Living With The Writer: Deborah Beale


Here we are with the second edition of Living With The Writer, a semi-regular feature where I grill the partners of those authors that entertain us with their speculative fiction....

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A Wizard of Earthsea: Great standalone book, start of a very good series


A Wizard of Earthsea by Ursula Le Guin With the recent Sci- Fi Channel miniseries, there is bound to be renewed interest in Ursula Le Guin’s classic first book in her Earthsea...

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Who is Jake Ellis? by Nathan Edmondson


Who is Jake Ellis? by Nathan Edmondson (writer) and Tonci Zonjic (artist) Who is Jake Ellis? is an excellent thriller that defied my expectations for the wonderful reason that I had...

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T-shirts and bookmarks!


Get a T-shirt and bookmarks when you donate to FanLit. This soft white t-shirt features our dragon logo which was painted by author Janny Wurts. Underneath are the words...

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Recent Posts

Thoughtful Thursday: What is Your Quest?

Today we welcome Dr. Anastasia Salter, assistant professor of digital media at the University of Central Florida. I met Dr. Salter recently at an academic symposium where she gave the keynote address and spoke about gamification of the classroom. Her career in digital media and game creation stems from her childhood love of reading and playing heroic fantasy. Her new book, which comes out in a couple of days, is about how technology is changing storytelling. We'll send an e-copy to one commenter (or you can choose a book from our stacks).

If you’d asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up twenty years ago, I probably would have answered Raistlin Majere. Former (and current DRAGONLANCE fans, try not to look at me too suspiciously. Raistlin ... Read More

Jala’s Mask: Interesting world-building in this YA fantasy

Jala’s Mask by Mike & Rachel Grinti

I enjoy reading fantasy that stems from a different folkloric basis than the one I grew up in. Middle European, British, Native American and Asian fantasy tropes have been done a lot, so Jala’s Mask, by Mike & Rachel Grinti was a refreshing change.

Jala has grown up in a society similar in some ways to our Polynesian one. Her people can magically shape ships from the material that forms the reefs around their islands. They gather wealth by raiding the mainland. The Five Islands and One are ruled by a king and queen, but except for the One island, where sorcerers are exiled, each island is controlled by a particular family. Jala is part of the Bardo clan. The new king, Azi of the Kayet, is looking for a wife, and Jala’s father is sure she will be chosen. This seems unlikely, because Azi’s Kayet uncle doesn’t trust the Bardo, but Jala’... Read More

The Spider: A prequel to the ELEMENTAL ASSASSIN series

The Spider by Jennifer Estep

The Spider, the tenth book in Jennifer Estep’s ELEMENTAL ASSASSIN series is actually a prequel in which we learn about Gin’s life and training before she became the infamous assassin, The Spider. Readers who haven’t been following the series could read The Spider with no problem, but they’d be missing a lot of the Easter Eggs that Estep leaves for her fans.

The story starts when adult Gin (the one we know and maybe love) is talking to her boyfriend Owen at The Pork Pit. (Gin and Owen are back together, a reunion I missed since I haven’t yet read book nine because I don’t own an audio copy, my library doesn’t have it, and I’m not willing to buy it.) A box of blue roses arrives at The Pork Pit without a card, but Gin knows exactly who they’re from. The memory induces Gin to tell Owen about her trainin... Read More

Rise of the Terran Empire: Transitions from the Commonwealth to the Empire

Rise of the Terran Empire by Poul Anderson

Rise of the Terran Empire is the third in a series of seven books collecting all of Poul Anderson's writings in the Technic civilization setting. The stories are presented by internal chronology and in this book we have reached the boundary between the two eras Anderson set most of these stories in: the time of the Polesotechnic league (Nicolas van Rijn and David Falkayn) and the era of the Terran Empire (Dominic Flandry). The previous two books contained quite a few pieces of short fiction but this third tome includes two full novels with room left over for four shorter works. One of these, “Sargasso of Lost Starships,” originally published in Planet Stories, appears for the first time in book form, so if you are a completist this is a must have.

The collection opens with the 1977 novel Mirkheim. It features both Falkayn an... Read More

WWWebsday: October 29, 2014

On this day in 1969, the first-ever computer-to-computer link was established on ARPANET, the precursor to Candy Crush . . . I mean, the Internet.

Jose Guadalupe Posada

Writing, Editing, and Publishing:

Just to remind everyone, National Novel Writing Month, or NaNoWriMo, starts on November 1. For all you FanLitters out there with novels on the brain, this might be a good kick in the pants to get started. I’m going to do it; who’s with me? (And tell us about your writing projects in the comments, if you like!)

This New York Times article about Michel Faber reveals that his l... Read More

Deadly Sting: A museum heist is a nice change of scenery and pace

Deadly Sting by Jennifer Estep

Deadly Sting is the eighth book in Jennifer Estep’s ELEMENTAL ASSASSIN series. Anyone who has made it to this point in the series probably doesn’t care what I have to say about it, so I’ll make this short.

Gin and Owen are taking a break from each other after the events of the last book, Widow’s Web, so Gin accompanies Finn to a fancy party at an art museum on an island where Mab Monroe’s stuff will be on display for all the wealthy folks in Ashland to see. Soon after she arrives, she encounters two big problems. One is that she discovers Mab had a couple of Gin’s family’s runes in her possession! Gin wants them back. The other problem is that Owen is at the party with another woman. How distressing!

While Gin’s sulking in the bathroom, a group of giants murders a woman who looks like Gin and takes all... Read More

Hide Me Among the Graves: Quality time with that whacky Rossetti family

Hide Me Among the Graves by Tim Powers

Hide Me Among the Graves is Tim Power’s sequel, twenty-five years later, to The Stress of her Regard. I liked it better than its predecessor, but some of the same problems plagued this otherwise interesting read.

Instead of wandering all over Europe, Hide Me Among the Graves sticks pretty close to 1860s London, following the fortunes of a widowed veterinarian, John Crawford, and the artistic, poetic and strange Rossetti family, particularly Christina and her brother Gabriel Dante. Those pesky ageless vampiric creatures, the nephalim, are back to stir up trouble, and this time one of them wants to create an earth tremor that will destroy London.

When Christina Rossetti was fourteen, her father tricked her into awakening one of the nephalim, who took the shape of Christina’s uncle John Polidori. Pol... Read More

Great Bookstores: Singularity in Brooklyn

A few  years ago, FanLit reviewer Terry Weyna eloquently sung the praises of The Strand, the pride and joy of all literate New Yorkers. I myself have spent countless hours there, browsing among the establishment’s four copious floors; it truly is a bookstore second to none. But for the sci-fi/fantasy/pulp lover, The Strand can be a bit problematic. The single section devoted to those three genres is not a large one, the wares on display seem to be a bit static from week to week, and (or is it just me?) it always seems as if the book I am looking for is at the very top of one of the store’s 10-foot-high shelves.

Singularity storefront in DUMBO

But I shouldn’t complain, as it was in The Strand that I first got wind of what has turned out to be my new favorite store in NYC. ... Read More

Willful Child: Erikson’s Star Trek parody

Willful Child by Steven Erikson

Let’s start with what needs to be said when reviewing a book like Steven Erikson’s Willful Child, a full-bore parody/homage to Star Trek: The Original Series. One, humor is wholly subjective. I, for instance, have never understood the allure of Adam Sandler. My wife, meanwhile, has never understood why I find Airplane funny (I could go on and on with that list, but one will suffice). So one person’s rib-splitting, laugh-out-loud bit will be another person’s “meh.”  Second, humor is tough. As the line goes, “dying is easy, comedy is hard.” So, that being said, what about the book?

As mentioned, Willful Child takes on the classic Trek series and makes no, ahem, “Bones” about it. After a quick little prologue, this is the opening of Chapter One:  “Space. It’s fucking big. These are the voyages of th... Read More

Widow’s Web: This formula seems to be working for Estep

Widow’s Web by Jennifer Estep

Widow’s Web is book seven in Jennifer Estep’s ELEMENTAL ASSASSIN series. I wasn’t too impressed with book six, By a Thread, but I continue to read the series because I’ve already purchased most of the books at Audible and, even though I recognize the problems with the plot and the writing, the truth is that I like Estep’s setting and characters well enough that I don’t mind reading the books in order to get them reviewed for FanLit. Based on the high marks the series gets at GoodReads and Amazon, I’m guessing that many readers are perfectly happy to overlook the little “issues” I’ve mentioned in previous reviews. Clearly, the formula is working for Estep.

In this seventh installment, Gin and her friends are back in Ashland Tennessee after a disastrous vacation during which Gin saved another damsel in distress, s... Read More