The Lady of Han-Gilen by Judith Tarr
The Lady of Han-Gilen is the second novel in Judith Tarr’s AVARYAN saga. In the first book, The Hall of the Mountain King, we met Mirain, supposedly the son of the sun god Avaryan and a human princess. Mirain appeared in Ianon, where his grandfather rules, became his heir, and fought for control of the kingdom. The story wasn’t particularly original, but I enjoyed Tarr’s style and Jonathan Davis’s audio performance.
This second installment, which can stand alone fairly well, takes place several years later and focuses on a new character: Princess Elian of Han-Gilen, foster sister of Mirain. Red-haired and independently-minded, Elian has left a trail of spurned suitors in her wake, but now she’s getting older and feeling the pressure to marry. When she finally meets a man who is good enough to match her in wits and ... Read More
The Lady of Han-Gilen by Judith Tarr
Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? by Philip K. Dick
There are a variety of ways in which a book lingers with the reader after they’ve finished. Emotional impact, imagery, character empathy, the message, and other elements have the opportunity to impress us to the point we may be unable to forget a book despite plot details fading with time. Philip K. Dick’s 1968 Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? caused this kind of reaction in me. None of the aforementioned elements, however, are the reason his 37th novel hangs in my mind. It is simply the questions he asks and the myriad implications that follow.
Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? is the story of Rick Deckard, an android bounty hunter who experiences a crisis of faith as the emotional proximity to those he is supposed to be “retiring” becomes clouded. Set in a post-apocalyptic future, man has begun inhabiting ... Read More
The Collected Ghost Stories of E.F. Benson by E.F. Benson
I had read E.F. Benson's The Horror Horn to start with (a collection of 13 of his best ghost stories), after seeing that it was considered one of the Top 100 Horror Books of all time in Newman & Jones' excellent overview volume. Each of those 13 stories was so good that I just had to have more, and so picked up this collection — The Collected Ghost Stories of E.F. Benson — of every single one of Benson's spooky tales, 54 in all. This collection certainly did not disappoint; I loved every single one of these ghost stories, and was riveted ... Read More
Omens by Kelley Armstrong
I have a confession to make. Sometimes, I cheat on the fantasy genre. That femme fatale Mystery is often the one who lures me away. This year I’ve been feeling particularly… polygenreous… and Kelley Armstrong’s Omens was just what hit the spot when I wanted to have my cake and eat it too.
The CAINSVILLE series is a departure from Armstrong’s previous work in the WOMEN OF THE OTHERWORLD books. It’s heavier on the mystery, lighter on the fantasy, and the heroine, Olivia Taylor-Jones, is more of a “normal human” than Elena and her fellow otherworldly women.
Olivia is a Chicago department-store heiress whose life seems set in its privileged but dull course, until the day she learns she was adopted. And that her birth parents are convicted serial killers. She finds out the same day the paparazzi do, and in short order, b... Read More
This week, Galadriel deals with one of the many problems of immortality.
Galadriel: That new big noise from the Men of Westernesse turned up again today. He kept bowing and talking, and I had to keep steering him away from anyone I'd have to introduce him to, because I can't remember if he's Arathorn or his son. They all sort of flow into each other after a couple thousand years. I'm almost sure Arathorn is dead, though, which would make this fellow some amusingly similar take on Arathorn, like just calling him Arathorn Junior wouldn't be subtle enough. Uhhh... Araborn? Aramorn? Eh, you know what? Forget it. I'll just call him Elfstone or something and pretend that's his elven nickname. Men his age love that sort of thing... at least, I think they do. How old was he again?
Bill: This week ... Read More
A Taste of Blood Wine by Freda Warrington
I’m pretty done with vampire novels. D-O-N-E. Done. It’s over. I never really liked them, but the whole genre is overblown and I’m finished with it. So why, might you be asking, did I read A Taste of Blood Wine by Freda Warrington? Because it’s Freda Freaking Warrington! I love her writing, and I couldn’t wait to experience it again, vampires or not.
A Taste of Blood Winewas first published in 1992, and is just now being re-released to the masses because we’ve finally discovered the absolute beauty of Warrington’s writing. The interesting bit of this is, Warrington wrote about vampires before they were cool. Anne Rice really broke open the vampire egg, but Warrington tapped into a vein that really hadn’t been tapped into much before then. Before her, vampires weren’t these sexy hunks that make you fall in love and swoon ... Read More
The People Inside by Ray Fawkes
The People Inside by Ray Fawkes is a follow-up to his fairly recent graphic novel One Soul. Ray Fawkes is currently writing a number of titles for DC, and those titles are well-written, but One Soul and The People Inside are absolutely brilliant works of art that attempt to expand the possibilities of sequential art on the printed page. Lately, I've seen a number of advances in sequential art in the area of digital comics; however, I felt as if everything new had already been discovered and tri... Read More
Fables (Vol. 2): Animal Farm by Bill Willingham (author) and Mark Buckingham (artist)
Willingham further develops his world.
Animal Farm is the second volume in Fables, a comic book series that presents characters from various “make-believe” lands living the immigrant life in the USA. In Volume One, we met Snow White, the capable vice-mayor of Fabletown, and her rebellious sister Rose Red. In Animal Farm, Willingham pulls back the curtain to show us a few of the problems lurking just out of sight.
Humanoid fables can l... Read More
The Lady Astronaut of Mars by Mary Robinette Kowal
The Lady Astronaut of Mars, which won this year’s Hugo Award for best novelette, moved me. It was well-structured, all the ends tucked in and callbacks in the right places. It used symbolism and literary reference and pointed to issues of the human condition at large, like career versus family. All of this would usually add up to five stars from me, particularly since the author has as beautiful a voice on the page as she does when she speaks. It's the kind of strongly written, human story that wins Hugos, and it reminded me Mike Resnick's "The Homecoming," also Hugo-nominated (though that one didn't win).
But it's one of those stories that bombards the characters with pain and just doesn't let up on them. Now, that's a legitimate way to write a powerful story, and this is a power... Read More
Ahh, the end of August. When sundown comes earlier, the nights get cooler, and the thoughts of children and teens turn to school. And the thoughts of those who teach them turn to... drinking.
Art by dawnflower8
Sooo, FanLit fans, teachers or not, drinkers or teetotalers, what sort of drinking game related to fantasy writing do you think would be the most fun (or perhaps the most dangerous)?
For instance, let’s say I were reading a particular fantasy series and decided to take a drink every time a particular character tugged on her braid. My wife might, after not too long (really, hardly any time at all), wonder why I was suddenly giggling and having a hard time hanging onto the book in my hands.
Or maybe everyone pulls a fantasy nove... Read More