Great Bookstores: Larry Smith, Bookseller


Elizabeth Campbell went to Dragon*Con last weekend and wrote in to tell us about bookseller Larry Smith. Larry Smith, Bookseller, is a conventions bookstore. He and Sally Kobee...

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The Peripheral: Here’s how a writer builds worlds


The Peripheral by William Gibson The other night I went into the new Target store in town. I rarely go to Target. It was surreal. Target had everything — bedding, furniture,...

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SAGA Volume One, Issues 1-6


SAGA Volume One, Issues 1-6 by Brian K. Vaughan (author) & Fiona Staples (illustrator) Brian K. Vaughan‘s brilliant new series SAGA is a mixture of fantasy and science...

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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

WWWebsday: March 4, 2015

On this day in 1918, The USS Cyclops departs from Barbados and is never seen again, presumably lost with all hands in the Bermuda Triangle.

Peter Pan illustration, by Alice Bolingbroke Woodward (1907)

Writing, Editing, and Publishing:
A new SFF bookstore might be coming to Charlotte, NC, if it is funded by this Thursday via Kickstarter. Regis Murphy has a dream to open a bookstore and bar called "Worlds of Wonder," and it sounds pretty fabulous. He also makes a good case for why we need more indie bookstores, something I'm 100% on board with. Support this Kickstarter and help open a haven of nerddom or, as Murphy calls it, "a geek's dream hangout" in Charlotte.

In other bookstore news, Borderlands in San Francisco gained its r... Read More

Dragons at Crumbling Castle: Less fun than I expected

Dragons at Crumbling Castle: And Other Tales by Terry Pratchett

Dragons at Crumbling Castle is a collection of fourteen stories written by Terry Pratchett and illustrated by Mark Beech. Each page of the books is covered in wacky fonts or scribbles to emphasize certain words and phrases, and the lines of print are double-spaced to promote easy reading for young eyes. The entire book is clearly engineered for elementary school readers. The stories were written when Pratchett was a teenager, working for his local newspaper; Pratchett writes in the Introduction that he touched them up a little before publication, though much of the weakness of style and craft which are to be expected from such an immature writer still remain.

The tales themselves are enjoyable, I suppose, though I think I would have appreciated the silliness and r... Read More

Hollow City: I wanted to love it, but ended up only liking it

Hollow City by Ransom Riggs

Hollow City picks up almost immediately after the events of Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, the first book in the MISS PEREGRINE’S PECULIAR CHILDREN series. From the very beginning Hollow City is an action-packed adventure in all the places that the first book was a thoughtful, eerie mystery. I enjoyed the change of pace Ransom Riggs set in this sequel, though this new territory brought with it its own problems. (Please note: this review will contain spoilers throughout due to the mysterious nature of the first book. Some points I will be discussing were not known until most of the way through Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children but I have found them integral to talking about Hollow City... Read More

The Demolished Man: The first Hugo Award winner

The Demolished Man by Alfred Bester

If I had read The Demolished Man back in 1952 when it was first published, I would have given it 5 stars, no question. But in 2014, with 60 years of refinements in the genre, it suffers from some very dated dialogue and characterization, and some really condescending portrayals of women. I'm afraid the present value of the book is 4 stars.

Having said that, The Demolished Man remains an impressively-imagined story of a future society shared by telepaths and normals, and the attempt by wealthy megalomaniac industrialist Ben Reich to stage and get away with murder in a society where the police and many others can read thoughts and memories. It's an exciting and pulpy adventure, and presages the cyberpunk genre by over 30 years (William Gibson’s Neuromancer Read More

A Place Called Armageddon: Deftly written historical fiction

A Place Called Armageddon by C.C. Humphreys

“I am Constantine Palaiologos, emperor, son of Caesars. I am a baker, a ropewright, a fisherman, a monk, a merchant. I am a soldier. I am Roman. I am Greek. I am two thousand years old. I was born in freedom only yesterday. This is my city, Turk. Take it if you can.”

In C.C. Humphreys’ novel A Place Called Armageddon, it’s 1453, and the Byzantine Empire is an empire only in name. Its last bastion is Constantinople and the brilliant, arrogant young sultan of the Ottoman Empire, Mehmet II, has his sights set on it, set on completing his father Murad’s work in eliminating his Greco-Christian foes once and for all. Murad was everything his son was not — statesman, soldier, commander — and Mehmet’s accession to the throne saw him immediately shadowed by his father... Read More

GIVEAWAY! Inside a Silver Box by Walter Mosley

Our friends at Tor want you to know about Inside a Silver Box by Walter Mosley, so they've got hardback copies for three of our readers who have a mailing address in the US. To enter, simply fill out the form below the book blurb. Please submit only one request. We'll randomly pick three winners within the next 2 weeks and email you to let you know your book is on its way.

Here's info about Inside a Silver Box. We hope it's going to be awesome! (Marion will be reviewing it soon.)
INSIDE A SILVER BOX by Walter Mosley

“In this terrific genre-defying work, … [w]ild concepts and deep thoughts sit comfortably alongside the musings of ordinary people undergoing radical changes in this top-notch tale.” —Publishers Weekly Starred Review
“Fans of Mosley’s brand of sf — big ideas, careful... Read More

Lord Kelvin’s Machine: A steampunk adventure with time paradoxes

Lord Kelvin’s Machine by James P. Blaylock

James P. Blaylock returns to Victorian England in another steampunk adventure with scientist Langdon St. Ives and his nemesis, Dr. Ignacio Narbondo. Lord Kelvin’s Machine contains three related stories which each feature a fictional infernal device created by inventor Lord Kelvin. I listened to the excellent audio version which was produced by Audible Studios, is just over 8 hours long, and is narrated by Nigel Carrington.

In the prologue of Lord Kelvin’s Machine, Dr. Narbondo murders Langdon St. Ives’ beloved wife Alice which throws St. Ives into a funk. Part 1, titled “In the Days of the Comet” begins a year later. St. Ives has been depressed since Alice di... Read More

The Sorcerer’s House: Beautifully otherworldly

The Sorcerer’s House by Gene Wolfe

In 2010, Gene Wolfe published The Sorcerer’s House, a surprisingly accessible novel using standard fantasy tropes to tell an interesting story about families, legacies, and lies. Wolfe returns to the style of his very early works with a book that uses letters and notes to tell its tale.

Baxter Dunn, recently released from prison after serving three years for fraud, has ended up in the town of Riverscene. When he explores an abandoned house, he discovers — much to his surprise, having believed that he was completely broke — that he owns it. Things get stranger until Bax is dealing with werewolves, vampires, magical devices, and a house that grows and shrinks without warning. Bax also battles his perpetually-angry brother George, meets a set of twins connected to the house, and acquires a set ... Read More

The Magician’s Land: The trilogy that keeps on giving

The Magician’s Land by Lev Grossman

May contain spoilers for The Magicians and The Magician King

When we first met Quentin in The Magicians, he had it all: he’d graduated from the magical college of Brakebills, he was with Alice (kind and lovely and talented Alice), and he’d managed to get into the magical land of Fillory. He was also an insufferable asshole. Now, in the final instalment of Grossman’s MAGICIANS trilogy, Quentin has pretty much hit rock bottom. Not only has he been exiled from Fillory, but also from Brakebills, where he’d held a post as professor. Yet strangely he is at his most likeable and noble yet. The Magician’s Land will tie the loose ends of Quentin’s tale as he finally figures out what he believes is worth fighting for.

The story opens in a bookshop. Quentin h... Read More

Evensong: A slow start with a fantastic payoff

Evensong by John Love

In early 2012, John Love made some serious waves with his debut novel Faith, a critically acclaimed space opera that was about as dark as anything I’d read in the genre. Faith was a novel many reviewers expected to see on Best-of-2012 lists and final award ballots, but instead it disappeared without much noise at all. Whether that was due to the novel’s admittedly disturbing content, or its early January release date, or the fact that all of this happened in the early days of Night Shade Books’ well-documented collapse, no one knows.

So now it’s early 2015, and John Love’s second novel Evensong just came out in early January, almost three years to the date since Faith Read More