Feature


Genevieve Cogman talks about her INVISIBLE LIBRARY and gives away a book!

Genevieve Cogman’s first novel, The Invisible Library, was released in the US earlier this month. Before turning to the LIBRARY series, Cogman wrote for role-playing games like The Dresden Files and Vorkosigan games. She lives in the north of England and works for the National Health Service. Genevieve chatted with me about The Invisible Library, writing and knitting yarn.

One random commenter with a USA address will win a copy of The Invisible Library.

Marion Deeds: I know from the afterword and a couple of interviews you’ve given that you live in the north of England, you like musicals and that you’re a quilter. What else would you like to tell your American audience about yourself?

Genevieve Cogman: It’s difficult to know what ... Read More

Kat chats with Dexter Palmer and gives away a copy of Version Control

Dexter Palmer



My favorite book so far this year is, without a doubt, Dexter Palmer’s Version Control which I reviewed in March. It’s about the wife and colleagues of a physicist named Philip Steiner who is working on a device that he hopes will disrupt the space-time continuum, allowing time travel (though he doesn’t want to become a laughingstock in the physics community by actually using the term “time travel”). In the novel Palmer employs several well-worn science fiction tropes to freshly and humorously explore an array of human experiences. Version Control is exactly what I am always looking for in a science fiction story — heavy on the science and heavy on the humanity.

After I finished V...

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Caitlin Kittredge talks HELLHOUND CHRONICLES and gives away a book!

Caitlin Kittredge is no stranger to dark fantasy and magic. She’s probably best known for her BLACK LONDON series, gritty urban fantasy that follows the adventures of a woman police detective in that magical city. She also has a series called NOCTURNE CITY, some YA (The Iron Thorn is Lovecraft-tinged steampunk fantasy) and Coffin Hill, a comic book for Vertigo. The HELLHOUND CHRONICLES series is her latest, set in the American Midwest, and following the adventures of Ava, a hellhound, and Leo, who is a Reaper.

Kittredge manages to keep busy, but she took some time to answer a few questions for us. Marion interviewed her about her latest projects, regional magic, hellhounds, and the difference betwee... Read More

Four Quick Questions for Greg Van Eekhout

Greg Van Eekhout



Greg Van Eekhout is known here on the site mostly for his DANIEL BLACKLAND series, beginning with California Bones (here are our reviews), but he also writes middle-grade fantasy/science fiction, and adult urban fantasy. Greg lives in Southern California. He’s a very busy guy, but in between all his tasks and attending the Phoenix ComiCon he set aside some time for a few quick questions from us.  Thanks, Greg!

One random commenter in the USA will win a copy of California Bones.

Marion Deeds: You have been working on a comic set in the California Bones universe. Please tell us everything you th... 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.
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Gwenda Bond talks LOIS LANE: DOUBLE DOWN and gives away a book!

Today Fantasy Literature is glad to host Gwenda Bond for another chat with Jana — this time, in celebration of Ms. Bond’s second novel in the DC Comics universe, Lois Lane: Double Down. She and Jana discuss authorial freedom, the most amazing detective trio in the history of head-canons, and bubbly drinks. One commenter with a U.S. mailing address will win a copy of Lois Lane: Double Down!

Jana Nyman: Writing within an established universe, with established characters, can’t be easy. How much leeway does DC Comics allow you with the Lois Lane novels? Do you have guidelines that you know you’ll have to work within, other than expected characterizations of Lois and Clark? Does someone at DC have to approve your manuscripts before they go to print, or are you relativ... Read More

Charlie Jane Anders talks ALL THE BIRDS IN THE SKY and gives away a book!

Charlie Jane Anders’s novel All the Birds in the Sky came out earlier this year, and has been very well received. This unusual tale follows the lives of a witch and a super-scientist who were best friends in middle school, and raises lots of questions about science, magic, popular culture, and coming of age. Anders is well known for her short fiction and her work on the pop-culture website IO9. Anders recently read at a bookstore event in Petaluma, California, which Marion attended, and took some time to talk about the book, her influences, San Francisco, and Writers with Drinks.

One commenter with a USA or Canadian address will win a signed copy of All the Birds in the Sky.

Marion Deeds: You are a very well-known essayist and columnist with a track record with short fiction, but All the Birds i... Read More

Thoughtful Thursday: Rename this cover!

Baen is known for its cheesy cover art, but this one is particularly horrid.

Please help us rename this awful-looking story collection by Christopher Anvil. Rx for Chaos is highly rated at Amazon, by the way, so let's not judge the book by its cover.

The author of the new title we like best wins a book from our stacks.

Got a suggestion for a horrible cover that needs renaming? Please send it to Kat.

We love this game!kelly Read More

Philip Reeve talks RAILHEAD, Easter eggs, and gives away a book!

Today Fantasy Literature welcomes Philip Reeve, whose most recent novel, Railhead, is accruing rave reviews (including ours). Jana chatted with him about Easter eggs within his novel, his thoughts on grimdark, and more. One lucky commenter will win a copy of Railhead!

Jana Nyman: I recently discovered that Railhead is being adapted to film, so congratulations are absolutely in order! How excited are you to see your novel morph from page to screen? Are you involved with the process at all?

Philip Reeve: Yes, Warner Brothers bought the rights for the director Doug Liman, and I believe they have someone at work on a script — I’m not involved in the process in any way. Doug Liman’... Read More

Mark Andrew Ferguson chats LOST BOYS SYMPHONY

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Today, Mark Andrew Ferguson visits Fantasy Literature to celebrate the paperback release of his well-received debut novel, The Lost Boys Symphony, which brings mental illness, time travel, and the bonds of friendship into a compelling and cohesive whole. He was kind enough to talk with Jana about his novel, sharing insight into his writing process and an upcoming project. One lucky commenter will win a copy of The Lost Boys Symphony!

Jana Nyman: I appreciated your treatment of Henry’s mental state: you took a serious approach with a very real illness and added a fantastical layer to it, which then affects ... Read More

Thoughtful Thursday: In Honor of To-Read Lists

I dedicate a lot of time to reading, and I have reading routines, but perhaps the most important of them is maintaining a to-read list.

My to-read list exists in two places: my phone and my laptop. If someone recommends a book to me in conversation, I immediately take out my phone to add another author/ title, e.g. "Wilson/ Comstock." The to-read list on my phone is random, disordered, and disorganized, but every few weeks, I'll open it and transfer its author/ titles to a master file on my computer. This master list is alphabetized by the author's surname, and it sometimes contains a parenthetical explanation of why I want to read it, too. Though the list is long, I keep the entries concise.

It would be nice to liken my to-read list to a garden, except that mine never stops growing. I suppose I could check its growt... Read More

Marion reports on FOGCon 2016

A few things make FOGCon different from other SFF conventions. One is its size; it’s a small convention, with probably not many more than 200 participants. FOGCon is very participatory, in the style of Wiscon; participants recommend panels, choose the final panels and volunteer as panelists. FOGCon is also unusual in that it always has a posthumous guest of honor, or as some folks say, “Ghost of Honor.” It’s held in Walnut Creek, California, in the San Francisco East Bay, close enough to Silicon Valley to be cool, and far enough away from it to be comfortable.

This year’s Ghost of Honor was Octavia Butler; the living Guests of Honor were short story virtuoso Ted Chiang, and the brilliant writer Read More

Lá Fhéile Pádraig

Happy Lá Fhéile Pádraig!

I’ve only got a wee bit of Irish in me, but every year I like to celebrate Irish history and culture on St. Patrick’s Day.

Mainly that includes food and drink. At this very moment there’s a pot of corned beef and cabbage simmering on my stove and the Guinness is chilling in the fridge.

But I also enjoy celebrating their literature and lore. After dinner I may settle down with some Irish-inspired text — perhaps a story set in their beautiful land, perhaps a tale inspired by their legends and myths, maybe just something written by an Irish author.

Do you have any suggestions?

One random commenter wins a book from our stacks. Read More

Jordanna Max Brodsky chats THE IMMORTALS, Artemis, and gives away a book!

Fantasy Literature is pleased to welcome Jordanna Max Brodsky, whose recently-published novel, The Immortals, brings the ancient Greek gods to modern-day Manhattan in a supremely entertaining way. She was kind enough to chat with Jana about the inspirations and challenges she faced in bringing disparate elements together into a cohesive whole, and we’ve got a copy of The Immortals to give away to one lucky commenter!

Jana Nyman: Many books which feature Greek gods and mythology are kid-friendly or YA-oriented, even though the original stories can contain some very adult themes and events. What inspired you to write for a more mature audience?

Jordanna Max Brodsky: I’m glad yo... Read More

Tim Hanley talks about INVESTIGATING LOIS LANE and gives away a book!

Today Fantasy Literature welcomes Tim Hanley as he celebrates the release of his second book, Investigating Lois Lane: the Turbulent History of the Daily Planet’s Ace Reporter. (Jana, unsurprisingly, loved it.) Mr. Hanley was kind enough to chat about the Daily Planet’s most-decorated employee, his research methods, and his favorite tea. Plus, we’ve got a copy of Investigating Lois Lane to give away!

Jana Nyman: What was your initial impetus behind writing a comprehensive survey of Lois Lane as she appeared in various media like comic books, television, and film throughout the twentieth and twenty-first centuries?

Tim Hanley: In part, I wanted to write about Lois just because she's such a great character. I read a bunch of Lois comics for my first book, Wond... Read More

Lee Kelly talks about A CRIMINAL MAGIC and gives away a book!

Today, Fantasy Literature welcomes Lee Kelly, whose second novel, A Criminal Magic, was released in February of 2016 (and Jana thought it was fantastic). Ms. Kelly was kind enough to chat with Jana about inspirations, sorcery, jazz music, and letting the reader become part of the creative process. Comment below for a chance to win a copy of A Criminal Magic!

Jana Nyman: The idea of a government-sanctioned prohibition of sorcery — particularly in the vein of the very real prohibition of alcohol in the U.S. in the early 20th century — makes sense when you think about it, but I’ve never seen it implemented before. How did the idea come to you, and did the concept undergo any revisions as you wrote A Criminal Magic?
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Thoughtful Thursday: Rename this cover!

It's time again for one of our favorite games!

Please help us rename this strange-looking science fiction novel by Chester Anderson and Pocket books. The Butterfly Kid, which is a semi-autobiographical fantasy about LSD hallucinations (surprise, surprise), was nominated for a Hugo Award in 1968 but didn't win. Has anyone read it?

The author of the new title we like best wins a book from our stacks.

Got a suggestion for a horrible cover that needs renaming? Please send it to Kat.

We love this game! Read More

Favorite SFF romances

Valentine's Day is around the corner!

Love is in the air and everyone's thoughts turn to romance.

We all have our favorite fantasy and science fiction romances.

Who is your favorite SFF couple, and why?
And, are there any SFF couples that you really despise? If so, why?

As usual, one random commenter picks a book from the stacks. Read More

Which 2016 releases are you waiting for?

Another year, another round of amazing novels! I can feel myself almost salivating at the delicious, delicious sequels and debuts set to be published this year! Right now I’m envisioning curling up in a comfy chair with a 2016 release and a big plate of cookies... and it’s really distracting…

Anyway, here are the two releases I’m most excited about this year:

1. Daniel Abraham’s The Spider's War, out March 8, is the conclusion to his acclaimed THE DAGGER AND THE COIN series. I’ve been waiting for this one for two years! Here's the publishers's blurb:

The epic conclusion to THE DAGGER AND THE COIN series, perfect for fans of George R.R. Martin. Lord Regent Geder Palliako's great war has spilled across the world, nation after nation falling before the ancient priesthood and weapon of dragons... Read More

Reading Resolutions 2016

It’s that time of year again; full of optimism and champagne, we set a great list of goals for ourselves. Gyms, exercise machines sales reps and diet programs do gangbuster business the first two months of the year.

I take the easy way out and make reading resolutions. Here are mine for 2016:

I resolve to make my writing a priority.
I resolve to delve deeper into the sub-genre of Military SF.
I resolve to go to more conventions.

I’ve already registered for Northern California’s small and dynamic FogCon in March, and WorldCon in August. Look how well I’m doing!

How did I do on last year’s? Well, pretty well on the Mil-SF resolution, I think, and I read several good books on literary criticism, but I fail... Read More

Daniel José Older talks MIDNIGHT TAXI TANGO

Daniel José Older wrote the YA urban fantasy Shadowshaper, co-edited the fantasy anthology Long Hidden: Speculative Fiction from the Margins of History, and has had his short fiction published at Tor.com. He is the author of the new urban fantasy series BONE STREET RUMBA, the latest of which, Midnight Taxi Tango, was released on January 5, 2016. When he’s not writing fantasy, Older composes and plays music, conducts writing workshops, and blogs about his decade of experiences driving an ambulance. Despite this busy schedule, Older took some time to answer some questions for Marion and Jana about social media, music, and his latest book.

One commenter with an address in the USA or Canada will win copies of both Half... Read More

Our favorite books of 2015

Here are our favorite books published in 2015. Hover over the cover to see who recommends each book. Click on the cover to read our review.

Please keep in mind that we did not read every SFF book published this year, so we know we’ve missed some good ones! Please add your comments — we’d love to hear your opinions about our list and to know which were YOUR favorite books of 2015. What did we miss?

ADULT SFF



MIDDLE GRADE / YOUNG ADULT SFF



ANTHOLOGIES / NON-FICTION



HONORABLE MENTIONS: FAVORITE NEWLY RELEASED ON AUDIO IN 2015: Read More

Greg Van Eekhout talks about OSTEOMANCY

Greg Van Eekhout has written middle grade novels like Kid vs Squid, adult SF (The Norse Code) and his well-known OSTEOMANCY trilogy, set in a magical California, where sorcerers absorb the magic of mythical creatures by eating their bones. Against this backdrop, Daniel Blackland struggles to survive, and maintain his created family. The final book in the trilogy, Dragon Coast, is out now. Greg chatted with me about magic, families, tacos and the awesome power of the avocado. One commenter with a USA or Canadian address will win a copy of Dragon Coast.

Marion Dee... Read More

Michael Livingston talks about THE SHARDS OF HEAVEN

Jason talks with Michael Livingston, historian, author, and Professor of Medieval Literature at The Citadel in South Carolina. Michael's fiction debut was recently released: The Shards of Heaven, a historical fantasy mashup set in the ancient Roman Empire. Jason and Michael talk about the worries of a historian moving into the world to fiction and his passion for the works of J.R.R. Tolkien. Plus, we're giving away a copy of his book to one U.S. and one Canadian commenter. See below for details.

Jason Golomb: You've written a lot of in-depth and detailed history like ... Read More

Second annual Speculative Fiction Haiku Contest

Last year we started our annual SPECULATIVE FICTION HAIKU CONTEST! Now it's time for round two. Anyone can do this!

As a reminder, here are the rules:

For haiku, the typical subject matter is nature, but if you decide to be traditional, you must give it a fantasy, science fiction, or horror twist. We expect to be told that the peaceful wind you describe is blowing across a landscape of an unfamiliar, distant planet. And if your poem is about a flower, we hope that elegant little touch of beauty is about to be trampled by an Orc. We welcome the sublime as well as the humorous, the pedestrian along with the momentous.

Though you may use the traditional three-line haiku following a 5-7-5 syllable pattern, feel free to break that pattern. Many poets who write English haiku adhere to other expectations:

Writt... Read More