To Sleep in a Sea of Stars - Tor/Forge Blog

Which Dysfunctional Space Crew Do You Belong In?

by a bunch of raccoons in a trench coat & a cat

In space, everyone can hear you scream when you realize your roommate steals your lunch from the community space fridge. Has anyone every made it through a space voyage completely functionally?

Find out which dysfunctional space crew is your ride-or-die with this quiz!


And while you’ve got books on the brain, Fractal Noise by Christopher Paolini is out now in paperback! You should read it.

Order Fractal Noise Here

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Which Dysfunctional Space Crew Do You Belong In?

by a bunch of raccoons in a trench coat & a cat

In space, everyone can hear you scream when you realize your roommate steals your lunch from the community space fridge. Has anyone every made it through a space voyage completely functionally?

Find out which dysfunctional space crew is your ride-or-die with this quiz!

And while you’ve got books on the brain, Cascade Failure by L. M. Sagas is out now! You should read it.

Order Cascade Failure Here

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8 Books to Read After You Watch Dune: Part Two

Yeah, we’re into DuneDune lots of reading 📚😎

The spice must flow, and so will our sci-fi book recommendations! But what’s that you say? You’re not just looking for any space opera, you’re looking for the particular space opera that’s going to satisfy the exact reason why you’re already planning to see Dune: Part Two again? Fear not! Our recommendations are sorted by what got you excited for Dune!

By Julia Bergen

If you’re excited to see Dune because:

dune: the heir of caladan by brian herbert & kevin j. andersonDune seems really cool:

You should read: Dune: The Heir of Caladan by Brian Herbert & Kevin J. Anderson

When you need Dune, you need Dune! Dune: The Heir of Caladan is the conclusion of a prequel trilogy by Brian Herbert, Frank Herbert’s son, and science fiction legend Kevin J. Anderson. This saga began with Dune: The Duke of Caladan, continued with Dune: The Lady of Caladan, and tells the story of the Atreides family’s rise to power, and this particular volume details how Paul becomes the leader he needs to be before the events of Dune

princess of dune by brian herbert & kevin j. andersonNo, really. Dune is the coolest and you’ll throw yourself into the maw of a sandworm if you don’t get more immediately:

You should read: Princess of Dune by Brian Herbert & Kevin J. Anderson

When you need Dune, you need Dune! Set a few years before the events of Dune, this story explores the lives of Paul’s love Chani and his wife, the Princess Irulan. Both women will impact the trajectory of the whole galaxy as Paul Atreides brings it hurdling to its destiny. 

to sleep in a sea of stars by christopher paoliniYou love crazy space monsters:

You should read: To Sleep in a Sea of Stars by Christopher Paolini

The sandworms in Dune are definitely some of the creepiest monsters in SF, and their connection to the spice is shrouded in mystery. While you wait to see sandworms on the screen, you can dive into the mystery of the creature discovered by a xenobiologist during what was supposed to be a routine survey mission on an uncolonized planet. And make sure to check out Fractal Noise for more tales in the same universe!

Place holder  of - 73You love dudes fighting in suits in space:

You should read: Red Rising by Pierce Brown

If you’re most looking forward to seeing how Villeneuve envisions the stillsuits necessary to survive on the desert planet Arrakis, and to see some sweet suit fight scenes, calm you suited bloodthirst with a book about genetically perfected superhumans wearing futuristic body armor battling it out in a Hunger Games-esque competition for the solar system’s best job opportunities.

You Sexy Thing by Cat RamboYou love PEW PEW PEW space battles:

You should read: You Sexy Thing by Cat Rambo

Perfect reading if you want to be able to practically hear that “PEW PEW PEW” noise, and maybe even a Wilhelm scream or two while you’re reading. A group of retired space soldiers gets dragged back into war when they’re forced onto a sentient ship that’s convinced it’s being stolen, and in addition must survive the machinations of a sadistic pirate king.

The Genesis of Misery by Neon YangYou love space politics:

You should read: The Genesis of Misery by Neon Yang

If you can’t resist competing galactic empires and political machinations in space, dive into The Genesis of Misery. A nobody from a nowhere mining planet becomes the center of a power struggle between dangerous players and royal families because of their forbidden powers. Plus, like Dune it’s full of prophecy and space magic. 

Image Place holder  of - 84No, seriously, you LIVE FOR space politics:

You should read: A Desolation Called Peace Arkady Martine

Oh, so you’re one of those, huh? No judgment, just book recommendations here, my friend. And you definitely need to feast your eyes on A Desolation Called Peace, which should give you all the space politics you could possibly want. An ambassador from a backwater planet must untangle the webs of subterfuge at the center of the Teixcalaanli Empire.

winter's orbit by everina maxwellYou love space politics, but not as much as you love love.

You should read: Winter’s Orbit by Everina Maxwell

If you can’t wait for Dune’s space politic glory, but you’re also looking forward to scenes between Paul and Chani, then as soon as it’s on sale you need to get your hands on this romantic space opera. Two neuromodified psychics, a flirty socialite and a duty-bound soldier, find themselves at the center of a decades-old power struggle and a dangerous treasure-hunt. If they sync their minds, they might avoid life under military control, but they’d be giving up their free will. And what are these FEELINGS they’re having for each other?

Which one are you reading? Let us know in the comments!


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!

Image Placeholder of - 1#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!

Poster Placeholder of - 36#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 - 65#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.”

Placeholder of  -47#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.

Place holder  of - 44#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.


Tor Books at New York Comic Con 2023!

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We’re thrilled to join you all at New York Comic Con 2023! Check out all the awesome panels and booth events we’ve got slated for this epic weekend!

Please note that giveaways and drops do not indicate author attendance at New York Comic Con. For attending authors, please check out panels and signing events. 

Thursday — October 12

Booth 3335

Author Signing + ARC Giveaway: Seth Dickinson

12:00 – 1:00 PM

Author Signing: Julia Vee & Ken Bebelle

1:00 – 2:00 PM
Ebony Gate

Author Signing: Holly Black

2:00 – 3:00 PM
Book of Night

Author Signing: Christopher Golden**

3:00 – 4:00 PM
All Hallows & Road of Bones

Author Signing: Nat Cassidy

4:00 – 5:00 PM
Mary: An Awakening of Terror


Friday — October 13

Panels & Events

Mysteries, Magic, & Mayhem

Room 1B-02
11:00 AM – 12:00 PM

Rules are meant to be broken, and genre-boundaries are meant to be smashed. Join some of your favorite authors, including: John Scalzi (Starter Villain), Daniel M Ford (The Warden), R.R. Virdi (The First Binding), Veronica Roth (Arch-Conspirator), and Kristen Simmons (Find Him Where You Left Him Dead), with moderation by Seth Dickinson (Exordia) for a panel all about transcending science fiction, fantasy, and horror into a delightful mashup of all of our favorite tropes into their magnificent stories.

The Horror, The Horror

Room 1B-02
12:15 – 1:15 PM

Ever find a gripping story that you can’t put down, but that you have to read with the lights on? If so, you’ve found one of genre-fiction’s great joys: the horror novel. Join these acclaimed writers as they discuss their novels and why reading with the lights on is a good idea. This panel features James Kennedy, Mariam Metoui, Richard Kadrey (The Dead Take the A Train), and Eric Larocca.

Author Autographs

Celebrity Signing Tables #1-4
12:15 – 1:15 PM
John Scalzi, Daniel M. Ford, R.R. Virdi, Veronica Roth, Kristen SimmonsSeth Dickinson

Author Autographs

Celebrity Signing Tables #1-4
1:30 – 2:30 PM
Richard Kadrey

Spotlight on V. E. Schwab

Room 406.2
4:30 – 5:30 PM

Join critically acclaimed and bestselling author V. E. Schwab (The Fragile Threads of Power, The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue) for an intimate conversation about the creative process and the life of a writer with moderation by Tamara Fuentes.

Author Autographs

Room 1A-01
5:45 – 7:15 PM
V. E. Schwab

Booth 3335

Author Signing: Kristen Simmons

10:00 – 11:00 AM
Find Him Where You Left Him Dead

Author Signing: Cassandra Khaw & Richard Kadrey

11:00 AM – 12:00 PM
The Dead Take the A Train

Author Signing: V. E. Schwab – *100 tickets

1:00 – 2:00 PM
The Fragile Threads of Power

Author Signing: Veronica Roth

2:30 – 3:30 PM

Author Signing: Daniel M. Ford

5:00 – 6:00 PM
The Warden


Saturday — October 14

Panels & Events

Companion Showdown: Let’s Hear it for the Sidekicks of SFF

Room 1B-02
10:30 – 11:30 AM

Let’s face it: Frodo would never have destroyed the ring without Samwise Gamgee, and Batman ain’t nothing without Robin. So let’s hear it for the sidekicks of SFF, because it’s obvious our heroes are nothing without them. Join: John Scalzi (Starter Villain), V. E. Schwab (The Fragile Threads of Power), Alix E. Harrow (Starling House), and Cassandra Khaw (The Dead Take the A Train) with moderation by P. Djèlí Clark (Abeni’s Song & The Dead Cat Tail Assassins) as they discuss the unlikely companions that bring their stories to life, whether it’s a sentient Roomba, a talking cat, or just a seemingly inept but brave best friend.

Author Autographs

Celebrity Signing Tables #1-4
11:45 AM – 12:45 PM
John Scalzi, V. E. Schwab, Alix E. Harrow, Cassandra Khaw, Richard Kadrey, P. Djèlí Clark

Building Bestselling Worlds

Room 408
12:45 – 1:45 PM

Join these two critically acclaimed and bestselling authors as they discuss their approach to building rich, diverse, and unique worlds. This panel will feature Cassandra Clare and V. E. Schwab (The Fragile Threads of Power) with moderation by A.Y. Chao.

Author Autographs

Celebrity Signing Tables #1-4
2:00 – 3:30 PM
V. E. Schwab

Tor Spotlight: Chaotic Book Club

Room 1B-02
6:00 – 7:00 PM

Tor Publishing Group publishes some of the greatest sci-fi, fantasy, romance, and horror stories around. This panel will shine a spotlight on some of the exciting books that Tor, Tor Teen, Tordotcom Publishing, Nightfire, and our newest imprint, Bramble, have to offer. Join the book lovers from the Tor teams as they share a sneak peek at new and upcoming books that you will definitely have to add to your TBR list.

Booth 3335

Author Signing: Kevin J. Anderson

10:00 – 11:00 AM
Princess of DuneDune: The Heir of Caladan

Author Signing: P. Djèlí Clark

1:00 – 2:00 PM
Abeni’s SongThe Dead Cat Tail Assassins galleys

Author Signing: Alix E. Harrow

2:00 – 3:00 PM
Starling House & Other Titles

Author Signing: Christopher Paolini

3:00 – 4:00 PM
To Sleep in a Sea of StarsFractal Noise

Author Signing: John Scalzi

4:00 – 5:00 PM
Starter Villain & Other Titles


Sunday — October 15

Panels & Events

Return to Arrakis: Visiting the world of Dune with Tor Publishing Group and Abrams ComicArts

Room 1B-02
2:45 – 3:45 PM

Don’t miss the exciting in-depth and behind-the-scenes look at the gripping worldwide science-fiction sensation from long-time Dune author Kevin J. Anderson on the upcoming Dune: The Graphic Novel, Book 2: Muad’Dib: Deluxe Collector’s Edition and Dune: The Graphic Novel, Book 3: The Prophet (Abrams ComicArts) and the continuation of this incredible saga with Princess of Dune (Tor), with Charlotte Greenbaum, Senior Editor, Abrams ComicArts and Robert Davis, Editor, Tor Publishing Group.

Booth 3335

Author Signing: R.R. Virdi

11:00 AM – 12:00 PM
The First Binding 

  • Free author signing with tickets to be given away at 10:00 AM each day in the booth. Other titles will be available for purchase in the booth.
  • Author at St. Martin’s Press

Panelists and giveaways subject to change


Download a Free Digital Preview of Fractal Noise

Place holder  of - 27Fractal Noise is the new blockbuster science fiction adventure from world-wide phenomenon and #1 New York Times bestseller Christopher Paolini, set in the world of New York Times and USA Today bestseller To Sleep in a Sea of Stars. Download a FREE sneak peek today!

July 25th, 2234: The crew of the Adamura discovers the Anomaly.

On the seemingly uninhabited planet Talos VII:a circular pit, 50 kilometers wide.

Its curve not of nature, but design.

Now, a small team must land and journey on foot across the surface to learn who built the hole and why.

But they all carry the burdens of lives carved out on disparate colonies in the cruel cold of space.

For some the mission is the dream of the lifetime, for others a risk not worth taking, and for one it is a desperate attempt to find meaning in an uncaring universe.

Each step they take toward the mysterious abyss is more punishing than the last.

And the ghosts of their past follow.

Download Your Free Digital Preview:

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Excerpt Reveal: Fractal Noise by Christopher Paolini

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Fractal Noise by Christopher Paolini

A new blockbuster science fiction adventure from world-wide phenomenon and #1 New York Times bestseller Christopher Paolini, set in the world of New York Times and USA Today bestseller To Sleep in a Sea of Stars.

July 25th, 2234: The crew of the Adamura discovers the Anomaly.

On the seemingly uninhabited planet Talos VII:a circular pit, 50 kilometers wide.

Its curve not of nature, but design.

Now, a small team must land and journey on foot across the surface to learn who built the hole and why.

But they all carry the burdens of lives carved out on disparate colonies in the cruel cold of space.

For some the mission is the dream of the lifetime, for others a risk not worth taking, and for one it is a desperate attempt to find meaning in an uncaring universe.

Each step they take toward the mysterious abyss is more punishing than the last.

And the ghosts of their past follow.

Please enjoy this free excerpt of Fractal Noise by Christopher Paolini, on sale 5/16/23.


For the duration of the 1.25 g burn to Talos VI, they studied the anomaly (and the system as a whole) with every tool at their disposal. Alex did what was expected of him, even though the additional force of the burn made every movement harder, slower, and more dangerous, and he felt increasingly exhausted. Nevertheless, he tried. For Layla, if nothing else.

From a spectral analysis of Talos, he was able to determine that whatever life existed on the planet, it was definitely carbon based. No surprise there. Most of the life found in the Milky Way was carbon based. Just not sentient.

On the second day of the burn, surface imaging actually allowed him to identify two xenoforms. The first was a bloom of yellow-and-blue organisms in one of the salty lakes along the equator, close to an erupting volcano. The organisms were small, microscopic even, although it was hard to be sure of their exact size from so far away. They were motile to a certain degree—they rose and sank in response to sunlight—but nothing about them indicated they were more than simple plants or animals.

The second was a number of low, brown-colored objects that moved about the plains surrounding the hole. Mainly on the eastern side, for some reason. The objects—turtles as he thought of them—were between one and three meters wide. Their motion seemed entirely random: corkscrews and slanting lines and strange wiggles that Alex couldn’t make sense of. Whatever they were, they displayed no obvious signs of intelligence. Nor did they seem to interact with the hole.

Of course, appearances could be deceiving.

Aside from that, Alex found nothing of interest. The rest of the crew met with even less success. Except for the hole, there appeared to be no other artificial structures on Talos or in the system. Nor were Talia and Sharah able to tease any more meaning out of the bursts of fractal noise emanating from the hole.

Analyzing the incoming data kept Alex busy enough that he rarely thought of Layla, even though she was the reason he worked. He didn’t dwell on the fact. The more he did, the more he knew he was likely to slip back into despair and apathy. For him, forgetfulness was a gift more valuable than any memory.

Every night, he fell asleep within minutes of collapsing into his bunk, and only once did he end up curled around his pillow, crying for things lost and broken.

Mostly he thought about the void that sat waiting for them on Talos. He thought of it, and he dreamed of it too—a great black circle that dominated his nightly visions. Sometimes he imagined he was flying down into the hole, flying toward the mysterious bottom, and then he would wake with a strange feeling in his chest, as if his heart had skipped a beat.

Copyright © 2023 from Christopher Paolini

Pre-order Fractal Noise Here:

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The 2021 Gift Guide for Your Fun (and Sometimes Funny) Family

It’s the (theoretically) most wonderful time of the year and we are BACK once more to help you win over your fun (and sometimes funny) family and friends with the timeless gift of books. From your nosey great aunt to the ghost cat haunting your house, we have recommendations for every important person in your life. Check out the full gift guide below!

By Rachel Taylor and a bunch of raccoons in a trench coat

The great aunt who keeps asking if you’re dating anyone yet


Don’t we all hate the ‘but why aren’t you seeing anyone’ question from nosey family members? The Echo Wife by Sarah Gailey will put a stop to that! Just tell her you’d rather hangout with the clone that your crappy ex made of you. You are much better company. 

The music buff in your life


You’ve gotten your favorite music lover everything they could possibly want—CDs, posters, and tickets to their favorite concert, but now you’re starting to run out of ideas. Let’s go in a bit of a different direction and gift them the soulful new book Light From Uncommon Stars by Ryka Aoki, filled with musicians, demonic deals, and donuts. What more could a person want?

To the person you’ve been ‘talking’ to but haven’t defined the relationship with yet


Win their heart with a copy of Winter’s Orbit, a sweet love story among the stars that’s also a murder mystery! Nothing says love like solving a murder and figuring out the pesky problem of there only being one bed. If they don’t sweep you off your feet after reading this tale of two space princes going from husbands to friends to lovers, they don’t deserve you.

Your nephew who thinks you’re the cool aunt


You’ll need to live up to your rep and get them something with explosions, battles for the galaxy, and sentient space suits. You’re in luck because Christopher Paolini’s epic space adventure To Sleep in a Sea of Stars is in paperback and features ALL OF THOSE THINGS plus pirates and a ship pig named Runcible.

Your niece who thinks you’re the cool uncle


Want your niece to think you’re Super Cool™? Give her The Blacktongue Thief by Christopher Buehlman. It’s got goblin wars, assassins, giant ravens—all the things the kids love nowadays.  

Or, it will arrive late, but lean into the weird and get them James Rollins’ new fantasy book, where the moon threatens. That swiss cheese-faced bastard has had it out for us since day one, and in The Starless Crown, the moon threatens to destroy all life on earth. It’s up to a godling, a disgraced prince, a pack of misfits, and a bunch of giant bats to save us. 

The sibling who’s always gotta read the book before the adaptation comes out


The Wheel of Time from Amazon Prime is officially out in the world and your sibling is refusing to watch it with you until they’ve read the source material. Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered with the brand new The Eye of the World official tie-in edition from Robert Jordan! 

To the ghost cat that lives in your wall


Want to appease the angry ghost cat currently lurking in your wall? Give them the offering of The Last House on Needless Street by Catriona Ward, complete with its own sentient, deeply enraged feline. But make sure your haunted feline doesn’t get too many ideas from it….

To the friend who needs to disconnect from work once and awhile


We all have that friend that works too hard and needs some inspiration on better work/life balance. Give them a nudge with Under the Whispering Door by TJ Klune and maybe they too will see the light at the end of the tunnel.  

Your kid sister in college who has the attention span of a goldfish


Set her up for success and give her some novellas to read! They’re travel sized for her convenience, and snackable so she can get into the story before she gets too squirrely. We recommend starting with A Spindle Splintered or The Chosen and the Beautiful, for a bit of action adventure with a lot of heart.

Your ride or die BFF


Your BFF deserves only the best and what is the best but the SUPER FANCY, EXTRA SPECIAL edition of New York Times bestseller The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V. E. Schwab! Complete with ribbon bookmark, extra art, and a special note from the author, your BFF will have this one displayed on the shelf that only the fanciest of books go. 

That guy who is a probably a distant cousin but you’re not even sure how you’re related


If you have to pour through your family tree to figure out who the heck this guy is, he should do something useful, like catch up with the latest Sanderson (Rhythm of War, now available in paperback) so you can talk shop and debate who the best Knight Radiant is.

Your sibling that wishes it was still Halloween


Don’t we all have that one person in our lives who is sulking over the fact that the holiday decorations went up in October, COMPLETELY overriding the precious holiday of Halloween? Give them the scares they crave with Nothing But Blackened Teeth by Cassandra Khaw, to remind them the Halloween spirit never dies. 

Which books are you gifting to your loved ones this year? Let us know in the comments! 


Q&A with Christopher Paolini and To Sleep in a Sea of Stars Cover Artist Lindy Martin!

We are still absolutely OBSESSED with the cover of To Sleep in a Sea of Stars by Christopher Paolini, so to celebrate the release of the paperback on October 19, we’re resharing an exclusive interview between Christopher and cover designer Lindy Martin! Check out their Q&A here, and a big thanks to Inside Faceout for providing this piece (original article here).

Answers by author, Christopher Paolini, curtesy of Inside Faceout

Image Place holder  of - 51MARTIN: Did you consider what your cover would/should look like at any point during the writing process? If so, what did you have in mind and how does the final cover compare or contrast with your vision?

I usually don’t think too much about the cover while I’m writing the book. If an image or idea pops into my head, great, but I don’t make any specific effort in that direction.

Once the manuscript goes off to my publisher (Tor, in this case), then yes, I do spend a lot of time thinking about the cover. To Sleep in a Sea of Stars was particularly tricky because the design needed to strike a new tone. I’d been fortunate enough to get iconic covers for my fantasy novels. But this was the first book I’d written outside the world of Eragon—and my first adult novel—so striking the right balance with the text and art wasn’t easy. And it didn’t help that the title is so long!

The final cover is different than I originally imagined, but it does a wonderful job of complementing the title while also capturing the essence of the story. What makes it even more impressive is that Lindy did all this without actually reading the book! Well done!

MARTIN: How did your shift in genre affect the vision and expectations you had for this cover?

As a genre, science fiction often deals with space, the future, and technology. Not all the time, but as a rule, those themes are fairly common, and they stand in contrast with what one often finds in fantasy. Because of that, I knew that the cover of To Sleep in a Sea of Stars needed to be slick, modern, and—as so many sci-fi covers are—blue! (I seem to have a thing for blue covers.)

MARTIN: What stood out to you with this particular cover design? Was it “love at first sight,” or were you more slowly drawn to it after looking at and considering lots of options? How does it represent the story and how do you hope it will connect with readers?

My publisher and I looked at a number of different designs. At one point we were even considering a somewhat fantasy(ish) illustration. However, once we saw the current design, we knew we had a winner.

Design work is often iterative. Sometimes you’re lucky enough to get it right the first time, but usually it’s a process of honing your initial instincts until you find something that really works.

The cover of To Sleep in a Sea of Stars represents several key moments in the story, and most especially, a scene right at the end. It’s also evocative of the title itself. It does an excellent job communicating these points to readers.

MARTIN: From your perspective, what role does the cover play in the book writing and packaging process?

It plays an enormous role! We all say to never judge a book by its cover, but of course, we do exactly that. A good cover can be the difference between someone reading your novel or not. It’s the first line of advertising, as well as the first visual statement people see about the book.

I’m enormously pleased with this cover. From the moment it was revealed, people have loved it. Ever day I see comments on social media about how beautiful and powerful it is. And I agree. Twice in my career now—first with the Inheritance Cycle and now with To Sleep in a Sea of Stars—I’ve been fortunate to have amazing covers for my books. As an author, I couldn’t ask for anything more!

MARTIN: Do you have any suggestions for how designers and writers can work together better toward producing beautifully packaged books? 

In an ideal world, designers would have the time to read a book before creating a cover for it, and authors would have some graphic design experience so they could communicate effectively with their designers.

Since the world we live in is less than ideal, I suggest authors be as clear as possible on what they hope to achieve with their books. And for designers to pay close attention to the emotion that authors are hoping to convey. As long as a cover evokes the mood of the book, it’s successful.

Answers by cover designer, Lindy Martin, curtesy of Inside Faceout

Place holder  of - 75PAOLINI: How did you become a book designer? Did you go to school to learn these skills, learn on the job with a publisher, or apprentice with someone? Are you self taught?

I have always had a deep love for stories, whether it was reading or writing my own. I knew I would love to work in publishing and to be a part of bringing stories to life in the form of key visuals, color, and typography.

I became a book designer at Faceout Studio almost four years ago after I graduated with my Bachelor of Science in Graphic Design and Photography from John Brown University. The program helped lay the foundation for the technical skills as well as creative problem solving. However, a lot of the hands on learning happened on the job as I gleaned more and more from each project, as well as from the designers around me.

PAOLINI: How do you approach designing a book cover? What do you need from the client?

Each project that I work on comes with a unique set of challenges, since every story, author, and audience looks different. The first step is to gain as much understanding of the plot, characters, and tone as possible. This might mean reading the manuscript, hiring a reader, or talking with the art director about key information.

From there, I dive into the creative process and it becomes a game of juggling type, color, artwork, and concept until it comes together to create something dynamic and eye-catching.

Sometimes this process of creative alchemy takes a matter of hours, but more often takes a lot longer. From there, it goes to the client for review and then goes through a series of revisions until every detail is just right.

The client provides meaningful and necessary art direction and insight. Understanding their perspective and what they are looking for helps me as the designer to get on the right track and create something that captures their vision.

PAOLINI: Can you share with us your experience of designing the cover for To Sleep in a Sea of Stars?

To Sleep in a Sea of Stars was a particularly fun project to be a part of. I loved reading the Inheritance Cycle, so I was very excited when I had the chance to design some cover options for Christopher’s new book. While I didn’t have the manuscript to read, I had the helpful guidance and art direction from Peter Lutjen, the art director at Tor, to help me narrow down the key story elements and tone necessary for the cover.

The selected cover was my favorite out of the options I created. I liked the bold, stark imagery and the juxtaposition between the geometric fractal patterns and the organic glowing stars. It felt like a snapshot of a person being transformed. I also knew the blue color palette would lend itself to look beautiful in a metallic print treatment.

The silhouette of the figure was modified from an underwater image which had the same qualities of a figure suspended in space.

Long titles can often be a challenge to work with, but in this case it worked well for framing the imagery and creating a focal point for the silhouette to sit in. A clean, modern typeface seemed to be the best solution to be in line with the sci-fi genre.

PAOLINI: What are some favorite covers you’ve worked on? And what makes so interesting?

Some recent ones would be Where the Lost Wander by Amy Harmon and American Awakening by John Kingston. These were opportunities to do something a little out of the box for the genre.

I appreciated that these projects allow the freedom to push the boundaries with the type taking on a role of representing the book’s concept.

PAOLINI: Do you have a favorite color or style that you find yourself returning to?

Not really! That’s the beauty of the job, every genre and story requires something different, something that pushes you out of your comfort zone. I particularly enjoy projects that require some sort of personal touch, whether that is a custom illustration, hand lettering, or original photography. As an artist, I enjoy being able to bring originality wherever I can.

Pre-order To Sleep in a Sea of Stars in Paperback Here

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On the (Digital) Road: Tor Author Events in September 2021

We are in a time of social distancing, but your favorite Tor authors are still coming to screens near you in the month of September! Check out where you can find them here.

Christopher Paolini, To Sleep in a Sea of Stars

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Monday, September 6
A Room of One’s Own, in conversation with J. S. Dewes
7:00 PM ET

Tuesday, September 14
In conversation with Jay Kristoff, multiple venues
7:00 PM PT

Daniel Kraus, The Living Dead

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Tuesday, September 7
University Bookstore, in conversation with Colleen O’Halloran
6:00 PM PT

Kit Rocha, The Devil You Know

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Wednesday, September 8
Love’s Sweet Arrow/Tubby & Coos, in conversation with Jessie Mihalik & Jeaniene Frost

TJ Klune, Under the Whispering Door

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Wednesday, September 22
Anderson’s Bookshop
8:00 PM ET

Thursday, September 23
An Unlikely Story, in conversation with V. E. Schwab
6:00 PM ET

Friday, September 24
Loyalty Books
8:00 PM ET

Thursday, September 30
Charis Books, in conversation with Ryka Aoki
Sign Up
7:30 PM ET

Alex Pheby, Mordew

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Monday, September 27
Mysterious Galaxy, in conversation with Christopher Buehlman
9:00 PM ET

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