This week, Corum Jhaelen Irsei gives us an account of a most troubling nature (honestly, Mr. Moorcock… this plot was just silly).

fantasy and science fiction book reviews Corum: It has been a most eventful fortnight. I learnt, to my grief, that my entire race has been slain. I alone stand between the ancient kindred called Vadhagh and extinction, and I… what exemplar am I? There is naught left to see of my departed people but a maimed and forlorn wanderer, bereft of home and succour, adrift on the vagaries of Fate. Yesterday, those vagaries bore me to a fortress of men, Moidel’s Castle. Its ruler is Margravine Rhalina, a kindly woman of the younger race and now my sole friend in all the world. It gives me hope to think that disinterested compassion may spring from the hearts of these humans. Perhaps I am not so alone.

Later — I was drugged at dinner and passed out. I awoke in my hostess’s bed post-ravishment. It was just such a monstrous betrayal of trust as could have proven my every darkest fear about humanity’s selfishness, its callousness, and my own doomed loneliness. It could have broken me. Fortunately, I realized that I’m in love with the Margravine, so everything’s fine. Everything’s… fine…

fantasy and science fiction book reviews Brad: Most of my reading time has been devoted to grading student papers as we near the end of the semester; however, I finished the very short A Hell of A Woman by Jim Thompson, my favorite author of Crime Fiction in the narrowest sense (stories focused on the committing of crimes rather than the solving of crimes). For my taste, most Crime Fiction is either too humorous — like Ocean’s 11 — or too psychologically frightening — like Silence of the Lambs. Jim Thompson always strikes just the right mood for me, particularly in my favorite novel of his: After Dark, My Sweet (which I just finished teaching again). I also just started and am enjoying another one of his novels: The CriminalI’m also enjoying two new/old comics that just came out this week: The first is the newly reprinted trade collection of Thanos issues 1-12, reprinted as Thanos: Redemption. The other comic is Japanese manga: The Mysterious Underground MenThis week marks the first time this book by Osamu Tezuka has ever been translated in English and published in the United States. This book is the very first mature work by Tezuka. Even though it seems very dated and not mature by current standards, it’s the the story Tezuka credits for making him realize he could publish a well-received story that touched on serious themes AND didn’t conclude with a simplistic happy ending.

fantasy and science fiction book reviews John: I love it when I read an older book, realize that it’s been reviewed by one of the “power” reviewers and that I liked it just as much as he did. So, I will proclaim that I really, really liked The Warded Man by Peter V. Brett. Realizing that Bill liked it too only makes me feel that much smarter!

fantasy and science fiction book reviews Kat: I hosted my family for the Thanksgiving holiday, and I had papers to grade, so I didn’t get much reading done. Fortunately, though, I loved the only book I managed to read — Curtsies & Conspiracies by Gail Carriger, narrated by Moira Quirk. It was one of the best books I read this year!

fantasy and science fiction book reviews Ryan: I’ve been listening to Terry Pratchett‘s The Last Continent. I’ve also been making my way through Bertrand Russell’s A History of Western Philosophy.

fantasy and science fiction book reviews Tim: I’m well into paper season, so once again I didn’t have much time for pleasure reading. This week’s assigned texts include The Amityville Horror, by Jay Anson (who contributed just about nothing to the story other than getting it on paper, in my opinion — his styling is just dreadful); and The Happy Prince, by Oscar Wilde (whose writing was reliably, well, Oscar Wilde-ish — and light years ahead of Anson’s dizziest daydreams, just in case there are some uninitiated amongst the readers).