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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!

Image Place holder  of - 45You 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. 

Place holder  of - 61No, 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!

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The Atlas Paradox: Who’s Your Nemesis??

The Atlas Paradox by Olivie BlakeIn the not-so-distant past, we employed a Handy Quiz to help fans of Olivie Blake’s tantalizing / adrenalinizing The Atlas Six identify the perfect S-tier medeian to watch their back.

Today—in celebration of the paperback edition of The Atlas Paradox (now available!)—we utilize the same Quiz Science to determine which magician will be stabbing it 😈🔪

After all, the only things you should keep closer than your friends, are your enemies ❤️

Check it out!



Buy The Atlas Paradox in Paperback Here:

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What Type of Ghost Are You?

By Julia Bergen

the mystery at dunvegan castle by t.l. huchuIt’s a fact: the universe has been around a long, long time, so we’ll probably be ghosts for longer than we’re mortals.

We have a question: If we’re gonna spend so much time as unbound spirits, what kind are we going to be?

The Mystery at Dunvegan Castle is the third novel in the ghostly and exciting Edinburgh Nights series from critically-acclaimed author T. L. Huchu! In the spirit (ha) of this hauntingly engrossing read, we at Tor have designed a handy questionnaire that’ll provide guidance on what variety of phantom you are destined to become, plus a book recommendation to match 👻

Check it out!



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8 Haunted House Fantasy Reads to Delight with Fright!

The haunted house is a classic horror set piece. What’s supposed to be a place of reprieve is an iron cage; ensnaring you, forcing you to confront a myriad of ghosts, ghouls, and secrets best left buried. Here are eight titles starring houses to contain your worst nightmares—be they demons, a gaggle of ghosts, or unabashed intimacy.

by Kaleb Russell


masters of death by olivie blakeMasters of Death by Olivie Blake

Viola Marek is both struggling real estate agent and vampire, a facet of identity that both presents a range of different problems and solutions in one’s life. Tragically, it won’t help her un-haunt the house she needs to sell. That’s where Fox D’Mora enters the picture. He’s a medium, so he can help with Viola’s ghost dilemma, but he’s also a complicated sham. He’s not really a medium, but he is the godson of Death (entity). As the quantity of immortal and undying beings tangled with Viola’s ghost house rises, the game begins. It’s a special one. One the immortals play. There is only one rule: Don’t lose. 


The Mystery at Dunvegan Castlethe mystery at dunvegan castle by t.l. huchu by T.L. Huchu

Everyone’s favorite fifteen-year-old ghostalker, Ropa, arrives at the worldwide Society of Skeptical Enquirers’ biennial conference just in time to be tied into a mystery—a locked room mystery, if an entire creepy haunted castle on lockdown counts. One of the magical attendees has stolen a valuable magical scroll. That’s bad news. But here’s the good news: Ropa can access a unique network of information and intrigue: the castle ghosts.


Just Like Home by Sarah GaileyJust Like Home by Sarah Gailey

At the behest of her estranged mother, Vera Crowder returns home in spite of the tragic memories it holds; memories of the bodies her beloved father (moonlighting as a serial killer) left buried there. One day, Vera starts finding notes written in her father’s handwriting. If it’s not the leech of an artist her mother has chosen to house leaving them, then who is? To find the truth, Vera must dig deep and uncover secrets she’s been running from all her life.


The Family Plot by Cherie PriestThe Family Plot by Cherie Priest

To save their family’s floundering salvage company, Dahlia Dutton is tasked by her father to oversee the stripping of an esteemed heiress’s family estate. Unbeknownst to Dahlia and her crew, there’s a sinister presence at the aged estate looking to wreak chaos before the job is done. The Family Plot is an atmospheric modern Gothic that will leave you reeling.


The Library of the Dead by T. L. HuchuLibrary of the Dead by TL Huchu

The first book in Huchu’s Edinburgh Nights series contains a bevy of haunted houses as a precocious teen explores the haunted underside of modern Edinburgh, speaking to the dead, looking for leads to find the one responsible for snatching children and leaving them empty husks. Huchu’s rendition of Edinburgh is a lush, evocative one that gives the ghosts in this story an air of wonder in lieu of abject fear.


Mapping the InteriorMapping the Interior by Stephen Graham Jones by Stephen Graham Jones

One night, a young Blackfoot boy named Junior wakes up to find the ghost of his recently deceased father wandering the house dressed in full Blackfoot regalia. To prove to himself he’s real, Junior takes to meticulously diagramming the house’s interior, recording when and where his father appears. It quickly becomes apparent his father’s reappearance is something deeply sinister. Like much of Jones’ work, there is an ache to the writing that’s impossible to ignore. Espousing a kind of hurt that lingers long after you’ve turned the last page.


The Bone Orchard by Sara A. MuellerThe 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? Trade in a haunted house for a haunted bordello and you


Under the Whispering DoorUnder the Whispering Door by TJ Klune by TJ Klune

Charon House is perhaps the most ideal haunted house one would want to reside in; that is, unless you have a paralyzing fear of intimacy, the kind of warm and kind intimacy Klune’s work is best known for. Charon House is a place where the dead crossover with the help of its good natured owner Hugo and the deliciously sarcastic reaper named Mei, although not before helping themselves to hot tea and the most scrumptious scones. But our protagonist, Wallace Price, isn’t ready to pass on. Due to his dour demeanor and cold-heartedness, he’s missed out on all the goodness life has to offer. So, with the help of Hugo, he attempts to live a lifetime in 7 days. Under The Whispering Door is a heartwarming haunted house book about coming to terms with loss and seeking out new beginnings.

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Space (Is Gay) Operas, Assemble!

Generations of scientists and philosophers have turned their gaze to the ever-blazing stars, searching for the answer to the question that pulses deep within their souls: Is space gay? 

We’re here to confirm that it is, and we’ve got the gay space operas to prove it. 

Check’em out 😎


devil's gun by cat ramboDevil’s Gun by Cat Rambo

Life’s hard when you’re on the run from a vengeful pirate-king…When Niko and her crew find that the intergalactic Gate they’re planning on escaping through is out of commission, they make the most of things, creating a pop-up restaurant to serve the dozens of other stranded ships. But when an archaeologist shows up claiming to be able to fix the problem, Niko smells something suspicious cooking. Nonetheless, they allow Farren to take them to an ancient site where they may be able to find the weapon that could stop Tubal Last before he can take his revenge.


Unconquerable SunFurious Heaven by Kate Elliott & Furious Heaven 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. To survive, the princess must rely on her wits and companions: her biggest rival, her secret lover, and a dangerous prisoner of war.


The Genesis of MiseryThe Genesis of Misery by Neon Yang by Neon Yang

It’s an old, familiar story: a young person hears the voice of an angel saying they have been chosen as a warrior to lead their people to victory in a holy war. But Misery Nomaki (she/they) knows they are a fraud. The deeper they get into their charade, however, the more they start to doubt their convictions. What if this, all of it, is real? A reimagining of Joan of Arc’s story given a space opera, giant robot twist, the Nullvoid Chronicles is a story about the nature of truth, the power of belief, and the interplay of both in the stories we tell ourselves.


Ocean’s EchoOcean's Echo by Everina Maxwell by Everina Maxwell

Tennal is a vapid socialite with the ability to read minds, and Lt. Surit Yeni is a soldier with a chip on his shoulder who has been tasked with using his own neuromodifications to overpower Tennal’s will and conscript him into service within the space military. But Surit’s not (that much of) an asshole, so they lie to all the space soldiers with all their space guns. But then a chaotic salvage-retrieval mission upends a decades-old power struggle and also compromises the security of their falsehood. Can two unwilling weapons of war bring about peace?


A Memory Called EmpirePlaceholder of  -13 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. Now, Mahit must discover who is behind the murder, rescue herself, and save her Station from Teixcalaan’s unceasing expansion—all while navigating an alien culture that is all too seductive, engaging in intrigues of her own, and hiding a deadly technological secret—one that might spell the end of her Station and her way of life—or rescue it from annihilation.


Empress of ForeverCover of Empress of Forever by Max Gladstone by Max Gladstone

The end of time is ruled by an ancient, powerful Empress who blesses or blasts entire planets with a single thought. Rebellion is literally impossible to consider—until Vivian Liao arrives, catapulted through time and space from the chilly darkness of a Boston server farm. Now, she’s trapped between the Pride—a ravening horde of sentient machines—and a fanatical sect of warrior monks who call themselves the Mirrorfaith. Viv must rally a strange group of allies to confront the Empress and find a way back to the world and life she left behind.

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Love is in the Air…and in Our Ears! Check Out Our ‘Bramble’ Playlist

Love is in the air…and on our shelves…and in our ears! To celebrate the launch of our new romantic imprint Bramble, we’re giving you the ULTIMATE romantic playlist, lovingly put together by our staff at Tor Publishing Group. Whether you’re wildly in love, hating on your ex, or living the single life, we’ve got a song just for you. Check out the playlist here and let us know what you’re jamming to this week! 💕

video soruce

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Meet-Cute Quiz! What’s Your Fantasy Dating Dynamic?

by a cat

Love is in the air! It’s the time of the year that we like to get all mushy and gushy and heart-melty sweet ❤️

And what better way than with a fun little fantasy quiz to determine your preferred relationship dynamic?



Oh, and while you’re in the lovey-dovey mood……. Bookshops & Bonedust (available for pre-order now) is the delightfully cozy romantical fantastical sequel to Legends & Lattes!

Pre-order Bookshops & Bonedust Here:

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Excerpt Reveal: Tsalmoth by Steven Brust

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Tsalmoth by Steven Brust

Tsalmoth is the next installment in Steven Brust’s bestselling Vlad Taltos series—hold on to your hats and get ready for another swashbuckling adventure!

First comes love. Then comes marriage…

Vlad Taltos is in love. With a former assassin who may just be better than he is at the Game. Women like this don’t come along every day and no way is he passing up a sure bet.

So a wedding is being planned. Along with a shady deal gone wrong and a dead man who owes Vlad money. Setting up the first and trying to deal with the second is bad enough. And then bigger powers decide that Vlad is the perfect patsy to shake the power structure of the kingdom.

More’s the pity that his soul is sent walkabout to do it.

How might Vlad get his soul back and have any shot at a happy ending? Well, there’s the tale…

Please enjoy this free excerpt of Tsalmoth by Steven Brust, on sale 4/25/23.


1

There are problems that just can’t be solved by sticking something pointy into someone. I try to stay away from those kinds of problems, because they get complicated, and I don’t like complicated. I’m a simple guy. Ask anyone. “That Vlad,” they all say. “He’s a simple guy.”

“Hey Kragar,” I called out to the next room. “I’m a simple guy, right?”

I heard footsteps, and he stuck his head into my office. “What?”

I repeated my question.

His eyebrows did funny Kragar-things, and he came in and sat down across from my desk. “What happened?”

“Why should something have happened?”

He just waited.

I said, “You know that Tsalmoth who went into us for eight and scampered?”

“Bereth. Sure, I put Sticks on it.”

“Yeah, Sticks just got back to me.”

“And he found him, and got the money, and broke his legs, and everything is fine now, right?”

“Heh,” I explained. “Someone killed the son of a bitch.”

“Need an address to send flowers?”

“No, I need a way to get my Verra-be-damned money.”

“Hmmm. Tricky.”

“I know,” I said. “Tricky. And I’m a simple guy.”

“Can he be revivified? We could add the cost on to what he owes us.”

“Sticks says no.”

“In that case, Vlad, I would suggest a clever strategy: write off the money.”

I felt myself scowling.

“It’s not tricky,” he added, with his fake innocent smile.

My familiar, Loiosh, arrived in the window about that time, flew over, and landed on my shoulder.

“What’s going on, Boss?” he said into my mind.

“Nothing, nothing.”

He let it drop.

I said to Kragar— Wait a minute.

Sethra, Why are you still here? Last time you put me in a room with this box and just left.

Wait, Seriously? You think you can help? But before, you told me—

No, no! I’ll take a maybe. Maybe is good. If you can give me a maybe, I’m happy to tell you the whole mess. Get comfortable. Can I get you some wine?

Right. I won’t count on anything, I’ll just tell it. Only, uh, what happens when you come into it? I mean, do I say, “You did this?” which won’t make sense to whoever is going to listen to this, or do I say, “Sethra did this,” which is dumb with you sitting there?

Oh, yeah, Sethra. It’s so easy to just pretend you don’t exist. Heh.

Okay, okay. Where was I? Right. Talking to Kragar. He’d made that remark about, hey, it’s not tricky. I said to him, “You see, you might not know this, but I don’t like letting money get away. It makes me feel bad.”

“Uh huh,” he said.

“So, come up with something.”

“How,” he said, “did I know this was going to end up on my back?”

“On account of that, what’s it called? Wisdom.”

“Fatalism,” said Kragar.

I shrugged. “Let me know what you get.”

He left, muttering under his breath. I leaned back and closed my eyes. I checked my link with the Imperial Orb and did deep and powerful sorcery, which it was designed for. Just kidding, I usually leave the deep and powerful sorcery to those who are better at it; I used it to find out what time it was, and discovered that I had a couple of hours to wait until it was time to meet Cawti.

“Aw, Boss,” said Loiosh. “Do you know that every time you think about her—”

“You can shut up now,” I said.

While I waited, maybe I should tell you a bit about myself.

Nah, skip it. That’s boring. You’ll figure it out.

There was a street singer not far from my window, singing something in a language I didn’t know—probably one of the classic disused tongues of the early Empire. I hate listening to songs when I don’t know the words.

I still had a few minutes before I felt justified in leaving for the day to meet Cawti when she jumped the bell on me by coming in.

I was up out of the chair in a second, standing there grinning like a Teckla smoking dreamgrass.

Look, I’m telling you what happened, including it all, because that’s what you paid for, so there it is. I probably looked like an idiot with that big grin all over my face, so go ahead and laugh. But if you do, I’ll track you down and break both your kneecaps, got it?

Uh, I didn’t mean you, Sethra. I meant, you know, whoever is going to listen to this.

Right. You aren’t here.

All right, so I kissed her, which is as much as you need to know, and then we went out and did some stuff together. We ate and drank and laughed and all that. It was a good time. I asked about Norathar, her partner, or I guess ex-partner, and they’d been in touch, which was good. Then we had an argument about the best kind of pasta to serve with clams and promised to settle it by each doing our own recipe. Then we went home to her flat. She lives a good distance south of me, in a decent neighborhood where she’s the only Easterner but where you can smell the ocean-sea, which she likes. And her flat, like mine, has its own kitchen. I mean, a real kitchen, with a stove, an oven, a sink with a pump, cupboards, and countertops. So we hung out there, and decided to find a place in South Adrilankha to have the wedding, and then we did what you do when two people can’t keep their hands off each other.

Look, I’m not bragging, I’m just saying how it was, and that feeling that she wanted me was—

Crap, this is hard to talk about with you here, Sethra, and no one’s business anyway.

Back to what matters, I finally got around to telling her about the guy who’d had the nerve to go and die when he owed me money.

“Some people,” she said.

“I know. Thoughtless.”

She stretched like a cat, which made me stupidly proud, as if I’d accomplished something. She put her head on my shoulder and said, “Mmmm. What about his family?”

“Maybe,” I said. “I should find out.”

She wrapped her leg around me and said, “Maybe.” Who can argue with logic like that?

So that’s how I decided to check out the guy’s family. I still don’t think it was that bad an idea, okay? It’s not like I have the Dragon treasury; I need the money. And also, once word gets out that people can get away with not paying you, it’s gonna keep happening, and eventually you get put out of business. You know, in the big steel thing in your neck way of being put out of business. Not my favorite idea. This time, what with the guy dying, chances are no one would have thought anything except bad luck, but I’m still new at this, so I’m not sure and didn’t want to take chances. And I wanted my Verra-be-damned money.

I’m just saying this so you’ll understand.

Oh, I know. Now you’re saying, “He’s going after a bunch of innocents, heartless bastard, blah blah blah.” That’s not how it is, that’s not how it was ever going to be. I wanted to see if there was a way to do it clean and easy. I was not going to walk in and start making threats or doing violence to his kids or his grandparents or whatever. For one thing, well, maybe for the only thing, as soon as you cross that line and start messing with families, or with people who aren’t involved in the organization, the Phoenix Guard stop being these friendly sorts who greet you with their palms out for their weekly payoff, and turn into mean sons-of-bitches with all sorts of sharp things and no sense of congeniality. And because of that, even if word never reaches the Empire, if the Jhereg thinks you’re doing something that might get the Empire involved, then you will end up with a leaky body and a shiny skin. So I don’t do that. All I figured on doing was finding out if there were any loose funds there that might be subject to friendly persuasion, by which I mean, this time, friendly persuasion. Sometimes you go up to a grieving widow and say, “Sorry for your loss, but he owed me money,” and that’s all it takes. I had no intention of pushing it any further than that. I didn’t. I swear by Verra’s extra finger joint I didn’t.

The next morning, I told Kragar to find out what he could about the family, which is one of the things Kragar is good at. Some of the other things he’s good at are reminding me of unpleasant things I’ve agreed to do, unintentionally sneaking up on me, and being irritating.

He said, “Don’t you want me to tell you what I’ve come up with?”

“Sure. What have you come up with?”

“Check into his family.”

“Good thinking.”

“Thanks.”

“Get on that, then.”

“Already did.”

“I suppose you expect a compliment.”

And a bonus.”

“Good work.”

“Thanks. The bonus?”

“Very good work.”

“Nice.”

“Let’s hear about them.”

He didn’t use notes or anything this time. “Survived by a younger brother, has a fabric shop not far from here, just north of Malak Circle. Unmarried, an occasional lover, a Chreotha named Symik, nothing serious between them though. Parents are both alive, living in Cargo Point, in Guinchen, where they run an inn called Lakeview.”

“Financials?”

“Hard to be sure, Vlad. The inn supports them, but not much more, and there’s no signs of wealth. I guess the brother is doing a bit better than the others.”

“Then I’ll talk to him. Get me his exact addr—Thanks.”

Kragar smirked and walked out.

Well, I figured, no time like the present. I stood up, strapped on my blade, and checked the various surprises I keep concealed about my person. Not long before, I wouldn’t have left the place without at least two, more likely four bodyguards, but things had quieted down now. That was good, I like quiet. I like things quiet, and simple. Did I mention I’m a simple guy?

So, yeah, a quick stop in front of the mirror to make sure my cloak was hanging right, and off I went. I keep meaning to practice putting on the cloak, you know, with a kind of swirl, like they do in the theater, but I never seem to get around to it, and I don’t think the ones in the theater are packed with as much hardware as mine, so it might not be possible. But, hey, since I’m talking about it, let me tell you about my cloak. I love my cloak. It’s Jhereg gray, ankle length, and looks good thrown over my shoulder or wrapped around, and it has inside pockets and seams to put things in, and a wide collar for more things to go under. And it looks very good on me; I know because Cawti said so.

Loiosh landed on my shoulder (he says the cloak makes my shoulder less bony, so that’s also a plus), and the three of us—me, Loiosh, and my cloak—took a walk through the beautiful streets of Adrilankha. The bright blue and yellow and green clothes of the Teckla were most common, even if a lot of them had become dingy or gotten stained, but there were merchants we walked past as well, and now and then you might catch sight of a Dragonlord or a Tiassa who had business in this part of town.

Malak Circle is built around a fountain, with stalls and carts about the outer edge and streets and alleys shooting off from it. I don’t know what magic is used to make the water shoot out from the mouths of the stone dragon and dzur into the cupped hands of the woman in the middle, or how more water sprays in from the sides, or where any of the water goes, but I know I like it, and sometimes I just stand there and watch the water. Not many do that.

There are Teckla in the area, most of them in service, running errands for the more successful merchants or the occasional aristocrat. For the Teckla, just like for the Easterners who live across the river, survival depends on two things: doing what they’re told, and never slowing down. They don’t have time to stop and look at the sparkling water. I don’t blame them for it, it’s just the stones they have to play with.

There are merchants around the edge, with carts or stalls: Chreotha, Tsalmoth, Jhegaala. They’re much better off than the Teckla, as long as they keep coins coming in and goods going out; if they don’t, they can fall even lower than the Teckla, out the bottom, living on scraps and stealing from each other in the Mudtown district, or parts of Little Deathgate. They always know that could happen, and it scares them like Morganti weapons scare me. Talk to one of them sometime. Ask one of them about courtball, and he’ll tell you how much sales are better if some local team wins. Ask about the weather, and you’ll hear how they can’t sell anything when it rains. Ask about rumors of war, and you’ll hear about how those rumors make customers stock up on some things and stop buying others. It’s always buy and sell, sell and buy, supplying what customers want, and never slowing down to watch the fountain. I don’t blame them for it; they, too, have the stones they were given and have to play them as best they can.

The merchants are supplied by the craftsmen: also Chreotha, Tsalmoth, and Jhegaala, and they, too, know what will happen if no one wants to buy what they make, or if someone can make it cheaper, or better. They have to keep the merchants happy the way the merchants have to keep the customers happy. Maybe they aren’t told what to do in so many words, but they’re told, and they listen, and they don’t stop to watch the water because they don’t have time, and I don’t blame them either, it’s just how the game works.

Once in a while, you’ll see one of the aristocrats: a Dragon, a Dzur, a Tiassa noble, an Iorich, a Hawk, an Orca, an Athyra; but even if you put all of them together, there aren’t many of them, and even most of those can’t support themselves as landlords, so Orca end up on ships, Dragonlords and Dzur in military service, Tiassa as writers or artists, Iorich as advocates, Athyra and Hawks as sorcerers. And all of those might as well be merchants or craftsmen, because someone is telling them what to do, and they’re doing it, and if they do it too slow, they, too, will fall out of the bottom, because wishing won’t turn a round stone into a flat one.

That’s what I can do. I can slow down. I got my income, and my skills to fall back on. If I want more, I can work harder; if I want to take it easy, I can do that too. Yeah, I’m beholden to my boss, but most of the time, I just do what I feel like, just like the landlords, and no one tells me what to do.

That’s why the Phoenix Guards hate me, and why some of those I passed in the market who saw my Jhereg colors hated me; I could do what they couldn’t. And, worst of all, I was an Easterner—you know, human: short, short-lived, weak; Easterners were supposed to be the next step down from Teckla, and stay there; Easterners should do what they’re told, and be quiet, and never slow down.

Some of those I passed knew who I was and what I could do. There are a good number of those in my neighborhood, and in the middle of the day, when the market is busy, they mostly stay out of my way. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t get some pleasure out of that. But I got even more pleasure in knowing that no one could tell me what to do, and that I could slow down when I wanted. Because there’s one thing we in the organization have in common: we don’t like being pushed. People know better than to push us.

Today, I wanted to visit Bereth’s brother, but I stopped for a bit on the way there to watch the fountain in the middle of Malak Circle, because I felt like it.

Copyright © 2023 from Steven Brust

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Do You Have What It Takes To Join The Kaiju Preservation Society?

By Julia Bergen

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Last year, John “Upsetting Burrito Extraordinaire” Scalzi gave us another rousing science fiction romp in The Kaiju Preservation Society, now available in paperback! Readers everywhere continue to wonder, could I do it? Am I scrappy enough to preserve Kaiju? 

Answers are one short quiz away, courtesy of our Kaiju preservation experts at Tor Books.

Check it out!



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Q&A With Ed McDonald & Catriona Ward

Daughter of Redwinter by Ed McDonald / Looking Glass Sound by Catriona Ward

Recently, fantasy author Ed McDonald (of Daughter of Redwinter fame) and horror author Catriona Ward (you might recall The Last House on Needless Street and Sundial, but have you added Looking Glass Sound to your TBR?) dropped by our office to answer some of our burning-est authorial questions! And we thought those answers were SO good, that we’re sharing them with all of y’all 😎

Check ’em out!

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How Long Have You Studied the Blade? 

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What Inspired Looking Glass Sound?

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As a Seasoned Author & Game Master, How Do the Two Disciplines Relate?

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Could You Describe Your Writing Process?

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What Character Do You Relate to Most in Daughter of Redwinter?

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What Advice Do You Have for Authors Trying to Write Horror?

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Rapid-fire Questions!

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Pre-order Looking Glass Sound Here:

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