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The Magic Order (Volume One): King Lear-inspired comic of magic and betrayal

The Magic Order (Volume One) by Mark Millar (writer), Oliver Coipel (artist), Dave Stewart (colorist), and Peter Doherty (letterer)

The first volume of The Magic Order by Mark Millar is an engaging story with gorgeous art by Oliver Coipel. The Magic Order is comprised of a group of magicians who protect the world from the threats of other magicians and supernatural dangers. However, this is no Harry Potter story for young readers. Even from the beginning, violent acts are depicted quite horrifically: In the very first scene,


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What Feasts at Night: This Easton outing is less creepy, more scary

What Feasts at Night by T. Kingfisher

Alex Easton, protagonist of T. Kingfisher’s 2023 novella What Moves the Dead, is back with a second adventure in 2024’s What Feasts at Night. Joining Easton is loyal batman Angus and the unflappable British mycologist Miss Potter. This go-round, Easton and company face less of the science and more of the supernatural.

Alex Easton is Gallacian by nationality (a small imaginary country somewhere in central Europe). Easton is a “sworn soldier,” anatomically female but living as a man as part of the military.


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The Warm Hands of Ghosts: A captivating story

The Warm Hands of Ghosts by Katherine Arden

I was a big fan of Katherine Arden’s WINTERNIGHT TRILOGY and ended my review of that series by saying I was greatly looking forward to seeing what she did next. Well, what’s next is The Warm Hands of Ghosts (2024), a standalone historical novel set in the horrors of WWI that happily mostly maintains the high bar of quality Arden set with that earlier trilogy, though I had a few issues with some elements.


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WWWednesday: February 28, 2024

I picked this site because they included Comeuppance Served Cold on one of their “favorite” lists, but the whole place looks pretty fun.

Uncanny Magazine, Issue 57, is available on March 5.

The Crime Writers Association announces its 2024 winners.

Victoria Strauss discusses productive ways to change your mindset when thinking about agent/writing scams. (Thanks to File 770.)

The U.K. Guardian has an obituary for Canadian actor Kenneth Mitchell,


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The Butcher of the Forest: Unsettling, bittersweet, and worthy

The Butcher of the Forest by Premee Mohamed

The Butcher of the Forest (2024) is a dark fantastical novella by Premee Mohamed that hearkens back to the original old folktales by refusing to sand off the edges of the genre to make it safe or cozy. More faerie than fairy, as much horror as fantasy, it is as unsettling and bittersweet a read as it is a worthy one.

The tale is set in an empire ruled by The Tyrant, “the man with a thousand names and a thousand cities under his bootheel … bringer of death,


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The Tainted Cup: Two wonderful new detectives take the stage

The Tainted Cup by Robert Jackson Bennett

With 2024’s The Tainted Cup, Robert Jackson Bennett introduces us to another beautiful, strange world, gives us a murder mystery, and brings on stage an engaging duo of detectives, against a backdrop of gargantuan creatures and weird botanical science. The first book of THE SHADOW OF THE LEVIATHAN is a satisfying mystery that leaves plenty of bigger questions unanswered, and I want the next book. Now.

Dinios Kol is a member of the Iudex,


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Sentinels From Space: 1953… The Year Of The Mutant

Sentinels From Space by Eric Frank Russell

In the science fiction novel of 1953, mutants and their various abilities – especially telepathic – were apparently all the rage. Alfred Bester’s The Demolished Man, the first novel to win the Hugo Award, showed us how difficult a proposition murder could be in a society of mind readers. In Henry Kuttner and C. L. Moore’s Mutant, the “Baldies” referred to in the title had to learn how to live among a society that feared and despised them.


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WWWednesday: February 21, 2024

The saga of the Hugos continues, and now there is documentation of obvious manipulation by the committee. Chris M. Barkley and Jason Sanford published this article which details most of the problems with the ballot process. They lay most of the blame on Dave McCarty, who has said publicly that he believes he did the right thing. Diane Lacey published a statement of apology when the article came out. Kat Jones released this statement. Glasgow WorldCon  has released Kat Jones from all her assignments.

NBC interviewed Paul Weimer about the fracas.


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Utterly Dark and the Face of the Deep: A great start to a brand-new trilogy

Utterly Dark and the Face of the Deep by Philip Reeve

Philip Reeve has been one of my favourite authors for a while now, even though most of his stories are slightly outside my preferred genres. I loved Railhead, which was science-fiction, and Mortal Engines, which was dystopian – so imagine the weird squeaky noise of excitement I made on discovering that his latest book was not only in my genre wheelhouse (fantasy, of course) but which bore the captivating title of Utterly Dark and the Face of the Deep (2021).


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Starter Villain: You’ll want to get your cat a keyboard

Starter Villain by John Scalzi

“It’s easier to be a villain than a pub owner, I’ll tell you that much.”

I think most people know the plot of John Scalzi’s 2023 novel, Starter Villain. Our protagonist, Charlie, is divorced. He’s been downsized out of his job as a business journalist, and is eking out a living as a substitute math teacher. When the story opens, his best or only friend is his cat Hera. Then Charlie learns that his enigmatic Uncle Jake,


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Convergence Problems: A strong collection

Convergence Problems by Wole Talabi

Convergence Problems by Wole Talabi is a collection of sixteen science fiction stories by the author of Shigidi and the Brass Head of Obalufon (one of my most pleasurable reads lately). As with any story collection, Convergence Problems varies in impact of each individual piece, but if I wasn’t blown away by any of the tales save one, the collection as a whole is nicely consistent along the 3-4 scale,


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The Imposition of Unnecessary Obstacles: Come for the mystery, stay for the great characters

The Imposition of Unnecessary Obstacles by Malka Older

On Jupiter, known as Giant, Mossa, an Investigator, and Pleiti, scholar and instructor, are on a new case, involving the disappearance of a student. As Mossa explores, she finds not one, but seventeen university students, faculty and staff have gone missing. What the two sleuths will uncover in 2024’s The Imposition of Unnecessary Obstacles, by Malka Older, will destabilize Pleiti’s already-shaky faith in the university system, and her life’s work, even further.

These novellas are a pure pleasure to read.


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In Utero: Exploring in an abandoned mall

In Utero by Chris Gooch (writer and artist)

Top Shelf recently published Australian Chris Gooch’s In Utero, a surprising coming-of-age graphic novel. The book starts with a preliminary event, twelve years before the main story begins: A mysterious explosion, right in the middle of the city, devastates a large section of the downtown area. In the twelve years that have passed, though the hole in the earth remains visible, roads have been built over it. Some businesses surrounding it, however, seem to be left in disrepair. The rest of the city’s population continues on as if nothing has happened.


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Our Moon: How Earth’s Celestial Companion Transformed the Planet, Guided Evolution, and Made Us Who We Are

Our Moon: How Earth’s Celestial Companion Transformed the Planet, Guided Evolution, and Made Us Who We Are by Rebecca Boyle

Our Moon (2024), by Rebecca Boyle, is an engrossing tour of our relationship with our closest celestial neighbor, full of the usual (and less familiar) facts, while delving into science, history, and culture as Boyle, as she says, explains “How the moon was made, how the Moon made us, and how we made the Moon in our image.”

Boyle starts off not on the Moon but on Earth three-quarters of a century ago with a 39-year-old marine waiting to begin the Allies’ attack on Tarawa Atoll,


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The Void Ascendant: Cosmic horror that leaves us with a breath of hope

The Void Ascendant by Premee Mohamed

The Void Ascendant (2022) follows Nick Prasad as he tries to reconcile himself to a universe dominated by the Ancient Ones. The book brings to a close Premee Mohamed’s magnificent VOID trilogy.

This review contains spoilers for the two previous books, Beneath the Rising and A Broken Darkness.

Seven years have passed since Earth was destroyed, and Nick escaped into another world, one ruled by the chaotic,


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WWWednesday: February 7, 2024

Marvel’s Squirrel Girl will finally get her due when the comics release special covers of Marvel heroines. It won’t be until March, but still.

Last week the PBS Newshour did a segment on “romantasy,” the stories that feature magic or a fantastical setting but also have a romance story that is nearly as important. Now the U.K. Guardian has an article about it. I think two things; 1) this is not a new phenomenon, but the mainstream as “discovered” it, and 2) regardless of how I feel about it, “romantasy” as a term is sticking around.


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The Reign of Wizardry: Cagey cretans

The Reign of Wizardry by Jack Williamson

Perhaps because Jack Williamson was named the second science fiction Grand Master, in 1976, and managed to cop both the coveted Hugo and Nebula Awards, it is easy to forget that the Arizona Territory-born author did write in other fields than just sci-fi. For example, I have already written here of his marvelously scary novella “Wolves of Darkness” (1932), as well as his now-classic lycanthropy novel Darker Than You Think (1948) … two works that doubtless helped him win the Bram Stoker Award for Lifetime Achievement,


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The Allure of the Multiverse: Extra Dimensions, Other Worlds, and Parallel Universes

The Allure of the Multiverse: Extra Dimensions, Other Worlds, and Parallel Universes by Paul Halpern

The Allure of the Multiverse by Paul Halpern delves into the scientific history of the theory that seems to have taken over pop culture. Admittedly difficult at time thanks to the relatively esoteric nature of some of the theories such as string theory or M-brane theory, and also perhaps a bit mistitled, it remains a mostly clear exploration of 20th and 21st century physics.

The book opens with what might come as a surprise to some readers who have steeped in the multiverse concept via film,


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GIVEAWAY! What’s the best book you read last month?

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

What’s the best book you read in January 2024 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 5-Star SFF page.


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UnDivided: A thrilling finale

UnDivided by Neal Shusterman

With UnDivided (2014), Neal Shusterman rewards fans of his UNWIND DYSTOLOGY with a thrilling and satisfying finale. Readers will need to read the first three novels, (Unwind, UnWholly, and UnSouled) first.

The story picks up where UnSouled left off. Our heroes, Connor, Risa, Lev, Grace, and Cam are desperately trying to fight a batch of newly proposed legislation which gives the government even more power to unwind troublesome teens,


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Recent Discussion:

  1. Marion Deeds
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    Maybe in the next couple months I'll get the DVDs of the two "Dune" SyFy productions from 2000 and 2003.…

  3. Marion Deeds
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