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: The 2018 Nebula Awards: Novelettes & Short Stories

The Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America’s 54th Annual Nebula conference (May 16-19) will be held in Los Angeles, and the 2018 Nebula Awards will be announced on Saturday, May 18, 2019.

Today let’s talk about the finalists for Best Novelette and Best Short Story. We'll talk about other categories in future columns.

Here are the finalists in these categories. Click the links to read our reviews and get the links to the stories:

BEST NOVELETTE:

“An Agent of Utopia” by Andy Duncan, Small Beer Press (review coming soon)
The Only Harmless Great Thing by Brooke Bolander, Tor.com
Read More

Thoughtful Thursday: Identify last month’s covers

Today’s covers all come from books we reviewed in March 2019. 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: 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 2019 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 c... Read More

Thoughtful Thursday: Identify last month’s covers

Today’s covers all come from books we reviewed in February 2019. 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 is on Spring Break

Here are our current giveaways.

See you next week! Read More

Thoughtful Thursday: Fantasy botanicals

Another year, another St. Patrick’s Day. Shamrocks figure highly in the symbolism of Ireland, which got me wondering about other such botanicals in the fantasy world — those plants with an outsize influence or symbolism.

My first thought, as it often does, went to Tolkien, in this case athelas, or as it is known to the “rustics,” Kingsfoil, or for those who know something of the Valinorian — asëa aranion. I suppose nowadays it would be considered an herbal supplement. (The card shown here comes from the LOTR card game.)

So as we all prepare for our own wearin’ of the green, I was wondering:

What are some of your favorite uses of plants in fantasy — whether for healing, intoxication, simple feeding, etc.?

One commenter wins a book from our stacks. 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 February 2019 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: Our favorite robots

When it comes to robots, it’s hard not to think the film and television incarnations have it all over their print brethren. Gort, Robby, “The Robot” (Lost in Space couldn’t be bothered to name theirs) Huey/Dewey/Louie, R2D2, Wall-E, BB-8. Ask someone to imagine a robot and it’s more than likely that one of those iconic silhouettes will pop into their heads, as opposed to a favorite from a book or short story.

Well, we speak for the trees! Err, robots! The poor, forgotten print ones that is. From good old Tik-Tok of Ozma of Oz to Lester Del Rey’s lovable titular Runaway Robot, from the annoying Speedy of Asimov’s “Runaround” — the story that introduced the famous Three Laws of Robotics —, to the hysterically depressing Marvin from The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy Read More

Thoughtful Thursday: Identify last month’s covers

Today’s covers all come from books we reviewed in January 2019. 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: Valentine’s Day

Another Valentine’s Day is here!

Tonight many couples will celebrate with a nice evening of fine dining. So we were wondering...

...what restaurant would you take your significant other to if you could choose from all the fantasy/sci-fi worlds out there? (Or, if not a restaurant, what SFF setting would you choose for a romantic picnic?)

And let’s just take the Restaurant at the End of the Universe off the (dining room) table, shall we?

One random commenter wins a book from our stacks. 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 January 2019 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: Our Favorite Animal Companions

You’ve seen it in the theaters, watching a film where they kill eight or nine or a dozen people through variously inventive means, but it's always the dog that evokes the strongest reaction. "Oh, not the dog" someone always whispers (it might even be me) and then the gun barrel is leveled or the truck bears down — and we all know we can tell if this movie will end happily by if the dog lives or dies.

They almost never die, though. Not even in Independence Day or Armageddon, despite the destruction of many of the world’s major cities. Oh, I suppose one could assume some dogs died with their owners — and perhaps even a cat or two though they were probably smart enough, and disloyal enough, to have left town at the first scent of trouble — but we never see it happen.

We watch with nary a cringe as hundreds of people are incinerated but grip the armrest when a single canine is about to be overtaken by the same flames, and we don’t let go until (spo... Read More

Thoughtful Thursday: Collaborative Cliché — YA Dystopian Adventure Edition!

It’s time for another Collaborative Cliché!

It seems like YA dystopian adventure stories may have run their course, and that’s a shame because they had so much to offer. There was the powerful, special teen. There were angsty love triangles, powerless parents, corrupt political systems and evil, cruel leaders. There was some vague catastrophe in the past, and so on. Usually there’s a big wall somewhere.

Well, the stories may have ebbed to a trickle but that doesn’t mean we can’t play with the tropes. I’ll start us off. Then it’s your turn! Add to the story in the Comments. You can come back and add as many passages as you like. One commenter with a USA mailing address will get to choose a book from our Stacks.



... Read More

2019 Books We Can’t Wait For! (Giveaway!)

Here are some of the books we can’t wait for in 2019!

Hover over the covers to see what our reviewers said about each book.

Which books are you looking forward to this year? One commenter wins a book from our stacks. Read More

Thoughtful Thursday: Identify last month’s covers

Today’s covers all come from books we reviewed in December 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?

Happy New Year!

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 December 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... Read More

Our favorite books of 2018 (Giveaway!)

Here are our favorite books published in 2018. 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 2018. What did we miss? One commenter chooses a book from our stacks.

ADULT SFF



MIDDLE GRADE / YOUNG ADULT SFF



NON-FICTION Read More

Thoughtful Thursday: What’s the best book you read in 2018?

2018 is almost over! We hope you've had a wonderful reading year and that our work here at FanLit helped you achieve that.

Now we want to know: What is the best book you read in 2018?

It doesn't have to be a book that was published in 2018. Just read in 2018. It doesn't even have to be speculative fiction.

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.

Next week we'll be telling you about our favorite SFF books published in 2018.

And, as always, we 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 Read More

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