Welcome to Christmas-is-Officially-a-Week-Away mania, in which there are many lists made and gift guides hurriedly compiled. Unfortunately for me, most of these lists only apply to me, rather than the people I desperately need to find last-minute gifts for.

Lists and awards

There’s only one piece of award news this week: The Carl Brandon Parallax and Kindred Awards are open for nominations now, which recognizes the best speculative fiction dealing with race and ethnicity in 2013.

But what we lack in awards, we make up for in massive mid-December listing. There’s so many lists that I’m pulling out my emergency stash of bullet points:

fantasy and science fiction book reviews

Vicious by Victo Ngai

On the blogging and commentary front, there was a really wonderful collection of articles this past week dealing with women in speculative fiction. My favorite was probably Justin Landon’s article at the Book Smugglers about women cover artists in the genre — and how there aren’t any. It also features a ton of gorgeous cover art done by women artists. (And we’d like to add author and artist Janny Wurts who created our FanLit dragon logo and designs her own covers). On a similar note, the SF Signal has continued its guest series by A.C. Wise on reading women’s speculative fiction. And finally, there was this lovely and somehow kind of heartbreaking fictional reflection on Susan’s life after Narnia. It’s the meandering story of a young girl who was a Queen forced into the body of a WWII-era teenager again, and it’s what you get when you return to the classics of your youth with the awareness of adulthood.

On to lighter fare, there were a whole slew of responses to the new Hobbit movie. Suvudu provided a review of the movie from the perspective of the underrepresented cave trolls, and The Guardian declared it to be the one movie you should watch this weekThe Atlantic felt rather differently, and accused Peter Jackson of creating the worst kind of high-frame-rate fan-fiction.

Writing and publishing

In the more nuts and boltsy world of writing and publishing, here’s a lovely giveaway. ChiZine Publications is giving you the chance to win a Nook with the purchase of a paperback book.

Since we mentioned cover art before, Livia Blackburne also has a nice long post about her self-publishing process of purchasing good cover art.  And Lightspeed Magazine is, awesomely, offering women the chance to destroy science fiction as we know it by printing a women-authored-only issue this coming June. They’re taking submissions now!

fantasy and science fiction book reviewsPretty things seen on the interweb

The internet offers us three things of visual interest this week: First, there’s some pretty cute instructions for making Lego Christmas ornaments. Then there’s this collection of insanely strange nineteenth century Christmas cards, lest we forget that the Victorians were basically a thin veneer of good manners stretched over a seething pit of weird. Actually, on that subject, the British Library is also dumping more than a million images into the public domain, including everything from toothpaste ads to postcards. Oh, and finally: I’m biased, because I’m in the middle of the book, but Jeff Vandermeer’s Wonderbook also has an accompanying and gorgeous website that goes along with it. It includes a gallery of the sketches and outtakes from the book, which I find weirdly inspiring.


  • Alix E. Harrow

    ALIX E. HARROW, who retired from our blog in 2014, is a part-time historian with a full-time desk job, a lot of opinions, and excessive library fines. Her short fiction has appeared in Shimmer, Strange Horizons, Tor.com, Apex, and other venues. She won a Hugo Award for her fiction in 2019. Alix and her husband live in Kentucky under the cheerful tyranny of their kids and pets. Find her at @AlixEHarrow on Twitter. Some of her favorite authors include Neil Gaiman, Ursula LeGuin, Lois McMaster Bujold, and Susanna Clarke.

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