A chat with Ann Aguirre


We have with us today Ann Aguirre, national bestselling author of science fiction and fantasy who is also the romance novelist, Ava Gray whose Skin Games hits shelves today. Ann...

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Naamah’s Kiss: Carey’s prose is as lush and sensual as ever


Readers’ average rating: Naamah’s Kiss by Jacqueline Carey In Naamah’s Kiss, Jacqueline Carey returns to the world she created in the Kushiel’s Legacy series,...

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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...

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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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Recent Posts

Thoughtful Thursday: 2017 Books We Can’t Wait For! (giveaway)

Is it too late to wish you a Happy New Year?

If you're anything like me your new year resolutions may have already fallen by the wayside. In fact, is it just me, or is there an end of January slump in the air?

But chin up! All the signs suggests they'll be plenty of excellent fantasy literature in the year ahead. Here are the books we can't wait for in 2017.

Hover over the covers to see what our reviewers said about each book.



No cover yet: Saladin Ahmed's The Thousand And One. Kevin says: Saladin Ahmed’s Hugo-nominated Throne of the Crescent Moon had some great worldbuilding and political intrigue, so I’m dying to see what comes in this sequel.

Which books are you looking forward to in 2017... Read More

Citadel: A satisfying novel for those familiar with Mosse’s style

Readers’ average rating:

Citadel
by Kate MosseI have a strange relationship with books by Kate Mosse. On the one hand, I love the atmosphere and descriptive qualities of her work — it transports you to the south of France in vivid prose; filled with the sights, sounds and smells of another time and place. She clearly loves the history and ambience of the Languedoc, and every page is filled with sensory detail.

On the other hand, Mosse's plots are slow and rambling, packed full of extraneous details and unnecessary subplots. Often chapters can go by where nothing particularly interesting or important happens, and with a little ruthless editing I'm sure each book's length could be halved.

So is the way her story told worth the story itself? Well, everyone's going to have a different opinion on that, but for what it'... Read More

This Year’s Class Picture: A scene from a zombie apocalypse

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This Year’s Class Picture by Dan Simmons

Sci-fi and horror master Dan Simmons has only one real character in this short story: Ms. Geiss, dedicated fourth-grade teacher extraordinaire. She seems to be one of the very few remaining humans following the frequently mentioned, but never-explained, “Tribulations” that had some role in creating an environment where zombies roam the planet.

This Year’s Class Picture opens rather bluntly:
Ms. Geiss watched her new student coming across the first-graders’ playground from her vantage point on the balcony of the school’s belfry. She lowered the barrel of the Remington .30-06 until the child was centered in the crosshairs of the telescopic sight.
But don’t get Ms. Geiss wrong. All of her students are zombies... Read More

WWWednesday; January 18, 2017

I don’t read Wil Wheaton’s blog very often, but the other day I did, and I found this. Philomena Cunk is too wonderful not to share.



Awards:

Yikes! Only two days left on this one; the James White Award is still open for entries, and winner are published in Interzone. The award is open to not-yet-professional writers and the word length is 6,000 words.

The winners of the Stabby Awards for 2017 were announced, and Pierce Brown won for best novel with Morningstar.

Books and Writing:

 

Friendly Robots



Winter is coming, maybe, someday. Read More

Eye in the Sky: Very early PKD

Readers’ average rating:

Reposting to include Sandy's new review.



Eye in the Sky by Philip K. Dick

Jack Hamilton has just lost his job as an engineer for a government defense contractor because his wife Marsha is a suspected communist sympathizer. Having nothing better to do for the afternoon, he accompanies Marsha to the viewing of a new linear accelerator. An accident at the accelerator beams the Hamiltons and six other unsuspecting citizens into a parallel universe that at first appears to be their world but soon starts to evince subtle differences that become more and more obvious as time goes on. There is some sort of “corny Arab religion” at work — God is all justice and no mercy so, for example, telling a lie brings down an immediate curse such as a bee sting.

There are miracles here that can be taken advantage of, such as a cigarette machine that Jack, a darn ... Read More

SFM: Carroll, Dick, Howard, Schanoes, Divya

Short Fiction Monday appears on a Tuesday this week! This week's roundup of free short SFF on the internet contains some great old and new stories.




“The Stolen Church” by Jonathan Carroll (2009, free at Conjunctions, also in The Woman Who Married a Cloud: The Collected Short Stories)

Tina and Stanley, married for five years, are in the lobby of a nondescript apartment building, waiting for an elevator to take them up to visit his parents. The only problem is, Stanley’s parents are dead. Tina can’t understand what Stanley is thinking, ... Read More

Ender’s Shadow: Ender’s Game from Bean’s perspective

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Ender’s Shadow by Orson Scott Card

Ender’s Game was a SF book so successful and critically acclaimed that it launched Orson Scott Card’s career for decades to come. In fact, it’s fair to say that the story of Ender Wiggins is one of the most popular SF novels the genre has ever produced, to the point of getting the full-budget Hollywood treatment in 2013 (grossing $125 million on a budget of around $110-115 million) with A-listers such as Harrison Ford and Ben Kingsley, but receiving mixed critical reviews.

Not one to miss a commercial opportunity, Card has returned the favor, producing a whopping 15 Ender-related books with more in the works apparently. I read Ender’s Game Read More

Her Fearful Symmetry: Needed more substance than the ghosts

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

Reposting to include Rebecca's new review.

Her Fearful Symmetry by Audrey Niffenegger

Two sets of twins, a disillusioned husband, a grieving boyfriend, one ghost. The lives of Her Fearful Symmetry’s characters are as tangled as they sound, in a drama that will play out amongst the tombstones of Highgate Cemetery. A sticker on the front reminds potential readers that Niffenegger is the author of The Time Traveler’s Wife. Yet let that be the first and last time Niffenegger’s debut novel is mentioned. Her Fearful Symmetry is described as a ‘delicious and deadly ghost story,’ and should be judged in and of itself.

We o... Read More

Mixed Magics: A short story anthology for Chrestomanci fans

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Mixed Magics by Diana Wynne Jones

Mixed Magics (2000) is comprised of four short stories set in the fantasy worlds of Diana Wynne Jones's CHRESTOMANCI; an enchanter responsible for the proper use of magic wielded by the various witches, warlocks, sorcerers and enchanters prevalent throughout his world (and several others). Although the stories are readable enough by themselves, filled with Wynne Jones's trademark humour and originality, it's best if you're already familiar with her previous work in the series, these tales being filled with plenty of in-jokes and cameo appearances.

It starts off lightly with "Warlock at the Wheel", concerning a hapless warlock who inadvertently kidnaps a little girl and her dog after he steals a car. The most humorous ... Read More

The Shadow of the Torturer: SFF’s greatest and most challenging epic

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Reposting to include Stuart's review of THE BOOK OF THE NEW SUN epic.

The Shadow of the Torturer by Gene Wolfe

For those of you enjoy audiobooks, this is the perfect time to finally read (or to re-read) Gene Wolfe's The Shadow of the Torturer. Audible Frontiers recently put it on audio and the excellent Jonathan Davis is the reader.

The Shadow of the Torturer introduces Severian, an orphan who grew up in the torturer's guild. Severian is now sitting on a throne, but in this first installment of The Book of the N... Read More