fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviewsOn this date in 1877, Milanese engineer Enrico’s Forlanini’s steam-powered helicopter hovered 40 feet in the air, for 20 seconds, from a vertical take-off. (Steam-powered!) On this same day in 1941, Igor Ivor Sikorsky took the first helicopter flight that lasted one hour. His was not steam powered.


It is award season.

Fantasy Literature’s own Rebecca Fisher has won the 2014 Sir Julius Vogel Award for best fan writing in New Zealand. Julius Vogel was a New Zealand prime minster who also published science fiction.The award recognizes excellence in science fiction, fantasy, or horror works created by New Zealanders and New Zealand residents. It is awarded by the Science Fiction and Fantasy Association of New Zealand. Congratulations, Rebecca!

The Arthur C Clarke short list was announced last week. What do  you think?

The British Science Fiction Awards (BSFA) were announced last week. Artist Tess Farmer took home Best Artist for her chilling 3-D depiction of various devices from Iain Banks’s The Wasp Factory. Ann Leckie won for Best Novel with the second book in her IMPERIAL RADCH series, Ancillary Sword.

James Herbert, who died in 2013, was one of Britain’s best-known and best-loved horror or “chiller” writers. In his lifetime he published 23 novels. In April, 2014, Pan McMillian and the Herbert Estate teamed up to create the James Herbert Horror award, dedicated to finding “the best of the new generation of horror writers being published today.” Last week the first winner was announced.

And because we still have months to go before the Hugos, here’s another take on the “slate.” George R.R. Martin provides in-depth analysis of the complaints put forth by the authors of the slate. Spoiler Alert; no writers we care about die during the reading of this column. Larry Corriea, who conceived of the Sad Puppies slate, responded. (Note: The “Sad Puppies” slate was not as restricted or extreme as the slate which was ultimately adopted. A more radical splinter group calling itself “The Rabid Puppies” managed to get most of their choices on the Hugo ballot.)

fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviews

Horsehead Nebula

Books and Publishing:

BBC Radio 4 has begun a series of radio adaptations of the works of Ursula LeGuin, including THE EARTHSEA TRILOGY and Left Hand of Darkness — and a documentary about this influential writer. Den of Geek gives us the details.

Here’s a sneak peak at the third book in Ann Leckie’s IMPERIAL RADCH trilogy.

He may have left us, but his spirit lives on, and so does Terry Pratchett’s work. His final DISCWORLD book, featuring Tiffany Aching, will be published in September of this year.

It’s National Library Week! Started in 1958, this year’s theme is “Unlimited Possibilities @ Your Library.” Like many of you, the weekly trip to the library with my mom was a staple of my childhood. (The library I went to was a Carnegie – it’s now the town museum.) What will you do to celebrate?

Gunter Gross, German Nobel prize winning writer, passed away on April 13. “His novels, short stories, and his poetry reflect the great hopes and fallacies, the fears and desires of whole generations,” said German president Joachim Gauck.

TV and Movies:

It looks like there might be an Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. spinoff (not Agent Carter, though).

Screenwriter and producer Alex Garland talks about his directorial debut, Ex Machina, an artificial intelligence story.

And, finally, trailers for Wayward Pines, the new show by M. Night Shaymalan. What do you guys think?

fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviews

Carina Nebula

Science and Technology:

You can name a feature on Pluto. C’mon, you know that’s what you’ve always wanted! The New Horizons probe will make its closest approach to Pluto on June 14, 2015. NASA opened a contest to allow people to submit names for the dwarf planet’s features (it is a planet again, right?) Because of the response, they have extended the deadline to April 24, 2015. Surely we need to name something after Neil DeGrasse Tyson.

The brontosaurus is back! Well, it was never actually gone, but there has been controversy over the name since shortly after its discovery. The familiar thunder lizard won a flipper-a-flipper duel with Apatosaurus, and a new paper confirms that Brontosaurus is a distinct dinosaur and gets to keep its name. Apparently, dinosaur taxonomy is not for sissies!

Except for Forlinini’s helicopter, the photos today are from the 50 favorites of Zoltan Levy (which sounds like a great title, doesn’t it?). Levy is the team lead of the Image Team at the Space Telescope Science Institute, who bring us those glorious Hubble photos. National Geographic displays Levy’s 50 favorites.


  • Marion Deeds

    Marion Deeds, with us since March, 2011, is the author of the fantasy novella ALUMINUM LEAVES. Her short fiction has appeared in the anthologies BEYOND THE STARS, THE WAND THAT ROCKS THE CRADLE, STRANGE CALIFORNIA, and in Podcastle, The Noyo River Review, Daily Science Fiction and Flash Fiction Online. She’s retired from 35 years in county government, and spends some of her free time volunteering at a second-hand bookstore in her home town.