Bill Chats with D.B. Jackson

Recently I reviewed D.B. Jackson’s historical urban fantasy Thieftaker and Mr. Jackson was gracious enough to take the time to answer my questions about the novel. Here he offers...

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The Children of Húrin:  A fresh look at an old tale

The Children of Húrin by J.R.R. Tolkien I am a fan of J.R.R. Tolkien‘s work, but certainly not an expert. This means that though I’ve read his three seminal works: The...

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Identity Crisis by Brad Meltzer and Rags Morales

Identity Crisis by Brad Meltzer and Rags Morales Over the years, the DC universe has undergone a series of crises — Crisis on Infinite Earths, Identity Crisis, Infinite Crisis,...

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Our favorite books of 2014

Here are our favorite books published in 2014. Hover over the cover to see who recommends each book and what they say about it. Please keep in mind that we did not read every SFF...

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Recent Posts

The Monstrous: You can’t go wrong with Datlow

The Monstrous edited by Ellen Datlow

Whenever I see Ellen Datlow’s name as editor on the cover of an anthology, I know I’m in good hands. Datlow has a made a thirty-plus year career of choosing good stories and developing collections that take different aims at the theme. The theme of The Monstrous is monsters, and Datlow makes sure to explore all facets of that word with this mostly-reprint anthology from Tachyon Press.

There are twenty stories in the book. One is original to the anthology. The reprints include one classic horror story and a few that read as dated to me. Datlow’s standards of excellent writing and good characterization stand throughout the book.

I’m going to discuss two pieces out of sequence, because they left me puzzling. The Monstrous includes ... Read More

Two Years, Eight Months, and Twenty-Eight Nights: Magical Realism with a Folktale Feel

Two Years, Eight Months, and Twenty-Eight Nights by Salman Rushdie

From the moment I started listening to Salman Rushdie’s new book, Two Years, Eight Months, and Twenty-Eight Nights, I was enchanted. I wasn’t sure what to expect, not ever having read a Rushdie book before, but his leisurely, indirect storytelling style reminded me of a fairy or folk tale, like the 1001 Nights that Rushdie cleverly takes his title from.

Two Years, Eight Months, and Twenty-Eight Nights tells the story of the jinnia Dunia, her lovers, her countless human/jinn progeny, and their efforts in the war between the worlds of humanity and the jinn, who have entered our realm and begun sowing chaos, violence, and madness. Dunia, who has fallen in love with two human men and, in consequence, all of huma... Read More

Who Goes There?: An influential, entertaining novella

Who Goes There? by John W. Campbell, Jr.

Three mad, hate-filled eyes blazed up with a living fire, bright as fresh-spilled blood, from a face ringed with a writhing, loathsome nest of worms, blue, mobile worms that crawled where hair should grow…

John W. Campbell’s novella Who Goes There?, first published in 1938 in the magazine Astounding Science Fiction, formed the foundation for the thrice-made movie The Thing. John Carpenter directed the 1982 film starring Kurt Russell and it holds a significant place in my childhood memories as it was the first horror movie I was able to watch all they way through. The movie is dark and creepy, and incorporated some realistically disgusting special effects for its day and age. That version was preceded by the 1951 The Thing From Another World a... Read More

The Undying Monster: Film vs. Book

The Undying Monster by Jessie Douglas Kerruish
It was around five years ago that I had the pleasure of watching the 1942 horror thriller The Undying Monster on DVD. I was moderately impressed with the film, enough to write the following:

"B material given A execution" is how film historian Drew Casper describes 20th Century Fox's first horror movie, 1942's The Undying Monster, in one of the DVD's extras, and dang if the man hasn't described this movie to a T. The film, a unique melding of the detective, Gothic and monster genres, though uniformly well acted by its relatively no-name cast, features a trio of first-rate artists behind the camera who really manage to put this one over. And the film's script isn't half bad either. Here, Scotland Yard scientist Robert Curtis (James Ellison) comes to eerie Hammond Hall, a brooding pile on the English coast, sometime around 1900, to investigate some recent attacks ascribed to t... Read More

Sunday Status Update: October 11, 2015

This week, Red Sonja comments on her freshly redesigned costume.

Red Sonja: Well, that's done it. I have officially laughed along with the last "chain-mail brassiere" joke I am willing to bear. I've decided to upgrade. Conan's doing pants now too (even a shirt once in a while, when he can bear to cover over his beloved pecs), so it's not like the fad's still going strong or anything. Yes. I'm doing this. I'm getting older and wiser and more prag... pragtical? Whatever. I am going to go straight to the armorer and buy as much extra chainmail as I can afford!

Later: So, yeah, good news and bad news. The bad news is that the prices of chain mail have gotten ridiculous in the last few years. So my chain-mail bra is now sort of a chain-mail... jerkin. Read More

GIVEAWAY! Ten copies of City of Blades by Robert Jackson Bennett

We are excited to announce a super Giveaway!

Fantasy Literature is working with Penguin Random House to give ten lucky winners with a US mailing address a copy of Robert Jackson Bennett’s newest fantasy novel, City of Blades, which will be released to the public in January.

2014’s City of Stars generated lots of buzz, making the short list of the Locus Awards among other honors. We loved it!

Now, Bennett returns to the world of Shara and Sigrud with a sequel set in another of the god-built cities. This time the city is Voortyashtan, the city built by the god of war, and the emissary sent there is General Turyin Mulaghesh:

A generation ago, the city of Voortyashtan was the stronghold of the god of w... Read More

The Expanded Universe: Casual Othering and Literature of the Fantastic, Part 2

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. My guest today is Gabrielle Bellot. Gabrielle Bellot grew up in the Commonwealth of Dominica. She has contributed work to GuernicaAutostraddle, Prairie Schooner’s  Read More

Edge: Journey to the Center of the Earth by Jules Verne

Journey to the Center of the Earth by Jules Verne

[In our Edge of the Universe column, we review mainstream authors that incorporate elements of speculative fiction into their “literary” work. However you want to label them, we hope you’ll enjoy discussing these books with us.]

Et quacumque viam dederit fortuna sequamur
- And whatever route fortune gives, we shall follow

This IS your great-great-great-grandfather's adventure story, so reader beware. There's a lot of walking, a lot of exposition, and quite frankly, not a lot of action. But keep in mind... this is an original. Our modern day sensibilities expect high action out of our adventure stories: monsters, critters, thrill-a-minute. But in a much different time when society was in a much different state, Journey to the Center of the... Read More

The Fifth Head of Cerberus: Three novellas about identity, memory, and colonization

The Fifth Head of Cerberus by Gene Wolfe

I don’t think I’m the only reader drawn to Gene Wolfe’s books — hoping to understand all the symbolism, subtleties, oblique details, unreliable narrators, and offstage events — and finding myself frustrated and confused, feeling like it’s my lack of sophistication and careful reading ability to blame. Wolfe is most famous for his amazing 4-volume THE BOOK OF THE NEW SUN dying earth masterpiece, which has a 1-volume coda called The Urth of the New Sun, along with two companion series, THE BOOK OF THE LONG SUN and THE BOOK OF THE SHORT SUN. Collectively they are known as THE SOLAR CYCLE, and these books tend to split readers into two camps: either dedicated Wolfe fans who find his works richer, deeper, and more subtle than anything... Read More

The Rim of the Morning: Great old school cosmic horror

The Rim of the Morning: Two Tales of Cosmic Horror by William Sloane

We're re-running this post to include Sandy's recent review (below Jason's previous review).

New York Review Books Classics has just packaged two novels by renowned author, editor and teacher William Sloane into a single offering, The Rim of the Morning: Two Tales of Cosmic Horror. Sloane is not an author I’d previously known, probably due to the fact that these stories are two of only three novels that he ever published. Stephen King contributes a short but impeccable introduction, providing a tight analysis of the stories and windows into Sloane’s background and style. Sloane wrote and edited primarily supernatural mystery/scifi, but is known in literary worlds as a writing tea... Read More