Mystery

Review: The Colors of Space

In the tradition of Heinlein, The Colors of Space by Marion Zimmer Bradley is a provocative space adventure for young adults. But upon closer look, there is a lot more to the story as it becomes a prime example of an archetypical hero’s journey.

Countdown City by Ben Winters

Review: Countdown City, by Ben H. Winters

Countdown City By Ben H. Winters Quirk Books 2013 The world is still going to end. That’s the reality facing former Concord, NH, police detective Hank Palace as Countdown City, the second book in Ben Winters’ Last Policemen trilogy, opens. Still going to end because Maia, a 6.5-km-wide asteroid discovered by scientists prior to the […]

Anime roundup 7/19/2013: Expository Lumps

And now, the rest of your season premieres! For those who were eagerly awaiting Symphogear G or the new Milky Holmes, I regret to inform you that they haven’t been picked up for international streaming. Monogatari Second Season premiere – Tsubasa Hanekawa leaves her adopted family’s house for school one day, and a giant spectral […]

Joyland paperback cover

Joyland by Stephen King – review

In Stephen King’s best novel in years, 11.22.63 (2011), the veteran author revisited the period of his youth, the 1950s and ‘60s. A character from the present, our present, went back to 1958, encountered love, tried to stop a killer. In King’s latest novel it is a decade after the fall of America’s Camelot. In […]

Summer 2013 Anime Preview

So, you heard about that Sailor Moon reboot everyone is all excited about? It’s been pushed back to 2014 at least. Instead, here are the more notable examples of what you’ll have to tide you over for the next three months. Once again, attempted translations are provided for shows which do not have official English […]

Law and Order: SVU

Crossroads: The Difficulty of Police Procedural Speculative Fiction

Police procedurals are a complicated genre to explore because they intersect so fluidly with so many other genres. On the one hand, they solidly rest within the mystery tradition: there is a crime that needs investigation, there is typically a primary hero (investigator) and a villain, and over the course of the story the hero […]

Psychics are Dark Fantasy

I remember being uncomfortable about the “psionics” in Dungeons and Dragons back when I was a kid.  Psychic powers seemed more appropriate in science fiction than fantasy.  I mean, we had Mr. Spock’s mind meld in Star Trek, Jedi mind tricks in Star Wars, and telepathy in X-Men.  Fantasy was for, well, dungeons and dragons, […]

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams

CROSSROADS: Right Place, Time, and Tech – The Hitchhiker’s Guide

Douglas Adams’ Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy trilogy (itself spread across five books with a six written by Eoin Colfer), with its friendly, green warning against panic, casts a huge shadow over the field of humorous speculative fiction. Though it is far from the only explicitly comedic science fiction (and far from the first), it […]

April is National Women’s History Month

Which is kind of short-shrift for women – one month only – considering that homo sap history is women’s history and, like, there’s this whole birth thing which kind of suggests that without women there’d be no history of any kind but, be that as it may: Science Fiction fandom has been doing a lot […]

Sequential Wednesdays #7 – Tales of Tails

Animals have a very special role to play in stories, at least according to the long history of tales utilizing their presence as potent symbolism.  Throughout the world of story-telling, a multitude of beasts have had very specific representation pinned to their proverbial rears; black sheep, loyal hounds, royal lions, and so on.  This is not about […]

Dynamo – Unsuccessful Wooing, Decrees from Rashmon & A Silent, Bearded Man

If there’s a recently popularized term that leaves a bitter taste in my mouth, it’s “webisodes.”  This demeaning and fun-sized determination of quality stems from the misconception of tacked-on extra content pumped out in the form of mediocre flash animation with a slim chance of the original creators’ involvement.  Basically, it makes me worried that […]

Review: The Caves of Steel by Isaac Asimov

Alright we are back with my coverage on SF detectives and we return with the classic SF/mystery novel, written by the grand-daddy of SF himself, The Caves of Steel by Isaac Asimov. This first novel in the Robot series is one of the earliest novels to feature a combination of the SF and mystery genres. It features […]

Review: When Gravity Fails by George Alec Effinger

When I punk, it’s usually with steam. Any SF fan, regardless of his particular poison, thinks about the future. With my historical background, however, my gaze tends to be fixed on the past and I am rarely distracted by images of the future. The great thing about Amazing Stories, however, is the wealth of viewpoints and […]

Elementary, my dear Watson-bot 2.0!

Crime and punishment. Both words are synonymous with genre fiction. Whether it is the flashy superhero racing to stop the next crisis or the “I’m too old for this shit” beat cop who stumbles upon a global conspiracy, we enjoy seeing criminals being taken down. For the next few weeks, however, I am going to be concerning […]

Crossroads: Where Genres Meet in the Night

Speculative fiction’s ability to stay fresh is a direct result of its ability to blend with other genres: the mash-up, the hybrid, the literary crossroad are where science fiction has always found innovation. We’re a magpie genre, and I think that should be celebrated and explored.