Uprooted: Utterly satisfying and enthralling

Uprooted by Naomi Novik Agniezska is the brave, stubborn, sensitive heroine of Naomi Novik’s recent release, Uprooted — and she’s about to steal your heart. She comes from...

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Riddley Walker: On the Edge

Riddley Walker by Russell Hoban [At The Edge of the Universe, we review mainstream authors that incorporate elements of speculative fiction into their “literary” work. However...

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In the Night Garden: Delicious and clever (but not for Kevin)

The Orphan’s Tales: In the Night Garden by Catherynne Valente In the Night Garden is the first in a two-book (maybe more?) series and if book one is any guide, this is as...

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Shadrach in the Furnace: Intriguing, exciting, tense

Shadrach in the Furnace by Robert Silverberg It’s the summer of 2012 and the Earth is a disaster. A deadly virus has killed most of the world population and those who remain...

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Recent Posts

WWWednesday: January 4, 2023

Happy 2023. I hope it goes well for all of you.

Brandon Sanderson ended last year with an update about his successful Kickstarter campaign, the state of his various series, and some new projects.

On New Year’s Day, Avengers and Hawkeye star Jeremy Renner was hospitalized, in critical but stable condition, after a snowplow accident.

Darusha Wehm, Nebula-nominated game developer, discusses six books with Nerds of a Feather.

Victor LaValle is Read More

Sunday Status Update: January 1, 2023

Marion: I reread Robert Jackson Bennett’s DIVINE CITIES series, and it was as good as I remembered. The day before Christmas a friend lent me Legendborn by Tracy Deonn, a YA fantasy adventure. I enjoyed it, although I think a young reader would enjoy it far more. While I liked the sixteen-year-old MC, it reminded me that one of things I’d especially enjoyed about the Bennett books was mature protagonists!

Bill: Read More

Mistress of Terror and Other Stories: Alabama Getaway

Mistress of Terror and Other Stories by Wyatt Blassingame

By the time a reader gets to the fourth and final volume in Ramble House’s series of books dedicated to Wyatt Blassingame, he/she will almost inevitably have come to the realization that the Alabama-born author surely was a master of that peculiar horror subgenre known as “weird-menace” fiction. And indeed, those first three volumes – The Tongueless Horror and Other Stories: The Weird Tales of Wyatt Blassingame, Volume One, Lady of the Yellow De... Read More

Network Effect: Complex connections

Reposting to include Bill's new review.

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), along with multiple Nebula, Hugo and other awards and nominations, as each of the first four novellas in the MURDERBOT DIARIES series has been published over the last three years. In Network Effect (2020), the first full-length novel in this series, Wells is able to explore a more complex plot and to more fully develop Murderbot’s character and its relationships with others.

Murderbot is now with Dr. Mensah and the other Preservation Station characters who Murderbot was protecting in the first book, Read More

WWWednesday: December 28, 2022

Have a safe and happy New Year's, everyone.

I commented on the first three episodes of Amazon’s The Peripheral, their adaptation of Book One of the Jackpot Trilogy by William Gibson. While I liked many parts of it, I was ultimately disappointed. The show improved by prodigious leaps, however, once the character Ainsley Lowbeer appeared on the screen, and the last five episodes set up a decent storyline, ending on an acceptable cliffhanger. Acceptable, I should say, if Amazon gives us a second season.

Ainsley Lowbeer is a character of Future London, a member of the Metropolitan Police. In the books she is a great deal more, a nearly invulnerable character with extraordinary legitimate and informal power. In the series, while she is still powerful, it seems that Cerise Nuland (T’Nia Miller) from the Research Institute is her equal, or at least nearly. And the series still clings closely to the events in near-future South Carolina, in “the coun... Read More

Some Faraway Place: Not a success

Some Faraway Place by Lauren Shippen

Rose is a normal girl, and that’s a problem because everyone else in her family – her parents, her brother – are atypical.

I had some hope that returning to the approximate 2016 timeframe and another late-teen protagonist who isn’t an outright villain would be a boon for the BRIGHT SESSIONS series. Unfortunately, I had more issues with Some Faraway Place (2021) than either of its predecessors, The Infinite Noise and A Neon Darkness.

A flaw I was irked by in The Infinite Noise came back in full force in this installment, yet worse: the way the teenage characters talk is completely indistinguishable from t... Read More

Tomie: No Use Escaping: The ultimate succubus in horror manga

Tomie: No Use Escaping by Junji Ito

Tomie: No Use Escaping by Junji Ito is a delightful set of horror stories, and if you are a horror fan and have not read any Junji Ito, you are definitely missing out! In the United States, Ito is the best-known horror manga artist. So far, seventeen volumes of his work have been translated into English. The Tomie stories are important, because the first manga story Ito ever wrote in Japan was a Tomie story. Twenty stories about Tomie are included in this massive near-750 page volume.

Who is Tomie? Tomie is a succubus of sorts, of indescribable beauty, and she lures men into falling in love with her and worshiping her. The horrific twist is that she also instills in men the desire to stab her, cut her up, dismember her. This twist is made even more horrifying because Tomie grows back from each piece of her body. So, if she is chopped up into thirty pieces, she will come... Read More

The Unholy Goddess and Other Stories: Sweet Home Alabama?

The Unholy Goddess and Other Stories by Wyatt Blassingame

It would be hard to imagine anyone who experiences the first two Ramble House collections dedicated to the Alabama-born author Wyatt Blassingame – namely, The Tongueless Horror and Other Stories: The Weird Tales of Wyatt Blassingame, Volume One and Lady of the Yellow Death and Other Stories: The Weird Tales of Read More

WWWednesday: December 21, 2022

Opened magic book with blowing black letters

Scientists achieved a breakthrough with nuclear fusion.

Today is solstice. In the northern hemisphere, it’s winter solstice, the longest night of the year; in the southern hemisphere it’s midsummer. Whatever holidays you observe during this week, I hope you enjoy them with friends and loved ones, with joy, health and safety.

Hanukkah started this Sunday and runs through December 25. This festival symbolizes hope and resistance against tyranny. The miraculous bottle of oil that burned for eight nights was not part of the original story of Hanukkah, which depicted the Macca... Read More

Even Though I Knew the End: Powerful setting and period piece

Even Though I Knew the End by C.L. Polk

Let me start with what I loved about C.L. Polk’s 2022 novella, Even Though I Knew the End. I loved the premise of the magical system at play here, and the story delivered a 1940s Chicago, Illinois, that was both familiar and convincingly strange. The Wink, a lesbian bar that has rolled through several incarnations in its lifetime, is a sheer delight of evocative description.

I liked the fast-moving plot and Polk’s spin on the hard-boiled detective story. Helen Brandt was a promising auspex or magical practitioner (her original area of expertise was astrology), destined to assist her brother in the Brotherhood of the Compass. When a car accident derailed her entire life, Helen made a decision that was anathema to the Brotherhood — and to many others in this world where conventional Christianity (presumably all organized religions) and magic live side-by-side. N... Read More