Sleeps With Monsters: Looking Forward to the Books of 2020

Sometimes I wonder about how outdated the description of this column has become. It screws with my head to realise I’ve been writing here for going on eight years now, through what feels like a cultural sea-change. (The “death” of the blog. The rise of global right-wing extremism. The spread of equal marriage. The—outspoken, enthusiastic—queering of written SFF. The anti-racist work that people of colour have done to drag the SFF community kicking and screaming into being a more welcoming place.) Sleeps With Monsters, as a column/body-of-work hasn’t only been about women and their work for years, though the column description hasn’t changed.

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Series: Sleeps With Monsters

Riot Baby Hardcover Sweepstakes!

Tochi Onyebuchi’s Riot Baby is the book Marlon James says “bursts at the seams of story with so much fire, passion and power that in the end it turns what we call a narrative into something different altogether.” — and we want to send you a copy!


Ella has a Thing. She sees a classmate grow up to become a caring nurse. A neighbor’s son murdered in a drive-by shooting. Things that haven’t happened yet. Kev, born while Los Angeles burned around them, wants to protect his sister from a power that could destroy her.

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All the New Science Fiction Books Arriving in February!

The door creaks slowly open. You can feel warmth on the other side, you can hear the soft whisper of voices. But just how hot is the fire on the other side, and why are they calling for you? This month’s fantasy titles are all about open doors and the magic inside: swear loyalty to the Lady Knights in Lady Hotspur by Tessa Gratton; stop the onslaught of coming empire in Song of the Risen God by R.A. Salvatore; and read the next installment of the Wayward Children series with Come Tumbling Down by Seanan McGuire.

Head below for the full list of fantasy titles heading your way in January!

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The Pennyroyal and the Fléchette: Blood Countess by Lana Popović

At thirteen, Anna Darvulia stumbles into a chance street-meeting with the freshly wedded Countess Elizabeth Bathory during her wedding processional—and then at sixteen, she is summoned in her role as a town healer to attend to the countess’s illegitimate son. These two encounters, rife with tension and mutual interest, lead Anna to the imposing hulk of Nadasdy keep where she works first as a scullery maid, then as a companion and more. However, Elizabeth is not the woman she appears to be on the surface. Her violent tendencies begin to spill over into every aspect of their life together—but once Anna realizes she’s trapped, it’s far too late to escape, and she must save herself through other means.

Lana Popović herself was born in Serbia and lived in Hungary, Bulgaria, and Romania before moving to the US, where she studied psychology and literature at Yale University, law at Boston University, and publishing and writing at Emerson College. Her background shows through in the intriguing balance of social commentary, historical context, and outright sexy horror fiction that Blood Countess strikes for. Lesbian young adult fiction set in eastern Europe is already a bit of a rarity, let alone the scary kind.

[A review.]

Series: Queering SFF

Rereading The Ruin of Kings: Chapters 81 and 82

Bonjour, mes amies de Tor! Êtes-vous prêt pour les démons, les dragons, et beaucoup de blasphemes? Oui? Oui! Je vous adore.

This blog series will be covering The Ruin of Kings, the first novel of a five-book series by Jenn Lyons. Previous entries can be found here in the series index.

Today’s post will be covering Chapter 81, “The Borderlands”, and Chapter 82 “A Meeting of Wizards”. Please note that from this point forward, these posts will likely contain spoilers for the entire novel, so it’s recommended that you read the whole thing first before continuing on.

Got that? Great! Click on for the rest!

[Le femme sensible, comme moi, tout entier à ce qu’on lui objecte, perd la tête et ne se retrouve qu’au bas de l’escalier]

Series: The Ruin of Kings by Jenn Lyons

3 Ways Data’s Bad Brother Lore Could Crash the Star Trek: Picard Party

The Soong boys are back! In “Remembrance,” the very first episode Star Trek: Picard, we saw two of the three Soong siblings: Data appeared twice in Picard’s dreams, and B-4 was in pieces in a drawer at the Daystrom Institute. But what about the third identical “brother”, the infamous Lore? Could Data’s dastardly brother still be around? And could he bother all these folks in Star Trek: Picard? Let’s look at where we last left Lore in The Next Generation timeline, plus meditate on his previous comebacks for clues for how he might have snuck his way back to the Final Frontier. Get ready to boldly explore the lore of…Lore!

Spoilers ahead for Star Trek: Picard, season 1, episode 1, “Remembrance.”

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The Gideon the Ninth Reread: Chapters 3 and 4

Welcome back, space fans! It’s time for another close read of Gideon the Ninth by Tamysn Muir! I’m your host, Malice Trebek, and today I’ll be discussing chapters three and four. A quick reminder that this post will be more spoiled that Veruca Salt, so if you haven’t read these chapters yet, you should bone up on them first.

Now: Grab that overhead strap, and hold on to your hot pockets, because here we go!

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Series: Gideon the Ninth Reread

Five SF Narratives About Global Cooling

Soaring temperatures may bring rising seas, disrupted agriculture, vast migrations, and the inundation of coastal cities around the world—and there are a lot of coastal cities around the world. Still, I live three hundred metres above sea level in a region that may well benefit from global warming (the risks of invasion, famine, war, mass extinction, and the complete collapse of civilization aside). What would really throw wooden shoes into Canada’s proverbial gears is cooling. Only a mere 12,000 years ago, the place where I live was just emerging from an ice sheet a mile thick. You may think Canadians hate shovelling snow now… wait until there’s nearly two kilometres of the stuff. Straight up.

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Reading the Wheel of Time: Dreams and Responsibilities in Robert Jordan’s The Shadow Rising (Part 17)

Hello dear friends and readers, and welcome back to the read of The Shadow Rising. I’d like to thank you all so much for your patience during our unexpected hiatus from Reading the Wheel of Time! We could have used some of that Aes Sedai healing in the Sylas household these past few weeks, if Moiraine had cared to stop by.

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A Horse for Every Human

Horseman’s wisdom says, There’s a horse for every human and a human for every horse.

Horses, like humans, are individuals. They have likes and dislikes, quirks and foibles, and particular ways of dealing with the world. When they interact with humans, they may get along splendidly. Or they may clash on every possible level. Or anywhere in between.

I like to say, “My horse is perfect—for me!” He may be your worst nightmare, but he’s my dreampony.

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Mazes of Power Sweepstakes!

Mazes of Power is a debut work of sociological science fiction that follows a deadly battle for succession, where brother is pitted against brother in a singular chance to win power and influence for their family — and we want to send you a copy!


The cavern city of Pelismara has stood for a thousand years. The Great Families of the nobility cling to the myths of their golden age while the city’s technology wanes.

When a fever strikes, and the Eminence dies, seventeen-year-old Tagaret is pushed to represent his Family in the competition for Heir to the Throne. To win would give him the power to rescue his mother from his abusive father, and marry the girl he loves.

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The Witcher Season 2 Will Dig Deeper Into Fringilla’s Past, Says Showrunner Lauren Schmidt Hissrich

Season 2 of The Witcher is going to be a huge departure from season 1. In a Reddit AMA earlier this month, showrunner Lauren Schmidt Hissrich promised a whole host of changes, from a “much more linear” storyline to “more witchers” to a more complex exploration of the Nilfgaardians beyond their roles as villains. Speaking to Vulture, Hissrich revealed that the show will be doing a deep dive into sorceress Fringilla Vigo’s backstory.

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