Living With The Writer: Deborah Beale


Here we are with the second edition of Living With The Writer, a semi-regular feature where I grill the partners of those authors that entertain us with their speculative fiction....

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The Emperor Mage: Couldn’t put it down


The Emperor Mage by Tamora Pierce The Emperor Mage is the third book in Tamora Pierce’s The Immortals Quartet, and by this stage if you haven’t read the previous...

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Sandman: Dream Country by Neil Gaiman


The Sandman (Vol. 3): Dream Country by Neil Gaiman Neil Gaiman’s Dream Country, the third volume in his Sandman series, is a collection of four stand-alone stories. I think it...

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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

WWWebsday: October 29, 2014

On this day in 1969, the first-ever computer-to-computer link was established on ARPANET, the precursor to Candy Crush . . . I mean, the Internet.

Jose Guadalupe Posada

Writing, Editing, and Publishing:

Just to remind everyone, National Novel Writing Month, or NaNoWriMo, starts on November 1. For all you FanLitters out there with novels on the brain, this might be a good kick in the pants to get started. I’m going to do it; who’s with me? (And tell us about your writing projects in the comments, if you like!)

This New York Times article about Michel Faber reveals that his l... Read More

Deadly Sting: A museum heist is a nice change of scenery and pace

Deadly Sting by Jennifer Estep

Deadly Sting is the eighth book in Jennifer Estep’s ELEMENTAL ASSASSIN series. Anyone who has made it to this point in the series probably doesn’t care what I have to say about it, so I’ll make this short.

Gin and Owen are taking a break from each other after the events of the last book, Widow’s Web, so Gin accompanies Finn to a fancy party at an art museum on an island where Mab Monroe’s stuff will be on display for all the wealthy folks in Ashland to see. Soon after she arrives, she encounters two big problems. One is that she discovers Mab had a couple of Gin’s family’s runes in her possession! Gin wants them back. The other problem is that Owen is at the party with another woman. How distressing!

While Gin’s sulking in the bathroom, a group of giants murders a woman who looks like Gin and takes all... Read More

Hide Me Among the Graves: Quality time with that whacky Rossetti family

Hide Me Among the Graves by Tim Powers

Hide Me Among the Graves is Tim Power’s sequel, twenty-five years later, to The Stress of her Regard. I liked it better than its predecessor, but some of the same problems plagued this otherwise interesting read.

Instead of wandering all over Europe, Hide Me Among the Graves sticks pretty close to 1860s London, following the fortunes of a widowed veterinarian, John Crawford, and the artistic, poetic and strange Rossetti family, particularly Christina and her brother Gabriel Dante. Those pesky ageless vampiric creatures, the nephalim, are back to stir up trouble, and this time one of them wants to create an earth tremor that will destroy London.

When Christina Rossetti was fourteen, her father tricked her into awakening one of the nephalim, who took the shape of Christina’s uncle John Polidori. Pol... Read More

Great Bookstores: Singularity in Brooklyn

A few  years ago, FanLit reviewer Terry Weyna eloquently sung the praises of The Strand, the pride and joy of all literate New Yorkers. I myself have spent countless hours there, browsing among the establishment’s four copious floors; it truly is a bookstore second to none. But for the sci-fi/fantasy/pulp lover, The Strand can be a bit problematic. The single section devoted to those three genres is not a large one, the wares on display seem to be a bit static from week to week, and (or is it just me?) it always seems as if the book I am looking for is at the very top of one of the store’s 10-foot-high shelves.

Singularity storefront in DUMBO

But I shouldn’t complain, as it was in The Strand that I first got wind of what has turned out to be my new favorite store in NYC. ... Read More

Willful Child: Erikson’s Star Trek parody

Willful Child by Steven Erikson

Let’s start with what needs to be said when reviewing a book like Steven Erikson’s Willful Child, a full-bore parody/homage to Star Trek: The Original Series. One, humor is wholly subjective. I, for instance, have never understood the allure of Adam Sandler. My wife, meanwhile, has never understood why I find Airplane funny (I could go on and on with that list, but one will suffice). So one person’s rib-splitting, laugh-out-loud bit will be another person’s “meh.”  Second, humor is tough. As the line goes, “dying is easy, comedy is hard.” So, that being said, what about the book?

As mentioned, Willful Child takes on the classic Trek series and makes no, ahem, “Bones” about it. After a quick little prologue, this is the opening of Chapter One:  “Space. It’s fucking big. These are the voyages of th... Read More

Widow’s Web: This formula seems to be working for Estep

Widow’s Web by Jennifer Estep

Widow’s Web is book seven in Jennifer Estep’s ELEMENTAL ASSASSIN series. I wasn’t too impressed with book six, By a Thread, but I continue to read the series because I’ve already purchased most of the books at Audible and, even though I recognize the problems with the plot and the writing, the truth is that I like Estep’s setting and characters well enough that I don’t mind reading the books in order to get them reviewed for FanLit. Based on the high marks the series gets at GoodReads and Amazon, I’m guessing that many readers are perfectly happy to overlook the little “issues” I’ve mentioned in previous reviews. Clearly, the formula is working for Estep.

In this seventh installment, Gin and her friends are back in Ashland Tennessee after a disastrous vacation during which Gin saved another damsel in distress, s... Read More

Dreamer’s Pool: The perilous business of being female in fantasy

Dreamer’s Pool by Juliet Marillier

Those who have read Juliet Marillier before know the drill: She produces exceptionally readable and endearing fantasy set in the medieval and ancient British Isles, revolving around women, myths, and magic. I adored Daughter of the Forest for its loving recreation of my absolute favorite fairy tale as a kid (the Six Swans).[1] The other SEVENWATERS books went by in a blur of kings and curses because I was on vacation and had to get through the entire series before my Mom left with her duffle bag of paperbacks.

Dreamer’s Pool is still about women, magic, and ancient Ireland. So if you liked SEVENWATERS, there’s no need to fear that Marillier is now writing about werewolf romances in Prague or... Read More

Yesterday’s Kin: Tries to do more than it actually does

Yesterday’s Kin by Nancy Kress

Yesterday’s Kin, by Hugo and Nebula award winning author Nancy Kress, is a first-contact story set in a not so distant dystopian future. We follow Marianne Jenner, a geneticist who is celebrating a recent career breakthrough — the discovery that all human beings are descended from a common female ancestor — when she is unexpectedly called to a meeting set up by the secretive aliens that have landed recently in New York Harbor. Not understanding why, of all people, the aliens have asked her to be part of the first visiting committee to speak with the aliens, she quickly discovers that there is a surprising link between the aliens and her recent discovery.

That link, however, is secondary to why the aliens have chosen to allow, for the very first time, people to visit their base. There is an incoming interstellar spore cloud that will infect and kill every human bei... Read More

The Time Axis: Exciting, but not fully satisfying

The Time Axis by Henry Kuttner and C.L. Moore

Henry Kuttner and C.L. Moore's sole novel of 1948, The Mask of Circe, was a very way-out excursion in the fantasy realm, and in early 1949, the pair followed up with an equally way-out piece of hard sci-fi. The Time Axis, which initially appeared in the January '49 issue of "Startling Stories," finds science fiction's foremost husband-and-wife writing team (my apologies to Damon Knight and Kate Wilhelm!) at the top of their game, but perhaps giving their seemingly limitless imagination too free a rein. The book is well paced, finely and at times humorously written, exciting and colorful, but ultimately, unfortunately, not fully satisfying.

The story here concerns the "nekron," a shadowy whatz... Read More

By A Thread: Sloppy, sloppy, sloppy!

By a Thread by Jennifer Estep

Stop here if you’re planning to read Jennifer Estep’s ELEMENTAL ASSASSIN series and haven’t read books one through five yet. This review is for book six, By a Thread, and will contain spoilers for the earlier books.

In the previous book, Spider’s Revenge, Gin Blanco (as the title implies) took care of Mab Monroe, her nemesis and the crime boss of Ashland Tennessee. At this point, Estep’s fans have got to be wondering “now what’s Gin gonna do?” It seems like her life is set; she’s got an awesome boyfriend, she’s reunited with her sister, business is booming, and her enemy is dead. But life still isn’t easy for Gin. With Mab gone, all sorts of bad people have been trying to take Gin out and she just can’t get a break. So Gin, Bria, Owen, and Finn pack up and go on vacation to the town were Bria grew up in a fost... Read More