Marion Deeds

MARION DEEDS, with us since March 2011, is retired from a 35-year career with county government, where she met enough interesting characters and heard enough zany stories to inspire at least two trilogies’ worth of fantasy fiction. Currently she spends part of her time working at a local used bookstore. She is an aspiring writer herself and, in the 1990s, had short fiction published in small magazines like Night Terrors, Aberrations, and in the cross-genre anthology The Magic Within. On her blog Deeds & Words, she reviews many types of books and follows developments in food policy and other topics.

WWWednesday: January 31, 2018

Ursula K. Leguin:

Here is SFWA’s obituary of Ursula K. Le Guin.

Karen Joy Fowler shares ten things she learned from LeGuin.

LitHub talks about Le Guin's The Language of the Night.


An act of inclusion and generosity from John Picacio and John Scalzi, who between then funded memberships to WorldCon for four Mexicanx fans and/or creators. The deadline has passed, but it’s a great story and a great g... Read More

Binti: The Night Masquerade: This conclusion is hopeful and triumphant

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Binti: The Night Masquerade by Nnedi Okorafor

Without giving any spoilers I must say that with Binti: the Night Masquerade (2018) Nnedi Okorafor triumphantly delivers a solid, hope-filled ending to this powerful and original story. As you may recall, Binti: Home ended on a cliffhanger, and while our main character endures even more trials and hardships in this third installment, she finds a way to embrace her gifts and her physical changes while remaining true to herself.

The book opens with a horrifying dreamlike sequence that Binti experiences while out in the desert with Mwinyi, an Enyi Zinariya tribesman. Binti, a Himba, was raised to view the Zinariya as barbarians and savag... Read More

Thoughtful Thursday: Collaborative Cliché — Villains Edition!

It’s time for another Collaborative Cliché!

Villains. Here at FanLit, we love villains, especially when they are well-written, nuanced, smart characters. Often, though, villains still fall into the category of flat, stick-figure characters, or worse, the dreaded Evil Overlords. It’s boring to read, and fun to mock.

In this Collaborative Cliché column, we take on the thinly drawn, evil-overlord villain. Let’s look at every stereotypical thing the Big Bads do. We'll start you off, but please use the Comments to keep us going! Add your favorite eye-rolling dumb villain move.

One random commenter with a USA mailing address will win a book from our Stacks. 

MordorMort’s dark cloak swirled about hi... Read More

Future Home of the Living God: Good, but bleak. Really, really, bleak.

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

Future Home of the Living God by Louise Erdrich

It’s winter. It’s cold. Our government is a mess. If you’re looking for a flight from reality, a pleasant escape, or a cozy book that offers comfort, do not reach for Louise Erdrich’s 2017 novel Future Home of the Living God. It’s not that book.

On the other hand, if you’ve been wondering what an update of the Margaret Atwood classic The Handmaid’s Tale might read like, or you just love Erdrich’s prose and keen eye for detail, Future Home of the Living God... Read More

WWWednesday; January 24, 2018

Here is an obituary I've been dreading. We lost Ursula K. LeGuin this week. It is impossible for me to calculate what LeGuin gave to the speculative fiction field, to women and to the world. I know what she gave to me; hours of magic; models for strength and truth in the face of oppression and corruption, and often, plenty of laughter. Here is the New York Times obituary.


Wellington, New Zealand is preparing to bid for WorldCon 78 in 2020.Wellington is the capital and it looks pretty.  Layton, Utah is bi... Read More

Mixed Up: Stories and cocktail recipes; both are intoxicating

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Mixed Up edited by Nick Mamatas & Molly Tanzer

Mixed Up (2017) is an anthology of cocktail-themed flash fiction and cocktail recipes, edited by Nick Mamatas and Molly Tanzer. The stories, like the drink recipes, are grouped by type and theme. I thought the editors took the most liberal view of “flash” here, because I think some of these works might run to 1200 words or slightly over, and I think of flash as topping out at 1,000 words. I don’t think there is a hard and fast threshold, and certainly the spirit of flash fiction (see what I did there?) is met.

Nick Mamatas says in his introduction to the stories that this is conceived as an old-fashioned “all-stories” magazine. The tales in the book includ... Read More

WWWednesday; January 17, 2018

Not the comfy chair!

This week’s word for Wednesday comes, as it does nearly always, from word explorer Haggard Hawks. The verb “to lollock” means to loll about or lounge. The even cooler word is the noun, “lollockin” which means a really comfy chair. (Yes, I know, “Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition!”)


Stephen King will receive the PEN Literary Service award in May, 2018. The award is presented to authors whose work “embodies America’s mission to oppose repression in any form and champion the best of humanity.” I hope they included King’s twitter account in his body of work!

File 770 posted the short lists Read More

A Taste of Honey: An unusual and fascinating world

Readers’ average rating: 

Reposting to include Marion's new review.

A Taste of Honey by Kai Ashante Wilson

Another 2016 Nebula nominee today, this time for best Novella. A Taste of Honey (2016) is set in the same world as a previous work by Kai Ashante Wilson, The Sorcerer of the Wildeeps, which I confess I have not read (it’s not necessary for the understanding of this story, though it may provide some useful background to the setting and its institutions).

At its heart, A Taste of Honey is a love story between two men from different lands — wealthy nobleman, Aqib, from Olorum (where the story is set), and battle-hardened warrior... Read More

She: A century-old mirror

Readers’ average rating:

Reposting to include Taya's new review.

She by H. Rider Haggard

H. Rider Haggard published She in 1887. 130 years later, She is a memorable, if strange, read. It is a romantic action-adventure seen in a fun-house mirror; almost offensive at times to modern sensibilities, but still intriguing.

The two main characters are Leo Vincey and our narrator, his adoptive father L. Horace Holly. Holly describes himself as ugly — ape-like, with bandy legs, over-long arms and thick black hair that grows low on his forehead. He is a committed misanthrope and misogynist. Leo is a golden Apollo with a cap of blond curls. With Leo came a strange iron-bound chest, to be opened when Leo turns 25.

On Leo’s twenty-fifth birthday, they open the chest, to find a pot-shard inscribed in Greek and several transl... Read More

WWWednesday: January 10, 2018

Rest in peace, John Young. Image courtesy of NASA.


John Young, the country’s oldest astronaut, who walked on the moon, and flew Gemini, Apollo and shuttle missions, died of complications from pneumonia on January 5. He was 87 years old.


File 770 published the finalists in 2017’s Self-Published Fantasy Blog-Off competition. Here they are.

Linda Addison is the first poet to win the Horror Writers Association Lifetime Achievement award.

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Secondhand Souls: Christopher Moore — easy to read, really hard to explain

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Secondhand Souls by Christopher Moore

Secondhand Souls (2015), by Christopher Moore is a sequel to his 2007 book A Dirty Job. Set in San Francisco, the book contains foul language, cross-dressing nuns, a homunculus of animal parts and luncheon meats with a lizard head and an enormous penis, a woman who works at a suicide-prevention hotline and keeps tracks of Wins and Losses on a whiteboard — she’s at five-and-a-half wins because one guy jumped but he lived, so half a win, right? — destructive hellhounds, sophomoric sexual humor, and, let’s see, did I forget anything? Got the language? Got the nuns? Oh, and a seven-year-old-girl who is the Illuminatus, otherwise known as Big Death. ... Read More

WWWednesday; January 3, 2018


The Parsec Awards for excellence in speculative fiction podcasts have been announced.


NewCon, a convention held in Portland, Oregon, has been cancelled.

Fireworks in Montreal, Yves Marcoux Getty

Books and Writing:

I don’t know if these articles always comfort new writers, or if it’s schadenfreude, but these articles always make me feel better.  Lit Hub reviews the most rejected famous books of all time.

It’s a new year, time to start planning all those fantasy trips I want to take. Here’s one: Read More

Black Magick, Volume 001: Awakening by Greg Rucka

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Black Magick, Volume 001: Awakening by Greg Rucka and Nicola Scott

Black Magick, Volume 001: Awakening was published by Image Press in 2016. It follows a Portsmouth, New Hampshire police detective, Rowan Black, as she investigates a series of crimes that seem to be pointing at her. It’s worrisome; in addition to being a cop, Rowan is a witch, and these crimes hint at a magical enemy who has targeted both Rowan and her coven. Poised in the potential crossfire is her non-magical partner Morgan, whose wife is about to have their first baby. For whatever reasons, Rowan has not shared her belief system with her colleagues so there is also the risk that uncovering the perpetrator will “out” her.

After a highly visual opening that has the feel of a television teaser, Awakening plunges us right into the story. Ro... Read More

Creatures of Will and Temper: A Wilde pastiche

Readers’ average rating:

Reposting to include Marion's new review.

Creatures of Will and Temper by Molly Tanzer

Molly Tanzer took quite a bit of inspiration from Oscar Wilde’s classic 1891 novel The Picture of Dorian Gray for her 2017 novel Creatures of Will and Temper, and yet manages to make her story far more unique than simply gender-switching some characters and tossing in modern-sounding references to changing social mores.

Evadne Gray and her younger sister Dorina are completely different — Evadne loves fencing above all else, while Dorina nurtures dreams of someday becoming an art critic — so being forced to take a trip to London together, with Evadne acting as Dorina’s chaperone, is cause for tremendous friction between the two. Th... Read More

WWWednesday; December 20, 2017

This week’s word for Wednesday, (thanks again to Haggard Hawks) is the noun yuleshard, a person who still have gift buying or errands to run on Christmas Eve. You know who you are.

Any thoughts on how this is pronounced? I didn’t have much luck finding a pronunciation guide on the internet. At first I assumed it was “yule-shard,” as in a chip off Yule… but I can make an argument for “Yules-hard” too.


2018’s SmofCon, a convention for people who want to learn how to put on conventions, will be held in Santa Rosa California, beginning November 30, 2018. It will be held at the Flamingo Resort and Spa (the planners are lucky that is one of the hotels that was unaffected by the fires.) If you are more interested in SmofCon, here is a link.
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Spoonbenders: Heartwarming and extraordinary

Readers’ average rating:

Reposting to include Tadiana's new review.

Spoonbenders by Daryl Gregory

Spoonbenders (2017) by Daryl Gregory, is multi-generational family saga. It’s a coming-of-age story. It’s a psychic adventure story and a weird conspiracy tale for lovers of shadowy CIA projects like MKULTRA. It’s a gangster story. There’s a heist. There is a long con, and a madcap comedy along the lines of classic Marx Brothers routines. There are a couple of romances, a direct-distribution scheme, a medallion, a cow and a puppy. If we’re talking genre, I don’t know what Spoonbenders is. I know I loved it. I know it was fun and made me laugh, I know it was scary at times and I know I closed the book feeling happy and sad. And I know it’s a five-star b... Read More

WWWednesday; December 13, 2017

Outdoor Christmas Tree in Istanbul, Turkey

This week’s word for Wednesday is Kirsmas-Glass, a noun meaning a drink made to toast a house or a family on Christmas day.


The Game Awards were presented on December 7, 2017, at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles.

Flash fiction? Microfic? Nanofic? The London Independent Story Prize wants to see your 300 word story. Yes. 300 words. When I first read it I thought it was 3,000. There is an entry fee, and the deadline is 1/10/18. Good luck!

Books and Writing:

John Scalzi and Netflix Read More

Autonomous: Is anyone truly autonomous?

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Autonomous by Annalee Newitz

2017’s Autonomous is Annalee Newitz’s first novel. Autonomous questions what life would be like in a world with AI, a world where everything is property, whether it’s physical, molecular or intellectual.

Pirate Jack (Judith) Chen is a biologist who started off fighting the restrictive patent system that keeps vital medicines away from people who need them, guaranteeing instead corporate profits. Disillusioned, she has become a pharma-pirate. To her horror, a productivity drug she reverse-engineered is causing deaths. Jack is eager to get her knockoff version off the market, but then she learns that there is no error in her pirated drug; the official drug has the same effects and that news is being suppressed.

Meanwhile two operatives from the International Property Coalit... Read More

Null States: Great SF in the old-fashioned way, as technology pushes social change

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Null States by Malka Older 

Null States (2017) is the sequel to Malka Older’s prescient Infomocracy and the second book in THE CENTENAL series. In Older’s universe, micro-democracies, governments with tracts of 100,000 people each, have taken hold over most of the globe. The mini-governments or centenals are designed so that minorities can participate in a democratic government. Governments are not bound by geographic borders; in this way people who hold a minority view in their physical home-town can join a like-minded government and be represented. Every ten years all the governments have an election and one government gets the Supermajority, a chance to set international policy. The entire process is overseen and helped by a powerful entity called Information, which is like Google on steroids. The agen... Read More

WWWednesday; December 6, 2017

This month’s words for Wednesday will all have a Yule or winter theme, and to start us off is the noun hogamadog, which means a big ball of snow made by rolling a smaller ball of snow around and around in the snow.


The James White Prize for non-professional writers is open now through April 27, 2018. The winner will have a story published in Interzone.

Books and Writing:

Why yes, women have always written space opera.

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WWWednesday: November 22, 2017

Fall leaves (c) Marion Deeds


For all our USA readers, I wish you a happy, fun and loving Thanksgiving with plenty of American football; for all readers outside the US, have a good Thursday tomorrow, and everybody have a good week.

Thanksgiving is beginning to get tarnished between the relentless drive to transmute it from a day with loved ones and friends to a shopping extravaganza and the historical ties to colonialism and genocide. For me, still, it is a holiday for seeing friends and loved ones, taking stock, and spending a moment to be consciously grateful for what I have in my life.

About six weeks ago, where I live, devastating wildland fires destroyed nearly 6,000 buildings, most of them homes. People died in the fires because they could not leave their homes quickly enough. I want to thank all the first responders, those from within the county, like the sher... Read More

Provenance: A coming-of-age tale blended with a murder semi-mystery

Readers’ average rating:

Reposting to include Marion's new review.

Provenance by Ann Leckie

Whether you’ve read Ann Leckie’s IMPERIAL RADCH trilogy or not (though I highly recommend you do, as it’s excellent), there’s plenty to enjoy about Provenance (2017), a new and stand-alone novel set within the reaches of Radchaai space. The Empire-shifting events of Ancillary Justice, Ancillary Sword, and Ancillary Mercy have an effect on the political schemes in progress within Read More

The Cuckoo’s Calling: Rowling makes a break without forgetting her roots

Readers’ average rating:

Reposting to include Ryan's new review.

The Cuckoo’s Calling by Robert Galbraith (J.K. Rowling)

Early in 2013, a new murder mystery came out. Written by an author named Robert Galbraith, The Cuckoo’s Calling was set in England and featured an army veteran detective with a prosthetic leg (he was injured saving other soldiers in Afghanistan), a strange family and an unusual name; Cormoran Strike. A few months later, through a series of different sources, it was revealed that “Robert Galbraith” was a pseudonym for J.K. Rowling, who wanted to publish her first murder mystery without having it connected in any way to her globally-famous, history-making, best-selling series of YA fantasy best-sellers.

Sorry that whole anonymous thing didn’t work out for you, Ms. Rowling. Read More

WWWednesday; November 15, 2017


Mike Resnick won this year’s Galaxy Award, given in China, for favorite foreign author.

Jo Walton is using Kickstarter to fund an intimate convention in Montreal next year; Scintillation.

Books and Writing:

Danai Guria as OkoyeCR: Marvel Studios, Black Panther

Publishers Weekly gives its picks for the week. The Mannequin Makers s... Read More

Tracy Townsend chats about THE NINE, RPGs, and gives away a book!

Tracy Townsend’s debut novel The Nine is the first book of a series set in a second world. It pays homage to the classics, to steampunk and to role-playing games. Townsend has a Master’s Degree in Writing and Rhetoric from DePaul university and currently teaches writing and science fiction/fantasy literature at the Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy. She’s also taught martial arts and worked as a stage combat and accent coach. We asked Tracy a few questions about The Nine and her writing history.

Three random commenters with US or Canadian addresses will get a copy of The Nine.

Marion Deeds: First of all, congratulations on your debut novel! The Nine is not only your first novel, it’s the first book of your new series, THIEVES OF FATE. It takes place in a world that seems as if it could have evolved from ours, especially wi... Read More

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