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: FanLit’s 2019 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: 1944 Retro Hugo Awards

The Hugo Awards have been awarded by science fiction and fantasy readers at the World Science Fiction Convention (Worldcon) since 1953.

Starting in 1996, fans began awarding Retrospective Hugo Awards to works that might have won in the years before the Hugos were instituted.

This year the Retro Hugos will celebrate novels, novellas, novelettes, and short stories that were published in 1943 and, therefore, might have won a Hugo Award if the Hugos had existed back then.

The 1944 Retro Hugo Awards will be presented at Worldcon 77 in Dublin, Ireland, on August 18. The finalists are listed here. Click the title links to read our reviews and on the author links to visit our page for the author. We've included the cover art for s... 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 July 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 co... Read More

Thoughtful Thursday: 2019 Hugo Awards: Series, YA, Campbell

The 2019 Hugo Awards will be presented at Worldcon 77 in Dublin, Ireland, on August 18. The Hugo Award finalists are chosen by readers who are voting members of Worldcon. This week we'll talk about the finalists for Best Series, Lodestar Award for Best Young Adult Book, and the Campbell Award for Best New Writer. We discussed other categories in previous columns.



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.

Who do you think will win the Hugo Award in these categories?

Answer below for a chance to win a book from  Read More

Thoughtful Thursday: 2019 Hugo Awards: Novels & Novellas

The 2019 Hugo Awards will be presented at Worldcon 77 in Dublin, Ireland, on August 18. The Hugo Award finalists are chosen by readers who are voting members of Worldcon. This week we'll talk about the novels and novellas. We discussed other categories in previous columns.

Click the title links below to read our reviews and on the author links to visit our page for the author. Most of these works are, not surprisingly, the same ones nominated for the Nebula Awards.

Who do you think will win the Hugo Award in these categories?
Answer b...
Read More

Thoughtful Thursday: Identify last month’s covers

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

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

Happy Independence day to our American readers! We hope you're taking the day off and getting some reading done.

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 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 Read More

Thoughtful Thursday: 2019 Hugo Awards: Novelettes & Short Stories

The 2019 Hugo Awards will be presented at Worldcon 77 in Dublin, Ireland, on August 18. 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. I’ve included the cover art for our favorites.

Who do you think will win the Hugo Award in these categories?
Answer below for a chance to win a book from our stacks.


BEST NOVELETTE

Read More

Thoughtful Thursday: The 2019 Locus Awards: Novels (Giveaway!)

Next weekend the 2019 Locus Awards Ceremony will be held in Seattle, Washington, on June 28-30, 2019. The Locus Award finalists are chosen by a poll of readers. A couple of weeks ago we discussed the finalists for the Short Fiction categories, so this week let's look at the novels.

Click the title links below to read our reviews and on the author links to visit our page for the author. I’ve included the cover art for some of our favorites. We loved many of these novels and others, not so much. It's interesting that most of our favorites are in the Horror category. The Locus Award list is always fascinating, almost always very different from the Nebula and Hugo lists.

Who do you think will win the Locus Award in these categories?
Answer below for a chance to win a book...
Read More

Thoughtful Thursday: Identify last month’s covers

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

Thoughtful Thursday: The 2019 Locus Awards: Short fiction

The Nebula Awards are in our rearview, and next up are the Locus Awards, leading us into Hugo Season!

The Locus Weekend will be held in Seattle, Washington, on June 28-30, 2019.

The Locus Awards have lots of categories, so I am focused on the short fiction this week and in a few weeks we’ll discuss the novels.

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

Who do you think will win the Locus Award in these categories?
Answer below for a chance to win a book from our stacks.


BEST NOVELLA

The Black God... Read More

Thoughtful Thursday: Happy 12th birthday to us!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO US!

June 1 marks our TWELFTH birthday!

Yep, we've been hanging out together (well, some of us) since June 2007!

To celebrate, we're giving away gifts!

FIVE commenters from the US will receive some FanLit BOOKMARKS (quite practical!) and a cozy FANLIT T-SHIRT (as long as we still have your size). Or, if you prefer, you may choose a book from our stacks.



You can leave any sort of comment -- a birthday wish, an admission of how many days/years you've been wasting your time edifying yourself at our site, suggestions for what you'd like to see happen at FanLit in the future, a festive natal day poem. Whatever! Just make sure to click the little notification box so you'll know if you won, or check back in... Read More

Thoughtful Thursday: Identify last month’s covers

Today’s covers all come from books we reviewed in April 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: The 2018 Nebula Awards: Novels, Novellas & YA

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.

We've already covered the Novelettes and Short Stories. Today let’s talk about the finalists for Best Novel, Best Novella, and the Andre Norton Award for Young Adult SFF.

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

BEST NOVEL:

The Calculating Stars by Mary Robinette Kowal, Tor
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 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: Free Comic Book Day 2019! (Giveaway!)

Free Comic Book Day — FCBD — is always the first Saturday of May. To get your free comics on May 4, 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 into a comic book store before, please ... Read More

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 
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