Stephen chats with Anton Strout


We are pleased today to welcome Anton Strout, author of the Simon Canderous urban fantasy series.  His latest novel, Dead Matter, goes on sale today. Mr. Strout has graciously...

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Under Heaven: Award-worthy


Under Heaven by Guy Gavriel Kay  Under Heaven is the long-awaited new novel by master fantasist Guy Gavriel Kay — and let’s get the most important news out of the way: it...

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Dracula adapted and illustrated by John Green


Dracula adapted and illustrated by John Green Dracula is not a easy novel to abridge, especially when one is trying to compact it to the size of a graphic novel and at the same time...

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Recent Posts

The Expanded Universe: When is Sci-Fi Really Fantasy, and Should We Care?

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. Our guest today is Gerrard Cowan, a writer and editor from Derry, in the North West of Ireland. His debut fantasy novel, The Machinery, will be published by HarperVoyager UK in September 2015. It is the first in a trilogy. His first known work was a collection of poems on monsters, written for Halloween when he was eight; it is sadly lost to civilisation.

One commenter gets a copy of The Machinery.

Gerrard Cowan

The fantasy and science fiction genres are closely related, so much so that they are often grouped together under one acronym: SFF. Many books and ... Read More

Dune: The greatest SF novel of all time, never to be matched by later sequels

Dune by Frank Herbert

What more can be said about Frank Herbert’s 1965 masterpiece? This massive epic of political intrigue, messianic heroes, vile villains, invincible desert fighters, telepathic witches, sandworms and spice, and guild pilots who fold space, has a relentless action-packed narrative that still has ample room for beautiful descriptive passages and copious philosophizing on the mythology of the messiah/savior. In short, Dune is a perfect SF novel that both entertains and engages the mind, a book frequently cited as the greatest single work of imagination produced in the genre, rivaled only by J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings.

And yet the book had a troubled birth, being rejected by over twenty publishers before being accepted by Chilton Books, better known for publi... Read More

The Eye of the Heron: A short but complex novel suitable for all ages

The Eye of the Heron by Ursula K. Le Guin

Starscape (Tom Doherty’s YA imprint) presents The Eye of the Heron as a book for ages 10 and above. While the story is straightforward enough, the philosophical ideas that underpin the story are quite complex, so The Eye of the Heron is quite an interesting read for the more mature reader as well. Le Guin does not waste any words in telling the story, she delivers a to-the-point but surprisingly complex novel. If you read it at age 10, you’ll probably see it in a different light now.

The Eye of the Heron is set on a planet that was fairly recently colonized. Le Guin doesn’t mention a year but sometime in the 22nd century seems reasonable. Two waves of colonists have settled a small area of the planet. One group consists of criminals from a nation that covers South America, sent on a one way trip to dispose ... Read More

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 August 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

Messenger’s Legacy: Another DEMON CYCLE novella

Messenger’s Legacy by Peter V. Brett

There are a few reasons why I haven’t yet read the novels in Peter V. Brett’s DEMON CYCLE. First is that Bill’s been reviewing them, so there’s no urgent need for me to do so for this site. (I know that sounds ridiculous, but that’s kind of what happens sometimes with a group blog.) Second is that they’re a huge time commitment — the last two were each 700 pages long! Third is that the series isn’t finished yet and I have so many unfinished series floating around in my head that I want to wrap up more of them before starting something new. However, I’ve been collecting the novels in audio format at Audible and I’ve been reading the spin-off novellas that Subterranean Press sends me. I really can’t wait to indulge myself in Brett’s world when the time is right. I know I’m goi... Read More

Persona: A novel with many strengths and virtually no weaknesses

Persona by Genevieve Valentine

Persona
 by Genevieve Valentine is an excellent novel. This probably will come as no surprise to those of you who have read the author’s two previous, critically acclaimed novels, Mechanique and The Girls at the Kingfisher Club, but as a newcomer to Valentine’s works I was quite blown away. (I should probably add that, based on feedback from friends and on those two books’ blurbs, Persona appears to be very different from her earlier work.)

Persona starts off in near-future Paris, where Suyana Sapaki is about to cast a vote in the International Assembly (IA). Suyana is the “Face” representing her country in the IA, which means she has virtually zero decision-making power: she is a figurehead, a glorified spokesperson who says what she is to... Read More

The Invisible Man Returns: A must-see

The Invisible Man Returns directed by Joe May

Following the release of Dracula's Daughter in May 1936, horror fans would have to wait almost three years before getting another fright picture from Universal Studios. With the opening of Son of Frankenstein in January 1939, however, the floodgates were opened for the second great wave of Universal horror. And in January 1940, still another sequel was released by the studio, The Invisible Man Returns. A fairly ingenious follow-up to The Invisible Man feature of 1933, which was itself based on H.G. Wells' classic "scientific romance" (as Wells preferred to call such tales) of 1897, the 1940 film was successful enough at the box office to spawn no less than three further sequels! The film is historically important today, of course, inasmuch as it was the very first horror picture to feature Vincent Price, the belo... Read More

WWWednesday: September 2, 2015

Last week, August 26, was Katherine Johnson’s birthday. Johnson was born in 1918 in White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia. She excelled at math from childhood, and eventually found a job with NASA. Johnson’s job was to calculate the routes for the USA’s manned space missions, including 1969’s lunar landing. In the 1950s, in her work at Langley Research Labs (which later became part of NASA), Johnson’s job title was actually “computer.” These short films show Johnson talking about her life in her own words.

(c) Lauren Dawson

Awards:

Really, there's more? Yes. Locus Magazine devoted a paragraph or two to the Alfie Awards, created and awarded by Read More

Led Astray: A collection of Kelley Armstrong short stories

Led Astray: The Best of Kelley Armstrong by Kelly Armstrong

Kelley Armstrong has published several series of urban fantasy and paranormal novels, including her WOMEN OF THE OTHERWORLD contemporary fantasy series, in which werewolves, vampires, and other supernatural creatures live alongside humans, and the CAINSVILLE series, focusing on the lives in and around a town with mysterious supernatural elements. Her latest book, Led Astray, is a collection of twenty-three short stories, many of them set in the worlds created in her series, although several stories are stand-alone. This is an eclectic collection, primarily urban fantasy, but running the gamut from high fantasy to ghost stories to horror, with a few non-fantasy tales thrown in for good measure.

Some of the standout stor... Read More

Fourth Mansions: Thanks, Jen!

Fourth Mansions by R.A. Lafferty

Despite it having been given pride of place in Scottish critic David Pringle’s Modern Fantasy: The 100 Best Novels, and despite the fact that it has been sitting on my bookshelf for many years, it was only last week that I finally got around to reading R.A. Lafferty’s 1969 cult item Fourth Mansions. The author’s reputation for eccentricity, both in terms of subject matter as well as writing style, had long intimidated me, I suppose. But just recently, Jen, one of the managers of NYC sci-fi bookstore extraordinaire Singularity, was enthusing to me about her recent acquisition of a first edition of Lafferty’s 1970 short story collection Nine Hundred Grandmothers for only $40, and I suppose that her enthusiasm proved contagious in my case, as I manfully dove into Fourth Mansions Read More