Forgotten Bestsellers: Coma by Robin Cook

Today’s bestsellers are tomorrow’s remainders and Forgotten Bestsellers will run for the next six weeks as a reminder that we were once all in a lather over books that people barely even remember anymore. Have we forgotten great works of literature? Or were these books never more than literary mayflies in the first place? What better time of year than the holiday season for us to remember that all flesh is dust and everything must die?

Everyone thinks they’ve read a Robin Cook novel.

BrainFeverOutbreakMutationToxinShockSeizure…an endless string of terse nouns splashed across paperback covers in airports everywhere. But just when you think you’ve got Robin Cook pegged, he throws a curveball by adding an adjective to his titles: Fatal Cure, Acceptable Risk, Mortal Fear, Harmful Intent. Cook is an ophthalmologist and an author, a man who has checked eyes and written bestsellers with equal frequency, but the one book to rule them all is Coma, his first big hit, written in 1977, which spawned a hit movie directed by Michael Crichton. With 34 books under his belt he is as inescapable as your annual eye appointment, but is he any good?

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The First Trailer for Legends of Tomorrow Takes Us Back…to the 70s!

We have a trailer for the second Arrow spin-off, Legends of Tomorrow! In the future, 2166 to be precise, awesomely-named DC villain Vandal Savage holds the whole planet in his grip. Luckily, a time traveler with his own sweet moniker, Rip Hunter, has zipped around collecting heroes to try to stop him. This leads to everyone going back to the ‘70s, and it looks like a lot of fun. There are also some fantastic actors here, including Arthur “Awww, Rory!” Darvil, Brandon “Underrated Superman” Routh, and Victor “Tap-Dancing Christ” Garber. Check out the full trailer!

[Indeed, let’s do this.]

Fiction Affliction: December Releases in Science Fiction

Seventeen science fiction titles vie for your holiday dollars this month. Look for new titles from, among others, Gini Koch, Jay Allan, Jack McDevitt, and Jean Johnson, as well as a new Jonathan Strahan-edited The Infinity Project anthology.

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.

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Blood and Piss: Jessica Jones and The Loss of Control

Much has been made of the sexuality in Jessica Jones. It’s true, Jessica and Luke Cage are Marvel’s poster children for enthusiastic (repeated, loud) consent, and Trish Walker gets to be the first Marvel heroine to have a guy go down on her onscreen. But one interesting thing is that in all the talk of how raw and realistic the sex scenes are, they are also shockingly dry. There is no fluid, there isn’t even much sweat, there are no stained sheets or post-coital showers. I have an idea about this…I think it’s that Jessica Jones, for various brilliant reasons, has focused all its attention on a different liquid entirely. I’ll have to ask you all to go with me into a fairly uncomfortable area, because we’re going to have to talk about piss.

But wait, let me back up.

[Beware of: spoilers for all of Jessica Jones; the ending of Daredevil Season 1; a graphic discussion of bodily function.]

[Seriously, it gets pretty graphic.]

Five Books with Fictitious Works of Art

A novel within a novel. A comic, painting, or song within a novel. Many writers enjoy the playfulness of creating fictitious works of art that no one will ever read, see, or hear.

I, too, love to play this game. Fictitious paintings and photographs lie at the heart of my genre-crossover novel, Sleeping Embers of An Ordinary Mind. It’s been immense fun to write, and during the long drafting and editing process, I’ve re-visited several novels, and read new releases, that share this compelling theme. Here are five of my personal favorites.

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Series: Five Books About…

The Wheel of Time Reread Redux: The Great Hunt, Part 25

Hey, so, if you don’t want a Wheel of Time Reread Redux post today, you are a turkey. A TURKEY. GEDDIT




Sigh. Okay. Today’s Redux post will cover Chapters 44 and 45 of The Great Hunt, originally reread in this post.

All original posts are listed in The Wheel of Time Reread Index here, and all Redux posts will also be archived there as well. (The Wheel of Time Master Index, as always, is here, which has links to news, reviews, interviews, and all manner of information about the Wheel of Time in general on

The Wheel of Time Reread is also available as an e-book series! Yay!

All Reread Redux posts will contain spoilers for the entire Wheel of Time series, so if you haven’t read, read at your own risk.

And now, the post!

[“When you make an assumption, you make an ‘ass’ out of ‘u’ and ‘mption’.”]

Series: The Wheel of Time Reread

Supergirl Battles the Friendzone and Tries to Have It All

“You’ve spent more time in the friendzone than the Phantom Zone.”

I think we’ve found the best line on Supergirl thus far. It’s a gentle burn from Alex to Kara, about how the latter tries so hard to make everyone happy that she’ll let James Olsen talk to her about his gorgeous ex-girlfriend Lucy Lane, instead of presenting herself as a viable romantic option. But here’s the twist—Lucy is intimdated by Supergirl.

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Lovecraftian Women Strike Back, and It’s Awesome: “The Man of Stone”

Welcome back to the Lovecraft reread, in which two modern Mythos writers get girl cooties all over old Howard’s original stories. Today we’re looking at “The Man of Stone,” a collaboration between Lovecraft and Hazel Heald, published in the October 1932 issue of Wonder Stories. You can read it here.

Spoilers ahead!

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Series: The Lovecraft Reread

Jessica Jones Can’t Have Nice Things

Hot off her Alias reread, Tansy Rayner Roberts reviews Netflix’s Jessica Jones. In this post: “AKA It’s Called Whiskey.” Spoilers for season 1.

“AKA It’s Called Whiskey”

Written by Liz Friedman & Scott Reynolds
Directed by David Petrarca

Upon discovering that they are both superhuman—Jessica superstrong, Luke unbreakable—the logical conclusion is for them to have a lot of sex. Loud, neighbour-annoying, wall-shaking, bed-breaking sex.

In between, they talk. Luke has never met another “gifted” (it’s adorable that they don’t have the vocabulary for this) and is genuinely pleased to get to know Jessica’s take on the weird world around them.

Jessica is reluctant to discuss the others out there—she knows more than she is letting on.

Their night becomes awkward when Jessica (for the second time) spots the photo in Luke’s bathroom cabinet, of Reva Connors, a woman we’ve also seen listed as one of the official fatalities from the bus crash that failed to kill Kilgrave.

Once again, their night together ends with Jessica saying sorry—this time, however, it’s a very heartfelt statement, and feels like something she’s been waiting to say for a long time.

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What’s Your Personal Highlight From The Wheel of Time Companion?

Like the Wheel of Time series itself, The Wheel of Time Companion offers rewards for those who undertake a detailed readthrough. Now that the hefty new companion volume has been in stores for a few weeks, is there a favorite amongst the details you’ve discovered?

Personally, I love maps, so I’m excited to have the progression and troops movements of The Last Battle laid out in bird’s-eye view above the Fields of Merrilor. I also tend to get lost in the minutiae of Seanchan culture, following “See also” after “See also.

How about you?

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Sleeps With Monsters: Don’t We All Want To Read Faster?

My reading has slowed down this autumn. (Well, it’s winter now, and it still hasn’t sped back up.) I’m told this is understandable when one comes to the end of a large and demanding project, but it’s peculiarly frustrating. There are several shelves of books I want to read and talk about! Like Genevieve Cogman’s The Masked City and Becky Chambers’ The Long Way To A Small Angry Planet, and Jacey Bedford’s Winterwood, and Julia Knight’s Swords and Scoundrels, and Charlie Jane Anders’ All The Birds In The Sky. To say nothing of books published in years previous to this one…

But such is, as they say, life. This week I hope you’ll let me tell you about three interesting novels that I have managed to read recently.

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Series: Sleeps With Monsters

The Secret of Star Wars: A New Hope is Sheer, Unbridled Joy

One of my favorite stories about what it was like to see Star Wars: A New Hope when it was released in 1977 comes from my father. He went to see the film with his friend and roommate at the time, and when Vader’s Star Destroyer came into frame in the opening sequence, stretching on and on into infinity, the guy sunk into his chair and shouted to the theater “Oh shit, this is it!”

I love that story because it elucidates something so significant about that first Star Wars film; when it first came out, no one had ever seen anything quite like it.

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Series: Star Wars on

Uncontrolled Experiments Are the Most Fun. Luke Skywalker Can’t Read by Ryan Britt

I have read more of Ryan Britt’s writing than any other person on this planet. This makes me the most qualified person—ever—to review Ryan’s first book, a collection of essays titled Luke Skywalker Can’t Read.

I believe that Pulitzer Prize finalist Karen Russell once summarized the former staff writer as “an uncontrolled experiment”—perhaps during a speech at the U.N. I don’t know—so it is with this in mind that you must confront Ryan and whatever lizard-person theory he is writing about this week. Be on guard, but also, be accepting of the spaghetti pile of ideas that he brings to you. The plating is unorthodox but the meal is supremely tasty. (He put cheese in it.)

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