Why You Should Read… Eric Brown


This week we move into the realms of science fiction for our next Why You Should Read… feature. Our guest is Mark Chitty, who runs Walker of Worlds and the unisphere (a...

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The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland In A Ship Of Her Own Making


The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland In A Ship Of Her Own Making by Catherynne M. Valente September’s father has gone off to war and her mother works all day building airplane...

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Olympus by Nathan Edmondson


Olympus by Nathan Edmondson (writer) and Christian Ward (artist) I am starting to be very impressed with this writer whose books I’ve just started reading. Nathan Edmondson...

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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

Sunday Status Update: February 1, 2015

This week, an observation from Naruto Uzumaki, a shinobi of the Village Hidden in the Leaves.

Naruto: Have you ever had one of those days that just makes you question everything about your life? I just did. I was at the ramen shop like I would always be if I had the option, and I was talking with somebody who isn't a ninja. It was weird. I don't even know what the term is for someone who isn't a ninja. In fact, it's tough sometimes to remember that there actually is a world out there, sort of... beyond whatever we ninjas are doing. I mean, do we have laws or something? Should I be worried about, like, taxes or whether I have health care? Oh well. Point is, this non-ninja was asking me about what ninjas do, and he finally got around to asking me why we shout out the names of our attacks right before we make them. He said something like "Doesn't that seem like pretty much the stupidest friggin' idea an... Read More

Maggie the Mechanic by Jaime Hernandez

Maggie the Mechanic: The Love & Rockets Library — Locas Book 1 by Jaime Hernandez

Love and Rockets is a series of comics that started in the 1980s. It was written by three brothers: Gilbert, Jaime, and Mario Hernandez, and the brothers each created their own storylines, tracing a set of characters over a period of time, even allowing their characters to age and develop and change appearance, a too-rare technique employed in the world of comics, where most characters are ageless and timeless.

The first run on the series lasted fifty issues and ran from September 1982 to 1996. The series featured two main sets of stories: Gilbert’s Palomar stories, which take place in a fictional city in Latin America, and Jaime’s stories, which take place in the fictional Hoppers, California (based on Oxnard, California where the Hernandez brothers grew up). The Hoppers 13 Read More

Edge: Of Things Gone Astray by Janina Matthewson

Of Things Gone Astray by Janina Matthewson

[In our Edge of the Universe column, we review mainstream authors that incorporate elements of speculative fiction into their “literary” work. However you want to label them, we hope you’ll enjoy discussing these books with us.]

Of Things Gone Astray is Janina Matthewson’s debut novel, and it is charming and heartfelt magical realism. Using short chapters that cycle through different character perspectives, Matthewson tells the story of several people who have lost something of value to them, ranging from piano keys or the front of a house to a girlfriend or a father.  As these characters struggle with their losses, a young boy named Jake begins to find the things that are lost, developing a magical sense for where the items came from and their meaning... Read More

The Gripping Hand: Boring sequel

The Gripping Hand by Larry Niven & Jerry Pournelle

The Gripping Hand (1993) is Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle’s sequel to their popular 1974 novel The Mote in God’s Eye, which you probably want to read first. This review will have a couple of spoilers for The Mote in God’s Eye.

Recall that by the year 3017 AD, humans had designed the Alderson Drive — an interstellar transporter which allowed them to jump out of our galaxy to colonize different star systems. Then they discovered the first alien species — the Moties — who were excellent engineers but did not know the science behind the Alderson Drive. The Moties must breed to survive and were quickly overpopulating their own star system. Because they represent a major threat to our species, the human space navy ha... Read More

A Different Kingdom: Rich with details and surprising maturity

A Different Kingdom by Paul Kearney

A Different Kingdom is a reprint of one of Paul Kearney’s first novels, first published in 1993. The good news is that this doesn’t read like an early novel in an illustrious career: it actually reads like something a well-practiced author would produce after a lot of hard work.

A Different Kingdom is set in the picturesque countryside of Ireland and the farm where Michael lives. Alongside this, perhaps on top of it or layered throughout it, is a fantasy world where other creatures live, creatures that seem to spring out of our own myths and legends. The fact that this other world is set in a landscape that has thrilled many (myself included) with beautiful myths and legends is just perfect. This is a book for dreamers.
When the wolves follow him from the Other Place to his family’s doorstep, Michael must choose between locking the... Read More

Thoughtful Thursday: Identify last month’s book covers

Today’s covers all come from books we reviewed in December 2014. Once you identify a book cover, in the comment section list:

1. The number of the cover (1-16)
2. The author
3. The book title



Please identify just one cover that has not yet been identified correctly so that others will have a chance to play. If they're not all identified by next Thursday, you can come back and identify more.

Each of your correct entries enters you into a drawing to win a book of your choice from our stacks. Winners are notified in the comments, so make sure to check the notification box or remember to check back in about 10 days. If we don't choose a winner within 2 weeks, please bug Marion.

And, as always, we've got Read More

The Rhesus Chart: Bob takes on a clan of vampire bankers

The Rhesus Chart by Charles Stross

The Rhesus Chart is the fifth and most recent novel in Charles Stross’ LAUNDRY FILES. Bob Howard has been moving up the ranks in the Laundry — not due to any particular motivation or ambition on his part, but just because he has managed, so far, to stay alive as he and his fellow agents battle the eldritch horrors who are trying to find their way into our universe so they can eat us.

While doing some data mining in his office one day, Bob happens to notice a small but statistically significant outbreak of an illness that looks like Mad Cow disease in an area of London. Curious, he begins to investigate by consulting a neurologist, looking at cadavers, and tracing the habits of the people who’ve died of the disease. Eventually this leads him to a small group of data analysts who work for a London bank. One of them accidentally progr... Read More

Recalled to Life: Ungrateful dead

Recalled to Life by Robert Silverberg

True to his word, after announcing his retirement from the science fiction field in 1959, future Grand Master Robert Silverberg’s formerly prodigious output fell off precipitously. Although he’d released some 16 sci-fi novels from the period 1954 – ’59, not to mention almost 250 (!) sci-fi short stories, AFTER 1959 and until his major return in 1967, his sci-fi production was sporadic at best. In 1960, Silverberg only released one sci-fi book, Lost Race of Mars (a so-called “juvenile”), and in 1961, not a single full-length affair; only two short stories. In 1962, however, in a slight return to form, Silverberg released Recalled to Life and The Seed of Earth. The year 1962 was hardly an idle one for Silverberg, however; besides those two novels, he also released one sci-fi shor... Read More

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