Rob Chats with Alex Bledsoe


Retired reviewer Robert Rhodes recently had a chat with Alex Bledsoe, author of the EDDIE LACROSSE MYSTERIES and the MEMPHIS VAMPIRES novels. His third EDDIE LACROSSE novel, Dark...

Read More
The Snow Child: On the Edge


Readers’ average rating: The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey [In our Edge of the Universe column, we review mainstream authors that incorporate elements of speculative fiction into...

Read More
The Mechanical Other


Matt Perkins is a Canadian author, software developer, musician, and all-around decent human being. His first novel, the alternate-Earth sci-fi thriller Winterwakers, is currently...

Read More
SUBSCRIBE!


Sign up to receive our notifications by email. We promise not to spam you or give your email address to anybody else. (That would be mean!!) You can easily unsubscribe at any...

Read More

Recent Posts

Thoughtful Thursday: Why do people hate fantasy… but still love Harry Potter?

Bestselling author Kazuo Ishiguro isn’t known for writing fantasy, so when his novel The Buried Giant featured, among other surprising things, ogres, it caused quite a stir. Ishiguro commented on the reaction:

“I was slightly shocked by the level of prejudice, sheer prejudice, against ogres ... I couldn't understand it. It’s just another imaginary thing, like any other imaginary thing.”

Well Mr Ishiguro, I share your perplexity. Among my friends I am the only one who openly admits to a preference ... Read More

The British Superhero: More heroes than you can shake a cape at!

Readers’ average rating:

The British Superhero
by Chris Murray

One certainly cannot fault Chris Murray on his research for The British Superhero (2017), and one’s reaction to it will probably depend on just how exhaustive a look at the topic one desires. I’ll confess that at times my eyes glazed a bit at some of the summaries of the more obscure storylines, especially those that lasted only a single issue or two, but despite those occasional moments, the book is an informative exploration of an often over-looked realm of superhero comics.

Murray moves in chronological order for the most part, beginning not with superheroes but with their precursors in the 19th Century and early 20th Century, after a quick little skim of the usual basic introductory sort of material every comic non-fiction work is obligated to cover: various definitions of “superhero,” reference t... Read More

Ace in the Hole: WILD CARDS gets back on track

Readers’ average rating:

Ace in the Hole edited by George R.R. Martin

Ace in the Hole (1990), the sixth WILD CARDS mosaic novel, is a vast improvement over the last two novels (Aces Abroad and Down and Dirty). Down and Dirty, especially, lacked cohesion due to George R.R. Martin’s lack of editorial control over his authors, something he laments in that book’s afterword. I suspect the experience was a good lesson because he’s fixed the issue in Ace in the Hole. You’d never know the story was written by several different authors ( Read More

WWWednesday: March 29, 2017

Today’s word for Wednesday is the noun poltroon, meaning coward. Its origins appear to be Middle French and/or Middle Italian. It may be descended from a Middle French world for a foal or a baby animal (implying frailty and skittishness?) It first appeared about 1520. It is not to be confused to pontoon, which is a floating structure or part of a seaplane.

Awards:

This is from February: Charlie Jane Anders won the Crawford Award at this year’s International Conference for the Fantastical in the Arts (ICFA), for All the Birds in the Sky.

City of Miracles by Robert Jackson Bennett



New Releases:

Here are some books we’re excited ... Read More

Silence Fallen: Mercy gets a free trip to Europe

Readers’ average rating: 

Silence Fallen by Patricia Briggs

It’s pirating night in the werewolf house, and Mercy, a coyote skinwalker married to Adam, the handsome Alpha of the Columbia Basin werewolf pack, quickly gets killed out of the werewolf pack's computer-based pirate LARP game. She heads to the kitchen to make a double-quadruple batch of chocolate chip cookies for the pack (her habit of baking treats after being exiting the game having more than a little to do with why someone always kills her off early in these games). Only, there are no eggs in the house, even though she’d had four dozen in the fridge two days ago. Werewolves are a hungry bunch. So Mercy makes a quick run to the local convenience store. Her last memory is getting hit by the airbags in her SUV.

When Mercy wakes up, she's imprisoned and alone in a strange, metallic-sheeted room, covered with her own blood but otherwise uninjured, if w... Read More

The Yiddish Policeman’s Union: How can one resist?

Readers’ average rating:

Reposting to include Stuart's new review.

The Yiddish Policeman’s Union by Michael Chabon

[In our Edge of the Universe column, we review mainstream authors that incorporate elements of speculative fiction into their “literary” work. However you want to label them, we hope you’ll enjoy discussing these books with us.]

Michael Chabon’s The Yiddish Policeman’s Union is (breathe in) an alternate history science fiction noir police procedural that won plaudits from the literary mainstream as well as several top honors from the science fiction community (breathe out).

There’s a great deal going on, but perhaps it’s best to introduce the setting. In this alternate history, America created a temp... Read More

Carmilla: If you’re not an 1800s-horror expert, it’s better with a little homework

Readers’ average rating:

Carmilla by Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu

Editor's note: Carmilla is free in Kindle format because it's in the public domain.

Giving Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu’s Carmilla (1872) a 4-star rating feels a bit like critiquing my cat’s life choices. Sure, she could act more like a cat, and she could definitely make more sense from time to time — but ultimately, I love her and that ought to be enough.

Carmilla truly begins when Carmilla (surprise) arrives somewhat suddenly at the summer home of Laura and her father. It’s a picturesque manse on a ... Read More

Kings of the Wyld: Getting the band back together

Readers’ average rating: Comment Reviews for this post are disabled. Please enable it first

Kings of the Wyld by Nicholas Eames

When Clay Cooper returns home from work to find his old friend, Gabriel, waiting on him, he knows something is wrong. He learns that Gabe's headstrong daughter has run off to be a mercenary and ended up in a city besieged by an overwhelming horde of monsters. Gabe is now desperate to get their "band," Saga, back together and go save her. Saga used to be the most famous mercenary band ever. Tales of Slowhand Clay, Golden Gabe, Arcandius Moog, Matrick Skulldrummer, and Ganelon are still told in the pubs throughout the kingdom to this day.

However, that was many years ago, and they're no longer the young men they used to be. Clay, in particular, has happily retired to a quiet life in the country with his wife and daughter. So, with great reluctance Clay turns his best friend down. But later,... Read More

SFM: Barthelme, McGuire, Hurley, Wong, Vaughn, Anders, Headley, Shawl, Bolander, Walton, El-Mohtar, Valente, Dick

Short Fiction Monday: Our weekly exploration of free or inexpensive short fiction available on the internet. Here are a few stories we read this week that we wanted you to know about. 


“Report” by Donald Barthelme (1967, originally published in the New Yorker, free at Jessamyn.com (reprinted by permission), also collected in Sixty Stories)
“Our group is against the war. But the war goes on. I was sent to Cleveland to talk to the engineers. The engineers were meeting in Cleveland. I was supposed to persuade them not to do what they were going to do.”
“Report,” by Donald Barthelme, was published in the New Y... Read More

The Wrong Dead Guy: The crispest comic dialogue I’ve read in a long, long time

Readers’ average rating:

The Wrong Dead Guy by Richard Kadrey

Even if Richard Kadrey’s The Wrong Dead Guy (2017) didn’t have an elephant, a library and a grumpy mummy, I would love it for the comedic dialogue. This book has some of the crispest comic dialogue (not just banter) I’ve read in a very long time, maybe ever.

The Wrong Dead Guy is the second book in Kadrey’s ANOTHER COOP HEIST series. Cooper, who goes by Coop, is a thief specializing in magical items. He is immune to magic, which also means that he cannot wield it. His girlfriend Giselle, who works for the Department of Peculiar Science (DOPS), does use magic though, and sometimes Coop works with a ghost named Phil, who rides in Coop’s head during the heist.

Right now,... Read More