Artificial Condition: Murderbot’s search for answers


Reposting to include Jana’s new review. Artificial Condition by Martha Wells The illicit adventures of Murderbot continue in Artificial Condition (2018), the terrific sequel...

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I am Legend: Not really about vampires


I am Legend by Richard Matheson I don’t like vampire novels much, so I wasn’t planning to read Richard Matheson’s classic vampire story I am Legend which was published in...

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Ring Shout: The horrors of racism and hatred made tangible


Reposting to include Marion’s new review. Ring Shout by P. Djèlí Clark In Ring Shout (2020), P. Djèlí Clark melds two types of horror, Lovecraftian monsters and the bloody...

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The Changeover: Has lost none of its potency


The Changeover by Margaret Mahy [In our Edge of the Universe column, we review mainstream authors that incorporate elements of speculative fiction into their “literary” work....

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Recent Posts

A Dragon of a Different Color: Not the best, but an essential, installment

A Dragon of a Different Color by Rachel Aaron

Rachel Aaron’s HEARTSTRIKERS series continues with the fourth novel, A Dragon of a Different Color (2017). It’s really no use to start this story here – you should first read Nice Dragons Finish Last, One Good Dragon Deserves Another, and No Good Dragon Goes Unpunished. At this point in the story, it’s hard to avoid a few spoilers for the previous books, but I’ll do my best.

In the prologue of A Dragon of a Different Color, we finally learn the history of the Detroit Free Zone (t... Read More

Thoughtful Thursday: Our favorite books of 2021

Here are our favorite books published in 2021. 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 every SFF book published this year, so we know we’ve missed some good ones!

Please add your comments — we’d love to hear your opinions about our list and to know which were YOUR favorite books of 2021. What did we miss?

One commenter chooses a Kindle version of one of our 2021 faves or a book from our stacks.

ADULT SFF



MIDDLE GRADE / YOUNG ADULT SFF



NON-FICTION Read More

WWWednesday: Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.

In 2012’s The Avengers, Agent Phil Coulson was murdered by Loki. This didn’t stop him from coming back and having a seven-season run on his own TV show, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D, even if he did die at least one more time during that show’s run.

Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. aired on ABC from 2013 to 2020. I recently started rewatching it. It brought back memories, good and bad, of my original watch of the series. I’m going to discuss my thoughts and reactions to the first three seasons which cover generally (these are my names), Welcome to S.H.I.E.L.D, Hydra Emerges, The Rise of the Inhumans, and the Arrival of Hive.

Back in 2013, I got impatient with the show because of its close ties to the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Looking back, I’ve changed my opinion. The task of telling original stories that must dovetail in time and pacing with a series of films, and keeping things coherent, is a massive logistic achievement wh... Read More

Black Magic: Sandy’s Favorite Read of 2021

Black Magic by Marjorie Bowen

The British publishing firm Sphere Books had a really wonderful thing going for itself back in the 1970s: a series of 45 books, both fiction and nonfiction, curated by the hugely popular English supernatural novelist Dennis Wheatley, and titled Dennis Wheatley’s Library of the Occult. This reader had already experienced seven of these novels in the natural order of things, in other editions – titles such as Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein (1818), Bram Stoker’s Dracula (1897), Read More

Christmas break!

We are on Christmas break with limited reviews/columns for the next several days.

Next week (on Thursday) we'll announce our favorite books of 2021 and we'll ask you about yours.

We wish you a Merry Christmas!
(And for those who don't celebrate Christmas, we wish you a lovely holiday season!)

We hope you'll have time to spend with some wonderful books.

Stay safe and healthy! Read More

Foundation: Season One: A mixed bag, but generally good

Foundation: Season One on Apple TV+

In my first review of Apple TV’s Foundation series, written after the first two shows, I said it wasn’t “great” TV (at least not yet) but ranged consistently between good and very good. Having just finished all ten episodes of season one, I’d broaden that range from “occasionally annoying to occasionally great.” In other words, it’s a mixed bag, which I suppose shouldn’t be much of a surprise for a series that mostly follows three plot strands, has multi-decade time jumps, and is itself based on a series of loosely connected short stories that were later retconned into a larger universal narrative. I’ll send you to my earlier review for the plot summation. Here, I’ll assume you know the basic plot. I will look at the three narrative strands separately, then consider the series as a whole. Some spoilers for various episodes t... Read More

WWWednesday: December 22, 2021

Network Effect



I said this week’s column would be a single-issue one, and it is, but that issue is the Hugo winners. WorldCon 79 was held last weekend in Washington D.C. and the winners were announced on December 18.

This will be short. Find all the winning works here.

Best Novel:

 

Network Effect by Martha Wells

Best Novella:

The Empress of Salt And Fortune by Read More

Abbott: Elder gods and tough reporters in 1970s Detroit

Reposting to include Brad's new review.

Abbott by Saladin Ahmed & Sami Kivela

BOOM! Studios has released the trade edition of the first series of the period dark fantasy Abbott (2018), words by Saladin Ahmed and art by Sami Kivela. Set in 1972, the story follows Elena Abbott, a reporter for the Detroit Daily. Abbott may not be the paper’s only woman reporter, but she is probably its only Black reporter and definitely the only Black woman reporter. Currently, she is in trouble with the paper’s owners for her accurate expose of the police murder of a Black teenager. She is sent to cover the mutilation of a police horse. To further punish her for her stand against police lawlessness, the paper has taken away her photographer and given Abbott a camera. This is a status hit that her w... Read More

Roar of Sky: A solid conclusion to this magical alternate-history trilogy

Reposting to include Marion's new review.

Roar of Sky by Beth Cato

Beth Cato concludes her BLOOD OF EARTH trilogy with Roar of Sky (2018), bringing the story of clandestine geomancer Ingrid Carmichael, which began in Breath of Earth and continued in Call of Fire, to an action-packed close. This review will contain some spoilers for events in previous books, so proceed with caution.

Badly wounded and permanently debilitated after her desperate fight in Seattle against Ambassador Blum, Ingrid and her friends Cy Jennings and Fenris Braun flee to Hawaii aboard the Palmetto Bug, a sma... Read More

Absynthe: Read it with the titular drink in hand for some extra fun

Absynthe by Brendan P. Bellecourt

Absynthe (2021) is the new novel by Brendan P. Bellecourt, the pen name of Bradley Beaulieu, author of the excellent SONG OF THE SHATTERED SANDS series. Talk about a change. Beaulieu leaves the desert far behind to head for the big noisy city in a complex Jazz Age/Psi-powers tale set in an alt-history US.

A decade ago America fought the Great War with the St. Lawrence Pact made up of Great Britain, Canada, France, and Germany. Liam Mulcahey is a veteran of that war, now working as a mechanic in Chicago, hanging out with his best friend and employer’s son Morgan, and taking care of his grandmother Nana. When he and Morgan attend the ribbon-cutting ceremony of a new train and overseen by the current President, Leland De Pere (Liam’s former commander), viole... Read More