Marion chats with Helene Wecker


Helene Wecker’s debut novel, The Golem and the Jinni (reviewed here), explores the immigrant experience through the eyes of two folkloric creatures. Helene took some time from her...

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The Black Cauldron: Mystery, suspense, adventure, and intrigue


The Black Cauldron by Lloyd Alexander The Black Cauldron is the second in Lloyd Alexander’s five-part Chronicles of Prydain, and possibly the most well known. When discussing...

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Expanded Universe: Demonic Muscle Cars and Undead Motorcycle Gangs


Laurence MacNaughton entered the urban fantasy universe with his DRU JASPER series, It Happened One Doomsday and A Kiss Before Doomsday. The adventures of crystal witch Dru Jasper...

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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

Project Hail Mary: Even better than The Martian

Project Hail Mary by Andy Weir

It’s alarming to wake up from a coma in completely unfamiliar surroundings, tethered to a bed by tubes and electrodes, with a computer voice quizzing you and robotic arms controlling your movements. It’s even more disturbing when you realize that you have no recollection of your name or your past life, and that there are two long-dead bodies in the room with you.

But gradually, through a series of flashback memories, Ryland Grace remembers that Earth is facing an extinction event: a Russian scientist discovered that a strange line has developed between the sun and Venus, and it’s causing the sun to lose energy at a rate that’s high enough to cause a worldwide ice age in the next few decades. Grace, a disgraced molecular biologist who abandoned academia to teach middle school science, was one of the scientists investigating the unique microorganisms, christened Astrophage, causing the sun’s ... Read More

Thoughtful Thursday: Identify last month’s covers

Today’s covers all come from books or films we reviewed in April 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 winner within ... Read More

Klara and the Sun: An understated masterpiece

Klara and the Sun by Kazuo Ishiguro

Klara and the Sun (2021) is the newest novel by Kazuo Ishiguro, and the best description I can think of it is that it’s the newest novel by Kazuo Ishiguro. In other words, it’s very “Ishiguro”-like in its themes, its voice, its prose style and will call up memories of earlier works such as Never Let Me Go and The Remains of the Day, which I consider high praise indeed.

The setting is a near-future where most children are “lifted” (genetically enhanced for intelligence) and do all of their schooling at home. Their social life, as it exists, consists of “interaction parties” and AF’s, or Artificial Friends. Klara, our narrator, is one such ... Read More

WWWednesday: May 12, 2021

Coyotl Award, File770



Nerds of a Feather gives us a review of Water Horse by Melissa Scott.

From last month, here is Tordotcom’s 2021 publishing sampler.

Also from last month, Orbit provides a cover reveal of the latest by Tade Thompson.

Baen’s home page shows some new releases too.

From The Little Book of Fem... Read More

Victories Greater Than Death: Share it with your teen, then enjoy it yourself

Victories Greater Than Death by Charlie Jane Anders

2021’s Victories Greater That Death is the first book in Charlie Jane Anders’s new Young Adult space opera series, UNSTOPPABLE. The book is filled with smart, heroic young people, extraterrestrials, space adventures, horrifying villains, bad food and plenty of relationships, as six Terran humans get pulled up onto The Royal Fleet warship Indomitable. The Royal Fleet is smack-dab in the middle of a war with a faction that calls itself Compassion. If you’ve read Anders before, you know that name means nothing good. Within the book, a clue is in the name of one of their ships, Sweet Euthanasia.

Tina Mains is a California girl and a true Chosen One with an extraterrestrial homing beacon in her chest. When it activates, a ... Read More

Into Plutonian Depths: Keep your lamps trimmed and burning

Into Plutonian Depths by Stanton A. Coblentz

Starting in 1906, scientists began searching for definitive proof of a theorized ninth planet; a heavenly body that would go far in explaining Uranus’ perturbations of movement that could not be wholly ascribed to the presence of Neptune alone. And it was 23-year-old astronomer Clyde W. Tombaugh who, in the winter of 1930, ultimately made that discovery, while employed at the Lowell Observatory in Flagstaff, AZ. The new planet would be dubbed Pluto on May 1st of that year, and was, naturally enough, a major news story at the time. Thus, it was this landmark discovery that led San Francisco-born author and poet Stanton A. Coblentz to pen his 5th novel (out of an eventual 23), Into Plutonian Depths, shortly thereafter. The book holds the distinction of being the first fictional wor... Read More

Copper Road: Deeds has created an intriguing world

Copper Road by Marion Deeds

Full disclosure: Marion is a colleague of mine (those reading this at fantasyliterature.com know that already, of course), and I also did a read of an early draft. On a more trivial note, I’ll confess it felt very strange every time I typed “Deeds”, using the author’s last name as is standard in these reviews, and not “Marion.” I give you this knowledge to do with what you may...

Copper Road (2021) is Marion Deeds’ first full novel in the BROKEN CITIES series, following on the heels of her novella set in the same universe, Aluminum Leaves. One needn’t have read Aluminum Leaves to enjoy Copper Road, though it... Read More

Sunday Status Update: May 9, 2021

Kat: Two more Nebula Award finalists this week. These are up for the Andre Norton Award for best Young Adult fiction. A Game of Fox & Squirrels, by Jenn Reese, was a beautifully written and moving fantasy novel about a young girl dealing with the consequences of child abuse in her family. Star Daughter, by Shveta Thakrar, is about a teenager who is half star and, as her powers begin to emerge, must visit her mother’s celestial court. I love the South Asian inspired setting of this one.


Bill: This whole month has been mostly non-stop papers. But I had a lull between drafts and final copies, so I happily reread our very own Read More

Oddity: In a folkloric USA, a brave girl fights magic with magic

Oddity by Eli Brown

2021’s Oddity is a wonderful middle-grade adventure, with a valiant and compassionate young heroine, a beguiling take on alternate early-USA history, and a plethora of action and magic. Adults who read it with younger readers might discover it sparks a serious conversation about loyalty, values, and how we decide what’s right and what’s not.

Karin Rytter’s illustrations, which look like woodcuts, enhance the reading experience. So does the tone Brown employs, which reminded me a little of some of Philip Pullman’s middle-grade books, like The Ruby in the Smoke and The Tin Princess. Brown captures the nuance of a folktale while still giving us living, breathing people we care about. Some of those people are other than human.

Clover Cons... Read More

Thoughtful Thursday: What’s the best book you read last month?

It's the first Thursday of the month. Time to report!

What is the best book you read in April 2021 and why did you love it? It doesn't have to be a newly published book, or even SFF, or even fiction. We just want to share some great reading material.

Feel free to post a full review of the book here, or a link to the review on your blog, or just write a few sentences about why you thought it was awesome.

And don't forget that we always have plenty more reading recommendations on our Fanlit Faves page and our 5-Star SFF page.

As always, one commenter with a U.S. mailing address will choose a book from our stacks. If you're outside the U.S., we'll send... Read More