Playin’ with Ice and Fire: A Game of Thoughts | Eddard Stark Chapter 33

She’s new, she’s the re-re-reader.  She’s the newbie, she’s the spoilery vet.  Together they’re rereading George R.R. Martin’s A Game of Thrones and getting their POV on.  Today they react to Chapter 33: Stupid Ned Stark.

If you got her and want to start at the beginning, go catch the start of this Game of Thrones reread and enjoy the full ride!

Continue reading “Playin’ with Ice and Fire: A Game of Thoughts | Eddard Stark Chapter 33”

The Love (stories) of our Lives?

Synergy is back! This is the second installment of the monthly feature. The basic gist is that one of our contributors offers a single question for our other contributors to give answer to  mixed in with thoughts from talented outsiders who we force (mostly through begging) to participate.

The question fielded this month is Damon’s, and most appropriate for today as we share our single favorite romances/love stories from the 20th century on (I realize one stretches that clause, but this for fun after all!). We’ve assembled a talented group to give their answers this month; from writers, editors, an actress, and some of our own contributors!

Continue reading “The Love (stories) of our Lives?”

Blindsight by Peter Watts Review

One of the things I find interesting about “hard” science fiction — by way of introducing Peter Watts’s Hugo-nominated novel Blindsight, the best example of the type that I have read in years — is that it is probably the most legitimate heir to the original remit of story, a remit that has existed since humans first gained sufficient consciousness and intelligence both to create stories and to need to create stories.

 peter watts

Continue reading “Blindsight by Peter Watts Review”

Zoran Živković Interview + Seven Touches of Music + Steps Through the Mist Review

This week our guest is World Fantasy Award winning author Dr. Zoran Živković. Publishers in the UK and USA have snapped up Živković’s stories, written in his native Serbian, in English translation at an ever-increasing rate as his literary star has risen. His work has been compared to that of Calvino and Borges and has received praise from such notable authors as Jeff Vandermeer and Michael Moorcock. His tightly written novels and collections, beginning with The Fourth Circle and continuing to such recent publications as Seven Touches of Music and Twelve Collections and The Teashop, combine modern characters with fantastic, sometimes absurd situations, that reward careful reading but do not demand a single interpretation. His fiction often weaves a connected whole out of many seemingly separate parts—which, come to think of it, is precisely what an interview attempts to do as well.


Continue reading “Zoran Živković Interview + Seven Touches of Music + Steps Through the Mist Review”

Review – The Love We Share Without Knowing by Christopher Barzak

“Are you okay?” That is the question asked, in one form or another, in nearly all of the stories that comprise Christopher Barzak’s new mosaic novel The Love We Share Without Knowing. It is a deceptively simple question. It is a question that you ask when you can sense that something is wrong, but you don’t know what, or what to do. It is a question that you may be asked when you are not behaving in accordance with someone’s idea of “normal.” And it is a question you might be asked when you are haunted. So many of Barzak’s characters are all three of these.

chris barzak
Continue reading “Review – The Love We Share Without Knowing by Christopher Barzak”

Stranger Things Happen by Kelly Link Review

I can safely say that I’ve never met a Kelly Link story that I didn’t like, and, after re-reading her alchemical debut collection “Stranger Things Happen”, I’m just about ready to tell you why. First, a little recap…“Stranger Things…” burst onto the shorter fiction scene in 2001, published by Small Beer Press (who also put out my favourite ‘zine – “Lady Churchill’s Rosebud Wristlet” – and which Link co-founded). It was immediately seized upon by some big names, both in-genre and out of it.

 Kelly Link

If you love her work you read an interview with Kelly Link.

Continue reading “Stranger Things Happen by Kelly Link Review”

In the Forest of Forgetting by Theodora Goss Review

The Rose in Twelve Petals” begins Theodora Goss’s newly-in-paperback collection In the Forest of Forgetting, and the story makes an ideal introduction to the the author’s work. A retelling of the classic Sleeping Beauty story, it frames and then re-frames our expectations. The initial recognition of the familiar story pulls us into the the fairy tale mindset: of stories that map the small journeys and decisions that can unexpectedly lead to major life changes; of characters and encounters that we understand to be meant not quite literally, yet not as simple allegory either.

Theodora Goss Continue reading “In the Forest of Forgetting by Theodora Goss Review”

Getting to Know You by David Marusek Review

Getting to Know You is only David Marusek’s second book, but he is already a veteran of the science fiction wars. Marusek’s 2005 novel Counting Heads was the subject of the debut speculative fiction column “Across the Universe” in that bastion of mainstream fiction, The New York Times Book Review; the column both proclaimed Counting Heads to be among the reviewer’s “favorite books [of 2005] in any category” and yet wondered, “why does contemporary science fiction have to be so geeky” that it becomes inaccessible to readers of mainstream literature?

David Marusek

Continue reading “Getting to Know You by David Marusek Review”

Sailing to Sarantium + Lord of Emperors by Guy Gavriel Kay Review

I have a set of bright memories associated with various of Guy Gavriel Kay’s novels: Sitting, aged 13, grief-stricken and sobbing in a cold bath having finished “The Darkest Road”, the final weft in his Fionavar Tapestry; drooping in my early morning lectures five years later having welcomed in the dawn with the last page of his “Lions of Al-Rassan”; throwing myself down into my pillows and grinning, grinning, grinning at the promise of a second book in the Sarantine Mosaic duology. This last is hardly tinted with the same nostalgia, what with it only happening yesterday evening but you take my meaning.

Sailing to Sarantium

Continue reading “Sailing to Sarantium + Lord of Emperors by Guy Gavriel Kay Review”

The Rose in Twelve Petals and Other Stories by Theodora Goss Review

Theodora Goss only began publishing her short fiction and poetry in 2002 but already her work has appeared in some of the genre’s most respected publications (including “Realms of Fantasy”, “Strange Horizons”, “Polyphony” and “Lady Churchill’s Rosebud Wristlet”).

theodora goss

Continue reading “The Rose in Twelve Petals and Other Stories by Theodora Goss Review”

MultiReal by David Louis Edelman Review

The labels “science fiction” and “speculative fiction” have long been entwined, with speculative fiction variously considered synonymous with science fiction or an umbrella that contains science fiction. And indeed most science fiction is speculative, either in the form of selective futurism, extrapolating and highlighting present trends, or as thought experiments on present questions of human nature (or both). What is increasingly interesting then about David Louis Edelman’s Jump 225 trilogy, of which MultiReal is the second volume, is how it is becoming less a work that addresses the present indirectly, through such speculation, and more a work that seeks to directly capture the zeitgeist, the feeling and the texture of the present. It does so not by in-depth mimicry of the present, but by using science fiction to construct a credible model of the present.

David Louis Edelman

Continue reading “MultiReal by David Louis Edelman Review”

From Russia With Love and Dr. No – The James Bond Zapiska

Ah, the Cold War.  Growing up as I did in the Eighties, there was no greater Bad Guy in film or print as evil or subversive or insidious as the Russians.  They were the eternal enemy, lurking across the ocean at the business end of a fleet of ICBMs.  It was a time of uncertainty, of mistrust, of a vague feeling that global nuclear catastrophe could happen at any time.  Not just that you might die, or your brother in the service might die, but that everyone might die.  That the culmination of human endeavors to this point might just end after the hasty push of a big red button.

james bond

Continue reading “From Russia With Love and Dr. No – The James Bond Zapiska”

Adventures in Unhistory by Avram Davidson Review

Imagine if you will that, when you were younger, you had an older relative — a grandfather or great-aunt — who was something of an armchair historian regarding mythology. Every now and then, when you were visiting, you’d make your way to their study, sit in one of the overstuffed chairs by the fire, and ask a question. “Where exactly did Sindbad sail?,” you’d ask; or, “who was Prester John?” or “were there really ever dragons, rocs, or unicorns?”

 Avram Davidson

Continue reading “Adventures in Unhistory by Avram Davidson Review”

Three Days to Never by Tim Powers Review

Tim Powers’s novels are so unlike anything else that I think John Shirley said it best over at Emerald City “Tim Powers is his own genre”. Or maybe he is the most unpredictable predictable writer alive, either way he is the most consistently originally fantasy writer of the last 30 years.

 Tim Powers Continue reading “Three Days to Never by Tim Powers Review”

The Book of Atrix Wolfe by Patricia A. McKillip Review

The award winning Patricia A. McKillip is one of the prominent authors within fantasy fiction, but whereas notable masters of the genre like J.R.R. Tolkien and George R.R. Martin work on an epic scale, McKillip’s fantasies are more intimate and dreamlike. The Book of Atrix Wolfe can in many respects be likened to the detailed and colourful tapestries of the late medieval period, where vividly archaic figures of humans, animals and mythological creatures are intertwined with a myriad of organic ornamentation.

The Book of Atrix Wolfe

Continue reading “The Book of Atrix Wolfe by Patricia A. McKillip Review”

Escapement by Jay Lake Review

Escapement is the sequel to Jay Lake’s critically acclaimed novel Mainspring, wherein he maps out an alternate Earth anno 1900. Lake has quite cleverly constructed a world that for the most part resembles ours yet differs in one very important aspect – Lake envisions the universe as an enormous clockwork whose brass mechanisms are, mostly, visible to the naked eye. Thus Earth is powered by a mainspring, hidden in its core, it circles around the Lamp of the Sun on a brass rail and it is divided by an enormous equatorial wall, topped by a brass gear train that physically connects the planet itself to its orbital trajectory around the sun.

Escapement Jay Lake

Continue reading “Escapement by Jay Lake Review”

Kushiel’s Dart by Jacqueline Carey Review

Kushiel’s Dart is Jacqueline Carey’s highly successful debut and the first instalment of a trilogy that chronicles the exploits of Phèdre nó Delaunay – exquisite courtesan, talented spy and god-touched masochist. The book received the 2002 Locus Award for Best First Novel, and it established Carey as one of the new and innovative talents within the fantasy genre.

Kushiels Dart

*You can read a guest blog by Carey  and an interview with Jacqueline as well.

Continue reading “Kushiel’s Dart by Jacqueline Carey Review”

The Ant King and Other Stories by Benjamin Rosenbaum Review

Imagine Borges and Dali hanging out at Pee Wee Herman’s playhouse, and you have a brief inkling of what Rosenbaum’s fiction is like. The Ant King and Other Stories is Rosenbaum’s debut collection of short fiction, which features pieces have been that have nominated for genre awards, and have appeared in a slew of venues, from Interzone, Realms of Fantasy, and McSweeney’s.

The Ant King and Other Stories

Continue reading “The Ant King and Other Stories by Benjamin Rosenbaum Review”

Books Punch Your Face – The Crime Midsummer Reading List

Eight noir novels to help fill your endless summer with a sense of overwhelming dread and paranoia.

Inherent Vice

Okay, so I’m the professor who wakes up three weeks before the end of the semester and hits everybody over the head with a pile of mandatory reading assignments that everybody has to crowbar in between midnight finals cram sessions and kegstands, but you know, only if they hope to make it out with a passing grade.
Continue reading “Books Punch Your Face – The Crime Midsummer Reading List”

The Posthumous Donald Westlake: It’s All Bullshit

Donald Westlake, ever the prolific author, has had two novels released since his death on New Year’s Eve of 2009, both brought to us by the stellar Hard Case Crime imprint.  The first, in 2010, is called Memory, and was thought to be his only “lost” novel, until crime writer Max Allan Collins unearthed a manuscript for The Comedy Is Finished, which was published earlier this year.

donald westlake

Continue reading “The Posthumous Donald Westlake: It’s All Bullshit”