Great Bookstores: White Dwarf Books in Vancouver


Eileen Kernaghan wrote in to let us know about one of her favorite bookstores: White Dwarf Books in Vancouver. You can find White Dwarf Books at 3715 West Tenth Ave, Vancouver,...

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Golden Fool: A nearly perfect fantasy novel


Golden Fool by Robin Hobb Robin Hobb’s TAWNY MAN trilogy, and the FARSEER trilogy that precedes them, are some of the finest epic fantasies ever written. FitzChivarly Farseer is...

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The Silence of Our Friends


The Silence of Our Friends by Mark Long, Jim Demonakos, Nate Powell One of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr’s most famous admonishments to all of us who lived in the Civil Rights era...

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Our rating system


We realize that we’re not professional literature critics — we’re just a group of readers who love to read and write about speculative fiction — but we...

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Recent Posts

The Short Victorious War: Honor feels more human

The Short Victorious War by David Weber

So far I have not much cared for David Weber’s extremely popular HONOR HARRINGTON series. In the first two books, On Basilisk Station and The Honor of the Queen, I thought there was way too much exposition and that Honor was cold and distant and too much of a Mary Sue (here are my reviews). It’s hard for me to enjoy a series if I don’t like its protagonist unless it has some other excellent qualities that can make up for that. I decided to give Honor Harrington another try, though, because Marion has recently written a review for the fourth book, Field of Dishonor, and I already had the third book, The Short Victorious War, in my Audibl... Read More

Nova: A New-Wave Grail Quest space opera from the 1960s

Nova by Samuel R. Delany

Nova is Samuel "Chip" Delany's 1968 space opera with mythic/Grail Quest overtones. It is packed with different themes, subtexts, allegorical and cultural references, and literary experiments, and the young author (just 25 years old) is clearly a very talented, intelligent, and passionate writer.

But I didn't enjoy it, sadly. While I thought Babel-17 was a very fast-paced, vivid and engaging space opera that centered on language and identity, Nova felt very turgid and forced. Why, you ask? Well, the author was determined to mold the story along the lines of a Grail Quest, Moby Dick, and Jason and the Argonauts, with the goal being a race to retrieve the super-material Illyrion from the heart of a recently-explode... Read More

Sunday Status Update: June 28, 2015

Today, Supergirl's back for the first time in a while. Yeah, I had no other ideas, so we're going to fall back on mocking superhero costumes.

Supergirl: Apparently, while I was looking the other way, everyone got a new costume from somewhere or other. Superman is in jeans and a t-shirt, Batgirl's in a caped tracksuit, and even Wonder Woman has traded in that idiotic bustier for some kind of pauldroned weirdness. I'm sure someone'll get to redesigning my look soon too. No more dumb Kryptonian cheerleader outfit. We're on top of this, right? Uh... right?

J... Read More

Justice, Inc.: Fun, but a little overstuffed

Justice, Inc. by Michael Uslan (Author), Giovanni Timpano (Illustrator), Alex Ross (Illustrator)

Justice, Inc.
is a complete storyline mashup of three pulp heroes: Doc Savage, The Shadow, and The Avenger. Written by Michael Uslan and drawn by Giovanni Timpano, the end result is a bit mixed, and some of one's enjoyment will probably be based on one's awareness of those three in their original incarnations, as well as the ability to pick up on some inside jokes in the text/artwork.

The three are brought together by a major threat from several pulp villains whom I won't name as one of them is (I think) meant to be a behind-the-curtain "big reveal" kind of moment. What is an interesting twist in this particular mash-up tale is that while The Shadow and The Avenger are their old selves, Doc Savage is the contemporary version, with this time travel thread made possible via a su... Read More

Film Review: The Deadly Mantis

The Deadly Mantis: DEW or die

By the time the sci-fi shocker The Deadly Mantis premiered in May 1957, American audiences had already been regaled by a steady stream of giant-monster movies on the big screen, starting with 1953's classic The Beast From 20,000 Fathoms. In 1954, Them!, with its monstrously large ants, kicked off a subgenre of sorts, the giant-insect movie, and Tarantula would follow in 1955. After The Deadly Mantis, The Beginning of the End (giant grasshoppers), Monster From Green Hell (giant wasps), Earth vs. the Spider and Attack of the Giant Leeches soon appeared to stun and amaze moviegoers. Unlike most of those other films, however, TDM featured a giant monster that was not the result of radioactive bombardment or an H-bomb blast, but that was just naturally humongous: a prehistoric entity released via natural phenomenon.

I... Read More

The Expanded Universe: Elite Groups in SFF

Welcome to another Expanded Universe column where I’ll be featuring essays from authors and editors of fiction, poetry, and non-fiction, as well as from established readers and reviewers, talking about anything SFF related that interests us. My guest today is Micah Dean Hicks, who is a Calvino Prize-winning author of fabulist fiction. His collection of Southern fairy tales, Electricity and Other Dreams, was recently published by New American Press and received a starred review from Publishers Weekly. You can follow him on Twitter at @micahdeanhicks or at his website  Read More

The Library at Mount Char: Science and magic intertwine in this phenomenal debut

The Library at Mount Char by Scott Hawkins

Ever wonder what might happen if a god went missing? The Library at Mount Char is Scott Hawkins’ fiction debut, and in my personal opinion, it is flawless. There are no wasted words, no unnecessary plot digressions, no moments in which a character says, “Wow, this crisis is important! We should respond right away!” and then tootles off to fold laundry for ten paragraphs. Each detail is crucial, even if the reader doesn’t realize it for a hundred pages or more, and the resulting novel feels enormous and expansive though the page count doesn’t hit 400.

Garrison Oaks was a lovely little slice of Virginian 1970s suburbia, where Adam Black roasted meats in an enormous metal bull and shared beer with his neighbors. Things changed, though, in one cataclysmic afternoon. Black revealed himself to be something far more than human and took twelve local children in... Read More

Knight’s Shadow: Great characters enrich this second installment

Knight's Shadow by Sebastien de Castell

I absolutely loved Sebastien de Castell's Traitor's Blade, first in his GREATCOATS series, having been immediately charmed by the utterly winning voice of its first-person narrator Falcio val Mond and its flamboyant Three Musketeers-like tone and narrative. So I was greatly looking forward to its sequel, Knight's Shadow. I'm pleased to say that while I had a few issues, for the most part I was wholly satisfied despite such high expectations.

The sequel picks up pretty much right after the close of Traitor's Blade and continues with the same basic goal: find a way to keep the king's thirteen-year-old heir Aline alive long enough to place her on the throne despite the continued violent oppositi... Read More

Ellison Wonderland: Annoyingly pompous, but still entertaining

Ellison Wonderland by Harlan Ellison®

Harlan Ellison® comes across as pompous, overbearing, aggressive, and obnoxious, but I wouldn’t miss any of his stories. He’s one of the best story tellers in speculative fiction and I have no problem separating the man’s fiction from his personality (though that abrasiveness often comes across in his fiction, too). And, as much as I don’t like his personality, I have to admit that he’s interesting. Partly that’s because he does interesting things such as getting expelled from THE Ohio State University after assaulting a professor who criticized his writing, but mostly it’s because he’s been involved in the SFF scene since a couple of decades before I was even born, so he’s got a lot of stories to tell about the industry and about some of my favorite writers.

That’s what he does for a lar... Read More

Good Omens: The harbinger of the apocalypse is an eleven-year-old boy

Good Omens by Terry Pratchett & Neil Gaiman

The bad news for the world is this: the apocalypse is nigh and all of humanity will soon face their final judgement. The good news? A Bentley-driving demon and an angel who is ‘gayer than a tree full of monkeys on nitrous oxide’ have decided that they rather like humanity and are going to try and save it.

Good Omens is the result of a collaboration between Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman, when ‘Neil Gaiman was barely Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett was only just Terry Pratchett.’ The story centres on Crowley, said demon, and the serpent who tempted Eve (originally named Crawly). Throughout history, he has secretly liased with Aziraphale, an antique-loving, rare books... Read More