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: What’s your favorite scary movie?

An oversized radioactive octopus wrestling with a mad scientist in a mudpit… that is the earliest image that I have of any horror movie. This B&W scene somehow made a huge impact on my 5-year-old mind, as I sat watching it on a grainy TV screen, and was in part responsible for setting me on the road of horror filmdom.

Today, I have come to realize that the scene in question was just a snippet from – of all things – Ed Wood’s notorious 1955 cheapie Bride of the Monster, a film that elicits mainly laughter in the adult me, instead of scares and awe. But oh, what an impression it made on my kindergarten self back then!

During the intervening decades, my tastes in the arena of horror have matured a bit, and the films that I deem scary these days are a bit more sophisticated in nature. (You can find some thoughts on 22 recent horror watches of mine in this month’s annual Shocktober Film column.)

For me, the most chilling h... Read More

WWWednesday: October 21, 2020

Don't Move, byJames S. Murray and Darren Wearmouth



Security Breach:

Locus Online signal-boosted the Barnes and Nobel announcement that they were hacked on October 10, 2020.

Conventions:

Also from Locus: I didn’t know Iceland had a biannual SF convention, but it does. They are apparently hoping for an in-person conference in November, 2021.

Giveaway:

One commenter with a USA mailing address will get a copy of C.L. Polk’s new fantasy novel The Midnig... Read More

Thoughtful Thursday: Identify last month’s covers

Today’s covers all come from books we reviewed in September 2020. 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 at noon EST, 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, Read More

Thoughtful Thursday: Blank Slate

When my 24 year old son (Nate) was visiting recently, he suggested that we listen to an audiobook together and asked me to introduce him to one of my favorite fantasy series.

I was delighted to do this, of course, and I downloaded my Audible copy of Robin Hobb's Assassin's Apprentice. Within minutes, Nate was hooked. We listened to the first two books together before he had to leave.

He loved FitzChivalry's story just as much as I did and it was exciting to visit it again through his fresh eyes though, as I told Nate, I wish I didn't know what was going to happen so I could be just as surprised (and worried, and relieved, and gutted, etc) as he will be.

This reminded me that t... Read More

WWednesday: October 7, 2020

Lois McMaster Bujold. Image by Kyle Cassidy



Last week interesting enough for you all?

Books and Writing: 

Lois MacMaster Bujold fans, especially those who like the Penric stories, will be pleased by this announcement on Bujold’s Facebook page. (Thanks to File770.)

The Illinois Science Fiction in Chicago organization (ISFIC)  is holding its annual writing contest even though WindyCon has been postponed to 2021.

The Speculative Literature Foundation Read More

A chat with Megan Whalen Turner (Giveaway!)

Megan Whalen Turner writes both short stories and novels. She is best known for her popular QUEEN’S THIEF young adult fantasy series. Her first novel in this series, The Thief, was a 1997 Newbery Honor Book. The final book in this series, Return of the Thief, comes out today (I loved it!). One random commenter will win a Kindle or Audible copy of one of the books of the QUEEN's THIEF series (you pick). 

Tadiana Jones: I’ve loved the QUEEN’S THIEF series for many years, ever since one of my kids brought it home from his elementary school library and shared it w... Read More

Thoughtful Thursday: What’s the best book you read last month?

It's the first Thursday of the month. Time to report!

What is the best book you read in September 2020 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.

As always, one commenter with a U.S. mailing address will choose a book from our stacks. Read More

WWWednesday: September 30, 2020

I'm Kovacs. I hit people and look intense.



Netflix adapted Richard K. Morgan’s Altered Carbon into a series which has now run for two seasons. This review of Season One, which I watched via Amazon Prime, might contain spoilers for the show. In this column, my goal is to review the show without comparing it to the book.

One commenter chosen at random will win a hardcover copy of Harrow the Ninth by Tamsin Muir.

Altered Carbon, Season One is a hyper-violent, hyper-male noirish adventure set in a moody Blade-Runneresque world. It carried me right along, nicely balancing mood, exposition, special effects and action, but stumbled into cliché at the end, and I was troubled by certain aspects of the male gaze that pe... Read More

Thoughtful Thursday: Gifts

In Season 4 of Syfy’s space opera Killjoys, Da’vin Jacobis gives his thirteen-year-old son Jak, who was born six days ago (it’s a long story) a picture. He is sending Jak to hide out with his former-evil-overlord mother (again, long story). He doesn’t want Jak to forget him, so he gives him the only photo of himself he has — his old military ID.

It’s a touching moment, and a sweet gift.

Quest stories often include the giving, or exchange, of gifts. Some gifting follows, more or less, the steps of the Hero’s Journey, one template for a quest. Often, that gift is some sort of weapon. Sometimes it’s magic, or knowledge. A gift can be an inheritance, a legacy the giver never had time to explain. Often the gift is a mystery.

Gifts can be perilous. Not all of them can be trusted. Sometimes the gift is a betrayal. Sometimes the receiver of the gift doesn’t value it enough. (It wasn’... Read More

Thoughtful Thursday: Identify last month’s covers

Today’s covers all come from books we reviewed in August 2020. 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 at noon EST, 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, Read More

Thoughtful Thursday: Rename this horrible cover

Time for another "Rename This Horrible Cover" contest!

Actually, this cover isn't that bad, but we do feel like the book needs a better title -- one that fits the cover art better.

Can you suggest one?

The creator of the 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. Read More

Thoughtful Thursday: What’s the best book you read last month?

It's the first Thursday of the month. Time to report!

What is the best book you read in August 2020 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.

As always, one commenter with a U.S. mailing address will choose a book from our stacks. Read More

WWWednesday: September 2, 2020

God of Jades and Shadows by Silvia Moreno Garcia



Obituary:

I literally went numb when I read that Chadwick Boseman, who played, among other roles, King T’Challah in Black Panther, passed away from cancer. Boseman’s courage, grace and generosity extended far beyond his screen roles to his day to day life. He will be greatly missed, but he left us a legacy of hope.

Natural Disasters, Where to Donate:

New Orleans city government posted a number of places to donate. By the way, World Kitchen Central does wonderful work. They have been here in California too,... Read More

Thoughtful Thursday: Favorite re-told fairy tales

Classic fairy-tale retellings had a moment just a few years ago.

That moment left us with a bounty of books and stories that start with the elements of those tales and spin them off into strange and wonderful directions.

Naomi Novik, Catherynne M. Valente, and Seanan McGuire all dived headfirst into that rich pool of story, but there were many others as well.

Most of us can probably think of a fantasy book or story we’ve read in recent years that is a fairy-tale retold.

Which is your favorite? And why? Which one will you read next?

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

Thoughtful Thursday: Identify last month’s covers

Today’s covers all come from books we reviewed in July 2020. 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 at noon EST, 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, Read More

Ninth Annual Speculative Fiction Limerick Contest

It's time for our annual Fantasy Limerick contest!

Your task is to create an original limerick that has something to do with speculative fiction. It could be about a character, a series, an author, or whatever fits the theme. Here are the rules for creating a good limerick (quoting from this source). A limerick:

is five lines long
is based on the rhythm "da-da-DAH" (anapest meter)
has two different rhymes
Lines 1, 2, and 5 have three of those da-da-DAH "feet," and rhyme with each other.
Lines 3 and 4 have two, and rhyme with each other.
You can break the meter rules if there's a good reason. You may

drop the first "da" in a line, changing that foot to da-DAH
add an e... Read More

Thoughtful Thursday: What’s the best book you read last month?

It's the first Thursday of the month. Time to report!

What is the best book you read in July 2020 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.

As always, one commenter with a U.S. mailing address will choose a book from our stacks. Read More

Thoughtful Thursday: Speculations about a post-COVID world

The COVID pandemic is a shocking new experience for all of us. Epidemics aren’t new, but a global pandemic we watch on our devices as it plays out in real time is. We are all experiencing changes in behavior; staying at home, social distancing, using hand sanitizer, wearing facial coverings. We miss our social get-togethers and dining out in a pleasant restaurant or coffee house, and we’re getting expert at video-conferencing.

The changes associated with COVID are sweeping, and no one can predict what “normal” will be on the other side (I’m going to be optimistic and say, “When we have a vaccine”). We can’t predict, but we’re speculative fiction readers, so let’s predict anyway. Instead of the huge, scary and gloomy changes, let’s talk about day-to-day social changes.

Will the handshake go the way of the courtly bow and the curtsy? Will the bow and curtsy make a comeback? Will “share your toys” be bad advice? Will food trucks and ... Read More

WWWednesday: Lucifer, the Series

Today's column is a single-issue deal, a review.

Giveaway:  One commenter with a USA mailing address will get a copy of The Twisted Ones by T. Kingfisher.

Tom Ellis as Lucifer



Lucifer the series currently runs on Netflix, with the 5th season starting up in August. The show began its life on Fox in 2016, with a dark-haired Welsh actor named Tom Ellis in the title role. (“Dark-haired? But that’s not canon!” say the comic book readers. Trust me. Go with it.)

Readers of  Neil Gaiman’s Sandman met Lucifer when Dream journeyed to Hell to retrieve one... Read More

Thoughtful Thursday: The 2020 Hugo Awards

Winners of the 2020 Hugo Awards will be announced at the 78th World Science Fiction Convention (WorldCon) which will be in New Zealand (CoNZealand) this year, though events are virtual due to COVID. The final award ceremony takes place on Saturday August 1 and George R.R. Martin will be the toastmaster. The Hugo Award finalists, listed below, are chosen by a poll of readers.

Click the title links below to read our reviews and on the author links to visit our page for the author. We’ve included the cover art for our favorites.

Which, if any, of these finalists have you read? Who do you think will win the Hugo Award in these categories? Are there any titles you think should have been on this list but aren't? Answer below for a chance to win a book from Read More

Thoughtful Thursday: Identify last month’s covers

Today’s covers all come from books we reviewed in June 2020. 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 at noon EST, 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, Read More

Thoughtful Thursday: What’s the best book you read last month?

To our U.S. readers: Happy Independence Day! Stay safe out there!

It's the first Thursday of the month. Time to report!

What is the best book you read in June 2020 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.

As always, one commenter will choose a book from our stacks. Read More

Thoughtful Thursday: Identify last month’s covers

Today’s covers all come from books we reviewed in May 2020. 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 at noon EST, 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, Read More

Thoughtful Thursday: The 2020 Locus Awards

On June 27, Connie Willis will host the Virtual 2020 Locus Awards Ceremony. The Locus Award finalists, listed below, are chosen by a poll of readers.

Click the title links below to read our reviews and on the author links to visit our page for the author. We’ve included the cover art for our favorites. The Locus Award list is always fascinating, almost always very different from the Nebula and Hugo lists.

Which, if any, of these finalists have you read? Who do you think will win the Locus Award in these categories? Are there any titles you think should have been on this list but aren't? Answer below for a chance to win a book from our stacks.

BEST SHORT STORY

Read More

WWWednesday: June 17, 2020

A Fire Story by Brian Fies



Giveaway:

One commenter chosen at random will get a copy of Brian Fies’s graphic novel A Fire Story.

Awards:

Finalists for the Shirley Jackson Awards have been announced. Pleased to see Elizabeth Hand’s Curious Toys on the list.

Books and Writing:

The troubles at literary agency Red Sofa began when the owner tweeted that, during the protests against police brutality and violence in New York City, she had called the police about some people she saw down the street at a gas station. She said they w... Read More