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: 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 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: Happy Thanksgiving!

To our American readers: Happy Thanksgiving!

Thanksgiving is one of our favorite holidays here at Fanlit. A time we set aside for family, close friends, and (of course) good food. A time to consider how grateful we are for those and other aspects of our lives. A chance to reflect on the larger perspective than perhaps our daily lives don’t leave us much time for.

Reading in general -- reading science fiction and fantasy, and reading specific individual books, are obviously some of those things we’re thankful for. But besides being the thing itself, the books we read can also show us a way toward thankfulness.

So at this holiday time, as usual, we thought we’d check in with all of you with a few questions:

What reading experiences have you been thankful for in the past?
What books this past year have you been especially thankful for?
Or, more broadly, what have you found in your reading, eith... Read More

Thoughtful Thursday: Identify last month’s covers

Today’s covers all come from books we reviewed in October 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: Sixth Annual Speculative Fiction Haiku Contest

Time for our sixth 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 fo... 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 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: Favorite fictional haunted places

Today is the USA’s creepiest holiday, Halloween.

Oh, sure, there are cute costumes, pumpkin-spice everything, candy, harvest carnivals and bobbing for apples, but there also ghosties, ghoulies and scary noises. And, haunted places.

Houses, or interiors generally, can be haunted by entities, or they can absorb death, despair and evil themselves, radiating those back at hapless humans who enter the space.

One of my favorite haunted buildings in fiction is Hill House, in Shirley Jackson’s The Haunting of Hill House. This mansion has both an evil ghost and evil oozing from its wainscoting and walls.

Several decades later, the decaying “stately pile” in Sarah Waters’s The Little Stranger is another brilliantly cre... Read More

Thoughtful Thursday is on Fall Break

Here are our current giveaways.

See you next week! Read More

Thoughtful Thursday: Identify last month’s covers

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

Thoughtful Thursday: Magical Medical Facilities

The brave wizard trio of the HARRY POTTER series were quite familiar with Hogwarts’s infirmary.

In Cassandra Clare’s MORTAL INSTRUMENTS series, the Shadow-hunter Institute also has a nice infirmary, although it looks like they outsource most of their medical work to the witch/warlock community.

Magical communities have their medical needs, just like everybody else, with some special twists. If you’re a werewolf and you are injured in wolf form, are you better off with a veterinarian than a surgeon who works on humans? Do vampires suffer from anemia? And do the faerie folk risk environmental allergies in an increasingly industrialized world?

Some fantasy series do address medical needs in an organized fashion, not by just seeking the help of a mystical he... 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 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, o... Read More

Thoughtful Thursday: Rename this horrible cover!

Time for another "Rename This Horrible Cover" contest!

Children of the Lens is the last novel in E.E. "Doc" Smith's LENSMAN series which, in general, Sandy loves.

All of the covers are pretty bad, though.

We feel like this book needs a new title that fits the cover art better. Can you suggest one?

The creator of the title we like best wins a book from our stacks

Got a suggestion for a horrible cover that needs... Read More

Thoughtful Thursday: Identify last month’s covers

Today’s covers all come from books we reviewed in August 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: Favorite fictional libraries

Library of Congress



They’re all the rage; hidden libraries, secret libraries, magical ones, forbidden archives and lost collections. They’re locations and plot fuel for books, stories, movies and television shows. And we all have our favorites.

Genevieve Cogman’s Invisible Library, in the series of the same name, spans realities and dimensions; some libraries, like the Vatican Archives in Dan Brown’s ROBERT LANGDON series, are firmly rooted in one world, but go back centuries. One of the most popular libraries, the library at Alexandria, has been gone longer than it existed, but it still grabs our imaginations.

What is your favorite library or archive? And let’s look across media; you can cite collections from books, video games, television or movies. And let’s not get too pi... 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 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: Identify last month’s covers

Today’s covers all come from books we reviewed in July 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: Where would you want to live in space?

One of the joys of science fiction is imagining living in space. If you could, where would you choose? There are several choices.

How about a “local” planetary colony? In Arabella of Mars, by David D. Levine, the title character comes from Mars. Many golden age writers imagined moon settlements, an idea Andy Weir tackled most recently in Artemis. THE EXPANSE, by James S.A. Corey, takes a look at smaller settlements in the Kuiper Belt, with humans already experiencing the p... Read More

Eighth Annual Speculative Fiction 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 e... 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