A mysterious ruin in a dangerous wood. A fateful expedition. A strained relationship, ancient secrets & tensions. Wothwood by Natania Barron, part of the Broken Cities series of stories, brings a lean and mean novella sensibility to a secondary world quest fantasy with a lot of character and worldbuilding on offer. Continue reading
Today instead of a review from me, we have a guest post by Aliette de Bodard. Her second Dominion of the Fallen novel, The House of Binding Thorns, is now out, and you will see a review of it from me here soon. In the meantime, Aliette has some words to say about Characters: Continue reading →
Known for her Regency-era fantasy series for middle-grade readers that began with A Most Improper Magick (published as Kat, Incorrigible in the US), Stephanie Burgis’ debut novel for adults, Masks and Shadows, similarly combined romanticism with the fantastic. Her sophomore novel, released at the end of 2016 by Pyr, continues this formula. Well paced and passionately infused with historical details and characters, Congress of Secrets will appeal to readers who enjoy a touch of magical darkness balancing Austenesque romance and historical intrigue. Continue reading →
In an alternate 1850s era, the British Empire is flourishing as vitally as it did in our timeline, but from different base causes. Instead of the power of the Industrial Revolution providing the motive power for Monarch and country, the Royal Society of Esoteric Arts provides the competitive advantage for Great Britain to stand astride the world. But this society of magicians is a merciless one, taking every person with magical talent, whether they like it or not. Charlotte Gunn seeks to aid her family from financial disaster that her father is in by making sure that her brother’s talents are seen and compensated for. Oh, and in so doing, hiding her own deep, dark secret from the Royal Society: Charlotte, you see, is a mage too.
Charlotte, and her world, come to life in the Tor.com novella Brother’s Ruin by Emma Newman. Continue reading →
A Princess seeking to escape the circumscribed nature of her life and the path set out for her. A Prince who strives to protect his land against an invasion and threat his small country has no capacity to stop. A tyrannical King whose plots and plans overwhelm them all. And a mysterious mountain of knowledge and power that is the key to all of them. It sounds on the face to be a standard fantasy setup with characters out of stock central fantasy casting that could be listed in Diana Wynne Jones’ THE TOUGH GUIDE TO FANTASYLAND.
You can probably even predict how this sort of set up will go, on the old straight track. Prince saves the day, Princess is plucky, Father dies heroically and repents and recants on his deathbed, paving way for Prince to be the better successor. Simple and straightforward character beats and maybe if one is lucky, some character growth for Prince and Princess too. However, The Mountain of Kept Memory by Rachel Neumeier avoids those well trod paths that might go with that sort of fantasy setup, and has a focus, tone and through line that is rather different and rather special. Continue reading →
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2017 Skiffy & Fanty Episodes
- Signal Boost #1: George Sandison (2084) and Alexandra Pierce (Luminescent Threads: Connections to Octavia Butler)
- 320. Alex Wells/Acks (a.k.a. Social Justice Biker Witch) — Hunger Makes the Wolf (An Interview)
- 319. The Core (2003) -- A Torture Cinema "Adventure"
- 318. Catherine Lundoff (a.k.a. The Fantastic Wolf) -- An Interview (Out of This World)
- 317. Disability in SF/F -- A Discussion w/ Sarah Chorn and Elsa Sjunneson-Henry
- 316. Fantastic Four (2005) -- A Torture Cinema "Adventure"
- 315. Foz Meadows (a.k.a. The Portalist) — An Accident of Stars (An Interview)
- 314. Djibril al-Ayad (a.k.a. The Editor on Fire) — Problem Daughters (An Interview)
- 313. Looking Back, Moving Forward: Anticipating 2017