Collaborative Cliché!


Welcome to Thoughtful Thursday.  Like always, if you have a topic you want to see addressed, please contact us! A recent discussion with some of the other reviewers on this site...

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In the Night Garden: Delicious and clever (but not for Kevin)


The Orphan’s Tales: In the Night Garden by Catherynne Valente In the Night Garden is the first in a two-book (maybe more?) series and if book one is any guide, this is as...

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Mystery in Fantasy


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 Flash: 100 Greatest Moments: Fun, fully-illustrated reference

The Flash: 100 Greatest Moments by Robert Greenberger

The Flash: 100 Greatest Moments (2020), by Robert Greenberger, is a browser’s reference book that doesn’t stint on illustrations, always a plus for this sort of subject.

As the title says, it’s a look at a (obviously subjective) list of highlights from the eight or so decades the character has been around.

While some fans might quibble here and there, the list as a whole is most likely going to find general consensus.

As noted, while one can read it cover to cover, it’s more a browsing kind of book. I say that because it doesn’t go in chronological order, nor does it go into a deep dive in any particular area.

So it’s not meant to be read as an analysis, say, of the character’s changes over time. One picks up on those changes while reading, but as the entries shift around in time, it’s not a... Read More

Serpentine: A tiny tale of great significance

Serpentine by Philip Pullman

Serpentine (2020) is a tiny tale set in between the two trilogies that have defined Philip Pullman's writing career. Whilst at a mere seventy pages it may seem, by Pullman's standards, brief, it plays a vital function in understanding the adventures the future Lyra will embark upon in the THE BOOK OF DUST.

A note from the author explains that the story was originally written 2004, before Pullman had any idea that he would return to Lyra and her world.

Yet the story marks a pivotal point in Lyra's understanding of herself and her relationship with her daemon, Pantalaimon; this very understanding will, in fact, dictate the entire course of the subseq... Read More

Sorcery of a Queen: Good blend of humor, character, and plot

Sorcery of a Queen by Brian Naslund

Honestly, I could give Brian Naslund’s Sorcery of a Queen (2020) a four just for the following jail-break exchange:

“Stay exactly two paces behind me at all times ... Stop when I stop, move when I move.”

 “So, your plan doesn’t involve putting on pants?”

 “No.”

 “Could we maybe restrategize so that it does?”

I got to that bit of dialogue around three a.m. and let out a “Hah!” loud enough that I immediately cowered in expectation that my wife, asleep in the room next door, was about to offer up a none-too-happy commentary on my waking her three hours before work. Luckily, she slept through my outburst, which meant I got to keep my m... Read More

Sunday Status Update: November 29, 2020

Kat: Since you heard from me a couple of weeks ago, I've re-read Arkady & Boris Strugatsky's Monday Starts on Saturday. This time I'll get it reviewed. Also read Chloe Neill's The Bright and Breaking Sea (first book in a new series), K. Eason's How the Multiverse Got its Revenge (sequel to How Rory Thorne Destroyed the Multiverse), and Andrzej Sapkowski's The Tower of Fools (first in a new ... Read More

Abe Sapien (Vol. 1): The Drowning: Abe Sapien Disturbs a Shipwreck

Abe Sapien (Vol. 1): The Drowning by Mike Mignola (writer), Jason Shawn Alexander (artist), Dave Stewart (colors), and Clem Robins (letters)

The Abe Sapien series is nine volumes long, and it is an essential part of the Hellboy canon. The series is as good as the Hellboy series and should not be missed by any fans of Mignola’s Hellboy universe. Abe Sapien: The Drowning starts off mysteriously in 1884 as a man boards a ship from a Victorian steampunk-like blimp and begins shooting men with writing on their chests. The action is accompanied only by the words of “You Gentlemen of England” by Martin Parks. It is a fantastic, haunting, opening sequence. The man, we soon find out, is Sir Edward Grey, British occult detective and special agent to Queen Victoria (Mignola has written a series about Sir Edward Grey). Grey, unfortunately, goes down with t... Read More

Thoughtful Thursday: In 2020, we’re thankful for escapism

To our American readers: Happy Thanksgiving!

Thanksgiving is one of our favorite holidays here at Fanlit. A time we normally set aside for family, close friends, and (of course) good food. A time to consider how grateful we are for those and other aspects of our lives. A chance to reflect on the larger perspective than perhaps our daily lives don’t leave us much time for.

This year, of course, is different. The time we’ll set aside for family will be Facetime. Our close friends haven’t been close enough for far too long. Our food will be less elaborate, come in smaller portions, and no, it won’t taste as good. Little, if anything this year, is “as good.” And while we’ll still take time to reflect, much of that will be on what is missing, and for too many of us, who is missing. At our tables. In our lives.

Oftentimes, we in the fantasy/science fiction world bristle when non-fans disdainfully label our genre, “escapist.... Read More

WWWednesday: November 25, 2020

Raven Story Postage Stamp



DisCon, slated for August of 2021, updated its membership counts.

Books and Writing:

A little inspiration for participants in NaNoWriMo: Seven published works that started off as WriMo projects.

George R.R. Martin provides his irregular, semi-annual update on The Winds of Winter, and no, he hasn’t finished it. (Thanks to File770.)

Publishers Weekly reports that Read More

Sleep Donation: A strange and thought-provoking tale

Reposting to include Marion's new review.

Sleep Donation by Karen Russell

In the near future, an insomnia epidemic has struck the United States. It’s caused by a dysfunction in orexin and those who acquire it can’t sleep. Eventually, they die. But there is a therapy that can help prolong life and, in some cases, even cure people. Donors can contribute sleep to those afflicted with the disorder. Babies make the best donors because their sleep isn’t contaminated by nightmares.

Trish is the top recruiter for a charity organization that finds sleep donors. Her sister died from the disorder and, when she tearfully tells the story to potential donors, she can get many of them to sign up. When she discovers a baby who turns out to be a rare universal sleep donor, Trish works with the baby’s parents to keep them on... Read More

Dead Man in a Ditch: This series continues to be average

Dead Man in a Ditch by Luke Arnold

Dead Man in a Ditch (2020) is the second book in Luke Arnold’s FETCH PHILLIPS ARCHIVES. It follows The Last Smile in Sunder City in which we met “man for hire” Fetch Phillips who, out of guilt for his role in the event that destroyed magic in the world, works only for the magical creatures who are now suffering and feeling threatened.

Fetch has a couple of investigations going on in this installment. An elderly elf has asked him to find out who killed her husband. Meanwhile the police investigator has asked him to investigate a seemingly unrelated crime — a murder that looks a lot like it was done with magic though, supposedly, magic has disappear... Read More

Sunday Status Update: November 22, 2020

Marion: It was not a good week for reading because I had writing to accomplish, but on Wednesday I started Hilary Mandel’s The Mirror and the Light, the third book about Thomas Cromwell.


 

Bill:This was an eclectic week of reading, which included:

Brian Naslund’s quite good (and often laugh-out-loud funny) Sorcery of A Queen  (review soon to come)
Virginia Postrel’s interesting The Fabric of Civilization: How Textiles Made the World
Rick Barot’s excellent poetry collection The Galleons
Kristina Moriconi’s lovely Read More