Halsey, alpha female to alpha female – one of the most rewarding scenes I’ve ever “reported.”

Oh, and Lucy. Lucy the Spartan III. I’m big on dialogue, but how do I tackle a character who can’t speak? Read the book and find out…

JG:  Let’s talk 2012.  What can your fans look forward to after the publication of Halo: Glasslands and the great, big, massively-anticipated release of Gears of War 3?

KT: The next year is going to be spent catching up with my novel schedule—I’ve been tied up with Gears 3 for a couple of years and I have to write more books now! I’m going to be getting on with my new creator-owned series, Privateers (Simon & Schuster), which isn’t the usual speculative fiction you’ve seen from me. It’s set on Earth a few years from now, in an even more uncertain world than we face today, and it’s about private military contractors, sometimes unkindly called mercenaries. But it’s still full of the mucky politics, authentic military action, and vivid characters you’ve come to expect from me. Some of my friends work for PMCs and I thought it was time a few fictional stereotypes were dispelled. So the first book is out next year, title to be announced. There’ll be another Gears of War book out next year, too—The Slab—and I’m continuing the Gears comic series, as well as the next HALO novel, obviously. So busy, busy, busy. Very busy.

JG: Thank you for your time Karen, and good luck with both upcoming releases!!  Halo: Glasslands will be available online and in bookstores nationwide on October 25, 2011. For more information on Karen Traviss and her books and other projects visit www.karentraviss.com.

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Tor Books announces new Halo novels with #1 New York Times bestselling author Karen Traviss

Veteran author of bestselling Star Wars and Gears of War novels to follow up her contribution to the “Halo: Evolutions” story anthology with an all-new series set in the Halo Universe

New York, NY – July 20, 2010 – Tor Books, an imprint of Tom Doherty Associates, LLC—the largest publisher of science fiction in the world is excited to announce that Karen Traviss, who has penned number one bestselling novels in the Star Wars universe, as well as bestselling novels for the Gears of War franchise, will be writing the successor novel to Halo: Ghosts of Onyx in the first part of a multi-book deal to explore the Halo Universe in the wake of the final events of Halo 3. Halo novels published by Tor have sold over a million combined copies to date, and in 2010 Tor will also publish the first in a new Halo trilogy by science fiction icon Greg Bear. The highly-anticipated Xbox 360 video game “Halo: Reach” is scheduled to release September 14.

Traviss, whose first foray into the Halo Universe came with “Human Weakness,” a short story from Fall 2009’s New York Times bestselling “Halo: Evolutions” anthology, says of the opportunity:

“When I was invited to write Halo fiction I already knew it’d be right up my street; not just because military fiction is my specialty, but because there’s also huge unexplored depth, grey areas, and really uncomfortable moral dilemmas that underpin the Halo story, and that’s like catnip to a writer like me. I write what’s known as tight third person – that is, I get right inside each character’s head and see the world as they see experience it – and Halo offers some terrific chances to explore some fascinating psyches caught in complex situations.”

“Halo fiction fans are incredibly passionate about the fate of the Spartans of Onyx and the state of the Halo universe in the aftermath of the game events,” adds Frank O’Connor, 343 Industries Director of Franchise Development.  “We know that Karen has the talent, skill and passion to not only bring those stories to life, but also bring her experience a fresh new perspective too.”

#1 New York Times best-selling author KAREN TRAVISS has received critical acclaim and award nominations for her Wess’har series, as well as regularly hitting the bestseller lists with her Star Wars and Gears of War novels. A former defense correspondent and TV and newspaper journalist, she lives in Wiltshire, England.

The Halo franchise is an award-winning collection of properties that have grown into a global entertainment phenomenon. Beginning with the original “Halo: Combat Evolved” for Xbox in 2001, the rich fiction of the franchise has since inspired a series of blockbuster Xbox and Xbox 360 video games, New York Times best-selling novels, comic books, action figures, apparel and more. To date, sales in the Halo franchise have eclipsed $1.7 billion. The newest game in the franchise, the highly-anticipated blockbuster prequel to the award winning Halo trilogy, “Halo: Reach,” is due out in the fall. With a fully fleshed-out universe of heroes, villains and epic scenarios, the novels expand the universe to give fans a grander view of the game environments and characters they encounter.

About Tor Books
Tor Books, an imprint of Tom Doherty Associates, LLC, is a New York-based publisher of hardcover and softcover books, founded in 1980 and committed (although not limited) to SF and fantasy literature. Between an extensive hardcover and trade-softcover line, an Orb backlist program, and a stronghold in mass-market paperback, Tor annually publishes what is arguably the largest and most diverse line of science fiction and fantasy ever produced by a single English-language publisher. Books from Tor have won every major award in the SF and fantasy fields, and for the last twenty-two years in a row the company has been named Best Publisher in the Locus Poll, the largest consumer poll in SF.

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