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: Collaborative Cliche — Space Opera edition!

It’s time for another Collaborative Cliché! We all have subgenres we love, and they all have certain elements that endear them to us. And, sometimes, they use those elements just a liiittle too much.

We are going to start you off with anonymous villains, hidden asteroids, mysterious energy beams and gruff star ship captains. Yes, it’s our homage to Space Opera. Please bring out your most tired, over-used, predictable tropes, and use the Comments section to add to our interplanetary story. One random commenter with a USA address will win a book from our Stacks. And now we have liftoff:

*****


In a secret installation deep in an asteroid, a villain we won’t name yet chortled with ev... 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 December 2016 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 ... Read More

Thoughtful Thursday: Our favorite books of 2016 (Giveaway!)

Here are our favorite books published in 2016. 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 2016. What did we miss? One commenter chooses a book from our stacks.

ADULT SFF



MIDDLE GRADE / YOUNG ADULT SFF



ANTHOLOGIES / COLLECTIONS



NON-FICTION



AUDIO Read More

Thoughtful Thursday: What’s the best book you read in 2016?

2016 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 2016?

It doesn't have to be a book that was published in 2016. Just read in 2016. 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 2016.

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: What’s your favorite fictional midwinter holiday celebration? (Giveaway!)

Even though he was born on a planet in a distant galaxy, and traveled billions of years and visited thousands of planets, Doctor Who manages to spend quite a few Christmases on Earth, usually near London. Whether it is the emergence of the 10th doctor (and the destruction of Harriet Jones’s political career), a fight with an arachnid queen from the center of the earth, or a retelling of A Christmas Carol on a planet where sharks fly, Doctor Who nearly always delivers a Christmas-themed episode.

The Doctor isn’t the only one. Many fantasy writers celebrate a holiday close to the December solstice in their fiction. It may be Christmas, Hanukkah, the birth of the Prophet, or it may be a completely made-up holiday. If it is on another planet it may not even be connected to the idea of solstice, but it still shows up.

What is your favorite fictional midwinter holiday celebration? Tell us which one you love the most, and wh... Read More

Thoughtful Thursday: Identify last month’s book covers

Today’s covers all come from books we reviewed in November 2016. 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, 'cause we do this on the first Thursday of every month! Time to report!

What is the best book you read in November 2016 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 ... Read More

Thoughtful Thursday: Third Annual Speculative Fiction Haiku Contest

Time for our third 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, t... Read More

Thoughtful Thursday: Identify last month’s covers

Today’s covers all come from books we reviewed in October 2016. 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, 'cause we do this on the first Thursday of every month! Time to report!

What is the best book you read in October 2016 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 ... Read More

Thoughtful Thursday: What’s your favorite scary book?

Coming up on Halloween, our thoughts turn to the scary, the creepy and the shivery. What’s your favorite scary book? I have about four, and for the most part they hit different notes.

One of the scariest books I’ve ever read was Stephen King’s The Shining. It was not only ghost-and-monster creepy, but the dissolution of a family was really terrifying. In a different way, because it unmoors us from reality one page at a time, Caitlin R. Keirnan’s book The Red Tree has got to be in my top five.

Then there are a couple of classics, courtesy of Shirley Jackson; We Have Always Lived in the Castle... Read More

Thoughtful Thursday: Identify last month’s covers

Today’s covers all come from books we reviewed in September 2016. 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: Shadows and Light

Have you ever had trouble understanding what's so amazing and brilliant about a certain writer's work and wondered, "Am I the only one who just doesn't get it?"

I've had this problem with Gene Wolfe's short stories. Wolfe is frequently described as one of the most brilliant SF writers by critics, authors, and readers. There is even a WolfeWiki dedicated to discussing the intricacies of his work. But many other readers are baffled and frustrated by his stories because they are packed with metaphors, literary references, and hidden themes that require extremely close reading to understand and appreciate.

Last year I tried twice to finish 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 2016 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 ... Read More

Thoughtful Thursday: Our SPFBO winner!

We have finally chosen our winner for Mark Lawrence’s Self-Published Fantasy Blog-Off (SPFBO), in which 300 self-published fantasy authors contributed their work to be reviewed by 10 fantasy review blogs. This last round was really tough, containing some of the best of the 30 books we were given. In fact, we had planned to have our winner declared last week, but we needed a little more time for comparison.

In the end, we chose the book that has been at the top of our list since our first round — The Shadow Soul by Kaitlyn Davis — but it just barely edged out three of the books in our last round! We liked The Shadow Soul for its engaging story, smooth pacing, complexity of character, and overall sense of ambition. It definitely has some “issues” that we’ll bring out in our review (which Tadiana is preparing), and the fact... Read More

Thoughtful Thursday: Rename This Horrible Cover

It's been nearly a year since we played "Rename This Horrible Cover." Far too long!

Please help us rename this atrocious-looking science fiction novel by Catherine Asaro. Wow. It's really bad... Well, at least the cover is... We haven't worked up the nerve to actually read the book yet.

The creator of the title we like best wins a book from our stacks. (Sorry, we don't have Diamond Star.)

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

We love this game!

  Read More

Thoughtful Thursday: Identify last month’s book covers

Today’s covers all come from books we reviewed in August 2016. 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: SPFBO Post #5

It’s time for Round Five of FanLit’s participation in Mark Lawrence’s Self-Published Fantasy Blog-Off (SPFBO) in which 300 self-published fantasy authors contributed their work to be reviewed by 10 fantasy review blogs.

Moving on again!



In the last round we took a look at The Heirs of Lydin, Salvation’s Dawn, The Flight, The Fuller’s Apprentice, and Shadowed Strength... 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 2016 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 b... Read More

Thoughtful Thursday: Identify last month’s book covers

Today’s covers all come from books we reviewed in July 2016. 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: SPFBO Post #4

It’s time for Round Four of FanLit’s participation in Mark Lawrence’s Self-Published Fantasy Blog-Off (SPFBO) in which 300 self-published fantasy authors contributed their work to be reviewed by 10 fantasy review blogs.

Wins again!!



Worth a mention.



Worth a mention.



The Shadow Soul by Kaitlyn Davis’ was the winner of both our first and second rounds. It went up against five more books in our third round and, guess what?

The Shadow Soul... Read More

Thoughtful Thursday: Hugo edition

It’s time for the Hugo Awards! At FanLit we are especially exited this year since several of us will be arriving in Kansas City, MO next week to attend the 74th WorldCon where this year’s Hugo Awards will be announced. It will be the first time that most of us have met each other in person, though we’ve been working closely together for years. We are looking forward to it!

We’re satisfied with the finalists for the Best Novel category. They are:



I am terrible at predictions and if I’ve learned anything over the past couple of years it’s that I really can’t predict these awards at all. With that disclaimer out of the way, I think probably the winner will be Jemisin’s The Fifth Season. Hard-science-fiction fans campaigned hard for Stephenson’s Seveneves, but Jemisin’s new series generated a lot of buzz, and it’s e... 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 2016 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 boo... Read More

Thoughtful Thursday: FanLit’s 2016 SFF 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 limerick... Read More

Thoughtful Thursday: Identify last month’s book covers

Today’s covers all come from books we reviewed in June 2016. 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