Best Dads in Fantasy


Last weekend in the US it was Father’s Day, so I thought it would be fun to name some favorite Dads from the Fantasy genre. I think I’m a good Dad. I often feed my baby,...

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The Hobbit: Good clean fun


Readers’ average rating: The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien The Hobbit is just good clean fun, delightful for children and adults. If you’ve read LOTR and wondered how Bilbo...

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Circus Love


E. Catherine Tobler has never run away to join the circus — but she thinks about doing so every day. Among others, her short fiction has appeared in Clarkesworld, Lightspeed, and...

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Recent Posts

Aliens 101

Tade Thompson



Tade Thompson lives and works in the south of England. His first novel Making Wolf won the 2016 Kitschies Golden Tentacle award for best debut novel. He has written a number of short stories including “Budo” at Escape Pod. His horror novella Gnaw will be released in December from Solaris Books. Rosewater comes out 15th November, but is available for pre-order now.

Look, let's just get this out of the way right now: Aliens have been done.

They've been done to death. We've had aliens in almost any configuration imaginable. If you plan to write fiction with aliens in it, you face the weight of what has gone b... Read More

The Brass Giant: Beautiful images and a disappointing main character

Readers’ average rating:

The Brass Giant by Brooke Johnson

At the beginning of Brooke Johnson’s steampunk fantasy-romance novel The Brass Giant (2015), Petra Wade, our protagonist, is a strong-willed young woman with a driving desire: she wants to be an engineer. Specifically, she wants to attend the University and Engineers Guild, which does not admit women. Petra, an orphan, has learned clockwork from an elderly shopkeeper, but her talent for engineering is far beyond that, and she thirsts to use her ability to improve the world.

Emmerich Goss is a wealthy, good-looking University student with copper-colored eyes, and he asks for Petra’s help powering his automaton, which is distinctive because it responds to controls that are manipulated remotely. Eager to prove herself, Petra agrees to disguise herself as a boy and sneak into the University to help him, but soon... Read More

The Obelisk Gate: The weight of history crushes the present

Readers’ average rating:

Reposting to include Stuart's new review:

The Obelisk Gate by N.K. Jemisin

The Obelisk Gate is the second in N.K. Jemisin’s BROKEN EARTH trilogy and the follow-up to her Hugo Award-winning The Fifth Season; expectations were understandably high for this installment, which promises to shed a little more light on The Stillness and the qualities that make its geology and its people so unique. The Obelisk Gate is compulsively readable, filled with characters and circumstances that will transfix the reader’s attention, and effectively picks up right where The Fifth Season ends with very little expositi... Read More

Harpy’s Flight: Robin Hobb’s first novel

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Harpy's Flight by Megan Lindholm

Harpy's Flight (1983) is Megan Lindholm's first novel and the first of a series of four starring the characters Ki and Vandien. I understand that at one time, Lindholm had plans to write more but that never happened. Given the success of Lindholm's writing under the pen name Robin Hobb, I very much doubt it ever will. Lindholm’s novels are very different in style and tone from Hobb’s novels. I love both the epic fantasy of Hobb and the more diverse output of Lindholm, but that is certainly not true for all readers.

Ki is out for revenge. A pair of Harpies have taken her husband and two young children and despite the fact that they can easily take her as well, she is determined to make them feel her loss. Against all odds, Ki survives the climb to the Hapries' la... Read More

Thoughtful Thursday: Identify last month’s book covers

Today’s covers all come from books we reviewed in July 2016. Once you identify a book cover, in the comment section list:

1. The number of the cover (1-16)
2. The author
3. The book title

Please identify just one cover that has not yet been identified correctly so that others will have a chance to play. If they're not all identified by next Thursday, you can come back and identify more.



Each of your correct entries enters you into a drawing to win a book of your choice from our stacks. Winners are notified in the comments, so make sure to check the notification box or remember to check back in about 10 days. If we don't choose a winner within 2 weeks, please bug Marion.

And, as always, we've got Read More

Tom Swift and His Flying Lab: The series that introduced me to sci-fi

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Tom Swift and His Flying Lab by Victor Appleton II

What was the first science fiction novel that you ever read? For a long time, the answer to that question, for me, would have been Arthur C. Clarke’s 1953 classic Childhood’s End, which Mr. Miller, back in high school, made us all read for English class. (A very hip teacher, that Mr. Miller!) Upon further reflection, however, it has struck me that I probably read Jules Verne’s 1864 classic A Journey to the Center of the Earth back in junior high school, and that, going back to late public school, there was the series of books featuring teenage inventor Tom Swift, Jr. Baby boomers may perhaps recall how very popular these books were back when... Read More

Stand on Zanzibar: It’s time for everybody to read it

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Stand on Zanzibar by John Brunner

George Orwell and Aldous Huxley were two writers who initially established themselves not only in the world of realist fiction, but also as effective observers on society. As a result, their later novels Nineteen Eighty-four and Brave New World are heralded as two of the greatest science fiction novels ever written, with literary purists even willing to make allowances despite the sci-fi leanings. Perhaps it is John Brunner’s misfortune that his career was established in the world of science fiction. When Stand on Zanzibar was published in 1968, only those within the genre took notice of its qualities. As poignant literature that transcends genre, it too comments with profound relevance on the human condition.

The book’s title is based on the idea that 7 billion people ... Read More

WWWednesday: August 24, 2016

This is the World Con edition of World Wide Wednesday.

In the Pat Cadigan Theater



First of all, the Hugos! N.K. Jemisin’s The Fifth Season won for Best Novel; Nnedi Okorafor won for Best Novella with “Binti;” Hao JingFang took home the Best Novelette statue for “Folding Beijing,” and Naomi Kritzer won for Best Short Story with “Cat Pictures Please.”

There were two categories where the voters awarded no Hugo: Best Fancast and Best Related Work.  Go here for a detailed list of all the winners.

On a personal note, Pat Cadigan, who hosted, was hilarious. Part of the time she shared the podium ... Read More

Foxglove Summer: You can take the constable outta London, but…

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Foxglove Summer by Ben Aaronovitch

One of the definitive aspects of Ben Aaronovitch's PETER GRANT series is the fact that it's set in the big smoke (aka London, for all you non-Londoners). So it may come as a surprise to discover that Foxglove Summer (2014), the fifth instalment of the series, is actually set in the countryside. But don't be fooled into thinking this is story about sleepy village life and the occasional nosy neighbour. Far from it. Peter Grant is back along with a myriad of supernatural problems, and he's just as incompetent as he's always been...

Two eleven-year-old girls have gone missing in the rural town of Leominster, Herefordshire. Constable Peter Grant is sent on a routine assignment to check up on an old wizard living in the ar... Read More

The Last Days of New Paris: Surrealism comes for us all

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The Last Days of New Paris by China Miéville

Putting it simply, China Miéville’s The Last Days of New Paris is a “China Miéville” story. For many readers, that’s sufficient information to begin reading.

But here are some additional details, just in case. The Last Days of New Paris is a novella length alternate history in which the Nazis and the resistance fight to control Paris. Something weird is going on in this timeline: surreal creatures called “manifs” wander the streets of Paris after an S-Blast took the surreal creatures out of the artworks and into the world. The “manifs” don’t like Nazis, and so the latter counter the former by m... Read More