Kelly chats with Marjorie M. Liu


Kelly Lasiter recently interviewed Marjorie M. Liu about her recent projects. Read Kelly’s reviews of The Iron Hunt and Darkness Calls on our Liu page. Kelly: The Hunter Kiss...

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Suldrun’s Garden: Why is Lyonesse out of print?


Suldrun’s Garden by Jack Vance As I’m writing this, Jack Vance’s under-appreciated Lyonesse trilogy has been off the shelves for years. My library doesn’t...

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The Expanded Universe: When is Sci-Fi Really Fantasy, and Should We Care?


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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Great SFF Deals!


We’re always looking for money-saving deals on books, comics, and audiobooks and we bet you are, too. Let’s use this page to alert each other about great deals. Just leave a...

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Recent Posts

Thoughtful Thursday: Favorite SFF romances

Valentine's Day is around the corner!

Love is in the air and everyone's thoughts turn to romance.

We all have our favorite fantasy and science fiction romances.

Who is your favorite SFF couple, and why?
And, are there any SFF couples that you really despise? If so, why?

As usual, one random commenter picks a book from the stacks. Read More

Our Lady of the Ice: Some fresh twists on old tropes

Our Lady of the Ice by Cassandra Rose Clarke

Cassandra Rose Clarke’s latest novel, Our Lady of the Ice, explores a unique setting: a domed city perpetually bathed in artificial light and whose inhabitants never see the sun, moon, or stars. Human dramas, both large and small, play out against a crumbling infrastructure and swells of rebellion and terrorism. While not as tightly focused or briskly plotted as I would like, it’s an entertaining and imaginative read, especially for mystery readers who bemoan the lack of female characters in traditional noir.

Hope City, Antarctica. Eliana Gomez is a private investigator who focuses mainly on domestic cases like missing children or unfaithful spouses, advertising that “Discretion is my specialty.” One day, a stunningly gorgeous blonde walks into Eliana’s office with a simple request — recover some missing documents, which Eliana is n... Read More

Attack of the Fiend: Getting a bit repetitive

Attack of the Fiend by Joseph Delaney

Attack of the Fiend is the fourth novel in Joseph Delaney’s THE LAST APPRENTICE / THE WARDSTONE CHRONICLES series for children. Interested readers will want to read the previous books before reading this one (and probably before even reading this review, since it may contain spoilers for previous books).

As I’ve noted in my previous reviews, this series is gruesome and scary and thus will be absolutely thrilling for some young readers. Children who are easily frightened should probably stay away unless they’re undergoing some sort of exposure therapy.

In this fourth inst... Read More

The Windup Girl: Mixed opinions

Reposting to include Stuart's new review:

The Windup Girl by Paolo Bacigalupi

My Body is Not My Own…

Having just finished Paolo Bacigalupi’s Hugo and Nebula award-winning novel, I’m left rather bereft at how to describe, let alone review, The Windup Girl. I am not a big reader of science-fiction or dystopian thrillers, which means that no obvious comparisons come to mind, and the setting and tone of the novel are so unique (to me at least) that they almost defy description.

Set in a future Thailand where genetically engineered “megodonts” (elephants) provide manual labor and “cheshires” (cats) prowl the streets, the world’s population struggles against a bevy of diseases brought on by all the genetic tampering that’s been going on. Oil has long since run out, Chinese refugees flood the cities, the... Read More

WWWednesday; February 10, 2016

Update: On Day One, the kickstarter for the Ursula K LeGuin documentary exceeded its goal. I think this means we’ll be getting the movie!

This week’s word for Wednesday will be familiar to many. It’s legerdemain, a noun, meaning sleight of hand, trickery or any artful trick. The word is from Middle English, and meant, originally, “light of hand.” The earliest use can be traced to 1400-1450.

Vintage Vampire Valentine.

Awards

The International Association for the Fantastic in the Arts announced its 2016 winners. The Crawford award for outstanding work in a first novel went to The Sorcerer of the Wildeeps by Kai Ashanti Wilson. Wilson h... Read More

Radiance: A human life is as mysterious as an ecosystem

Radiance by Catherynne M. Valente

Radiance, by Catherynne M. Valente, tells the story of documentary filmmaker Severin Unck and her ill-fated film project on Venus in the 1920’s. In this alternate history, humans conquered the solar system around the end of the 19th century, and human colonies have sprung up from Mercury to Pluto and everywhere in between. These are not the planets as we know them, though — inhospitable balls of gas, icy rocks, or boiling oceans. Valente is writing in the tradition of Burroughs and Weinbaum; these are the planets of sci-fi’s pulp age, teeming with exotic life, seemingly just waiting for human visitors to make sense of them, to build cities of chrome and glass. In such a solar system the golden age of Hollywood, with its glimmering silent film stars, occurs not on Earth but on the Moo... Read More

The Ringworld Engineers: Boring sequel

The Ringworld Engineers by Larry Niven

In 1970 Larry Niven published Ringworld, a high-concept novel that won the Hugo, Nebula, and Locus Awards. What mostly captured readers’ imaginations was not RIngworld’s characters or plot, but its setting. The Ringworld is a huge (and I mean HUGE) artificial ring-shaped structure that orbits a star outside of Known Space. Nobody knows who built it or for what reason it was built. The protagonist of the story, Louis Wu, a bored 200 year old human from Earth, is invited on a quest to visit and study the Ringworld. As I mentioned in my review, I thought the novel was talky and a bit dull, but I absolutely loved the Ringworld itself.

Larry Niven didn’t plan to write ... Read More

The Gold Coast: More interesting than exciting

The Gold Coast by Kim Stanley Robinson

Jim McPherson is unsatisfied with the future. Unable to find steady, well-paid work, Jim mostly spends his time partying and casually hooking up with random women. Jim’s family is of small comfort to him since he spends most family dinners enduring his father’s many complaints about how Jim does nothing useful. Jim does not know it, but his father, a defense contractor, is also deeply frustrated in his career, even if it does provide what appears to be a successful lifestyle to outsiders. Jim only begins to feel as though he is doing something of value when he starts protesting against militarism.

Kim Stanley Robinson’s The Gold Coast explores a dystopian future in which the American Dream has been reduced to consumerism and militarism. The Gold Coast Read More

Kevin Hearne talks about IRON DRUID CHRONICLES and gives away four books!

Thanks to retired reviewer Justin Blazier who recently caught up with Kevin Hearne at his local bookstore. Kevin is celebrating the release of Staked, the next installment in his popular IRON DRUID CHRONICLES. Leave a comment for a chance to win one of three paperback copies of Hounded, the first book of the series, or one hardcover copy of Staked. This giveaway is open to readers in the U.S. and Canada... And here's Justin:Last week, Kevin Hearne, author of THE IRON DRUID CHRONICLES, was scheduled for a book signing in Crescent Springs, KY, which just happens to be about a mile from my house. I had just recently discovered Kevin’s work at that very book ... Read More

Jokers Wild: Another WILD CARDS romp

Jokers Wild edited by George R.R. Martin

Jokers Wild (1987) is the third in George R.R. Martin’s WILD CARDS series. The WILD CARDS books are anthologies and mosaic novels set in a shared world and containing a large cast of regular characters. Authors contributing to Jokers Wild are Edward Bryant, Leanne C. Harper, George R.R. Martin, John J. Miller, Lewis Shiner, Walter Simons, and Melinda M. Snodgrass. Each author handles the perspective of a particular character and, under George R.R. Martin’s amazing editorship, the different perspectives and plotlines magically come together to form a cohesive and pract... Read More