Our favorite books of 2014


Here are our favorite books published in 2014. Hover over the cover to see who recommends each book and what they say about it. Please keep in mind that we did not read every SFF...

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Network Effect: Complex connections


Network Effect by Martha Wells Martha Wells’ Murderbot has been gathering enthusiastic fans (which would be certain to have Murderbot hiding behind its opaque armored faceplate),...

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Alcestis: Some moments will break your heart


Alcestis by Katharine Beutner The ancient Greeks held up Alcestis as a model of wifely devotion. Her husband, Admetus, was spared from death on the condition that someone else die...

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Dune: The greatest SF novel of all time


Dune by Frank Herbert Paul Atreides is just fifteen years old, and small for his age besides, but he’s not to be dismissed. Paul is bright, well trained, and the heir of House...

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Recent Posts

The Boat of a Million Years: A millennia-spanning epic

The Boat of a Million Years by Poul Anderson

Poul Anderson’s millennia-spanning epic The Boat of a Million Years (1989) follows the lives of several unusual human beings starting from a few hundred years before the birth of Christ and ending sometime in the far future.

For some unknown reason, these folks are essentially immortal, not appearing to age past 25 years old and remaining fertile forever. They heal quickly and are immune to disease, though they can be killed by accident or murder.

The problem is that these few immortal people, who are born at different times in different parts of the world, do not know each other and each assumes he or she is the only immortal person alive. Living forever is not a lot of fun when everyone around you eventually dies, including your friends, lovers, and children. When this goes on for hundreds of years, it gets pretty depressing. Besides that, if... Read More

WWWednesday: May 11, 2022

The podcast Tales From the Trunk hosted me last week on a Book Tour segment. I had a lot of fun; Hilary, the host of Tales from the Trunk, is a witty and welcoming host.

File 770 rounds up Hugo nominees and other anime in this article.

SWFA’s silent auction, fundraising in partnership with Worldbuilders, continues through next week.

John Palisano discusses Jewish heritage in horror.

Nerds of a Feather takes a look at the Read More

The Cave of a Thousand Columns: The land down UNDER

The Cave of a Thousand Columns by T.E. Grattan-Smith

I have never been to the continent of Australia before, and after watching a number of videos, both online and on television, concerning the fauna and flora there, I am really in no great rush to go. Perhaps you’re familiar with some of the videos I mean? Australia, it would seem, is home to the inland taipan snake (the world’s most venomous snake), kamikaze magpies, the freshwater bull shark, the Australian honeybee (one of the world’s most poisonous insects), raining spiders, the flying fox (the largest bat in the world), paralysis ticks, and the toxic gympie gympie tree. Still planning a visit? The country is also home to the predatory saltwater crocodile, giant centipedes, red-backed spiders (poisonous, natch), swarming soldier beetles, the Sydney funnel-web spider (the world’s most venomous spider), the coastal taipan snake (almost as bad as the inland one!), strychnine t... Read More

Sunday Status Update: May 8, 2022

Kat: I’ve been sick with COVID, so I’ve spent the last few days doing almost nothing but listening to audiobooks. Since you heard from me last a few weeks ago, I’ve read all of these relatively short novels:  Redemption in Indigo by Karen Lord, Patternmaster by Octavia Butler, 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 is the best book you read in April 2022 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.

As always, one commenter with a U.S. mailing address will choose a book from our stacks. If you're outside the U.S., we'll send you a $5... Read More

WWWednesday: May 5, 2022

Marshal Zeringue has several blogs, and one of them is the “Page 69 Test.” The premise is this; would a reader, opening a book at random and reading page 69, have an understanding of what the book’s about? Interesting test! Here’s a recent column.

File 770 offers an excerpt from Tear Down the Throne by Jennifer Estep.

J.D. Evans’s Reign and Ruin is the winner of the Seventh Self-Published Fantasy Blog-Off , in what I’d describe as a photo finish (just one-tenth of a point ahead of the runner-up).

ChiCon 8 has updated Read More

The Light in the Sky: Aztec Two-Step

The Light in the Sky by Herbert Clock & Eric Boetzel

In H. Rider Haggard’s 16th novel, the epic blockbuster Montezuma’s Daughter (1893), the reader is introduced to a young man named Thomas Wingfield, a European (half English, half Spanish) who is captured by the ancient Aztecs in the New World of the 16th century. Wingfield eventually becomes something of a living god among them, marries the titular Otomie, and witnesses the arrival and eventual conquest of the Spanish conquistador Hernan Cortes. It is a truly wonderful piece of historical fiction, with minimal fantastic content. But 36 years later, another book would be released with many of the same plot points mentioned above, but updated to a modern setting, and with the fantasy elements very much in the fore... Read More

The Stardust Thief: An impressive debut

The Stardust Thief by Chelsea Abdullah

The Stardust Thief (2022), by Chelsea Abdullah, is one of the more impressive debut novels I’ve read lately, offering up a bevy of strong narrative elements with barely a weakness to be found and using a well-known tale (1001 Nights) not as a basis for a retelling but as the germ of something that is its own lushly original story. It wasn’t until I neared the end that I had the happy realization this wasn’t a stand-alone novel but would give me two more chances to spend time in this world.

As a child, Loulie (AKA the Midnight Merchant) was the sole survivor when her tribe was massacred, rescued from the desert by Qadir, who now serves as her bodyguard as she plies her trade of finding and selling magical jinn relics. Her unique success in that area has caugh... Read More

Sunday Status Update: May 1, 2022

Marion: After A Novel Way to Die by Ali Brandon, a light “bookstore murder mystery” with a cat that solves crimes and leaves its human clues by pulling books off the bookstore shelves (the titles contain clues); I DNF’d a domestic thriller I won’t name. I’m only half-joking when I say that I couldn’t relate to the “woman in danger” MC, who goes into basically a fugue state when she’s writing (she’s on her 5th best-seller when the book opens), and so has turned all her finances over to her attentive, failed-writer husband. What could possibly go wrong? I’ll never know, because I set the book aside when he buys a house with the royalties from her last book. I mean, I measure my royalties success in burritos. Now I’m safely back in the pages in Read More

Sentient: How Animals Illuminate the Wonder of Our Human Senses

Sentient: How Animals Illuminate the Wonder of Our Human Senses by Jackie Higgins

In Sentient: How Animals Illuminate the Wonder of Our Human Senses, Jackie Higgins smoothly and successfully merges what could have been two popular science books — one on animal senses and one on human perception. Instead of separating the two subjects, here Higgins uses one as a vehicle for exploring the other.

More precisely, by examining a dozen animal species and focusing on a single sensory trait they possess, Higgins casts a clarifying light on our own sensory abilities, including those we may not even be aware of.

Each chapter focuses on a single creature and sense, as follows:

Peacock Mantis Shrimp: color vision
Great Gray Owl: hearing
Star-Nosed Mole: touch
Common Vampire Bat: pleasure/pain
Goliath Catfish: taste
Bloodhound: sme... Read More