Justin chats with fantasy artist Chris McGrath


Joining us today is renowned artist Chris McGrath. Chris is responsible for some the best cover art in fantasy today. He’s done covers for Jim Butcher, Joe Abercrombie,...

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The Fellowship of the Ring: Magnificent work of fantasy


The Fellowship of the Ring by J.R.R. Tolkien Even today, almost six decades since its first publication, J.R R. Tolkien’s magnificent work of fantasy is still attracting...

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Grandville, Bete Noire: Luscious Art Creates Good Escapist Fun


Grandville, Bete Noire by Bryan Talbot Grandville, Bete Noire, Bryan Talbot’s third steam-punk themed graphic novel, has the same lavish detail and striking use of color as the...

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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

Magazine Monday: Beneath Ceaseless Skies, Issues 162-163

The last issue of Beneath Ceaseless Skies for 2014 begins with “Alloy Point” by Sam J. Miller. It is a steampunk story of Ashley, who has a talent with Lustrous Metallics like gold and silver, and her forbidden affair with Gabriel, whose strength resides with Base Metallics. They are discovered by the City Fathers, who send a metalman to kill them both. As the story opens, Ashley is in flight from the metalman, who is pursuing her with single-minded determination. Ashley makes some uncomfortable and frightening discoveries as the chase goes on. It’s an old story in new clothes, told well. The use of metals and their importance to the lives of the characters caught my interest so much that I would ejnoy reading a novel in this world, and I’m not even a fan of steampunk.

The other story in issue 163 is “Until the Moss Has Reached Our Lips” by Matt Jones. This story is almost hallucinatory in its strang... Read More

Horrible Monday: Jacaranda by Cherie Priest

Jacaranda by Cherie Priest

Jacaranda is a horror novella set in Cheris Priest’s CLOCKWORK CENTURY universe. This story, set after the end of the USA’s long civil war, is a shivery tale that focuses on supernatural evil rather than the sap-infected zombies of the series.

Priest brings three characters to the Texan island of Galveston, to investigate a long string of strange deaths at the cursed Jacaranda Hotel. Horatio Korman is a Texas Ranger, a smart, clever investigator. Father Juan Quinteros Rios is a Catholic priest with a dark past and a supernatural gift. Sister Eileen Callahan, who has sent for the other two, has experience with the supernatural, and a secret of her own. Father Rios and Korman arrive via ferry just before a savage hurricane isolates the island and traps the three, along with several other guests, in the strange hotel.

Readers who are familiar wit... Read More

Suicide Kings: Surprising depth

Suicide Kings edited by George R.R. Martin

Suicide Kings is the third part in the latest reincarnation of the long-running WILD CARDS series. Together with Inside Straight and Busted Flush it forms the Committee trilogy. I guess you could consider this trilogy WILD CARDS the next generation. These books are meant to be an entry point for new readers. Like most of the previous novels, Suicide Kings is a collaborative effort. This volume is written by six authors — Daniel Abraham, S.L. Farrell, Victor Milán, Melinda M. Snodgrass, Caroline Spector and Read More

Suki: A Like Story by Clamp

Suki: A Like Story by Clamp

Suki: A Like Story is a three-book story by Clamp. Clamp is one of my favorite modern creators of manga, and I’m particularly intrigued by the fact that Clamp is an all-female collective. Though they’ve had in the past a rotating membership, for the most part, Clamp now consists of a fairly stable roster of four women: Nanase Ohkawa, Mokona, Tsubaki Nekoi, and Satsuki Igarashi. They started out in the 1980s as an eleven-member group of amateur, self-published indie writers (known as “dojinshi” in Japan), and in the 1990s, they turned into a highly successful, professional creative enterprise. Ohkawa leads the group and writes most of the material, and the other ... Read More

Sunday Status Update: December 21, 2014

The Hogfather! What's that? Why yes, I've read Hogfather. Yes, even though I'm not a Pratchett fan per se. Everyone likes Hogfather, it turns out. Even a Discworld-Grinch like me.

HogfatherHo. Ho. Ho.

João: Starting this weekend I will have a bit more control on how I spend my time, now that classes are over for the semester and finals are only in January. I'll probably spend this two week holiday season reading Carlos Ruiz Zafon's The Prisoner of Heaven, which, just as his previous books, is pretty great, and will move on to K.J. Parker's Sharps, Read More

Madame Xanadu: Exodus Noir by Matt Wagner

Madame Xanadu (Vol. 2): Exodus Noir by Matt Wagner

Exodus Noir, the second volume of Matt Wagner’s Madame Xanadu series, is an impressive follow-up to the first collection, even though there is a new artist on board. However, there’s no loss in artistic quality. If I prefer the first volume to the second, it’s primarily because I love an origin story. So, my preference is less a fault of the second volume than it is the inherent focus of the first.

This second volume is similar to the first in that it shifts from the present to the past. However, Exodus Noir Read More

Breath of Bones: A Tale of the Golem by Steve Niles

Breath of Bones: A Tale of the Golem by Steve Niles, Matt Santoro, & Dave Wachter

Though I’ve read multiple golem tales over the years, I became aware of their history the most fully after having read the extremely well-researched SF novel He, She and It by Marge Piercy. That was about twenty years ago, and I’ve been on the lookout for quality golem stories ever since. Breath of Bones: A Tale of the Golem is one of the best I’ve ever read, and it’s written by Steve Niles and Matt Santoro as a story that is appropriate even for young adult readers, ... Read More

Swords of Good Men: I’ll pick up book two

Swords of Good Men by Snorri Kristjansson

Swords of Good Men by Snorri Kristjansson has a sharply focused premise and an action-oriented narrative, but issues of pace and point of view lessen the short novel’s impact.

The Viking town of Stenvik is the crossroads of events. Heading toward them from the north is a massive army led by King Olav, who is determined to unify the Scandinavian people under the White Christ, even if he has to kill a lot of them in order to do so. Defending the Old Gods against this upstart religion is an All-Star team of Viking raiders, ostensibly led by their general, Skargrim, but really under the control of a mysterious woman named Skuld, who says she is one of the three weavers of fate. Olav wants Stenvik as his winter base, while Skuld and Skargrim seek to deny its strategic p... Read More

A Discovery of Witches: Doesn’t live up to what it says on the tin

A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness

Like every other fantasy novel since 1997, A Discovery of Witches has been compared to the Harry Potter series. I often argue that debut novels should be judged by their own merit, that the Harry Potter yardstick is too reductive. In this case, however, Harry Potter comes off worse by association. A Discovery of Witches promises a world of witches, vampires and daemons, of a hidden manuscript which holds the key to the future, of a dark, forbidden love at the centre of the tale. It all looks very good on paper, doesn’t it? Unfortunately, the novel doesn’t quite live up to what it says on the tin.

Diana Bishop is a witch. Not in the wand­brandishing, spell­reciting way we’re used to, though. She has relinquished all magic in favour of a quiet academic career studying the history of science. One day, she accidental... Read More

John Golden: Freelance Debugger: A blast to read

John Golden: Freelance Debugger by Django Wexler

Django Wexler, the man with such a fun name, hasn’t just limited himself to epic fantasy. In February Wexler released a novella called John Golden: Freelance Debugger. In proper Wexler form he took a genre that is almost too saturated (urban fantasy) and slammed his way into it with something new, eye catching, and unique.

John Golden tells the story of a man (Surprise! His name is ‘John’) who fixes computers by debugging them. While that might seem fine and dandy, the truth is that the entire premise of how this protagonist debugs computers (and just what the “bugs” are) is just about as interesting as anything else in the novel. Wexler packs quite a story into his few short pages (62 pages, actually).

Don’t let the technospeak and the footnotes put you off. While typically people like their text to flow certain ways, and footnot... Read More