Kelly chats with Allison Pang


FanLit welcomes urban fantasy author Allison Pang to the hot seat. Her debut novel, A Brush of Darkness, was released in January. Today she chats with us about ballads, World of...

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The Broken Sword: A dark fantasy classic


The Broken Sword by Poul Anderson Poul Anderson’s The Broken Sword (1954) was selected by David Pringle in his Modern Fantasy: The 100 Best Novels, and is highly praised by...

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Circus Love


E. Catherine Tobler has never run away to join the circus — but she thinks about doing so every day. Among others, her short fiction has appeared in Clarkesworld, Lightspeed, and...

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Our rating system


We realize that we’re not professional literature critics — we’re just a group of readers who love to read and write about speculative fiction — but we...

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Recent Posts

The Ice at the End of the World: An Epic Journey into Greenland’s Buried Past and Our Perilous Future

The Ice at the End of the World: An Epic Journey into Greenland’s Buried Past and Our Perilous Future by Jon Gertner

I confess I wasn’t sure just how enthralling a book all about the Greenland ice sheet would be. Interesting, yes (well, to those of us who are the type to pick up a book about the Greenland ice sheet in the first place). But enough to carry an entire book rather than a long-form article? Interesting enough to move into “compelling” or, yes, “enthralling” territory? Hmmm. Turns out though, in the more than capable hands of Jon Gertner, the answer is assuredly yes and yes. The Ice at the End of the World: An Epic Journey into Greenland’s Buried Past and Our Perilous Future (2019) is indeed compelling and even, as the subtitle says, epic. Also informative, entertaining, thorough, well-organized, clearly ... well, you get the idea.

Gertner takes a chronological approach to his sub... Read More

Poe Dameron Vol. 2: The Gathering Storm: Inching closer to open war

Star Wars: Poe Dameron Vol. 2: The Gathering Storm by Charles Soule & Phil Noto

This is the second in Charles Soule’s ongoing comic book series focused on Poe Dameron, though I didn't know that when I read it, and thankfully didn't feel like I needed anything catching up on anything. Set in the period leading up to The Force Awakens, this explores the growing conflict between the Resistance and the First Order, as well as the search for Lor San Tekka (as you'll recall, he was played by Max von Sydow in the movie).

As General Leia's best and most trusted pilot, Poe is tasked with the mission of finding Lor San Tekka, though he's deeply troubled by the possibility that a member of his Black Squadron is a traitor, feeding information to the First Order. But who is it?

Having received intelligence that one of C-3P... Read More

Sunday Status Update: June 23, 2019

Plenty more fun books this week!


Bill: This week my one full book was an excellent look at the use of remote sensing in science, Archaeology from Space: How the Future Shapes Our Past  by Sarah Parcak.  I made a second attempt at Tide of Stone by Kaaron Warren, but only got a bit more than a third of the way in before giving it up once more.  In shorter works, I took a look at several Hugo retro works: short stories by Asimov, Bradbury, and C.L. Moore, as well as a novella by Moore and husband Henry Kuttner, Clash by Night.  Finally,  I’ve almost finished This is How You Lose the Time War by Max Gladstone and Amal El-Mohtar. In video, ... Read More

Greg Hickey asks: What If There Were No Diseases? (Giveaway)

Today we welcome Greg Hickey, a former international professional baseball player and current forensic scientist, endurance athlete, and award-winning screenwriter and author. His debut novel Our Dried Voices was a finalist for Foreword Reviews' INDIES Science Fiction Book of the Year Award. The novel depicts a future colony where humans live without disease or hunger, where every want is satisfied automatically, and there is no need for labor, struggle or thought. Interested readers can start Our Dried Voices for free at Greg Hickey's website. Greg lives in Chicago with his wife, Lindsay.

One random commenter wins a Kindle copy of Our Dried Voices.



What If There Were No Dise... Read More

The Lesson: A thoughtful look at race relations, power, and violence

The Lesson by Cadwell Turnbull

The Lesson (2019), by Cadwell Turnbull, is a solid first-contact sort of novel that feels fresh due to its unique setting in the Virgin Islands and has some serious depth to it in the way it uses the encounter between aliens and the islanders as a vehicle for exploring colonialism/race relations, though it left me wanting a little bit more in terms of character and craft.

The novel opens pre-landing with an introduction to the various major characters, including:

Derrick: a young sci-fi/fantasy fan who will eventually become assistant to the alien ambassador
Patrice: his neighbor and best friend
Jackson: Patrice’s father, a teacher and someone going through a mid-life crisis
Aubrey: Patrice’s mother, also learning more about herself
Grams/Harriet: Derrick’s stern grandmother
Lee: Derrick’s younger sister
M... Read More

Poe Dameron Vol. 1: Black Squadron: A better look at a STAR WARS favourite

Star Wars: Poe Dameron Vol. 1: Black Squadron by Charles Soule & Phil Noto

There’s so much STAR WARS-related content out there at the moment that it’s difficult to know what’s worthy of your time and energy and what isn’t. For those that are specifically interested in the latest STAR WARS sequel trilogy and the character of Poe Dameron (played by Oscar Isaac), then Charles Soule’s STAR WARS: POE DAMERON series of comics serves as a direct lead-up to The Force Awakens, gathering up characters and plot-strands that drive the 2015 film.

It’s been thirty years since the defeat of the Empire in The Return of the Jedi, but the First Order has slowly but surely risen to take its place. So far though, the threat it poses has not been recognized by the rest of the... Read More

Thoughtful Thursday: The 2019 Locus Awards: Novels (Giveaway!)

Next weekend the 2019 Locus Awards Ceremony will be held in Seattle, Washington, on June 28-30, 2019. The Locus Award finalists are chosen by a poll of readers. A couple of weeks ago we discussed the finalists for the Short Fiction categories, so this week let's look at the novels.

Click the title links below to read our reviews and on the author links to visit our page for the author. I’ve included the cover art for some of our favorites. We loved many of these novels and others, not so much. It's interesting that most of our favorites are in the Horror category. The Locus Award list is always fascinating, almost always very different from the Nebula and Hugo lists.

Who do you think will win the Locus Award in these categories?
Answer below for a chance to win a book...
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Tide of Stone: Had issues with the voice

Tide of Stone by Kaaron Warren

As usual with DNFs (Did Not Finish), this will be a quite brief review as I have too much respect for the achievement of finishing a novel to belabor its bad points. Or, in this case, bad point really, for what caused me to give up on Kaaron Warren’s Tide of Stone, twice actually, was voice.

In Tempuston, Australia, the town has taken to punishing its worst criminals in two ways. The first is relatively mundane — they imprison them in the Time Ball Tower set across a small stretch of water. The second way is the fantastical aspect of the novel. The prisoners are “preserved,” given a long-ago concocted cocktail that gives them eternal life but turns them into withered, desiccated bodies that can’t move themselves and talk so slowly many can’t understand them. In short, not really ... Read More

The Silver God of the Orang Hutan: Sladangs and leeches and crocs, oh, my!

The Silver God of the Orang Hutan by David Douglas

As many of you here at FanLit may have already discerned, this reader is a huge fan of English author H. Rider Haggard, and at this point I have read 45 of the man’s 58 novels. Haggard, for good reason, has been called “The Father of the Lost Race Novel,” and his influence on that genre has been enormous, casting a very long shadow across the decades since he came out with the triple whammy of King Solomon’s Mines, its sequel Allan Quatermain, and the seminal fantasy She, all in the mid-1880s. Haggard has had many imitators, many of whom have been forgotten over the intervening decades. Happily, a new series from the Medford, Oregon-based publisher Armchair Fiction is now avail... Read More

WWWednesday: June 19, 2019

Cons:

Punakha Suspension Bridge, image from Atlas Obscura



Terry and I will be attending ReaderCon in Boston in two weeks. Here are some of the people I look forward to seeing (some are deceased and I don’t expect to actually see them).

Books and Writing:

You write a nonfiction book, and part of your premise is based on your faulty understanding of an old legal term. This is discovered shortly before your book is released. What do you do? In the case of Naomi Wolf’s Outrage: Sex, Censorship and the Criminalization of Love, what Wolf wants and what her publisher wants is very different. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt wants the release date delayed while the con... Read More