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Jim C. Hines

Jim C Hines(1974- )
Jim C. Hines began writing in the early 90s, while working on a degree in psychology from Michigan State University. His first professional sale was the award-winning “Blade of the Bunny,” which took first place in the 1998 Writers of the Future competition and was published in Writers of the Future XV. For many years, he focused on short fiction. His work has appeared in more than forty magazines and anthologies. During this time, he also picked up a Masters degree in English from Eastern Michigan University. You can read samples and deleted scenes from his books at Jim C. Hines’ website.


Goblin Quest: Light-hearted irony

Goblin Quest by Jim C. Hines

Joining the ranks of comic fantasy authors like Terry Pratchett, Robert Asprin, Esther Freisner, and Piers Anthony is relative newcomer Jim C. Hines. His dungeon delving novel, Goblin Quest, brings a jovial and ironic spirit to the ranks of fantasy fiction.

Jig, a young, scrawny, and near-sighted goblin is content to work with muck. It keeps him out of the way of the rougher, tougher goblins, all brave warriors willing to die to protect the lair. But through unfortunate happenstance, Jig finds himself the prisoner (although they call him a guide) of a band of adventurer... Read More

Goblin Hero: Unique brand of humor

Goblin Hero by Jim C. Hines

Jig Dragonslayer has a new quest in Goblin Hero. This time, an ogre has come looking for his help. This is, of course, the last thing the diminutive Jig wants. Nonetheless, spurred on by his god, Tymalous Shadowstar, Jig finds he must accept the ogre’s request. But fighting pixies is not Jig’s idea of a good time, and in this sequel to Goblin Quest Jig must once again rely on his pusillanimous goblin brain to save everyone (including hobgoblins!) from the pixie invasion into the cavern complex the goblins, hobgoblins, and ogres call home.

Jim C. Hines uses his unique brand of humor to tell this funny adventure tale. Jig is his old self: a reluctant but effective hero. Yet Hines has also branched out and given the reader some new characters to enjoy. There is Grell, the ancient goblin nursery maid; Braf, the dumbest but biggest goblin in the lair; V... Read More

Goblin War: Humorous adventure fantasy for kids and adults

Goblin War by Jim Hines

Goblin War is a completely different novel from the first two novels in this series. Those two books were constrained by the small world of the lair and its surrounding caves. The goblins never left the caves under their mountain, for all the adventures that they had. This meant that the second novel, while having a different set of circumstances, was much like the first in plot and style, and didn’t add too much that was new to Jig the Goblin’s story. But in Goblin War, author Jim C. Hines has Jig and many of his fellow goblins leave the cave for the wider world, a world that pretty much wants to destroy them.

Jig is trapped between two competing factions, both intent on wiping out him and his goblin clan. The first, the human rulers of the upper world, need slave labor to perform various tasks too dangerous for the morally superior h... Read More

The Stepsister Scheme: Nicely sidesteps all the pitfalls

The Stepsister Scheme by Jim C. Hines

I’m always a bit wary of books that take fairy tales as source materials. Too often, I’ve found, they fall into a few typical traps. One is they become enslaved by the structure of one cute explanation/cute twist per each plot point of the original fairy tale, so that the twists themselves become predictable: beat one, two, twist, beat one, two, twist. Another is they become so enamored in the humor aspect of their humorous retelling that they lose sight of the telling aspect — so the plot is unoriginal and dull. Another is that they think the reader brings the character to the story so they don’t need to bother with actual characterization.

I’m happy to say that Jim Hines' new book, The Stepsister Scheme, sidesteps all these pitfalls nicely and is a thoroughly enjoyable and intelligent novel, one that returns to the darker roots of fairy tales rather than t... Read More

The Mermaid’s Madness: More Grimm than Disney

The Mermaid’s Madness by Jim C. Hines

In The Stepsister Scheme, Jim Hines introduced us, or rather, re-introduced us, to three of the best-known fairy-tale characters: Snow White, Cinderella, and Sleeping Beauty, known respectively in the book as Snow, Danielle, and Talia. When Talia used her deadly fighting skills to save Danielle from a murderous attack by one of Danielle's step-sisters, then joins with Danielle (wielding a glass sword) and Snow White (wielding mirror magic learned at her evil stepmother's hands) to rescue Danielle's kidnapped husband, Prince Armand, you knew this was not your father's fairy-tale.

Now Hines, and his three "kick-ass heroines" are back in The Mermaid's Madness, which, as the name implies, spins out of the tale of the little mermaid who fell in love with a human and then sacrificed herself for him. "Yeah, right" says Hines, who keeps the mermaid... Read More

Red Hood’s Revenge: Red Riding Hood as assassin

Red Hood’s Revenge by Jim C. Hines

Red Hood’s Revenge is the third book in Jim Hines’ series that reimagines the characters of Snow White, Cinderella, and Sleeping Beauty (going back to their far darker roots than the usual Disney versions) and turns them into a formidable team. As with the first two books, Hines in Red Hood’s Revenge doesn’t simply retell the well-known stories. He reshapes the original story, then jumps ahead in time and uses the familiar tale as a back-story with its many ripples emanating forward in time, some creating plot and some creating character.

For instance, if you have any doubts about whether this is your grandmother’s fairy tale, here’s an early line from Snow (Snow White) to Talia (Sleeping Beauty): “Wake me when it’s time to kill Red Riding Hood.” Of course, this only comes after Danielle (Cinderella) has asked out lou... Read More

The Snow Queen’s Shadow: Ends the series perfectly

The Snow Queen’s Shadow by Jim C. Hines

The Snow Queen’s Shadow is not simply Jim Hines’ fourth book in his fairytale princess series, following Red Hood’s Revenge, The Mermaid’s Madness, and The Stepsister Scheme. He makes clear in a direct address to the reader that he sees it as the close to the series, though like any clever writer he leaves himself some wiggle room. Should he choose to end it here, it isn’t at all a bad place to bid farewell to Snow White (Snow), Sleeping Beauty (Talia), and Cinderella (Danielle).

In this perhaps final chapter, Snow White becomes the titular Snow Queen when her most important and potent magic mirror — the one made by her mother — accidentally shatters during a powerful spell. The effect on Snow is profound and immediate. She turns on her friends, to the poin... Read More

Libriomancer: There are lots of reasons to like this

Libriomancer by Jim C. Hines

My experience with Jim Hines’s work has been limited to his PRINCESS series, which I thoroughly enjoyed. That series works in the “lighter” side of fantasy, but does so with a sharp intelligence and very strong characterization. Hines is now out with a new series, MAGIC EX LIBRIS, and judging by its introductory novel Libriomancer, this is going to be another winner.

If this were a Hollywood pitch, one might call Libriomancer a cross between Cornelia Funke’s INKWORLD trilogy. Jasper Fforde’s THURSDAY NEXT series, and Jim Butcher’s DRESDEN FILES Read More

Codex Born: Enjoyable sequel

Codex Born by Jim Hines

Codex Born is Jim Hines’ follow-up to last year’s Libriomancer, his breezy love letter to fantasy and science fiction readers and writers. While the sequel didn’t charm me as much as its precursor, its quick pace, likable characters, and frequent allusions to some of my favorite authors, along with Hine’s trademark darkness underlying a lightly comical surface, meant that on balance I found more to enjoy than to dislike.

The series is set in a world where certain people — libriomancers — have the ability to magically pull objects, such as ray guns, rings of invisibility, etc., out of written works. For centuries, this magic has been regulated by a secret organization headed by the first Libriomancer (though that gets called into question in this novel), Johannes Gutenberg. Besides studying/regulating/restricting this book magic, Libriomancers also intervene when neces... Read More

Unbound: A somewhat weaker continuation of an OK series

Unbound by Jim C. Hines

Unbound is Jim C. Hines’ third book in his MAGIC EX LIBRIS series, and I had the same response I pretty much had to book two, which was that it is a light sort of fantasy which has issues that are somewhat, but not fully, balanced by the love of the genre evident in the storyline. I noted at the end of my review of book two, Codex Born, that I was worried about a sense of diminishing returns, and I think that is a bit realized here. Book four, Revisionary, has just arrived this year, and I’d say it’s good that it appears to be a concluding volume, though perhaps that should have come a book earlier.

MAGIC EX LIBRIS really needs to be read in o... Read More

Terminal Alliance: Janitors to the rescue!

Terminal Alliance by Jim C. Hines

The people remaining on a devastated Earth have been turned into zombies by a virus accidentally unleashed by one of their own scientists. Fortunately for some humans, a race of aliens known as the Krakau have figured out how to genetically engineer humans without the virus. Thus, about 10,000 humans still live, but rather than return to Earth to be cannibalized by their own species, they choose to work for the Krakau who saved them. The Krakau are benevolent overlords; they have even preserved the records of as much of Earth’s civilization as they could so that their human fosterlings can have their own culture.

One of these humans is Marion “Mops” Adamopoulos who leads a team of janitors on one of the Krakau spaceships. When the ship is attacked by the Podryans, an aggressive alien species, a series of mishaps incapacitates their Krakau leaders and leaves Mops in charge of the ship. With h... Read More

Terminal Uprising: Janitors save the day again

Terminal Uprising by Jim C. Hines

Terminal Uprising (2019) is the second novel in Jim C. HinesJANITORS OF THE POST-APOCALYPSE series. It follows Terminal Alliance, which should be read first. There you’ll meet “Mops” Adamopoulos, the boss of a human janitorial crew that works for the Krakau aliens. These friendly aliens saved humanity by genetically engineering thousands of humans after the Earth was ravaged by a virus that turned everyone into zombies.

It’s been a few months since Mops and her crew found themselves accidentally in charge of the spaceship Pufferfish. They had quite an adventure and they discovered a secret about their benign Krakau hosts and about what might have caused ... Read More

Magazine Monday: Apex Magazine, Issues 31 through 33

Apex Magazine is a monthly e-magazine that publishes two short stories, one reprint story, a nonfiction piece and an interview in each issue, together with the occasional poem. In the three issues I read, the reprint fiction tended to outshine the original fiction -- which doesn’t mean the original fiction was bad, just that it couldn’t quite live up to the standard set by the well-chosen older stories. The interviews are thoughtful and generally go well beyond the usual topics, either to discuss the author’s work in considerable detail or to go into areas not normally explored in most interviews. The nonfiction is variable in topic but uniformly strong work. A subscription to Apex Magazine seems to be worth the $19.95 per year asking price, though the most recent issue suggests some caution.

In the December 2011 issue (No. 31), the editor-in-chief, Lynne M. Thomas, explains in her notes (a column... Read More

Magazine Monday: Uncanny Magazine, Issues One and Two

Uncanny Magazine is a new bimonthly internet publication edited by Lynn M. Thomas and Michael Damian Thomas. The editors have explained their mission this way:
We chose the name Uncanny because we wanted a publication that has the feel of a contemporary magazine with a history — one that evolved from a fantastic pulp. Uncanny will bring the excitement and possibilities of the past, and the sensibilities and experimentation that the best of the present offers. . . . It’s our goal that Uncanny’s pages will be filled with gorgeous prose, exciting ideas, provocative essays, and contributors from every possible background.
Issue One opens with “If You Were a Tiger, I’d Have to Wear White” by Maria Dahvana Headley, in which the animal stars of movies and television have p... Read More

Shadowed Souls: One way to audition a new Urban Fantasy series

Shadowed Souls edited by Jim Butcher & Kerrie L. Hughes

Shadowed Souls is an invitational anthology edited by Jim Butcher and Kerrie L. Hughes. Butcher is the author of three fantasy series: THE DRESDEN FILES, THE CODEX ALERA, and THE CINDER SPIRES. Hughes is an established short fiction writer who has edited several anthologies including Chicks Kick Butt, Westward Weird, and Maiden Matron Crone.

The theme of Shadowed Souls is, “good isn’t always light and evil isn’t always dark,” and the eleven stories here showcase main characters — often from the writer’s series — who struggle not to give in to the monster within... or to keep it contained. While the stories are conventional, with conventional magic systems for the most part, this is a nice collecti... Read More

Where the Veil Is Thin: A mixed bag of fairies

Where the Veil Is Thin edited by Cerece Rennie Murphy & Alana Joli Abbott

Where the Veil Is Thin (2020), an anthology of stories about fairies and spirits, began as a Kickstarter. The project was successful, and the book is now widely available. Editors Cerece Rennie Murphy and Alana Joli Abbott have brought together a diverse group of authors with a wide variety of writing styles and approaches to the fae. While the tag line on the back cover says “These are not your daughter’s faerie tales,” some of the stories do read as if they might be intended for a youthful audience, while others are definitely not for kids. The stunning cover art is by Anna Dittmann.

The collection begins with a brief introduction by Jim C. Hines. In it, he di... Read More

FanLit Asks… About style

We often post our chats with authors on Tuesdays, but we're trying something new today. Instead of asking one author several questions, we've asked several authors just one question. Please leave a comment and let us know how you like this format. We'll choose one commenter to win a copy of Neal Stephenson's Quicksilver on audio CDs (or something else from our stacks).

Question: Which speculative fiction writer has had the greatest influence on your own writing style and what, specifically, do you find most inspirational about that writer’s style?

Daniel Abraham / M.L.N. Hanover: Read More