Rebecca chats with Pamela Freeman


Australian author Pamela Freeman has written for both adults and children. She is best known in children’s literature for her Floramonde trilogy and its award-winning spin-offs...

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Born With the Dead: Three shorter pieces from one of science fiction’s best


Born With the Dead: Three Novellas About the Spirit of Man by Robert Silverberg Born With the Dead gathers together three of Robert Silverberg’s mid-career science fiction...

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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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Our rating system


We realize that we’re not professional literature critics — we’re just a group of readers who love to read and write about speculative fiction — but we...

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Recent Posts

Horrible Monday: Lair of Dreams by Libba Bray

Lair of Dreams by Libba Bray

"To believe in one's dreams is to spend all of one's life asleep." – Chinese proverb

"Every city is a ghost." – Opening line of Lair of Dreams

Dreams become traps and deadly nightmares in Lair of Dreams, the second installation in Libba Bray’s DIVINERS fantasy horror series. In 1927, a crew of men is opening up an old walled-off tunnel underneath the streets of New York City in order to build a new subway tunnel. The workers find a desiccated body in a walled-off area. Soon the men begin to die of a mysterious sleeping sickness, where the afflicted cannot be awakened and die after a few days. The sickness is blamed on Chinese immigrants, but really it attacks people regardless of age or race.

Lair o... Read More

The Good, the Bad, and the Smug: Daring to disturb the universe

The Good, the Bad, and the Smug by Tom Holt

The Good, the Bad, and the Smug is the fourth novel in Tom Holt’s YOUSPACE series, following in the footsteps of Doughnut, When It’s a Jar, and The Outsourcerer’s Apprentice. Like those previous books, this one can be read as a stand-alone; there were recurring characters and running jokes which were enjoyable to this first-time reader, but which I suspect would have made more sense had I been more familiar with the rest of the series. Still, The Good, the Bad, and the Smug is a very pleasant way to spend a few afternoons.

Goblin King Mordak is shaking up the status quo with his kinder, more socialist, “humanitarian” brand of evil. (Working title:... Read More

The Unnoticeables: Inventive, disturbing, funny and a little sparse

The Unnoticeables by Robert Brockway

There was a lot I liked in Robert Brockway’s urban fantasy novel The Unnoticeables. Starting with the most superficial elements first, I loved this cover. Tor went ironic, giving The Unnoticeables a highly noticeable cover. It’s venom green, a mashup of gearwheel-eyed killer clowns, fractals, figure-ground images and spiky-Mohawked punks. It’s disturbing and kind of funny, thus the perfect cover for Brockways’s novel. The Unnoticeables is the first in a series.

The core idea of The Unnoticeables is inventive and scary. Beings of light called “angels” regulate the universe by reallocating energy. Angels are generally unhappy with how inefficiently humans utilize energy, due to our cumbersome program coding (for “coding” read “selves”). Angels really like to... Read More

City of the Chasch: Finally! PLANET OF ADVENTURE on audio!

City of the Chasch by Jack Vance

City of the Chasch (1968) is the first book in Jack Vance’s PLANET OF ADVENTURE series. I’m so excited that Blackstone Audio is finally getting these produced in audio format! City of the Chasch was just released a few weeks ago and the following books, Servants of the Wankh, The Dirdir, and The Pnume, will be released in the next three months (one per month).

In this first book we meet Adam Reith, a scout on a spaceship that traveled from Earth to the planet Carina 4269 from which some sort of signal has been detected. When Adam is sent out on a shuttle to reconnoiter the planet, the spaceship and its crew is shot down and Adam crash-lands, leaving him alone an... Read More

Sunday Status Update: July 26, 2015

This week, Ron Weasley (circa 1995 or thereabouts).

Ron: Y'know, something's just occurred to me. Aurors finally showed up at the school this year. I suppose it makes sense with what's been going on (dark wizard catchers for dark wizards), but it does make you wonder where they've been all this time, doesn't it? What about the second year, when students were being attacked by a mysterious monster in the corridors, and my sister got dragged into the Chamber of Secrets? Would've been nice to've had an auror or two right about then. Or that time we thought a convicted murderer was trying to slit Harry's throat. Sounds like a job for an auror to me. I'm just saying. What, were they on strike or something? Guess I'll ask dad...

Jana: My reading pace has slowed to a crawl this week, but! I'm getting much better organi... Read More

Starlight: The Return of Duke McQueen by Mark Millar and Goran Parlov

Starlight: The Return of Duke McQueen by Mark Millar and Goran Parlov

Without a doubt, Starlight: The Return of Duke McQueen is my favorite comic book by Mark Millar. Any fan of pulp science fiction will want to read this book. It is told well, is full of wonder, and is simply delightful. Starlight both invokes and honors older science fiction stories that have as their primary aim the hope of instilling astonishment in readers as they flip quickly through the pages to find out about the hero’s adventures in space. And in Starlight, we take joy in Duke McQueen’s tale, both devouring the pages and never wanting it to end.

The ma... Read More

MPH by Mark Millar and Duncan Fegredo

MPH by Mark Millar and Duncan Fegredo

Mark Millar knows how to tell a story, how to hook us with a plot, how to pace the events so that we feel as if we are in that perfect summer blockbuster we yearn for every year. He’s done it again in MPH, which he wrote with his co-creator and artist Duncan Fegredo and letterer and colorist Peter Doherty. I made the mistake of starting this story at midnight, and I could not put it down until I was done. I completely lost track of time.

MPH is the story of Roscoe, a young man with a vision and hope springing eternal, even though he’s a poor black man living a life with few legal opportunities in a physically and ec... Read More

The Price of Valor: Wexler’s strongest work so far

The Price of Valor by Django Wexler

Warning: May contain mild spoilers for the preceding books.

If The Shadow Throne combined war and politics, the amalgam of these elements Django Wexler presents in The Price of Valor is much more effective and well-balanced. The latest installment in THE SHADOW CAMPAIGNS, The Price of Valor sees our protagonists battle both militarily and politically for Vordan’s freedom. After the Sworn Church persuaded the nations of the world to declare war on Vordan, Vordan finds itself in an unenviable position — strained both in terms of finances and troops, with an unstable domestic political arena to boot! Though Janus is securing the border on one front, Vordan’s nemeses are closing in on another as Queen Raesini... Read More

Alanna: The First Adventure: Swords, sorcery, and fun

Alanna: The First Adventure by Tamora Pierce

Alanna: The First Adventure is, indeed, the first volume of well-known fantasy author Tamora Pierce’s four-book series THE SONG OF THE LIONESS. First published back in the 1980s, the quartet was remarkable in many ways, tackling issues like gender roles, cultural tensions, self-determination, and inherited versus achieved power. Written at a time when “young adult” didn’t exist as a genre and feisty teenage girls couldn’t find much positive representation in mainstream fantasy, the series laid out many of the familiar paths and tropes of what has become modern YA fantasy. Since I’ve read a lot of novels influenced by Pierce’s work, the series’ 2014 hardcover re-release and their attending Author Afterwords was rather like following a river back to its ... Read More

Erak’s Ransom: Goes back in time

Erak’s Ransom by John Flanagan

Erak’s Ransom is the seventh book in John Flanagan’s RANGER’S APPRENTICE series, but chronologically its story occurs after the events of book four, The Battle for Skandia. I would recommend reading Erak’s Ransom after book four and before you read books five and six (The Sorcerer of the North and The Siege of Macindaw). Since I had already read those stories and knew what happened to the characters, it reduced some of the tension. This review will contain spoilers for books one through four.

Will, Halt, Horace and Princess Cassandra are back from overseas after helping Skandia, their former enemy, defeat a common foe. They help broker a peace with Erak, Skandia’s new Ob... Read More