Jason Golomb

JASON GOLOMB, who joined us in September 2015, graduated with a degree in Communications from Boston University in 1992, and an M.B.A. from Marymount University in 2005. His passion for ice hockey led to jobs in minor league hockey in Baltimore and Fort Worth, before he returned to his home in the D.C. metro area where he worked for America Online. His next step was National Geographic, which led to an obsession with all things Inca, Aztec and Ancient Rome. But his first loves remain SciFi and Horror, balanced with a healthy dose of Historical Fiction.

2061: Odyssey Three: Blandly going where he has gone twice before

Readers’ average rating:

2061: Odyssey Three by Arthur C. Clarke

This is not a great book. It's really more of an extended novella or perhaps part one of Arthur C. Clarke's SPACE ODYSSEY finale, 3001. This story has none of the depth, nuance or scale of Clarke's classic original, 2001 nor its solid follow up 2010.

Beware of spoilers for the previous novels below. I’m assuming anyone who reads this review will likely have read the two preceding novels, or at least seen their movie companions.

In 2061, Clarke creates a pair of focal points 60 years after modern man first comes across The Monolith buried deeply bene... Read More

The Night Eternal: Disappointing conclusion to del Toro’s STRAIN TRILOGY

Readers’ average rating:

The Night Eternal by Guillermo del Toro & Chuck Hogan

The Night Eternal is the finale to Guillermo del Toro and Chuck Hogan's THE STRAIN trilogy and I found it simply… inconsistent. I enjoyed the conclusion to the mythology which includes the genesis of the strain itself, but I was disappointed in the conclusions to the various plot threads. This review will contain some mild spoilers for the ending of The Fall.

The dark and serious mythology really drove the first two books, followed closely by development of the characters. While the myth drove my excitement to finish the trilogy, the flat characterizations in The Night Eternal made it more of a chore. Something was lost at the conclusion of The Fall following the death of a ke... Read More

The Fall: Worthy sequel delivers on dark and weighty promise of The Strain

Readers’ average rating: Comment Reviews for this post are disabled. Please enable it first

The Fall by Guillermo del Toro & Chuck Hogan
Authors Guillermo del Toro and Chuck Hogan move the world of their apocalyptic vampire saga to a darker place in the second of their STRAIN trilogy, The Fall. This second volume is short, at less than 300 pages, and makes for a satisfying companion when read back-to-back with the first in the trilogy, The Strain. I will reference some spoilers to The Strain below, since this is a series that needs to be read in chronological order.
The sunset of humankind is the dawn of the blood harvest.
At the end of The Strain, our primary players, pawnbroker/professor/vampire-hu... Read More

The Strain: del Toro builds modern mythology on top of old-school vampire horror

Readers’ average rating:

The Strain by Guillermo del Toro & Chuck Hogan

Abraham Setrakian had witnessed and survived horrible evil when he was a young man. He’d made it out of a Nazi death camp in Poland, but the horror brought about by the Germans was not what kept the professor awake at night. It was the Stroigoi — the vampire — he’d seen feed on his camp mates. It was this that haunted Setrakian. And now it was time for revenge.
What he saw before him was not an omen — it was an incursion. It was the act itself. The thing he had been waiting for. That he had been preparing for. All his life until now.
The Strain, the first book in THE STRAIN trilogy, is a very good modern vampire horror story. There are no moody teenagers battling hormones and vampire/werewolf love triangles. Renowned movie icon Guillermo del Toro and author Chuc... Read More

The King Must Die: Blurs the lines between myth, history and religion

Readers’ average rating:

The King Must Die by Mary Renault

"The voices sank and rose, sank and rose higher. It was like the north wind when it blows screaming through mountain gorges; like the keening of a thousand widows in a burning town; like the cry of she-wolves to the moon. And under it, over it, through our blood and skulls and entrails, the bellow of a gong."

Mary Renault weaves a tale so mythic in scope, that the story itself is only outshone by her fabulous prose. Renault takes the myth of Theseus and the Minotaur and works her narrative like Hephaestus works meta:; into a credible story that textures the myth with a realistic vision of its origin.

Theseus is the mythic founder of Athens who killed the Minotaur in the process of ending the Cretan demand for human tribute once every nine years. The King Must Die (1958) is the first in a ... Read More

The Loch: Like pizza: You know it’s bad for you, but you can’t help but enjoy it

Readers’ average rating:

The Loch by Steve Alten

Steve Alten’s The Loch is full of clichés — the dialogue, the narration, and the plethora of borrowed plot lines from Jaws. You know the good characters from the bad. You can predict which ones will die violently (and deservedly so), and you know which bad guys will turn out to be good guys. But you know what, I thoroughly enjoyed this thriller and I'm not ashamed to admit it. I found myself staying up through the wee hours to get through "just one more chapter." At first I felt a little embarrassment at enjoying it so much. But ultimately I gave in and just went with it.

sequel



Now, it's a fact that I was a hardcore Loch Ness Monster fanatic growing up in the 1970's. I'm pretty sure I was the only kid in my school that kept checking out the thin Myste... Read More

The Hatching: Fun, fast, arachno-thriller

Readers’ average rating:

The Hatching by Ezekiel Boone

I defy you to read Ezekiel Boone’s The Hatching and not feel that persistent but subtle pull against your leg hairs, or periodically feel for that brushing sensation against the back of your neck. The Hatching is the first novel in a series about spiders killing everyone and taking over the world. They don’t take over the world a la evil scientist, but attempt to take the Earth for their own 8-legged arachno-purposes. You know, eating, killing, and making lots of baby spiders.

The Hatching is like a well-loved and frequently watched B-movie. You know the characters, and love the fact that you know their lines so well. The plot is pretty basic and familiar from a dozen other movies. But you can’t help yourself. Every time you come across it on TV, you know you... Read More

SFM: Sanford, Palwick, Walton, Hill, Sullivan, Kemp

Short Fiction Monday: Here are a few shorter SFF works that we read this week that we wanted you to know about. Some great finds this week!



Blood Grains Speak Through Memories by Jason Sanford (March 2016, free at Beneath Ceaseless Skies, free ebook available on the author’s website)

Frere-Jones Roeder is the anchor of her land, charged with its protection and maintenance. The blood grains flow through her body, sharing memories of past anchors and giving her senses knowledge of all of the life and activity on her two-league plot of land, whether plant, animal or human. The blood grains are also part of all life on her land, and even fly through t... Read More

Black Rain: A novel’s worth of Indiana Jones opening scenes

Readers’ average rating:

Black Rain by Graham Brown

Black Rain is terrific summer reading fodder that fits squarely in the realm of the lighter-weight Dan Brown-esque genre of tech-thrillers. Other leaders of this genre include James Rollins and Jeremy Robinson, whose stories are a bit formulaic and their characterizations often thinly built.

Graham Brown, however, brings new energy. His core plot involves the Mayan creation myth called "Popul Vuh." After having discovered several crystals that suggest the existence of a tremendous new energy source, a semi-secret non-governmental organization goes to Brazil to find their source.

Brown picks apart certain stories from "Popul Vuh" and develops historic explanations for their origins as his team of ex-military and researchers uncover clue after clue surrounding the origin of the crystals. Black Rain... Read More

The City of Mirrors: A long fitting conclusion to an excellent trilogy

Readers’ average rating:

Reposting to include Jason's new review:

The City of Mirrors by Justin Cronin

The lengthy journey from Justin Cronin’s vampire apocalypse The Passage comes to a full conclusion (and maybe a bit more) in the third and final book, The City of Mirrors. If The Passage was absolutely great (and it really, really was), and the sequel The Twelve was good but not quite as, mostly due to it feeling much more its length than the first book did, then The City of Mirrors falls somewhere in between, though my guess is that some will react more negatively to a few of its elements than I did. It’s impossible to discuss this final book without spoilers for books one and two, so fair warning. Also, I’m going to assume you’ve read the first two books and so won... Read More

Desperation: In these silences something may rise

Readers’ average rating:

Desperation by Stephen King

My only disappointment in Stephen King’s Desperation is that it isn't longer. This book contains all that makes King so enjoyable to read: strong and believable character development; intuitive and subtle understanding of the childhood psyche; horror as defined by what's creepy, intense, psychological and sometimes gothic; mythological back-story that superbly connects past and present; and the believably supernatural.

Several travelers, mostly strangers to each other, are abducted by a seemingly deranged Sherriff and taken to the dusty Nevada town of Desperation. Mayhem ensues as King delves into the perverse and dark heart of humanity.

Desperation is not generally considered one of King’s stronger ... Read More

The Twelve: Thrilling sequel expands epic story and mythology

Readers’ average rating:

The Twelve by Justin Cronin

Justin Cronin’s 2010 apocalyptic-vampire thriller, The Passage, debuted in the midst of the mass consumer love affair with the weird and supernatural. In the evolution of the vampire in pop culture, Anne Rice turned Bram Stoker’s blood-sucking villain into a romantic lead. Stephenie Meyer morphed Lestat into a high school heart-throb. Justin Cronin pulled the genre up and out of its romanticized and stagnating plateau to give the publishing world something more epic, more poignant, more ... genuine.

The Passage was a runaway success, though it left readers wanting more and hun... Read More

Ada Palmer talks TOO LIKE THE LIGHTNING and gives away a book!

Ada Palmer is true Renaissance woman: she's a professor by trade, specializing in history and the history of ideas at the University of Chicago, a Manga Scholar, composer, and has published the nonfiction work Reading Lucretius in the Renaissance. Palmer's fiction debut, Too Like the Lightning, is a complex and broad-reaching work of sci fi, that smartly wraps several interconnected mysteries within a serious suite of philosphical and cultural themes. I was able to grab some time with Ada Palmer as she was in the midst of promoting the book. One commenter with a U.S. or Canadian mailing address will win a copy of Too Like the Lightning. See below for details.
Read More

The Fireman: Baby King delivers his own incendiary apocalypse

Readers’ average rating:

The Fireman by Joe Hill

First of all, Joe Hill‘s The Fireman is no horror story. It's apocalypse-lit through and through but without the hackneyed zombies and vampires. Second of all, The Fireman is thoroughly infected with the 'King' family genetics. If there were any doubt about a connection between Joe and his old man, Stephen King, put those doubts aside. Actually, put them in the way-back storage room in the furthest, darkest corner of your basement.

Fires run rampant across the world. It started in the far north of the Arctic Circle, but only hit the public American radar when Seattle’s Space Needle toppled over in flames, bodies falling in a replay of ... Read More

The Stand: The biggest, baddest tale of the apocalypse

Readers’ average rating:

The Stand by Stephen King

Stephen King's The Stand is an awesomely epic creation. It's good versus evil writ large across the American landscape. It's heavy, detailed, and extremely rich in the characterizations of its people and themes. The story is familiar — an apocalyptic virus is accidentally (and inevitably) released from a government lab. Over 99% of all human life is wiped out by what becomes known as Captain Trips. This story is about those who survived.

The survivors are polarized around two god-like characters that magnetize individuals through their dreams. Mother Abigail Freemantle, a 108-year-old woman from Hemingford, Nebraska draws those with inherent goodness. Randall Flagg, from nowhere and everywhere, draws those with a slightly more dubious na... Read More

Too Like the Lightning: An ambitious speculative novel

Readers’ average rating:

Too Like the Lightning by Ada Palmer

Ada Palmer’s debut novel, Too Like the Lightning, is an absorbing, exhausting, and complicated work of science fiction literature. This is not the kind of book you can read in bits and pieces and quickly pick up the plot threads after watching a couple of nights of TV. Once you jump in, it’s best you stay focused, allow her world to wash over you and trust that Palmer’s taking you a worthwhile ride.

It’s the 25th century, the church wars are long over, and society is in relative balance. We’re reading the government-edited recounting of something of political, cultural, and pan-global significance. The narrative of Mycroft Canner is largely first-hand, but some elements are witnessed through trackers that allow him to see and hear events through a device attached to individuals. And some ev... Read More

It: Stephen King’s best

Readers’ average rating:

It by Stephen King

Stephen King's It is a wonderfully sweeping tale of what it means to be a child and what it means to leave your childhood behind, inevitably and mostly forgotten, when transforming into an adult. This very evocative tale of childhood orbits and surrounds a tale of exquisite horror, and is my favorite of the 25 or so King books I’ve read.

It story takes place in King’s old fictional haunt of Derry, Maine, and focuses on two time periods — 1957 and 1984 — where a group of friends, as children and then as adults, form a magnificent bond to battle foes both natural and supernatural. One member of this group frames the story well:

My whole pleasant life has been nothing but the eye of some storm I d... Read More

Sleeping Giants: Sci-fi thriller debut is one of the best of 2016

Readers’ average rating:

Sleeping Giants by Sylvain Neuvel

Sylvain Neuvel’s Sleeping Giants honorably borrows from notable films — Pacific Rim, The Iron Giant, and the Indiana Jones series — in this creative take on first contact in a contemporary world of shadowy government operatives, high tech archaeology, and mystery-shrouded alien technology.

Rose Franklin was the little girl who fell into the mysterious metal hand. Years later, with a physics Ph.D. in hand, Dr. Franklin is appointed to lead the investigation into the metal object.

The story itself is compelling: very few details emerge about the hand other than its bizarre physical makeup; when lightly irradiated, the metal glows; it’s clearly nothing that humans could make. But what is it? Is the hand just a hand ... or is there more?

Enter the mysterious ‘... Read More

Eifelheim: Magnificent SF combining science, history, and historical fiction

Readers’ average rating:

Eifelheim by Michael Flynn

Eifelheim is one of those transcendent science fiction stories where an author is able to treat very human and Earth-bound issues with a well-reasoned and fascinating gloss of aliens and science. Author Michael Flynn's alien mythos and capabilities are believable and seamlessly integrated into the very real history of plague-era Germany.

I picked up Eifelheim because I love a good story of first contact. I find myself continually drawn to the classics in this science fiction genre, but also the classic tales of first contact of the very terrestrial kind: human exploration and discovery. Both Hernán Cortés and his first Aztec meetings as well as Pizarro and the Incas hold special fascination for me, as do much of that era... Read More

The Exorcist: Deep, dark, literate horror

Readers’ average rating:

The Exorcist by William Peter Blatty

Sometimes I wish there weren't so many amazing books to read. Because every once in a while I come across a book so intricate, so subtle, and so intense, that without a second, slower, read, I know there is zero chance that I capture a true understanding the book in its entirety.

William Peter Blatty's The Exorcist is that kind of a book. It's creepy, crude and scary. On more than one evening while reading in bed, I found myself half jumping across the room only to find the cat poking his head through the door to see if it was breakfast time. One morning on my bus ride into work, I almost elbowed a poor woman in the head, so throughout engrossed I was in Blatty's deeply affecting novel.
What looked like morning was the beginning of endless night.
The Exorcist, which Bla... Read More

Carter & Lovecraft: An enjoyable Lovecraft adventure

Readers’ average rating:

Reposting to include Marion's new review:

Carter & Lovecraft by Jonathan L. Howard

Detectives Dan Carter and Charlie Hammond have finally tracked down and cornered the perverse serial killer known as The Child-Catcher. Found in his own home, the detectives move in, focused on a speedy capture, before the Child-Catcher performs his bizarre version of open-brain surgery. Charlie takes the lead, turns up a flight of stairs and Carter hears a shot ring out. He follows, and sees the Child-Catcher sitting against a wall, a pool of blood in his lap, and a seemingly serene smile on his lips. “Suicide by cop.” On the wall: a string-connected ‘psycho wall.’

Further down the hall, Carter’s partner is:
crying and laughing, Charlie put his S&W Model 5946 between his teeth, squeezed the trigger, and excused himself from life.
Read More

Golden Reflections: Stories that boldly blend sci-fi and alternate history

Readers’ average rating:

Golden Reflections (Mask of the Sun & stories) edited by Joan Spicci Saberhagen & Robert E. Vardeman

Golden Reflections is an anthology of stories based on Fred Saberhagen’s Mask of the Sun, the premise of which is the existence of certain goggles that allow the wearer to see events in the future. But it only works sometimes, and it's unclear what it chooses to show the wearer and why. Golden Reflections includes Saberhagen’s original Mask of the Sun while bringing together several well-known sci-fi/alternate history writers who build on his original concept and its world.

Mask of the Sun is classic sci-fi time-travel, strong alternate history, and richly woven historica... Read More

Arkwright: A solid tale of a persistent science fiction trope

Readers’ average rating:

Arkwright by Allen Steele

The concept of a generation ship has circulated in science and science fiction probably since the late 1920s and certainly since the 40’s. The idea is based on an assumption that light speed is a space travel barrier that won’t be overcome and so travel to even the nearest stars will be a journey of multiple generations. The ships that make such a journey will need to be large and need to solve problems of self-sustenance.

Allen Steele delves into this space travel theme with his aptly titled Arkwright, so named after fictional sci-fi scion Nathan Arkwright, whom Steele positions alongside Heinlein, Read More

Revival: King channels Lovecraft

Readers’ average rating:

Revival by Stephen King

Revival is a very modern Stephen King novel that channels H.P. Lovecraft at his cyclopean best. His key characters are bold, if not as colorful as some of his best work, and his themes are of familiar and well-trodden King territory. Often hammered by critics (professional and amateur alike) for his weak endings, King builds up to a conclusion that is strong and memorable. It’s monstrous, dark and creepy as hell. It’s pure Lovecraft and beautiful in its austerity.

Revival is a story about religion and anti-religion; a story about belief and the loss of belief … and an inability to believe. Jamie Morton and Pastor Charles Jacobs orbit around ea... Read More

Something Red: Reminds us that the magic of storytelling is in the language

Readers’ average rating:

Something Red by Douglas Nicholas

Something Red is a beautifully written, patiently drawn, mood-filled literary thriller. It’s not outright scary, but one could classify it as horror. It’s not a straight-out mystery, though poet-turned-novelist Douglas Nicholas drafts an expectant, slow-boil whodunit.

Something Red centers on a small band of travelers winding their way through northern England at the earliest onsets of winter. The story is told through the eyes of Hob, a young orphan in the care of Molly, a world-wise woman who's equally as skilled with a bow as she is with the medicinal powders and elixirs she keeps in her wagon. Molly’s granddaughter Nemain and the silent, brooding and terrifically strong Jack, flesh out Molly’s troupe.

Nicholas uses his remarkable linguistic skill to build his ... Read More

Array ( [SERVER_SOFTWARE] => Apache/2.4.7 (Ubuntu) [REQUEST_URI] => /author/jason-golomb/page/2/ [REDIRECT_STATUS] => 200 [HTTP_HOST] => www.fantasyliterature.com [HTTP_CONNECTION] => Keep-Alive [HTTP_ACCEPT_ENCODING] => gzip [HTTP_CF_IPCOUNTRY] => US [HTTP_X_FORWARDED_FOR] => 54.224.197.251 [HTTP_CF_RAY] => 3b28c91df47446fe-EWR [HTTP_X_FORWARDED_PROTO] => http [HTTP_CF_VISITOR] => {\"scheme\":\"http\"} [HTTP_USER_AGENT] => CCBot/2.0 (http://commoncrawl.org/faq/) [HTTP_ACCEPT] => text/html,application/xhtml+xml,application/xml;q=0.9,*/*;q=0.8 [HTTP_CF_CONNECTING_IP] => 54.224.197.251 [PATH] => /usr/local/sbin:/usr/local/bin:/usr/sbin:/usr/bin:/sbin:/bin [SERVER_SIGNATURE] =>
Apache/2.4.7 (Ubuntu) Server at www.fantasyliterature.com Port 80
[SERVER_NAME] => www.fantasyliterature.com [SERVER_ADDR] => 162.251.164.103 [SERVER_PORT] => 80 [REMOTE_ADDR] => 108.162.219.11 [DOCUMENT_ROOT] => /var/www/fanlit [REQUEST_SCHEME] => http [CONTEXT_PREFIX] => [CONTEXT_DOCUMENT_ROOT] => /var/www/fanlit [SERVER_ADMIN] => [email protected] [SCRIPT_FILENAME] => /var/www/fanlit/index.php [REMOTE_PORT] => 17051 [REDIRECT_URL] => /author/jason-golomb/page/2/ [GATEWAY_INTERFACE] => CGI/1.1 [SERVER_PROTOCOL] => HTTP/1.1 [REQUEST_METHOD] => GET [QUERY_STRING] => [SCRIPT_NAME] => /index.php [PHP_SELF] => /index.php [REQUEST_TIME_FLOAT] => 1508804587.309 [REQUEST_TIME] => 1508804587 )