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: Back to school! (giveaway)

It's that time of year again.

Children groan and parents cheer as another year of school begins!

In fact, at this very moment, as I'm writing this post, I'm trying to get the last of my kids off to school for the day before I leave for work.

Maybe if he went to Hogwarts, he'd be more enthusiastic about his education. They certainly had a better school lunch!

Did you ever fantasize about being a student at a fictional school? Which speculative fiction institution would you like to attend? Or is there a school you'd hope to be expelled from if you were a student there?

As always, one random commenter with a US address wins a book or audiobook from our stacks. Read More

Thoughtful Thursday: Identify last month’s book covers (GIVEAWAY!)

Today’s covers all come from books we reviewed in July 2015. 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: Tom Doyle wonders about secret mages (and gives away a book!)

Tom Doyle blends historical fiction and urban fantasy in his AMERICAN CRAFT series. I loved his first bookAmerican Craftsmen and can't wait to read his newest offering, The Left-Hand Way. Tom's here today to talk about secret mages and to give away a copy of The Left-Hand Way to one commenter.

My AMERICAN CRAFT series is about the adventures and intrigues of modern-day magician-soldiers, or craftsmen. While their abilities are clearly supernatural, they are also things that could go largely unnoticed by non-practitioners: a favorable alteration in the local weather, a bit of edge in combat skills, a vision of a possible future. For the backstory of the craftspeople, I’ve imagined that their ancestors have been secretly intervening in world events since prehistoric times.

Thus, during the past ... 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. Time to report!

What is the best book you read in July 2015 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 Read More

Thoughtful Thursday: Rename this cover!

 

It's time again for one of our favorite games!

Please help us rename the cover of this book.

The author of the new title we like best wins a book from the FanLit Stacks.

Got a suggestion for a cover that needs renaming? Please send it to Kat.

We love this game!

 

  Read More

Thoughtful Thursday: Max Gladstone talks about writing fight scenes (and gives away a book)

Max Gladstone writes the CRAFT SEQUENCE which we love not only for its unique characters, world and plot, but for its awesome cover art. The most recent CRAFT book, Last First Snow, was released last week. I haven't had a chance to read it yet (can't wait!), but I'm assuming it's got some amazing fight scenes in it because that's what Max is here to talk about today: Writing fight scenes!

One commenter with a US or Candian address will win their very own copy (including awesome cover!) of Last First Snow.

Fantasy writers and readers spend a lot of time talking about action. We want cool fight scenes! But what do we mean when we say that?

Fights are tricky. We think we know what a “good fight scene” looks like, most of the time, because we know what a good fight scene looks lik... Read More

Thoughtful Thursday: Our annual Limerick Contest!

It's time for our annual Fantasy Limerick contest!

Your task is to create a 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


The best limericks are fun... Read More

Thoughtful Thursday: Identify last month’s covers (giveaway!)

Today’s covers all come from books we reviewed in June 2015. 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: What’s the best book you read last month?

It's the first Thursday of the month. You know what that means. Time to report!

What is the best book you read in June 2015 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 Read More

Thoughtful Thursday: The Game of Groans 2015

It's time for our second annual GAME OF GROANS contest! This is Fantasy Literature's version of the Bad Hemingway, Faux Faulkner, and Bulwer-Lytton fiction contests.

Your task is to write an atrocious example of original fantasy fiction. Something that really makes us groan! It could be several paragraphs long, or only a couple of sentences.

To inspire you, we offer the winning entry from last year's GAME OF GROANS contest. This little gem was written by E.J. Jones:
The Sleeper: A Retelling of “Sleeping Beauty”

 

He... Read More

Thoughtful Thursday: Identify last month’s covers (giveaway!)

Today’s covers all come from books we reviewed in May 2015. 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: Happy Birthday to us!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO US!

This week marks our EIGHTH birthday! Yep, we've been hanging out together (well, some of us) since June 2007!

To celebrate, we'd like to invite some characters from speculative fiction to our virtual birthday party. We'd like YOU to choose the guests. Who should we invite, and why? What do you think might happen? Oh, and of course, you're invited, too!

EIGHT commenters from the US or Canada will receive a gift from us: some festive FanLit BOOKMARKS and a delicious FANLIT T-SHIRT (or, if you prefer, a book from our stacks). Make sure to click the little box so you'll get the notification, or check back in about 10 days. 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. Time to report!

What is the best book you read in May 2015 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 Read More

Thoughtful Thursday: The Nebula and Hugo Awards: You choose the winners!

(MEGA-GIVEAWAY: One lucky commenter with a US address will get a copy of each of the nominated books — that’s right, eight volumes!)

Yes, it’s award season again. With the Prometheus Awards short list announced and the Arthur C. Clarke Awards already chosen, the Nebulas and the Hugos are coming up rapidly. The Nebulas will be awarded at the Nebula Weekend in Chicago, Illinois, June 4-7. The Hugo awards will be announced on August 22, at Sasquan, in Spokane, Washington.

The Hugos made t... Read More

Thoughtful Thursday: Rename this horrible cover!

It's time again for one of our favorite games!

Please help us rename the horrible cover of this book by Grande Dame Andre Norton.

The author of the new title we like best wins a book from the FanLit Stacks.

Got a suggestion for a horrible cover that needs renaming? Please send it to Kat.

We love this game!

NEXT WEEK's Thoughtful Thursday column: We'll be giving away all of the Nebula and Hugo nominated novels to one lucky winner! Read More

Thoughtful Thursday: Identify last month’s covers

Today’s covers all come from books we reviewed in April 2015. 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: What’s the best book you read last month?

It's the first Thursday of the month. You know what that means. Time to report!

What is the best book you read in April 2015 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 Read More

Thoughtful Thursday: Saturday is Free Comic Book Day!

Started in 2002, Free Comic Book Day — FCBD — is always the first Saturday of May. To get your free comics on Saturday, 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, pl... Read More

Thoughtful Thursday: Who’s Your Favorite Frenemy?

Urban Dictionary gives one definition of “frenemy” as “someone who is both friend and enemy, a relationship that is both mutually beneficial or dependent while being competitive and fraught with risk and mistrust.” This made me think of many of my favorite SFF heroes and their various relationships. A “frenemy” may be an old comrade who went over to the other side; it might be a former mentor, or a family member. It might be that dangerous romantic partner our main character just can’t stay away from. A frenemy is always good for cranking up the tension, and provides useful information to our protagonist when it is needed.

"The Deal" by Lowranzy6699 at Deviantart (used with permission)

Who is your favorite “frenemy” in SFF? Tell us who and why in the comments. One random commenter w... Read More

Thoughtful Thursday: Identify Last Month’s Covers

Today’s covers all come from books we reviewed in March 2015. 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: SFF Speed Dating

In celebration of Kate's Saturday wedding, let's cast a romantic eye toward our favorite fantasy/science fiction characters... Imagine a speed dating night... Picture a room filled with some of your favorite characters zipping from table to table, conversing a moment or two, then moving on at the ring of a bell to the next ever-hopeful romantic spirit. If we could eavesdrop on a conversation or two, what might we hear?

Feel free to give us one conversation or several. The author of the one we love most will choose a book from our Stacks.
I’ve started you off with one possibility below.

[Seated at the table:  Arwen]

Ding!

Arwen: Hi, I’m Arwen.
Date #1:  I am Groot.
Arwen: So Groot, what do you do f... 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. Time to report!

What is the best book you read in March 2015 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 Read More

Thoughtful Thursday: Identify Last Month’s Covers

Today’s covers all come from books we reviewed in February 2015. 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: Favorite fairies

Shakespeare gave us Oberon and Titania. J.M. Barrie gave us Tinkerbell. Jim Butcher gave us Toot-Toot. John Keats provided La Belle Dame sans Merci, and Seanan McGuire introduced us to the folks of the Shadowed Hills.

High fantasy, urban fantasy, paranormal romance and even horror love to play around with the realm of faerie.

Which is your favorite version of the realm of faerie, and/or who is your favorite fairy?

When I wrote this question, I didn’t think I had a favorite depiction. Then I remembered the terrifying fairies in Robert Jackson Bennett’s book The Troupe, with their eerily perfect masks, so I’m putti... Read More

Thoughtful Thursday: Goodbye, Sir Terry Pratchett

Just an hour ago Sir Terry Pratchett's publisher, Larry Finlay, announced Terry's death. He was diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer's Disease in 2007, but found ways to continue writing even after he lost the ability to type.



Terry Pratchett's last Tweets.

Terry Pratchett will be remembered for his DISCWORLD novels especially. Though they may seem like goofy satires and parodies, they are always deeply thoughtful and often emotionally striking. And they almost always include more pithy phrasing than any one person should have been allowed to craft.

Pratchett was an innovator. He was quick to embrace the computer and to use the internet in his writing and for interacting with his audience. He was a defende... Read More