On this day in 671 C.E., Emperor Tenji of Japan introduced a water clock called Rokoku. The instrument measured time and indicated hours and was placed in the capital of Ōtsu.

fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviews


Writing, Editing, and Publishing:


Jeff VanderMeer won the Nebula Award for the best novel on Saturday. Here you can read the text of his acceptance speech, which calls for more diverse voices in SF/F.

The other Nebula winners were: Yesterday’s Kin, by Nancy Kress (novella); “A Guide to the Fruits of Hawaii,” by Alaya Dawn Johnson (novelette); and “Jackalope Wives,” by Ursula Vernon (short story.) Congratulations to all the winners!

The finalists for the Wellman Awards, which recognize “outstanding achievement in science fiction and fantasy novels written by North Carolina authors,” have been announced; I was pleased to see Hamlet, Prince of Denmark by A.J. Hartley and David Hewson on the list!

And the date and location for the next World Fantasy Convention has been announced: October 27-30 in Columbus, OH.

Patrick Rothfuss did a pretty excellent (is anything he does less than “pretty excellent”?) Ask Me Anything on Reddit this past weekend. In it, he a) talks to himself, b) gives advice for “the bedroom,” c) gives advice for parenting, d) is cagey about writing decisions he’s made, and e) talks about the science behind the magic in his KINGKILLER CHRONICLES. Also, this bit of gold: “The more says you make, the more your say doering embiggens.”

The publisher Baen just opened up voting for its “Year’s Best Military and Adventure Science Fiction Story” contest, the winner of which will be announced at Dragon*Con this coming August.

And finally, do you like reading? Do you like people? Those two things might be connected. Several scientists studied readers of fiction specifically and found that these readers are more likely to show empathy.


fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviews

Ice-Age Mammals

Film and Television:

Um, in the most exciting news this week, Naomi Novik‘s recent release Uprooted has been optioned for film by Warner Brothers, with Ellen DeGeneres producing. This just happened so there is no news about casting or dates or anything else, but still … so excited. And Richard Armitage for the Dragon, please.

More great book-to-movie news, in case we haven’t reported this before: both Jeff VanderMeer‘s SOUTHERN REACH trilogy and his novel Borne have been optioned for film, with Natalie Portman as  a rumored cast member for Annihilation, which is being written and directed by Alex Garland, director of Ex Machina (which was incredible, by the way).

Fox has ordered some episodes for a show based on Lucifer, the DC Comics/Neil Gaiman character, and this news has some people upset.

There’s an American Hogwarts! Where is it? I vote New Orleans.

Finally, this is your final announcement: Jurassic World hits theaters on Friday. I’ll be chanting “It might be bad; it might be bad” under my breath until then, just to prepare my 12-year-old self for the very real possibility that all my dreams will be shattered … that the film will, in fact, be bad. (Here’s one very convincing argument for why it will certainly not live up to the first.)

fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviews

Velociraptor kills Protoceratops

Internet Stuff:

Disney’s Ariel, re-imagined as a sea-creature in various sea environments, gets progressively more terrifying.

The DARPA Robotics Challenge, where “technology begets technology.” Matt Novak tells us what it’s like.

Have you heard about Elon Musk’s transportation device, the Hyperloop? Read more about it here.

And Imperator Furiosa from Mad Max stars in several commercials for women’s products for Funny or Die.

Featured Art:

I mean, really, what did you expect from me? (Sidenote: it was surprisingly difficult to find an image of a saber-toothed tiger that didn’t have a sexy lady in it.)



  • Kate Lechler

    KATE LECHLER, on our staff from May 2014 to January 2017, resides in Oxford, MS, where she divides her time between teaching early British literature at the University of Mississippi, writing fiction, and throwing the tennis ball for her insatiable terrier, Sam. She loves speculative fiction because of what it tells us about our past, present, and future. She particularly enjoys re-imagined fairy tales and myths, fabulism, magical realism, urban fantasy, and the New Weird. Just as in real life, she has no time for melodramatic protagonists with no sense of humor. The movie she quotes most often is Jurassic Park, and the TV show she obsessively re-watches (much to the chagrin of her husband) is Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

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