20 Heroes: Mad Batson


This the fourth installment in our Heroes series, written by our own Robert Rhodes. The art is courtesy of Allen Douglas. On a brisk autumn day, Mad Batson went a-wandering. He...

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The Book of Three: Our very highest recommendation


Readers’ average rating: The Book of Three by Lloyd Alexander Lloyd Alexander’s fantastic five-part Chronicles of Prydain begins with The Book of Three, which is required...

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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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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

WWWednesday: August 16, 2017

The Hugo Awards were awarded on August 11 at WorldCon in Helsinki, Finland. N.K. Jemisin won for the second year in a row for The Obelisk Gate, the second in her BROKEN EARTH trilogy. The third book in the trilogy, The Stone Sky, just came out yesterday, so anyone who likes to wait until trilogies are complete before reading any of their parts can now dive in!  Oh, and here's some late-breaking news:  TNT is developing the first book in the trilogy, The Fifth Season, as a TV series.

More awards news: the Dragon Award nominations are out. The voti... Read More

THE ASSASSIN SERIES: Three horror novellas by Tim Lebbon

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Dead Man’s Hand, Pieces of Hate, A Whisper of Southern Lights by Tim Lebbon

The three novellas Dead Man’s Hand, Pieces of Hate, and A Whisper of Southern Lights make up Tim Lebbon’s ASSASSIN series. They were originally published in 2004, 2005, and 2008 by Necessary Evil Press but were reprinted by Tor.com in 2016. Tor packaged the first two stories together under the name Pieces of Hate.

The ASSASSIN series tells the story of a man named Gabriel who has, for centuries, been hunting Temple, a demon who slaughtered Gabriel’s family. Gabriel can feel when he is close to Temple and uses this sense to follow ... Read More

Twisting the Rope: A sequel to Tea With the Black Dragon

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Twisting the Rope by R.A. MacAvoy

Twisting the Rope (1986) is a sequel to R.A. MacAvoy’s Tea With the Black Dragon. It’s recommended, but not necessary, to have read Tea With the Black Dragon first.

It’s been five years since Martha Macnamara met Mayland Long at the hotel in San Francisco. They’ve been together since. Martha is now approximately 55 years old and Mayland appears to be around the same age, but we don’t really know how old he is. He has secrets.

Martha, an exellent violin player, has put together a folk band that travels around playing traditional Irish tunes. Mayland manages the band, collecting their ea... Read More

SFM: Tambour, Vaughn, Kowal, Larson, Balder

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


“The Walking-Stick Forest” by Anna Tambour (2014, free on Tor.com, 99c Kindle version)This is an excellent dark and fantastical short story, set in 1924 in Scotland. Athol Farquar is a veteran of World War I who now lives a solitary life as a carver ― or, more accurately, a shaper ― of wooden walking sticks. He has a deep affinity for blackthorn wood and the forests around his home, and an equally profound distrust of people... Read More

Shattered Warrior: Tale’s too familiar but artwork shines

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Shattered Warrior written by Sharon Shinn &  illustrated by Molly Knox Ostertag

Shattered Warrior (2017) is a new graphic novel written by Sharon Shinn and illustrated by Molly Knox Ostertag. The artwork is excellent, but as far as plot, it’s an overly familiar one and, as usual for me with graphic novels (fair warning), neither story nor characters are rich enough for my deep engagement.

The story is set on a human world conquered years ago by an alien race (the Derichet) and mostly wholly subjugated, though there a rebel group known as the Valenchi sabotages the occasional convoy or bridge. The planet’s main mineral is used to fuel the Derichet spacecraft. The main character, Colleen, was once the daughter of one of the Great Families (rich aristocrats in a highly strati... Read More

Sunday Status Update: August 13, 2017

This week, Supergirl again. Yeah, I dunno.

Supergirl: I spent this week in super speed. Did you know the super speed is something I can turn on and off? Bet you didn't. It is, though. You know that feeling where you focus in really hard on something, and time seems to slow down as you study it? It's like that, except, you know, actually happening. I did it for the whole week. Weirdest thing I've ever done. Do you know how creepy people look in slow motion? Do you know how hard it is to pay attention to what people are saying when they're taking like an hour to say it and their words sound like discordant whale song? How the Flash hasn't gone completely insane and murdered us all by now, I have no idea.

Brad: This week I've been enjoying on audio the newest collection of short stories by Read More

Joe Golem: Occult Detective by Mike Mignola & Christopher Golden

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Joe Golem: Occult Detective by Mike Mignola and Christopher Golden blends the private eye genre with the golem legend and takes place in a future world in which part of New York is under water and people get around by boats, makeshift bridges, and unstable-looking planks. This first Joe Golem trade includes two stories — one three issues long and the other two issues. However, they are connected as Joe meets a young woman in the first story (Lori Noonan), and we see her again in the second, and Joe’s character develops from one tale to the next. The Joe Golem stories spin out of an illustrated novel by Mike Mignola and Christopher Golden entitled Joe Golem and the Drowning City; h... Read More

Theodora Goss: 4 Misconceptions About Victorian Women (giveaway!)

Today, Fantasy Literature welcomes Theodora Goss, who stopped by Fantasy Literature to talk about her research and writing process for The Strange Case of the Alchemist’s Daughter, a late-Victorian-era murder mystery starring some familiar faces from classic works of fiction — and which posed all sorts of interesting problems regarding the accurate portrayal of both men and women of that time period.

And we’ve got one copy of The Strange Case of the Alchemist’s Daughter to give away to a lucky commenter!

When I was in law school, to get through classes that felt as though they were systematically destroying my soul, I sewed a dress based on a pattern f... Read More

Wearing the Cape: Good fun, but pulls punches

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Wearing the Cape
by Marion G. Harmon

Prose fiction has often seemed to have trouble dealing with the figure of the superhero. While the subgenre can boast many excellent graphic novels, and film and television adaptations have been quite successful, it has never quite seemed to find its voice in a less visual medium. There have certainly been some notable successes, but it feels as though the breakout work has yet to be written. Wearing the Cape (2011) is actually a pretty good try, though it does have its flaws.

First, though, let's talk about the fun central premise. As is pretty standard for postmodern superhero stories, some sort of cataclysmic Event has taken place that has randomly given a segment of the population super powers. No one seems to know exactly how this has happened, and it ultimately doesn't much matter — comic books have basically come to l... Read More

The Thief of Always: A delightful children’s horror story

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The Thief of Always by Clive Barker

It’s summer and Harvey Swick, a ten year old with an active imagination, is bored. That’s how he gets lured into Mr. Hood’s Holiday House. It’s a wonderful place that’s fun and exciting, where Harvey gets everything his heart desires, and where he and the other kids who live there can play all day every day and eat delicious food whenever they want. As the seasons fly by, Harvey is happy at Mr. Hood’s house until things start to get a little spooky and it starts to dawn on Harvey that the place seems unnatural. When Harvey tries to leave, the Holiday House gets downright scary.

I was thoroughly entertained by Clive Barker’s The Thief of Always and I suspect that most children and teens will easily identify with Harvey and, ... Read More