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Top 12 Books to Use as Bludgeoning Weapons in a Pinch

Top 12 Books to Use as Bludgeoning Weapons in a Pinch

We’ve all been there: sometimes you’re peacefully reading your newest novel, only to see a cockroach scuttle by in front of your cozy armchair. Or you’ve got something that needs some light percussive recalibration to fix. Or your cousin has insulted your reading taste at Thanksgiving dinner, and all you have is the book you brought to the gathering to avoid talking to anyone. We’ve all had to use our books as bludgeoning weapons before, so here’s a list of SF/F doorstoppers that you can pitch in a pinch, now updated to include The First Binding by R. R. Virdi—on sale in paperback now!

By Yvonne Ye


The First Binding by R. R. Virdi#1: The First Binding by R. R. Virdi

Volume one of R. R. Virdi’s new Tales of Tremaine series, The First Binding, is a fresh face on the “books large enough to qualify as a two-hand weapon” scene. With 832 pages of epic fantasy contained within, The First Binding is professionally rated to block everything from sword-strikes to gamma lasers, and is guaranteed to OHKO any mortal-class adversary. Use this book to win your next grudge match, and then dive into this exciting and expansive new series with all the time you’ve saved by making it your go-to armament for close combat. Find the paperback in stores now!

Place holder  of - 11#2: Rhythm of War by Brandon Sanderson

Weighing in at a hefty 1232 pages, this latest installment in the Stormlight Archive will be sure to beat up your feelings while bludgeoning your enemies. Follow the Knights Radiant to war as tactical subterfuge, political maneuvering, and scientific innovation collide to change the very shape of Roshar’s future. For conducting guerilla warfare and internal sabotage in an occupied tower, the hardcover will be sure to deal maximum damage. For a stealth invasion of said tower, we suggest utilizing the paperback for its dexterity and flexibility. Find the paperback in stores now!

Placeholder of  -87#3: Oathbringer by Brandon Sanderson

Book three of the Stormlight Archive actually outweighs book 4, coming in at an impressive 1248 pages. Add some psychic damage to your bludgeoning attack by shouting “YOU CANNOT HAVE MY PAIN” at your foes in time-honored Kholin tradition while hurling this brick.

Image Place holder  of - 6#4: Words of Radiance by Brandon Sanderson

Fervent collectors of Stormlight hardcover editions noticed that Words of Radiance, despite only having 1088 pages, is actually quite a bit chunkier than Oathbringer. This is because the paper weight dropped from a 45# stock to a 35# stock between printings (we could go on about book production and paper weight, but we’ll spare you for now). At any rate, this book lives up to its working title, The Book of Endless Pages, and comes pre-equipped with the best one-liner in the series (so far): “Honor is dead, but I’ll see what I can do.”

Image Placeholder of - 76#5: To Sleep in a Sea of Stars by Christopher Paolini 

You thought we were going to go all the way with Stormlight titles, didn’t you? We thought about it, but decided to branch out to Christopher Paolini’s debut adult novel, To Sleep in a Sea of Stars. This galaxy-spanning odyssey of first contact and apocalypse earns its hefty page-count with its complexity and scope, and yes, if you were wondering, it outweighs each of the Eragon books at 880 pages. Bonus: you can also get it in paperback to realize your dual-wielding potential!

exordia by seth dickinson#6: Exordia by Seth Dickinson

Clocking in at a chonkin’ 544 pages, Exordia by Seth Dickinson is a double-edged threat as a bludgeoning weapon. Not only will it physically clobber you with it’s rounds-up-to-quadruple-digits page count, but this book will also emotionally destroy you. This book will wreck you body and soul, and for that reason demands to be read.

Poster Placeholder of - 86#7: Lord of Chaos by Robert Jordan

The longest book in the Wheel of Time series, we think this book could also be a strong contender for any therapeutic smashin’ you might need (goodness knows Rand could use some therapeutic smashin’ throughout this book). But if you’re new to the Wheel of Time series, we recommend starting with the first book, The Eye of the World. We know that media tie-in covers can be somewhat divisive, but with the new edition of The Eye of the World coming in at 784 pages, it is an undisputed tome and thus highly suitable for a spot of bludgeoning when necessary.

the ruin of kings by jenn lyons#8: The Ruin of Kings by Jenn Lyons

Come see the book that Lev Grossman called “rich, cruel, gorgeous, brilliant, enthralling and deeply, deeply satisfying” — much like how you will both look and feel if you come to a book fight prepared with Jenn Lyons. With all five of the Chorus of Dragons series on hand, you’ll be well-stocked for either hurling or bludgeoning, or just curling up in a corner and reading all 2,784 pages (cumulative!) while the melee rages about you.

#9: Death’s End by Cixin Liu, translated by Ken Liu

Clocking in at only 608 pages, this series-ender makes up for its lower page count with its absolutely badass title. We recommend this book for the aura of awe it will generate in your foes, along with its special Area-of-Effect abilities of inducing existential dread in your opponents and cautious hope in your allies.

#10: Harrow the Ninth by Tamsyn Muir

At a respectable 512 pages, Harrow is well-suited to fighters of smaller statures, delicate wrists, and a deeply murderous streak. Seriously, look me in the eyes and tell me that you wouldn’t bring a necromancer to a fight.

#11: Nothing But Blackened Teeth by Cassandra Khaw

“But wait,” you say. “This is a novella, with only a measly 128 pages!” you scoff. “How can this be a good bludgeoning weapon?” you laugh.

Just as there is a time and a place for every door-stopping saga, one must never underestimate the lethal capabilities of a well-crafted novella, and Cassandra Khaw’s latest is an exquisite weapon for the task. Lyrical, unflinching, dreadful, and vicious, Nothing But Blackened Teeth is a haunted-house novella perfectly-matched for those who are both courageous and deadly. A few well-placed bonks with this novella at high speed might just win your fight, and that book jacket alone may be enough to terrify most opponents into submission.

#12: Dawnshard by Brandon Sanderson

We’re not done with Sanderson yet! With Dawnshard’s upcoming release for the first time in hardcover, it felt right to finish this list where we began — with the Stormlight Archive. At a petite 4.25” x 6.7” (and a healthy… 304 pages), Dawnshard may be small but it packs a punch. Its size makes it the perfect handbag bludgeoning weapon, featuring finely-tapered print-over-board corners and some truly earth-shattering Cosmere reveals. And come on — wouldn’t you want the Lopen by your side in a fight?

Disclaimer: Tor does not actually encourage you to use your books as bludgeoning weapons. Please consider deploying your house slipper instead, as we cannot issue replacements should your copy become tragically stained by cockroach innards.

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Be Gay, Do Crime: 7 SFF Books Full of Chaotic Queer Criminals

Be Gay, Do Crime: 7 SFF Books Full of Chaotic Queer Criminals

Two things we love at Tor: Being gay. Doing crime. And who does gay crimes better than the characters of our authors? Check out this list of queerly criminal stories for your perusal pleasure. 

Check it out!


the-thousand-eyesThe Thousand Eyes by A. K. Larkwood

Eons ago, the Serpent Goddess Iriskaaval destroyed her own empire. Millenia later, our wayward heroes from The Unspoken Name must contend with her re-manifestation. Contained within this book is a multiplicity of crime, yearning, love, action, death, betrayal, and sometimes apotheosis. It’s amazing and incredible and should be read with quickness and haste.

atlas-1The Atlas Six by Olivie Blake

Olivie Blake’s virally sensational The Atlas Six tells the story of six ambitious magicians as they vie for induction into a secret society that safeguards all the world’s most dangerous and forbidden research and knowledge. They drink fancy drinks, create magical wormholes, pour over research, and occasionally gayly pour over each other… and then backstab!

This is a book for lovers of romance, betrayal, and intricate intrigue 😈

Light From Uncommon Stars by Ryka AokiLight From Uncommon Stars by Ryka Aoki

In Ryka Aoki’s brilliant debut, Light from Uncommon Stars, love is weighed against Faustian bargains. Shizuka Satomi cut a deal with a demon long ago to save herself from damnation. Now, she must convince seven violin prodigies to sell their souls for success. But! A retired starship captain and a shop that sells warm donuts give her a chance at real love. Don’t miss this defiantly joyful adventure of queer courtship and crimes. 

winters-orbitWinter’s Orbit by Everina Maxwell

Look. Sometimes, to solve the big crimes, you need to commit a few smaller, more fun crimes. Kiem and Jainan, our two favorite space princes, need to solve a murder as they fall into mutual pining (despite being married) and that means things like hacking databases and a little bit of light breaking and entering.

ceruleanseaThe House in the Cerulean Sea by TJ Klune

Linus works for Extremely Upper Management, and they have a lot of rules. One of the most important is “Do Not Form Attachments”. But that’s pretty hard when you’re soft and gay and you end up on a private island with the mysterious Arthur Parnassus and the cabal of terrifying but adorable children with supernatural powers he looks after.

becaame a sunShe Who Became the Sun by Shelley Parker-Chan

Few people on this list frighten us as much as Zhu Chongba, the titular heroine of She Who Became the Sun. She’s willing to do an awful lot of crime to achieve greatness. Plus she did steal her brother’s identity to masquerade as a man and join the rebellion against the Khans.

book-9781250175359Trouble the Saints by Alaya Dawn Johnson

Set in gritty alt-history Harlem, the crime in Trouble the Saints is organized! Phyllis LeBlanc is a bisexual assassin, hired to keep the Manhattan underworld in line. Trouble is both a magical love story and a compelling exploration of race in America at the dawn of World War II. And there are also knives. A lot of knives.

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Our Ships Will Never Sink: A List of Tor Staffer’s Ultimate OTPs!

Our Ships Will Never Sink: A List of Tor Staffer’s Ultimate OTPs!

We have a lot of OTPs (One True Pairings) here at Tor, but today, we’re here to talk about our ULTIMATE OTPs. We asked our staff to tell us about their favorite TDA ships and they delivered.

Check them out below!


Poster Placeholder of - 47Samantha Friedlander, Marketing Assistant (she/her)

My favorite TDA OTP would have to be Esther and Cye from Upright Women Wanted by Sarah Gailey. Their chemistry leapt off the page and was one of the many reasons why I loved this novella!

Place holder  of - 32Yvonne Ye, Ad/Promo Assistant (she/her)

The Stormlight Archive: I ship Kaladin/therapy, and if you’ve met the man, you’ll understand why

Alternatively! For the Teixcalaan duology by Arkady Martine, I ship Three Seagrass/Mahit Dzmare because I support beleaguered bureaucrat 4 beleagured bureaucrat :))))) If your OTP doesn’t have email work sessions together, do they even love each other?

Placeholder of  -91a cat, Marketing Coordinator (he/him)

My TDA OTP is a match made in magic hell and it’s Talasseres Charossa from The Unspoken Name by A. K. Larkwood and John Gaius from Harrow the Ninth. Tal is a rogue with a thing for garbage wizards and John Gaius, the Emperor Undying, is the garbage-ist wizard of all. This pairing is literally cursed, but so potent it must be true.

Image Placeholder of - 44Anna Merz, Publicity Assistant (she/her)

I would like to start this off by saying I for one ship the Marketing and Publicity teams at TDA xoxo

But also I mega ship Samson and Abitha from Slewfoot. A wholesome Monster/devil love of flower crowns, bees, and revenge.

Image Place holder  of - 26Becky Yeager, Manager of Ad/Promo & Marketing (she/her)

Kadou and Evemer from A Taste of Gold and Iron by Alexandra Rowland

One is a prince. The other one is a bodyguard. Could I make it any more obvious? Prince Kadou is kind, thoughtful, and anxious. Evemer is loyal, honorable, and reserved. Together they are everything I want out of a couple: a perfect balance of sweet and oh no, he’s hot. They bring out the very best in each other as they contend with conspiracies, a counterfeit crisis, and the periodic assassination attempt. If slow burn and pining are your cup of tea, then look no further than A Taste of Gold and Iron.

cover of A Strange and Stubborn Endurance by Foz MeadowsRachel Taylor, Marketing Manager (she/her)

Definitely Caethari and Velasin from A Strange and Stubborn Endurance by Foz Meadows. Arranged marriage trope? Queer romance? Yearning? WHAT MORE COULD I WANT?!?!?!

What is your SFF OTP? Let us know in the comments? 

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The Future is Fantasy: 5 Great Fantasies Set in the Future

The Future is Fantasy: 5 Great Fantasies Set in the Future

The Cradle of Ice by James RollinsImagine a fantasy world set in the distant future, where wizards sail the stars in magically engineered spaceships, or the ruler of an ancient empire waking up from a thousand year slumber to a world run by A.I and nanotechnology? Last year, we dug into five SFF titles that skillfully blend the futurist and the fantastical, and now we’re bringing that list back in celebration of The Cradle of Ice by James Rollins, the continuation of his epic Moonfall series. 

A fellowship was formed to defend the world from lunar apocalypse. Armies wage brutal war around them as they run hunted from hostile forces that would disband them bloodily to prevent what their quest might unleash…

By Kaleb Russell


The Starless CrownImage Place holder  of - 83 by James Rollins

It’s the start of the Moonfall series, now in paperback! A departure from his thriller works, James Rollins treats fantasy readers to an adventure of epic proportions as a band of four outcasts embark on a journey to uncover an ancient secret that can save the world from a prophesied apocalypse. With flying ships and prophetic gods, The Starless Crown makes for a valued addition to the futuristic fantasy subgenre.

Place holder  of - 77Shadow & Claw: The First Half of  ‘Book of the New Sun’ by Gene Wolfe

Gene Wolfe is a Herculean figure in the world of SFF—his Book of the New Sun series a staple of the genre. Set in a distant future composed of aliens the size of mountains and strange sorceries, we follow the life of Severian, the apprentice torturer, as he wanders through the strange corners of one of SFF’s most iconic worlds.

Image Placeholder of - 45Black Sun Rising by C. S. Friedman

Originally published in 1991, Black Sun Rising tells the story of sorcerers from Earth who travel to the planet Erna to settle their new colony. Upon their arrival, they come into contact with the fae who have inhabited the planet for generations. Friedman transports us into a world of darkness that will surely have readers chomping at the bits for more books of its ilk. 

Placeholder of  -99Harrow the Ninth by Tamsyn Muir

This book needs no introduction. In the follow up to the earth-shattering Gideon the Ninth, Muir delivers another mad cap science-fantasy epic including, but not limited to, woefully depressed necromancers, the malignant ghost of a murdered planet, and a labyrinthine narrative that will leave your head spinning.

Poster Placeholder of - 10The Gurkha and the Lord of Tuesday by Saad Z. Hossain

In this raunchy and wildly inventive novella, we meet djinn King Melek Ahmar awakened after a millennia long slumber hungry for conquest. With his unshakeable hubris, he sets out to conquer the city state of Kathmandu, ruled by a tyrannical AI known as Karma. Melek Ahmar finds an unlikely ally in the old knife wielding Gurkha soldier, Gurung.  Together, the two vagabonds uncover a deeply hidden secret that, if brought to light, can reshape the city as we know it. This is an absurdly entertaining novella set in a post climate change future made inhabitable by nanotechnology. Despite the dystopian setting, there is ample levity, cheer, and inventiveness to keep any reader engaged.

What is your favorite futuristic fantasy? Let us know in the comments! 

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Slow Burn: Delectable Suffering

Slow Burn: Delectable Suffering

By Becky Yeager

Of all of the many romantic tropes in existence, is there any that generates as much suffering and absolute bliss as the slow burn? Many readers will shake their fists at characters who could be so perfect together if only they would realize their burgeoning feelings. Below is a list of six recent books or series that feature slow burn relationships (all of which are queer—sorry, not sorry), some of which are still inching their way to resolution.


Ocean’s EchoImage Placeholder of - 62 by Everina Maxwell

This book takes fake dating to the next level. Tennal is a flirtatious socialite and an absolute disaster in his family’s eyes. He also happens to be a neuromodified “reader,” which means a) he can read minds, b) he’s a security threat, and c) an immensely valuable asset for navigating chaotic space.

Lieutenant Surit Yeni is the lawful good son of a notorious traitor, who has dedicated himself to making up for his mother’s past mistakes. He is also a neuromodified “architects,” which means a) he can impose his will onto others and b) if he forms a sync with a reader, they’ll be locked into a permanent bond.

Tennal is forcibly conscripted by the military, and Surit is given orders to merge their minds. Neither is thrilled by the situation. So, logically, their solution is to fake it and desperately try to secretly figure out a way to help Tennal escape. But in the meanwhile, they are roommates. The tension between these two is palpable!

Gideon the NinthThe Locked Tomb Series by Tamsyn Muir

Some may question whether this series constitutes a slow burn. In our optimistic hearts, it does! We have one more book to go and who knows what could happen. Now, to avoid any spoilers, we’ll stick with how the bond between a necromancer and a cavalier is very special. And if you go around saying things like “One flesh, one end, bitch,” and “I cannot conceive of a universe without you in it,” then we’re going to have strong feelings. Be still our beating heart! (Any necromancers who happen to be reading, please don’t take that literally.) Add in the element of how they’re childhood friends (enemies), and hello, we’re sold.

A Taste of Gold and Iron by Alexandra RowlandA Taste of Gold and Iron by Alexandra Rowland

There is nothing like the longing between a prince and his bodyguard. Where is the line between loyal devotion and love? What happens when you’re tempted to cross it? Twist that Yearning Dial up to 100 and sit back to watch the drama.

A Taste of Gold and Iron is set in a fantasy world reminiscent of the Ottoman Empire. Prince Kadou is more capable than he realizes and gifted with the ability to touch-taste metal, but he struggles with anxiety. Evemer is his newly appointed bodyguard whose stoicism makes him nearly impossible to read. The pair of them find themselves drawn into court drama and life-threatening conspiracies that threaten to ruin the kingdom. So, yes, there’s danger and misunderstandings and longing. But just wait until the hair washing scene.

Place holder  of - 51Under the Whispering Door by TJ Klune

Imagine if Scrooge was a middle-aged lawyer who died, and his ghost was sent to a tea shop run by a man who helps the dead cross over. And now…imagine if the two of them fell in love. Wallace was The Worst in life. He should know. He attended his own funeral. Hugo, meanwhile, spends his days brewing tea and making pastries on top of working with a reaper and a mysterious manager to assist ghosts with moving on.

Under the Whispering Door manages to be both hilarious and heart-wrenching. It’s so hard when your OTP can’t physically touch each other, but one can’t help being touched as Wallace and Hugo are gradually drawn to each other despite their circumstances.

The Cemeteries of Amalo SeriesThe Grief of Stones by Katherina Addison by Katherine Addison

Thara Celehar is a Witness for the Dead. It is his job to help speak with the recently dead. Sometimes this is to assist with resolving disputes. Other times it is to track down murderers. He is a quiet and solemn individual and far kinder than anyone realizes. Tragedy has befallen him in the past, and his current life is rather lacking in romance. And yet one cannot help hoping there could be a cherished companion waiting in the wings for him.

“I put the honey spoon in the second cup (which the staff of the River-Cat could not be trained out of bringing—unlike at the Hanevo Tree, where you had to specify if you wanted more than one) and briefly tormented myself by imagining a companion who would smile across at me and happily lick the spoon clean. Neither of my lovers had had such a sweet tooth—that was the only thing that made my imaginings even remotely safe. A purely made-up lover was foolish; conjuring the dead was something else entirely.”

And then, y’all, in the course of an investigation he meets someone who uses honey liberally. This is among the slowest of slow burns, but it’s sweet and heartwarming.

Winter's Orbit by Everina MaxwellWinter’s Orbit by Everina Maxwell

Now, here’s a case where the two main characters end up married right at the start of the book and then spend the rest of the story playing will they or won’t they about whether they’ll actually fall in love. Prince Kiem isn’t very important in his family. In fact, he’s the Emperor’s least favorite grandchild. Now he’s under orders to marry Count Jainan, a widower (and murder suspect), who is vital for maintaining a planetary alliance. The two tie the knot, pose for the paparazzi, and prepare for a marital relationship lacking in anything resembling affection.

But their hearts have other plans as they are gradually drawn together to deal with court intrigue, the machinations of war, and the ghosts of Jainan’s past. As The New York Times Book Review put it so aptly, you’ll be yelling “Now kiss!” before you realize it.

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5 Murderously Magical Mysteries!

5 Murderously Magical Mysteries!

by Kaleb Russell

Everybody loves a good murder mystery! The elements of suspense, deception, and ample misdirection coalesce to form a tightly constructed narrative filled with colorful characters and wrapped up in one big murderous plot. Sweeten the pot with some fantasy magic and you’ve elevated one of storytelling’s classic formats to new genre-bending heights. Here are 6 compelling magical murder mysteries that we think you should check out, including The Spare Man by Mary Robinette Kowal, a spacefaring sleuthing tale that’s available to purchase on 10/22/22 and available for pre-order now!


The Spare Man by Mary Robinette KowalThe Spare Man by Mary Robinette Kowal

Tesla Crane is a brilliant inventor and wealthy heiress—and most importantly—on a delight space-cruise honeymoon with her wonderful husband. When said wonderful husband is arrested on suspicion of on-ship murder, she will leverage her socialite charisma, acumen at banter, penchant for martinis, and assistance from her small service dog to exonerate her husband and uncover the real killer before they strike again.

Poster Placeholder of - 92The Bone Orchard by Sara A. Mueller

Sole survivor of a race of necromancers, Charm is a prisoner of the Emperor with nothing but her children and her bone trees to bring her solace. One day, as the Emperor lays in his deathbed, he gives Charm one final command: learn which one of his conniving sons is his murderer. She can succeed and be set free, but that entails betraying the ghosts of her fallen people in the process. Will she follow the will of her dead master or forsake the sanctity of the empire to sate her hunger for vengeance? The Bone Orchard is a lush and gothically atmospheric work that explores the poisonous nature of empire through the moral compromises it foists upon even those it seeks to quash.

Place holder  of - 47Gideon the Ninth by Tamsyn Muir

Heiress of the Ninth House, Bone witch, and all-around curmudgeon, Harrowhark Nonagesimus is summoned to a haunted house in a far off galaxy along with eight other Noble necromancers and her reluctant cavalier, Gideon, to compete in a game of wit and skill for the Emperor’s favor. It’s not long before characters start dropping like flies. If Harrow and Gideon are to survive, they must solve the mysteries of the house as well as its enigmatic occupants. The first book in Tamsyn Muir’s The Locked Tomb series is an enthralling murder mystery with an explosive finale that’ll leave you aching for more.

Image Placeholder of - 35The Alloy Of Law by Brandon Sanderson

Set 300 years after the events of the original trilogy, the world of Mistborn is in the modern age—cities teeming with electricity-powered street lamps and steel-framed skyscrapers touching the stratosphere. We follow Wax, a vagabond from the Roughs forced to return home to Elendel after a family tragedy requires him to holster his guns and assume the responsibilities befitting the head of a noble family. Wax quickly realizes life in a sweeping metropolis can be just as treacherous as the Roughs. In Sanderson fashion, The Alloy of Law is a fast-paced mystery with high stakes, dynamic magic, and gunfights galore.

Placeholder of  -84Magic For Liars by Sarah Gailey

A little bit Veronica Mars and a little bit The Magicians, Magic For Liars is about an unhappy, magicless P.I. named Ivy Gamble who ventures to Osthorne Academy for Young Mages to investigate a gruesome murder and maybe even reconnect with her estranged twin sister who just so happens to be a teacher there. Sarah Gailey’s debut novel promises thrills, heartache, and a devastating ending.

Image Place holder  of - 44Three Parts Dead by Max Gladstone

In this 21st century fantasy, Gods deal and compete with corporations for power and control as necromantic lawyers levy dark magic to litigate their conflicts. Fresh out of law school, Tara Abernathy’s first job as an associate of the international necromantic firm of Kelethres, Albrecht, and Ao is to resurrect the deceased fire god, Kos, before pandemonium sets in and the city of Alt Coulumb crumbles from the pressure. When Tara learns the God was murdered, she recruits a chain-smoking priest of the dead god named Abelard to help find the culprit and save the city. Like the other books in Max Gladstone’s Craft Sequence, Three Parts Dead is an insanely smart, dashingly elegant legal thriller that’ll keep you guessing all the way to the huge finale, and pondering the nature of faith weeks after you’ve witnessed it.

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But What if You Added a Dragon? How Jenn Lyons Would Improve 6 Books

But What if You Added a Dragon? How Jenn Lyons Would Improve 6 Books

13Jenn Lyons is the author of the epic A Chorus of Dragons series, and she’s also one of the foremost dragonic scholars of the contemporary age. Here we consult her comprehensive knowledge of dragon lore to understand what SFF titles would benefit from the inclusion of one (or more) dragon(s).


by Jenn Lyons

I have a confession to make: I’ve never written a novel that didn’t have a dragon in it. Now, as I’m known as an epic fantasy author whose first series literally has the word dragon in the title, this may not seem like much of a confession, but please I understand: I mean all the novels. The unpublished novels that no one has ever seen, sitting in a metaphorical drawer.

Yes, the sci-fi novels too.

Why not, after all? Dragons deserve some love in any genre fiction story, whether that’s something set in a slightly speculative version of our world today to stories of the far future set in space. Raymond Chandler used to say that anytime he was stuck in a story, he’d have someone walk into a room holding a gun. Me? I have a dragon crash the party.

Works every time.

Now obviously, there are a number of sci-fi books which already contain dragons. The Dragonriders of Pern books by Anne McCaffery, Roadmarks by Roger Zelazny, and Phoenix Extravagant by Yoon Ha Lee are just a few books where the setting is scifi but my favorite monster is still in the house.

With that said, here’s a few sci-fi books that I feel might have been made just that tiny bit better by the introduction of a dragon:

The Kaiju Preservation Society by John ScalziThe Kaiju Preservation Society

No, don’t be silly. This already has dragons in it. John Scalzi just calls them something else. Respect.

 

 

Gideon the Ninth by Tamsyn MuirGideon the Ninth

It’s easy to look at Gideon the Ninth by Tamsyn Muir and accuse me of cheating by slipping a fantasy novel into the mix, but no, it turns that this story of necromancers, dead worlds, and the cost of resurrection is, in fact, sci-fi. That said, there’s enough magic flying around (or what looks like magic) to make the addition of a dragon not just thematically plausible, but easily justifiable. Who wouldn’t want to see a cadre of necromancers forced to deal with a dragon? (Probably a dead dragon. Yeah, let’s face it: this dragon’s absolutely dead. And angry about it.) Quite frankly, nobody in any Houses would’ve been surprised to find a dragon in the bowels of Canaan House. Maybe the only surprise was that there wasn’t one.

The Fifth Season by N. K. JemisinThe Fifth Season

N.K. Jemisin’s The Broken Earth trilogy about a world regularly torn asunder by extinction level events (book one’s titular The Fifth Season) hardly needs a dragon. There’s more than enough fire from volcanoes and that one time someone opened a rift right across the entire continent, straight down into the world’s mantle. In fact, I suspect the biggest issue with a dragon in these books is the distinct possibility that no one would notice. Or if they did, would probably just give a resigned shrug as if to say “Sure, why not a dragon, too?”

All Systems Red by Martha WellsAll Systems Red

Given the nature of Martha Well’s stories about a very cranky SecUnit construct called Murderbot and its battles against far-future corporations (and its own feelings), I would absolutely want to see a dragon in one of these tales. A dragon that I suspect would immediately adopt Murderbot, because it too understands what it’s like to live in a universe where everyone assumes you’re only around to kill people and tear shit up.

I mean, yes, watching Murderbot fight a dragon would be awesome. More awesome? Watching Murderbot and a dragon fight something else.

Cibola Burn by James S. A. CoreyCibola Burn

I love the Expanse series, written by James S.A. Corey (the joint pen name of Daniel Abraham and Ty Frank). I’d love to say that I was into the books way before the TV show; that would be lying. I discovered the books because of the TV show, and immediately devoured everything that was out at the time (and continued to do so until the end of the series). Cibola Burn, the fourth book, takes places almost entirely on an alien world that humanity is attempting to colonize. It was the perfect opportunity to introduce a dragon, and I’ve got to be honest here: the authors completely missed their shot. Not a single dragon to be found anywhere. Not even a protomolecule entity shaped vaguely like a dragon. Disappointing.

And no, despite the name, Tiamat’s Wrath also has a depressing lack of actual dragons.

Dune by Frank HerbertDune

I know what you’re going to say here: Frank Herbert’s masterpiece doesn’t need dragons; it already has sandworms. But hear me out here. What if the Empire had tried to genetically engineer an alternative to sandworms? An alternative developed on another equally inhospitable planet more fully under the empire’s control, like say, Salusa Secundus? The experiment wouldn’t have worked, of course, but perhaps they ended up with something useful anyway, if only for having bad tempers and lots of sharp, pointy teeth.

All I’m saying is the Empire’s forces could’ve shown up on Arrakis with both Sardaukar troops AND dragons.

And those are just a few examples. Now I don’t expect authors to go rush out and write a bunch of sci-fi complete with dragons in it…

But why not?

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Ready to Go on a Grand Adventure in Space…?

Ready to Go on a Grand Adventure in Space…?

Ready to Go on a Grand Adventure in Space…?

Love is love, even (and especially) in space. We’re bringing back our ‘Gays in Space’ list, updated with some new SFF titles that feature LGBTQ+ characters on intergalactic adventures. Check it out here!


Placeholder of  -97You Sexy Thing by Cat Rambo

TwiceFar station is at the edge of the known universe, and that’s just how Niko Larson, former Admiral in the Grand Military of the Hive Mind, likes it. Retired and finally free of the continual war of conquest, Niko and the remnants of her former unit are content to spend the rest of their days working at the restaurant they built together, The Last Chance. But, some wars can’t ever be escaped, and unlike the Hive Mind, some enemies aren’t content to let old soldiers go. Niko and her crew are forced onto a sentient ship convinced that it is being stolen and must survive the machinations of a sadistic pirate king if they even hope to keep the dream of The Last Chance alive. On sale 09/07/2021!

Poster Placeholder of - 76Light From Uncommon Stars by Ryka Aoki

Good Omens meets The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet in Ryka Aoki’s Light From Uncommon Stars, a defiantly joyful adventure set in California’s San Gabriel Valley, with cursed violins, Faustian bargains, and queer alien courtship over fresh-made donuts. On sale 09/28/2021!

Image Placeholder of - 24Even Greater Mistakes by Charlie Jane Anderson

The woman who can see all possible futures is dating the man who can see the one and only foreordained future. A wildly popular slapstick filmmaker is drawn, against his better judgment, into working with a fascist militia, against a background of social collapse. Two friends must embark on an Epic Quest To Capture The Weapon That Threatens The Galaxy, or else they’ll never achieve their dream of opening a restaurant. The stories in this collection, by their very outrageousness, achieve a heightened realism unlike any other. On sale 11/16/2021!

Image Place holder  of - 54A Memory Called Empire by Arkady Martine

Ambassador Mahit Dzmare arrives in the center of the multi-system Teixcalaanli Empire only to discover that her predecessor, the previous ambassador from their small but fiercely independent mining Station, has died. But no one will admit that his death wasn’t an accident—or that Mahit might be next to die, during a time of political instability in the highest echelons of the imperial court. Check out the sequel, A Desolation Called Peace, on sale now!

Place holder  of - 25Gideon the Ninth by Tamsyn Muir

Brought up by unfriendly, ossifying nuns, ancient retainers, and countless skeletons, Gideon is ready to abandon a life of servitude and an afterlife as a reanimated corpse. She packs up her sword, her shoes, and her dirty magazines, and prepares to launch her daring escape. But her childhood nemesis won’t set her free without a service….

Harrow the Ninth by Tamsyn Muir

Harrowhark Nonagesimus, last necromancer of the Ninth House, has been drafted by her Emperor to fight an unwinnable war. Side-by-side with a detested rival, Harrow must perfect her skills and become an angel of undeath—but her health is failing, her sword makes her nauseous, and even her mind is threatening to betray her. Sealed in the gothic gloom of the Emperor’s Mithraeum with three unfriendly teachers and hunted by the mad ghost of a murdered planet, Harrow must confront two unwelcome questions: is somebody trying to kill her? And if they succeeded, would the universe be better off?

Unconquerable Sun by Kate Elliott

Princess Sun has finally come of age. Growing up in the shadow of her mother, Eirene, has been no easy task. The legendary queen-marshal did what everyone thought impossible: expel the invaders and build Chaonia into a magnificent republic, one to be respected—and feared. But the cutthroat ambassador corps and conniving noble houses have never ceased to scheme—and they have plans that need Sun to be removed as heir, or better yet, dead.

Empress of Forever by Max Gladstone

A wildly successful innovator, Vivian Liao is prone to radical thinking, quick decision-making, and reckless action. On the eve of her greatest achievement, she tries to outrun people who are trying to steal her success. In the chilly darkness of a Boston server farm, Viv sets her ultimate plan into motion. A terrifying instant later, Vivian Liao is catapulted through space and time to a far future where she confronts a destiny stranger and more deadly than she could ever imagine.

Sisters of the Vast Black by Lina Rather

Years ago, Old Earth sent forth sisters and brothers into the vast dark of the prodigal colonies armed only with crucifixes and iron faith. Now, the sisters of the Order of Saint Rita are on an interstellar mission of mercy aboard Our Lady of Impossible Constellations, a living, breathing ship which seems determined to develop a will of its own. When the order receives a distress call from a newly-formed colony, the sisters discover that the bodies and souls in their care—and that of the galactic diaspora—are in danger. And not from the void beyond, but from the nascent Central Governance and the Church itself.

Architects of Memory by Karen Osborne

Terminally ill salvage pilot Ash Jackson lost everything in the war with the alien Vai, but she’ll be damned if she loses her future. Her plan: to buy, beg, or lie her way out of corporate indenture and find a cure. When her crew salvages a genocidal weapon from a ravaged starship above a dead colony, Ash uncovers a conspiracy of corporate intrigue and betrayal that threatens to turn her into a living weapon.

The Sol Majestic by Ferrett Steinmetz

Kenna, an aspirational teen guru, wanders destitute across the stars as he tries to achieve his parents’ ambition to advise the celestial elite. Everything changes when Kenna wins a free dinner at The Sol Majestic, the galaxy’s most renowned restaurant, giving him access to the cosmos’s one-percent. His dream is jeopardized, however, when he learns his highly-publicized “free meal” risks putting The Sol Majestic into financial ruin. Kenna and a motley gang of newfound friends—including a teleporting celebrity chef, a trust-fund adrenaline junkie, an inept apprentice, and a brilliant mistress of disguise—must concoct an extravagant scheme to save everything they cherish.

Winter’s Orbit by Everina Maxwell

Summoned before the Emperor, Prince Kiem—the Emperor’s least favorite grandchild—is commanded to renew the empire’s bonds with its newest vassal planet. The prince must marry Count Jainan, the recent widower of another royal prince of the empire. But Jainan suspects his late husband’s death was no accident. And Prince Kiem discovers Jainan is a suspect himself. But broken bonds between the empire and its vassal planets leaves the entire empire vulnerable, so together they must prove that their union is strong while uncovering a possible murder.

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“I See Dead People”: Our 5 Favorite Ghost Talkers in SFF

“I See Dead People”: Our 5 Favorite Ghost Talkers in SFF

While “I see dead people” might cause the average person to flee in terror, for the protagonists of these books, it’s just business as usual. From lesbian necromancers, to spirit mediums during World War I, to a ghostalker who carries messages to those left behind, here are five stories where characters don’t seem to mind talking with folks who should be dead and buried.

By Lizzy Hosty


Poster Placeholder of - 33The Library of the Dead by T. L. Huchu

Cynical teen Ropa dropped out of school to become a ghostalker, and business is booming. Listening to the never-ending parade of ghosts who ask her to take messages back to the ones they left behind, Ropa soon hears of someone on her patch who is bewitching children and leaving them husks, empty of joy and strength. Calling on Zimbabwean magic and Scottish

Place holder  of - 35The Witness for the Dead by Katherine Addison

In this follow-up to The Goblin Emperor, which follows Thara Celehar, the Prelate of Ulis that found the truth for the half-goblin Maia and inadvertently ousted from his place as emperor. Now, Celehar lives among the commoners, which suits him just fine. Until his skills as a Witness for the Dead – which lets him speak to the recently dead, see the last thing they saw, know the last thought they had, and experience the last thing they felt – thrusts him deep into a treacherous plot.

Image Placeholder of - 66Ghost Talkers by Mary Robinette Kowal

During World War I, not even the phrase “dead men tell no tales” is true. Because as long as the recently deceased speak with a member of the Spirit Corps, the Allies can fight on. Ginger Stuyvesant is an American living in London during World War I, and she is such a member of the Spirit Corps. But when Ginger discovers a traitor amongst their ranks, and goes to report what she has found, no one believes her. Ginger realizes it’s all up to her to find out exactly how the Germans are targeting the Spirit Corps and stop them herself.

Placeholder of  -89Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrel by Susanna Clarke

In England in the midst of the Napoleonic era, with wars being waged on land and sea, two very different magicians emerge to challenge the belief that magic is dead and gone. One of the magicians, the reclusive Mr. Norrel, reveals his powers and becomes a celebrity instantly. The other magician – a young and handsome Jonathan Strange – comes forth to become Mr. Norrel’s protege and to join the war against France. But Jonathan dares to practice the most dangerous forms of magic, which puts his relationship with Mr. Norrel – and everything he’s worked for – at risk.

Image Place holder  of - 63Gideon the Ninth by Tamsyn Muir

Gideon’s afterlife as a reanimated corpse involves a life of servitude that Gideon is ready to be done with. Packing up her sword, shoes, and her dirty magazines, Gideon prepares to run away – only to be stopped by her nemesis, Harrowhark Nonagesimus who demands a service. Harrow is the Reverend Daughter of the Ninth House and a bone witch extraordinaire and has been invited to a deadly trial of wits that, if she succeeds at, could make her an immortal servant of the Resurrection. Harrow needs Gideon to help her win, because to lose is to have the Ninth House die.

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Five Space Couples We (Space)Ship

Five Space Couples We (Space)Ship

We know OTP means One True Pairing but we have so many pairings we cannot help but stan. We love action, adventure, space battles, lazer fire, galactic empire–pretty much everything about sci-fi. But we’re also suckers for a bit of romantic tension. So romantic tension in space? *Chef’s kiss* *Literal stars in our eyes*

Here’s a list of some of our favorite recent space!ships.


Image Place holder  of - 20Kiem and Jainan from Winter’s Orbit by Everina Maxwell

Two perfect cinnamon rolls. Too good for this world. Too pure. Arranged marriage turns into surprise feelings when these two space princes get married to keep a fragile alliance going between planets. They also have to solve a murder together, and what’s more romantic than that? 

Poster Placeholder of - 81Mahit and Three Seagrass from A Memory Called Empire by Arkady Martine

Just an ambassador, standing in front of her diplomatic attaché, there’s a body over there in the corner, but maybe this is the right time to ask for a kiss? This gorgeous space opera has so much going for it, but one of our favorite is the delightful romantic tension between Mahit and Three Seagrass. And there’s more to come with them reunited in A Desolation Called Peace this March.

Image Placeholder of - 91Gideon and Harrow from Gideon the Ninth by Tamsyn Muir

We have only one thing to say about this Necromancer and her Cavalier, which we hope will clarify our stance on this potential pairing: “One flesh, one end, bitch.”

 

Place holder  of - 68Sun and Hetty from Unconquerable Sun by Kate Elliott

We love an established couple, and Hetty and Sun just work. They steady each other, they look for each other, they revolved around each other, and all of those things are needed when half your pairing is the heir to an expanding space empire whose ambitions stretch across the stars. In a world full of inconstancies, these two, for now at least, remain constant.

Placeholder of  -79Red and Blue from This is How You Lose the Time War by Amal El-Mohtar and Max Gladstone

Enemies to lovers? One of our favorite tropes of all time, and the chemistry/tension between Red and Blue is just…electric. Their relationship evolves through the notes they leave for each other on the battlefield, simultaneously mocking and flirty (a surefire way to woo your enemy, right?).

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