Why You Should Read… Rich Burlew

I am really pleased to welcome to FanLit today Black Library author extraordinaire Graham McNeill. I love his books — seriously! Hmm, maybe he should be my own subject for...

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Lexicon: You’ll never look at words the same way again

 Lexicon by Max Barry Compare two commonly-used adages: “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me” versus “The pen is mightier than the sword.” In...

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Daytripper by Fabio Moon and Gabriel Ba

Daytripper by Fabio Moon & Gabriel Ba “Isn’t it strange how we always seem to remember the trivial things from our daily lives… yet so often we forget the most important...

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Our favorite books of 2014

Here are our favorite books published in 2014. Hover over the cover to see who recommends each book and what they say about it. Please keep in mind that we did not read every SFF...

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Recent Posts

Sunday Status Update: October 4, 2015

This week, Kvothe.

Kvothe: Ordinary week at the Waystone Inn. I poured drinks and washed glasses, shucked ears of corn and grilled steaks. I wiped the bar and fed the fire and dusted the mantel and slid ever closer to the collapse of my identity and the final ruin of my life's ambitions. You know. Same old, same old. There was one piece of interesting news this week, mind you. Apparently my story is going to be adapted into some kind of multimedia entertainment event, which Bast assures me is very prestigious. Apparently I'm going to be a play, and a sort of long-form serial, and also a game. I have no idea how they'll manage all that, seeing as most of what I recall is just me messing around at the University, but whatever the public wants, I suppose...

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Five Ghosts: The Haunting of Fabian Gray by Frank Barbiere and Chris Mooneyham

Five Ghosts: The Haunting of Fabian Gray by Frank Barbiere and Chris Mooneyham

Imagine your favorite pulp art from the covers and illustrations of adventure and fantasy stories. Now imagine this same style updated so that the artwork is consistent with a hint of contemporary polish plus wonderful, eye-grabbing color. Finally, imagine a comic book that tells an entire story with this artwork so that instead of the illustrations accompanying the text, the text accompanies the art. At that point, you will have imagined the first volume of Frank Barbiere’s Five Ghosts: The Haunting of Fabian Gray, which is illustrated by Chris Mooneyham, with colors provided by S. M. Vidaurri and Lauren Affe.
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Why You Should Read Comics: A Manifesto!

Why do I talk about comics so much? First, I love comics and want to spread the word. Second, I edit and write comic book reviews here at the Fantasy Literature Review Site, so they are always on my mind as a writing project. Third, I am an English Professor who teaches comic books in all courses, from Freshman Writing to Crime Fiction, so I am always studying them for class and talking about them with students. Finally, I visit local schools and libraries to educate students, parents, teachers, and librarians about the importance of comics, so I am always promoting them for educational reasons.

Why do I believe comics are so important for young readers? Many people give a fairly weak defense of comics for kids, a defense that goes something like this: "Some kids really don't like to read, and perhaps we can get them to read comics so that they don't give up reading altogether." As you can see, the assumption is that comics are, at best, a stepping-stone to "good" readi... Read More

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

The Sandman: Overture by Neil Gaiman and 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 reading because I just couldn’t stand the anticipation. As of this week, however, nobody needs to wait again. All six issues of The Sandman: Overture have been completed and released. The collected trade edition won’t come out until mid... Read More

The Expanded Universe: Casual Othering and Literature of the Fantastic

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. My guest today is Gabrielle Bellot. Gabrielle Bellot grew up in the Commonwealth of Dominica. She has contributed work to Guernica, Autostraddle, Prairie Schooner's Read More

Shadows of Self: A breezy weird Western romp that left us wanting just a bit more

Shadows of Self by Brandon Sanderson

Bill: Let’s see, last week in September. That means I’ve got to grade my first-years’ first essays. Call the guy to clean the gutters. Make sure the furnace and gas fireplace are set to go. And, oh yeah, it’s been a month, that must mean I have a new Brandon Sanderson novel to review. Yep, Shadows of Self, the second book in his second MISTBORN trilogy (or, if you prefer, the fifth book in the entire MISTBORN series). Apparently it’s due out in two weeks, which means I better get on this now or the third book will be out before I review the second (I swear, if Brandon Sanderson and Joyce Carol Oates ever had a child, their love child would be a high-speed printing press).

Interestingly enough, although this is, as I mentioned, the middle book of a second trilogy, my promotional material is te... Read More

Edge: The Drowned World by J.G. Ballard

The Drowned World by J.G. Ballard

The Drowned World (1962) is J.G. Ballard’s best apocalyptic work, the other two being The Burning World (1964) and The Crystal World (1966), but if you are thinking of an action-packed adventure where a plucky group of survivors clings to decency amid the collapse of civilization, this is the wrong book. Ballard was interested in ‘inner space,’ and while he sometimes adopted SF tropes in his books and short stories, his works most often featured natural disasters, the collapse of civilization, lonely astronauts, grim future urban landscapes, and weird obsessions with technology and mechanization. His main intent was to explore the psychology of human beings trapped in modern urban societies (and what happens when these societies collapse), and most of his protagonists are fatalistic, detached, and not particularl... Read More

Film Review: Dracula’s Daughter

Dracula’s Daughter directed by Lambert Hillyer

Released a full five years after the classic Universal horror film Dracula, the sequel, Dracula's Daughter, yet picks up a few scant seconds after the original left off. When we last saw our favorite Transylvanian neck nosher, he was lying dead in his coffin in the crypts beneath Carfax Abbey, a stake impaled in his heart courtesy of the intrepid Prof. Van Helsing (Edward Van Sloan, the only actor who would go on to appear in the sequel). As the latter film commences, constables enter the tomb and arrest the vampire slayer for murder, not giving credence to his statement that he has just done the world a great service. When even Scotland Yard pooh-poohs his query as to how can one be held for the murder of one already 500 years dead, Van Helsing brings in his old student, the psychiatrist Dr. Jeffrey Garth (the ever-suave Otto Kruger), to defend him at his trial. And meanwhile, the Transylvanian ... 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 September 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

Tower of Glass: Enough ideas for several novels

Tower of Glass by Robert Silverberg

Tower of Glass (1972) is another of Robert Silverberg’s ambitious novels from his most prolific period in the late 1960s/early 1970s. In that time he was churning out several books each year that were intelligent, thematically challenging, beautifully written stories that explored identity, sexuality, telepathy, alien contact, religion and consciousness. At his best, he produced some masterpieces like Downward to the Earth and Dying Inside, as well as some dreadful books like Up the Line, but his unfettered imagination and prolific energy were undeniable.

Unfortunately, a wealth of ideas can sometimes overwhelm even the best books, and I think Tower of Glass Read More