A chat with Karen Chance


We have with us today, Karen Chance, author of two extremely enjoyable fantasy series that I count among my personal favorites: the CASSANDRA PALMER and DORINA BASARAB...

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The Hunger Games: A cautionary tale


Readers’ average rating: The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins Suzanne Collins has already proven her talent for storytelling with her recently completed Gregor the Underlander...

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Our Favorite Fools


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

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Recent Posts

WWWednesday; August 31, 2016

Awards:

The Arthur C. Clarke Awards, Campbell Awards and the Theodore Sturgeon Awards were announced at WorldCon in Kansas City, Mo.

Children of Time by Adrian Tchaikovsky won the Arthur C Clarke Award for best novel. Find the complete list here.

Radiomen by Eleanor Lerman took with John W Campbell award for best science fiction novel published in 2015, While Kelly Link’s short story “A Game of Smash and Recovery” won the Theodore Sturgeon Award for best short fiction. Find the co... Read More

The Ghost and Mrs. Muir: As charming as the film, but deeper and wiser

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The Ghost and Mrs. Muir by R.A. Dick

If you were to ask me to name my top two or three favorite fantasy novels, the answer would take me a long time to come up with, given the overwhelming number of possible choices. But if you wanted to know my top two or three fantasy films, well, I could give you that reply fairly quickly. One of them would of course be The Wizard of Oz (1939), which I steadfastly maintain must be viewed on the big screen. Next up, for me, is The 5,000 Fingers of Dr. T (1953), co-created by Dr. Seuss himself. And third, a film that has been charming me (and millions of others) for decades now, 1947’s The Ghost and Mrs. Muir. The only one of these three to be shot completely in B&W, the film provided one of my very favorite actresses, Gene Tierney, with one of her greatest roles (Laura Hunt in 1944’s Laura and Ellen Berent ... Read More

The Ocean at the End of the Lane: An evocative return to childhood

Readers’ average rating:

Reposting to include Stuart's new review.

The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman

I’ll start by saying that I’m not hugely familiar with Neil Gaiman’s work. I’ve read Stardust and watched his two Doctor Who episodes… and that’s it. At first I wasn’t sure whether or not to absorb more of his work before tackling The Ocean at the End of the Lane, but decided against it for the sake of a fresh perspective. So consider this a review from someone who has very few preconceptions about Gaiman’s style and themes.

Our middle-aged protagonist (I don’t recall if we ever learn his name) recounts to us his movements after a family funeral. Instead of going to the wake he drives through Sussex to his childhood home where vague memories begin to stir. Going down a little country lane he arrives at the He... Read More

The Empty Ones: We laughed, we cringed, we kept turning pages

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The Empty Ones by Robert Brockway

The Empty Ones (2016) is suspenseful, scary, action-packed and occasionally gross. This is the second book in Robert Brockway’s THE VICIOUS CIRCUIT series, following 2015’s The Unnoticeables. The Empty Ones crackles with tension, and I found that several of the questions that plagued me at the end of Book One are answered here. By the end of this one, I am even more worried about young stuntwoman Kaitlyn than I was before.

The Empty Ones picks up the 2013 storyline just shortly after The Unnoticeables ended. Kaitlyn, her fr... Read More

The Unreal and the Real, Vol 2: Outer Space, Inner Lands

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The Unreal and the Real, Volume Two: Outer Space, Inner Lands by Ursula K. Le Guin

This is essential reading (or listening) for all fans of SF who want to see why Ursula K. Le Guin is one of the giants of the SF/fantasy field. Volume Two: Outer Space, Inner Lands contains a host of impressive stories, both her famous award-winners and lesser-known gems. All of them are intelligent, thought-provoking, understated, and beautifully written. It’s hard to underestimate the influence she has had on the genre, fans, and how much respect she has gained in the greater literary world. I can’t wait to see the upcoming documentary about her life and legacy being produced by Arwen Curry called Worl... Read More

SFM: Parker, Bova, Resnick, Porter

Short Fiction Monday: There is so much free or inexpensive short fiction available on the internet these days. Here are a few stories we read this week that we wanted you to know about. 




“Amor Vincit Omnia” by K.J. Parker (2010, free at Subterranean Press, republished in Academic Exercises, a short fiction anthology by K.J. Parker)

In a world where magic is considered a branch of natural philosophy and is practiced only by a secretive group of scholars, the normal order of things is upset when a rogue magician appears and starts violently murdering innocent villagers, displayin... Read More

I Am Providence: A smart, dark, funny Lovecraftian mystery

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I Am Providence by Nick Mamatas

“On any other weekend, my body would have been discovered more quickly.” 

Panos Panossian is not the kind of a guy to let the mere fact that he is dead stop him from narrating; even if his first-person narration starts after he’s been killed, and is a faceless corpse in a cabinet in the morgue. That quote is the opening sentence in I Am Providence, a multi-genrebending novel by Nick Mamatas.

Panossian is, well, was a novelist, and a novelist in a very specific niche with a very specific fandom; he wrote Lovecraftian fiction. He was attending the annual Summer Tentacular, a Lovecraft convention held in Providenc... Read More

Imprudence: Very similar to Prudence

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Imprudence by Gail Carriger

Imprudence is the second book in Gail Carriger’s CUSTARD PROTOCOL series, a spin-off of her popular PARASOL PROTECTORATE books and related to her wonderful young adult FINISHING SCHOOL series. I didn’t love the first CUSTARD PROTOCOL book, Prudence. I thought the plot was silly, the humor was too often forced, and the romance was dull. However, I loved the audiobook narration by the amazingly talented Moira Quirk, so I was happy to give the sequel, Imprudence, a try.

In this instalment, Pruden... Read More

Sunday Status Update: August 28, 2016

This week, Red Sonja explains the name of her sword.

Red Sonja: People keep asking me the name of my sword. They seem to think it should have some very heroic-sounding name. And I keep telling them that no, it doesn't have a name. What, do woodsmen have to name their axes now? Do farmers have to name their sickles? Maybe the nobility can start naming their favorite goblets? But no, my situation is different for some reason, or so I have to judge by the fact that when I returned from the latest job (covered in slime and griffin blood, I might add) I found that the whole village had taken it upon themselves to name my mighty, griffin-slaying sword. Oh, there were plenty of contenders. There was the artsy contingent that wanted Whisper or Sorrow, and there were the bombastic sorts that wanted Corpsemaker or Hellsbane. Then you had that extremely dotty young woman who ... Read More

The Sandman: Overture by Neil Gaiman & J.H. Williams III

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Editor's note: Won the 2016 Hugo Award for Best Graphic Story

Reposting to include Stuart's new review:

The Sandman: Overture by Neil Gaiman & J.H. Williams III

Most monthly comics come out, well, monthly, but DC decided to drag out The Sandman: Overture and release it every other month, and that seemed reasonable given how long it takes for J. H. Williams III to create his exquisite artwork. However, the comic ended up taking a full year longer than announced — from October 2013 to October 2015. After the first three issues, I quit rea... Read More