Thoughtful Thursday: TV Adaptations


George R.R. Martin’s Game of Thrones is the grand-daddy of television adaptations of beloved speculative fiction books, but with companies like Netflix and Amazon making the...

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Sharps: It’s written by K.J. Parker


Sharps by K.J. Parker Sharp swords, dirty books and pickled cabbage. Why has everything on this trip got to be horrible? The neighboring kingdoms of Permia and Scheria have always...

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Our Favorite Fools


Welcome to another Expanded Universe column where I feature essays from authors and editors of fiction, poetry, and non-fiction, as well as from established readers and reviewers....

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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

Children of The Lens: The not-so-epic conclusion to one of the greatest space operas

Children of The Lens by E.E. “Doc” Smith

Although Books 3, 4 and 5 of E.E. “Doc” Smith’s famed six-part LENSMAN series followed one another with 1 ½ to two years of time in between each, and with story lines that picked up mere seconds after their predecessors, Book 6 would eventually differ in both respects. The author’s final installment in what has been called one of the greatest of all space operas originally appeared around 5 ½ years following Book 5’s serialization. Like Books 3 - 5 (Galactic Patrol, Gray Lensman and Second Stage Lensman Read More

The Magicians: The TV Show (Giveaway!)

Syfy adapted Lev Grossman’s trilogy THE MAGICIANS into a series in 2015. The books got a lot of buzz as they followed a group of students at a college for magic and later into a magical land called Fillory. If the upstate New York college, Brakebills, was the anti-Hogwarts, Fillory was the anti-Narnia, and Grossman used the books to comment on the hero myth, entitlement, colonialism and the uses of power.


The show, which airs Wednesdays at 9:00 pm on Syfy, used the original stories as its starting point but has gone in a different direction… several different directions. It stars Jason Ralph as Quentin Coldwater, Read More

Sea of Silver Light: An exciting but too-long finale

Sea of Silver Light by Tad Williams

Sea of Silver Light (2001) finally concludes Tad Williams’ imaginative and very long OTHERLAND quartet. You must read the previous three books, City of Golden Shadow, River of Blue Fire, and Mountain of Black Glass first. There will be spoilers for those books in this review.

If you’ve read the previous three books in the OTHERLAND quartet, I don’t need to convince you to read Sea of Silver Light. I’m sure y... Read More

SFM: Kingfisher, Brazee

Short Fiction Monday: Our weekly exploration of free and inexpensive short fiction available on the internet. Here are two more reviews of recent Hugo and Nebula award-nominated stories.



“The Rose MacGregor Drinking and Admiration Society” by T. Kingfisher (2018, free at Uncanny magazine, $3.03 Kindle magazine issue). 2019 Hugo award nominee (short story).

“The Rose MacGregor Drinking and Admiration Society” is a charming little diversion, among a steadily-growing list of charming short works, by T. Kingf... Read More

Sky Without Stars: Do you hear the people sing?

Sky Without Stars by Jessica Brody & Joanne Rendell

Street-smart Chatine Renard spends her days scrounging for trinkets, or sometimes liberating them from their owners directly, and committing other crimes while dressed as a boy so that she can’t be forced to sell her blood, a nominally-legal vocation which might bring good money in the short-term but is sure to kill her within a few years. Alouette Taureau is a sweet, dangerously naïve girl brought up in near-seclusion under the watchful eyes of her kind father and the Sisters who hide belowground, protecting valuable books and other information smuggled from Earth during the Last Days, when nations fled their home planet and made their way to the twelve planets within the System Divine.

Then there’s Marcellus Bonnefaçon, who has a promising career as an officer ahead of him, regardless of his father’s banishment to the prison-moon of Bastille and his childhood govern... Read More

Sunday Status Update: April 21, 2019

Happy Easter from FanLit!


Bill: Into the grading silly season this week and next, but I did read Guy Gavriel Kay’s newest, A Brightness Long Ago. Review to come shortly but c’mon, it’s Kay—could it be anything but full of grace, craft, and beauty?  I also finished Human Errors by Nathan H. Lents, a quick (even slight at times) look at all the ways the human body could have been designed better. In audio,  I’ve neared the end, sadly,  of Mark Miodownik’s  excellent Liquid Rules: The Delightful and Dangerous Substances That Flow Through Our Lives. On video, my son and I reached the wonderful “Under Pressure” rendition of The Magicians, Season Three and wrapped up season two of The X-Files. I also finished Sabrina’s second ... Read More

Ghosted (Vol. 4): Ghost Town: Another Adventure Into the Occult

Ghosted (Vol. 4): Ghost Town by Joshua Williamson (writer), Vladmir Krstic (artist), Juan Jose Ryp (artist), and Miroslav Mrva (colorist)

Ghosted (Vol. 4): Ghost Town by Joshua Williamson is another adventure into the occult (though if you haven’t read volume 1, you should start there and first read my review of Ghosted (Vol. 1): Haunted House). It opens with the evil Markus showing up in Germany at a wedding that is just about to go bad — supernaturally bad. And he isn’t alone: He’s forced Rusnak, the psychic from the first story arc, to accompany him to witness the unholy union that’s about to take place unbeknownst to the two families gathered together to celebrate what should be a festive occasion. As they sit and wait for the wedding to start, Markus tells Rusnak about his past and about how he survived the “ghost bomb” that Jackson dropped on him at the end of Volume 1. Hi... Read More

The Tea Master and the Detective: A Holmesian mystery in an Asian space habitat

The Tea Master and the Detective by Aliette de Bodard

The Tea Master and the Detective (2018), a novella nominated for both the Nebula and Hugo awards, is a delightful revisiting of the legendary Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson ... if both were Asian women, and Watson was a genetically modified human that is the brains and heart of a transport warship. It’s set in Aliette de Bodard’s UNIVERSE OF XUYA ― also nominated for a Hugo for Best Series ― a “timeline where Asia became dominant, and where the space age has Confucian galactic empires of Vietnamese and Chinese inspiration,” per the author’s website.

The Shadow’s Child, a mindship, is suffering from long-... Read More

Knight’s Shadow: Great characters enrich this second installment

Reposting to include Marion's new review.

Knight's Shadow by Sebastien de Castell

I absolutely loved Sebastien de Castell's Traitor's Blade, first in his GREATCOATS series, having been immediately charmed by the utterly winning voice of its first-person narrator Falcio val Mond and its flamboyant Three Musketeers-like tone and narrative. So I was greatly looking forward to its sequel, Knight's Shadow. I'm pleased to say that while I had a few issues, for the most part I was wholly satisfied despite such high expectations.

The sequel picks up pretty much right after the close of Traitor's Blade and continues with the same basic goal: find a way to keep the king's thirteen-year-old heir Aline alive long enough... Read More

Thoughtful Thursday: The 2018 Nebula Awards: Novelettes & Short Stories

The Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America’s 54th Annual Nebula conference (May 16-19) will be held in Los Angeles, and the 2018 Nebula Awards will be announced on Saturday, May 18, 2019.

Today let’s talk about the finalists for Best Novelette and Best Short Story. We'll talk about other categories in future columns.

Here are the finalists in these categories. Click the links to read our reviews and get the links to the stories:

BEST NOVELETTE:

“An Agent of Utopia” by Andy Duncan, Small Beer Press (review coming soon)
The Only Harmless Great Thing by Brooke Bolander, Tor.com
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