5 Questions for Ernest Cline

Ernest Cline has been one of the hottest writers to hit the SF scene since his 2011 debut Ready Player One, a loving tribute to 1980s pop culture within a dystopian future world,...

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Illusion: A wonderful historical fantasy!

Readers’ average rating: Illusion by Paula Volsky A fictionalization of the French Revolution set in the invented kingdom of “Vonahr” and laced with a little bit of...

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Welcome to the Expanded Universe

Greetings, FanLit readers, friends, and potential contributors! We’re launching a new column, Expanded Universe, curated by me, for feature essays that discuss any aspect of...

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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

Frankenstein 1970: “Torch, scorch, unforch…”

Readers’ average rating:

Frankenstein 1970 directed by Howard W. Koch

Horror icon Boris Karloff, during the mid-1950s, significantly slowed down his prodigious output of the '30s and '40s. After 1953, fans would have to wait a full four years before his next horror picture, Voodoo Island, was released, and that one is generally acknowledged as one of Boris' few stinkers. The British actor seemed to rebound a bit in 1958, however, with the releases of Frankenstein 1970 — a shlocky yet entertaining picture — and the very-well-done British film Grip of the Strangler. Frankenstein 1970 was the fifth Frankenstein film that Karloff had participated in, following the classic original in 1931, the eternal glory that is 1935's Bride of Frankenstein, 1939's excellent Son of Frankenstein and 1944's House of Frankenstein, but — no surprise — the film in question is any... Read More

Thoughtful Thursday: Identify last month’s covers

Today’s covers all come from books we reviewed in September 2016. 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 bug Marion.

And, as always, we've got Read More

Land of Dreams: Strong echoes of Bradbury’s Something Wicked This Way Comes

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Land of Dreams by James P. Blaylock

James P. Blaylock is a fabulist, a teller of magic realist tales that reframe our everyday world in more colorful, fanciful, sinister, and whimsical ways. His style and themes often overlap with the works of Tim Powers and they have collaborated on several stories and even have shared the character William Ashbless, which is no surprise since they met as students at Cal State Fullerton. There they also befriended author K.W. Jeter (who coined the term “steampunk” and wrote perhaps the earliest full-length example, 1987’s Infernal Devices Read More

The Honey Month: A delicate and unusual collection inspired by honey

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The Honey Month by Amal El-Mohtar

Having recently re-read Chocolat I found myself with a hankering for more of that winning combination of sugar and magic. It was lucky then that I stumbled across Amal El-Mohtar’s The Honey Month which provided just what I was after in perfect, petit-four-sized nuggets.

The Honey Month was conceived when the author received a gift of assorted honeys from a new-found friend. Finding herself inspired by the smell, taste and texture of each honey she wrote a quick review of each one, followed by a short story or a poem set to the individual sensation each honey garnered. The result is the Honey month, a collection of 28 magical, whimsical snippets, each as unique as the honey that birthed it.

I am hard pressed to say what I enjoyed more, the storie... Read More

Crypt of the Vampire: It’s no Blood-Spattered Bride, but still good enough

Readers’ average rating:

Crypt of the Vampire directed by Camillo Mastrocinque

Everyone knows how wonderful the late great Christopher Lee could be at playing the monstous heavy — not for nothing is he known to his fans as Mr. Tall, Dark and Gruesome! — but many forget that he could be equally adept at portraying "the good guy." Thus, fans are often pleasantly taken aback when they see the 1968 Hammer film The Devil Rides Out for the first time, in which Lee plays the Duc de Richleau, a combater of Satanists in 1920s England (though this film is weak tea compared to Dennis Wheatley's 1934 source novel). For further proof of Lee's ability to portray a defender of right and light, viewers may be interested to seek out Camillo Mastrocinque's Italian Gothic horror film Crypt of the Vampire (1964), which can also be seen under the title Terror in t... Read More

WWWednesday; October 19, 2016

This week’s word for Wednesday is syzygy, a noun, meaning the alignment of three celestial objects (traditionally the sun, the earth and the earth’s moon). Syzygy is a good word to use if you play Hangman because of the three Ys. It is believed to be of Greek/early Latin origin.

Fortune's Favored (c) Julie Dillon, 2014


Bob Dylan won the Nobel Prize for Literature.

(Here is a link to an article.)

Books and Writing:

Open Road Media has launched The Portalist, an online community for fans of speculative fiction.  Carolyn Cox, formerly of the Mary Sue, and Betsy Miller who was E... Read More

Redemption Ark: Promising ideas but excessive page-count

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Redemption Ark by Alastair Reynolds

Redemption Ark (2002) is the follow-up to Revelation Space, Alastair Reynolds’ debut novel and the second book in his REVELATION SPACE series of hard SF space opera in which highly-augmented human factions encounter implacable killer machines bent on exterminating sentient life. The first entry had elements of Bruce Sterling’s Schismatrix, Frank Herbert’s Read More

The Last Colony: John Perry is back

Readers’ average rating:

Reposting to include Marion's new review.

The Last Colony by John Scalzi

The Last Colony, the third book in John Scalzi’s OLD MAN’S WAR series, returns us to the perspective of John Perry, the “old man” hero of the first novel in the series, Old Man’s War. John Perry is only mentioned in the second novel, The Ghost Brigades, which told the story of how the cyborg Special Forces soldiers found and defeated the scientist Charles Boutin, a traitor to the Colonial Union. On that mission they also found Zoe, Boutin’s young daughter. Zoe has been adopted by Jane Sagan and John Perry and the little family has been farming on one of Earth’s colonies where John and Jane are the leaders.

Life is easy for them until the Colonial Union comes calling — they need leaders for a new colonization effort and John and Jane h... Read More

I Spit On Your Grave: NOT the abomination you might be expecting

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I Spit On Your Grave directed by Meir Zarchi

One of the most notorious and controversial pictures ever released, and sporting a reputation of the very worst kind, I Spit On Your Grave is a film that I had long put off watching. Originally released in 1978 under the tamer title Day of the Woman and rereleased in 1980 with its more infamous, expectorated appellation, the film has since angered critics, incensed feminists, appalled viewers and been banned in at least a half dozen countries. But I suppose that morbid curiosity, an interest in cinema history, and an admiration for the picture's lead actress, Camille Keaton (grandniece of Buster, and whose previous performances in a pair of earlier Italian horror films, What Have You Done to Solange? and Tragic Ceremony, had greatly impressed me), all got the best of me, with the result that I found myself plopping the current Anchor Bay DV... Read More

Treachery’s Tools: Satisfying for a fan of the series

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Treachery’s Tools by L.E. Modesitt Jr.

It’s always a surprise when a fantasy novel can carry real meaning in depicting modern issues. Things like pride, avarice and jealousy that can be pervasive in certain segments of the social structure of a modern world can be so powerfully demonstrated when people use swords and magic to actually kill each. L.E. Modesitt Jr.’s Treachery’s Tools was able to provoke those comparisons for me.

When last we left Alastar he had successfully stood off a revolt by High Holders against the Rex of Solidar and the attempted obliteration of the Imager’s Collegium. While many of the participants in this violent confrontation paid with their lives, some managed to avoid paying the ultimate price and slunk into exile. One might have hoped... Read More