Darker Than You Think: A mighty gripping read

Darker Than You Think by Jack Williamson Jack Williamson’s Darker Than You Think is a one-shot horror-novel excursion for this science fiction Grand Master, but has...

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Initiate’s Trial: Epic high fantasy at its finest

Initiate’s Trial by Janny Wurts Janny Wurts’s latest novel in the WARS OF LIGHT AND SHADOW, Initiate’s Trial, is another rock-solid installment in what has become one of my...

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The Ships of Merior: No excuse not to read it

The Ships of Merior by Janny Wurts The Ships of Merior is the first part of Arc 2 of THE WARS OF LIGHT AND SHADOW, the incomparable epic fantasy series by Janny Wurts. The novel...

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Bone Gap: Beautiful, mythic YA

Bone Gap by Laura Ruby In order to explain why Bone Gap impressed me so much, I may have to spoil it a little. I may have to tell you that it’s partly based on one of my favorite...

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Recent Posts

Hell Bent: Return to magical Yale

Hell Bent by Leigh Bardugo

When 2023’s Hell Bent, by Leigh Bardugo, opens, a demon has trapped Galaxy Stern, who goes by Alex, in the basement of the Black Elm house, along with two ghosts. Upstairs, her friend and mentor, Darlington, who was sucked into a hell dimension in Ninth House, Book One of the ALEX STERN series, waits in demon form. It’s safe to say things aren’t going well.

The second book brings us back to dark Yale and the home of the various secret societies, all of whom use magic. Alex, together with Pam Dawes, the archivist or “Oculus” of Lethe House, and Detective Turner, a New Haven cop who is in on the magic deal and serves as “Centurion,” are determined to restore Darlington to this realm. As you’d expect, all forces are arrayed against them; demonic, mundane and a... Read More

Empire of the Feast: Come for the orgy, stay for the intrigue

Empire of the Feast by Bendi Barrett

“Within our sun is the Rapacious and it hungers.”

2022’s novella Empire of the Feast begins with something going wrong. Riverson awakes, being called Empress by a royal retainer, who is shocked to discover that the new ruler is not female, as all of the Stag Empire’s rulers have been. Furthermore, Riverson lacks the memories of his forebears — and it seems his immediate predecessor, the 31st Empress, was murdered. That’s pretty shocking, but it’s going to get more shocking real fast.

Emperor Riverson the First finds out he’s on a space station orbiting his system’s sun, which is no ordinary sun. Something resides within it, something ravening, and the ruler and their court must keep it fed and quiet, mostly by directing the erotic energy generated from the nonstop orgy in the throne room. Riverson, as the ruler of the Stag Empi... 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's the best book you read in January 2023 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.

One commenter with a U.S. mailing address will choose one of these prizes:

a FanLit T-shirt (we have sizes M, L, XL)
a book from Read More

WWWednesday: February 1, 2023

From last year, here is an article for the feline that may have been the inspiration for Grumpy Cat—the Pallas’s, or Pallas cat, indigenous to the Central Asian Steppes.

Malice Domestic announced the finalists for the Agatha Christie Awards this year. The award recognizes excellence in contemporary “traditional” mysteries, or what I might call, from their description, “cozies.” (I love that one of the finalists is titled The Finalist.)

The Library of America announces an April release of a collection of Ursula LeGuin’s poetry, edited by Harold Bloom. I don’t know how I feel about that... Read More

The Big Jump: Another Gem From The Queen Of Space Opera

The Big Jump by Leigh Brackett

Toward the end of 2015, to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the birth of the so-called “Queen of Space Opera,” Leigh Brackett, I decided to read (and, in several cases, reread) 10 of this great author’s works, both novels and short-story collections. One of Brackett’s books that I did not read at the time, for the simple reason that a reader’s copy was not then in my possession, was her fourth novel out of an eventual 10, an oversight that I was happy to rectify just this week. And I am so glad that I did, as the book in question, The Big Jump, has just revealed itself to me to be still another wonderful creation from this beloved writer.

The Big Jump initially appeared in the February 1953 issue of Space Stories, a short-lived, ... Read More

Shiver: Junji Ito’s best short story horror collection

Shiver by Junji Ito

Seventeen books by Junji Ito have now been translated into English, and while a few of them are graphic novels telling a single story, most are short story collections. Perhaps the best of them is Shiver. Shiver contains ten excellent tales and includes commentary by the author on every story as well as a final afterword. Each story also includes at the end samples of Ito’s notes (with translations). These notes, along with the commentary, give interesting insights into the stories.

Who is Junji Ito? Ito is a Japanese manga creator, writing and drawing in black-and-white all of his stories. All his work is in the horror genre, with a few dips into some science fiction elements. His writing varies from the sublime to the mediocre, so his storytelling is uneven; however, his art is always excellent, often characterized by body horror and other grotesque images... Read More

What Moves the Dead: A nifty horror story

What Moves the Dead by T. Kingfisher

Ursula Vernon, writing as T. Kingfisher, doesn’t try to out-Poe Edgar Allan in her 2022 novella What Moves the Dead. Instead, she flips “The Fall of the House of Usher” sideways, giving us a creepy, atmospheric, heroic and sometimes funny look at the doomed siblings Madeline and Roderick, the moldering mansion they’ve inherited as the last of the family, and the surreal, creepy mountain lake or tarn that laps at the walls of the house. While the house of Usher does fall, the steps that lead to that event are fresh, guided by a lively, plausible first-person narrator who breathes life — well, sort of — into the creepy old house and into the story itself.

It's 1890, somewhere in Europe, and Alex Easton, a soldier now out of the army, is on their way to visit old family friends, Roderick a... Read More

WWWednesday: January 25, 2023

The Academy Awards nominees were announced on Sunday.

John Scalzi was awarded the Heinlein Award.

The finalists for the Bram Stoker Award have been announced. Oh, I just realized. Award Season has been declared Open.

The Roger Ebert website reviews AMC’s serialization of Anne Rice’s Interview With the Vampire. Jacob Anderson brings to undead life the brooding Louis. Here’s Read More

Fugitive Telemetry: Pitch-perfect narrative voice

Reposting to include new reviews by Skye and Bill.

Fugitive Telemetry by Martha Wells

Martha Wells continues her popular and highly-acclaimed MURDERBOT DIARIES series with another novella, Fugitive Telemetry (2021), which actually takes place before the only novel in the series so far, Network Effect. (So you could read this one before that novel, but you do need to read books 1-4 first.) At this point in time Murderbot, the introverted and snarky cyborg who is the narrator and the heart of this series, is a fairly new resident on Preservation, a planet outside of the callously capitalistic Corporate Rim. Murderbot is a companion to and protector of Dr. Mensah, one of the few humans Murderbot has gradually learned to... Read More

Sunday Status Update: January 22, 2023

Marion:  I’m currently reading Indelible City; Dispossession and Defiance in Hong Kong, by journalist Louisa Lim. Lim grew up in Hong Kong. Her book is written in confessional journalism style where she centers herself in the story. Starting with the demonstrations for democracy in 2019, she traces the history of the city back to before the common era. Lim’s work is well-researched, and her prose is personal and immediate. I’m engrossed.

Bill: Since our last status I read Kelly Barnhill's dark The Crane Husband (lovely sparse language, strong narrative voice), Sara Rich's disappointing Mushroom (part of the mostly strong OBJECT LESSONS series), and Patricia Smith's solid and important poetry collecti...
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