Gene Wolfe on SFF


Two different breeds of dogs: Fantasy is a collie, and science fiction is a German shepherd.     Source: io9 Art: “Cities” by Edward...

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Why You Should Read… Daniel Abraham


If you’d like to contribute a column to this series, please contact Kat. Our latest guest to talk about a favourite and worthy author is none other than Aidan Moher, the brain...

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Great Bookstores: The Strand, New York City


Manhattan used to be a book-shopping mecca for me, with independent and used bookstores every other block. Alas, that is no longer the case, as I learned to my regret a few years...

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FanLit interviews Mike Resnick


We have with us today Mike Resnick. Mike  is one of the most acclaimed speculative fiction writers of all time and the author of hundreds of novels and short stories, most of...

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Recent Posts

Thoughtful Thursday: Identify last month’s covers!

Today’s covers all come from books we reviewed in March 2014. Once you identify a book cover, in the comment section list:

1. The number of the cover (1-12)
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

Ancillary Justice: This Nebula nominee is a book of big ideas in a bang-up adventure

Ancillary Justice by Ann Leckie

Wow! What a read! Ancillary Justice by Ann Leckie grabbed my attention from the first paragraphs, when Breq, a humanoid who was once a soldier, finds an unconscious body in the snow.
There was something itchingly familiar about that outthrown arm, the line from shoulder down to hip. But it was hardly possible I knew this person. I didn’t know anyone here. This was the icy back end of a cold and isolated planet, as far from Radchaai ideas of civilization as it was possible to be.
Breq appears to be a soldier and so does the figure in the snow, Seivarden. Seivarden is a drug addict coming off a high, and will only slow Breq down, but she helps Seivarden anyway.

These two characters have more in common than either of them first realize. Each is a lost soul. Seivarden was in a state of suspension for a thousand years, after the loss of a starship in a battle. Breq was Justice... Read More

Nightwings: One of Silverberg’s more charming creations

Nightwings by Robert Silverberg

Originally appearing as three separate but linked novellas in the pages of Galaxy magazine, Robert Silverberg's Nightwings was, remarkably, the author's 35th science fiction novel in 15 years; just one of six that he came out with in 1969 alone (the others being Across a Billion Years, the remarkable Downward to the Earth, Three Survived, To Live Again and Up the Line). Released during one of Silverberg's most prolific and highly creative phases, during which he pushed back the parameters of modern sci-fi and reveled in the genre's new lenient attitudes as regards sex, drugs, mind-expanding ideas and means of expression, the "fix-up novel" has proven to be one of the author's most popular, its initial section garnering the Hugo Award for best novella of that year, and deservedly so.

The story transpires on an Earth some 4... Read More

Pillar to the Sky: Optimistic and nostalgic

Pillar to the Sky by William R. Forstchen

While reading William R. Forstchen’s Pillar to the Sky, I kept thinking this is what would have happened if, back in the 1960’s, NASA had commissioned Arthur C. Clarke and Robert A. Heinlein to co-write a story that would get Americans excited about space exploration... and then forgot to send it to an editor. Pillar to the Sky has an exciting premise and an appealing nostalgic feel, but it’s marred by some annoying editorial issues.

The story is about a couple of innovative scientists — Ukranian Eva Morgan and her husband Gary Morgan — who want to build an equatorial space elevator à la Arthur C. Clarke’s in The Fountains of Paradise. The proposed “pillar” would make it easier and... Read More

A Stranger in Olondria: An exquisite tour of a world of danger, magic and beauty

A Stranger in Olondria by Sofia Samatar

In A Stranger in Olondria, Sofia Samatar takes us on a journey that is as familiar and foreign as a land in a dream. It’s a study of two traditions, written and oral, and how they intersect. Samatar uses exquisite language and precise details to craft a believable world filled with sight, sound and scent.

The book follows Jevick, who journeys from Bain, the Harbor City of the land of Olondria to a distant valley, on a quest to settle the ghost that haunts him. Along the way, he becomes a pawn between two warring political factions, and learns much about this strange land he is visiting.

Jevick is the second son of a wealthy pepper grower in the Tea Islands. His father brings back a tutor fr... Read More

Bluecrowne: Wonderful prose, compelling storyline, captivating main character

Bluecrowne by Kate Milford

In 2010, I put Kate Milford’s The Boneshaker on my list of favorite books of the year. In 2012, I put her The Broken Lands on my list of favorite books of the year. Well, another two years have passed, Milford is out with another story, and, well, you know the rest . . .

Though maybe not all the rest, as there’s a bit of a twist to her newest work, Bluecrowne. Like her last work, The Kairos Mechanism, this brief novel (220 pages) is part of her Arcana Project, a Kickstarter project to self-publish smaller stories that weave in and out of her BONESHAKER world, acting as both a sort of connecting tissue binding together the larger, traditionally published novels and as a tide-you-over gift to those of us impatiently waiting for those lar... Read More

Sky Raiders: A new children’s fantasy series by Brandon Mull

Sky Raiders by Brandon Mull

Sky Raiders is the first book in Brandon Mull’s new FIVE KINGDOMS series for Middle Grade readers. It’s about a boy named Cole who takes his friends, including a girl he has a crush on, to a haunted house on Halloween Night. The occupants of the house lure the kids into the basement where they’re abducted, taken to another world called The Five Kingdoms, and sold into slavery.

As you might guess, Cole feels a little guilty about this. He’s determined to escape and free his friends. He outwits enemies and battles giant snakes, scorpions, and even a cyclops. Then he finds an ally in a girl named Mira, a girl from the Five Kindgoms who is also a slave. Can Cole and Mira free Cole’s friends? Can Cole get back to Earth? Well, he does make some progress toward that end in Sky Raiders, but there’s plenty more to accomplish in the next volume of THE FIVE KINGDOMS.
... Read More

Expiration Day: Give it a pass

Expiration Day by William Campbell Powell

Expiration Day, by William Campbell Powell, was a book I almost didn’t bother finishing and only ended up doing so because of that added sense of obligation of having received it for free to review. Had I picked it up on my own, I almost certainly would have dropped it somewhere about halfway in. As usual, in these cases, this will be a relatively short review so as not to belabor the issue.

In 2049, humanity has all but died out and is racing to find a cure to this plague of infertility that has been around for some while now. Meanwhile, to give the race hope and meet the parenting instinct, “teknoids” (sophisticated androids) can be rented by couples to be brought up as their own child, with regularly scheduled “revisions” to mirror the physical development due to aging. Everyone knows this happens, but it’s considered ill manners to speak of it too bluntly, so nobody is ev... Read More

Magazine Monday: Apex Magazine, Issue 59

The April issue of Apex Magazine opens with Sigrid Ellis’s editorial, in which she explains that the issue is about repair: “It’s an often-broken world we inhabit. Things falter, plans and bodies and hopes go awry. But we, and the world, keep going. Rebuilt, repaired and reformed. The future will not look like the past. It’s out there, waiting for us, anyway.” They are hopeful words, appropriate to the Easter season, and the fiction Ellis gives us this month is equally hopeful.

“Perfect” by Haddayr Copley-Woods doesn’t start out hopefully, though: “Quinn hated everything.” An unhappy soul who includes herself in the everything she hates, Quinn nonetheless attracts would-be friends and lovers in droves, who “mistook her air of biting dislike alternating with weary resignation as intensity, romanticism, and a deep need for help and human compassion.” The one area in which she thrives is sci... Read More

Horrible Magazine Monday: Nightmare Magazine, April 2014

“Sleep Paralysis” by Dale Bailey is the opening story of the April 2014 issue of Nightmare, getting things off to a fine start. Bailey’s first person narrator, a skilled undertaker, has found comfort in his wife, beautiful and young, while he is plain and in the autumn of his years. The wife is extremely active in charity work, gone most days and many evenings, leaving her husband to work and spend nights at his club — a situation that has caused rumors that she married him solely for his money, and is engaged in rather more private charity than she admits to. The narrator refuses to give the rumors any credence, but they begin to weigh heavily upon him despite his resolve. Bailey writes in a formal style appropriate to the narrator’s profession and the time in which his story is set (which is never explicitly stated, but appears to be around the turn of the last century), setting the tone for a classic story with a fine twist at the... Read More