Carmilla: If you’re not an 1800s-horror expert, it’s better with a little homework

Carmilla by Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu

Editor's note: Carmilla is free in Kindle format because it's in the public domain.

Giving Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu’s Carmilla (1872) a 4-star rating feels a bit like critiquing my cat’s life choices. Sure, she could act more like a cat, and she could definitely make more sense from time to time — but ultimately, I love her and that ought to be enough.

Carmilla truly begins when Carmilla (surprise) arrives somewhat suddenly at the summer home of Laura and her father. It’s a picturesque manse on a hill, and the family is happy to take Carmi... Read More

Around the World in 80 Days: On the Edge

Around the World in Eighty Days by Jules Verne

[In our Edge of the Universe column, we review mainstream authors that incorporate elements of speculative fiction into their “literary” work. However you want to label them, we hope you’ll enjoy discussing these books with us.]

For years I have had false memories of reading Jules Verne’s Around the World in Eighty Days. How did this happen?  I think I must have seen so many movie versions that they got translated into my head as if I’d read it. Now that problem is resolved, because I have read it. It was a surprise.

Really, there were a few surprises. My first surprise was how short the book is, about 160 pages. The second surprise was that a book that flowed from the mind of Jules Verne had no fantastical or futuristic modes of trave... Read More

The Princess and the Goblin: Deserves to sit on any bookshelf

The Princess and the Goblin by George MacDonald

George MacDonald found out his talent for telling fairy tales due to the fact that he had eleven children, and after the success of At the Back of the North Wind, which was published serially in a magazine, MacDonald wrote his two most popular books: The Princess and the Goblin and its sequel The Princess and Curdie. These books inspired the two most famous fantasy authors of all time: J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis, both of whom are much indebted to MacDonald's innovative fairytales. It can be safely said that both The Lord of the Rings and Read More