R.S. Belcher talks about characterization


Today we welcome Rod (R.S.) Belcher, author of The Six-Gun Tarot which I recently enjoyed and recommend to you. (Here’s my review.) Rod wants to talk about why you love your...

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The Elementals: Belongs up there with my favorites


The Elementals by Francesca Lia Block “Add in the way college isolated you, left you feeling as if the rest of the world, including your past and your family, was just a...

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Why I Write About Gay Dragons


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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T-shirts and bookmarks!


Get a T-shirt and bookmarks when you donate to FanLit. This soft white t-shirt features our dragon logo which was painted by author Janny Wurts. Underneath are the words...

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Recent Posts

DEV1AT3: An entertaining sequel ups the stakes for humanity

DEV1AT3 by Jay Kristoff

In a brutal, blasted country called the Yousay (USA, of course), hostile androids contend against regular humans and superpowered mutants against a backdrop of robot death matches, in a dystopian Mad Max type of world. DEV1AT3 (2019) is the sequel to LIFEL1K3, which should be read first. Obligatory warning: This review ― not to mention a helpful four-page glossary that author Jay Kristoff provides at the very beginning of DEV1AT3 ― contains a few major spoilers for LIFEL1K3. (Those spoilers are also in this book's blurb.)

Eve has spent her entire life thinking she was human, until disco... Read More

The Labyrinth Index: The American president is missing and that’s a bad thing

The Labyrinth Index by Charles Stross

The Labyrinth Index (2018) is the ninth novel in Charles’ StrossLAUNDRY FILES epic. This installment features Mhari, Bob Howard’s psycho ex-girlfriend who we met back in The Rhesus Chart when she and her colleagues at a bank accidentally developed some software that turned them all into vampires.

Now she’s Dame Mhari Murphy – she’s been elevated to Baroness and she works for the new government in England. Her boss is N’yar Lat-Hotep, the Black Pharaoh, who’s been reincarnated as the new Prime Minister of England after the country was forced to make a lesser-evil type of deal with the ancient god to prevent the rise of Cthulhu.

Th... Read More

The Call: Scary sadistic sidhe

The Call by Peadar O’Guilin

I picked up Peadar O’Guilin’s The Call (2016) because its sequel, The Invasion, is a finalist for a Hugo Award this year (Best YA Fantasy Novel). Though I often enjoy Young Adult fiction, this book is probably not something I would have noticed had it not been for the Hugo nomination.

The Sidhe are finally taking revenge on the Irish for banishing them to The Grey Lands centuries ago. Ireland has been cut off from the rest of the world and every Irish teenager will, on some random day at some random time during their teenage years, receive “The Call.” At that moment, they disappear from earth and arrive naked in The Grey Lands where they will spend a day being chased, toyed with, and tortured by the Sidhe. Then they will be sent back to wherever they disappeared from, usually grossly deformed and dead. It will appear to the humans around them... Read More

Night and Silence: Emotional and twisty

Night and Silence by Seanan McGuire

Night and Silence begins with Toby and her friends still recovering from the events of The Brightest Fell. Tybalt is suffering from PTSD and pushing Toby away. Jazz isn’t doing much better. Sylvester is mad at Toby because of what happened with Simon. Toby doesn’t need a new problem, but that’s exactly what she gets when her human ex, Cliff, and his wife, Miranda, turn up on her doorstep. Toby’s daughter Gillian, now a student at UC-Berkeley, has been kidnapped again. And Cliff and Miranda think Toby had something to do with it.

Roughly the first half of this installment feels like familiar ground. Gillian has been kidnapped before, and the plot structure of Toby traveling all over the metro area chasing down clues and red herrings is one that Seanan McGu... Read More

Sunday Status Update: July 21, 2019

Bill: I’m traveling so haven’t been on in a while and reading is sporadic.  But since my last time, I think I’ve read (I may be missing one or two): Beneath the Twisted Trees by Bradley Beaulieu, This Is How You Lose the Time War by Amal El-Mohtar and Max Gladstone, Robot Generation by Terri Favro, Big Sky by Kate Atkinson. In audio my son and I finished Read More

Holy Sister: A well-crafted finale

Holy Sister by Mark Lawrence

Holy Sister (2019), the third and final book in Mark Lawrence's BOOK OF THE ANCESTOR series, is a satisfying, well-crafted ending to an inventive series. Lawrence, at this point a veteran in the trenches of Heroic Fantasy, wraps things up with what's probably his greatest assurance of the series, and though the tropes on display will be familiar to fans of the genre (and of Lawrence's earlier work), they add up to an engaging and often thrilling finale.

But before we get into the meat of things, a quick synopsis: when last we left Nona and her friends, they were on the run from their enemies with a stolen shipheart. Lawrence recommences the narrative years later, but recounts the details of the escape in a succession of quick, deft flashbacks. In the present day, the u... Read More

The Brightest Fell: “Magic can be reversed. Trauma isn’t that simple.”

The Brightest Fell by Seanan McGuire

After two “monster of the week” episodes, The Brightest Fell (2017) brings us back to the secrets that were revealed in The Winter Long, surrounding Amandine, Simon, Eira Rosynhwyr — and Toby’s long-lost sister, August. But first, Seanan McGuire draws us in, as she did in Once Broken Faith, with a heartwarming scene of comic relief. This time, it’s Toby’s bachelorette party. The. Luideag. Sings. Karaoke. You don’t want to miss this.

The cozy mood is not to last, though, because Toby’s estranged mother Amandine shows up afterward. She wants Toby to find August. No... Read More

Thoughtful Thursday: 2019 Hugo Awards: Novels & Novellas

The 2019 Hugo Awards will be presented at Worldcon 77 in Dublin, Ireland, on August 18. The Hugo Award finalists are chosen by readers who are voting members of Worldcon. This week we'll talk about the novels and novellas. We discussed other categories in previous columns.

Click the title links below to read our reviews and on the author links to visit our page for the author. Most of these works are, not surprisingly, the same ones nominated for the Nebula Awards.

Who do you think will win the Hugo Award in these categories?
Answer b...
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Revenant Gun: Saving the best for last

Revenant Gun by Yoon Ha Lee

The finale to Yoon Ha Lee’s MACHINERIES OF EMPIRE trilogy, Hugo-nominated Revenant Gun (2018) tells the story of what remains of the Hexarchate ten years after Kel Cheris/Jedao threw it headfirst into civil war. On one side of the war, the Protectorate attempts to reunite the former Hexarchate and restore its violent calendrical (magic) system. On the other side of the war is the Compact, Cheris’s newborn state founded on a completely different calendrical system that simultaneously ends the gory human sacrifices of the Hexarchate and grants its subjects a higher level of individual choice and control over the system’s calendrical effects. As the conflict has waged on over the past decade, Cheris/Jedao has vanished on a secretive mission, their existence a mystery even to their strongest allies in ... Read More

The Ophiuchi Hotline: Full of interesting ideas

The Ophiuchi Hotline by John Varley

Dr. Lilo Alexandr-Calypso, a brilliant geneticist who lives on the moon, has broken the law by fiddling with the human genome. Just as she’s about to be executed, she is saved by a group of vigilantes who want to use her skills to help them free the Earth from the alien invaders who’ve taken over and kicked the humans off.

Lilo doesn’t want to serve anyone, but their leader, a former president of Earth, has captured a clone of her and says that either she or the clone will be executed for Lilo’s crime. It doesn’t seem right for the clone to live on, so Lilo agrees to participate, thinking she’ll escape. She’s taken to a secret hideout located on a Jovian moon and set to work for the Free Earthers. She doesn’t like the work, which involves experiments designed to discover how to kill the invading aliens, but every time she escapes (or dies trying), she just gets cloned again. Now ... Read More