Giveaway!

Unless a Giveaway says otherwise, we can only send books to US addresses. If you’ve won a book, please contact Marion to let her know which book you’ve won and your US mailing address. If you don’t see a winner mentioned in the comment section, please let Marion know that she forgot to pick one. Good Luck!

Here’s a link to our stacks.
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Thoughtful Thursday: Summer reading giveaway!

Today’s the last day of school for my kids, which means that summer is here! Even though it’s a little chaotic around here with the kids home for the next couple of months, I am out of the classroom and teaching only one online course, so my schedule is lighter than usual and I’m planning to get a lot of reading done.

Click to embiggen.



I took a good long look at what will be landing on our bookstore shelves soon when Woman’s World Magazine asked me to contribute to their Summer Reading issue (it was in your grocery store check-out line this past week!).

There are several important sequels coming out, but for the magazine article, I focused on books that didn't have any prerequisites.

They only printed two of my suggestions, probably the two they thought would be most appealing to their readers:

Children of Earth & Sky by Read More

Thoughtful Thursday: Identify last month’s book covers

Today’s covers all come from books we reviewed in April 2016. Once you identify a book cover, in the comment section list:

1. The number of the cover (1-16)
2. The author
3. The book title



Please identify just one cover that has not yet been identified correctly so that others will have a chance to play. If they're not all identified by next Thursday, you can come back and identify more.

Each of your correct entries enters you into a drawing to win a book of your choice from our stacks. Winners are notified in the comments, so make sure to check the notification box or remember to check back in about 10 days. If we don't choose a winner within 2 weeks, please bug Marion.

And, as always, we've got Read More

Thoughtful Thursday: Who should win the Nebula Award?

It’s award season! Next Saturday, May 14th, the 2015 Nebula awards will be announced, and the Hugos are coming up in August. Like last year, there is excitement, and plenty of controversy in many categories, although both Best Novel shortlists look solid.

As always, there are books we here at the site loved, and some we didn’t warm up to that much. And as always, there are books we hope will win and books we think will win, and those aren’t always the same books.

Let's talk about the Nebula nominees first. We'll do the Hugos in August.

The Nebula Candidates for Novel are:




Raising Caine by Charles E Gannon (Review)
The Fifth Season by 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

Coming Up with Fantasy Names: A Somewhat Vague and Impractical Guide

Sam Bowring



Sam Bowring began writing at a young age, and had his first book published when he was nineteen. Since then he has written various other books and stage plays, as well as for various television shows. His critically acclaimed fantasy series THE BROKEN WELL TRILOGY has reprinted four times and sold over ten thousand copies. He recently started self publishing works too whacked out for traditional publishers, including a choose-your-own-adventure style gamebook entitled Butler to the Dark Lordand a series of short, punchy reads called Sam, Jake and Dylan Want Money... 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, 'cause we do this on the first Thursday of every month! Time to report!

What is the best book you read in April 2016 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 bo... Read More

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

Ten reviewers … Ten novels … One great bundle of books!

Blair MacGregor writes fantasy—adventurous, epic, and dark. She is a graduate of Viable Paradise, chairs SFWA's Self-Publishing Committee, and runs a Patreon for self-defense and fight-scene writing. When not writing, she hangs out with family, camps alone, teaches and trains in Okinawan karate, and speaks to groups on resilience and wellness. She loves traveling to places both wild and domesticated. 

KATE: We usually use the Expanded Universe space for short essays on SFF topics. But today I've invited Blair McGregor to tell us about the Self Published Fantasy Blog Off, which FantasyLiterature is participating in. Ten fantasy book bloggers and blog-sites (that's us!) collectively read almost 300 self-published fantasy novels, with the goal to choose ten of their favorites. And here's ... Read More

Thoughtful Thursday: Free Comic Book Day 2016! (15th anniversary!)

Free Comic Book Day — FCBD — is always the first Saturday of May and this year marks the celebration's 15th anniversary. To get your free comics on May 7, you’ll need to locate a local comic bookstore and, if in doubt, give them a call to see if they are participating. Chances are, if it’s an independent comic book store, they are offering free comics, because FCBD is designed to celebrate comics, to introduce comic books to new readers, to celebrate the unique independent comic book stores that sell them, and to support comic book stores by bringing in new customers in addition to the regular patrons.



If you are new to comics, FCBD is for you just as much as it is for those of us who can’t make it through a single day without reading comics. For me and others like me, it’s a day of celebration. But we also want to reach out to new readers.

So, if you have never been... 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

Night Angels Chronicles: Traveling Around the World

Karen Hunt aka KH Mezek is the author of Key of Mystery, book I in the YA Urban Fantasy series, NIGHT ANGELS CHRONICLES, published Feb, 2016 with Evernight Teen. Her essay "Reflections from Istanbul," an excerpt from her childhood memoir Into the World, won the 2015 New Millennium Writings Nonfiction Award. She is the author and/or illustrator of nineteen children’s books and numerous essays. Karen co-founded InsideOUT Writers, a creative writing program for incarcerated youth in Los Angeles. In 2015, she founded the MY WORLD PROJECT, connecting youth in remote areas around the world through art and writing. She is a 2nd degree black belt in Tang Soo Do, a first degree brown belt in Eskrima, and a boxing and kick-boxing instructor. As a child, she traveled the world with her family; as an adult, she continues her life of traveling w... 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

Strangely Beautiful’s Uncanny Real-Life Magic

Leanna Renee Hieber is an actress, playwright, artist and the award-winning, bestselling author of Gothic Victorian Fantasy novels. The Strangely Beautiful Tale of Miss Percy Parker hit Barnes & Noble and Borders Bestseller lists and garnered numerous regional genre awards (see Kelly's reviews). The revised omnibus edition with new content releases as Strangely Beautiful from Tor Books on April 26. Leanna's MAGIC MOST FOUL saga began with Darker Still, an American Bookseller's Association "Indie Ne... Read More

Thoughtful Thursday: Identify last month’s book covers

Today’s covers all come from books we reviewed in March 2016. Once you identify a book cover, in the comment section list:

1. The number of the cover (1-16)
2. The author
3. The book title



Please identify just one cover that has not yet been identified correctly so that others will have a chance to play. If they're not all identified by next Thursday, you can come back and identify more.

Each of your correct entries enters you into a drawing to win a book of your choice from our stacks. Winners are notified in the comments, so make sure to check the notification box or remember to check back in about 10 days. If we don't choose a winner within 2 weeks, please bug Marion.

And, as always, we've got Read More

Author 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

Mystery in Fantasy

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 Gerrard Cowan. Cowan is the author of The Machinery (HarperVoyager UK), a fantasy about a world whose leaders are chosen by a machine - until the machine breaks. It will be available on paperback and ebook from March 24th. The Machinery is the first in a trilogy; part two, The Strategist, will be released in May 2016. ... 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, 'cause we do this on the first Thursday of every month! Time to report!

What is the best book you read in March 2016 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 bo... Read More

Mark Andrew Ferguson chats LOST BOYS SYMPHONY

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 Gabe and Val as well. Did you worry while writing that readers might think you were making light of mental illness in some w... Read More

Our Favorite Fools

The Fool in the Major Arcana



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. This is a continuation of my series on archetypes.

As Shakespeare will tell you, there are two kinds of fools: silly fools, and wise fools.

Well, anyone who tells you that there’s only two kinds of anything in this world is probably more than a little foolish themselves. But as I don’t want to be caught calling Shakespeare a fool, let’s just take the Bardic definition for granted.

Silly fools have no idea what they’re doing. They might be a bit dim-witted or just exceedingly ignorant, but they m... 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

Giveaway! Grand Master C.J. Cherryh’s VISITOR

C.J. Cherryh has been named a Damon Knight Grand Master by the Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America. Previous Grand Masters include Gene Wolfe, Anne McCaffrey, Ursula K. Le Guin, Isaac Asimov, Ray Bradbury, Harlan Ellison, Robert Silverberg, Read More

Brains vs. Beauty: The Women of Harry Potter

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 Maya Sapiurka. Sapiurka is a graduate student in neuroscience whose main hobby is yelling excitedly about fandom on the Internet. She's pretty sure her dissertation work isn't going to start the zombie apocalypse, but no guarantees. You can read her science writing here and here, explore Harry Potter headcanons on her Tumblr, or follow her Twitter for the full science-fandom mash up exper... Read More

Thoughtful Thursday: Identify last month’s book covers

Today’s covers all come from books we reviewed in February 2016. Once you identify a book cover, in the comment section list:

1. The number of the cover (1-16)
2. The author
3. The book title



Please identify just one cover that has not yet been identified correctly so that others will have a chance to play. If they're not all identified by next Thursday, you can come back and identify more.

Each of your correct entries enters you into a drawing to win a book of your choice from our stacks. Winners are notified in the comments, so make sure to check the notification box or remember to check back in about 10 days. If we don't choose a winner within 2 weeks, please bug Marion.

And, as always, we've got Read More

Put Fat Girls in Your SFF YA

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 Sarah Hollowell. Sarah is definitely not several raccoons in a trenchcoat. Her poetry (not about raccoons) has been in Apex Magazine and her essays (also not about raccoons) have been featured on The Butter and The Gloss. You can follow her on Twitter @sarahhollowell.
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