Guy Gavriel Kay talks about music, poetry, literature, and scotch


In case you haven’t noticed, we’re fans of Guy Gavriel Kay, and Rob and Stefan recently reported that Mr. Kay’s newest novel, Under Heaven, which releases today,...

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Mistborn: The Final Empire: Great start to a series


Mistborn: The Final Empire by Brandon Sanderson I was a fan of Brandon Sanderson’s first novel, Elantris, though the novel had some pretty clear flaws. I’m an even...

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The Book of Lost Souls by J. Michael Straczynski


The Book of Lost Souls, Volume 1: Introductions All Around by J. Michael Straczynski (writer) and Colleen Doran (artist) I am so pleased I picked The Book of Lost Souls up off the...

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T-shirts and bookmarks!


Get a T-shirt and bookmarks when you donate to FanLit. This soft white t-shirt features our dragon logo which was painted by author Janny Wurts. Underneath are the words...

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Recent Posts

The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch: A good mind twist

The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch by Philip K. Dick

Perhaps Dick’s most misunderstood book, The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch is not wholly an examination of the reality of reality. Despite that the characters’ experiences often transcend concrete objectivity, the book is more than metaphysics. It is an exploration of morality, and if may be surmised from the parallel events of Dick’s own life, perhaps even an act of catharsis.

The universe of The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch is not as we know it. Global warming has turned Antarctica into a beach and humans inhabit the solar system. Colonists living on other planets — often drafted like soldiers to leave Earth — participate in communal fantasies augmented by a drug called Can-D to escape the spiritual desolation of their lives. Channeled through Perky Pat and Walt dolls (like Barbie and Ken), the dolls,... Read More

Magazine Monday: Beneath Ceaseless Skies, Issue 157

The sixth anniversary edition of Beneath Ceaseless Skies is a double issue, with four excellent stories.

The first is “The Sorrow of Rain” by Richard Parks, one of his Lord Yamada stories. Lord Yamada is a demon hunter in medieval Japan who tells his stories in the first person. On this occasion, he has been asked to stop incessant, late season rains; if the rains do not stop long enough to allow for a harvest within the next three days, the rice will spoil in the fields, leading to famine. Yamada sees a rain spirit almost as soon as he arrives, but she is neither a ghost nor a demon, and doesn’t seem to be the source of the rain. And the headman isn’t telling him everything. Parks tells gentle stories full of an ancient culture, usually involving a mystery, as here. His gentleness usually has a soft sting in the tail, though, a lesson about life that the characters have forgotten and about which Parks reminds us. A Lord... Read More

Horrible Monday: The End of the Sentence by Maria Dahvana Headley and Kat Howard

The End of the Sentence by Maria Dahvana Headley and Kat Howard

Malcolm Mays is very close to the end of his rope. After the collapse of his terrible marriage, after a horrific tragedy, he has spent close to his last dollars on a house in rural Ione, Oregon. His first sight of the house confirms that there’s plenty of work to be done, but also that there’s something good to work with. When he opens the front door to his new home for the first time, he finds a huge pile of mail written to the dead owner of the house from an inmate at the federal prison two hundred miles away in Salem. As he explores the house, he receives a letter from the prison himself, delivered, apparently, without the need for a postal worker or any other human agent. The letter is from Dusha Chuchonnyhoof, who tells him that there will be a plate set out for him in the icebox, and flowers beside the bed. It is too long, Dusha says, since he was in that house; he’s bee... Read More

Horrible Monday: The New Gothic edited by Beth K. Lewis

The New Gothic edited by Beth K. Lewis

The New Gothic, an anthology of twelve stories, is edited by Beth K. Lewis and published by Stone Skin Press. It’s a good collection, worth reading.

Gothic horror usually counts on a mounting sense of dread and/or disgust to carry the reader, rather than shock or terror. The fear comes on more slowly, with that faint tickle at the back of your neck, and at its best, a gothic tale creates a sense of otherworldliness, where the characters, and the readers, begin to doubt their own senses. A gothic tale is more likely to rely on a dilapidated house or a dark stretch of forest than gore, dismemberment or mayhem to pack its emotional punch.

The word “New” in the title is a bit of false advertising. None of these stories moves too far from the familiar conventions of the sub-genre. On one hand, it would be difficult to write a... Read More

Direct Descent: Frank Herbert’s worst novel

Direct Descent by Frank Herbert

Direct Descent (1980) is by a fair margin the weakest novel by Frank Herbert I've read.

In the far future the whole of Earth's interior has been taken up by a gigantic library. Ships travel the known universe to collect information about just about everything and bring it back to Earth to archive it and make it available to the entire galaxy. The first and foremost rule of this organization is always obey the government whomever that may be — a rule meant to underline the library’s strict neutrality. But what if the government sends its warships at you? How can you defend yourself armed with archives full of useless knowledge and a policy of strict obedience?

Direct Descent is expanded from the short story “The Pack Rat Planet,” which first appeared in Astounding in December 1954. It is one of Herbert's earliest scie... Read More

Sunday Status Update: September 28, 2014

This week, a rather tired meme.

Shepard: I'm Commander Shepard, and this is my favorite site on the Citadel.

BillThis week I read Michel Faber’s The Book of Strange New Things and Violet Kupersmith’s story collection—The Frangipani Hotel. Faber’s was a bit overly long, and the speculative fiction aspects were the weakest part of the novel, but it was overall a serious and thoughtful exploration of relationships, religion, and humanity.  Kupersmith’s collection, meanwhile, was filled with solid stories—many of them involving supernatural creatures/events—but I can’t say any single story blew me away.  Currently, I’m in... Read More

The DC Infinite Crisis and the “Old” 52 (Part 2): “Lightning Strikes Twice” by Judd Winick

The DC Infinite Crisis and the “Old” 52 (Part 2): “Lightning Strikes Twice” by Judd Winick

In Part One, I gave an introduction to this series and discussed Countdown to Infinite Crisis #1 (it's available on Comixology or in the trade paperback The OMAC Project). This second review is about the first three issues included in the trade paperback Day of Vengeance. These issues, by Judd Winick, tell the three-part Read More

Fool’s Assassin: Good, but a little slow

Fool’s Assassin by Robin Hobb

I have some mixed feelings about this book. On the one hand, I’m tremendously pleased that Hobb is writing Fitz again. He is and remains (for me at least) her most entertaining protagonist, and represents a return to form following what I believe to be her experimentation in the SOLDIER SON TRILOGY in particular. And the book is good. So far at least, Hobb has managed to resist her tried-and-true soul-splitting motif, and we get a complete human being to follow. Hobb depicts his life with sterling characterization and subtle nuance, reminding me why she is considered one of the best (possibly even the best) in the fantasy genre when it comes to introspective narratives. During the first third to half of the novel, this was enough. In the second portion, though, I admit that I found myself increasingly concerned at how slowly Hobb was building events.

Now, let’s be clear: Hobb has nev...

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Schemers: Stories of complex plans and gut wrenching betrayals

Schemers by Robin D. Laws (editor)

Schemers is a collection of short stories by an excellent list of authors: Jesse Bullington, Tobias Buckell, Ekaterina Sedia, Jonathan L. Howard, Nick Mamatas, Elizabeth A. Vaughan, Tania Hershman, Kyla Lee Ward, Robyn Seale, Laura Lush, Molly Tanzer, John Helfers, Gareth Ryder-Hanrahan, and Kathryn Kuitenbrouwer.  These are stories of complex plans and gut wrenching betrayals. It is a great theme for a collection of short stories.... Read More

The Crimson Shield: Heroic fantasy

The Crimson Shield by Nathan Hawke

Last year I was looking through the Gollancz catalogue and one book in particular caught my eye: Nathan Hawke’s The Crimson Shield. Notice anything unusual about the cover? The title and author aren’t there — they’re on the binding. And with a cover that beautiful, it’s both a bold strategy and a no-brainer.

Nathan Hawke, a pseudonym of Stephen Deas, author of the MEMORY OF FLAMES, THIEF-TAKER’S APPRENTICE, and SILVER KINGSseries, claims inspiration from the legendary David Gemmell in writing the new GALLOW trilogy. The inspiration is clearly visible, as it feels much look a story Gemmell would write, but it’s got its own identity and someth... Read More