November 5 is a big day in world space history. On this day in 2007, China launches its first lunar satellite, Chang’e 1; also, on this date in 2013, India launches its first interplanetary probe, the Mars Orbiter Mission.

fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviews

Tree of Life by Gustav Klimt

Writing, Editing, and Publishing:

Similar to the Maria Alexander post I shared last week, this week io9 featured 10 tropes involving fantasy weapons that need to die–preferably with a Valyrian-steel blade through the heart.

Check out this dark Soviet animation of Stephen King‘s short story, “Battleground,” in which toys come to life.

Publisher’s Weekly put out their list of 2014’s best SFF and horror; a lot of these are new to me, so I’m glad to have found this. Now I want to read Highfell Grimoires. 

Also from PW, this article exploring SFF’s contribution to diversity in literature, entitled, “How Multicultural is your Multiverse?”

Strange Horizons published this article by Catherine Butler, “Enchanting Places: Readers and Pilgrimage in the Novels of Diana Wynne Jones,” last week. It explores not only the places but also the sense of place in novels by Diana Wynne Jones.

This website,, has a great list of fantasy sub-genres, broken down by their most salient characteristics, readers who might like them, and including lists of recommended books for readers interested in Celtic Fantasy, New Weird, Mythic Fantasy, Low Fantasy, and many others. For super-nerds who like categories (read: me), this is really fun. And I’m on board with all of their “Worst Fantasy Books” picks.

Movies and Television:

The Annihilation movie, based on Jeff VanderMeer‘s recent trilogy, has signed a director: Alex Garland, director of Ex Machina.

In anticipation of the upcoming all-female Ghostbusters reboot, a group of middle-schoolers has recreated the trailer for the original Ghostbusters, shot-for-shot, with one pre-teen girl attempting to mimic Bill Murray’s voice.

This article, for Cinema Blend, is by Cornelius Fortune, which is a hell of a name. It re-caps 7 sci-fi shows that were cancelled too soon. Top of the list? You guessed it . . . Firefly.

fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviews

Life and Death, by Gustav Klimt

Internet Stuff:

Webcomic Emily Carroll blew me away a few years ago when I found “His Face All Red,” a horror comic which uses fairy tale tropes to scare. She’s done it again, with “When the Darkness Presses.” Don’t just stop there, though–spend an hour or two on her website and devour everything, and then buy her book, Through the Woods.

Big ice cubes are all the rage now among drink enthusiasts. Well, now you can have your Star Wars reference and drink it, too. Kat found these amazing Death Star ice cubes; look at the detail! It looks so much less menacing when paired with a good scotch.

And, just for fun, an article about cat psychology: Why Your Cat Thinks You’re a Huge, Unpredictable Idiot.

Artist Feature: 

Today I’m featuring a couple of works by Gustav Klimt, an Austrian painter whose art abounds with erotic imagery, patterns, and bright color, especially gold leaf. His work is also highly symbolic, functioning at times as a visual allegory. I have chosen two of those here: the Tree of Life, and Life and Death. The Tree of Life is actually the center panel of a mural; Klimt drew on artistic traditions from several world cultures for this image, but it reminds me strongly of Yggdrasil, the world tree in Norse literature. The second image, Life and Death, shows a profusion of entangled bodies of different ages, races, and genders, all tumbled together in a blanket of bright patterns, while Death, covered in crosses, leers at the left side of the image.


  • 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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