Great Bookstores: Singularity in Brooklyn


A few  years ago, FanLit reviewer Terry Weyna eloquently sung the praises of The Strand, the pride and joy of all literate New Yorkers. I myself have spent countless hours there,...

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Taran Wanderer: Thought-provoking, timeless


Taran Wanderer by Lloyd Alexander In many ways, this fourth book in Lloyd Alexander’s The Chronicles of Prydain is the odd one out. It is the only story that does not pit our...

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Silver Surfer: Requiem


Silver Surfer: Requiem by J. Michael Straczynski (writer) and Esad Ribic (artist) I truly enjoy Marvel’s cosmic characters, and Silver Surfer is one of my favorites. The...

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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: What’s the best book you read last month?

It's the first Thursday of the month. You know what that means. Time to report!

What is the best book you read in February 2015 and why did you love it? It doesn't have to be a newly published book, or even SFF. We just want to share some great reading material. Feel free to post a full review of the book here, or a link to the review on your blog, or just write a few sentences about why you thought it was awesome.

(And don't forget that we always have plenty more reading recommendations on our Fanlit Faves page and our 5-Star SFF page. And we've also got a constantly updating list of new and forthcoming releases.)

As always, one commenter will choose a book from Read More

The Magicians’ Guild: A simple but engaging story of class conflict

The Magicians’ Guild by Trudi Canavan

The first installment of Trudi Canavan’s THE BLACK MAGICIAN trilogy, The Magicians’ Guild is the story of a young girl, Sonea, who discovers that she possesses magical abilities. As a lower class street girl living in the slums of the imaginary city of Imardin with her aunt and uncle, Sonea’s life has been one of destitution and hatred of the city’s snobbish upper class. Every year, the magicians of Imardin hold a Purge, during which they sweep the streets of Imardin in an attempt to eliminate beggars and vagabonds. Unsurprisingly, the masses of Imardin have never been particularly taken up with the idea, so one day, Sonea, burning with loathing of the Magicians’ Guild, throws a rock at a thaumaturge. Protected by magical shields, the magicians of Imardin never expected to be in ... Read More

Black Sun Rising: Unique worldbuilding and science fantasy

Black Sun Rising by C.S. Friedman

Black Sun Rising is the first novel in C.S. Friedman’s popular COLDFIRE trilogy. I read Dominion, the prequel novella, a couple of years ago after reading (and loving) several of her science fiction novels. I admire Friedman’s worldbuilding and her writing style.

The COLDFIRE trilogy feels like traditional epic fantasy, but it would best be categorized as science fantasy because it takes place in the far future on Erna, a planet colonized by humans looking for a habitable world. When they got to this world, they discovered that natural laws work differently. Some force, which they call the “Fae,” feeds on human fears and uses those “vibes” (my word) to influence evolution. This means, for example, that creatures that aren’t r... Read More

Magi’i of Cyador: Excellent politics, worldbuilding, and familiar characters

Magi'i of Cyador by L.E. Modesitt Jr.

The nice things about L.E. Modesitt Jr.'s long-running RECLUCE series is that once you are familiar with the timeline you can reread them in pretty much any order you like. There are never more than two books with the same main character. Mind you, for the first read-through, publication order is still the best order to read them as Modesitt refines his Order/Chaos-based system of magic over time. Once in a while I reread one of these books; I call this my random RECLUCE rereads. All of the early RECLUCE books are written from the Black, Ordermage side of things. Starting from the 8th book onwards (The White Order) Modesitt changes the series around on the reader and writes four books with a focus on White (Chaos) oriented characters. These are some of th... Read More

WWWebsday: March 4, 2015

On this day in 1918, The USS Cyclops departs from Barbados and is never seen again, presumably lost with all hands in the Bermuda Triangle.

Peter Pan illustration, by Alice Bolingbroke Woodward (1907)

Writing, Editing, and Publishing:
A new SFF bookstore might be coming to Charlotte, NC, if it is funded by this Thursday via Kickstarter. Regis Murphy has a dream to open a bookstore and bar called "Worlds of Wonder," and it sounds pretty fabulous. He also makes a good case for why we need more indie bookstores, something I'm 100% on board with. Support this Kickstarter and help open a haven of nerddom or, as Murphy calls it, "a geek's dream hangout" in Charlotte.

In other bookstore news, Borderlands in San Francisco gained its r... Read More

Dragons at Crumbling Castle: Less fun than I expected

Dragons at Crumbling Castle: And Other Tales by Terry Pratchett

Dragons at Crumbling Castle is a collection of fourteen stories written by Terry Pratchett and illustrated by Mark Beech. Each page of the books is covered in wacky fonts or scribbles to emphasize certain words and phrases, and the lines of print are double-spaced to promote easy reading for young eyes. The entire book is clearly engineered for elementary school readers. The stories were written when Pratchett was a teenager, working for his local newspaper; Pratchett writes in the Introduction that he touched them up a little before publication, though much of the weakness of style and craft which are to be expected from such an immature writer still remain.

The tales themselves are enjoyable, I suppose, though I think I would have appreciated the silliness and r... Read More

Hollow City: I wanted to love it, but ended up only liking it

Hollow City by Ransom Riggs

Hollow City picks up almost immediately after the events of Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, the first book in the MISS PEREGRINE’S PECULIAR CHILDREN series. From the very beginning Hollow City is an action-packed adventure in all the places that the first book was a thoughtful, eerie mystery. I enjoyed the change of pace Ransom Riggs set in this sequel, though this new territory brought with it its own problems. (Please note: this review will contain spoilers throughout due to the mysterious nature of the first book. Some points I will be discussing were not known until most of the way through Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children but I have found them integral to talking about Hollow City... Read More

The Demolished Man: The first Hugo Award winner

The Demolished Man by Alfred Bester

If I had read The Demolished Man back in 1952 when it was first published, I would have given it 5 stars, no question. But in 2014, with 60 years of refinements in the genre, it suffers from some very dated dialogue and characterization, and some really condescending portrayals of women. I'm afraid the present value of the book is 4 stars.

Having said that, The Demolished Man remains an impressively-imagined story of a future society shared by telepaths and normals, and the attempt by wealthy megalomaniac industrialist Ben Reich to stage and get away with murder in a society where the police and many others can read thoughts and memories. It's an exciting and pulpy adventure, and presages the cyberpunk genre by over 30 years (William Gibson’s Neuromancer Read More

A Place Called Armageddon: Deftly written historical fiction

A Place Called Armageddon by C.C. Humphreys

“I am Constantine Palaiologos, emperor, son of Caesars. I am a baker, a ropewright, a fisherman, a monk, a merchant. I am a soldier. I am Roman. I am Greek. I am two thousand years old. I was born in freedom only yesterday. This is my city, Turk. Take it if you can.”

In C.C. Humphreys’ novel A Place Called Armageddon, it’s 1453, and the Byzantine Empire is an empire only in name. Its last bastion is Constantinople and the brilliant, arrogant young sultan of the Ottoman Empire, Mehmet II, has his sights set on it, set on completing his father Murad’s work in eliminating his Greco-Christian foes once and for all. Murad was everything his son was not — statesman, soldier, commander — and Mehmet’s accession to the throne saw him immediately shadowed by his father... Read More

GIVEAWAY! Inside a Silver Box by Walter Mosley

Our friends at Tor want you to know about Inside a Silver Box by Walter Mosley, so they've got hardback copies for three of our readers who have a mailing address in the US. To enter, simply fill out the form below the book blurb. Please submit only one request. We'll randomly pick three winners within the next 2 weeks and email you to let you know your book is on its way.

Here's info about Inside a Silver Box. We hope it's going to be awesome! (Marion will be reviewing it soon.)
INSIDE A SILVER BOX by Walter Mosley

“In this terrific genre-defying work, … [w]ild concepts and deep thoughts sit comfortably alongside the musings of ordinary people undergoing radical changes in this top-notch tale.” —Publishers Weekly Starred Review
“Fans of Mosley’s brand of sf — big ideas, careful... Read More