Monthly Archives: September 2012

Who Knew a Failing Future Could Be So Exhausting?

Paul Kincaid wrote an essay for the Los Angeles Review of Books that holds court on the state of science fiction. He does so, by evaluating three of the 2012 Year’s Best anthologies. In it, he wonders if, the genres of the fantastic themselves have reached a state of exhaustion. . . [or] that science fiction… Read more »

Orbit Announces New Michael J. Sullivan Novel | The Crown Tower

The Crown Tower will be the first book in the Riyria Chronicles series, and the whole series is a prequel to Michael’s Riyria Revelations, which Orbit published for the first time in print last fall. The Riyria Chronicles will tell the stories of Royce and Hadrian’s adventures before Theft of Swords. If you’ve read the… Read more »

The 5 Most Influential Books in My Life

I’m not sure what prompted me to write this post, but it seems like an appropriate time to talk about the five books that most influenced me as a person and as a reader. Perhaps it’s because I’m going through a big transition now, both personally with my father-in-law’s declining health and professionally with my… Read more »

Stormdancer by Jay Kristoff

Stormdancer, blurbed by Patrick Rothfuss and heavily marketed by Thomas Dunne Books, is billed as Japanese steampunk. It’s Jay Kristoff’s debut novel and as far as I’m concerned it’s a colossal failure. That is to say, I’m puzzled that anyone bought it, and utterly bamboozled how it went to a three-way auction.

Before I get too far into my critique I should mention that Kristoff writes well enough. His prose is easily digestible and it made reading Stormdancer tolerable. He capably lays out his story, revealing information in a way that makes sense, doesn’t seem dishonest to his reader, and covers his bases. If I was evaluating a home being auctioned off in an estate sale whose previous owner had fourteen cats and no litter boxes, I would say, “it has good bones.” Unfortunately, once you own the home it still smells like cat piss and one man can only carry so many bottles of bleach.

SF Signal | ChiZine Publications in the Spotlight

I write a regular column at SF Signal spotlighting small presses from around the world. Last month I wrote about Small Beer Press, a literary genre press out of Massachusetts. Today, I spent 1100 words on ChiZine, the rapidly growing dark fiction press from Toronto, Canada. I’ve taken to frequenting brick and mortar book stores more… Read more »

The Tainted City by Courtney Schafer and Chimera by T.C. McCarthy


When I began this blog, some eighteen months ago, I wasn’t sure if anyone would read me, or if I’d ever get a review copies. Strangely enough, two books I finished this past month were sequels to the first review copies I ever received: The Tainted City by Courtney Schafer, sequel to The Whitefire Crossing,… Read more »

Transition Time | Staffer’s Book Review Moves to WordPress

The next few weeks may be a little rough around these parts as I smooth out my transition to WordPress. I’m marginally savvy with these things, but I’m finding this transition a little harder. DNS, as far as I’m concerned, might as well be Sanskrit. In any case, I’m hoping that the transition will be mostly seamless for everyone…. Read more »

A New Project | Speculative Fiction 2012: The Year’s Best Online Reviews & Commentary

Press release originally appeared on Pornokitsch: Jurassic London are pleased to announce Speculative Fiction 2012: The Year’s Best Online Reviews & Commentary, capturing the best of 2012’s blogs, websites and other digital publications. With the online reviewing community larger than ever before, Speculative Fiction aims to both capture and celebrate the best in genre non-fiction: the top book reviews,… Read more »

Three Parts Dead by Max Gladstone

‘To fear love is to fear life, and those who fear life are already three parts dead.’ Bertrand Russell – Marriage and Morals (1929) That use of the word parts in that Bertrand Russell quote should be read as quarters. Fearing life is to be three quarters dead already. Undoubtedly the source of the title… Read more »

Slow Apocalypse by John Varley

November is almost here, which for those of us in the United States means election time. It’s easy to get caught up in the rhetoric that’s espoused at the conventions. What springs from that is a crazy notion that the two American political parties are separated by a legion of issues from abortion, to fiscal… Read more »