Thoughtful Thursday

On Thursdays we host a weekly discussion question and usually gives away a book from our stacks. If you’ve got something you’d like to discuss or a suggestion for cover art that’s begging to be renamed, or if you’ve won a giveaway, please contact Kat. Thoughtful Thursday was originally conceived and hosted by retired reviewer Ruth Arnell.

Thoughtful Thursday: Identify last month’s covers

Today’s covers all come from books we reviewed in November 2018. 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, plea... 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 November 2018 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, on... Read More

Thoughtful Thursday: What’s your favorite SFF TRILOGY?

It is not so simple a question as you might at first blush think, although some decades ago, the answer may have come to mind a bit quicker.

So what IS your favorite sci-fi or fantasy trilogy?

Many years back, one might automatically have responded “Isaac Asimov's FOUNDATION trilogy" to the first and "Ursula K. LeGuin's EARTHSEA trilogy" to the second.

But those are not quite valid answers any longer.

The FOUNDATION trilogy was later expanded to include no fewer than seven books, while that EARTHSEA three-parter currently stands at five books, all told. Even Tolkien's MIDDLE EARTH trilogy was intended by its author to be ... Read More

Thoughtful Thursday: Giving thanks

Happy Thanksgiving, American readers! In honor of Ryan, who recently retired from FanLit after eight years of servitude, we're re-running his Thanksgiving column from two years ago. 

Thanksgiving may be my favorite holiday. There are no gifts. Instead, we set time aside for family, friends, and good food. And we are invited to consider those things we are grateful for, a reminder to keep things in perspective.

Well, one thing I'm grateful for is science fiction and fantasy stories. They were the first books that appealed to me when I was a young reader. Though I've met readers who dismiss these genres, I would like to think SFF can inspire us to be better people and to live more fully realized lives.

These novels often follow heroes who stand up for others. I'm especially grateful for those who stand up to injustice, bigotry, and bullying, even if it might cost them in the short term. Of all these characters, the best mig... Read More

Thoughtful Thursday: Fourth Annual Speculative Fiction Haiku Contest

Time for our fourth annual SPECULATIVE FICTION HAIKU CONTEST!  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:

Written in three lines, though sometimes in two or f... Read More

Thoughtful Thursday: Identify last month’s covers

Today’s covers all come from books we reviewed in October 2018. 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, pleas... 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 October 2018 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... Read More

Thoughtful Thursday: Scary Movies, Scary Scenes

Reading Sandy's Shocktober reviews got us talking about scary movies and scary scenes. We were trying to determine which was the scariest movie we'd ever seen.

Marion: The first movie scene I remember being scared by was the Flying Monkeys scene in The Wizard of Oz.(I think I'm not alone there.)

I was going to say that Aliens was the scariest movie I'd ever seen, and it is scary, but then I remembered 1963's adaptation of Shirley Jackson's The Haunting of Hill House (The Haunting). The black-and-white film relied heavily on its excellent cast to create a sense of growing dread. That scene in Eleanor's and Theo's bedroom, where something is crying, and the camera stays trained on Eleanor's face… Eleanor is grateful that Theo is holding her hand, but Theo begins squeezing so hard it hurts… only it's not Theo! T... Read More

Thoughtful Thursday: Identify last month’s covers

Today’s covers all come from books we reviewed in September 2018. 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, ple... Read More

Thoughtful Thursday: What’s your favorite SFF mashup?

I heard once that William Gibson coined the phrase “mashup,” but it turns out that may not be the case. 

The concept of mixing styles and genres may have come from the music scene and it has several fun names. Some of us are old enough to remember “sampling,” but two other newly discovered favorites of mine are “plunderphonics,” and “collage music” (collage as in the art form of assembling bits from other works).

In fiction, I think “mashup” took hold in the 1990s. Whatever it’s called, speculative fiction has always done it well. Originally, it was mostly copying; many early “space colonization” stories looked like Westerns, for instance. But now, SF-mysteries, fantasy-romance-horror, and “science fantasy” give readers a large smorgasbord of choices. You can read alternate-world novels that are practically LeCarre-style spy stories. Paranormal roman... 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 September 2018 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, o... Read More

Thoughtful Thursday: Thieves we love (giveaway!)

Thieves. They steal our reading hearts. Admit it — somewhere in your fantasy/sci-fi library is some charming rogue who won you over even as he/she lifted your purse. It’s what they do, damn them. With their clever tongue and even more clever hands. Their shifty eyes and even more shifty ethics. They play us poor readers like the marks we are. And despite that, we keep coming back for more.

We all have our favorites. Around here one such a one is Locke Lamora, along with his band of fellow con artists collectively known as The Gentlemen Bastards (also the title of the series, which begins with The Lies of Locke Lamora — think Ocean’s Eleven in a fantasy setting).

And who could leave out Bilbo Baggins, The Hobbit’s reluctant thief who not only... Read More

Thoughtful Thursday: Identify last month’s covers

Today’s covers all come from books we reviewed in August 2018. 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... Read More

Thoughtful Thursday: TV Adaptations

George R.R. Martin’s Game of Thrones is the grand-daddy of television adaptations of beloved speculative fiction books, but with companies like Netflix and Amazon making the transition from content-providers to content-creators, the list grows.

When we include graphic works as well as prose only, the steady flow of episodic TV adaptations becomes a flood. And there are more in the pipeline. It’s no wonder; multiple episodes allow the studio time to develop characters and explore subplots that are trimmed out of two-plus-hour movie. In some cases, though, the adapters choose to go in a completely different direction and it’s hard to find the source material in there.



 

Some adaptations, like 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 August 2018 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 ... Read More

Thoughtful Thursday: Identify last month’s covers

Today’s covers all come from books we reviewed in July 2018. 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 b... Read More

Thoughtful Thursday: SFF BFFs (giveaway!)

Speculative fiction heroes have all kinds of people with whom they interact. They have sidekicks, mentors, hot exes with emotional baggage, and nemeses galore – but a lot of them don’t seem to have many friends. It’s not a big surprise. Being a best friend to an SF main character is a high-risk activity.

Sometimes the faithful sidekick fulfills the role of friend, but how many main characters have someone who is, plotwise, mainly a friend? That’s the person who will come bail you out, who offers a shoulder to cry on and provides a much-needed reality check when you’re going off the rails.

Even though he works for her, Sigurd and Sharra in Robert Jackson Bennett’s THE DIVINE CITIES series sprang to mind. Their loyalty and affection transcends an employee/employer dynamic, which leads, toward the end of the trilogy, to betrayal and an aba... Read More

Thoughtful Thursday: FanLit’s 2018 SFF 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 extra "da" or two at the end of a line IF it's used for an extended rhyme, such as cannibal and Hannibal

Read More

Thoughtful Thursday: 2018 Hugo Awards: Novels & Novellas

Lots of our favorites are included among the finalists for this year's Hugos for Best Novel and Best Novella. Will the "sure things" win? Will Ann Leckie or Yoon Ha Lee pull off an upset?

Not surprisingly, the novella category has the tried-and-true, like Nnedi Okorafor and Seanan McGuire, along with relative newcomers like Sarah Gailey. And the Tor.com novella imprint is well represented in that category!

Click the title links below to read our reviews and on the author links to visit our page for the author. We've displayed the covers of our favorites.

BEST NOVEL

The Collapsing Empire by John Scalzi, Tor
Read More

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

What is the best book you read in July 2018 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 book from our st... Read More

Thoughtful Thursday: 2018 Hugo Awards: Series, YA, Campbell

The 2018 Hugo Awards will be presented at Worldcon 76 in San Jose, California, on August 19. The Hugo Award finalists are chosen by readers who are voting members of Worldcon. This week we’ll talk about the awards for Best Series, Best Young Adult Novel, and the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Author. We discussed the categories for short works a few weeks ago and we’ll discuss the novels and novellas in our August 9 column.

Best series (in its second year) has a bumper crop of great stories. This category points out, once again, the difficulty in the category, with books that are definitely linked (Robert Jackson Bennett, Brandon Sanderson, for example) and series like Seanan McGuire's books, which can be read as stand-alones. It will be interesting to watch this category evolve.
Read More

Thoughtful Thursday: Identify last month’s covers

Today’s covers all come from books we reviewed in June 2018. 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 b... Read More

Thoughtful Thursday: 2018 Hugo Awards: Novelettes & Short Stories

The 2018 Hugo Awards will be presented at Worldcon 76 in San Jose, California, on August 19. The Hugo Award finalists are chosen by readers who are voting members of Worldcon. This week we'll talk about the shortest works, novelettes and short stories. We'll discuss other categories in future columns.



Click the title links below to read our reviews and on the author links to visit our page for the author. We liked all of these stories and loved most of them. It's not surprising that we saw many of these in the Locus and Nebula finalist lists.

BEST NOVELETTE

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 June 2018 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 co... Read More

Thoughtful Thursday: Identify last month’s covers

Today’s covers all come from books we reviewed in May 2018. 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. Read More