Song of Blood & Stone: What if the author had loved the whole story?

Song of Blood & Stone by L. Penelope

Originally, L. Penelope published Song of Blood & Stone under her own publishing house, Heartspell. In 2016, it earned attention from the Self Published Fantasy Blog Off (SPFBO), where a team of prominent fantasy book bloggers evaluate 300 enlisted fantasy titles and review the very best of them. Song of Blood & Stone was so popular St. Martin’s Press picked it up and is now publishing it mainstream with a few changes.

This book is a self-made success. L. Penelope sent it out into a massive vat stuffed with dross and chaff and it rose organically out of obscurity because readers loved it. And I’m torn, because I want to champion it, too, but I'm sorry, I can’t do it.

Song of Blood & Stone is a ... Read More

Senlin Ascends: Bizarre and delightful

Senlin Ascends by Josiah Bancroft

Two years ago when we were involved with Mark Lawrence’s Self-Published Fantasy Blog Off, Senlin Ascends (2017) was one of the books that didn't make it to the final round (so we didn’t get to read it then). But Mark Lawrence read it, started talking about it on the internet, and it got picked up by Orbit Books. Hachette, the parent company of Orbit Books, just recently produced it in audio format and sent me a copy.

Thomas Senlin is a stuffy schoolmaster from a small town who just got married and is on his way with Marya, his new bride, to The Tower of Babel, a strange structure that ascends hundreds of feet in the air and whose top (if there is one) is obscured by clouds. Thomas has read all about the enigmatic tower in a guideboo... Read More

WWWednesday: May 17, 2017

On Sunday, in honor of Mother’s Day, Syfy Wire posted a list of the best moms from Star Trek. 

Awards:

Locus has published the finalists for the Locus Awards, which will be awarded at the Locus Weekend, June 23-25, 2017, in Seattle, Washington. Locus has more categories so more winners: best SF novel, best fantasy novel, best horror novel and best first novel as an example. Some of our favorites made the lists, including Malka Older’s Infomocracy in the Best First Novel category, Read More

Sunday Status Update: February 19, 2017

This week, Frodo encounters an orc sympathizer.

Frodo: This week, some young hobbit turned up at my door wanting to talk about my book. I mean, it hasn't been published yet, but Sam talks. So I let him in and we started chatting, but over time it became obvious that what he really wanted to talk about was orcs. "Only, Mr. Baggins," he said, "I've been thinking and all. Innit the truth that orcs are really just elves?" So then I had to correct him and point out that no, in fact, orcs are elves who were taken and tortured and ruined by the Dark Lord. "Well, yes," he said, "but that just means they're still elves underneath it all, right?" I said I supposed so, though I must say the conversation was making me uncomfortable by then. "So Mr. Baggins," he went on, "I just mean to say... if all them orcs were just tortured elves 'n all... don't you feel bad that you and your lot killed... Read More

Sunday Status Update: January 22, 2017

This week, Ayesha.

Ayesha: Week 148,893. As my prophesied love Kallikrates still apparently hasn't seen fit to get reincarnated and return to me, I once again had to come up with my own amusements this week. So I decided to fake my death. I gathered my people together, climbed up the side of the mountain, made a great big speech about existential despair and the human condition (totally wasted on my audience), and jumped. Four hundred feet onto solid stone. Well, it took them a while, but eventually they decided I was really dead and they ought to decide on a new leader. Some of them wanted democracy, and some wanted a monarchy, and it was all very fascinating, really. Of course, eventually some big lout decided to make himself king on the spot and started punching, so I had to get up and blast him. Then, of course, it was back to the usual awe and horror and religious fan... Read More

Sunday Status Update: January 15, 2017

Character update on break again. Next week. Next week.

 

Bill: This week was a smorgasbord. Genre-wise, I read Bradley P. Beaulieu’s With Blood Upon the Sand, his good-if-not-quite-as-good follow up to the excellent Twelve Kings in Sharakhai; and John Scalzi’s Miniatures, which didn’t leave much of an impression, though a few stories were cute enough. In the graphic story vein I read Love, Volume 4 The Dinosaur written by Frederic Brremaud and illustrated by Frederico Bertolucci, a wonderfully vivid wordless day in the lives of a few dinosaurs. In the literary fiction category I was held by the first two-thirds of Karan Mahaj... Read More

Sunday Status Update: January 8, 2017

Character update on break this week.

 

Bill: This week I read Babylon’s Ashes, the newest installment of THE EXPANSE by James. S Corey. As has become the norm for this series, I stayed up to finish it in one night—love this story and these characters! I also read City of Ice, K.M. McKinley’s follow up to The Iron Ship. Like its predecessor, the sequel is a sprawling, slow sort of story, though I’d say unlike The Iron Ship, this one felt its length a bit more. Still enjoyable however, and I’m quite looking forward to the third book. Outside the genre, I finished What Playwrights Talk About When The... Read More

Sunday Status Updates: January 1, 2017

Wow, we're hitting the holidays dead on this year, aren't we? Happy New Year's Day from Fanlit! Also, Red Sonja.

Red Sonja: Apparently it is now a new year on the official, imperial calendar. Not sure why that matters, since that particular empire is a couple centuries defunct, but whatever. I guess it's convenient. So! New Year. I'd managed to scrounge some coin from guarding a caravan, so I spent the night in an inn. There were a lot of very merry people drinking and talking over each other, so I started conjoining myself to the drunker groups when I noticed somebody having an attack of generosity. Got a few free drinks that way. Anyway, during the proceedings, somebody asked me what my resolution for the new year was. Apparently I needed to have one. I told him my resolution was to buy a great big coat. He mulled that over through haze of alcohol fumes and eventually told me my resolution was stupid. I tol... Read More

Sunday Status Update: October 9, 2016

Character update is on break this week, but things will return to normal next week.

Kelly: Last weekend I attended Archon in Collinsville, IL, and had a great time. I learned a lot from the panel on fantastical elements in Shakespeare's works -- did you know actors were trained in huge, set gestures so that people could follow the plot even when they couldn't hear the dialogue? Or that costumers essentially dumpster-dived for nobles' clothing scraps, because you needed certain colors to indicate nobility on stage but weren't allowed to actually buy such fabrics by the sumptuary laws? All kinds of stuff that makes total sense, but that you just don't really think about... Read More

Sunday Status Update: October 2, 2016

This week, the Beast from Beauty and the Beast.

The Beast: Do you know what's the worst thing about my predicament? You might say it's the way everyone from the nearby villagers to the royal court appears to have forgotten completely that I ever existed, and I have no idea why. That stings, I'll grant you, but it's not the worst. You might say it's that all of this happened to me (and my subjects) because when I was eleven years old I wouldn't let some sketchy old woman into my house in the middle of the night. That is also rather aggravating, but it's still not the worst. No, the worst is that I have this portrait of myself as a full-grown man, and I have no idea how or when it was done. I've been a beast for ten years. There's literally no way. But there it is. Right there on the wall. I mean, what the... what? I can only assume this is some trick of the enchantress', meant to mo... Read More

WWWednesday: September 28, 2016

This week’s word for Wednesday is anfractuous, an adjective, meaning winding or circuitous. The 16th century word comes from the Latin noun anfractus, meaning a bending.

Awards:

The MacArthur Foundation Fellowships were announced this week, and 23 Fellows were named. The group includes a civil rights lawyer, historians, art historians, linguists, poets, microbiologists, video artists and writers. Of the 23, ten are women. (Thanks to File 770.)

Tor.com lists the British Fantasy Award winners here.

Books and Writing:

Ruth Franklin has published a new book about Shirley Jackson, and she shares eleven facts you might not have known about one of America’s premiere writers. ... Read More

Sunday Status Update: August 28, 2016

This week, Red Sonja explains the name of her sword.

Red Sonja: People keep asking me the name of my sword. They seem to think it should have some very heroic-sounding name. And I keep telling them that no, it doesn't have a name. What, do woodsmen have to name their axes now? Do farmers have to name their sickles? Maybe the nobility can start naming their favorite goblets? But no, my situation is different for some reason, or so I have to judge by the fact that when I returned from the latest job (covered in slime and griffin blood, I might add) I found that the whole village had taken it upon themselves to name my mighty, griffin-slaying sword. Oh, there were plenty of contenders. There was the artsy contingent that wanted Whisper or Sorrow, and there were the bombastic sorts that wanted Corpsemaker or Hellsbane. Then you had that extremely dotty young woman who ... Read More

Sunday Status Updates: August 7, 2016

This week, Peter Pan continues his journey through the modern era.

Peter: Stopped into someplace called the Disney store this week. I don't know why, but it turns out Tinker Bell is more popular than me. She's got about a gazillion movies, and she's on all these shirts and things. I don't understand it, but I'll bet this is Tink's doing somehow. If she wasn't dead, I'd get her back for this. So anyway, I asked one of the people working there, and he said it was because I was a "Disney prince" and "literally no one cares about the Disney princes." He said I was lucky I even got named onscreen, because half of them never were. So I chopped the head off the weird demon mouse statue, and crowed, and flew off. Doing things like that used to make me feel better, didn't they?

Brad: This week I finished, and loved, ... Read More

Sunday Status Update: July 3, 2016

This week, Captain America, in honor of it being almost Independence Day in the USA.

Captain America: Despite what you all may be expecting, I would like to take this time, this year, to honor not only Americans but also our esteemed adversaries in the Revolutionary War. We've had our differences over the years, but at the end of the day we share a bond. And that bond means that you still have our backs, even today. So I just wanted to thank the United Kingdom, on behalf of America, for taking all scrutiny off of our general political silliness for a few weeks. We appreciate it, and don't worry... we'll return the favor and take the heat off you in short order. The conventions are coming up. No, don't thank us. That's what friends are for.

Bill: This was mostly a rough week for reading enjoyment:

I started ... Read More

Sunday Status Update: June 26, 2016

This week, She-who-must-not-be-named attends a party, because sometimes waiting eternally for your lost love gets tedious.

Ayesha: Week 148,345. A few days back, some of the tribe had some kind of feast day in my honor. I honestly can't keep track of what I'm supposed to be blessing this time, but I sampled some of the wine, and it was surprisingly decent, so I had some more. The night gets a little hazy after that, but I seem to recall giving an impromptu lecture on the philosophy of religious expression in agrarian communities (which I'm going to assume no one understood, judging by the fact that I am still apparently being worshiped). Ended up falling asleep on my throne. Woke up the next day with a colossal hangover and a taste in my mouth like something died at the back of my throat. I'd apparently slopped a lot of wine on myself, my hair was a mess, and all in all I looked like ... Read More