Amanda Rutter (guest)

AMANDA RUTTER, one of our guest reviewers, used to be an accountant in the UK but she escaped the world of numbers and is now living in a fantasy world she creates. She runs Angry Robot's YA imprint, Strange Chemistry. And we knew her when....

World Wide Wednesday: Doorstops and Cliches

Welcome to Wednesday! I've got a lovely lot of links to share with you this week, so let's get right on down to it! No dilly-dallying today!

1) Cover Art Cliches for 2009

Orbit have done a survey of the cover art on display during 2009, and A Dribble of Ink brings us the results with some added commentary -- personally, I can see the 2010 version being dominated by hooded men!

2) Trailing the Book Trailer

We have a lovely new blog on the blogosphere -- A Fantastical Librarian (add immediately to your blogrolls!) Mieneke has kicked off with an Read More

Why You Should Read… John Marco

We move back to the fantasy genre for this week's edition of Why You Should Read... Bryce Lee, from Only the Best Sci Fi/Fantasy and his personal blog Seak's Stamp of Approval, brings us compelling reasons as to why you should pick up your first book by John Marco.

I was first introduced to John Marco a number of years ago by a good friend of mine through the first book in his Tyrants and Kings Trilogy, The Jackal of Nar. After that I was hooked. To this day, years later, I can vividly see the cathedral of Nar being frescoed, hear the din of each battle, but most of all I can still feel every bit of pathos written into his books.... Read More

Why You Should Read… Eric Brown

This week we move into the realms of science fiction for our next Why You Should Read... feature. Our guest is Mark Chitty, who runs Walker of Worlds and the unisphere (a fansite dedicated to Peter F Hamilton). He can also be found on Twitter as @markchitty. He is talking to us today about Eric Brown.



I love sci-fi books and many authors, but recently one author in particular has been at the forefront of my reading and enjoyment: Eric Brown. Eric Brown is an author who writes a different type of science fiction to the normal high-tech approach. Instead he focuses primarily on characters and relationships, the sci-fi element being relegated to the background and setting. It may sound as though this isn’t proper sci-fi, but the worlds he creates are equally as believable and in-depth as... Read More

World Wide Wednesday: Sacred Cows and Themed Reading

After a brief hiatus, here I am back again with a look at what has been steaming up the Internet over the last couple of weeks. Just a quick heads up: I am an accountant and have a horrible month end process, so, for the foreseeable future, the first week of the month will be missing WWW (thank you Kat, my benevolent Overlady!) in order that I can concentrate on the day job.

1) Malazan Book of the Fallen is complete

Steven Erikson revealed this via Facebook, and Wertzone brought the news to the rest of us: Erikson has completed the Malazan Book of the Fallen! What better time to begin a re-read of the existing books -- or even your ... Read More

Johannes Cabal the Detective: Still darkly funny, original and snarky

Readers’ average rating:

Johannes Cabal the Detective by Jonathan L. Howard

Johannes Cabal the Detective is the second book about the eponymous necromancer. I read the first book, Johannes Cabal the Necromancer, at the beginning of this year, and was enormously enamoured with the bitingly sarcastic gentleman in question. In fact, it has remained my number one read of 2010 despite fierce competition from other titles, and so I was almost nervous about picking up this second novel about Johannes Cabal in case it did not live up to the first.

I am pleased to report that Johannes Cabal the Detective is just as darkly funny, original and snarky as the first novel in the series. In this book Cabal begins the tale in a prison, following the aborted theft of a rather nasty little book. Through foul means and not a little luck, he finds himself... Read More

Why You Should Read… Clive Barker

So we come to our fourth week of extolling the virtues about some of our favourite authors. Today we welcome Sharon Ring, from Dark Fiction Review. Sharon is on Twitter as @DFReview and can also be found on Facebook. She would like to talk to you about Clive Barker.



Will this be five hundred words of preaching to the converted? Surely everyone who reads genre fiction has read at least one Clive Barker book? I think, for anyone new to genre fiction, a stroll through some of Barker’s work should be more or less compulsory.

Reading Barker seems to be a rite of passage. When I brought up the subject of Clive Barker and his BOOKS OF BLOOD on Twitter recently, I fo... Read More

By Midnight: Dull and unimaginative

Readers’ average rating:

By Midnight by Mia James

April is deeply upset when her father takes a job at a small paper in London, and moves his wife and daughter from Edinburgh to do so. At first she is just miserable because she misses her friends and has to start a new school, Ravenwood, where many of the students are either stunningly beautiful or frighteningly clever. But then the deaths start, and April realises that she might be in danger as well. Suddenly there is no one she can trust — not even the beautiful and mysterious Gabriel, who April is drawn towards. Set against the backdrop of Highgate in London, By Midnight tells a tale of love, loss and quiet horror.

There are a lot of vampire stories around now, mostly thanks to the massive success of Twilight, and I have read a number of ... Read More

Why You Should Read… John Connolly

Today's feature comes courtesy of Mihir Wanchoo, who reviews over at Fantasy Book Critic.



When I saw Amanda’s call going out for readers everywhere to write about their favourite authors and “why others should read them too” I was intrigued. When I thought about who I could write about, one name popped out in my head…. John Connolly. Its not as if John needs any help from me or any other blogger for that matter, his books are popular on both sides of the Atlantic as well with readers from both genres of mystery thrillers & SF, but I couldn’t resist encouraging others to read him. John was first published in 1999 with Every Dead Thing. It was a thriller which began with the murder of Charlie Parker’s wife and daughter. After a dark beginning the story started introducing us to Parker’s world: his past; his f... Read More

World Wide Wednesday: Worldbuilding and Wizards

Eeep, things have been up and down at FanLit the last week or so thanks to various server shenanigans. Hopefully it is getting back to normal now 11 and, as such, I bring you the top ten items brought to my attention over the last week. Enjoy!

1) Robert Rhodes is a winner!

Our very own Robert Rhodes (who writes our 25 Heroes in 2010 stories) came 2nd in Pyr's essay writing competition to celebrate their five year anniversary! We are thrilled for him and have a link here to his winning entry: Why Fantasy and Science Fiction Matter.

2) Tor.com is two years old

And, as such, they have produced a post Read More

Why You Should Read… Cherie Priest

Our second article in the ongoing feature Why You Should Read... is by Adam Christopher, published author and blogger. He can be found on Twitter as @ghostfinder. He has chosen to talk about Cherie Priest.

(Pic courtesy of Caitlin Kittredge)

As a writer, reading the work of others elicits one of two reactions. As John D. MacDonald once said, you read everything with grinding envy or a weary contempt.

Take Cherie Priest. I hate her. I hate the fact that whenever I pick up one of her books I know my heart will be skipping beats before I’m at the end of the first page. I hate that fact that she’s good, ... Read More

World Wide Wednesday: Malazan Goodness and a Meme with Relish!

Well, I don't know about our worldwide readers, but over here in the UK we've lost our wonderful summer weather that just invites you to take a book down to the beach and spend the day immersed in your favourite fantasy world. Hopefully you are experiencing the weather you like best to read by, wherever you are!

And, by the way, I am trying something new today - no pics in WWW to see whether I can help speed up the site a little. Pics are nice, but the words are more important!

1) Nightshade

This first entry comes courtesy of Adventures in Reading - a description of the showdown between Nightshade and some of its authors. Aidan from A Dribble of Ink then updates us w... Read More

Why You Should Read… David Gemmell

This is the first in a new weekly feature entitled 'Why You Should Read...' It will be a series of articles by bloggers, publicists, editors and authors focusing on various speculative fiction authors, and giving you reasons as to why you should be reading these authors NOW.

If you would like to contribute a feature, then please do get in touch with us.

First up, we have blogger Steve Aryan. He runs his own blog Steve's Fantasy Book Reviews and is also the co-host of a comics and pop culture podcast (which includes a Book Club and Author Interview feature on a regular basis). You can find him on Twitter under @cbosteve

Many people view Read More

World Wide Wednesday: Masterworks and iPads

Okay, after our little break while we waited for our systems to catch up with our scintillating articles, here is another vibrant issue of World Wide Wednesday: your weekly trip through the joys of the Internet!

1) SFF Masterworks

First up, there is a little project in the works right now. You can find the SFF Masterworks Read blog here: an audacious project to read all of the SF and Fantasy masterworks as issued by Gollancz. The various members of the reading project will be familiar to you from other review blog sites, and have decided to turn their weight of knowledge on all things speculative fiction to the classics. Definitely worth a read!

2) Halfway Through 2010

Incredibly, we... Read More

Wintercraft: Ordinary with occasional flashes of brilliance

Readers’ average rating:

Wintercraft by Jenna Burtenshaw

In Shadowcry (Wintercraft in the UK where I live) we meet Kate Winters, a young girl who discovers that she has the power to see through the veil and command the souls of the dead. She and her friend, Edgar — who is more than he first appears to be — are taken to the city of Fume and caught up in a power struggle between the Skilled and the High Council, who wish to destroy them.

Wintercraft is a really mixed bag. At times the writing is excellent, demonstrating real skill in keeping the pages turning and the tension ratcheted up to the maximum. Yet, especially towards the end of the novel, when you would have expected Jenna Burtenshaw to utilize the best of her writing in the climactic finale, everything falls rather flat and left me feeling... Read More

World Wide Wednesday: Minotaurs are the new Vampires!

Some weeks it is a positive breeze bringing you the fun that can be found in and around the Intarwebs, but this week everything seemed a little slow: maybe the holiday season is starting? (Actually, I think it is probably a certain football tournament keeping things quiet in the blogging world - I know for sure that my reading has slowed down while the tournament has been on!) So here are the ten items I want to highlight for you this week, and here's hoping everything gets back to normal next week.

1) Anywhere But Here, Anywhere But Now

This is the announcement by Terry Pratchett of a new award for aspiring debut novelists: he and Transworld are offering a £20, 000 advance to the winning entry! Check out the link to find out the criteria and ... Read More

The Vampire Diaries: The Return: Nightfall

Readers’ average rating:

The Vampire Diaries: The Return: Nightfall by L.J. Smith

Elena Gilbert has returned from the Other Side, and has to relearn how to live amongst humans. She is helped by the love of her life — Stefan Salvatore, a vampire — and her three closest friends. However, evil forces are gathering around Fell’s Church, drawn by the beacon of a returned soul, and Stefan is snatched away from Elena when she needs him most. She has to turn to his dark brother, Damon, for help — never knowing for certain what motivates Damon or whether he has been possessed by the dark forces that want to steal Elena for themselves.

Unfortunately, The Return: Nightfall is a horrific mess of a story. It is a long rambling book — almost 500 pages, which is a great deal longer than any of L.J. Smith’s previous novels — and seems to leap from event to event without a... Read More

World Wide Wednesday: Kings and Football!

Well, the Internet has been ablaze with news and chatter this week! Lots of interesting tidbits to bring you, so let's get started immediately if not sooner...

1) The Way of Kings

Just about every major book blog brought to you the extract of Brandon Sanderson's The Way of Kings from Tor.com. The Speculative Scotsman has a bit to say on the subject, and links through to virtually every pertinent piece of information. I am most definitely excited about this major fantasy release! Stefan and Bill will be reviewing that for us (actually, they've got a duel going on Read More

The Vampire Diaries: The Fury & The Reunion

Readers’ average rating:

The Vampire Diaries: The Fury & The Reunion by L.J. Smith

This is the second bind-up for THE VAMPIRE DIARIES. The Fury and The Reunion were originally published as two separate books; in fact, The Reunion was published some time after The Fury, which effectively closes the trilogy begun with The Awakening and The Struggle). In The Fury Elena, alongside her friends Bonnie and Meredith, struggles to control her nature and discover the source of the evil Power that is haunting Fell’s Church. She knows that the only way it can be defeated is if the two vampire brothers Stefan and Damon can put alongside their lifelong enmity and work together. In The Reunion Fell... Read More

Infinity: Tedious and confusing

Readers’ average rating:

Infinity  by Sherrilyn Kenyon

I didn't like Infinity. There were parts that I quite enjoyed, but the majority I found tedious and vaguely confusing.

By far the strongest part of the book is the character of Nick. His dialogue, both internal and towards other characters, is sarcastic and funny. He cares deeply about his mother. Like most teenage boys he wants to date girls, but doesn't know where to start. He's pretty realistic in the way he's written, and I enjoyed the way Sherrilyn Kenyon represented him.
His mother hesitated before she continued grilling him. “Is he a good boy?”

“No, Mom, he's Satan incarnate. In fact, once it's over, we're going to get liquored up and tattooed, then find some cheap hos and have a good time with his trust fund.”
However, I found Nick's attitude t... Read More

World Wide Wednesday: Spring, Tattoos and Red Sun!

I am feeling ill today -- sympathy please -- so this Top 10 will be brief to the point of brusqueness!

1) Do you like tattoos?

Lurv a la Mode is getting really tired of the tattoos all over book covers right now! Is this one of your pet peeves? Are there any other cover conventions that you find difficult to take?

2) In celebration of authors

A couple of Wednesdays ago I introduced you to the Author Fan Letter blog crawl that was occurring -- it has now all wrapped up and there is a handy summary post to show links to all the blogs who participated.

3) Why Sex and the City 2 is a science fiction movie

You're getting this link because it amused me thor... Read More

World Wide Wednesday: Happy Birthday FanLit!

Okay, gang, time to buckle up ready for another thrilling ride on the 'coaster that is World Wide Wednesday! Since I am aching and tired from a three day weekend playing field hockey, this will not be the scintillating prose you usually receive from me: I'll be back to my sparkling best next Wednesday, promise!

Oh, and: HAPPY BIRTHDAY, FanLit! As of yesterday, we're 3 years old -- thanks for reading!!

1) Save Realms of Fantasy!

This first mention is for Realms of Fantasy, a glossy magazine currently threatened by lack of subscriptions. In my opinion, us genre fans should be falling over ourselves trying to keep speculative fiction magazines open. Many of our favorite authors got st... Read More

Living With The Writer: Dave Fenn

For this third edition of the semi-regular feature Living With The Writer, we welcome our first husband to the hot seat. Today we talk to Dave Fenn, husband of Jaine Fenn who has two books (Principles of Angels and Consorts of Heaven) published through Gollancz. Dave is a rather private person, so we express our gratitude that he was willing to spill some details about his life with Jaine.


Gollancz have very kindly put up three copies of Jaine's latest book, Consorts of Heaven, for a UK giveaway! Please leave a comment for Dave in order to be entered into this giveaway. For those US readers who wish to put your names forward - if you are suc...

Read More

World Wide Wednesday: Optimism, Pessimism and Rural Matters

Ah Wednesday, how I love thee! Wednesday means the middle of the week, and we're halfway to the weekend at last. Wednesday means bringing you, our loyal FanLit readers, the very best of what is going on out there in the wide world of the Internet. Without further ado, let's get started!

1) Three of the Best

This event has received a write up from a few notables -- in the UK on Thursday 20th May, at Forbidden Planet, three fantastic authors of speculative fiction came together for a mass signing: these being Mark Charan Newton, Adam Nevill and China Mieville. A crowd of bloggers descended and most have provided their feedback of the event: Dark Fiction Review, Read More

The Vampire Diaries 1: The Awakening & The Struggle

Readers’ average rating:

The Vampire Diaries 1: The Awakening & The Struggle by L.J. Smith

Elena is the ice-blonde queen of the school, admired by girls and boys alike. With her friends, Bonnie and Meredith, she enjoys her status and uses it to snag the most eligible boys. However, Elena always feels as though something is missing. When new boy Stefan starts at the school, she suspects she has found what she is looking for, but Stefan manages to resist her charms. Elena makes a vow with Bonnie and Meredith that she will have Stefan no matter what — little suspecting that he hides a deadly secret. When Stefan's brother Damon arrives on the scene, Elena may be in more trouble than she realizes.

I am a big fan of L.J. Smith's writing, and have enjoyed a number of her books. I did enjoy both The Awakening and The Struggle, but felt that they ... Read More

White Witch, Black Curse: Solid addition

Readers’ average rating:

White Witch, Black Curse by Kim Harrison

White Witch, Black Curse is the seventh installment in Kim Harrison’s Hollows series featuring witch Rachel Morgan and her companions Ivy (vampire) and Jenks (pixy).

I enjoyed White Witch, Black Curse, but felt that there were certain elements of the plot that dragged a little bit. The whole banshee story feels tacked on. They are a cool addition to the Inderlanders that inhabit the series, but, since there has been no mention of banshees in any of the other books, this was probably something that Harrison only recently decided to include. I also found that the sucking of emotion was much like vampires’ sucking of blood, which means having two such predators in the series. I'm not sure how much mileage Harrison ... Read More

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