Breadcrumbs: For anyone who has ever been a geeky kid


Breadcrumbs by Anne Ursu Hazel and Jack have always been best friends, bonding over their shared love of science fiction and fantasy. They play make-believe “superhero baseball”...

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The Silmarillion: More enjoyable than LOTR


The Silmarillion by J.R.R. Tolkien I’m going to come right out and say what will make most people think I’m slightly crazy: I enjoyed reading The Silmarillion more than...

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Thornspell: The “true” Sleeping Beauty


Thornspell by Helen Lowe As much as I love reading fairytales, there’s always the sense that I’m only getting half of the story. There’s never any character...

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Kindred: Neanderthal Life, Love, Death, and Art


Kindred: Neanderthal Life, Love, Death, and Art by Rebecca Wragg Sykes If your view of a Neanderthal is a sloped-head, grunting, not-so-bright guy hunched against blowing snow while...

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Recent Posts

WWWednesday: September 28, 2022

File770 discusses how the Chicago Worldcon Community Fund extended memberships and increased inclusion for people who would otherwise have been unable to participate.

Teen writers in the Los Angeles area can submit their short fiction to the Tomorrow Prize science fiction contest. Details are in File 770’s article.

Charles Payseur takes up the debate of “Who Should Really Win a Fan Hugo?”

David Levithan wrote an Read More

The Yellow Mistletoe: “I Say, This Is Top-Hole”

The Yellow Mistletoe by Walter S. Masterman

A wholly intriguing blend of murder mystery, detective thriller, lost world/lost race adventure, and horror novel, The Yellow Mistletoe, by British author Walter S. Masterman, impressively manages to triumph in all four of those literary departments. Like another book that I recently experienced, H.B. Gregory’s Dark Sanctuary (1940, and only available today via Ramble House), The Yellow Mistletoe was also tapped by editor/author Karl Edward Wagner for inclusion in his widely-referred-to list of The 13 Best Supernatural Horror Books. And while I do have a small problem with that inclusion (more on ... Read More

Sunday Status Update: September 25, 2022

Marion: I finished Remarkably Bright Creatures by Shelby Van Pelt. It’s an optimistic delight of a book with a great octopus character.  Currently, I’m reading a debut mystery novel by Tracee de Hahn called The Swiss Vendetta. The interiors and descriptions are gorgeous.

Bill:  Since my last update, I’ve read:

The Spear Cuts Through Water by Simon Jimenez: going on my Best of 22 list
Neom by Lavie Tidhar: linked stories in the same universe as his great Read More

The Spear Cuts through Water: One of the best of 2022

The Spear Cuts through Water by Simon Jimenez

Simon Jiminez’s The Spear Cuts through Water (2022) is one of the most vibrantly original novels I’ve read in some time, an enthralling work of creativity that even as it makes use of some familiar tropes arrives absolutely as its own unique self: richly mythic and startlingly inventive. It will absolutely land on my Best of 2022 list, even it may not be for everyone (though everyone should attempt it).

At its core, The Spear Cuts through Water is a simple quest story told unsimply. Ages ago the Moon Goddess fell from the sky and eventually became captive in the deep dungeons of the Empire. The current Emperor, aged and fearing death, is about to embark on a grand procession, but when the Goddess escapes two young men — Jun and Keema — foes at first and then allies, must escort her through a series of dangers to the coast to p... Read More

WWWednesday: September 21, 2022

Fiyah’s Ignyte awards were announced on Saturday. P.Djeli Clark took home Best Adult Novel for Master of Djinn; Best Young Adult Novel went to Darcie Littlebadger for A Snake Falls to Earth; Best Novella was awarded to Shingai Ngeri Kagunda for This is How to Stay Alive. View all the award winners here.

(You can hear Shingai Ngeri Kagunda read another story here.)

Charlie Jane Anders is now reviewing for the Washington ... Read More

The Shadow on the House: Strange days

The Shadow on the House by Mark Hansom

For the past 35 years or so, I have been so busy trying to experience all the 200 books described in Stephen Jones’ and Kim Newman’s two excellent overview volumes – Horror: 100 Best Books and Horror: Another 100 Best Books – that I was completely unaware, until recently, that there is yet another trusted resource that horror buffs in the know have been using for recommended reading; namely, the Wagner 39 List. It seems that back in 1983, in the June and August issues of Rod Serling’s The Twilight Zone Magazine, editor/author Karl Edward Wagner provided a list of the 39 books in the horror arena that he felt were of the highest calibre, or most in need of being discovered by a new audience. The 39 books were broken down into three categories: The 13 Best Supernatural Horror Novels, The 13 Best Sci-Fi Horror Novels, and The 13 Be... Read More

Fantastic Four: Full Circle: A psychedelic journey into the Negative Zone

Fantastic Four: Full Circle by Alex Ross (writing, art, and coloring), Josh Johnson (coloring), and Ariana Maher (lettering)

I just finished reading the recently released Fantastic Four: Full Circle, and though the story itself is not riveting, it is a perfect vehicle for the true point of the graphic novel — the art. And the story is an interesting sequel to the previous Stan Lee-Jack Kirby production, “This Man . . . This Monster,” Issue #51 of the original run on the Fantastic Four (which is available via Amazon’s Comixology services).

In Stan Lee’s Issue #51, with excellent art by Jack Kirby, the Thing is taken in by a kindly stranger who turns out to be a mad scientist who wishes to harm him and ultimately Reed Richards, the leader of the Fantastic Four. After putting knock-out drops in the Thing’s coffee, the stranger-scientist uses an invention of his to transform into the Thing (and at... Read More

The Witch and the Tsar: Solid, but a bit flat

The Witch and the Tsar by Olesya Salnikova Gilmore

“Solid” is the best description I can give for The Witch and the Tsar by Olesya Salnikova Gilmore, a debut novel that shows flashes of hitting its potential, particularly in its folkloric elements, but overall feels a bit flat and overlong.

A retelling of the Baba Yaga mythos, the story mostly takes place during the reign of Ivan the Terrible (1500s), though there are flashbacks to earlier times, thanks to the fact that the main character (who prefers Yaga to Baba Yaga) is immortal, daughter of a human and the Earth goddess Mokosh, dead now for some years. Since then Yaga has been alone, save for her wolf and owl, and quietly helping the people nearby, especially the women. What precipitates her re-entry into the world is a visit from Anastasia, whom Yaga had helped long ago and set her on the path to her current role as Tsarina (Ivan’s wife).
... Read More

Dark Sanctuary: Thanks, Karl!

Dark Sanctuary by H.B. Gregory

A very happy day it was for me – but a very unfortunate day for my bank account – when I first discovered the website for Ramble House books. Specializing in impossibly obscure sci-fi, horror, mystery and “weird menace” titles from the first half of the 20th century, the publisher has an overwhelming catalog of reasonably priced volumes that will surely make any fan of those genres salivate; books, for the most part, that are available nowhere else. I have already written here of Greye La Spina’s wonderful horror novel Invaders From the Dark (1925), only available from Ramble House, and now would like to tell you of a book that I recently read from the company’s Dancing Tuatara Press imprint that is even more of a rarity. The b... Read More

WWWednesday: September 14, 2022

In honor of my birthday, one commenter will get a copy of T. Kingfisher's southern gothic horror novel, The Twisted Ones In this column I discuss my reaction to a re-read of a classic 1990s fantasy novel.

Published in 1998, Someplace to be Flying is not the first entry in Charles de Lint’s NEWFORD series. It’s the fifth book in publishing order, with several earlier works being story collections. In my opinion, it’s a fine place to start the series and get introduced to de Lint’s fictional midwestern Canadian city (probably modeled on Ottawa) and his blend of folk magic, folk music and just folks. The mag... Read More