Why You Should Read… Jaqueline Carey


Welcome to another Friday — and another edition of Why You Should Read… Our contributor this week is the ever-amazing Cara, known as @murf61 on Twitter. She contributes...

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Get in Trouble: More sucker-punching awesomeness from Kelly Link


Readers’ average rating: Get in Trouble by Kelly Link Kelly Link throws a mean sucker punch. Her latest short story collection, Get in Trouble, is calculated to get you — to...

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How to Make Fictional People Do All the Work, 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....

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Recent Posts

The Transfigured Hart: Now I will believe that there are unicorns

Readers’ average rating:  

The Transfigured Hart by Jane Yolen

The Transfigured Hart, a 1975 novella by the talented Jane Yolen, was recently republished as part of Tachyon Publications’ Particle e-book imprint. It’s a lovely, evocative tale, juxtaposing fairy-tale-like fantasy and a contemporary rural setting.

Richard and Heather are twelve-year-old neighbors with vastly different personalities who barely know each other. Richard, an orphan who lives with his aunt and uncle, is an introspective loner. A long bout with rheumatic fever has given him the habit of reading, and the habit has remained with him. Heather is an enjoyer of life and people, and she particularly enjoys going off by herself on adventures. But both Richard and Heather love the Five Mile Wood.

When his aunt an... Read More

Sidney’s Comet: A too-ambitious debut

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Sidney's Comet by Brian Herbert

A lot of Brian Herbert's bibliography consists of collaborations with other authors. There is Man of Two Worlds, written in collaboration with his father Frank Herbert, the Dune sequels, written with Kevin J. Anderson, and a couple of books written with Marie Landis. I haven't read Man of Two Worlds yet, although I do own a copy signed by Brian Herbert. I have read a stack of the Dune sequels, which range from entertaining to horrible, and I can't say I liked Hellhole Read More

Game of the Gods: An ambitious but unsatisfying dystopian adventure

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Game of the Gods by Jay Schiffman

Hundreds of years in our world’s future, dystopia prevails, at least in the nation called the Federacy. Judge Max Cone, with a stellar career as a military commander behind him, has spent the last fourteen years as a high judge. One of his duties is to interview young people who want to become formal citizens of the Federacy, guaranteeing them freedom. Most are rejected, sent to border settlements where life is perilous. Now Max is biding his time, taking care of his beloved wife and three young children and quietly planning his personal revenge on the governmental officials who ordered the procedure that essentially lobotomized his wife, a gifted scientist whose research findings threatened the Federacy.

Tensions with other nations and powerful rebel groups are high. While at the trial of a thirteen year old girl named Pique, a citizenship candidate w... Read More

Thoughtful Thursday: Identify last month’s covers

Today’s covers all come from books we reviewed in June 2018. Once you identify a book cover, in the comment section list:

1. The number of the cover (1-16)
2. The author
3. The book title



Please identify just one cover that has not yet been identified correctly so that others will have a chance to play. If they're not all identified by next Thursday, you can come back and identify more.

Each of your correct entries enters you into a drawing to win a book of your choice from our stacks. Winners are notified in the comments, so make sure to check the notification box or remember to check back in about 10 days. If we don't choose a winner within 2 weeks, please b... Read More

Elysium Fire: Solid sequel to The Prefect

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Elysium Fire by Alastair Reynolds

Elysium Fire (2018) is the sequel to Alastair ReynoldsThe Prefect (now renamed Aurora Rising to designate it as part of the PREFECT DREYFUS series), a complex and detailed police procedural set in the Glitter Band of his REVELATION SPACE series, set before the Melding Plague that destroyed the 10,000 orbitals that sported every conceivable political system, all run by real-time neurally-based electronic democratic voting systems that allow citizens to weigh in on each issue and decision on how to ru... Read More

WWWednesday: July 18, 2018

I am slammed with deadlines, so it’s a short column today. Besides, it’s summer! Don’t you kids ever go outside and play? 

Conventions:

StokerCon 2020 will be held in the UK. Apparently, this will be the first time since the convention’s founding that it will be held there. File under Only Slightly Ironic. (h/t to File 770.)

Awards:

The David Gemmell awards were presented last week, with Best Novel going to Assassin’s Fate by Robin Hobb (which we loved).

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Nyxia Unleashed: A semi-strange new world

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Nyxia Unleashed by Scott Reintgen

Emmett Atwater, a sixteen-year-old African American from Detroit, has spent the last year on board a spaceship owned by Babel Communications, lured in ― along with nineteen other disadvantaged teenagers from across the globe ― by Babel’s offer of immense wealth if he will travel to Eden and mine as much of the priceless mineral nyxia as possible on behalf of Babel for a year or so. Then he and the others can return home to a life of permanent ease. **Recapping Book 1 in the rest of this paragraph at a high level, for background; I've tried to avoid major spoilers** But Emmett and the other teenagers soon learn that the executives of Babel care only for their own power and wealth. During the year-long flight of the Genesis to Eden, the teens were pitted against each other in desperate competition for a place with the final group that would actually land o... Read More

The Second Summoning: Just too silly

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The Second Summoning by Tanya Huff

Note: This review will contain mild spoilers for the previous book, Summon the Keeper.

I was entertained by Tanya Huff’s first KEEPER’S CHRONICLES novels, Summon the Keeper, about a woman named Claire whose job, as a Keeper, is to travel around closing evil holes in the fabric of the universe when they pop up around Canada and the US. In Summon the Keeper, Claire and her talking cat (Austin) were “summoned” to a bed & breakfast which was endangered by a portal to Hell that had opened in the furnace room. I liked the... Read More

Age of Myth: Well-wrought prequel to the RYRIA fantasy series

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Reposting to include Marion's new review.

Age of Myth by Michael J. Sullivan

With Age of Myth, Michael J. Sullivan begins a prequel series to his RYRIA CHRONICLES and RYRIA REVELATIONS series. The good news for newcomers to his books is that, since this series takes place about 3,000 years earlier, you don't need to be familiar with either of those series or the world of Elan to enjoy this new LEGENDS OF THE FIRST EMPIRE series, so I was in good shape. I know pretty much zero about the other Ryria books, except that many epic fantasy fans are very enthusiastic about them, but I really enjoyed Age of Myth and am anxious to start the next book in this series, Read More

SFM: Larson, Connolly, Lechler, Murphy and Doherty

Short Fiction Monday: Our exploration of free and inexpensive short fiction available on the internet. Here are a few recent stories we've read that we wanted you to know about.

 

“Meat And Salt And Sparks” by Rich Larson (June 2018, free at Tor.com, 99c Kindle version)

Al Huxley and Cu are detectives and partners in this near-future SF tale. Cu is a chimpanzee whose intelligence has been enhanced to human-level through a company’s cruel and illegal experimentation. Granted "personhood" rights ― and a hefty settlement ― in a court case, Cu still feels isolated. She’s most comfortable alone in her Washington state home, off Puget Sound, usually working with Huxley on a remote basis, ... Read More