Seven Commentaries on an Imperfect Land August 20, 2014 Seven Commentaries on an Imperfect Land Ruthanna Emrys Stories of Tikanu. Hero of the Five Points August 19, 2014 Hero of the Five Points Alan Gratz A League of Seven story. La Signora August 13, 2014 La Signora Bruce McAllister If love is not enough, then maybe death... Sleeper August 12, 2014 Sleeper Jo Walton It is best to embrace subjectivity.
From The Blog
August 22, 2014
Mercy Thompson Series Sweepstakes!
August 15, 2014
“Perhaps It Was Only an Echo”: The Giver
Natalie Zutter
August 15, 2014
We’re Holding Out for a (New) Hero: How Heroes and Villains are Evolving
Leah Schnelbach
August 14, 2014
Doctor Who: “Deep Breath” (Non-spoiler Review)
Chris Lough
August 13, 2014
Eight Essential Science Fiction Detective Mash-Ups
David Cranmer
Aug 22 2014 5:00pm

Among Myths: Scale-Brite by Benjanun Sriduangkaew

Scale-Bright by Benjanun Sriduangkaew review

World Fantasy Award winner Lavie Tidhar has it that Benjanun Sriduangkaew may be “the most exciting new voice in speculative fiction today,” and on the basis of Scale-Bright, he might be right. A love story set in heaven and Hong Kong arranged around a troubled young woman’s belated coming of age, it’s the longest and most involved tale Sriduangkaew has told to date, and considered alongside The Sun-Moon Cycle, it represents an achievement without equal.

“An orphan who spent seven years hating equally the parents that died and the extended family that did not,” Julienne, when we join her, lives what you might describe as a quiet life with her adoptive aunts, Hau Ngai and Seung Ngo. The fact that they’re myths in mortal form complicates things a little, admittedly.

[Read More]

Aug 22 2014 4:00pm

Closure, Questions Answered, and New Questions Raised: Ian C Esslemont’s Assail

Ian C Esslemont Assail Once upon a time, one could speak of the “upcoming conclusion” to the tales of the Malazan Empire, the multi-volume shared world series by Steven Erikson and Ian C. Esslemont. But with Erikson currently writing the second book in his prequel trilogy, and both he and Esslemont contracted for more books set in this world, it’s best nowadays to perhaps muse on “resting points” rather than “conclusions.”

And so it is with Esslemont’s sixth book, Assail, billed as bringing to “a thrilling close” the “epic story of the Malazan Empire,” but which also, even as it ties up some loose plot threads, raises entirely new questions. And that’s fine; even with my admittedly mixed response to Assail, I’d be happy to spend lots more time in the Malazan universe.

[A review.]

Aug 22 2014 3:30pm

The Pop Quiz at the End of the Universe: Patrick Swenson

Patrick Swenson Pop Quiz interviewWelcome back to The Pop Quiz at the End of the Universe, a recurring series here on featuring some of our favorite science fiction and fantasy authors, artists, and others!

Today we're joined by writer, publisher, editor, and teacher Patrick Swenson. Patrick has sold stories to the anthology Like Water for Quarks, and magazines such as Marion Zimmer Bradley’s Fantasy Magazine, Figment, and others.

Amazon buy link Ultra Thin Man

Patrick's debut novel, The Ultra Thin Man, is available now from Tor Books. A blend of Golden Age SF and pulp, The Ultra Thin Man is about two detectives standing in the way of an interstellar terrorist organization intent on manipulating, infiltrating and threatening the galaxy. Read an excerpt here on

Read on to find out Patrick's delicious secret to getting some writing done!

[Read More]

Aug 22 2014 3:00pm

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Rewatch: “Favor the Bold”

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Rewatch on Favor the Bold“Favor the Bold”
Written by Ira Steven Behr & Hans Beimler
Directed by Winrich Kolbe
Season 6, Episode 5
Production number 40510-529
Original air date: October 27, 1997
Stardate: unknown

Station log: The Defiant is adrift and venting plasma, with shields at 30% and no weapons. Two Jem’Hadar ships fire on them—and then the Rotarran decloaks and destroys one ship while the Defiant powers up shields and weapons and destroys the other. The decoy worked.

They’re both then recalled to Starbase 375, yet another retreat after an engagement. Dax rants at Sisko about how this constant retreating is killing morale, and they need a big victory. Sisko then announces to Dax that he’s planning one: he’s presenting a plan to Admirals Ross, Sitak, and Coburn to retake Deep Space 9. Ross is on Sisko’s side, but Sitak and Coburn are skeptical. Sitak is concerned about the resistance they’ll face, and Coburn is worried that they’re leaving Earth vulnerable. But Sisko points out that control of the wormhole is too important. The Dominion will defend that territory at all costs.

[Weak eyes, good ears.]

Aug 22 2014 2:30pm

Mercy Thompson Series Sweepstakes!

To celebrate the release of Shifting Shadows, a collection of short stories by Patricia Briggs set in the world of Mercy Thompson, we want to send one lucky winner the complete Mercy Thompson series in paperback. You can catch up on all of Mercy’s shapeshifting adventures before Shifting Shadows arrives from Ace on September 2nd!

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 2:30 PM Eastern Time (ET) on August 22. Sweepstakes ends at 12:00 PM ET on August 26. 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.

Aug 22 2014 2:00pm

The Scandalous Sisterhood of Prickwillow Place (Excerpt)

Julie Berry

The Scandalous Sisterhood of Prickwillow Place Julie Berry excerpt The students of St. Etheldreda’s School for Girls face a bothersome dilemma. Their irascible headmistress, Mrs. Plackett, and her surly brother, Mr. Godding, have been most inconveniently poisoned at Sunday dinner. Now the school will almost certainly be closed and the girls sent home—unless these seven very proper young ladies can hide the murders and convince their neighbors that nothing is wrong.

Julie Berry’s The Scandalous Sisterhood of Prickwillow Place is a smart, hilarious Victorian romp, full of outrageous plot twists, mistaken identities, and mysterious happenings. Read an excerpt below, and get your copy September 23rd from Roaring Brook Press!

[Read an excerpt]

Aug 22 2014 1:50pm

Let’s Watch Benedict Cumberbatch Get Surprised in the Shower

We’ve seen some fantastic Ice Bucket Challenges. Chris Pratt, with his Ice Vodka/Smirnoff Ice twist, Tom Hiddleston, who was doused in a white T-shirt because he knows what we want, and Brandon Sanderson, who proved unflappable. But then The Man Who Would Be All Khans shows up and out-Ice Buckets them all! First, we have to commend Benedict Cumberbatch on including a simple way for people to donate to ALSA, and foregrounding the purpose of the charity rather than the wackiness. But when he decides it’s time for wackiness, he goes all the way. He was not challenged only once, you there are many, many buckets of ice.

There’s also, um, a shower scene. Check out his video below!

[It didn’t get deleted this time!]

Aug 22 2014 1:30pm

Johnny Depp and Kevin Smith’s Daughters to Fight Evil with Yoga and Apathy in New Movie

Kevin Smith Harley Quinn Smith Johnny Depp Lily-Rose Depp Tusk Yoga Hosers Canada yoga evil

Kevin Smith and Johnny Depp are bringing their daughters to work... or is it that they’re providing support for their offspring in their burgeoning film careers? According to The Hollywood Reporter, Smith’s new movie Yoga Hosers will star his and Depp’s daughters as yoga-obsessed Canadian convenience store clerks, who have to harness their flexibility and inner light to battle ancient evils.

[The light in me is gonna dumpster the light in you’s face]

Aug 22 2014 1:00pm

Rereading Joe Abercrombie’s First Law Trilogy, Before They Are Hanged: “Heading North” and “Scant Mercy”

Joe Abercrombie First Law trilogy reread Before They Are Hanged So, where was I last week when I should have been posting a reread? I was in London, attending Loncon3 and the Hugo Awards. I was nominated for Best Related Work for a book I edited titled, Speculative Fiction 2012: The Year’s Best Online Reviews, Essays, and Commentary. I didn’t win. Please leave a mocking comments below.

While that part of the trip was a failure, the rest of it was a grand success. I had the opportunity to meet a ton of people and renew some friendships. Most relevant to this particular post, I got to hang out with Joe Abercrombie. Since this is the internet, pics or it didn’t happen, right? Well…

[Photo evidence abounds...]

Aug 22 2014 12:45pm

Joseph Gordon-Levitt Confirms That Sandman Movie Is Still Happening: “We’re Working on a Script”

Sandman movie Joseph Gordon-Levitt update script Neil Gaiman

Joseph Gordon-Levitt has been pretty quiet on the Sandman front since he announced in December 2013 that he’d be working on an adaptation of Neil Gaiman and Dave McKean’s iconic series. But thanks to some recent prodding from Moviefone, JGL relented and threw us a few scraps. Mostly about the help and insight he’s gotten from Robert Rodriguez and the guys behind Christopher Nolan’s Batman films.

[Read more]

Aug 22 2014 12:30pm

Ray Bradbury: The Best Writing Teacher You Could Ever Have

Ray Bradbury David A JohnsonToday would have been Ray Bradbury’s 94th birthday, and there are many, many stories you can tell about Bradbury’s life and career: Fahrenheit 451 was written in nine days, and cost the young author $9.80 in typewriter rental fees; Truman Capote got “The Homecoming ” published in Mademoiselle after it was rejected by Weird Tales; it took several years of working with editors at Knopf to find his voice; Ray Harryhausen was the best man at his wedding, and the two were lifelong friends.

All of these make for a colorful life, but I really want to talk about Ray Bradbury: the best writing teacher you could ever have.

[Read More]

Aug 22 2014 12:30pm

Your Face in Mine Sweepstakes!

We want to send you one of our three copies of Jess Row’s Your Face in Mine, out now from Riverhead!

One afternoon, not long after Kelly Thorndike has moved back to his hometown of Baltimore, an African American man he doesn’t recognize calls out to him. To Kelly’s shock, the man identifies himself as Martin, who was one of Kelly’s closest friends in high school—and, before his disappearance nearly twenty years before, skinny, white, and Jewish. Martin then tells an astonishing story: After years of immersing himself in black culture, he’s had a plastic surgeon perform “racial reassignment surgery”—altering his hair, skin, and physiognomy to allow him to pass as African American. Unknown to his family or childhood friends, Martin has been living a new life ever since.

Now, however, Martin feels he can no longer keep his new identity a secret; he wants Kelly to help him ignite a controversy that will help sell racial reassignment surgery to the world. Kelly, still recovering from the death of his wife and child and looking for a way to begin anew, agrees, and things quickly begin to spiral out of control.

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 12:30 PM Eastern Time (ET) on August 22. Sweepstakes ends at 12:00 PM ET on August 26. 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.

Aug 22 2014 12:00pm

Malazan Reread of the Fallen: The Crippled God, Chapter Thirteen

Welcome to the Malazan Reread of the Fallen! Every post will start off with a summary of events, followed by reaction and commentary by your hosts Bill and Amanda (with Amanda, new to the series, going first), and finally comments from readers. In this article, we’ll cover chapter thirteen of The Crippled God.

A fair warning before we get started: We’ll be discussing both novel and whole-series themes, narrative arcs that run across the entire series, and foreshadowing. Note: The summary of events will be free of major spoilers and we’re going to try keeping the reader comments the same. A spoiler thread has been set up for outright Malazan spoiler discussion.

[Read More]

Aug 22 2014 11:30am

Gaming Roundup: Gamescom 2014 Edition

The Vanishing of Ethan Carter Gaming Roundup

Gamescom—Europe’s largest annual gaming convention and the second largest in the world—came and went last week in Cologne, Germany, and left in its wake a plethora of previews and trailers for excited gamers to sift through. Most of the industry’s major players were present, and the focus was very much on the continued development and maturation of next-gen consoles in the marketplace—a circumstance balancing the most viewed and approachable games of next year.

[So many games, so little space...]

Aug 22 2014 11:00am

Summer of Sleaze: The Unsung Horrors of Ken Greenhall

Hell Hound Ken Greenhall Summer of Sleaze is 2014’s turbo-charged trash safari where Will Errickson of Too Much Horror Fiction and Grady Hendrix of The Great Stephen King Reread plunge into the bowels of vintage paperback horror fiction, unearthing treasures and trauma in equal measure.

A confession: although I come here to sing the praises of little-known horror writer Ken Greenhall, I myself know nearly nothing about him! He was born in Detroit in 1928 and in the 1970s and ’80s wrote a handful of paperback horror novels under his own name and the pseudonym Jessica Hamilton (I was able to learn that was his mother’s birth name). No interviews or photos are online, and only the scantest biographical info is available.

Shame, because would I love to know more about the guy who penned two obscure yet virtual masterpieces of vintage horror fiction: Elizabeth, written under the Hamilton pseudonym, published in 1976, and Hell Hound, by his own name, from 1977.

[Read More]

Aug 22 2014 10:30am

Read the First Five Chapters of John Scalzi’s Lock In

Lock In John ScalziRead the first five chapters from Lock In, John Scalzi’s new novel, out on August 26 from Tor Books!

Not too long from today, a new, highly contagious virus makes its way across the globe. Most who get sick experience nothing worse than flu, fever, and headaches. But for the unlucky one percent—nearly five million souls in the United States alone—the disease causes “lock in”: Victims are fully awake and aware, but unable to move or respond to any stimulus. The disease affects young, old, rich, poor, people of every color and creed. The world changes to meet the challenge.  

A quarter of a century later, in a world shaped by what’s now known as “Haden’s syndrome,” rookie FBI agent Chris Shane is paired with veteran agent Leslie Vann. They are assigned what appears to be a Haden-related murder at the Watergate Hotel, with a suspect who is an “Integrator”—someone who can let the locked in borrow their bodies for a time. If the Integrator was carrying a Haden client, then naming the suspect for the murder will be that much more complicated.

But “complicated” doesn’t begin to describe the puzzle that ensues. As Shane and Vann begin to unravel the threads of the murder, it becomes clear that the real mystery—and the real crime—is bigger than anyone could have imagined. The world of the locked in is changing, and with change comes opportunity that the ambitious will seize at any cost. The investigation takes Shane and Vann from the halls of corporate power to the virtual spaces of the locked in, and to the very heart of an emerging, surprising new human culture.  

[Read the first five chapters of Lock In by John Scalzi]

Aug 22 2014 10:00am

What Happened, If It Happened: J by Howard Jacobson

J Howard Jacobson review

Alongside Us, The Bone Clocks, and How To Be Both, J by Howard Jacobson was one of a number of novels longlisted for the Man Booker Prize in advance of its publication date. A source of frustration for some, I’m sure—though this has ever been the panel’s habit—but for others it represents a reason to update reading radars.

This year, I found myself amongst the others above, because if not for the nod, I doubt I’d have looked twice at this book. When I did, additionally, it was with some scepticism; after all, Jacobson has won the Booker before, for The Finkler Question in 2010—the first comic novel to take the trophy home in 25 years—and pointedly acknowledging former nominees is another of the panel’s practices.

Not today. J, I’m pleased to say, is in every sense deserving of its spot on the longlist. It’s a literary revelation wrapped in understated dystopian clothing; a wonder of wit and whimsy that takes in the chilling and the ridiculous—the hilarious and the horrific. That said, it’s a novel that requires rereading to appreciate completely.

[Read More]

Aug 22 2014 9:00am

Fairytale’s Most Wanted: The Five Most Well-Known Character Types

John Atkinson Grimshaw

One of the remarkable things about fairytales is that you can know almost everything you need to know about the characters from the first few lines of the story. So, when The Frog King begins, “Once upon a time, when wishes still came true, there lived a king who had beautiful daughters,” you know that the story will revolve around one or more archetypal “fairytale princesses,” and will end with at least one of them marrying an equally archetypal fairytale prince. Or, when we are introduced to a character in Hansel and Gretel with, “suddenly the door opened, and a woman as old as the hills, leaning on a crutch, hobbled out,” then you know you have just met the wicked crone and also know that she will get up to no good.

[Top Five Fairytale Archetypes]

Aug 22 2014 8:00am

Morning Roundup: Thank Goodness They’ve Drawn Attention Away from Our Wang Computers Shirt

Ah, the heady days before the black turtleneck! You would literally have to team up with Bill Murray to humiliate a bunch of coke-addled yuppies during a tennis game on a yacht to be more ’80s than this fashion shoot. Apparently, Apple had a clothing line in 1986? And it was a neon explosion of wacky fonts, pleats, and shirts snugly tucked into high-waisted jeans? Check out the rest of the collection, and pay special attention to the child holding the yellow lunch box. That kid, that kid isn’t happy in his work.

Morning Roundup brings you tales of Chris Pratt’s stolen wardrobe, Galaxy Quest’s continuing mission, and the best Star Trek tie-in merchandise!

[Plus GoldenEye!]

Aug 21 2014 5:00pm

Answers from Brandon Sanderson at the When Words Collide Festival! reader/dedicated Sanderson fan Jeremy Guebert recently attended the When Words Collide festival in Calgary, and was not only gracious enough to crowdsource questions to ask Brandon, but has offered to share his notes from the Q&A, so that we can pore over and pick apart Brandon’s answers to our hearts’ delight! Topics include how we can help with the Mistborn movie, thoughts on worldhopping in the cosmere, and what might happen if Szeth wielded Nightblood from Warbreaker, nothing too spoilery as long as you’re all caught up on Words of Radiance, so check out Jeremy’s notes on the Q&A below, and his full con report here!

[Read More]