Cursor’s Fury, by Jim Butcher

Why start with the third novel in Jim Butcher’s Codex Alera series? Well, it’s the best way to evaluate a series: how strong is the overall story, how complete is the world, how engaging are the characters, and how capable is the author (particularly with backstory)? In this case, Butcher excels in all areas. From […]

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Thermodynamics of Magic Systems

When I was at a writer’s conference in Denver, I pitched to a science fiction and fantasy (SF/F) editor for a NY publisher. After expressing disappointment that I wasn’t pitching an SF manuscript, he brightened and said, “But I usually like Fantasy written by SF authors.” “Because their magic systems make sense?” Being an avid […]

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The Bone Palace, by Amanda Downum

I loved the first book in Downum’s Necromancer Chronicles, called The Drowning City, which I covered in this post. This second book was just as impressive, set in a detailed and lush society, with multi-dimensional characters. As with the first book, there are multiple subplots and “games” being played, for very high stakes. All of […]

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The Hobbit, by J.R.R. Tolkien

In preparation for Peter Jackson’s movie, The Hobbit, I decided to pull out Tolkien’s classic children’s tale and re-read it. It’s been two decades since I last read it, because I don’t read this book as frequently as I read Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings (LOTR). It was as delightful as I remember and since […]

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The Cardinal’s Blades, The Alchemist in the Shadows, by Pierre Pevel

Pevel’s series will envelope the reader in seventeenth-century Paris, but it’s not our Paris, because here be dragons. If you look these books up on Amazon.com, you may see some snotty comments (I don’t know how else to describe them) which say, “This is just The Three Musketeers with dragons.” No, it isn’t. Brush off […]

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What’s the current state of the SF/F genre?

What’s the current state of the SF/F genre? Where’s it going? My answer: nobody knows. However, I hope to get some insight into this next week at Renovation, the 2011 World Science Fiction Convention. Lately, I’ve been feeling my genre “presents” like a case of Multiple Personality Disorder (to use House diagnosis-speak). The publishers appear […]

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