Terry and Bill chat with Kameron Hurley

Today we welcome Kameron Hurley, the author of THE WORLDBREAKER SAGA, published by Angry Robot Books. The first two volumes are The Mirror Empire and Empire Ascendant, with a...

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The Ocean at the End of the Lane: An evocative return to childhood

Readers’ average rating: Reposting to include Stuart’s new review. The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman I’ll start by saying that I’m not hugely familiar...

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The Fairy-Tale Archetype of the Sexy Witch

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

SFM: Killjoy, Gaiman, Arimah, Tolbert, Bisson

Short Fiction Monday: There is so much free or inexpensive short fiction available on the internet these days. Here are a few stories we read this week that we wanted you to know about. 

“Everything that Isn’t Winter” by Margaret Killjoy (Oct. 2016, free at Tor.com, 99c Kindle version)

This piece includes a great range of storytelling in few words. “Everything that Isn’t Winter” is set post-apocalypse in a small community that has carved out a comfortable place in the new world. The setting may sound run-of-the-mill, but what Killjoy does with it makes it come to life.

It would be apt to describe “Everything ... Read More

The Shores of Space: Matheson X 13

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The Shores of Space by Richard Matheson

The four novels that I had previously read by New Jersey-born Richard Matheson  — namely, 1954’s I Am Legend, 1956’s The Shrinking Man, 1958’s A Stir of Echoes and 1971’s Hell House — all demonstrated to this reader what a sure hand the late author had in the fields of science fiction, fantasy and horror. Thus, it was no surprise to me that his 1957 collection... Read More

Beyond the Darkness: Sado-Massaccesim

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Beyond the Darkness directed by Aristide Massaccesi (Joe D'Amato)

Hooo, boy, is this a sick one! Jaded fans of Euro horror, lovers of the outrageous, and gorehounds in general might find their mouths opening in awe and their eyes widening in shock as they get deeper into the Italian cult item Beyond the Darkness (1979). Conflating as it does elements of voodoo, necrophilia and deep, deep psychosis, and mixing in some truly stomach-churning blood-and-guts scenes along with multiple bizarre sequences, the film is one guaranteed to impress the viewer — one way or the other. The even better news here is that the film has been very well put together by a group of genuine pros. Despite the repugnant visuals and decidedly outré subject matter, this IS a quality film, and hardly the shlock experience you might be expecting. I generally try not to include spoilers in these mini-reviews, but feel I must do so here, as... Read More

Sunday Status Update: October 23, 2016

This week, Red Sonja confronts Lovecraftian horror.

Red Sonja: This week, I ran into one of those eldritch horror death cults that Conan's always going on about. I was just supposed to be finding a prize cow. Not my most dignified moment, but hang dignity, it's a cold autumn in the Northern realms and I need money for inns. So off I went to track this cow and I found out the thief had sold it to this old man. Figured I'd have a talk with him, so I headed out to his house. Should've smelled a rat when I heard it was on the tall, creepy hill above town (shadowed by lots of spooky pale birches, of course). Anyway, the usual nonsense ensued. Creepily empty house, tracks leading out to a cave out back, hollow hill, bonfire, prayers to unholy alter-dimensional monsters, hideous shadowy form like tendrils of putrescence floating in the air, etc. Anyway, this is the bit where Conan would've pounced on the altar and ... Read More

Indispensable Issues: Digital Comics on a Budget

Indispensable Issues: Digital Comics on a Budget

In this regularly updated column, I will be giving very brief plugs for digital comics that can be purchased on Comixology for $1 to $10 (along with a few free ones, too!). Over time, I want to build up a good list of affordable comics for those new to the art form or for those comic book fans who want to find hidden gems on Comixology.

I hope to feature plenty of independent comics, both new and old, though I will not avoid DC and Marvel. I merely won’t give them preference. Also, though I might include superhero comics, this list will reflect a wide variety of genres from the autobiographical to the western to SFF.

Here are my guidelines for inclusion in this column:

Great One-shots (“one-offs”)
Great First Issues
Free Comics
Great stand-alone single issues or great stand-alone short story arcs in the middle of a series
... Read More

Zoe’s Tale: “The Last Colony” from Zoe’s perspective

Readers’ average rating:

Reposting to include Marion's new review.

Zoe’s Tale by John Scalzi

Zoe’s Tale (2008), the fourth book in John Scalzi’s OLD MAN’S WAR series, is the same story we were told in book three, The Last Colony, except it’s from Zoe’s perspective. Zoe is the 17-year-old daughter of the traitorous scientist Charles Boutin. Jane Sagan and John Perry adopted Zoe when she was a small child and they’ve been farming on one of Earth’s colonies for years. Now, though, the family is off to lead the settlers of a new colony called Roanoke (uh-oh). When they get there they realize they’ve been duped and life on Roanoke has a lot more going on than just terraforming a new planet.

While I was reading The Last Colony there were several times I wondered “what’s Zoe doing?” or “what does Zoe think about this?” or even “i... Read More

The Time of Contempt: This story is getting darker

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The Time of Contempt by Andrzej Sapkowski

The fourth installment in Andrzej Sapkowski’s popular WITCHER series is The Time of Contempt (1995 in Polish, 2013 in English) which begins immediately after the ending of the previous novel, Blood of Elves. (You must read the previous stories before beginning this book and you do not need to be a fan of the Witcher video games.)

War is imminent as the elves of Nilfgaard, an ancient kingdom that was displaced centuries ago by the humans who now control the northern land, begin to plan their revenge. The kings of the northern kingdoms no longer trust the sorcerers and sorceresses they used to employ and haven broken off relationships with them. Even the sorcerers themselves are (rig... Read More

Frankenstein 1970: “Torch, scorch, unforch…”

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Frankenstein 1970 directed by Howard W. Koch

Horror icon Boris Karloff, during the mid-1950s, significantly slowed down his prodigious output of the '30s and '40s. After 1953, fans would have to wait a full four years before his next horror picture, Voodoo Island, was released, and that one is generally acknowledged as one of Boris' few stinkers. The British actor seemed to rebound a bit in 1958, however, with the releases of Frankenstein 1970 — a shlocky yet entertaining picture — and the very-well-done British film Grip of the Strangler. Frankenstein 1970 was the fifth Frankenstein film that Karloff had participated in, following the classic original in 1931, the eternal glory that is 1935's Bride of Frankenstein, 1939's excellent Son of Frankenstein and 1944's House of Frankenstein, but — no surprise — the film in question is any... Read More

Thoughtful Thursday: Identify last month’s covers

Today’s covers all come from books we reviewed in September 2016. 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

Land of Dreams: Strong echoes of Bradbury’s Something Wicked This Way Comes

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Land of Dreams by James P. Blaylock

James P. Blaylock is a fabulist, a teller of magic realist tales that reframe our everyday world in more colorful, fanciful, sinister, and whimsical ways. His style and themes often overlap with the works of Tim Powers and they have collaborated on several stories and even have shared the character William Ashbless, which is no surprise since they met as students at Cal State Fullerton. There they also befriended author K.W. Jeter (who coined the term “steampunk” and wrote perhaps the earliest full-length example, 1987’s Read More