Breaking news: Harry Harrison, author of such well known books as THE STAINLESS STEEL RAT series, passed away this morning. The writing world has lost one of its greats.

On to the regularly scheduled column.

So, there is lots of sparkly nerdy geektastic goodness for you this week. Let’s do this!

fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviews1. Patrick Rothfuss, Jim Butcher, Emma Bull, and Diana Rowland discuss urban fantasy for an hour. Go watch. Even if you don’t think you like urban fantasy, the discussion among some of the biggest writers in the genre is one that is worth watching.

2. LEGO geekery is running higher than ever. First, there was the new Heroica LEGO games, that let you build dungeons for old school D&D style campaigns and then play them. Now, they have come out with Lord of the Rings LEGO sets. Then, a guy built a 7 1/2 foot long detailed replica of the Firefly (and oh, did my son almost cry when he was told that there wasn’t a set he could buy to build his own.) And finally, instructions to build your own replica of the Mars Rover Curiosity.

3. Joss Whedon has signed on to direct a sequel to his smash hit of the summer, The Avengers, as well as a live action tv series for ABC set in the Avengers universe, but not featuring the Avengers.

4. A video of Kat Richardson reading from her new novel Seawitch that came out last week. fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviews

5. Check out these awesome drawings of fantastical beasts, rendered like Victorian naturalist journals.

6. The 2012 World Fantasy Award nominations have been announced. Do any of you get to vote?

fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviews7. NPR released a list of the top 100 YA novels, and speculative fiction did quite respectably, taking the top spot with Harry Potter, surprise surprise, and over half of the total entries. Considering this was not a list curated by experts but selected through fan votes, some of the entries would probably be disagreed upon by reasonable readers. Though, honestly, I was surprised that Twilight ranked as low as it did in a fan contest. Also, their definition of YA is problematic. Frank Herbert’s Dune and the Betsy-Tacy stories by Maud Hart Lovelace both considered YA? Uh, no.

Not surprisingly, this list has generated a lot of discussion around the internet, from why female authors dominate YA fiction when they are outnumbered in other genres, what your favorite YA series says about you, and what this list says about society, and why that may make you want to do a double facepalm.

8. If you like fantasy themed board games, you’ve probably already played Smallworld. It’s made the leap to iPad, and GeekMom compares the two versions to see which one is better. You’re going to have to read it, I’m not going to spoil the ending for you.

fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviews9. Ebooks Direct is releasing the New Millenium Edition of the Diane Duane classics, So You Want to Be a Wizard. These are updates of the classics (released starting in 1983) to bring them up to date for a new generation. Hear Duane explain what she did and why here. I wonder if we should have Bill read the new versions and see how they compare. She also has a fun podcast interview where she discusses her time writing for “Scooby-Doo, Star Trek, and beating Harry Potter to the punch.”

So, what do you think, fair readers? Is Dune YA fiction? Would you read an updated version of a classic book? What do you think is the best YA fantasy novel? Let me know in the comments, along with any links to cool stuff you saw on the internet this week.


  • Ruth Arnell

    RUTH ARNELL (on FanLit's staff January 2009 — August 2013) earned a Ph.D. in political science and is a college professor in Idaho. From a young age she has maxed out her library card the way some people do credit cards. Ruth started reading fantasy with A Wrinkle in Time and The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe — books that still occupy an honored spot on her bookshelf today. Ruth and her husband have a young son, but their house is actually presided over by a flame-point Siamese who answers, sometimes, to the name of Griffon.

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