Bill chats with Michael Pryor


Michael Pryor is the author of THE LAWS OF MAGIC, a young adult series which begins with Blaze of Glory and ends with the just completed but not yet released Hour of Need. He has...

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Last Plane to Heaven: The Final Collection: Indispensable


Readers’ average rating: Last Plane to Heaven: The Final Collection by Jay Lake Jay Lake died in June of 2014. It was a tragic loss but not a surprise, since Lake had made his...

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Brains vs. Beauty: The Women of Harry Potter


Welcome to another Expanded Universe column where I feature essays from authors and editors of fiction, poetry, and non-fiction, as well as from established readers and reviewers....

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Great SFF Deals!


We’re always looking for money-saving deals on books, comics, and audiobooks and we bet you are, too. Let’s use this page to alert each other about great deals. Just leave a...

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Recent Posts

2061: Odyssey Three: Blandly going where he has gone twice before

Readers’ average rating:

2061: Odyssey Three by Arthur C. Clarke

This is not a great book. It's really more of an extended novella or perhaps part one of Arthur C. Clarke's SPACE ODYSSEY finale, 3001. This story has none of the depth, nuance or scale of Clarke's classic original, 2001 nor its solid follow up 2010.

Beware of spoilers for the previous novels below. I’m assuming anyone who reads this review will likely have read the two preceding novels, or at least seen their movie companions.

In 2061, Clarke creates a pair of focal points 60 years after modern man first comes across The Monolith buried deeply bene... Read More

Burn: This Nebula winner was inspired by Walden

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Burn by James Patrick Kelly

James Patrick Kelly’s Burn (2005) was a finalist for the Hugo Award and won the Nebula Award for Best Novella in 2007. As Kelly explains in the afterword, the story was inspired by his dislike of Henry Thoreau’s Walden which depicts a pastoral utopian society where simplicity is valued and technology is shunned.

In Kelly’s version of Walden, an entire small planet has been purchased and terraformed into a forested utopia in keeping with Thoreau’s vision. Those who move there from Earth adopt a simplistic agricultural lifestyle, rejecting technology and all influence from the humans who make up all the other planets in space (the “Upside”). The only problem is that Walden was n... Read More

Vision in Silver: Keeps readers guessing

Readers’ average rating:

Editor’s note: We thank Sarah Chorn of Bookworm Blues for contributing this review to our site. Kat did not like the first two books, Written in Red and Murder of Crows, but the series is extremely popular, so we are pleased to have Sarah’s opinion of the third book, Vision in Silver.

Vision in Silver by Anne Bishop

Each installment of Anne Bishop’s THE OTHERS series seems to only make me a bigger fan.

Before you read Vision in Silver, I should say that it is absolutely necessary for you to read the previo... Read More

WWWednesday; June 22, 2016

Books:

Joe Zeija summarizes five books he hasn’t read, based on their covers. A couple of his summaries have real potential as stories… just not the stories of these books.

Helen Oyeyemi shares her thoughts on fairy tales and writing with Book Forum. A lot of us here at the site like retold fairy tales. Oyeyemi has some interesting thoughts on the topic.

Fantasy Book Café offers a guest column by Brenda Cooper, about her new book Spear of Light.

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Infomocracy: Election-year politics in the future (or: some things never change)

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Infomocracy by Malka Older

In the latter half of the twentieth century, most of the world (a few areas like Saudi Arabia excepted) has moved to a form of government called micro-democracy. The world is divided into "centenals" of about 100,000 people each, and each centenal votes for its own separate government. The political party that wins control of the most centenals wins the Supermajority, which gives that party additional political clout and power, although the specific details of that Supermajority power aren’t entirely clear. There are dozens, if not more, political parties, though only about a dozen have worldwide clout. Parties are based on all types of factors: aspects of identity (like race, nationality or religion), a particular view of policy, the importance of military might, loyalty to a particular large corporation, etc... Read More

Gentlemen of the Road: Swashbuckling historical fiction

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Gentlemen of the Road by Michael Chabon

Michael Chabon’s Gentlemen of the Road (2007) is a swashbuckling historical fiction about a pair of Jewish vagabonds in 10th century Khazaria. Amran is a large Abyssinian, while Zelikman is a somber doctor who explains that he does not save the lives of his patients — he only “prolongs their futility.” We meet our heroes in the midst of a con game and the two rogues soon find themselves in the middle of a royal plot.

Though Gentlemen of the Road is a pretty straightforward historical fiction — there are no sorcerers — there is still plenty here for fantasy fans to enjoy. Chabon’s heroes, for example, strongly recall Frit... Read More

The Memory of Whiteness: Science, music, philosophy

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The Memory of Whiteness by Kim Stanley Robinson

The Memory of Whiteness is Kim Stanley Robinson's third novel, after The Wild Shore and Icehenge. It's a very unusual book, standing out in Robinson's oeuvre. Much of his work deals with science and many of his characters are scientists. In this novel science plays a large role as well, but this time it is not so much the process and the ways it can change the world but rather the world view that is influenced by a scientific theory.

The novel is set in the thirty-third century, some three centuries after a physicist named Arthur Holywelkin forces a paradigm shift in physic by revealing a theory that is the biggest breakthrough in science since Albert Einstein’s. In his later years, Holywelkin devotes his time to building a massive musical instrument known as ... Read More

Kat chats with Dexter Palmer and gives away a copy of Version Control

Dexter Palmer



My favorite book so far this year is, without a doubt, Dexter Palmer’s Version Control which I reviewed in March. It’s about the wife and colleagues of a physicist named Philip Steiner who is working on a device that he hopes will disrupt the space-time continuum, allowing time travel (though he doesn’t want to become a laughingstock in the physics community by actually using the term “time travel”). In the novel Palmer employs several well-worn science fiction tropes to freshly and humorously explore an array of human experiences. Version Control is exactly what I am always looking for in a science fiction story — heavy on the science and heavy on the humanity.

After I finished V...

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The Exorcism of Emily Rose: 3 a.m.

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The Exorcism of Emily Rose directed by Scott Derrickson

As I once mentioned in my review of the 2002 film The Mothman Prophecies, there are any number of similarities between that film and 2005's The Exorcism of Emily Rose. To begin with, both pictures star Laura Linney, one of Hollywood's preeminent mainstream actresses of the early 21st century, here in a brace of unusual horror outings. Both are products of the Screen Gems/Lakeshore Entertainment production company, and both deal with supernatural events that are purportedly based on real-life incidents. Both films go far in convincing the viewer of the possibility of the bizarre happenings portrayed as being genuine and real (unknowable, highly advanced life forms watching over mankind in the first; demonic possession in the latter), and both, strangely, clock in at precisely 119 mi... Read More

The Night Eternal: Disappointing conclusion to del Toro’s STRAIN TRILOGY

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The Night Eternal by Guillermo del Toro & Chuck Hogan

The Night Eternal is the finale to Guillermo del Toro and Chuck Hogan's THE STRAIN trilogy and I found it simply… inconsistent. I enjoyed the conclusion to the mythology which includes the genesis of the strain itself, but I was disappointed in the conclusions to the various plot threads. This review will contain some mild spoilers for the ending of The Fall.

The dark and serious mythology really drove the first two books, followed closely by development of the characters. While the myth drove my excitement to finish the trilogy, the flat characterizations in The Night Eternal made it more of a chore. Something was lost at the conclusion of The Fall following the death of a ke... Read More