Stacia Kane talks about her Personal Demons and Unholy Ghosts


Beth Johnson interviews Stacia Kane, author of Personal Demons. Beth: So for starters… one of the things I really loved about Personal Demons was Megan. She was a good, strong...

Read More
Shadrach in the Furnace: Boundless imagination


Shadrach in the Furnace by Robert Silverberg As America celebrated its bicentennial year in 1976, sci-fi great Robert Silverberg was, by all reports, feeling not a little “burnt...

Read More
The Battle of Blood and Ink


The Battle of Blood and Ink by Jared Axelrod (author), Steve Walker (illustrator) The Battle of Blood and Ink: A Fable of the Flying City is a graphic novel by author Jared...

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

Kat Chats with Xe Sands (and gives away something)

Xe Sands (pronounced EK-see) is one of my favorite audiobook narrators. She performs in many genres, but I’m mostly familiar with her SFF titles such as Juliet Blackwell’s books, Jeff VanderMeer’s Acceptance, and Kelly Meding’s DREG CITY series. I’ve read several online interviews with Xe in which I learned all sorts of interesting Read More

Mother of Eden: Birth pangs of a new human civilization

Mother of Eden by Chris Beckett

Mother of Eden, Chris Beckett’s sequel to Dark Eden, was thoughtful, complicated, and engrossing. Starlight Brooking lives with her people, the almost monastic Kneefolk, on Knee Tree Ground, a secluded island on Eden, a planet dominated by water. The Kneefolk make their living by trading bark boats with a few of the settlements nearby and staying out of the way of either Johnsfolk or Davidfolk, the two dominant, antagonistic human civilizations on Eden (the story of which schism is told in the first book). Kneefolk are peaceful, democratic, and content — all except for Starlight, who is unhappy with the secluded nature of her life. Like many young protagonists at the beginning of their story, she itches for something bigger, feeling as though she is destined for more important things than just endless harvesting of bark and daily meditation o... Read More

Igraine the Brave: A sweet feminist children’s story

Igraine the Brave by Cornelia Funke

After finishing The Thief Lord, my daughter and I wanted to read more Cornelia Funke (pronounced “FOONK-ah”) so we picked up Igraine the Brave, a short novel that we listened to in audio format.

Igraine is a 12 year old girl who lives in a castle complete with a moat, drawbridge, stone lions and gargoyles, and lots of spiders (Igraine hates spiders). Her parents are famous magicians and her older brother is training with them. Igraine has no use for magic, though. She wants to be a knight. She gets her chance when her parents accidentally turn themselves into pigs just as the castle is under siege by enemy forces. The only way to turn her parents back into humans so they can protect the castle with their magic spells, is to make a potion t... Read More

Kitty and the Midnight Hour: A Denver DJ with a little extra bite

Kitty and the Midnight Hour by Carrie Vaughn

Kitty Norville is a radio DJ that hosts a late night talk show about various paranormal topics. She often gets strange calls from the very subjects she talks about. She usually ends up giving out advice to these callers since they have very few options for advice available to them. As a werewolf herself, Kitty is in a unique position to dispense helpful information to those that need it. Her show became popular and that did not sit too well with some key players in her life. Her own pack was made jealous of her success and that created tension in the ranks that she is forced to deal with. Not to mention the vampires, werewolf hunters, and other denizens of the night she has managed to irritate with her openness of sensitive topics. All of these things make Kitty Norville’s life complicated and scary.

I’m a big fan of the Mercedes Thompson series by Read More

The Sleeper and the Spindle: Another treat from a favourite storyteller

The Sleeper and the Spindle by Neil Gaiman

Neil Gaiman's latest offering defies the conventions of your typical fairy tale not just in content but format as well. You won't be able to sit down and read this to your child in one sitting as despite the multiple illustrations, for the story is lengthy and the font small.

Perhaps then it's better described as a fairy tale for adults, though I've always shied away from putting age restrictions on these types of stories. Let's go with calling it an illustrated short story that will be highly enjoyed by people of all ages with an interest in dark and twisted fairy tales.

The Queen of a faraway land is about to be married, at least until the arrival of three dwarfs bringing her news of events in the neighbouring kingdom. A sleeping curse has been laid upon a fair princess, but rather than the spell remaining confined to the castle in which she slumbers, it ... Read More

Spellcasting in Silk: Another great audio installment

Spellcasting in Silk by Juliet Blackwell

Think of Juliet Blackwell’s WITCHCRAFT MYSTERY series as paranormal cozy mysteries. Each stands alone and deals with a relatively non-gory murder committed by a seemingly upstanding member of the San Francisco Haight-Ashbury community where Lily Ivory owns a vintage clothing shop. Being a witch, Lily has some amateur detective skills that Carlos Romero, the handsome local homicide detective, finds helpful. In each installment, Lily, who can be a little nosey (as any amateur detective is), helps solve the case. As the series advances, new characters are added, Lily’s business grows, and her love life evolves. Although each murder mystery stands alone, I recommend reading the WITCHCRAFT MYSTERIES in order so that you don’t miss Lily’s character development.

I would also highly (highly!) recommend that you read these in audio format, even if you’re ... Read More

Slow Bullets: Small, but packs a punch

Slow Bullets by Alastair Reynolds

Slow Bullets
is the latest addition to Alastair Reynolds’ impressive body of work, a slim novella which he manages to fill with plausible far-future technology, interstellar war, and questions of identity and legacy.

Scurelya “Scur” Timsuk Shunde is a soldier for the Peripheral Systems, which are at war with the Central Worlds. One of the central points of conflict are the Books which each side holds sacred; while never explicitly named, the Books share several common tenets, and are clearly religious in nature. This war has gone on for a long time, ranging across countless star systems, but a ceasefire has finally been declared. Of course, after extended periods of conflict, it can be difficult to convince people that peace has been achieved. Orvin, a vicious war criminal who is wanted by both sides, captures Scur and implants a modified “slow bu... Read More

Dark Eden: Lord of the Flies in Space

Dark Eden by Chris Beckett

Chris Beckett’s Dark Eden has a backstory to rival the book of Genesis. Several generations ago, two humans, Tommy and Gela, survived a crash-landing on a planet without a sun. The planet was not devoid of life or light, though; glowing plants and animals survived by feeding off of the planet’s thermal energy. On this new planet, which they called Eden, Tommy and Gela have children, becoming the Adam and Eve of a new race of humans.

Now, generations later, their progeny, several dozen people, many of whom are afflicted with birth defects and called “batfaces” or “clawfeet,” live huddled together in a relatively safe area of Eden, frightened to explore beyond the snowy mountains or deep waters that border their land. A young man, John Redlantern, wants to change that. Defying the orders of the clan’s leader, David, the charismatic John gathers a group of dissenters... Read More

Sunday Status Update: July 5, 2015

On the road again this week, so character update is on break.

Brad: This week I read and reviewed the first volume of The Tarot Cafe by Sang-Sun Park. I’ve also been reading some short stories by Harlan Ellison (it seems like I’m always finding my way back to his short stories). I’m also reading The Greater Trumps by Charles Williams, because I’ll read just about anything that involves tarot cards! In comics, I’ve just started Batman Eternal, a recently-ended weekly series put out by DC. I’m also enjoying some old Dr. Fate comics, too. Rachel Pollack has been teaching me about Tarot cards through several of her works, including Tarot Wisdom. And I’ve been greatly moved by Read More

Shadow Show: Stories in Celebration of Ray Bradbury by various authors and artists

Shadow Show: Stories in Celebration of Ray Bradbury by various authors and artists

Shadow Show is a graphic adaptation of a previously released anthology of the same name. That collection rounded up a host of well-known authors and asked them to write original stories inspired by and/or as a tribute to Ray Bradbury. The graphic version, which uses just a few of the stories from the original anthology, includes:

“By the Silver Waters of Lake Champlain” by Joe Hill
“The Man Who Forgot Ray Brad... Read More