On this date in 1714, residents of the Netherlands city of Alkmaar took to the street in a full-blown riot. What caused their outrage? The city fathers had attempted to levy a tax on beer. Don’t mess with the beer, people.

fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviews

Madonna and Child with the Infant Saint John — @ Palacco Vecchio, various attributions.


Sir Terry Pratchett’s estate announced a $1 million Australian endowment for the University of South Australia. The scholarship will be awarded every two years. It will pay two years’ worth of expenses for the student, and provides $100,000 to that student for an additional year of study at the UniSA or at Trinity College, Dublin, Ireland. (Via Locus)

Nobel Prize:

Takaaki Tajita and Arthur B McDonald share the Nobel Prize in physics for proving, through neutrino oscillation, that neutrinos have mass.

William C. Campbell, Satoshi Omura and Youyou Tu share the  Prize in Medicine for novel therapies against ringworm and malaria.

Tomas Lindahl, Paul Modrich and Aziz Sancar share the Prize in Chemistry for work on mechanistic studies of DNA repair.


Tor is celebrating its 35 years of publishing with an updated logo and a timeline of its history.

Books and Writing:

IO9 has ten weird – no, ultra weird — novels that are required reading in academic programs. This is the science fiction I grew up with, so I’m trying to decide if I’m offended that IO9 thinks they’re ultra-weird. I mean, I can’t argue with Samuel R. Delaney’s Dahlgren. But Dreamsnake, weird? Why?

More IO9. They provided their quarterly roundup of stories, and our own Terry Weyna contributed.

Suzanne Johnson brings us up to date on our urban fantasy and horror for October. There are lots of new titles, and this doesn’t even include the paranormal romance column!

On Terri Windling’s blog Myth and Moor, Windling discusses the roots of various carnivals, with a nice explanation of the origin of the Jack-o’-Lantern. I love the pictures here!

George RR Martin writes about our love affair with Mars, for the Guardian.

The New York Times offers a review of Margaret Atwood’s book The Heart Goes Last. This synopsis sounds a little like one of the stories in Atwood’s short story collection Stone Mattress, but I digress. The shocker here was that Atwood co-wrote a zombie novel. Who knew?

fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviews

Baptism of Christ, Aert De Gelder, 1710

Movies and Television:

There is a lot happening in television and movies as we head into fall and the holiday season.

The British movie adaptation of J.G. Ballard’s novel High Rise will open in Britain in December, 2015. I cannot find a US release date at this time. The film stars Jeremy Irons, Tom Hiddleston and Sienna Miller.IO9 discusses the film’s successes and failures here.

Here’s an inside look at Hiddleston’s current movie (just in time for Halloween) Crimson Peak, and here is a lush and creepy second trailer.

Last week on Fox viewers saw two trailers for the 2016 return of The X Files. The grandmother of conspiracy shows returns for a limited run in January.

BBC Three and Stephen Moffat are joining forces to create a YA limited-run series based on Doctor Who. Set at Coal Hill School (a staple in the Whoverse) the series will follow young people who are trying to protect London from the darkness that’s coming. Or maybe that’s “The Darkness.” I’m having trouble imagining what this will look like. (Via File 770)

Patrick Rothfuss’s epic fantasy series THE KINGKILLER CHRONICLES might become a movie. Any thoughts on casting choices? And what does Ruthfuss have in his beard, in that picture?


NASA has released up-close (relatively) pictures of Charon, Pluto’s moon or co-planet. (“Moon” seems a bit of a diminutive for a body that is half the diameter of Pluto.)

A science team at the International School for Advanced Studies have developed a theoretical way that the Milky Way could become a vast, stable wormhole. The article is quick to reassure us that… “Far from being fodder for science fiction, the two scientists instead proposed their idea as a way to get around the idea of black hole singularities.” Thank goodness! I’d hate for the idea of an idea being fodder for science fiction! Seriously, it’s a good article; lots of idea for science fiction stories in it.

Science and Technology:

Here is a short but interesting interview about forgetting, with the author of a new book on that subject.


A photographer with a quadcopter caught an encounter between two Southern Right whales and a paddleboarder. The whales seemed mostly curious, approaching the boarder before drifting away. I’m assuming the difference in color on the whales is, which look like blue and yellow to me, is light refracting off barnacles, through the water. Does anyone know?

fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviews

Annunciation with St. Emidius — Carlo Crivelli, 1486


We have some active giveaways: the David Walton interview, Thoughtful Thursday and our mega, 10 Book giveaway of Robert Jackson Bennett’s new book, City of Blades.  More information about that will be coming soon!


I chose some Renaissance paintings today. They are from a handful of famous works that UFO-believers say show actual UFOs. Lots of art historians have pointed out that these circular or chariot-like objects were used to represent conveyances for angels. In the top one, over the madonna’s left shoulder, an almond-shaped thing hovers in the sky. Notice the shepherd and his dog pointing to it. I love the Carlo Crivelli (left) because of all the lush detail! I love the peacock, and how the sky with its funnel cloud also kind of looks like the ocean. Crivelli added in the angel Gabriel and the patron saint of the town of Ascoli Piscino, next to the angel.


  • 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.

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