Great Bookstores: Treehorn Books in Santa Rosa, California


One of my favorite bookstores is small but mighty. Treehorn Books, specializing in used, out of print, and antiquarian volumes, occupies a simple storefront at 625 4th Street, Santa...

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To Ride Hell’s Chasm: Going on my list of favorites


To Ride Hell’s Chasm by Janny Wurts At the start of To Ride Hell’s Chasm, an outstanding standalone fantasy by Janny Wurts, Princess Anja of the tiny isolated kingdom of...

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Barbarian Lord by Matt Smith


Barbarian Lord by Matt Smith Barbarian Lord is an excellent story for both kids and adults, particularly fans of Icelandic Sagas and Nordic Mythology, which Matt Smith has clearly...

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Our favorite books of 2014


Here are our favorite books published in 2014. Hover over the cover to see who recommends each book and what they say about it. Please keep in mind that we did not read every SFF...

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Recent Posts

Thoughtful Thursday: Rename this horrible cover!

It's time again for one of our favorite games!

Please help us rename the horrible cover of this book by Grande Dame Andre Norton.

The author of the new title we like best wins a book from the FanLit Stacks.

Got a suggestion for a horrible cover that needs renaming? Please send it to Kat.

We love this game!

NEXT WEEK's Thoughtful Thursday column: We'll be giving away all of the Nebula and Hugo nominated novels to one lucky winner! Read More

Uprooted: Utterly satisfying and enthralling

Uprooted by Naomi Novik

Agniezska is the brave, stubborn, sensitive heroine of Naomi Novik’s recent release, Uprooted — and she’s about to steal your heart. She comes from Dvernik, a remote village on the edges of the enchanted Wood, the dark forest that creeps like a blight over interior Polnya. The only thing holding the Wood back from engulfing the land is the Dragon, a feared sorcerer who lives nearby. For his work keeping the danger at bay, every ten years the Dragon demands one young woman from the village. As the time for “the taking” approaches, everyone in the village expects the Dragon to choose Kasia, Dvernik’s golden girl and Agniezska’s best friend. However, something about Agniezska catches the Dragon’s eye and she is the one chosen to leave her family and friends for ten years to serve him in his tower.
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James and the Giant Peach: Not for kiddies only

James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl

Perhaps I should confess right up front that this review of what is popularly regarded solely as a children's book is being written by a 50+-year-old male "adult" who hadn't read a kids' book in many years. For me, Welsh author Roald Dahl had long been the guy who scripted one of my favorite James Bond movies, 1967's You Only Live Twice, and who was married for 30 years to the great actress Patricia Neal. Recently, though, in need of some "mental palate cleansing" after a bunch of serious adult lit, I picked up Dahl's first kiddy novel, James and the Giant Peach, and now know what several generations have been aware of since the book's release in 1961: that this is an absolutely charming story for young and old alike, with marvelous characters, a remarkably imaginative story line and some quirky humor scattered throughout.

As most baby boom... Read More

Swords Against Wizardry: Two lovable rogues and their adventures

Swords Against Wizardry by Fritz Leiber

This is the fourth collection of stories in Fritz Leiber’s FAFHRD AND THE GRAY MOUSER series, and is better than the previous volume, Swords in the Mist. It features four stories: "In the Witch's Tent" (1968), "Stardock" (1965), "The Two Best Thieves in Lankhmar" (1968), and "The Lords of Quarmall" (1964). My personal favorites are “Stardock” and "The Two Best Thieves in Lankhmar." The first story is just a short framing piece, so I’ll focus on the main three stories.

“Stardock” is a fast-paced and amazingly-written adventure in which Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser climb Stardock, an imposing ice-covered mountain that is the Newhon equivalent of Everest, in a quest to retrieve a pouch of gems that legend holds were made by the gods as test-models for ... Read More

WWWednesday; May 20, 2015

Giveaway News: As part of our Thoughtful Thursday column for May 28, we will give one lucky commenter a  complete set of the novels nominated for the Hugos and the Nebulas.That's eight books!

The Blue Closet Dante Gabriel Rossetti

Books and Publishing:

Damien Walters’s essay in the Guardian discusses the multi-volume fantasy novel, which he terms a “mega-novel.” He questions whether every gifted writer can write one, and whether they should even try.

Here is an enjoyable six-minute Ted Talk by Alex Gendler Read More

Leviathan: What Would Jack Do?

Leviathan by Jack Campbell

Leviathan is the most recent book in Jack Campbell’s LOST FLEET: BEYOND THE FRONTIER series. It wouldn’t make any sense to read Leviathan before reading the ten books that precede it. This review will contain spoilers for the previous books, but not for Leviathan.

At the end of Steadfast, Admiral Blackjack Geary’s fleet had been escorting their new alien friends back to the hypernet gate to their own star system when they discovered a fleet of invisible ships laying waste to a nearby planet. They realized that a virus in their own software made the ships invisible, that the “dark ships” were nearly invulnerable, and that when Geary’s ships engaged them, they seemed to be programmed... Read More

The Pilgrims and Shadow: A solid opener followed by a more flat and meandering bridge book

The Pilgrims and Shadow by Will Elliott

The Pilgrims and Shadow by Will Elliott are the first two books of the PENDULUM TRILOGY. Book one came out a little more than a year ago, while its sequel was published in February of this year. I read The Pilgrims while on a long trip last year, and so never wrote up a review (camping and hiking not being conducive to such activity). Which means this dual review will focus heavily detail-wise on Shadow while making reference to the first book based on some fuzzy recollection, some quick skimming to refresh, and an old hand-scrawled note or two in the margin I may or may not have deciphered correctly.

The Pilgrims introduces us to Eric Albright, and young and not-particularly-upcoming journalist, and Stuart Casey ... Read More

Voyage of the Basilisk: H. Rider Haggard would clap his hands in glee

Voyage of the Basilisk by Marie Brennan

What I enjoy most about Marie Brennan’s LADY TRENT MEMOIR series is the narrative voice. Isabella Camherst engages in adventures and feats of derring-do that would have H. Rider Haggard clapping his hands in glee, and they are related in the crisp, slightly sardonic tone of a well-educated and witty Victorian gentlewoman. Voyage of the Basilisk is no exception. The third book of series moves several plot points forward and has Isabella learning new things about dragons and herself.

Isabella’s dry and scientific tone make the dramatic descriptions somehow more plausible. Here she contrasts her personal experience with the “tall tales” common with sailors:
I am not a sa... Read More

Jana Chats with Gwenda Bond (and gives away a book, of course!)

Today, Gwenda Bond stops by FanLit to chat about her newest novel, Lois Lane: Fallout, which I thought was both a fantastic story and a refreshing take on some old YA stereotypes. She was kind enough to answer some questions I had about the book and her writing process, and one lucky U.S.-based commenter will win a copy of Lois Lane: Fallout!

Gwenda Bond

Jana Nyman: The narrative of Lois Lane: Fallout is told strictly fro... Read More

SevenEves: You might love this book; I only loved the end

SevenEves by Neal Stephenson

Neal Stephenson doesn't shy away from big concepts, long timelines, or larger than life events. His most recent novel, SevenEves, begins with the moon blowing up. Readers never find out what blew up the moon, because all too quickly humanity discovers that the Earth will soon be bombarded by a thousand-year rain of meteorites — the remnants of the moon as they collide with each other in space, becoming smaller and smaller — which will turn Earth into an uninhabitable wasteland. Humankind has a 2-year deadline to preserve its cultural legacy and a breeding population. The solution is to make extended life-in-space a possibility. The first two thirds of the book follows a group of astronauts and scientists who are among those who will form the new colony orbiting Earth, waiting a few millennia for it to become habitable again. The last third shows us what has become of humanity after 5,00... Read More