Books that did not stand the test of time

I still watch my fair share of cartoons and have a deep love for them that extends from early in my childhood. One of my favorites was Heathcliff — I adored that show when I...

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The Weaver: An enchantingly dream-like novel

Readers’ average rating: The Weaver by Emmi Itäranta The Weaver (2016),  Emmi Itäranta’s second novel, is a powerful story that occupies a space between the fantastical and...

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Expanded Universe: An Undead History by Kathryn Troy

Today we welcome Kathryn Troy, an historian turned novelist. She has taught college courses on Horror Cinema and presented her research on the weird, unnatural, and horrific to...

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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

Cold Days: Urban fantasy doesn’t get much better

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Cold Days  by Jim Butcher

If the Harry Dresden stories have ever had a problem (reflecting, I think, an issue with urban fantasy in general), it’s that they can tend to feel a little repetitive. A monster of the week shows up, and Harry goes through hell both emotionally and physically to stop him. Along the way we get the requisite number of quips, film references, attractive non-humans, old-fashioned courtesies, and cackling villains with vaguely British syntax. At the end of it all, Harry goes back to his Batcave apartment and gets to be the snarky private eye pastiche for a little bit before the credits roll.

It’s been a very successful formula for Butcher, and one that has indeed made him essentially the new crown prince of the urban fantasy subgenre (both in sales and in stylistic influence), but in book twelve, the appropriately titled Changes Read More

Kenny & the Dragon: A great read-aloud book

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Kenny & the Dragon by Tony DiTerlizzi

Kenny & the Dragon by Tony DiTerlizzi is a charming tribute to Kenneth Grahame’s children’s classic The Reluctant Dragon, which most people are familiar with through the Disney short film adaptation. In this beautifully illustrated volume, DiTerlizzi tells the story of a small, bookish rabbit named Kenny who learns that a dragon has been spotted on his family farm. Armed with a bestiary, he goes to investigate, and instead of a fearsome fire-spouting dragon, he finds Grahame, a dragon much more interested in poetry, crème brulee, and rearranging the rocks around his cave than in anything as savage as fighting. Kenny and Grahame become fast friends, but trouble rears its head when the villager... Read More

Thoughtful Thursday: Identify last month’s covers

Today’s covers all come from books we reviewed in October 2012. Once you identify a book cover, in the comment section list:
1. The number of the cover (1-12)
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 you get it correct, you’ll be entered 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.

Good Luck! Read More

The Inexplicables: A journey through a poisoned city and an addict’s mind

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The Inexplicables by Cherie Priest

The Inexplicables is the fifth book in Cherie Priest’s CLOCKWORK CENTURY series. This one returns to its roots, the walled, Blight-ridden city of Seattle. It’s 1881, and the American Civil War is still going on. Eighteen years earlier, a powerful mining device tapped into a vein of gas deep into the earth, and the gas spilled out into Seattle, killing most people and turning them into “rotters” or zombies. The source of the outbreak (downtown Seattle) was walled off and abandoned, but some brave souls still go in there. Mostly, they go to syphon up the Blight gas and distill it into a deadly drug called sap.

Rector Sherman is a sap addict and an orphan who has just turned eighteen. He is being evicted from the Catholic orphanage on the outskirts of the walled city. That isn’t Rector’s only problem. ... Read More

Red Country: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly with swords

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Red Country by Joe Abercrombie

As a fan of Joe Abercrombie’s other books, such as The Heroes, Red Country was a must-read for me. Even though I had no idea what Red Country was about, or how it might be related to his previous stories, it didn’t really matter because I was certain that Joe Abercrombie would entertain me.

Red Country feels almost like a Western in the way that the towns are laid out — there’s a quasi general store and a the local saloon, for example — and I was starting to wonder if Abercrombie was breaking away from his usual setting. But the conditions, as in all of Abercrombie’s other stories, are pretty rough, and so very realistic. Red Country has a good setting for the type of hard story that Abercrombie writes.
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WWWednesday: November 28, 2012

Locus Online is hosting a poll to determine the best novels and short fiction of the 20th and 21st century. You have until the 30th to nominate your choices.

SF Signal hosts a great video from N.K. Jemisin talking about the significance of Octavia E. Butler's Dawnthe first book in the Xenogenesis trilogy.

Sword and Laser's Author's Guide and Interview with Patrick Rothfuss.

Book recommendations to help you get over the pain of losing a Read More

FanLit Asks: November 27, 2012

Some of your favorite authors take some time to answer our questions:

Got any news to share?
Alma Alexander: Short stories all over the place -- I have stories in the anthologies Dark Faith: Invocations, Scheherazade's Facade, and Airships and Automatons, all either coming o... Read More

The Ghost Light: Several of Leiber’s award-winning stories

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The Ghost Light by Fritz Leiber

Fritz Leiber’s The Ghost Light, recently produced in audio format by Audible Frontiers, is a collection of nine short stories and novelettes and an autobiographical essay by Fritz Leiber. Only the first novelette, “The Ghost Light,” and the essay, “Not so Much Disorder and Not so Early Sex: an Autobiographical Essay,” are original to this collection. Most of the previously printed stories were nominated for, or won, major SFF awards. Here’s what you’ll find in The Ghost Light:

“The Ghost Light” — Young Tommy and his parents are visiting Cassius, his estranged grandfather, in California. There’s something creepy about the painting of Tommy’s dead grandmother that hangs in the living room and Tommy knows the bluish green nightlight in his bedroom has something to do with it. This is... Read More

Maske: Thaery: Fun and quick

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Maske: Thaery byJack Vance

Jack Vance was a fairly prolific author during his writing career, publishing over sixty novels and various short stories in the genres of science fiction, fantasy, and mystery. During the 1960’s and 70’s many of his science fiction stories were set in a far future milieu which he termed the Gaean Reach. In these stories interstellar travel is common place, as is colonization of a multitude of solar systems throughout the galaxy. While some of the colonized planets contain alien life forms with which the human colonies have to co-exist, the majority of Vance’s works in the Gaean Reach deals with the many unusual human cultures that have developed over the many centuries of colonization. Vance is never what can be termed a “hard-science fiction” writer, but he shines at the “softer sciences” especially when coming up with strange... Read More

Exile: The OUTCAST CHRONICLES mature and deepen

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Exile by Rowena Cory Daniells

Exile, the second book in Rowena Cory Daniells’s OUTCAST CHRONICLES, simultaneously raises the stakes and deepens the narrative that began in the first installment, Besieged. It’s a good bit of work, and readers will be pleased to find Daniells addressing some of the issues that were problematic in Beseiged while at the same time keeping to the familiar sense of suspense and breakneck speed that made the first novel so gripping.

When last we left the T’en, they had finally given some sense to the book’s title and gotten themselves besieged by the armies of King Charald. Starting the book going right into that problem for her characters to work on seems to give Daniells energy coming right out of the gate, and the text clips along at a swift... Read More