Our favorite books of 2016


Here are our favorite books published in 2016. Hover over the cover to see who recommends each book. Click on the cover to read our review. Please keep in mind that we did not read...

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The Green Pearl: Florid imagination, deliberately peculiar


The Green Pearl by Jack Vance The Green Pearl is another engrossing adventure in Jack Vance’s whimsical world. This installment of Lyonesse mainly follows Aillas, now King of...

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Fevre Dream: Vampires on the Mississippi River


Fevre Dream by George R.R. Martin For some time I’ve been a fan of George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire series. In the last few years, though, when my mind turns to that...

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The Cats of Tanglewood Forest: A beautiful book to read with a child


The Cats of Tanglewood Forest by Charles de Lint From its charming dustcover to the muted two-page illustration at the end, The Cats of Tanglewood Forest is a beautiful book that I...

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Recent Posts

You Sexy Thing: A sure-fire recipe for entertainment

You Sexy Thing by Cat Rambo

You Sexy Thing (2021) is space opera, with no FTL chase scenes or space battles. Check the list of ingredients: a sentient bioship, space pirates, old feuds, at least one interstellar-conquest scheme, interesting non-human characters, a newcomer with secrets, and lots of cooking. It’s a foolproof recipe for entertainment.

All Niko needs is a Nikkelin Orb award from the food critic coming to the Last Chance, the restaurant she runs with the rest of her ex-military crew. Niko was a captain, briefly an admiral, in the Holy Hive Mind army, and her connection to most of her retired crew was augmented by the hive-tech. It felt like they were all one. Technically, they are all retired, but the Holy Hive doesn’t like to let go of its soldiers. Niko’s pursuing a long-range plan to rescue a childhood friend kidnapped by space pirates, and a successful restaurant is one step in that... Read More

Thoughtful Thursday: Identify last month’s covers

Today’s covers all come from books, comics, or films we reviewed in December 2021. Once you identify a cover, in the comment section list:

1. The number of the cover (1-16)
2. The author/director
3. The book/film 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 at noon EST, 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 (if you're in the U.S.A.) or a $5 Amazon gift certificate (outside the U.S.A.). Winners are notified in the comments, so make sure to check the notification box and/or remember to check back in about 10 days. If we don't choose a wi... Read More

Invaders From the Dark: Wolf’s Bane

Invaders From the Dark by Greye La Spina

In my review of the splendid collection entitled The Women of Weird Tales, which was released by Valancourt Books in 2020, I mentioned that I’d been very impressed with the five stories by Greye La Spina to be found therein, and was now interested in checking out the author’s classic novel of modern-day lycanthropy, Invaders From the Dark. Well, it took a little searching until I found a copy of said book for what I considered a decent price, but I am here now to tell you … mission accomplished, and to share some thoughts on what has turned out to be a fun and surprisingly grisly novel, indeed.

La Spina, for those of you who are unfamiliar with this unjustly neglected writer, was born Fanny Greye Bragg, in Wakefield, Mass... Read More

WWWednesday: January 26, 2022

I asked on Twitter if The King’s Daughter was based on The Moon and the Sun by Vonda McIntyre, but no one answered. Reason.com came to my rescue, via File 770. Yes, it is. The film was made eight years ago, this article says, and the review is… not kind. Maybe I’ll just reread the Nebula-winning book.

I’d hate to think I didn’t fill you guys in the “squeecore” thing! Is it a controversy? A dust-up? A revelation of a movement? A kerfuffle, a tempest in a teapot? You be the judge.

Basically, “squeecore” is a word a couple of podcasters invented for speculative fiction they don’t like very much. Here is the original podcast. Is Read More

Age of Ash: The first in yet another must-read series

Age of Ash by Daniel Abraham

I have to say, my timing of reading Daniel Abraham’s newest novel, Age of Ash (2022), couldn’t have been better, coming as it did right after I finished the last EXPANSE novel, the series he co-wrote with Ty Franck (as James S.A. Corey). After all, while THE EXPANSE has been my favorite sci-fi series for the past number of years, Abraham was also responsible for two of my favorite fantasy series: THE LONG PRICE QUARTET and Read More

Sunday Status Update: January 23, 2022

This week, Drizzt Do'Urden of Dungeons and Dragons fame.

Drizzt: I learned some deeply troubling news this week. While attending the annual Brooding Drow with Swords Meeting (can't think why people keep snickering when I use the acronym), I found myself unexpectedly one of the very few dark elf warriors remaining. Why, for many years one could scarcely swing a +2 defending scimitar without hitting at least three somber but noble members of my race. I have often reflected that my own modest example must have inspired others, and it has been a source of no small pride to me. Yet lately, the meeting's hallowed halls ring empty, and this last time the mood was especially subdued. I sought out my old comrade Liriel (veteran of many meetings), and asked her the problem. "Oh, fashions change, Drizzt," she said. "Now they're all being Vex and Percy." I inquired who these personages might be, whereupo... Read More

Resident Alien (Vol. 2): The Suicide Blonde: Another murder mystery for an alien detective

Resident Alien (Vol. 2): The Suicide Blonde By Peter Hogan (writer) and Steve Parkhouse (artist)

In Resident Alien: The Suicide Blonde, the story opens with Asta (the nurse) and her father spirit walking in a dream-state, looking in on our resident alien, Dr. Harry Vanderspeigle. Asta’s father warns her not to let Harry know that she knows he is an alien. They do not want to alarm Harry and cause him to run. Asta’s father says that there are people looking for him, and that if he runs, it will call unnecessary attention to Harry.

We also get flashbacks to three years ago when Harry first landed, and we see the government agency go into action trying to track him down after finding his spaceship. They have one image of Harry looking like an alien, an image taken from an ATM at a local mall not far from where Harry crashed. We also get scenes of Harry trying to escape the area three years ago. We follow... Read More

Dark and Magical Places: The Neuroscience of Navigation: You won’t get lost

Dark and Magical Places: The Neuroscience of Navigation by Christopher Kemp

Once, driving with a friend from Rochester to New Orleans, I woke for my turn at the wheel to have my friend excitedly tell me we’d been making great time, as we were “less than an hour from Philadelphia.” Considering when we had left home, it was indeed “great time,” I told him. Unfortunately, I also had to tell him that Philadelphia was not even close to on the way to New Orleans, and that he’d been speeding in the wrong direction for the last few hours. Similarly, on another trip down south, I woke up to my wife very proudly informing me we were just coming into the city limits. Which would have been wonderful news, save for the minor detail that the city was Louisville, and we were going to Lexington.

I learned two things from these (and multiple other similar situations either driving or hiking). One, don’t ever... Read More

The Human Chord: “What’s in a name?”

The Human Chord by Algernon Blackwood

In his masterful collection of 1912 entitled Pan’s Garden, British author Algernon Blackwood clearly displayed his belief in the sentience and awareness of such facets of Nature as trees, snow, gardens, the wind, subterranean fires, the seas and the deserts, and of their transformative powers for those with the ability to discern them. One facet of Nature not dealt with in Pan’s Garden, however, was sound itself, and now that I have finally experienced Blackwood’s novel of two years earlier, The Human Chord, I believe I know why. The subject of sound, you see, and of its ability to transfigure and create, lies at the very heart of this novel, and is dealt with in a... Read More

Agents of SHIELD, Season Four (Giveaway)

No WWW links today.

The Fourth Season Takes Us in Different Directions

(Warning, spoilers for Season Four and previous seasons.)

When Agents of SHIELD’s fourth season opens, the team has defeated their fungal villain Hive, but at great cost. Phil Coulson is no longer the director. He’s an agent again, working with Mac, monitoring Inhumans. Daisy, heart-broken by the death of her boyfriend Lincoln, has left the team to track down and stop the hate group militia called the Watchdogs. (Technically, if you include double-agent Grant Ward, Daisy lost two boyfriends to Hive, so, ouch.) Daisy’s angst is heightened by her guilt for the things she did while possessed by Hive herself.

Daisy, or Quake, has been declared a public enemy by the goverment. Jemma Simmons has been promoted, reporting to the new director. This position requires frequent lie-detector tests, so Agent May, Coulson and Mac have to keep her out of the... Read More