Jana Chats with Melissa de la Cruz


Today, Melissa de la Cruz stops by Fantasy Literature to celebrate the paperback release of Vampires of Manhattan, the first book in her newest series, THE NEW BLUE BLOODS COVEN....

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The Ghost and Mrs. Muir: As charming as the film, but deeper and wiser


The Ghost and Mrs. Muir by R.A. Dick If you were to ask me to name my top two or three favorite fantasy novels, the answer would take me a long time to come up with, given the...

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Brains vs. Beauty: The Women of Harry Potter


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

Mazes of Power: A fascinating start to an intriguing series

Mazes of Power by Juliette Wade

Juliette Wade’s 2020 debut novel, Mazes of Power, is the first book of THE BROKEN TRUST series. Wade has created a rigidly stratified society in a subterranean world as a way to answer big sociological and biological What-If questions. The book explores genetics, distribution of resources, social mobility and what happens when people prioritize the consolidation of political power above their own self-interest or even their own survival.

And the book is a novel of manners, a story of young love, and a tense political thriller in a world where assassination is simply one more tool in the toolbox, frowned upon but still utilized.

Mazes of Power follows three characters: two brothers of the First Family, Tagaret and Nekantor, who belong to the ruling Grobal caste; and Aloran, of the Imbati ca... Read More

The Lost Future of Pepperharrow: Left me wanting

The Lost Future of Pepperharrow by Natasha Pulley

I found Natasha Pulley’s The Watchmaker of Filigree Street entirely charming even if I didn’t fall wholly in love with it. Unfortunately, I didn’t have the same positive response to the sequel, The Lost Future of Pepperharrow (2020), which felt meandering and surprisingly flat to me, despite some solid moments.

It’s half a decade after the events of The Watchmaker of Filigree Street, and after a brief time in Russia and London, Pulley shifts the vast majority of her story to Japan in the late 1800s (with flashbacks to earlier times in the country). Keita Mori, clockmaker and clairvoyant who can “remember” possibl... Read More

Sunday Status Update: February 16, 2020

Kelly: I recently reread King Lear for one of my classes, so I decided it was a good time to get around to Tessa Gratton’s The Queens of Innis Lear, which fleshes out the story with a hearty dose of character development and a hefty scoop of muddy, bloody earth magic. It’s long, but thoroughly atmospheric and engrossing.


Bill: Over the past two weeks I read:
The Lost Future of Pepperharrow by Natasha Pulley, a disappointing sequel
The Last Day
by Andrew Hunter Murray, a... Read More

Hellboy (Vol. 10): The Crooked Man and Others: Hellboy in the Appalachian Mountains

Hellboy (Vol. 10): The Crooked Man and Others by Mike Mignola (writer), Richard Corben (artist), Duncan Fegredo (artist), Joshua Dysart (artist), and Jason Shawn Alexander (artist)

The first story,“The Crooked Man,” is an Eisner-winning comic and the first Hellboy tale to take place in the Appalachian woods and is based on the folklore of that region (though, in an introduction to the story, Mignola makes clear that this story is not an adaptation of any existing story). He also lets us know in this introduction to the three-issue comic that he wrote this tale with artist Richard Corben specifically in mind. Opening in 1958 in Virginia, “The Crooked Man” is about Tom, who comes home after twenty years to find the two women he knew in childhood indebted to the devil, and only one of them, Cora Fisher, wants release. The other woman, Effie, enjoys being a witch and laughs at their suffering. Hellboy goes along on the journey with Tom and C... Read More

The Last Day: A decent techno-thriller

The Last Day by Andrew Hunter Murray

The Last Day (2020), by Andrew Hunter Murray, is a sci-fi thriller, though to be honest I found both elements (the science and the thrills) to be a bit slight and while it’s a highly readable work, I’d call it moderately engaging or tense.

The book opens some decades after “The Slow” (or “The Stop”), when the Earth’s rotation gradually declined then halted altogether, plunging half the planet — the “Coldside” into uninhabitable cold and darkness and the other half into a baking sunlit zone. The UK found itself in the goldilocks zone and is one of the lucky few places on the planet that is relatively habitable, though it keeps itself going only by a ruthless rejection of refugees, a staunch coastal defense, and a move to a totalitarian regime. Even so, despite the government’s propaganda, people can sense that things seem to be fal... Read More

Thoughtful Thursday: Valentine’s Day 2020

Tomorrow is Valentine’s Day. The advertisements and end caps of stores are pushing the usual gifts: chocolates, flowers, and the like.

But let’s think out of the box a bit here.

If you could pop over for a few hours to any of the fantasy/sci-fi worlds out there, what would you pick up for your significant other to express your love? We’re talking an expression of romance here, not something they can sell off so as to live in comfort their whole life.

Would you give them a bouquet of elanor or niphredil? Go a little bigger with a mithril bracelet? Or go all the way in with a Silmaril? What would be the gift that shows the true extent of your love?

One random commenter will choose a book from our stacks. Read More

Skin Folk: Fifteen masterful stories

Skin Folk by Nalo Hopkinson

In Nalo Hopkinson’s Skin Folk, you’ll find 15 diverse Caribbean-inspired fantasy stories that are full of vividly-drawn characters, powerful prose, masterful storytelling, and imagery that is sensuous and haunting.

Skin Folk, Hopkinson’s first story collection, deservedly won the World Fantasy Award for Best Collection.

Some of Hopkinson’s stories are metaphors, many having to do with the theme of “skin” — whether it’s characters who are hiding, changing, or pretending to be something they’re not. Many also deal with the unique experiences of the Caribbean people as well as people who are black and/or queer or transgender.

Here are the stories:

“Riding the Red” — An intriguing metaphor base... Read More

WWWednesday: February 12, 2020

Bessie Coleman, African American pilot who got her license in 1921. She was flying before Amelia Earhart was.



Science:

A scientist at Stanford has turned jellyfish bionic, with plans to turn them into living information-gathering devices. 

Awards:

File 770 shares the British Science Fiction Association shortlist.

Books and Writing:

In the New York Times, Brit Marling talks about Read More

The Nightmare and Other Tales of Dark Fantasy: A very fine collection

The Nightmare and Other Tales of Dark Fantasy by Francis Stevens

Up until recently, Minneapolis-born author Francis Stevens had been a very solid 3 for 3 with this reader. Her first novel, 1918’s The Citadel of Fear, had proved to be a mindblower, dealing as it did with the lost city of Tlapallan, nightmarish creatures, and battling Aztec gods. Her second novel, 1919’s The Heads of Cerberus, was a dystopian affair set in a totalitarian Philadelphia and is one of the first sci-fi offerings to feature a parallel time track. And in Stevens’ fourth novel, 1920’s Read More

Mooncakes: Delightful and suspenseful

Mooncakes by Suzanne Walker & Wendy Xu

Mooncakes (2019) is the story of Nova and Tam, two young people who are exploring their connections to magic. They are both, in their own way, deeply connected to the magical world and must decide what that means to them. Their relationships — with the people around them and each other — fuel the emotional core of this whimsical, down-to-earth, LGBTQ+ narrative.

I was delighted by Mooncakes. First, Wendy Xu’s art is spot-on for the tone of the story — in some ways it is cute and colourful, but there are some hard, emotional moments and magic-fueled fights that don’t feel out of place in the chosen style. The characters are designed uniquely, and the strength of those designs support their distinct personalities. Mooncakes has a wonderful cast of characters, in the most literal sense: full of wonder. Ev... Read More