Great Bookstores: Word Bookstore in Brooklyn, NYC


Today I’m turning it over to Leanna Renee Hieber who wants to talk about one of her favorite bookstores, Word in Brooklyn, New York. Our own Kelly Lasiter is a big fan of Ms....

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A Gathering of Gargoyles: A Lost Masterpiece


A Gathering of Gargoyles by Meredith Ann Pierce A Gathering of Gargoyles is the second of Meredith Ann Pierce‘s Darkangel trilogy, beginning with The Dark Angel and...

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Reading Comics, Part 2


Brad Hawley continues his series on How to Read Comics. If you missed the previous columns, be sure to start with Part 1: Why Read Comics? (Or find the entire series here.) Reading...

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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

The Cadwal Chronicles: The first two books are some of Vance’s best

THE CADWAL CHRONICLES by Jack Vance

The 1980s found Jack Vance moving into his sixth decade of life. Imagination still sharp, he produced such works as the LYONESSE trilogy, the second half of the DYING EARTH saga, as well as began THE CADWAL CHRONICLES with Araminta Station published in 1989. The novel is on par with the best of Vance’s oeuvre. The second novel in the series, Ecce and Old Earth, sees only a slight decline in quality, the story furthered in fine fashion. However, Throy, the third and concluding volume, is like a different writer took hold of the script. It is dry and bland and does not come close to the bar set by the first two, but it is fortunately not bad enough to destroy the integrity of the series. THE CADWAL CHRONICLES contain all of the tropes that make Vance, Vance, and likewise mak... Read More

WWWebsday: January 28, 2015

On this day in 1754, Horace Walpole coined the word "serendipity," writing in a letter to his friend Horace Mann. The etymology of the word is from a Persian fairytale, The Three Princes of Serendip, in which the princes are always benefitting from lucky chance.

Kay Neilson

Writing, Editing, and Publishing

We have a lot of writing-centric posts this week. First, Locus Magazine recently interviewed Robert Jackson Bennett. Read some excerpts of the interview here, where he discusses how he crafts his plots.

Also in Locus Mag, an intervie... Read More

Vergil in Averno: Read Avram Davidson, but don’t start here

Vergil in Averno by Avram Davidson

Vergil in Averno is the second book in Avram Davidson’s trilogy about Vergil Magus. It was published in 1986, 20 years after its predecessor The Phoenix and the Mirror which told how Vergil (yes, that Vergil) created a magic mirror for Queen Cornelia. I enjoyed that book for its interesting period details and the appealing humor. You don’t need to read The Phoenix and the Mirror to understand Vergil in Averno. This story can stand alone.

In Vergil in Averno, Vergil travels to (surprise!) Averno, a region in Italy where volcanic activity has created a toxic lake and boiling water travels just below the surface of the earth. (Early Romans thought Averno was a gate to Hell and ... Read More

Sailing to Sarantium: An epic collision of fantasy and a history textbook

Sailing to Sarantium by Guy Gavriel Kay

Sailing to Sarantium is the first in Guy Gavriel Kay’s THE SARANTINE MOSAIC duology. In true Kay fashion, Sailing to Sarantium introduces the reader to an expansively realized world, complex characters, and life-changing events. THE SARANTINE MOSAIC is not strictly historical fiction, but it reads like it. Sarantium, the glorious empire ruled by the thrice exalted emperor, would feel right at home next to histories of ancient Greece or Rome. It was that feeling of reality, however ancient, that kept me eagerly reading.

Sailing to Sarantium follows Crispin, a master mosaicist who makes a journey to the golden city of Sarantium upon the summons of the Emperor himself. It is also the story of the Emperor and Empress and their plans to change the world. It is also ab... Read More

Whipping Star: One of Herbert’s more interesting novels

Whipping Star by Frank Herbert

Whipping Star is one of Frank Herbert’s non-Dune books that Tor has been reprinting in recent years. This 1970 novel is the first full novel in the ConSentiency universe, which up to this point consisted of only two short stories. Both of them are contained in the collection Eye and may very well be included in other short fiction collections. Like these short stories, Whipping Star features the unusually observant BuSab agent Jorj X. McKie as a main character. This universe is also the setting of what I consider to be Herbert’s best non-Dune book: Read More

GIVEAWAY! Unbreakable by W.C. Bauers

Our friends at Tor want you to know about Unbreakable by W.C. Bauers, so they're giving away a hardback copy to one of our readers who has a mailing address in the US or Canada. To enter, simply fill out the form below the book blurb. Please submit only one request. We'll randomly pick a winner within the next 2 weeks and email you to let you know the book is on its way.

Here's the info about Unbreakable. We hope it's going to be awesome!

Promise Paen is a female marine caught between two empires on the brink of war in this stunning character-driven debut….



UNBREAKABLE by W.C. Bauers

“A little bit Starship Troopers and a little bit Esmay Suiza, with a dash of Firefly for flavor. W. C. Bauers gives us everything we want in our...

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Half a Crown: The most optimistic, but weakest, book of the trilogy

Half a Crown by Jo Walton

(Warning: may contain spoilers of the two previous books.)

In the Forward to Half a Crown, Jo Walton says that she is by nature an optimistic person and that’s why she wrote the SMALL CHANGE series (which she refers to as Still Life with Fascists). Half a Crown, the final book in the trilogy, is admittedly more optimistic that the first two. Sadly, in several ways it’s the weakest of the three, although still worth reading.

The final book is set in 1960, more than ten years into the repressive fascist regime of Prime Minister Mark Normanby. Peter Carmichael is now the head of the Watch, Britain’s Gestapo. Within the Watch, Carmichael and his lieutenant Jacobson, the agency’s “model Jew,” run the clandestine Inner Watch, an underground railroad that sends Jews and other people deemed ... Read More

Elissa and Black Heart and White Heart: Two classic tales of adventure

Elissa & Black Heart and White Heart by H. Rider Haggard

Editor's note: Because they are in the public domain, both Elissa and Black Heart and White Heart are available for free on Kindle. To find them, click on the Kindle covers in this review.

The H. Rider Haggard novels Elissa and Black Heart and White Heart are usually to be found (when they can be found at all) together in a single volume, and for good reason. They are both shorter works by this great author (indeed, at a mere 105 pages, Black Heart and White Heart must be considered more of a novella or longish short story), and both are tales of adventure in the African milieu that Haggard knew so well, although the tales take place in ti... Read More

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children: Charming and original

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs

You can’t deny that Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children has been packaged well. And I mean literally packaged well. The cover bears the picture of a deliciously weird girl, floating a foot above the ground. The book itself is printed on thick, high-quality photographic paper, and a flick through will quickly reveal it’s interspersed with collections of old, grainy photographs of various oddities and peculiar children. It’s heavy and glossy and feels like a relic in and of itself — and with a price tag of $20 you better hope they’ve shelled out on making it swanky.

Jacob Portman is a sixteen year-old boy who is disillusioned with life. We open, rather comically, with him building a replica Empire State building out of adult nappies in the chain of pharmaceutical stores he’s going to inherit from his parents. The... Read More

Magazine Monday: Uncanny Magazine, Issues One and Two

Uncanny Magazine is a new bimonthly internet publication edited by Lynn M. Thomas and Michael Damian Thomas. The editors have explained their mission this way:
We chose the name Uncanny because we wanted a publication that has the feel of a contemporary magazine with a history — one that evolved from a fantastic pulp. Uncanny will bring the excitement and possibilities of the past, and the sensibilities and experimentation that the best of the present offers. . . . It’s our goal that Uncanny’s pages will be filled with gorgeous prose, exciting ideas, provocative essays, and contributors from every possible background.
Issue One opens with “If You Were a Tiger, I’d Have to Wear White” by Maria Dahvana Headley, in which the animal stars of movies and television have personalities, hopes, wi... Read More