Greg van Eekhout visits Copperfield’s Books

Greg van Eekhout’s California Bones generated a lot of excitement when it came out last year. Now that the sequel, Pacific Fire, is out, Van Eekhout is doing a “mini book...

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The Face: Clever and satisfying

The Face by Jack Vance Here’s another thoroughly delightful installment (book 4 of 5) of The Demon Princes. The plot is as usual: Kirth Gersen is hunting down one of the Demon...

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The Unwritten by Mike Carey

The Unwritten: Tommy Taylor & the Bogus Identity (Vol 1) by Mike Carey (writer) & Peter Gross (artist) The Unwritten by Mike Carey is one of the best current series being...

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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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SFM: Seth Dickinson, Aliette de Bodard, Ilona Andrews, Rose Lemberg, Elizabeth Bourne

Short Fiction Monday: There is so much free or inexpensive short fiction available on the internet these days. Here are a few stories we read this week that we wanted you to know about. 

“Please Undo This Hurt” by Seth Dickinson (2015, free at 

Not speculative fiction, but a very insightful and poignant story of Dominga, an EMT on the verge of burnout after the man she loves breaks up with her. Her friend Nico is in a tough spot as well, after breaking up with his girlfriend because he thought she deserved better, and losing his cat to a coyote attack. Dominga and Nico feel so overwhelmed with the uncaring universe around them that they just want a way out of it: not suicide, that would be selfish, just a way to erase every speck of their exist... Read More

The Rim of the Morning: Great old school cosmic horror

The Rim of the Morning: Two Tales of Cosmic Horror by William Sloane

New York Review Books Classics has just packaged two novels by renowned author, editor and teacher William Sloane into a single offering, The Rim of the Morning: Two Tales of Cosmic Horror. Sloane is not an author I’d previously known, probably due to the fact that these stories are two of only three novels that he ever published. Stephen King contributes a short but impeccable introduction, providing a tight analysis of the stories and windows into Sloane’s background and style. Sloane wrote and edited primarily supernatural mystery/scifi, but is known in literary worlds as a writing teacher.

The first of these novels, To Walk the Night, is a Lovecraftian tale of the investigation into an a... Read More

Becoming Darkness: Plenty of thrills with nary a sparkle in sight

Becoming Darkness by Lindsay Francis Brambles

Becoming Darkness is the first of the HAVEN trilogy by debut author Lindsay Francis Brambles, a YA horror series which asks “What if the Nazis won WWII?” with the added twist of a global vampirism plague. It’s mostly quite good, with allusions to literary predecessors like Bram Stoker’s Dracula, and layers of complicity in nearly a century’s-worth of conspiracies. The overall concept is interesting and the narrative flows well, and many of the characters are engaging.

In this universe, Hitler and his Nazi scientists experimented with biological warfare, eventually unleashing a plague — the Gomorrah virus — which destroyed an already flu-ravaged global population. Most of those who didn’t die outright became vampires, requiring blood for sustenance and gaining immortality. The humans w... Read More

The King in Yellow: Weird stories that inspired H.P. Lovecraft

The King in Yellow by Robert W. Chambers

... It is well known how the book spread like an infectious disease, from city to city, from continent to continent, barred out here, confiscated there, denounced by Press and pulpit, censured by even the most advanced of literary anarchists... It could not be judged by any known standard, yet, although it was acknowledged that the supreme note of art had been struck in The King in Yellow, all felt that human nature could not bear the strain, nor thrive on the words in which the essence of purest poison lurked.

Robert W. Chambers was an American writer who was born in 1865. He studied art in Paris for a time, returning to the U.S. to be an artist and illustrator. He sold some drawings, then switched tracks and began writing. His first novel was called In the Quarter and was a partially biographical story set in Paris’s Latin Quarter, fol... Read More

Sunday Status Update: October 4, 2015

This week, Kvothe.

Kvothe: Ordinary week at the Waystone Inn. I poured drinks and washed glasses, shucked ears of corn and grilled steaks. I wiped the bar and fed the fire and dusted the mantel and slid ever closer to the collapse of my identity and the final ruin of my life's ambitions. You know. Same old, same old. There was one piece of interesting news this week, mind you. Apparently my story is going to be adapted into some kind of multimedia entertainment event, which Bast assures me is very prestigious. Apparently I'm going to be a play, and a sort of long-form serial, and also a game. I have no idea how they'll manage all that, seeing as most of what I recall is just me messing around at the University, but whatever the public wants, I suppose...

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Five Ghosts: The Haunting of Fabian Gray by Frank Barbiere and Chris Mooneyham

Five Ghosts: The Haunting of Fabian Gray by Frank Barbiere and Chris Mooneyham

Imagine your favorite pulp art from the covers and illustrations of adventure and fantasy stories. Now imagine this same style updated so that the artwork is consistent with a hint of contemporary polish plus wonderful, eye-grabbing color. Finally, imagine a comic book that tells an entire story with this artwork so that instead of the illustrations accompanying the text, the text accompanies the art. At that point, you will have imagined the first volume of Frank Barbiere’s Five Ghosts: The Haunting of Fabian Gray, which is illustrated by Chris Mooneyham, with colors provided by S. M. Vidaurri and Lauren Affe.
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Why You Should Read Comics: A Manifesto!

Why do I talk about comics so much? First, I love comics and want to spread the word. Second, I edit and write comic book reviews here at the Fantasy Literature Review Site, so they are always on my mind as a writing project. Third, I am an English Professor who teaches comic books in all courses, from Freshman Writing to Crime Fiction, so I am always studying them for class and talking about them with students. Finally, I visit local schools and libraries to educate students, parents, teachers, and librarians about the importance of comics, so I am always promoting them for educational reasons.

Why do I believe comics are so important for young readers? Many people give a fairly weak defense of comics for kids, a defense that goes something like this: "Some kids really don't like to read, and perhaps we can get them to read comics so that they don't give up reading altogether." As you can see, the assumption is that comics are, at best, a stepping-stone to "good" readi... Read More

The Sandman: Overture by Neil Gaiman and J. H. Williams III

The Sandman: Overture by Neil Gaiman and J. H. Williams III

Most monthly comics come out, well, monthly, but DC decided to drag out The Sandman: Overture and release it every other month, and that seemed reasonable given how long it takes for J. H. Williams III to create his exquisite artwork. However, the comic ended up taking a full year longer than announced — from October 2013 to October 2015. After the first three issues, I quit reading because I just couldn’t stand the anticipation. As of this week, however, nobody needs to wait again. All six issues of The Sandman: Overture have been completed and released. The collected trade edition won’t come out until mid... Read More

The Expanded Universe: Casual Othering and Literature of the Fantastic

Welcome to another Expanded Universe column where I feature essays from authors and editors of fiction, poetry, and non-fiction, as well as from established readers and reviewers. My guest today is Gabrielle Bellot. Gabrielle Bellot grew up in the Commonwealth of Dominica. She has contributed work to Guernica, Autostraddle, Prairie Schooner's Read More

Shadows of Self: A breezy weird Western romp that left us wanting just a bit more

Shadows of Self by Brandon Sanderson

Bill: Let’s see, last week in September. That means I’ve got to grade my first-years’ first essays. Call the guy to clean the gutters. Make sure the furnace and gas fireplace are set to go. And, oh yeah, it’s been a month, that must mean I have a new Brandon Sanderson novel to review. Yep, Shadows of Self, the second book in his second MISTBORN trilogy (or, if you prefer, the fifth book in the entire MISTBORN series). Apparently it’s due out in two weeks, which means I better get on this now or the third book will be out before I review the second (I swear, if Brandon Sanderson and Joyce Carol Oates ever had a child, their love child would be a high-speed printing press).

Interestingly enough, although this is, as I mentioned, the middle book of a second trilogy, my promotional material is te... Read More