Kill the Farm Boy is the literary love child of Delilah S. Dawson and Kevin Hearne, who partnered up to create a fantastical, trope-skewering romp of a Pratchett-esque novel. That was a lot of words, but I promise they’re all accurate. Within the pages of Kill the Farm Boy, readers will find plenty of laughter and an abundance of interesting fairy tale problems, ranging from botched adventures to a nice-guy troll to a sand witch whose wand is the prettiest thing on the beach. Even when you think you’ve finally grasped their mischievous style, Dawson and Hearne surprise you again and again with unique villains and intense violence. A tale of the hero’s journey it may be, but the journey itself is not typical in the slightest. This book almost feels like a D&D campaign with a ridiculously imaginative DM and a fantastic group of players, and that’s the opposite of a bad thing. [Read more…]
Jade Mere’s debut work with Dreamspinner Press, The Architect and the Castle of Glass, takes readers on an adventure to a strange castle in a distant land, where the main character, Tahki, is faced with the greatest architectural challenge of his life, that may or may not lead him to love. A high fantasy novel with touches of steampunk that mix with fascinating class systems, The Architect and the Castle of Glass is a coming-of-age tale that follows a troubled path. And while it may not be a complete stunner, it’s a comfortable novel that has some great themes and a solid ending. [Read more…]
An adventure in the style of The Man From U.N.C.L.E, with a touch of paranormal and a healthy dose of easy sexuality, Song and Key is a fun romp through the countryside of Romania, following two secret agents on their mission to do their boss a favor. Alix Bekins and Connie Bailey partner up to write a classic secret-agents-on-a-mission book, easily read in a single afternoon.
Song and Key is a mash-up of the contemporary and paranormal, with romance and a dash of mystery to please every fan. It does take advantage of a few too many tropes, but the agents that are the book’s namesake make for a dynamic duo who fill the pages with friendly barbs as they fight for the top spot in their secret agency, the Global Law Enforcement Network (GLEN, for short). Keller Key is a cocky, self-identified pansexual with the best record in the agency. Sevastyan “Seva” Song is half-Ukranian, half-Korean, and is determined to take Key’s spot out from under him. The two are forced to partner up and head to Romania to investigate a suspicious death, and they soon become wrapped up in the local superstitions surrounding the local, ancient forest and a long-abandoned abbey. But not everything is as it seems—there are darker, more human forces afoot, even as they battle with the paranormal and their attraction to each other. [Read more…]
Dakota Chase continues her young adult series, Repeating History, with Hammer of the Witch, returning to a contemporary world featuring magical, time-traveling shenanigans surrounding two teenagers.
To recap: In the first novel, The Eye of Ra, we met up with Aston and Grant at an unfortunate time in their lives. After a visit to juvenile court both boys are sentenced to a year at the Stanton Boys School, where their shenanigans intertwine after an incident in their history teacher’s office (which they manage to set fire to, destroying several priceless artifacts housed within). And it just so happens that their history teacher is the esteemed wizard Merlin. He-who-ran-with-King-Arthur, Merlin. Why the man would want to teach high schoolers is beyond me, but maybe he enjoys it. Aston and Grant have never been in this much trouble before, but an unlikely solution is found when they are tasked with going back in time and retrieving some of these artifacts for Merlin. In the first book Aston and Grant traveled back to Ancient Egypt in the times of King Tut, but the second book sends them back to medieval Europe, in the midst of the witch hunts.
Emily B. Martin’s trilogy of queens comes to an end with Creatures of Light, a breathtaking finale that ties up loose ends and left me aching for more even as I celebrated such a glorious end.
I call this series a trilogy of queens because each book is written from the perspective of a different, strong woman. In Woodwalker, we followed ranger Mae on her journey to reclaim her place in her home country. In Ashes to Fire, we watched Mona fight to keep her country free from their former conquerors. And in Creatures of Light, Gemma risks everything to preserve her dreams for her own country even as her country condemns her actions. [Read more…]
My joy is a cycle. I run through a thing until I’m sick of it, then I circle back to it after a little bit of time has passed and forget that I was ever sick of it at all. I never really let go of anything, which means that you might find me sticking around longer than you’d thought — whether that applies to a TV show or a well-loved book or even a podcast like this one. I find that there is never one thing that is giving me more joy than others, so I couldn’t pick just one thing. I did manage to narrow it down to four, but there were some tough choices (and a few dice rolls) involved.
I rediscovered my love of crafting in 2017, specifically with something my mother taught me in my early teen years (when I lacked the patience for this particular craft’s time commitment). You could probably still find my lackluster attempts at cross stitch somewhere in a box tucked away in the depths of the attic of my childhood home, but never mind the dusty corners. I recently bought about a dozen patterns, and most of my friends are now expecting Christmas gifts. They probably won’t receive them until April, but I’m doing my best! Repetitive stitches make the hours fly by, and give my hands something to do while I’m enjoying the next thing on my list. [Read more…]
Benjanun Sriduangkaew creates a fascinating and very loose retelling of The Snow Queen folktale with Winterglass, a high fantasy novella that infuses steampunk technology and an interesting form of magic. With gorgeous prose and a refreshing perspective on fantasy in general, Sriduangkaew’s unique take on a classic tale creates a captivating narrative with twists, turns, and deadly secrets. Sriduangkaew’s own-voices retelling features an entirely POC cast and lots of queer rep, set in Southeast Asia. It’s a relatively quick read, and I spent a very enjoyable afternoon in the world of ice and intrigue.
We follow the narrative through two points of view, giving us a deeper look at the complicated and twisted workings of an intriguing world. Sriduangkaew balances the narrative across the different sides, leaving readers an interesting perspective on a world wrapped in ice. The narrative itself relies on a concept of a world in the process of being conquered by a deadly force, a queen who desires to be whole.
New Reality by Jessica Payseur is a sweet and sensual gay romance that warms the heart. It’s a relatively fast read at just under 50 pages, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I’d classify this novella as more of a romance that is sci-fi adjacent, but I enjoyed reading it for the characters and their love story. With well-timed tension and a slight danger factor (this is mostly in space, after all), Payseur sets the stakes in her universe and follows through with them. Her character-driven love story with a squee-worthy ending is worth a read. It is NSFW at times, so you may want to be wary of anyone reading over your shoulder.
This is the story of Connell, a tired courier of slightly less-than-legal goods, drifting across the stars alone after the sudden death of his former partner in smuggling and in bed, left bereft and abandoned in the middle of a world he’s not sure he wants to fit into anymore. On his journey across the stars, picking up the odd job and the odd man, he somehow connects with a mysterious man through their seemingly shared dreams. Wystan Kreeger has been stranded on a distant planet for seventeen years, trapped with no possibility of escape. Their shared dreams send Connell on the haul of a lifetime: a lover, a planet, and a happiness that neither man could have ever predicted. [Read more…]
Valhalla, written by Ari Bach, is dark, gritty, dangerous, and subtly representative. Bach unpacks his new world, layering loud violence, subtle queer identities, and a disturbing dystopian premise that promises an interesting alternative. Valhalla pushes the boundaries of science fiction to make you question the lines drawn between dystopian governments, outside companies, and the people who make up the world those entities control, and sets up the foundation for a strong trilogy that centers around a queer female protagonist.
Violet MacRae is our wonderfully violent narrator, living in the year 2230, when war is obsolete and most everyone knows their place. With her propensity for violence and her less than spectacular intelligence, Violet doesn’t fit in, and doesn’t want to. Faced with uncertainty about her immediate future, and ostracized from the only place in polite society that she had even a slight chance of fitting into, Violet returns to an empty home and is subsequently snatched up by Valhalla. That is a secret military-esque organization that keeps the outer world in line with their unique methods, and there, Violet finds a real home. But Valhalla and her new friends are in danger, and Violet finds her new skills are stretched to the limit as she defends her safe haven from genetically enhanced criminals. [Read more…]
Hello everyone! I’m Becca, the new intern for Skiffy & Fanty! Long story short, I’m ecstatic to be a part of this amazing community and to lend my own voice to it. I’m happy to announce that I’ll be writing a few articles about the LGBT+ community within science-fiction and fantasy, and it starts here!
A significant aspect of these articles is the use of the word “queer,” which has been debated for years within the community. For me, reclaiming the word has been an important part of my own identity, and is one way I can describe myself and others in this context without fear. Here at the Skiffy and Fanty Show, we’re on our own journey to represent all of the wonderful people in the LGBT+ community, and we feel that using “queer” as an identifier is a more inclusive and supportive way to do so. Check out this article from Pride.com for more information! [Read more…]