Charmed, I’m Sure: Getting to Know Everyone’s Dream Prince

I will admit up front that I have a strange affection for Prince Charming. He inspired the Charming Tales (available at fine book portals everywhere), and got me started on the road to a career as an author, or at least a published author. However, what made me interested in writing a story about Prince Charming was not that he was a particularly interesting character, but that he was entirely uninteresting. In fairytales filled with iconic beautiful princesses like Cinderella, Snow White, Beauty, and Briar Rose, the prince is, almost without exception, a non-entity. In fact, in fairytales prince characters are comically nondescript and interchangeable. Would the stories of Cinderella or Sleeping Beauty or Snow White be any different if Prince Phillip or Prince Charming or Prince “Noname” (literally—the prince in Snow White is never given a name) were swapped?

[Read more]

A Read of Ice and Fire: A Dance With Dragons, Part 39

Welcome back to A Read of Ice and Fire! Please join me as I read and react, for the very first time, to George R.R. Martin’s epic fantasy series A Song of Ice and Fire.

Today’s entry is Part 39 of A Dance With Dragons, in which we cover Chapter 66 (“Tyrion”) and Chapter 67 (“The Kingbreaker”).

Previous entries are located in the Index. The only spoilers in the post itself will be for the actual chapters covered and for the chapters previous to them. As for the comments, please note that the Powers That Be have provided you a lovely spoiler thread here on Any spoileriffic discussion should go there, where I won’t see it. Non-spoiler comments go below, in the comments to the post itself.

And now, the post!

[Read more]

Series: A Read of Ice and Fire

Words of Radiance Reread: Chapter 58

Welcome back to the Words of Radiance Reread on! Last week, a full disadvantaged duel was fought; a full disadvantaged duel was won; and a full disadvantaged duel was wasted. This week, the aftermath: a lot of shouting and unwarranted stubbornness.

This reread will contain spoilers for The Way of Kings, Words of Radiance, and any other Cosmere book that becomes relevant to the discussion. The index for this reread can be found here, and more Stormlight Archive goodies are indexed here.

Click on through to join the discussion!

[He was in a cage once again.]

Series: Words of Radiance Reread on

Midnight in Karachi Episode 32: Kameron Hurley

Welcome back to Midnight in Karachi, a weekly podcast about writers, publishers, editors, illustrators, their books and the worlds they create, hosted by Mahvesh Murad.

Hugo award winner Kameron Hurley is on the podcast this week to talk about the meaning of grimdark, her honesty about the business of writing, pushing boundaries, and her new novel Empire Ascendant—available October 6th from Angry Robot. Read an excerpt from Empire Ascendant, sequel to The Mirror Empire, here on

[Read more]

Series: Midnight in Karachi Podcast

Revealing the Covers for Andy Remic’s Song for No Man’s Land Trilogy

We’re pleased to reveal the covers for Andy Remic’s trilogy of dark fantasy novellas set in the trenches of World War I. Book 1—A Song for No Man’s Land—comes out next February, to be followed shortly after by Return of Souls and The Iron Beast. Below, artist Jeffrey Alan Love walks us through the process of creating these three great covers!

[Read more]

All the Ways SciFi Brings Dinosaurs Back

What’s the point of having dinosaurs around if they can’t terrorize people? That’s the lesson that Jurassic World reminded us of with its $1 billion worldwide haul. But tinkering around with amber-trapped bugs is just one of the ways authors and filmmakers have made dinosaurs part of our world. Here’s a quick primer on the major ways scifi creators put people within reach of dinosaurian jaws and claws.

[Read more]

Spoiler Playground for Brandon Sanderson’s Shadows of Self

The latest installment in Brandon Sanderson’s Cosmere is out! It’s been landing at bookstores, doorsteps, mailboxes, and e-readers, and now we need to talk about it. has most graciously given us a playground for Shadows of Self-related spoilers, questions, debates, and general fannish chaos, so let’s dive in! But first, if you’re looking for a non-spoiler review of the novel, head over here!

Waxillium, Wayne, Steris, and Marasi are all back in fine form, taking on crime and the social elite of Elendel in their own special ways. Humor, tension, back stories, character development, and a culture in transition—yup, it’s Sanderson, all right. Also, giraffes.

[Huh. You’re as surprising as a donkey who can dance, Mister Cravat.]

These Cats Believe in the Boogieman, Because He Gives Them Scritches!

Kat Philbin is an artist after our own Halloween-loving, kitty-WORSHIPPING hearts. Here we present a collection of the greatest icons of horror history cuddling some adorable little purr boxes. Above, you will see “Meowloween” which is the most perfect of perfect things. Click below for more, and check out Philbin’s site to order prints!

[Hellraiser seriously needed more cats.]

Rebuilding After War: An Inheritance of Ashes by Leah Bobet

Hallie Hoffmann is sixteen and trying to keep her family farm running with her pregnant sister Marthe—six months after her sister’s husband, Thom, went marched south to fight in the war against a dark god and his irregulars. The war is over, but Thom hasn’t come home and winter is coming. The sisters’ relationship is strained to the breaking point already when a veteran walking up the road hires on through the winter, bringing more with him than just the clothes on his back.

Twisted Things begin appearing on Roadstead Farm again—the creatures of the dark god, thought to be slain in the war by the hero John Balsam—and the politics of families, cities, and armies come crashing together on Hallie and Marthe’s land. At the same time, the sisters are dealing with their own wounds—jagged and unhealed fears left in the wake of their abusive, difficult father—and the strained relationship with the local township that resulted from his behavior in life towards his neighbors. Hallie must look into herself, as well as face down the danger ahead, to save her family and her home.

[A review — contains spoilers.]

The Builders Sweepstakes!

Daniel Polansky’s novella The Builders is available November 3rd from Publishing, and we want to send you a galley! (Check out an excerpt from The Builders, and the highlights of Polansky’s recent Reddit AMA.)

A missing eye.
A broken wing.
A stolen country.

The last job didn’t end well.

Years go by, and scars fade, but memories only fester. For the animals of the Captain’s company, survival has meant keeping a low profile, building a new life, and trying to forget the war they lost. But now the Captain’s whiskers are twitching at the idea of evening the score.

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 3:30 PM Eastern Time (ET) on October 7th. Sweepstakes ends at 12:00 PM ET on October 11th. 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.

The Perils of Communal Living: High-Rise

I was predisposed to like High-Rise, given my admiration for J.G. Ballard’s fiction and Ben Wheatley’s films. Wheatley is a Fantastic Fest favorite; his previous films Down Terrace, Kill List, Sightseers, and A Field in England all had their US premieres there in previous years, so it’s no surprise that High-Rise was one of the hot tickets for this year’s festival.

Advance word out of TIFF was fairly polarized, and reactions at Fantastic Fest were similarly split. High-Rise is not to all tastes. Overly literal minds will spend too much time wondering why Laing doesn’t just leave the high-rise and go to Tesco instead of doing the notorious thing that he does for food in the opening scene. Some may be slightly disappointed by the fact that it is what they envisioned when they heard “Ben Wheatley is directing an adaptation of High-Rise” and thus lacks some surprise. However, the film largely succeeds—Ben Wheatley and screenwriter/co-editor Amy Jump have created a visually striking, splendidly acted adaptation that accurately captures the sardonic humour and the gimlet observations of human behaviour of Ballard’s novel.

[Mild spoilers, for those who haven’t read the novel]

Last Song Before Night Author Ilana C. Myer Talks About Writing and Sword Fighting!

Ilana C. Myer’s debut novel Last Song Before Night is out now! In the world of Last Song, art and magic are intertwined, and poets must recover their lost enchantments in order to avert cataclysm—at great cost to themselves. Ff you live in the Northeast, you can catch her on tour with Seth Dickinson, the author of The Traitor Baru Cormorant, but in the meantime she took to reddit to talk about writing, music, and swordfighting, Check out the highlights below!

[So much writing advice!]

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: Welcome to Season Three

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. has returned with a bang: Coulson is back, but his left hand is not, and his “right hand,” May, is taking her own sweet time getting back. Skye is back, but is now going by her birth name, Daisy. Mack and Hunter are back, being competent and cracking jokes. Bobbi is back, but working in the lab rather than as a field agent while she recovers from wounds. Fitz is back, but searching for clues to Simmons’ disappearance in the field rather than in the lab. And Simmons has been having more than a little trouble getting back. The team has immediately found themselves at odds with a new agency, as well as a shadowy monster, and a resurgent Hydra. Today, we recap the first two episodes of the season. And this post will start a thread to give everyone a chance to discuss future episodes as the season progresses.

Only Agents cleared to observe SPOILERS should proceed beyond this point!

[Read more]

This Van Can Make the Kessel Run in Less than 12 Parsecs

This is both the bossest van in all of van history, and also the greatest toy ever crafted by human hands. In fact, we’re not even convinced this was made by human hands. We think this toy is just pure concentrated Force, converted into plastic and extruded into a van shape, with the image of Han Solo already emblazoned upon it.

Afternoon Roundup brings you the science of The Martian, an explanation for Loki’s absence from a certain superhero sequel, and the director’s cut of an iconic literary work!

[Plus, a zombie walks into a bar…]

Reading Melanie Rawn’s Skybowl: Chapters 1–5

Welcome to the weekly Wednesday read of Melanie Rawn’s Dragon Star Trilogy! This week we begin the last volume of the trilogy and the conclusion of the series. It’s the longest of all the books, with all the threads it has to tie up, so will take a bit longer than the previous volumes. I’ll do five chapters a week, and we’ll advance to the end.

In these opening chapters of Skybowl, we pick up right after we left off in The Dragon Token. All the players are advancing toward the big showdown, and complications abound–while a long-standing and bitter rivalry declares a (probably temporary) truce. [Read more]

Series: Rereading Melanie Rawn

Malazan Reread of the Fallen: The Healthy Dead, Part Four

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, and finally comments from readers. In this article, we’ll continue our coverage of The Healthy Dead.

A fair warning before we get started: We’ll be discussing both novella 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]

Series: Malazan Reread of the Fallen

Where to Begin with Margaret Atwood

There’s no denying this: Margaret Atwood is She Who Can Do No Wrong. At least, as far as her fans are concerned. Everyone who isn’t her fan is probably someone who hasn’t read her work. Or so feel her fans.

(See where this is going?)

Atwood has been steadily producing work of incredible literary quality and imagination since her first novel in 1969, Edible Woman. Ten years later, her fourth novel Life Before Man was shortlisted for the Governor General’s Award in her native Canada but it was 1985’s The Handmaid’s Tale which won not just the Governor General’s Award but also the Arthur C. Clarke Award and was shortlisted for the Booker. That Atwood was a force to reckon with couldn’t have been any clearer. Incredible vision, serious writing chops and the ability to be startlingly prescient is something she’s now known for in every sort of fandom, but there are still people who haven’t yet read her work—shocking, I know! Her latest novel is the hilarious, disturbing The Heart Goes Last, which began life as a serialised story for Byliner—Atwood isn’t one to be left behind by technology either.

[So where do you start?]