Category Archives: Books

Everything You Wanted to Know About The Lord of the Rings Mythology Explained in 4 Minutes

This excellent video is a fantastic primer for mythology behind J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings.

It kinda makes me want to read it again.

Damn you, clever video!

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Books Received: December 22, 2014

In the interest of full disclosure, here are the books we received this week.
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Free SF, Fantasy and Horror Fiction for 12/20/2014

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What’s Special About Today’s Free Fiction?

  1. Shimmer #22 – November 2014

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Coming Soon: DEAD HEAT by Patricia Briggs

Check out the excellent Dan Dos Santos cover and the synopsis for the upcoming novel Dead Heat by Patricia Briggs, book 4 in the Alpha and Omega series.

Here’s the synopsis:
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The Culture of Iain M. Banks

Last year, I was shocked to read that Iain M. Banks announced that he had cancer and was going to die within months. I had first come across him when I picked up Consider Phlebas, and several of its sequels when my Waldenbooks shut down and liquidated its stock: his books were among the first that I grabbed and stuck in the backroom to hold while we waited for the store to close. I really enjoyed the novel, although I’ve yet to really pick up any of the others. I was fascinated by the depth and breadth of the Culture.

Banks plays a critical role in the resurgence of space opera in England, leading a number of other well-known authors such as Alastair Reynolds, Peter Hamilton, Stephen Baxter and others around the 1990s. Space opera is a type of story that’s not been well received, and Banks sort of bridges the gap between authors such as Arthur C. Clarke and C.J. Cherryh and those such as James S.A. Corey.

Go read The Culture of Iain M. Banks over on Kirkus Reviews.


REVIEW SUMMARY: An annotated evisceration of the unpublished first novel of the author, by the author


BRIEF SYNOPSIS:: Nakor is a very special elf, at the center of a story involving the return of a spider Goddess. Oh dear, its a D&D campaign turned into a novel. A bad novel…

PROS: An unflinching look at what an early novel from a published author looks like, and what the author has learned since then.
CONS: Sometimes the annotations and snark grow thin or repetitive, leading to long passages of passable (or worse) prose and plot.
BOTTOM LINE: A book that stands as an interesting artifact of Hines’ career more than a training or teaching tool.
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[GUEST POST] Timothy Johnson on Five Needlessly Inaccurate Sci-Fi Myths and Their Awesome Truths

Timothy Johnson is a writer and editor living in Washington, D.C. with his wife and his dog. He is the author of the sci-fi/horror novel Carrier from Permuted Press. Nothing frightens him more than the future, so he writes about it in hopes that he is wrong. He lives in Washington, D.C., Carrier is his first novel.

Five Needlessly Inaccurate Sci-Fi Myths and Their Awesome Truths

by Timothy Johnson

As an author, I take authenticity seriously, especially in science fiction. Research is important to ensure the story doesn’t misrepresent the technology and disciplines it portrays. Of course, it’s still fiction, and everything yields to the needs of the story. Sometimes concessions in factual correctness have to be made for the sake of drama.

These aren’t those times.

The following are five science-fiction myths that need to stop right now because they’re needlessly wrong. And in a lot of cases, the factually correct versions are more awesome anyway.
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Table of Contents: Fantasy Scroll Magazine Issue #4

Fantasy Scroll Magazine (edited by Iulian Ionescu, Frederick Doot, and Alexandra Zamorski) is an online, quarterly publication featuring science fiction, fantasy, horror, and paranormal short-fiction. The magazine’s mission is to publish high-quality, entertaining, and thought-provoking speculative fiction. With a mixture of short stories, flash fiction, and micro-fiction, Fantasy Scroll Magazine aims to appeal to a wide audience.

Here’s the table of contents for the new issue…
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[GUEST POST] Amanda Bridgeman Asks: Is There Such a Thing as Australian Sci-Fi?

Born in the seaside/country town of Geraldton, Western Australia, and raised her on a diet of Rocky, Rambo, Muhammad Ali and AC/DC, Amanda Bridgeman grew up somewhat of a tomboy, preferring to watch action/sci-fi films over the standard rom-com, and liking her music rock hard. That said, she can swoon with the best of them and is really not a fan of bugs. In Perth (WA), she pursued her dreams to study film & television/creative writing at Murdoch University (BA Communication Studies). She is a writer and a film buff. She loves most genres, but is particularly fond of the Spec-Fic realm. She likes action, epic adventures, and strong characters that draw you in, making you want to follow them on their wild, rollercoaster rides. Her novels include 3 book in the Aurora space opera series — Darwin, Pegasus and Meridian — with a fourth novel in the series (Centralis) coming soon.

Is There Such a Thing as Australian Sci-Fi?

by Amanda Bridgeman

In August I attended LonCon3 and appeared on two panels. One of which was ‘The World at WorldCon: Australian and NZ SFF’, where inevitably the question was raised: ‘Does Australian SF exist?’ I expected everyone to say an overwhelming ‘Yes!’, but the panel was actually divided on the answer.

Two of the four panellists, both male and Australian – one a writer, one a reviewer – quickly answered the question with a firm ‘No. It’s all Americanized.’ I felt a little offended, sitting on an Australian SFF Panel as an Australian SF writer, to be told that I’m not writing Australian Sci-fi. But it got me thinking about my Aurora series, and what ‘Australian Sci-fi’ really means.
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The Three Hoarsemen (Episode 17): Holiday Wish Lists and Comics, with Patrick Hester

As the year’s end approaches, John E. O. Stevens, Fred Kiesche and Jeff Patterson tempt the fates by doing a THIRD episode for the month. Joining them is the man who was the unintentional catalyst for this podcast, Patrick Hester. They pause in their assorted biscotti, chili, and laundry activities to take on the topic of wish lists, their usefulness, and what is currently on them.

Then the discussion turns to all things comics. It’s really nerdy.
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Fill up Your eBook Reader with These 400 SF/F/H Fiction eBooks Priced Under $5 Each

I blame A.T. Campbell. He “innocently” sent word of a few eBook deals and, well, one thing led to another and…400 titles later, I have an eBook Deals post.

Each one of these science fiction, fantasy and horror eBook titles are priced at or under $5 at the time of writing this post…but WARNING: Prices are subject to change, so check the price before clicking “buy”. If Amazon is not your eBook ecosystem, please do look up the titles wherever you buy your eBooks; discounts are often applied at other outlets.

  1. Blade Singer by Aaron de Orive (Cloak & Dagger Studios)
  2. Hang Wire by Adam Christopher (Angry Robot)

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Table of Contents: FALLING IN LOVE WITH HOMINIDS by Nalo Hopkinson

Tachyon Publications has posted the table of contents for Nalo Hopkinson’s upcoming collection Falling in Love with Hominids, coming next Summer.

Here’s the book description:

Nalo Hopkinson (Brown Girl in the Ring, Skin Folk) has been widely hailed as a highly significant voice in Caribbean and American fiction. She has been dubbed “one of our most important writers,” (Junot Diaz), with “an imagination that most of us would kill for” (Los Angeles Times), and her work has been called “stunning,” (New York Times) “rich in voice, humor, and dazzling imagery” (Kirkus), and “simply triumphant” (Dorothy Allison).

Falling in Love with Hominids presents over a dozen years of Hopkinson’s new, uncollected fiction, much of which has been unavailable in print. Her singular, vivid tales, which mix the modern with Afro-Carribean folklore, are occupied by creatures unpredictable and strange: chickens that breathe fire, adults who eat children, and spirits that haunt shopping malls.

Here’s the table of contents…
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PODCAST REVIEW: To the Manor Borne by Robots

I’d like to draw your attention to a new sf fiction podcast, To The Manor Borne By Robots. This is an interesting new entry in the field of fully-produced science fiction audio dramas. Let me shamelessly crib from the press release for a description:

Only stories will feed the Beast! In the new podcast, To The Manor Borne By Robots, a monstrous entity invades 25th century Earth, wreaking havoc, destroying cities, killing millions. The only thing that will pacify it is stories, stories read to it by the Master, the leader of the future Earth. In an effort to destroy the Beast, the Master transports his 21st century ancestor, a cube-worker named Bob, to the future, where his DNA signature allows him to be a stand-in with the Beast, while the Master travels to the past, to unravel the origin of the Beast, and destroy it. Each episode features the serialized story of the Master, Bob, and the Beast, as well as a stand-alone story, all voiced by an extensive and talented cast of actors, lavishly produced, with sound effects and music. A sci-fi Scherherezade, To The Manor Borne By Robots is available on iTunes, and via web-player on its own site. Journey to the Manor, where the future is past.

They’re two episodes in, and I’m hooked. Every episode is split just about evenly between the frame narrative, where Bob and the Master must keep the Beast quiescent while seeking to destroy it, and the story that Bob reads to the Beast. Bob introduces the story, but it isn’t simply read; like the rest of the show the story is fully dramatized, with different actors, foley sound effects, and music.

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Superhero Stories That Will Leap to the Top of Your Reading Pile in a Single Bound

Look! Up in the sky! It’s…another article at Kirkus Reviews!

Check out my this roundup of superhero fiction over on Kirkus Reviews: Superhero Stories That Will Leap to the Top of Your Reading Pile in a Single Bound

[GUEST POST] Catherine Lundoff on LGBT Science Fiction and Fantasy 2000-2010 (Part 2)

Catherine Lundoff lives in Minneapolis with her wife, two cats and a huge number of unfinished projects. She writes, edits, toils in IT and is currently on the brink of a grand new adventure. Follow her on Twitter at @clundoff or via her website at

LGBT Science Fiction and Fantasy 2000-2010 (Part 2)

by Catherine Lundoff

(NOTE: This is a continuation of Part 1 – please start there for other LGBT SFF books and stories from this decade. It will hopefully ensure that this half makes sense.)

There were also a number of LGBT imprints that published LGBT SFF in the 2000s. Harrington Park Press, an imprint of the nonfiction press Haworth Press, published Katherine Forrest’s lesbian science fiction novel Daughters of an Emerald Dusk (2005), the dark fantasy anthology Shadows of the Night, edited by Greg Herren (2004) and Tom Bacchus’ gay dystopian science fiction novel Q-FAQ (2007), as well as two multi-genre journals which published gay and lesbian short fiction.
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eBook Deal: Get SOFT APOCALYPSE by Will McIntosh for Only $1.99!

Today only, you can get Soft Apocalypse by Will McIntosh for $1.99 on the Kindle and Nook platforms.

Here’s the book description:

What happens when resources become scarce and society starts to crumble? As the competition for resources pulls America’s previously stable society apart, the “New Normal” is a Soft Apocalypse. This is how our world ends; with a whimper instead of a bang. New social structures and tribal connections spring up across America, as the previous social structures begin to dissolve. Locus Award finalist and John W. Campbell Memorial Award finalist Soft Apocalypse follows the journey across the Southeast of a tribe of formerly middle class Americans as they struggle to find a place for themselves and their children in a new, dangerous world that still carries the ghostly echoes of their previous lives.

The $1.99 price is available for today only, so grab it now if you want it.

Coming Soon: LESS THAN HERO by S.G. Browne

Here’s the cover and synopsis for the upcoming superhero novel Less Than Hero by S.G. Browne.

Here’s the synopsis:
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Table of Contents: STRAEON #1 Edited by M. David Blake

Here is the table of contents for the premiere issue of the new quarterly magazine STRAEON:

Here’s the book description:

From the creator of the acclaimed Campbellian Anthology series comes STRAEON: a new quarterly exploration of stories that are longer, more complex, more mature, and more challenging than the norm. If you’re looking for space unicorns, sexy vampires, or short comedies that end in bad puns, you won’t find that here.

But if conventional genre stories don’t quite fit you—if you aren’t comfortable with the genre you’ve been wearing, or have grown too comfortable with the way it hangs upon your frame— if you sometimes wonder why you never see stories that speak to who you are, and are looking for fiction that is new, different, and not entirely safe…

Maybe you should try on STRAEON.

Here’s the table of contents…
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Free SF, Fantasy and Horror Fiction for 12/17/2014

Got a hot Free Fiction Tip? Tell me here

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What’s Special About Today’s Free Fiction?

  1. @Baen: “The night don’t seem so lonely” by Sharon Lee
  2. Fantasy Scroll Magazine #4 – December 2014
  3. @Terraform: “One Day, I Will Die on Mars” by Paul Ford

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Coming Soon: DREAMS OF SHREDS AND TATTERS by Amanda Downum

Here’s the cover and synopsis for the upcoming Lovecraftian urban fantasy novel Dreams of Shreds and Tatters by Amanda Downum.

Here’s the synopsis:
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