Existence: A big book that’s all too short — a must read


Existence by David Brin Existence is David Brin’s first novel in some time and while I’ve long bemoaned his absence, it’s hard to complain about the time he takes if this is...

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The Crippled God: Ends the preeminent fantasy of the past 20 years


The Crippled God by Steven Erikson If you want a quick, partial sense of what’s in store in Steven Erikson’s The Crippled God, look no further than this conversation between two...

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When the Birds Fly South: Profoundly moving, stands the test of time


When the Birds Fly South by Stanton A. Coblentz Never let it be said that you can’t learn anything from Facebook! It was on the Vintage Paperback and Pulp Forum there, for...

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The Raven Tower: Intelligent, thoughtful, and visceral


Reposting to include Marion’s new review. The Raven Tower by Ann Leckie The Raven Tower (2019) begins, as so many fantasy tales do, with a young man returning home to claim...

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Recent Posts

The Ecologic Secession: JimJoy takes on the Empire

The Ecologic Secession by L.E. Modesitt Jr

The Ecologic Secession (1990) is the second novel (according to internal chronology) in L.E. Modesitt Jr’s THE ECOLITAN MATTER quartet. In the first book, The Ecolitan Operation (for which there will be a few spoilers in this review), we met Major JimJoy Wright. He used to be the Empire’s best secret agent, but after they tried to assassinate him, he switched sides.

Now, after faking his death and being given a new identity, he’s a professor at the Ecolitan Institute, a think-tank on the planet Accord that opposes the Empire and is plotting a revolution.

The Ecolitans are glad to have JimJoy’s allegiance and service, though they’re not sure what to m... Read More

The Liminal People: Imaginative, violent, and exciting

The Liminal People by Ayize Jama-Everett

If we could use our minds to make others see what we wanted them to see, rearrange people’s internal organs and dissolve their musculature, call animals to do our every bidding, or know others’ thoughts as intimately as our own, wouldn’t we rule the world? Or would we be so preoccupied with fighting with others like us that humans would be mere pawns, little worth toying with? Or, even worse, would we be so damaged by our powers that we would be dangerous to ourselves and others?

These are all questions posed by Ayize Jama-Everett’s short, powerful first novel, The Liminal People (2012). Jama-Everett’s first person narrator, Taggert, introduces himself while in the midst of conducting a drug sale he is conducting on behalf of his mentor, Nordeen Maximus. Taggert is able to keep the transaction from going sour by putting his would-be assassins to sleep wit... Read More

The Ecolitan Operation: I’d like to see where this is going

The Ecolitan Operation by L.E. Modesitt Jr

Major Jimjoy Wright is the Empire’s most successful secret agent. That’s because he’s strong, brave, clever, deceptive, ruthless, and totally goal-oriented. Once he accepts a mission from his government, nothing gets in his way. He always gets the job done.

Though JimJoy thinks he’s highly ethical, most people would find his consequentialism to be psychopathic. For example, JimJoy is responsible for the deaths of tens of thousands of innocent people. This doesn’t bother him because if he hadn’t destroyed them, millions of other innocent people probably would have died (it’s like an extreme version of the Trolley Problem).

The fall-out from JimJoy’s actions are causing problems f... Read More

Ralph 124C 41+: The Kramdens, they’re not!

Ralph 124C 41+ by Hugo Gernsback

During the course of any number of my book musings here at FanLit, I have made reference to editor Hugo Gernsback, in whose magazine Amazing Stories – the very first magazine devoted to the type of writing that would one day be called “science fiction,” and which rolled out its first issue in April 1926 – so many wonderful tales and serialized novels first appeared. Gernsback, in truth, was a pretty remarkable figure. He’d been born in Luxembourg City in 1884, and by the time of his passing in 1967, at age 83, had edited or published at least 50 other magazines, written three novels and a dozen or so short stories (plus countless essays), taken out 80 or so patents, and coined the term “science fiction.” The Hugo Awards today, of course, are named in his honor. However, it recently struck this reader that although I have experienced any number of works that originally appeared in Read More

WWWednesday: July 27, 2022

Next week, August 3, will be a single-topic column.

Jordan Peele’s adult horror movie Nope opened to $44 million at the box office.

Marvel revealed the first Wakanda Forever trailer at San Diego Comic-Con.

Jenny Hamilton reviews Half a Soul by Olivia Atwater at Tor.com.

The site also shares upcoming August releases.

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Locklands: Concludes one of the best series of the last decade

Locklands by Robert Jackson Bennett

In Locklands, Robert Jackson Bennett closes out his FOUNDERS TRILOGY in epic style, raising the stakes to literally “all of creation” and upping his characters’ (some of them) power levels to god-like heights, all while managing to keep the story grounded in the personal thanks to Jackson’s typically sharp characterization. Being the concluding novel, two things should be obvious: one, you need to have read the prior ones and two, there will be inevitable spoilers for those prior books.

Eight years have passed since the events of Shorefall, and they haven’t been good ones for our characters. The sort of collective-AI intelligence Tevanne, thanks to its forcible “twinning... Read More

Into the Narrowdark: Wonderfully immersive and rewarding

Into the Narrowdark by Tad Williams

Into the Narrowdark is the concluding volume to Tad Williams’ epic THE LAST KING OF OSTEN ARD series, and it … Hold on. Scratch that. Apparently, Williams and his publishers have decided to split the concluding work into two books. So readers will have to wait a bit longer for that conclusion, though at least they’ll have a short novel to read instead of … Wait a minute. OK, never mind on the brevity. Turns out Into the Narrowdark is still 600+ pages, despite only being half of a final book. Thankfully, though, splitting the book means a streamlined plot and far fewer character, making it … One moment here. All right, actually the plot remains a complicated tapestry, and the list of characters at the back runs for nearly two dozen pages. But Into the Narrowdark Read More

Sunday Status Update: July 24, 2022

Justin: Just wrapped up Leviathan Wakes by James S.A.Corey. It is Book 1 of THE EXPANSE series. Read this on a dare and couldn’t be happier that I did. Also making some plans for a trip to Gencon in Indianapolis in a  couple weeks. You should expect to see a write-up from me on that adventure. If you plan to be there let me know and I’ll give you a Fanlit book mark and maybe play a board game or something.

Bill:

This week I read Tad Wiliams' newest tome,

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B.P.R.D. Hell on Earth (vol. 13): End of Days: The ultimate battle with the Black Flame

B.P.R.D. Hell on Earth (vol. 13): End of Days by Mike Mignola (writer), John Arcudi (writer), Laurence Campbell (art), Dave Stewart (colors), Clem Robins (letters).

With Johann in the vril-powered suit of armor, the B.P.R.D. now has on hand a great resource for taking on monsters. Johann commands almost as much power as Liz. Liz has taken the time to get back to gardening back at the B.P.R.D. headquarters now that Johann used the armor to stop the monsters that were getting close in Colorado. But events are escalating around the world. Fenix, who goes into a trance with Panya as her guide, has an epileptic fit witnessing even more tragedy to come, and she slips into a coma. Also at headquarters, the mad professor starts babbling about the seven that are one, the ogdru jahad on earth, and other prophetic concerns. There’s a lot going on in this volume, and the art is fantastic, particularly the scenes with the large monsters and the scenes in w... Read More

The Deep and Shining Dark: Intriguing enough to check out book 2

The Deep and Shining Dark by Juliet Kemp

The opening of a new series, The Deep and Shining Dark is a debut novel by Juliet Kemp, that for the most part avoids many if not all of the common issues of first books, making for a smoothly enjoyable read that falls just a bit short of a richly realized story.

The city of Marek is ostensibly part of the larger nation of Teren. It for some time now has operated as an independent city-state thanks to several factors: being a port city, having a strong trading relationship with the dominant sea-faring nation of Salina, and being the only place in Teren where magic doesn’t require blood.

This last is due to a century-old agreement made between the founders of the city and a spirit known since then as the cityangel. Now though, change is coming to disrupt the city’s long-standing stability — a plague has killed all but two of Marek’s sorcerers,... Read More