The Hell of It February 25, 2015 The Hell of It Peter Orullian What will he wager? Schrödinger’s Gun February 18, 2015 Schrödinger’s Gun Ray Wood Maybe in some other timeline it would have gone smooth. Acrobatic Duality February 11, 2015 Acrobatic Duality Tamara Vardomskaya The two of her are perfectly synchronized. The Language of Knives February 4, 2015 The Language of Knives Haralambi Markov They share the rites of death, and grief.
From The Blog
February 26, 2015
Introducing the Star Trek The Original Series Rewatch
Keith DeCandido
February 23, 2015
Oh No, She Didn’t: The Strong Female Character, Deconstructed
Ilana C. Myer
February 20, 2015
Evil Eighties: The Paperback Horrors of Lisa Tuttle
Grady Hendrix
February 19, 2015
The Pinocchio Factor
Jen Williams
February 17, 2015
The Mummy was the Indiana Jones Successor that We Deserved
Emily Asher-Perrin
Feb 23 2015 5:00pm

Is This a “Lost” Sherlock Holmes Story by Arthur Conan Doyle?

lost Sherlock Holmes story Arthur Conan Doyle Book o the Brig Walter Elliot

Scottish historian Walter Elliot recently discovered a “lost” Sherlock Holmes story sitting in his attic that may or may not have been written by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. “Sherlock Holmes: Discovering the Border Burghs, and by deduction, the Brig Bazaar” is part of The Book o’ the Brig, a collection of shorts intended to raise money to repair a bridge in the Scottish village of Selkirk in the early 1900s.

[Read more]

Feb 23 2015 4:35pm

The Horror Writers Association Has Announced the Ballot for the 2014 Bram Stoker Awards!

The Horror Writers Association, the premier organization of writers and publishers of horror and dark fantasy, today announced the 2014 nominees for the iconic Bram Stoker Award®. Named in honor of the author of the seminal horror novel Dracula, the Bram Stoker Awards® are presented annually for superior writing in eleven categories including traditional fiction of various lengths, poetry, screenplays and non-fiction. Previous winners include Stephen King, J.K. Rowling, George R. R. Martin, Joyce Carol Oates and Neil Gaiman.

The HWA also presents a Lifetime Achievement Award to living individuals who have made a substantial and enduring contribution to the genre. This year’s Lifetime Achievement recipients are Jack Ketchum and Tanith Lee.

[Click through for the full ballot!]

Feb 23 2015 4:00pm

Fiction Affliction: March Releases in Fantasy

new releases Fantasy March 2015Nineteen new fantasies make epic journeys to bookshelves in March, although most stop off in the Young Adult department. Look for series additions from, among others, Lili St. Crow (Tales of Beauty and Madness), L.E. Modesitt Jr. (Imager Portfolio), Claudia Gray (Spellcaster), Gillian Philip (Rebel Angels), Peter V. Brett (Demon Cycle), and Marie Brennan (A Natural History of Dragons).

Fiction Affliction details releases in science fiction, fantasy, urban fantasy, paranormal romance, and “genre-benders.” Keep track of them all here. Note: All title summaries are taken and/or summarized from copy provided by the publisher.

[Read about this month’s releases.]

Feb 23 2015 3:00pm

Bad Blood: The Death House by Sarah Pinborough

The Death House

A slim, sorrowful volume that splits the difference between The Fault in Our Stars and The Girl with All the Gifts, The Death House documents the last days of several students in a school full of Defectives: young people who have been taken from their parents and installed in an isolated location because of something bad in their blood. Something that’ll kill them all before long.

It’s school but not school. Like this whole place is life but not life. At least the teachers, who disappear off to their own wing once lessons are done, will get out of here. Sometimes I’ll catch one watching us as we work as if we’re animals in a zoo. I can never decide quite what the look is. Fascination or fear, or maybe a bit of both.

Maybe a bit of both is appropriate...

[Read More]

Feb 23 2015 2:00pm

Voyage of the Basilisk (Excerpt)

Marie Brennan

Marie Brennan Voyage of the Basilisk Lady Trent Devoted readers of Lady Trent’s earlier memoirs, A Natural History of Dragons and The Tropic of Serpents, may believe themselves already acquainted with the particulars of her historic voyage aboard the Royal Survey Ship Basilisk, but the true story of that illuminating, harrowing, and scandalous journey has never been revealed—until now.

Six years after her perilous exploits in Eriga, Isabella embarks on her most ambitious expedition yet: a two-year trip around the world to study all manner of dragons in every place they might be found. From feathered serpents sunning themselves in the ruins of a fallen civilization to the mighty sea serpents of the tropics, these creatures are a source of both endless fascination and frequent peril. Accompanying her is not only her young son, Jake, but a chivalrous foreign archaeologist whose interests converge with Isabella’s in ways both professional and personal.

Science is, of course, the primary objective of the voyage, but Isabella’s life is rarely so simple. She must cope with storms, shipwrecks, intrigue, and warfare, even as she makes a discovery that offers a revolutionary new insight into the ancient history of dragons.

The thrilling adventure of Lady Trent continues in Marie Brennan’s Voyage of the Basilisk, available March 31st from Tor Books!

[Read an Excerpt]

Feb 23 2015 1:30pm

Afternoon Roundup: LEGOs Explain How Boba Fett Escaped the Sarlacc

LEGO Sarlacc diorama Boba Fett escape theory Daniel Stoeffler

You may think you’ve got the best theory for how Boba Fett escaped the sarlacc, but AFOL (Adult Fan of LEGO) Daniel Stoeffler has created the evidence to back up his harebrained idea. This incredibly detailed LEGO diorama explains how the Jawas use the Pit of Carkoon as a distillery, until one day a mysterious armored figure polluted their stores. You can read Stoeffler’s full theory and check out more photos on his Flickr page. (Hat-tip to Nerd Approved!)

Afternoon Roundup brings you Wolverine’s true inspiration to live, the secrets behind Pawnee’s futuristic tech, and the awesomest Oscars musical number.

[Read more]

Feb 23 2015 1:10pm

Check Out the Cover for the Song of Ice and Fire 2016 Calendar!

A Song of Ice and Fire 2016 calendar cover revealed Magali Villeneuve

Random House has released the cover for the 2016 Song of Ice and Fire calendar! Magali Villeneuve—whose illustrations also appeared in The World of Ice & Fire—depicts the White Walkers in fearsome detail.

[Read more]

Feb 23 2015 1:00pm

Rereading the Empire Trilogy: Servant of the Empire, Part 23

Servant of the Empire Raymond E Feist Janny WurtsWelcome back to the reread of Servant of the Empire by Raymond E Feist and Janny Wurts! Kevin fans, have tissue boxes at the ready, this one’s going to be a tearjerker.

Chapter 25: Confrontation

I swear, if I get a chapter title which is ‘Conflict’ I’m just going to go home. Why name chapters at all if you’re going to be super vague?

Someday I will write a book in which every chapter heading is either ‘Conflict,’ ‘Resolution,’ or ‘Ends on a Cliffhanger.’

[No, I really won’t]

Feb 23 2015 12:30pm

Mazel Tov! Jurassic London Celebrates Two New Anthologies

Jews Versus Aliens Zombies

The Chosen People are set to square off against two terrible, not to mention unexpected enemies in a pair of anthologies intended to “irreverently explore the links between speculative fiction and Judaism” showcasing a selection of stories that “run the gamut from the light-hearted to the profound, in turns surreal and enchanting.” Edited by World Fantasy Award winning author Lavie Tidhar and Rebecca Levene of Smiler’s Fair fame, Jews Versus Zombies and Jews Versus Aliens are to be released as ebook originals on March 19, with a limited physical edition to follow in the future.

As Theodor Herzl said, “If you will it, it is no dream!” No doubt he was speaking of just such a project.

Feb 23 2015 11:30am

Cover Reveal for Brandon Sanderson’s Shadows of Self

Shadows of Self cover reveal Brandon Sanderson Mistborn

We’re thrilled to show off Chris McGrath’s cover for Brandon Sanderson’s latest Mistborn book, Shadows of Self. A few months ago, we announced that Sanderson will be publishing two Mistborn books in quick succession: Shadows of Self this fall, and Bands of Mourning, to be released early next year.

[Full cover image below!]

Feb 23 2015 11:00am

The Last Herald Mage: All Vanyel, All The Time

Mercedes Lackey Magic's PawnThis week we’re looking at the opening chapters of Magic’s Pawn. This takes us hundreds of years backwards from Talia’s time to examine the life of Vanyel Ashkevron, the Last Herald-Mage, the guy whose great personal sacrifice saved Valdemar from northern invaders, and whose ghost continues to guard Valdemar’s northern border, which is located where he put it.

Vanyel is so vitally important to Valdemar’s history that his story IS the world-building. The first book in the Last Herald Mage trilogy only mentions plumbing arrangements ONCE. There’s also no mention of road surfaces or tax policies.

[This book is all action, and minimal plumbing.]

Feb 23 2015 10:00am

Oh No, She Didn’t: The Strong Female Character, Deconstructed


They should kick ass but have other talents; they shouldn’t necessarily kick ass because that’s been done to death; they should have agency; they should move the plot forward; they should be assertive but not obnoxious; they should hold positions of power; they shouldn’t be raped or die to give the hero incentive for his quest.

There’s been a lot of talk lately in the science fiction and fantasy community about “strong” female characters, with various authors weighing in about how to write them, what they are, and why the term is flawed in the first place. There are discussions of deadly tropes and how to avoid them. This is all fine, and I agree with the points made for the most part; the last thing we need is a rehash of eyerollingly blatant male fantasies. But with all the focus on writing techniques on the one hand, and political imperatives on the other, I wonder if we’re not losing sight of the big picture.

[Read More]

Feb 23 2015 9:00am

Five Books About Nonsense and Disorientation

Alice's Adventures in Wonderland John Tenniel

In this ongoing series, we ask SF/F authors to recommend five books based around a common theme. These lists aren’t intended to be exhaustive, so we hope you’ll discuss and add your own suggestions in the comments!

When Noam Chomsky challenged himself to write a sentence that was grammatically correct but made no sense at all, he came up with “Colorless green ideas sleep furiously.” Chomsky overlooked the human drive to make sense out of everything, even nonsense. There is poetry in his sentence, and, after a vertiginous moment of disorientation, we move rapidly from crisis to the discovery of meaning, with truths often more profound than what we find in sentences that make complete sense. There is magic in non-sense, for words turn into wands and begin to build new worlds—Wonderland, Neverland, Oz, and Narnia. Presto! We are in the realm of counterfactuals that enable us to imagine “What if?”

[Read More]

Feb 23 2015 8:00am

Morning Roundup: Groot is Live at Budokan!

Groot at Budokan

James Gunn recently shared this shot of Groot with all of his fans! Rock star and comic book writer Gerard Way played the stadium last week, and his fantastic drum tech took the opportunity to give our favorite sentient tree a solo.

Morning Roundup gives us an Ultron origin story, Duncan Jones talks about his World of Warcraft movie, and acclaimed novelist Kazup Ishiguro takes a walk on the genre side!

[Plus, what we talk about when we talk about Big Bird.]

Feb 22 2015 8:00am

Dear Joanna Russ: A Letter for an Inimitable Writer

Joanna Russ birthdayWhile researching for We Wuz Pushed: On Joanna Russ and Radical Truth-Telling, I developed a passionate engagement with Russ’s astounding, provocative body of work—and I had intended, at the time, to write her a letter upon completion of the project to thank her for her contributions to feminism, science fiction, and queer scholarship. Unfortunately, on April 29th 2011, Joanna Russ passed away; I had not written or sent that letter.

So, I go back to that initial desire now, to celebrate Russ’s birthday and the imprint her writings left on me, the SF genre, and the wider community of scholars and critics in which she participated.

[Read More]

Feb 21 2015 10:30am

The Turnip Princess Sweepstakes!

In the 1850s, Franz Xaver von Schönwerth traversed the forests, lowlands, and mountains of northern Bavaria to record fairy tales, gaining the admiration of even the Brothers Grimm. Most of Schönwerth's work was lost—until a few years ago, when thirty boxes of manu­scripts were uncovered in a German municipal archive. Now, for the first time, Schönwerth's lost fairy tales are available in English with The Turnip Princess and Other Newly Discovered Fairy Tales, out next Tuesday from Penguin Classics.

Violent, dark, and full of action, and upending the relationship between damsels in distress and their dragon-slaying heroes, these more than seventy stories bring us closer than ever to the unadorned oral tradition in which fairy tales are rooted, revolutionizing our understanding of a hallowed genre.

We have three copies, so comment in the post to enter!

NO PURCHASE NECESSARY TO ENTER OR WIN. A purchase does not improve your chances of winning. Sweepstakes open to legal residents of 50 United States and D.C., and Canada (excluding Quebec). To enter, comment on this post beginning at 10:30 AM Eastern Time (ET) on February 21. Sweepstakes ends at 12:00 PM ET on February 25. Void outside the United States and Canada and where prohibited by law. Please see full details and official rules here. Sponsor:, 175 Fifth Ave., New York, NY 10010.

Feb 20 2015 4:00pm

Rainbow Rowell Says Carry On Isn’t Fanfiction, It’s Canon

Rainbow Rowell Carry On interview Simon Snow Baz fanfiction fantasyCan Rainbow Rowell’s next book Carry On be described as fanfiction if she’s writing about the magical adventures of her fictional characters’ favorite fictional characters? (She did create the mage-in-training roommates Simon Snow and Tyrannus Basilton “Baz” Pitch for her novel Fangirl, but as the stars of various fanfics.) And while she created a fantasy world detailed enough for her protagonist to write fanfic in, how does she make that fantasy world stand on its own?

Rowell answered these and other tricky questions in a new interview with Time, in which she discussed which fantasy tropes she embraced or discarded while writing Carry On, and why we should all thank the Harry Potter generation.

[Read more]

Feb 20 2015 3:00pm

The Yellow Wood Wields an Intimate and Disturbing Wizardry

review Melanie Tem Yellow Wood Sandi Kove left home as a young woman and has all but cut ties with her family of origin. She has a husband, two beautiful adopted teenagers, and a stable job writing marketing reports for a company that seems to appreciate her. When she hears from her sister that their elderly father is all but begging she return for a visit—and that he might not live much longer– she breaks a decades-long father-daughter silence and returns to a peculiar patch of scrub forest, a yellow wood where all of her other siblings have settled down within walking distance of Dad’s cabin.

It is clear that Sandi’s departure, years earlier, was an escape from something. Though she refers to her father as a wizard, it is clear that even she is not certain what she means, or exactly what it was that she was getting away from. Certainly Alexander Kove was a domineering parent, and as the two of them take the first tentative steps into their reunion we see that he is stubborn, racist, emotionally withholding, and afraid to show any of his considerable vulnerabilities.

[A review.]

Feb 20 2015 2:00pm

Icefall (Excerpt)

Gillian Philip

Gillian Philip Icefall Death stalks Seth MacGregor’s clan in their otherworld exile. Kate NicNiven is close to ultimate victory, and she is determined that nothing will keep her from it. Not even the thing that took her soul: the horror that lurks in the sea caves.

But Kate still needs Seth’s son Rory, and his power over the Veil. And she’ll go to any lengths to get him. Seth’s own soul is rotting from the wound inflicted by Kate, and survival for his loved ones seems all he can hope for. But might a mortal threat to his brother’s daughter force him to return to his own world to challenge Kate? And will Rory go with him? Because Rory suspects there’s a darkness trapped in the Veil, a darkness that wants to get out. But only one Sithe knows how near it is to getting its way: Seth’s bound lover, the witch Finn. Nobody gets forever. But some are willing to try...

From critically acclaimed author Gillian Philip, Icefall is the final installment in the Rebel Angels series—available March 24th from Tor Books!

[Read an Excerpt]

Feb 20 2015 1:30pm

Afternoon Roundup: Won an Oscar, Kinda Makes It Better

geek Oscars Batman song The Lego Movie

With Dr. Horrible Neil Patrick Harris hosting the Academy Awards this weekend, Nerd Approved wanted to make sure that 2014’s geekier works got their chance to bring home an Oscar statuette. (And hey, Batman can actually thank his parents in his acceptance speech for best song.) Because Emily Blunt’s arms in Edge of Tomorrow and Baymax in Big Hero 6 both deserve to be recognized for best supporting roles.

Afternoon Roundup brings you a Powerpuff Girls reboot, Stephen Hawking’s space photos, and a Harry Potter fan documentary!

[Read more]