Five SFF Books in Which Valuable Is Not the Same as Powerful

Sometimes I succumb to nostalgia and look through my collection of roleplaying games from the dawn of the industry. These games were produced by companies now long forgotten and their prospects of being revived are quite remote.  Recently I looked over my edition of SPI’s Universe, whose spectacular star map I referenced in this earlier essay. I opined that SPI could have copied GDW’s gambit and used their StarSoldier/Outreach games to provide their Universe game with a more detailed future history. A savvy commenter called my attention to a worldbuilding detail in those boardgames I had either overlooked or forgotten…

[An unfortunate truth: valuable is not the same as powerful.]

Hugo Spotlight: The Internal Mysteries of Tamsyn Muir’s Harrow the Ninth

Gideon the Ninth waltzed up to the doors of reader expectation, planted plastic explosives around the frames while whistling a jaunty tune, and purposefully walked away in slow-motion, aviators glinting, and blew it all to hell. In a year of incredible genre fiction, Gideon the Ninth spread like wildfire, catching and sparking at every reader who picked it up and challenged them to a sword fight with one arm behind their back. Tamsyn Muir’s star ascended at a rocketing pace and the pressure of what Harrow the Ninth would be continued to grow and grow and grow. And upon release, much like Gideon, it wasn’t what anyone was expecting.

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Reading The Wheel of Time: Morgase Seeks Aid and Rumors Abound in Robert Jordan’s Lord of Chaos (Part 2)

Welcome back to Reading The Wheel of Time, where we say so long to getting through the Prologue of Lord of Chaos in two bits. I like a really meaty chapter but I gotta say, Mr. Jordan, sir, why is this so long? Why is it not chapters? How did you keep track of this many characters?

I did, however, catch a very important detail this week that takes us on quite the journey down memory lane, back to some time April 2018 when I wasn’t even halfway through The Eye of the World yet. I am very pleased with myself about it, and very worried for Morgase. But first, the recap.

[A slow horse does not always reach the end of the journey.]

Series: Reading The Wheel of Time Reviewers’ Choice: The Best Books of 2021

Every year we’re blown away by the consistently amazing book releases in the genres of science fiction, fantasy, young adult, and beyond—and 2021 raised the bar even further. Our reviewers each picked their top contenders for the best books of the year, ranging from hopepunk to fantasy romance, and alternate history to gothic horror. We’ve got high society magicians, retired starship captains, family ghosts, and much more.

Below,’s regular book reviewers talk about notable titles they read in 2021—leave your own additions in the comments!

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Announcing the Table of Contents for Some of the Best from 2021

We are excited to share the Table of Contents for the 2021 edition of Some of the Best from, an anthology of 22 of our favorite short stories and novelettes selected from the stories we have published this year. The eBook edition will be available for free from all your favorite vendors on January 25, 2022. Of course, you can enjoy all of these stories right now at the links below.

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Guardians of the Galaxy Meets The Bourne Identity in Stringers by Chris Panatier

A genius is abducted by an alien bounty-hunter for the location of a powerful inter-dimensional object. Trouble is, he can’t remember a thing…

We’re thrilled to share the cover for Stringers by Chris Panatier! Stringers will be published on April 12, 2022 by Angry Robot Books—and features the publisher’s new logo!

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A Little Alien Adventure: Andre Norton and Michael Gilbert’s The Day of the Ness

This is a nice little a palate cleanser after a series of long and intricate adult novels. It’s short and concise, tightly plotted and narrowly focused, but in a good way. As middle-grade books go, it’s solid.

What’s interesting about it is that the co-author, Michael Gilbert, was (is?) an artist. The illustrations are his. Mostly they’re fairly timeless, though young Hal’s father has a classic Seventies mustache, which is appropriate enough for a book published in 1975. There’s no way he could have known that 2021 would call it a “porn ’stache” and see a distinct resemblance to Freddie Mercury.

The story is set sometime after 1975. Lasers are a fully developed form of weaponry, and there are flying cars. Flying cars were The Future in 1975. Instead we have supercomputers in our pockets. I suppose it’s a worthy tradeoff.

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A Marvellous Light Sweepstakes!

Red, White & Royal Blue meets Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell in debut author Freya Marske’s A Marvellous Light, featuring an Edwardian England full of magic, contracts, and conspiracies—and we want to send you a copy!


Robin Blyth has more than enough bother in his life. He’s struggling to be a good older brother, a responsible employer, and the harried baronet of a seat gutted by his late parents’ excesses. When an administrative mistake sees him named the civil service liaison to a hidden magical society, he discovers what’s been operating beneath the unextraordinary reality he’s always known.

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A Fresh Take on Old Tropes: Year of the Reaper by Makiia Lucier

Makiia Lucier’s latest young adult fantasy novel Year of the Reaper blends fantasy and mystery into one captivating tale. This story about two warring kingdoms hit hard by a plague is thoroughly engrossing and impossible to put down. I had planned to savor it over a weekend, and instead read it in a single afternoon. And as soon as I’d finished, all I wanted to do was go back and read it again.

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