Great Bookstores: Word Bookstore in Brooklyn, NYC


Today I’m turning it over to Leanna Renee Hieber who wants to talk about one of her favorite bookstores, Word in Brooklyn, New York. Our own Kelly Lasiter is a big fan of Ms....

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The Very Best of Charles de Lint: Truly Charles de Lint’s very best


The Very Best of Charles de Lint by Charles de Lint With a title like The Very Best of Charles de Lint, I had high hopes, and I have to say that they were met. Yes, this is the best...

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Barbarian Lord by Matt Smith


Barbarian Lord by Matt Smith Barbarian Lord is an excellent story for both kids and adults, particularly fans of Icelandic Sagas and Nordic Mythology, which Matt Smith has clearly...

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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 Pilgrims and Shadow: A solid opener followed by a more flat and meandering bridge book

The Pilgrims and Shadow by Will Elliott

The Pilgrims and Shadow by Will Elliott are the first two books of the PENDULUM TRILOGY. Book one came out a little more than a year ago, while its sequel was published in February of this year. I read The Pilgrims while on a long trip last year, and so never wrote up a review (camping and hiking not being conducive to such activity). Which means this dual review will focus heavily detail-wise on Shadow while making reference to the first book based on some fuzzy recollection, some quick skimming to refresh, and an old hand-scrawled note or two in the margin I may or may not have deciphered correctly.

The Pilgrims introduces us to Eric Albright, and young and not-particularly-upcoming journalist, and Stuart Casey ... Read More

Voyage of the Basilisk: H. Rider Haggard would clap his hands in glee

Voyage of the Basilisk by Marie Brennan

What I enjoy most about Marie Brennan’s LADY TRENT MEMOIR series is the narrative voice. Isabella Camherst engages in adventures and feats of derring-do that would have H. Rider Haggard clapping his hands in glee, and they are related in the crisp, slightly sardonic tone of a well-educated and witty Victorian gentlewoman. Voyage of the Basilisk is no exception. The third book of series moves several plot points forward and has Isabella learning new things about dragons and herself.

Isabella’s dry and scientific tone make the dramatic descriptions somehow more plausible. Here she contrasts her personal experience with the “tall tales” common with sailors:
I am not a sa... Read More

Jana Chats with Gwenda Bond (and gives away a book, of course!)

Today, Gwenda Bond stops by FanLit to chat about her newest novel, Lois Lane: Fallout, which I thought was both a fantastic story and a refreshing take on some old YA stereotypes. She was kind enough to answer some questions I had about the book and her writing process, and one lucky U.S.-based commenter will win a copy of Lois Lane: Fallout!

Gwenda Bond

Jana Nyman: The narrative of Lois Lane: Fallout is told strictly fro... Read More

SevenEves: You might love this book; I only loved the end

SevenEves by Neal Stephenson

Neal Stephenson doesn't shy away from big concepts, long timelines, or larger than life events. His most recent novel, SevenEves, begins with the moon blowing up. Readers never find out what blew up the moon, because all too quickly humanity discovers that the Earth will soon be bombarded by a thousand-year rain of meteorites — the remnants of the moon as they collide with each other in space, becoming smaller and smaller — which will turn Earth into an uninhabitable wasteland. Humankind has a 2-year deadline to preserve its cultural legacy and a breeding population. The solution is to make extended life-in-space a possibility. The first two thirds of the book follows a group of astronauts and scientists who are among those who will form the new colony orbiting Earth, waiting a few millennia for it to become habitable again. The last third shows us what has become of humanity after 5,00... Read More

Steadfast: Episodic and teachy, but fun

Steadfast by Jack Campbell

Steadfast is the tenth book in Jack Campbell’s LOST FLEET series and the fourth in the BEYOND THE FRONTIER subseries. You really need to read all of the previous nine LOST FLEET books to best enjoy Steadfast. I’ll assume you have. There will be spoilers for previous books in this review.

Steadfast has an episodic and teachy feel. Geary and his crew have several different missions, some more exciting than others, and each seems to give Campbell a chance to speak to something going on in our world today. I agreed with Campbell’s “lessons” more often than not, but I was always aware that the lessons were there and that Campbell was using his story as a platform.

Rec... Read More

Why Call Them Back From Heaven?: Cold storage

Why Call Them Back From Heaven? by Clifford D. Simak

Although the concept of cryogenically preserving the bodies of the living had been a trope of Golden Age science fiction from the 1930s and onward, it wasn’t until New Jersey-born Robert Ettinger released his hardheaded book on the subject, 1962’s The Prospect of Immortality, that the idea began to be taken seriously. Ettinger would go on to found the Cryonics Institute in Michigan around 15 years later; over 1,300 folks have subscribed to this facility as of 2015, agreeing to pay $30,000 to have themselves turned into human “corpsicles,” and 130 are currently “on ice” there. (And let’s not even discuss Boston Red Sox slugger Ted Williams, whose head is currently in deep freeze at the Alcor Life Extension Foundation in Arizona!) But getting back to Ettinger’s book: This volume apparently impressed sci-fi author Cliffor... Read More

The Long War: One war short of a decent novel

The Long War by Terry Pratchett & Stephen Baxter

Warning: May contain spoilers for The Long Earth.

Another day, another Terry Prachett novel — this time the second instalment of his Science Fiction collaboration with author Stephen Baxter. A multiverse of alternate worlds is not a new concept, but it is a cool one, one which Pratchett and Baxter explore the endless possibilities of. The Long War picks up a couple of decades after where The Long Earth left off. The premise behind the books is that William Lindsay (an as yet unmet rogue scientist) had designed a potato-powered device that allows users to ‘step’ between worlds. Oh, P.S., there are a bazillion worlds.

In the first book, we meet Josh Valienté, orphaned prod... Read More

Magazine Monday: Nebula-Nominated Short Stories, 2014

Here are the short stories nominated for a 2014 Nebula Award:

In “The Breath of War” by Aliette de Bodard, the main character, Rechan, is pregnant. She must find her breath-sibling before she gives birth, or the baby will be stillborn. That, and the fact that they are carved by adolescent women from a special stone called lamsinh, are all we know about breath-siblings at first. Most women have their breath-siblings with them once they are created, but Rechan’s has remained in the mountains from which it was carved during a time of war on her planet. “The Breath of War” is a very alien story, setting up a world and a biology that are so different from ours that the wonder of the story comes from discovering the natu... Read More

Of Noble Family: A suspenseful, multi-layered finale to an imaginative series

Of Noble Family by Mary Robinette Kowal

Warning: May contain spoilers for previous books in the GLAMOURIST HISTORIES

With Of Noble Family, Mary Robinette Kowal brings to an end her GLAMOURIST HISTORIES series, set in a fantastical English Regency period. While the book resolves several issues in the lives of Jane and David Vincent, there is no feeling of “winding down.” The book is suspenseful, filled with surprises and real stakes for Jane and her beloved, troubled husband.

In Vienna, Jane and Vincent are interrupted in the midst of a family visit by a letter informing Vincent that his father, the villainous Lord Verbury, has died in Antigua. The Lord fled to Antigua after being accused of treason in England. A carriage accident led to the death of one of... Read More

The World of Ice & Fire: The Untold History of Westeros and the Game of Thrones: Wise kings will read it

The World of Ice & Fire: The Untold History of Westeros and the Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin, Elio M. García, and Linda Antonsson

George R.R. Martin’s The World of Ice & Fire: The Untold History of Westeros and The Game of Thrones is a companion to his A SONG OF ICE & FIRE novels. It provides modest spoilers for the series and is probably best if not read until readers have finished the third novel, A Storm of Swords, or finished watching the third season in the television series. (And the same is true of this review.)

Given that the title of this book — The World of Ice & Fire: The Untold History of Westeros and the Game of Thrones — references both Martin’s ... Read More