A chat with Carrie Vaughn


FanLit welcomes our regular guest Stephen Frank. He’s a big fan of Carrie Vaughn’s KITTY NORVILLE series and he had a chance to talk with her about the newest installment...

Read More
The Vampire Lestat: The seminal work of vampire fiction since Stoker


Readers’ average rating: The Vampire Lestat by Anne Rice Anne Rice’s second vampire novel is both a prequel and a sequel to her original story Interview with the Vampire....

Read More
Against Speculative Poetry?


Welcome to another Expanded Universe column where I’ll be featuring essays from authors and editors of fiction, poetry, and non-fiction, as well as from established readers and...

Read More
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...

Read More

Recent Posts

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

Readers’ average rating:

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

Readers’ average rating:

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

The Obelisk Gate: The weight of history crushes the present

Readers’ average rating:

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 exposition, so readers should plan to read this series in chronological order.

The Fifth Season was told t... Read More

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

Readers’ average rating:

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

Readers’ average rating:

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

All These Worlds Are Yours: The Scientific Search for Alien Life

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

All These Worlds Are Yours: The Scientific Search for Alien Life by Jon Willis

All These Worlds Are Yours: The Scientific Search for Alien Life (2016), by Jon Willis, is structured around a simple proposition: if you had four billion dollars to spend (Willis explains why that number late in the book) to seek out non-terrestrial life, where would it make the most sense to spend it? Willis gives his readers a head start by narrowing their choices at the outset to five "plausible scenarios:"

Mars (of course)
Europa
Enceladus
Titan
An exoplanet

Willis begins by offering up a relatively quick but sufficiently detailed overview of the conditions that apparently were necessary for life on Earth (liquid water, magnetic field, atmosphere... Read More

SFM: Liu, Bisson, Kowal, Landis

Short Fiction Monday: There is so much free or inexpensive short fiction available on the internet these days. In honor of the just-ended MidAmeriCon II and the awarding of the 2016 Hugos, this week's reviews are all past Hugo award winners that are available to read free online.


“Mono No Aware” by Ken Liu (2012, originally published in The Future is Japanese anthology, reprinted 2013 and free online at Lightspeed, Read More

The Sunlight Pilgrims: Chills to the bone

Readers’ average rating:

The Sunlight Pilgrims by Jenni Fagan

The premise of Jenni Fagan’s 2016 novel, The Sunlight Pilgrims, is entirely plausible: in the not-so-far-off future of November 2020, winter has descended upon the globe, the Gulf Stream is both slowing and cooling, a gigantic iceberg is making its way from Norway to Scotland, and the Thames is overflowing from the extra water created by melting polar ice caps. Rather than focus on climatologists or environmental and economic protestors, however, Fagan presents three average people and the ways their lives intertwine and change as they try to survive the worst winter on record.

Until recently, Dylan McRae lived in a Soho art-house movie theatre with his mother and grandmother, distilling homemade gin and sharing the joys of classic cinema with their dwindling patrons. Both women have died, unfortunately, and... Read More