Recent Ecological Science Fiction

Over at the Kirkus Reviews blog, I take a look at a small handful of recent science fiction (or sf-related) books that deal with ecological themes…

Go read Recent Ecological Fiction at Kirkus Reviews…

This Summer, readers are once again reminded that Stephen King is one of the most popular authors of our time. If you haven’t seen his new book, Mr. Mercedes, on bookstore shelves, you are either not paying attention or not going to the bookstore. Meanwhile, television viewers are enjoying the second season of Under the Dome, the adaptation of his 2009 novel of the same name.

Head on over to Kirkus Reviews to read Part 2 of The Stephen King Edition of Book-to-TV/Film Adaptations, in which I cover the short fiction adaptations!

Hollywood Still Loves Stephen King

It’s probably obvious that prolific bestselling authors have a greater chance of seeing their work adapted for television and film. And you probably know that prolific author Stephen King has already had a large handful of his novels and stories adapted. What you might not guess is that that particular well has not yet run dry and even when it does, Hollywood is perfectly content with producing second adaptations of the horror-masters work. This is evidenced by this latest roundup of speculative fiction adaptations, which focuses on upcoming films based on the works of Stephen King.

Head on over to Kirkus Reviews to read Read Them Now, Watch Them Later: Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror Adaptation Watch – The Stephen King Edition!

For years, I’ve had friends tell me that I should be reading Octavia Butler’s works, especially Kindred. I actually own a copy, and it’s been sitting on my shelves for years, waiting for me to pick it up. When it came to the point where I’d start writing about the 1970s, it was pretty clear that Butler would be one of the authors that I’d be covering, and I picked up the book as part of my research. She’s a powerful author, and I’m a little sad that I didn’t read the book earlier. Researching Butler’s life is fascinating, and it’s becoming clear to me that some of the genre’s most important works emerge from outside of it’s walls.

Go read Octavia E. Butler: Expanding Science Fiction’s Horizons over on Kirkus Reviews.

Head on over to Kirkus Reviews to to see my picks for the The Best Speculative Fiction Reads in July!


Ringworld is a novel that’s always stuck with me. I picked it up alongside authors such as Isaac Asimov, Frank Herbert, Robert Heinlein, and other authors from that point in time. Foundation and Dune are two books that are among my favorites, but Ringworld has long been the best of the lot. It’s vivid, funny, exciting and so forth. Reading it again recently in preparation for this column, I was astounded at how well it’s held up (as opposed to Foundation) in the years since it’s publication, and I can’t wait to read it again.

Go read Larry Niven’s Ringworld and Known Space Stories  over on Kirkus Reviews.

Over at Kirkus Reviews this week, I take readers for a ride on the Science Fiction & Fantasy Merry-Go-Round, wherein I look at recent sf/f/h book releases…

Check out Science Fiction & Fantasy Merry-Go-Round!!

Over at Kirkus Reviews this week, I talk about the latest science fiction, fantasy and horror book adaptations coming your way.

Check out the latest Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror Adaptation Watch!

The Latest SF-F-H Mashups

Book mashups are the literary equivalent of Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups — they bring together two tasty sub-genres that taste great together.

Over at the Kirkus Reviews blog this week, I take a look at The Latest SF-F-H Mashups.

Check it out!

Andre Norton’s YA novels

When I worked at a bookstore (the now defunct Walden Books), I had a co-worker that loved Andre Norton. I’d never read any of her books throughout High School, although I was certainly familiar with her name. I wish now that I did.

Norton wrote largely for what we now call the YA audience: teenagers, with fantastical adventures throughout numerous worlds and times. She was also largely ignored or dismissed for writing ‘children’s literature’, which is a shame, because it’s likely that she had as great an influence on the shape of the modern genre as Robert Heinlein, who’s Juvenile novels attracted millions of fans to new worlds. Norton was the same, and influenced countless readers and writers for decades. It’s fitting that the major SF award for YA fiction is titled The Andre Norton Award for Young Adult Science Fiction and Fantasy.

Go read Andre Norton’s YA novels over on the Kirkus Reviews Blog.

Over at the Kirkus Reviews blog this week, I take a lok at The Best Speculative Fiction Reads for June.

Do they match your picks? Find out!

Over at the Kirkus Reviews blog this week, I interviewed Jeff VanderMeer, author of the Southern Reach trilogy….

Check it out!

L. Frank Baum’s Wonderful Land of Oz

I defy you to find someone who doesn’t know the story of The Wizard of Oz. It’s an enormously popular story, so ingrained into our popular culture world that statements such as ‘We’re not in Kansas anymore’ need no reference. Oz is on par with stories from Bram Stoker and Mary Shelley – we know what happens without even reading the works. As such, it’s good to go back and take a look at their place in SF’s canon, because they are very influential, and it’s easy to see why: they’re fantastic, eminently readable stories that hold up with their sense of wonder.

Recently, I attended ICFA down in Orlando Florida, where I had dinner with a couple of authors, notably Ted Chaing. We had gotten on the topic of robotics, and he mentioned that Tik Tok from Ozma of Oz could be considered one of the first robots in SF. It’s certainly an early appearance of a robot, and with that in mind, it’s interesting to see how much of Oz prefigured some of the modern SF genre.

Go read L. Frank Baum’s Wonderful Land of Oz over on the Kirkus Reviews Blog.

Women in Spaaace! (Part 2)

Over at Kirkus Reviews this week, I look a second science fiction books that put women in space — this one focusing on military sf

Check out Women in Space (Part 2) over at the Kirkus Reviews blog.

Women…in Spaaace!

Over at Kirkus Reviews this week, I look at science fiction books that put women in space.

Check out Women in Space over at the Kirkus Reviews blog.

The Science Fiction Hall of Fame anthologies have a curious history, and never would have come about but for the creation of the Science Fiction Writers of America (SFWA) and some of their financial troubles. For those interested in science fiction history, the focus of the books are a nice match: the first three volumes were explicitly put together with the idea of charting the evolution of the genre. While they’re incomplete (two women in the entire book – I’m really sad that there wasn’t a Moore Northwest Smith story in there, or anything by Francis Stevens) by modern standards, it’s pretty much the entire Golden Age of SF in a single book. In and of themselves, they are a historical curiosity, and an interesting read altogether – a lot of the stories still hold up nicely.

Go read SFWA and the ‘Science Fiction Hall of Fame’ Anthologies over on Kirkus Reviews.

Over at Kirkus Reviews this week, I look att he latest science fiction, fantasy and horror book adaptations. Check out the latest Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror Adaptation Watch!

Over on the Kirkus Reviews Blog today, I take a look at Paizo and Dynamite’s Comic Collection: Pathfinder Volume 1: Dark Waters Rising.

From the post:

With an introduction by Paizo Publisher Erik Mona, Pathfinder Volume 1: Dark Waters Rising, launches the legendary heroes of Paizo’s role playing game system, Pathfinder Tales, into the comic book format with a bang. Utilizing the classic group of adventurers trope, Dark Waters Rising brings together the warrior, Valeros, sorceress Seoni, wizard Ezren, elven rogue Merisiel, dwarven ranger Harsk and cleric Kyra, to protect the town of Sandpoint from a growing Goblin infestation.  Set in the world of Golarion, the book captures the Pathfinder setting quite nicely, painting a diverse and rich world full of mysteries to be solved and gold to be earned – if you’re brave of heart. All the things you would expect are here, including Goblins, evil sorcerers, quests, taverns (and tavern brawls), underground labyrinths, giant spiders, magic, and adventure. Lots of adventure.

Interested? You should be! But to read the rest of the review, you’re gonna have to click on over to the Kirkus Blog and send me cookies.  Lots and lots of cookies… (no bagels!)

The Best Speculative Fiction Reads for May 2014

Over at Kirkus Reviews this week, I name my picks for the Best Speculative Fiction Reads for the month.

Check it out!

Anne McCaffrey’s Dragons

I’ve had a passing fascination with McCaffrey’s books over the years, even as I never really dabbled in them. (I owned one book, Dragonflight, years ago.) I was always somewhat intimidated by the sheer size and scale of the series, and I was always more interested in SF than I was Fantasy (although now, I realize that that was a bit misguided.) Anne McCaffrey was always an author I was aware of: one of the female authors alongside the Asimovs, Herberts and Heinleins in my high school library.

Yet, in recent years, as I’ve been researching, I’ve become aware that McCaffrey has occupied an important role in the genre: she’s an extremely successful female author, but she also writes in such a way (and is marketed as such) that she’s an excellent gateway into the SF world for a huge range of readers.

Go read Anne McCaffrey’s Dragons over on Kirkus Reviews.

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