fantasy and science fiction book reviewsLists and awards

The days of list-abundance might be finally winding to a close. This week, all I’ve got for you are a couple of upcoming-books-in-January lists. First, My Bookish Ways has their SFF and YA list up. Kirkus Reviews also has a list of upcoming releases, including commentary and summaries. I’m especially intrigued by Jo Walton’s collected reviews in What Makes this Book So Great, and Chang-Rae Lee’s On Such a Full Sea. Lastly, Damien Walter in the Guardian has a nice article on the best books of 2013, and the potential for 2014.

The only awards news is this useful list of semiprozines that are eligible for the Hugo (notably, Clarkesworld has now moved into the professional category, and is no longer a semiprozine. Congratulations?). The Libertarian Futurist Society has also announced the finalists for the Prometheus Award Hall of Fame.

Articles and such

The generous interweb was full of excellent articles this week, which calls for the use of bullet points:

  • Author Ann Leckie has an excellent post on writing science fiction the “right” way, and whether or not it’s wise to burn down everything the genre has ever produced (you can’t, and it’s not). As a not-unrelated aside, I’m about halfway through Ancillary Justice and it’s so thoroughly living up to its hype that I’m almost annoyed.
  • Foz Meadows did a guest post on The Book Smugglers about the continued and problematic representations of women in popular culture, and how we could all use more female characters who are diverse, realistic, unbeautiful, and 100% more awesome.
  • James Wharris wonders why the two most famous science fiction novels of the twentieth century—1984 and Brave New Worldweren’t written by actual science fiction authors. My personal suspicion is that it’s more a problem of our obsessive literary categorization, and our failure to willingly call Orwell a sci-fi writer.
  • Chardine Taylor-Stone has a nice Guardian article on Afrofuturism as a collusion of politics, space, and the collective past of the African diaspora.
  • For fun, here’s an argument that Sansa Stark is actually way cooler than everybody thinks. Myself, I think a seemingly-passive political female figure could have been written with a little more depth. Sansa mostly feels to me like she’s being kept in storage, waiting for that one time in the future where she’ll suddenly matter.

Writing and publishing

In the writing and publishing world, we’ve got an article from Leonicka on crowdfunding as a way of publishing your book. On the other side of the equation, here’s a nice little summary of how you can help support your favorite, not-super-famous-yet authors (hint: you buy their books, and read them, and then talk about them). Thanks to Radish Reviews for both of those links, which I heartlessly stole from her. Also, the Jim Baen Memorial Writing contest is open, to stories no more than 8,000 words set in the near-ish future.

For those who just want more books they don’t have time to read, may I refer you to Phoenix Picks. You can subscribe to their newsletter and get a free e-book every month.  Obviously, this will become a problem for me. Oh, and those who just want MOAR REVIEWS always, should check out Worlds Without End’s final book reviewing contest from their Women of Genre Fiction challenge.

fantasy and science fiction book reviewsPretty things

Oh, pretty things, how I love thee. First, here’s a fantastic collection of artistic reimaginings of classic (and non-classic) books, in particular eras of style. I love The Hunger Games one so much. Also, Stainless Steel Droppings has a collection of the best SFF cover art of the year. Sticking with the book cover theme, here’s an arrangement of all the different covers for the international editions of Harry Potter (let’s all be grateful we didn’t have to read the Danish copies, ick). And, in closing, and in honor of his birthday, here’s a lovely arrangement of J.R.R. Tolkein’s art.


  • 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,, 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.

    View all posts