Justin has a talk with Jesse Bullington


Joining me today is the highly acclaimed author, Jesse Bullington. Jesse’s first book, The Sad Tale of the Brothers Grossbart was a critical success, and you would be...

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Station Eleven: A quiet and lovely post-apocalyptic novel


Station Eleven Emily St. John Mandel “Quiet” and “lovely” are not usually words one reaches for when describing a post-apocalyptic novel. Not with the...

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Black Canary and Zatanna: Bloodspell


Black Canary and Zatanna: Bloodspell by Paul Dini (author) and Joe Quinones (artist) Paul Dini’s Black Canary and Zatanna: Bloodspell is a stand-alone graphic novel that tells...

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Recent Posts

WWWebsday: May 27, 2015

On this day in 1937, the Golden Gate Bridge opened, connecting San Francisco to Marin County. At the time, it was the longest suspension bridge in the world, at 4200 feet.

Wooly Mammoth on the range

Writing, Editing, and Publishing:

I am very sad to say goodbye to one of my favorite writers, the great Tanith Lee, whose fairy-tale adaptations largely made me the reader and writer of fairy tales that I am today. The link above is to her obituary in Locus, but the Guardian also posted a particularly good one.

We are a couple days late for Towel Day, an annual ... Read More

The Fold: Fun for everyone

The Fold by Peter Clines

The Fold, by Peter Clines, is a science fiction thriller with a superhero aspect, a bit of Sherlock Holmes and a bit of H.P. Lovecraft thrown in. It’s got dry humor, plenty of pop-culture references and an engaging main character who can be surprisingly vulnerable. This is a perfect summer read; the ideal vacation book. It’s a book you’ll want to pass along to your friends when you’re done.

Leland “Mike” Erickson teaches high school English in a small town in New England. His life is tranquil and even uneventful, until his college friend Reggie, who works for the Department of Defense, comes for a visit. Reggie is part of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), and his division oversees a project in San Diego called the Albuquerque Door. The scientists running the Door project insist that they can fold space, transporting matter across t... Read More

Shadow Show: All-New Stories in Celebration of Ray Bradbury: Four great stories make it easy to recommend

Shadow Show: All-New Stories in Celebration of Ray Bradbury edited by Sam Weller & Mort Castle

Thanks to our recent book chats here, I’ve reread a bit of Ray Bradbury lately, so I was well primed to pick up the 2012 tribute anthology edited by Sam Weller and Mort Castle, entitled Shadow Show: All-New Stories in Celebration of Ray Bradbury, which collects 26 contemporary authors who were asked to write a story inspired or informed by Bradbury. The task was sufficiently non-restrictive that the stories run a gamut of style and type: horror, fantasy, dystopia, science fiction, as well as several with no fantastical element whatsoever, which may surprise those who know Bradbury only through classic novels like Fahrenheit 451 or Something Wicked This Way Comes, or collections ... Read More

The Rebirths of Tao: Satisfying conclusion, but I hope there’ll be more

The Rebirths of Tao by Wesley Chu

Warning: This review contains spoilers for the previous books, The Lives of Tao and The Deaths of Tao. You can’t read The Rebirths of Tao as a stand-alone — you really need to read the previous books first. My review will not spoil The Rebirths of Tao.

The Rebirths of Tao is the third and final book in Wesley Chu’s TAO series about a race of aliens (called the Quasing) who crash-landed on Earth millennia ago and, in an effort to get their spaceships working so they could get back to their home planet, are responsible for the evolution of the human species. They have managed this by possessing the bodies of creatures they found on Earth and guiding their actio... Read More

Trial of Intentions: Issues of pacing and plot overwhelm an intriguing work

Trial of Intentions by Peter Orullian

I really want to like Trial of Intentions, Peter Orullian’s second novel in his VAULT OF HEAVEN series. I’d really like to recommend it. Not so much for its plot or characters or style, which mostly run from not so good to average, though he has his moments. But underneath the separate pieces of the novel, one has a sense, a somewhat tentative, barely tangible sense, that Orullian is trying to do something interesting here. And it’s for that tantalizing glimpse of the big picture, the “intention” as one of his characters might say (intention being an important concept here), that I so wanted to be able to enthusiastically recommend this book. But thanks to the aforementioned weaknesses, its too-great length, and a storyline that absolutely infuriated me through its latter stages (m... Read More

Coming Home: Searching for the past in the distant future

Coming Home by Jack McDevitt

In the distant future, humanity will remember the period when NASA landed on the moon and explored our galaxy as the Golden Age. The people of the future won’t remember much else from our century because of the Internet crash that caused so much literature and scientific knowledge to be lost forever.

Alex Benedict and his pilot, Chase Kolpath, are in the artifact business. Benedict’s profession consists of finding rare items and selling them to the highest bidder – and Benedict has a lead on a bunch of Golden Age artifacts. He suspects that Garnett Baylee, one of his predecessors, may have uncovered and hoarded a cache of Golden Age artifacts. So Alex and Chase return to Earth to see if they can find the past again.

Meanwhile, Alex and Chase also find themselves caught up in the Capella affair. The Capella is a spaceship trapped in transwarp space, which means tha... Read More

Reaper Man: The demise of Death

Reaper Man by Terry Pratchett

Reading Reaper Man in light of Terry Pratchett’s recent passing was particularly poignant. It is a book all about death, both figuratively and literally speaking. DISCWORLD fans will be familiar with the character of Death, who this book is largely about. Then, of course, there are the blustering wizards of the Unseen University in Ankh-Morpork, but that is not to say that readers new to the Discworld can’t pick this up as a stand-alone novel. So, what happens when Death is sacked? Utter chaos, apparently…

The mystical forces of the universe (who very specifically have no personalities or individual qualities to them) are not happy. Death has become too much of a character (a he, not an it) and it is simply not proper for the impersonal force... Read More

Philippa Fisher and the Fairy’s Promise: A nice children’s tale about friendship and loyalty

Philippa Fisher and the Fairy's Promise by Liz Kessler

In this sweet conclusion to the PHILIPPA FISHER trilogy from Liz Kessler, Philippa is once again visiting her new friend Robyn, who we met in the previous book, Philippa Fisher and the Dream-Maker’s Daughter. While the girls are investigating some standing stones, Philippa is magically transported to the fairy godmother agency where her best friend and fairy godsister Daisy works. While Philippa’s parents are frantically searching for her, Philippa has learned that her mother is in grave danger. It was illegal for Daisy to give Philippa that information, but the girls are best friends and Daisy feels like she has to warn Philippa. This act of loyalty starts a whole string of unexpected events that change everybody’s lives forever and that, perhaps, may h... Read More

Horrible Monday: Burnt Offerings by Robert Marasco

Burnt Offerings by Robert Marasco

For all those folks who have at times felt that their home and possessions owned them, rather than the other way around; for those folks who love a good haunted house/possession tale; and even for those readers who simply enjoy a well-told thriller of a page-turner, Robert Marasco's 1973 novel Burnt Offerings will be a real find. This was Marasco's first novel in a sadly unprolific career; he came out with only two more titles – Child’s Play, a drama, in 1970, and Parlor Games, a Gothic-style mystery, in 1979 – before succumbing to lung cancer in 1998, at the age of 62. A real loss, if Burnt Offerings is any indication of the man's skills.

In this work, we meet Ben and Marian Rolfe, a nice, ordinary couple from Queens, who, with 8-year-old son Dav... Read More

A Clockwork Orange: A malenky bit of ultraviolence makes for a horrorshow jeezny

A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess

Not everyone may be a fan of Anthony BurgessA Clockwork Orange, but we all know of it thanks to the iconic film by Stanley Kubrick. The image of juvenile delinquent Alex and his droogs with their frighteningly ruthless smiles, black hats, suspenders, and kicking boots as they terrorize helpless citizens while singing “Singin’ in the Rain” in a dystopian near-future London is impossible to forget.

The story is simple: Alex’s little gang goes on a horrifying crime spree until he is caught, put into prison, but is offered a new experimental therapy, the fictional Ludovico technique, which involves forcing the subject to watch violent imagery for extended periods while administering drugs that induce nausea. At the end of this treatment, little Alex cannot even think violent thoughts without being crippled with pain and nausea, with the uninte... Read More