Flash Fiction: a complete story
in one thousand or fewer words.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Review of Flash Fiction Online

Sam Tamaino at SFRevu has reviewed Flash Fiction Online's April 2010 issue available here. Other than taking offense at a New Jersey slam in one of the stories (no, he took it with good wit), he liked FFO's April foolery. By the way, Sam, the editor-in-chief of Flash Fiction Online is a NJ resident.

The April issue had stories by Daniel José Older, Caroline M. Yoachim, and Andrew Gudgel, plus a classic story and Bruce Holland Rogers' Short-Short Sighted column.

Sam also reviewed recent editions of Analog Science Fiction and Fact, Apex Magazine, Asimov's Science Fiction, the first issue of Bull Spec, Greatest Uncommon Denominator (GUD), Jim Baen's Universe, Kaleidotrope, and The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction.

Thanks, Sam.


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Thursday, April 1, 2010

Review of Flash Fiction Online

Sam Tomaino at SFRevu has generously reviewed the March issue of Flash Fiction Online in his Zines, Magazines, and Short Fiction Review column. The March issue of FFO has stories by Daniel José Older, Caroline M. Yoachim, and Andrew Gudgel, plus a classic story and Bruce Holland Rogers' Short-Short Sighted column.

You can find the March issue of Flash Fiction Online here: before/after the April issue is published.
Daniel José Older's "Midnight Mambo" seemed to be Sam's front runner,

Sam has also reviewed other magazines, including Analog Science Fiction and Fact, Apex Magazine, Asimov's Science Fiction, Interzone, Night Chills, Nth Zine, and Space and Time.


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Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Review of Flash Fiction Online

Sam Tomaino at SFRevu has a review of the Feb. 2010 edition of Flash Fiction Online. This month, he seemed to favor "Six Reasons Why My Sister Hates Me":

The narrator of Aimee C. Amodio's story details "Six Reasons Why My Sister Hates Me" and helps draw a picture of their relationship and the world they live in. It was quite good.

You can see this edition of FFO here.

Sam also reviews Abyss & Apex, Apex Magazine, Black Static, Jim Baen's Universe (penultimate issue), Outer Reaches, and The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction.

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Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Review of Flash Fiction Online

Sam Tamiano at SFRevu has reviewed Flash Fiction Online's January 2010 edition. He liked "Caltrops" by Tim Pratt and "Hungry" by Tree Reisner. He seemed to especially like Ken Pisani's "Last Bites":

"Last Bites" by Ken Pisani takes place at a funeral parlor and begins with a boy biting off his dead uncle's nose and saying it tastes like chocolate. Soon, it becomes apparent that all the deceased are edible and tasty. This was an absolutely delicious story with a very amusing ending.

The staff at Flash Fiction Online had quite a lively discussion about that story. All three stories plus Bruce Holland Rogers' writing column can be seen here.

Sam has more reviews of speculative fiction magazines, including:

  • Analog Science Fiction and Fact
  • Apex Magazine
  • Asimov's Science Fiction
  • Black Static
  • Electric Velocipede
  • Encounters Magazine (first issue)
  • Interzone
  • Jupiter
  • Realms (first issue)



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Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Review of Flash Fiction Online

Sam Tomaino at SF Revu has a review of recent short fiction, including a review of the December 2009 issue of Flash Fiction Online. That FFO issue is here. Thanks, Sam.

Sam also has reviews of Apex Magazine, the Thoughtcrime Experiments anthology (in which Yours Truly has a story), Jim Baen's Universe (one of the final issues of that great magazine), Shimmer, and The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction.

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Saturday, January 2, 2010

Publishing News and Speculative Knights

SFWA reports that the Internet Review of Science Fiction will cease publication. This was a very active source of speculative fiction reviews and will be missed. It was one source of industry news relied on for this blog.

The editor of another important speculative fiction news source, Ian Randal Strock of SFScope, will become a publishing editor for Fantastic Books. SFScope will continue operating as usual.

SFScope and others report upcoming honorary knighthoods for several actors and writers associated with speculative fiction works, including actor Patrick Steward (OBE, Knight Bachelor), actress Margaret Maud Tyzack (OBE), writer/translator Anthea Bell (OBE), and children's writer Ronald Gordon (Dick) King-Smith (OBE). In addition New Zealand filmmaker Peter Jackson will receive an honorary knighthood.

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Saturday, December 26, 2009

Avatar: Pico Review

If all you want is a fresh plot and deeply drawn characters, Avatar is not the movie for you. (Ha.) But if it is a three-hour fest of freshly conceived, stunning visuals that you seek, you can hardly do better.

Premise: a paraplegic ex-marine, Jack Sully (Sam Worthington) is mind-controlling a hybrid human/native (Avatar) of the planet Pandora to help influence the natives to relocate from their mineral-rich location...or else.

The natives of Pandora (the Na'vi) live in a world with an embarrassment of riches of flora and fauna. The Na'vi are the predominate species, giant and willowy by human standards, and live among floating mountains and phosphorescent forests, in harmony with all living things, including the planet Herself. This, of course, cannot go on with stock good and evil human characters wanting their minerals.

Looking at this movie as a visual, rather than a storytelling effort, my main criticism would be that the Na'vi are always shown in huge, adult gatherings (including the big battle in the finale) or in flying beast-taming, ritualistic quests. They are interesting folk, but their family life is absent. Na'vi children make a couple of passing appearances only. I think the film would have been far richer to have spent fifteen minutes out of the three hours on Na'vi family life. That aside, the money was worth the price of admission on the visuals alone.

Spoiler: don't worry; you'll have the story figured out within ten minutes of the start of the movie. You've already figured out the basic story from the premise, right? If you've seen films like Medicine Man, you won't experience any shocking turns and twists.

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Wednesday, December 16, 2009

The Gruesome, The Horrible, The Fairy Tales

Flash Fiction Online receives retellings of fairy tales regularly in its submissions digital slush pile. The LA Times has an interesting review of The Complete Fairy Tales by Charles Perrault. One of the key ideas from the review is that adults often forget how gruesome the stories are and wonder why children love them. The article author, Jamie James, says that children are intrigued by the what-happens-next aspect of the stories, and are looking for reassurance that it will turn out okay. Modern children have a similar experience through cartoons, but in the past, children saw the gruesome stories as a possibility.

With illustrations by Gustave Dore, this edition shows how the gruesome worlds of fairy tales actually give us a glimpse into the harsh realities of another era.

See the review of The Complete Fairy Tales by Charles Perrault for more about this edition and a history of fairy tales.

Bruce Holland Rogers wrote an article about fairy tales in his Short-Short Sighted column at Flash Fiction Online, which used this story as an example.

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Tuesday, November 3, 2009

SFRevu Review of Flash Fiction Online

SFRevu has a review of the October 2009 Flash Fiction Online edition. The FFO October edition will be here until the November issue is published; then it will be here.

Here is what review Sam Tamaino had to say about "Death Babies," one of the flash fiction stories in that addition:

"Death Babies" by S. Craig Renfroe, Jr is a chilling tale about a town besieged by what they call death babies. Death babies appear after someone has been dead and buried. They look much like regular babies except they have leathery skin. If you show one any affection, it will latch on to you and never let go, as one woman finds out. A well-done little nasty for Halloween!

Sam also reviewed these publications:

  • Abyss & Apex Issue 32: 4th Quarter 2009
  • Interzone - Issue #224
  • Jim Baen's Universe October 2009
  • Kaleidotrope – Issue 7 - October 2009
  • New Genre - Summer 2009 - Volume i Number VI
  • The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction December 2009

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Monday, October 26, 2009

Review of Flash Fiction Online, Aug. & Sept. 2009

Our friends at SFRevu had taken a month off for their review of short fiction. I missed that Sam Tomaino had juxtaposed two reviews of FFO. Sorry! He has a review of the Aug. 2009 Flash Fiction Online and a review of the Sept. 2009 Flash Fiction Online .

Those Flash Fiction Online issues are found here: Aug. 2009 and Sept. 2009.

Sam has also other reviews of short fiction:

  • Analog Science Fiction and Fact for December and November 2009
  • Asimov's Science Fiction for October/November 2009
  • Black Static Twelve for August/September 2009
  • Jim Baen's Universe for August 2009
  • Murky Depths #9 for 24 September 2009
  • The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction for October/November 2009

You'll also find book reviews of UK and US fiction at their SFRevu home page.

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Friday, September 25, 2009

Best Science Fiction Stories

Thanks to Rusty for recommending two of our stories on Best Science Fiction Stories!

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Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Dan Brown's The Lost Symbol

Yes, Virginia, of course there are puzzles to be solved. And there are Egyptians and Scottish Rite Freemasons and other ancient lore...this time in America.

This muted comment, from the L.A. Times reviewer, seems to be a common thread in generally positive reviews of Dan Brown's The Lost Symbol, the long-awaited sequel to The Da Vinci Code:

...And yet, it's hard to imagine anyone, after reading "The Lost Symbol," debating about Freemasonry in Washington, D.C., the way people did Brown's radical vision of Jesus and Mary Magdalene in "Code." That book hit a deep cultural nerve for obvious reasons; "The Lost Symbol" is more like the experience on any roller coaster -- thrilling, entertaining and then it's over.

Here is Mr. review of Dan Brown's The Lost Symbol.

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Thursday, September 10, 2009

Review of Short Fiction--September 2009

Internet Review of Science Fiction has their review of short fiction up now for September, which, depending on the periodicals' publication schedules, ranges from August to November. This month, they've reviewed a mixture of print and online magazines:

  • F&SF, October-November 2009
  • Asimov's, September 2009
  • Analog, November 2009
  • Jim Baen's Universe, August 2009 (online)
  • Clarkesworld, August 2009 (online)
  • Strange Horizons, August 2009 (online)
  • Fantasy Magazine, August 2009 (online)
  • Beneath Ceaseless Skies, August 2009 (online)
  • Apex Magazine, August 2009 (online)
  • Abyss & Apex, Third Quarter 2009 (online)

Our friends at SFRevu are taking the month off for short fiction review.

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T.S. Eliot and Mickey Mouse in Same Sentence?

T.S. Eliot and Mickey Mouse in the same sentence? Yes, if you order the new, 1100 page New Literary History of America, from Harvard University Press. The reviewer at Boston.com (associated with The Boston Globe) had difficulty finding a one-sentence description for the work. It's not his fault; it apparently defies such a description. It has over 200 essays, and includes many mash-ups. Says the reviewer, Alex Beam:

So what’s here? It’s all about counterintuitive pairings: T.S. Eliot and Mickey Mouse; Harry Truman and Vladimir Nabokov; “Henry James finds himself in bed with Edgar Rice Burroughs,’’ Marcus and Sollors promise, to which one can only say: Wow, I’d like to see that.

Despite its girth, the book is about $50, so you should be able to tolerate some eclecticism and still have good bang for your buck. Here is Harvard University's web page on New Literary History of America.


Bonus! At the time of publication of this post, there was a sidebar link in the article to some amazing Hubble Telescope photos (requires Adobe Flash).

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Friday, August 14, 2009

Do SF and Romance Mix? (The Time Traveler's Wife)

The best-selling first novel by Audrey Niffenegger, The Time Traveler's Wife, is now a movie. The screenplay was written by the writer of Ghost, which the reviewer uses to prove that romance and SF can be compatible. (I'd quibble that Ghost, an excellent movie, was clearly a fantasy rather than a SF story.) The reviewer also argues that TTTW is not SF since the time travel mechanism is given short shrift. I think this is true, but was a strength of the novel. The new author wisely did not get wrapped around the axle with physics; the story was self-sustaining without it. Nevertheless, the reviewer finds the screen adaptation worthy, but not perfect. Here is the review of The Time Traveler's Wife via Sci Fi Wire.

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Wednesday, August 12, 2009

District 9 the Next Great SF Film?

What are the great science fiction movies of all times? Surely no two people who cared would completely agree, but the National Post (online) borrowed two opinions, the top 10 from one source and the top 100 from another. National Post feels that District 9 may belong in or near the top ten of all time, and bolster that opinion with other previewers. The top ten includes films such as Blade Runner, The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951), and 2001: A Space Odyssey. Here is the National Post's article on District 9, due out this week. Here is more on the movie, courtesy of Wikipedia.

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Saturday, August 1, 2009

SFRevu.com Review of Flash Fiction Online

SFRevu's short fiction reviewer, Sam Tomaino, has reviewed the July 2009 issue of FFO, which should have this link after the August issue is published; otherwise, it is the current issue.

This issue had a theme of love. Sam had a favorable impression of the stories. This seemed to be his favorite:

T.C. Powell’s "Through the Window" is centered on Maggie, who is sitting with two friends, discussing the infidelities and other faults of men they’ve know. She is watching something outside and decides to take action. Not any genre content here, but a very good story!

Sam also reviews the latest editions of Abyss & Apex, Analog Science Fiction and Fact, Asimov's Science Fiction, Interzone, Jupiter XXV: Erinome, Lady Churchill's Rosebud Wristlet, Space and Time, and Talebones.

In a recent post, we mentioned SFRevu's review of recent speculative fiction books.

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Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Review of Recent Speculative Fiction Books

SFRevu.com has about 30 recent speculative fiction books concisely reviewed (and many more in their archives). The three most recent are:

  • A Kiss in Time by Alex Flinn
  • Agent to the Stars by John Scalzi
  • Best Served Cold by Joe Abercrombie

These are from their U.S. book list of reviews. The also have UK books and graphic novel/Manga reviews.

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Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Review of Flash Fiction Online at SF Revu

Sam Tomaino at SF Revu has a review of the June 2009 issue of FFO, which should have this link after the June issue is published, otherwise, it is the current issue.

Sam was complimentary of all of the June stories, especially this one:

"Branwen’s Revenge" by Sarah Adams is a retelling of the old collection of Welsh myths called The Mabinogion. Branwen had been married off to a king who did not appreciate her. He made her a scullery maid and abuses her. Every day she sings to the mockingbird "Alas for Branwen the White, who suffers every day!" Will her brother hear her call? This was a beautifully written piece.

Sam also reviews the most recent editions of Analog Science Fiction and Fact (Sept.), Asimov's Science Fiction (August), Black Static Eleven (June/July), Greatest Uncommon Denominator Magazine (Spring), Jim Baen’s Universe (June), Sybil's Garage (#6, May), and The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction (August/September) .

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Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Science Fiction/Fantasy Book Reviews

The SF Site has the following SF/F book reviews for June 2009:

  • The Women of Nell Gwynne's by Kage Baker
  • Shambling Towards Hiroshima by James Morrow
  • Xenopath by Eric Brown
  • Star Wars: Luke Skywalker and the Shadows of Mindor by Matthew Stover
  • Blood and Ice by Robert Masello
  • Cyberabad Days by Ian McDonald
  • The Pretender's Crown by C.E. Murphy
  • Fast Forward 2 edited by Lou Anders
  • The Caryatids by Bruce Sterling

If you look after the July 2009 issue is published, look here for the June and other issues.

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Sunday, June 7, 2009

Mark Twain Assassinates James Fenimore Cooper

You can say a lot about Mark Twain, but you can't say he doesn't have an opinion. Here is a literary assassination in Twain's Fenimore Cooper's Literary Offenses. As you would expect of Twain, it is full of wit and fun to read in its own right, but it has little mercy for Cooper. A few quotes:

Twain lists the offenses, but here is the lead-in:

There are nineteen rules governing literary art in domain of romantic fiction -- some say twenty-two. In "Deerslayer," Cooper violated eighteen of them.

Bless you[r] heart, Cooper hadn't any more invention than a horse; and don't mean a high-class horse, either; I mean a clothes-horse.

If Cooper had any real knowledge of Nature's ways of doing things, he had a most delicate art in concealing the fact. For instance: one of his acute Indian experts, Chingachgook (pronounced Chicago, I think), has lost the trail of a person he is tracking through the forest. Apparently that trail is hopelessly lost. Neither you nor I could ever have guessed the way to find it. It was very different with Chicago. Chicago was not stumped for long. He turned a running stream out of its course, and there, in the slush in its old bed, were that person's moccasin tracks. The current did not wash them away, as it would have done in all other like cases -- no, even the eternal laws of Nature have to vacate when Cooper wants to put up a delicate job of woodcraft on the reader.

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Saturday, June 6, 2009

Review of Short Fiction, June 2009

Internet Review of Science Fiction has short fiction reviews now of some major print and online speculative magazines, including Asimov's, Analog, Interzone, Clarkesworld, Fantasy Magazine, Apex Magazine, Strange Horizons, Abyss & Apex, Beneath Ceaseless Skies, and Heliotrope.

Oh, and some newcomer to speculative fiction, The New Yorker.

Some of the issues are monthly and others quarterly. Disclosure: Yours Truly has a story reviewed in the Abyss and Apex section.

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Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Review of Flash Fiction Online May 2009 Issue

Sam Tomaino at SF Revu has a review of the May 2009 issue of FFO, which should have this link after the June issue is published, otherwise, it is the current issue.

Sam's favorite story is "Billions of Stars":

"Billions of Stars" by KJ Kabza was the best story this month. Dom finds a planet that has fallen from the sky. If that's not strange enough, wait until you read the rest of the story. This one was very clever, indeed.

Sam also reviews the most recent editions of Analog Science Fiction and Fact, Interzone, Kaleidotrope, Murky Depths, Paradox - The Magazine of Historical and Speculative Fiction (perhaps Paradox's last issue), and Thrilling Wonder Stories.

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Friday, May 8, 2009

Star Trek Movie (2009)

A survey of review snippets provided by Rotten Tomatoes, a film review site, indicates that "Star Trek" (2009) has exceeded expectations. The snippets have links to the full reviews. My feel from these reviews and others is that the reviewers have not worried if trekkies will by offended by a new or missing this-or-that. The reviewers are not saying it is just an adequate me-too sequel. Some are calling it "great" or "moving," even.

Fast-moving, funny, exciting warp-speed entertainment and, heaven help me, even quite moving - the kind of film that shows that, like it or not, commercial cinema can still deliver a sledgehammer punch. It sure didn't feel like a trek to me. --Peter Bradshaw, Guardian (UK)

What is clear from many reviews is that the filmmakers, though they had the familiar characters, were not shackled to the past TV series or movies. The characters, due to a time shift, have different past histories and so can behave unexpectedly. They also are resigned to cope with the time change rather than somehow reversing it.

Here is a full review, as a reality check, from the curmudgeonly NYT.

Note bene: I haven't seen the film yet....

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Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Seuss vs Darwin

Here is a review of a book by Brian Boyd, "the world's leading authority on Vladimir Nabokov and an English professor at the University of Auckland," who is also a great admirer of Theodor Seuss Geisel, Dr. Seuss. Boyd wrote On the Origin of Stories: Evolution, Cognition, and Fiction (Harvard University Press), sixty pages of which was about Dr. Seuss's Horton character, about the same space allotted to Homer's Odyssey. The book applies the notion of evolution to literature on a large scale:

...storytelling carries with it crucial advantages for human survival. It sharpens our skills in human interaction ("social cognition" is the term Boyd uses). It encourages cooperation. It fosters creativity.

This is a bit of a review of a review, which is dodgy at best, but the reviewer discusses the book author's application of that long-term process to Dr. Seuss's life, the development of his art of writing and entertaining. It isn't clear what the context of this comparison is, but it doesn't persuade me (which is of little consequence of course). The review mentions Dr. Seuss's unceasing hard work to improve his craft using audience feedback. That is an intelligent process with nearly instant feedback by comparison. I don't really get the connection to the "dumb" process of evolution with mostly dead ends to such an immediate, creative process. However, if you love Dr. Seuss, you'll enjoy the article because of the high regard that Boyd holds for him.

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Saturday, May 2, 2009

SFRevu Reviews April Flash Fiction Online and Other Short Fiction

Our friends at SFRevu have a new batch of short fiction reviews up. It is only by coincidence that we first mention that they've reviewed the April issue of Flash Fiction Online [now, after May issue published].

SFRevu also has new reviews of print magazines, so you can spy before you buy. The print magazine reviews include Analog, Asimov's, Black Static, Jim Baen's Universe, Jupiter, Shimmer, Space and Time, and The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction.

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Friday, April 17, 2009

Five Star Literary Stories reviews "Strive to be Happy"

"Strive to be Happy" by David Tallerman is from our July 2008 issue. It's one of our Pushcart Prize nominees and a story that really worked for me -- one of the ones that has the most staying power in my flighty brain.

I'm honored that T.J. Forrester over at Five Star Literary Stories has accepted my nomination of it for a review. The reviewer is David Erlewine:
David Erlewine's stories appear or soon will in about 70 places, including Elimae, Ghoti, In Posse Review, Insolent Rudder, Keyhole (web), Literal Latte, Necessary Fiction (So New Media), Pank, Pedestal, and Word Riot. He lives near Annapolis and writes stories on the train and when his family sleeps. Visit him at his sad little blog.
We've been previously reviewed there with Stefanie Freele's James Brown is Alive and Doing Laundry in South Lake Tahoe; the reviewer in that case was Linera Lucas.

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Thursday, April 2, 2009

Review from SFRevu

I always like Sam Tomaino's reviews of Flash Fiction Online, and he's done it again for March. He also reviews other short SF/F fiction, so be sure to check him out. Thanks, Sam!

While you're there, check out the SFRevu take on Graphic Classic Volume 6, which features "Bitter Bierce". We've featured Ambrose Bierce once here (John Mortonson's Funeral) and will do it again -- he has an incredible, dark, rich sense of humor. The Graphic Classic volume provides new takes on his work, illustrated settings of his stories, and excerpts from The Devil's Dictionary. That by itself makes it worth the read.

There's more great stuff over there, of course. Check them out.

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Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Reviews of Four Ursula K. Le Guin Novels

We'll forgive Graham Sleight for his sleight national slander that U.S. book covers are "weird." We know that, Graham, but you didn't have to say it in public in front of God and everyone. Nevertheless, Mr. Sleight wrote an interesting review for Locus Magazine of four Ursula K. Le Guin novels, including The Left Hand of Darkness, The Lathe of Heaven, The Disposed, and Always Coming Home.

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Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Top Ten Literary One-Hit Wonders, 2nd Boons and 2nd Flops

Here is a trio of articles from Times Online (UK) listing the top ten one-hit literary wonders, the top ten second-novel hits, and top ten second-novel flops.

The one-hit wonders list includes Harper Lee (To Kill a Mockingbird) and Margaret Mitchell (Gone with the Wind). There are a couple of surprises in the list, for me anyway. The second-novel wonders list includes Britain's beloved Jane Austin (Pride and Prejudice) following Sense and Sensibility. The cursed second novels includes Joseph Heller (Something Happened) following Catch-22.

One fun part of this trio of articles is that original Times reviews or ads are provided for some novels including, for example, the first Times ad for Wuthering Heights in 1847 and a review for Gone with the Wind in 1936.

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Friday, March 13, 2009

Review of March Short Fiction

The Internet Review of Science Fiction has a treasure trove of short fiction review for March. Depending on the publications' schedules, the current edition may be reckoned Feb. or April-May. They review F&SF, Asimov's, Realms of Fantasy, Jim Baen's Universe, Clarkesworld, Strange Horizons, Fantasy Magazine, Lone Star Stories, Apex & Abyss, Apex Magazine, and Beneath Ceaseless Skies.

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Monday, February 16, 2009

Best SF/Fantasy Books in 2008

SF Site's Neil Walsh gives his picks here for the best Sci-Fi and fantasy books of 2008. I noticed that Neil Gaiman made the list with The Graveyard Book. He's been on a roll. We wrote about the movie rendition of Coraline. I watched Beowulf on DVD recently and noticed that Gaiman had written the original screenplay for that movie.

Let me check to see if Gaiman wrote the original novel....Nope. It was an epic poem of unknown authorship written in the 8-11th centuries. Let me check my calculator to see if Gaiman could have been the author....Nope, that would make him between 1000 and 1200 years old. There is no modern explanation for such an extended life. (It would explain a lot if he were, though.)

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Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Review of Coraline, the Movie

This Locus Online review of the 3D movie rendition of Neil Gaiman's novel, Coraline, was written by writer Gary Westfahl, who admires the novel. He recognizes, not surprisingly, that a movie is quite a different medium from a novel, and begins his review this way:

"For lovers of Neil Gaiman's novel Coraline (2002), writer/director Henry Selick's stop-motion animated film is about as good an adaptation as they could have realistically hoped for: he is generally faithful to the book's storyline...."
Of course, there is a but: he took exception to the treatment of the gentleness of the novel:
"As a whole, then, the film struck me as a bit too blunt, too crass, too bombastic for my taste."

Westphal has much more to say about the film. I've seen only the trailers and will most certainly watch the movie, but Westphal's review was enlightening and will inform my viewing.

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Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Eclectic Bests of 2008, Green Man Review

Survey this passel of eclectic bests of 2008 from Green Man Review. Their links are marked thisaway and such. Their archive contains 16,000 reviews.

Here is Green Man Review's spiel from their FAQ: "GMR provides in-depth reviews of books, printed and audio, in fiction of all sorts, non-fiction , music lore, and even quite a bit of history. What we do, we do very well -- and more of it than anyone else."

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Friday, January 9, 2009

Review of SF/F/H Magazine Stories for January

Here is a review of many SF/F/H print and online magazine stories for January. Because of their differing publication schedules the magazines reviewed range from Fall 2008 to February 2009.

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Saturday, December 20, 2008

Review of December's Short Fiction

There was an earlier blog post listing the short fiction titles and authors for December's spec-fiction magazines and ezines. Here is a short review of many of those titles. This should inform your purchasing of spec-fiction publications.

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Saturday, November 22, 2008

Lastest Issue of SFRevu (and a review)

Thanks again to Sam Tomaino of SFRevu for his review of our October issue. He summarizes by saying, "All the stories are well-worth the time spent on them," and I couldn't ask for anything more.

I should note that he says of "Dani-Girl" that "If there was any fantasy element here, I missed it." He's right: We don't only publish speculative fiction, although we like to when we can.

Turnabout being fair play, I noted a few good items in SFRevu while I was checking out Sam's review.

First, I noted another Sam's review of Kaleidotrope #5 -- and spotted an old friend there: Barbara A. Barnett, who wrote "Lucky Clover" (our St. Patrick's Day special) from our March 2008 issue.

I like to read short non-flash fiction in my spare time, so I found Colleen Cahill's review of Tesseracts Twelve, edited by Claude LaLumiere, to be worthwhile -- I'll probably pick up that volume somewhere along the way.

I'm a big fan of Orson Scott Card, so I read Sam Lubell's review of Ender in Exile as well.

Finally, Mary Rose-Shaffer wrote an essay called "Exploring Genre: Dark or Gothic Fantasy". It made me think, and it was a valuable contribution to any discussion of genre. I wonder, though, whether trying to pin down attributes and characteristics is really a fruitful way to approach a complex tradition. I would have liked to see an exploration of the way Gothic Fantasy developed rather than simply identifying its traits and then using earlier authors as examples (e.g., Poe); although trait identification feels scientific, it tends to highlight how fuzzy the boundaries of the genre are rather than show how (say) urban fantasy can be a natural extension of the tradition. She clearly sees the relationship, but it's harder to explain it outside of its tradition.

Don't believe me, of course. Go read it!

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