Ink Blood Sister Scribe – Emma Törzs

Henry Petrides

Cover artist

Abe Kalotay died in his front yard in late February.

…..Abe was on his back, eyes half-opened to that gray sky, mouth slack and his tongue drying blue, one of his hands with its quick-bitten nails draped across his stomach. The other hand was resting on the book.

….A last smudge of vivid red was slowly fading into the paper and Abe himself was mushroom-white and oddly shriveled.

The note Abe had tucked between the pages was perfectly legible, however, despite the shakiness of the hand. He’d used his left. His right had been fixed in place as the book drank.

“Johanna, he had written. I’m sorry. Don’t let your mother in. Keep this book safe and away from your blood. I love you so much. Tell Esther”

Johanna Kalotay is the protector of a collection of rare books. These books are magic books that will allow their readers to walk through walls or turn water into wine.

Her older sister Esther moves around constantly, because she has to, if she wants to survive.

If the sisters wants to survive they must find out about the secrets their parents kept from them and solve the problems thise secrets create. However, the secrets are centuries old and span continents. It could cost the sisters their lives, if they don’t solve the problems they cause.

This First Novel by Emma Törzs is a spellbinding thriller of dark fantasy and fantastic writing. You won’t be able to put it down.

My edition of the book is from Illumicrate.

They produce some fantastic looking books, which my edition of this book exemplifies – the cover, the digitally sprayed edges and the foil embossed cover of the book itself.

And they usually have endpaper art, which you can see here.

Best of all they are not terribly expensive, but there are not very many of them, so you have to be fast to get one.



These Burning Stars – Bethany Jacobs

Thom Tenery

Cover artist

When the master said, “Six,” something changed in the room.

.…The children, despite their obvious fatigue, snapped to attention like rabbits scenting a predator. They didn’t rush at Six as they had rushed at one another.

….And Six? The one who commanded this sudden tension, this careful advance? It stood a moment, taking them all in at once, stare like a razor’s edge. And then, it flew.


The thief Jun Ironway has gotten wind of the score of a lifetime. Esek Nightfoot and Chono (two clerics of the Kindom) are charged with the misson of assuring that Jun Ironway does not get her hands on the coin that can change the Kindom completely…. and then there is Six.

These are the characters around which everything turns, in this incredible Space Opera debut novel by Bethany Jacobs.

Politics, brutality, secrets, fast action and love are the ingredients thrown into the pot. And then everything speeds up, gets more complicated leaving you spellbound with this fantastic First Novel of a Space Opera.

If you like Space Opera it doesn’t get any better. It never lets up, it never lets you down and the twists in the ending ……WOW!

That this is the author’s first novel and not her tenth is unbelievable. It is the first book in The Kindom Trilogy – and the second “On Vicious Worlds” will be published 15 October 2024, so luckily we all don’t have to wait long.

In the acknowledgments the author thanks her parents for this: A seven-year old asked you if she could be a writer someday, and you said yes. “You may not have realized that I was serious, but you changed my life with that answer.”

And after having read this book, your life will also have been changed.

So far this is the best First Novel of 2023 I’ve read – it’ll blow you away!

That Self-Same Metal – Brittany N. Williams


Fernanda Suarez

Cover artist

Joan rolled her eyes at him and squared herself up with Nick. “Come on, then.”

“Ah, please be gentle with me, Joan.” Nick stood tall, bringing his sword up in a salute.

Her heart raced as her gaze instantly caught on the thick fan of lashes surrounding his deep-brown eyes.

She needed to focus.

Joan and James are sixteen year old twins. They live in 1605 in London – a London filled with Fae. They are working for the King’s Men – William Shakespeare’s acting company. Joan is maintaining the stage blades using her magical ability to control metal and James is an apprentice actor in the company.

The twins can see the Fae, which the normal people without magical abilities can not. But as the new King fails to uphold the pact between the Fae and the humans violence erupts. Suddenly there is danger everywhere, and the twins are hard pressed to save the lives of family and friends.

This First Novel is wonderfully alive and fully succeeds in bringing the atmosphere of 1605 London to its pages. The characters (including William Shakespeare) are alive and the language is beautiful.

Lucky for us this is the first book in “The Forge & Fracture Saga” and the second will be published on April 23, 2024 – so you don’t have to wait long to learn more about this historical setting and wonderful characters.

The second book in Brittany N. Williams’s stunning YA historical fantasy trilogy:

Book 2

If the second book is just half as good as the first you’ll still be in for a treat.

Light From Uncommon Stars – Ryka Aoki

Katrina had always loved music, especially the violin. Long Ago, she had even taken lessons.

But she was queer, and living in a small town east of Oakland.

The afternoon that he found her makeup, Katrina’s father had punched her so hard that the entire side of her face turned black and blue. As word got around, her family, her church, the people at school hurled insults, shame.

You should act like a boy.

You should repent.

You should apologize.

You should die.

Despite this ominous quote this is one of the most beautiful books I’ve read.

It is both science fiction and fantasy. It’s what music can do to people and for people. It is about meeting new persons – people, aliens, transgender people and people of color – and thinking of everyone as persons. It is about the power of music to change misconceptions, hatred, jealousy, envy and negative feelings in general to acceptance and thus making the world a better place to live. And all this is written in the most beautiful and insightful language. IT SINGS!!

Shizuka Satomi is a famous violinist turned teacher. She has sold her soul to the devil. Getting it back she must deliver the souls of seven violin prodigies to the devil. She has delivered six, when she finds Katrina Nguyen, a young transgender runaway and hear her wild talent. Will she be number seven?

Then Shizuka meets an alien retired starship captain, who runs a donut shop, but has a secret agenda. Shizuka also has to contend with a demon, who wants the seventh soul now and keeps pressing her. And lots more.

All this is written in a spellbinding way, that will make you nearly unable to put the book down.

When I got nearer to the ending I started reading slower – I did not want the book to end.

Alas, it did end – but beautifully. Just like the whole book. I had a lump in my throat, a happy feeling of hope for everything and everyone, and I felt very lucky to have read this wonderful book.

To give you an idea, what a lot of writers thought about this book, press the button below to read some of the blurbs that you’ll find on the cover.

I am not the only one, who loved this book. Here are some blurbs from the cover:

“I wanted to give every one of her characters hugs…..Fantastic, beautiful, and deeply, profoundly moving.”
Jenn Lyons, author of The Ruin of Kings

“A story that sparkles with magic and music and joy; this book just sings.”
Everina Maxwell, author of Winter’s Orbit

“Delightful and heartbreaking. An unexpected mash-up of science fiction and fantasy that will make you love music, crave donuts, and wish to read it all again.”
John Scalzi, New York Times bestseling author.

“A transformative marvel. I. Loved. This. Book.”
T. J. Klune, New York Times bestselling author of The House in the Cerulean Sea

“Wilder, more beautiful, and sweeter than I could have ever imagined.”
Charlie Jane Anders, author of All the Birds in the Sky

See Blurbs

The Ten Thousand Doors of January – Alix E. Harrow

This one smelled unlike any book I’d ever held. Cinnamon and coal smoke, catacombs and loam. Damp seaside evenings and sweat-slick noontimes beneath palm fronds. It smelled as if it had been in the mail for longer than any one parcel could be, circling the world for years and accumulating layers of smells like a tramp wearing too many clothes.

It smelled like adventure itself had been harvested in the wild, distilled to a fine wine, and splashed across each page.

But I’m stumbling ahead of myself. Stories are supposed to be told in order, with beginnings and middles and ends. I’m no scholar, but I know that much.

WOW! This book will leave you with your mouth hanging open, your eyes drinking in the beauty and your heart making you realize that you still have one.

From the beginning – where we meet seven year old January Scaller – until the very end you will be in another world – several other worlds actually.

January is the ward of the wealthy collector Mr. Locke. Her father is collecting art and artifacts all over the world for Mr. Locke, so January is mostly alone. Then she discovers a door – not just a normal door, but a Door. You’ve heard that before? Trust me – not like this.

Her story is about stories. Why they are important and essential to progress. Without stories the world will stagnate and wither.

This book will suck you in and never let go. The language, the stories, the unfolding of the plot, the strangeness and the love will stay with you a long time after you’ve finished the book. And when you put it down, you will have dreaming eyes and a silly smile on you face.

ALIX E. HARROW has written short fiction that has been nominated for the Hugo, Nebula and Locus awards and won the HUGO award 2019 for best short story with A Witch’s Guide to Escape: A Practical Compendium of Portal Fantasies. THE TEN THOUSAND DOORS OF JANUARY is her first novel.

The blurb on the front of the book by author Amal El-Mohtar says it all in just two words – “Unbearably beautiful”.

A Chorus of Dragons – Jenn Lyons

Lars Grant-West

Cover artist

When they brought me up to the auction block, I looked out over the crowd and thought:

I would kill you all if I had a knife. And if I wasn’t naked, I amended.
And shackled. I had never felt so helpless, and-

That’s the opening lines of THE RUIN OF KINGS – the first book in the epic fantasy series A CHORUS OF DRAGONS by JENN LYONS.

Judging by book one and two this series will be a landmark in epic fantasy. JENN LYONS is creating a fantastic world filled with fascinating characters.

The series will be published in five books – one new book every nine months!

THE MEMORY OF SOULS (book 3) will be out August 25, 2020. Here’s a preview of the cover:

Lars Grant-West

Cover artist

JENN LYONS is curently writing book 4 – THE HOUSE OF ALWAYS

You will find my reviews of the published books here:

  1. The Ruin of Kings
  2. The Name of All Things

The Name of all Things – Jenn Lyons

Lars Grant-West

Cover artist

This is the second book in the series A CHORUS OF DRAGONS.

You should absolutely read the first book, THE RUIN OF KINGS, before you read this one.

If you read this review without having read the preceding book, there will be spoilers – so don’t read the review until you have read the preceding book.

To help you avoid spoilers, you will only see the review, if you press the button below.

Kihrin lowered his pack to the hay-strewn ground. “I’m sorry, ma’am, but there’s been a mistake. No one here’s expecting me.”

The old woman looked surprised. “You ain’t named Kihrin, then?”

The young man, who definitely was named Kihrin, managed not to pull out any weapons. Barely. “Who gave you that name?”

“Your woman said you’d be along”

This is the beginning of THE NAME OF ALL THINGS.

Though Kihrin still plays a large role in this book, the role of Janel Theranon is just as large and important. Kihrin is not really sure, what her role is – but he has met her before and is quite smitten.

Janet believes that Relos Var possesses one of the most powerful artifacts in the world – the Cornerstone called the Name of All Tings.

Soon the plot thickens – a lot of threads spread out, some visible others hidden. In the fashion of epic fantasy everything gets more complicated.

…..and then of course we have dragons to mess up things.

But JENN LYONS keeps it all together and this book makes her whole universe bigger and still more fascinating without losing clarity, while still adding more characters and problems to solve. I love this series.


Down among the Dead – K. B. Wagers

Stephan Martiniere

Cover artist

DOWN AMONG THE DEAD is the second book in the THE FARIAN WAR.

The series started in THE INDRANAN WAR (three books) and right after the end of book three continued in THERE BEFORE THE CHAOS – the first book in THE FARIAN WAR.

You should absolutely start with BEHIND THE THRONE – the first book in THE INDRANAN WAR.

This review is for DOWN AMONG THE DEAD.

If you read this review without having read the preceding books, there will be spoilers – so don’t read the review until you have read the preceding books.

To help you avoid spoilers, you will only see the review, if you press the button below.


A liar. A thief and smuggler. A killer through and through.

I’d thought that was all I was, but I was dragged home by those who’d convinced themselves I was an empress worthy of the throne, and somewhere along the way I started to believe it myself.

I am a killer. I am also an empress.

I am the Star of Indrana and there is no one who can stand in my way.

Hail Bristol and the remainder of her crew has been captured by Aiz Cevalla and Mia of the Shen. Hail is devastated by the loss of most of her crew and friends when the embassy exploded.

She is having nightmares and has lost most of her will to continue living after the devastating loss. She cannot contact the outside world and has no idea if anyone knows she is still alive.

Of course things are not completely what they seem, but Hail spends six months as a prisoner before things change.

Who are their real enemies – The Shen or the Farians, the gods of the Farians or maybe not any of these, but someone else? The plot thickens and we shall have to wait till book three until we get any answers.

K. B. Wagers is still doing a fantastic job with these books. This is some of the best Space Opera around, and I finished this book in record time.


Finder – Suzanne Palmer

Kekai Kotaki

Cover artist

“A repo man!” she interrupted.

“More a professional finder,” he said. “But essentially, yes.”

She appeared at the edge of his light, grinning, holding out a bright gloved hand. “I’m Mattie Vahn. Mother Vahn to most folk.”

“Fergus Ferguson,” he said, shaking it. “Pleased to meet you.”

“Mr. Ferguson,” she said, and he liked the old-fashioned tone she said it with. “I suggest you finish sealing up. I’m going to short the airlock.”

“You’re what?”

“I’m getting out of this trap,” she said. “You coming?”

Fergus Ferguson calls himself a finder, but he has been called a lot of names: Thief, con artist, repo man.

He’s coming to the deep space colony, Cernee, to find the spaceship Venetia’s Sword and repossess it from Arum Gilger, ex-nobleman turned power hungry criminal.

What he thought was a relatively easy job quickly turns hard and nasty. He has barely arrived, when he finds himself very lucky to survive a coldblooded murder of a fellow passenger in a cable car to Central Station in the middle of Cernee.

Soon, he is in the middle of a war for power between criminal factions and the local authorities. He gets some help from the Vahn family – a family of cloned women. The situation escalates, aliens become involved – and we are off to the races.

FINDER is Suzanne Palmer’s first novel. She won the 2018 Hugo Award for Best Novelette “The Secret Life of Bots”, and has won several other awards.

Besides being a very interesting Space Opera, Suzanne Palmer’s world-building is superb, her writing smooth, flowing and easy to read – and her characters really makes you want to know more about them. And this book is also a lot of fun – not to be missed.

Even though the book stands alone just fine, lucky for us it is the first in a series. The next one is due in May 2020, so we don’t have long to wait. I loved everything about this book and the next one is already at the top of my reading list.

Velocity Weapon – Megan E. O’Keefe


Cover artist

The door swished shut beside her, revealing a logo she knew all too well: a single planet, fiery wings encircling it.


She was on an enemy ship. With one leg.


Sergeant Sanda Greeve was fighting in the Battle of Dralee. An Icarion railgun had smashed a coil through her ship, cutting the lower part of her right leg off. Her evac pod had immediately sealed the wound. The next thing she remembers is waking up from coldsleep. She is in her evac pod in the med bay of an enemy ship. Her calls for help are finally answered by the ship AI. The AI (Bero) gently tells her that the Battle of Dralee happened two hundred and thirty years ago – and that there is just one living soul aboard the ship. That soul is Sanda.

That is the beginning of a tremendous space opera. Action, deceit and lots of surprises! I am really looking forward to the next book in the series.

The Weight of the Stars – K. Ancrum

“Hey. Ryann Bird needs a pencil.”

The girl didn’t even turn around. She just sat ramrod straight in her chair and said very quietly. “Ryann can bring her own pencils to school. Just like everyone else.”

It was deafeningly quiet. Mrs. Marsh cleared her throat meaningfully.

Ryann Bird has lost her mother and father in an accident. She now lives in a trailer park with her younger brother James and the baby Charlie. It is tough to hold everything together, but she tries. Then a new girl arrives at school and things change.

This YA book is about sudden hardship in life and how you go on living without losing your humanity and your hopes. Ryann’s mother was a mathematician working for NASA, and Ryann dreams of space. However, she is not good at mathematics and doesn’t see, how she can get the money to go to college. Then she makes friends with the new girl and her life takes on a new aspect.

The late film critic, Roger Ebert once said “It’s not what a movie is about, it’s how it is about it.” That also goes for books. 

Going to space is an important part of this book, so of course it is a science fiction book – and it shows a possible future in space that is not at all glamorous. This is an important take on what exploring space without faster than light travel could mean.

What this book is about, however, is friendship between teenagers of different social classes, ethnicity and sexuality. How it is about it, is a work of wonder and beauty. There are no tired cliches here. No cardboard standard teen punks, but beautifully drawn characters. No easy solutions.

These young teens love each other, and K. Ancrum lets us know that – without getting maudlin or resort to standard romance tropes. This book is a wonder and the author has you cheering, laughing and crying for these fantastic people. 

The Weight of the Stars makes you believe that there is still hope for the earth and the people on it, if these teens are a measure of the future. This book should be a favourite in the award-season to come.

It is really beautiful. Read it.

I was lucky to find this book at all. I read a blurb by Seanan McGuire:

“The Weight of the Stars is one of the most gentle, gracious, and, overall, kind books that I’ve read all year … It’s a YA romance about girls and stars and friendship and mercy and loss and regret and what we owe each other and what we give away to lift each other up.”

As I love nearly everything Seanan McGuire has written I had to read this book. In the September 2019 issue of Locus the book got a great review by Colleen Mondor, where she had another Seanan McGuire blurb for the book:

“This book is starlight on broken concrete, it’s flowers on a broken rooftop, and it’s a masterpiece”

Trust Seanan McGuire (and Colleen Mondor) – read this book.

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Gideon the Ninth – Tamsyn Muir

Tommy Arnold

Cover artist

It was over in three moves. A mental haptic jolt bunted Gideon awake, and there she was: rapier held still to Magnus’s chest; Magnus with the good-natured but poleaxed expression of a man caught mid-practical joke; four sets of staring, equally blank expressions. Their very good looking arbiter’s mouth was even hanging very slightly open, lips parting over white teeth, gaping dumbly until she caught up –

“Match to the Ninth!”

“Goodness me” said Magnus.

Gideon Nav has packed her sword, her shoes and her dirty magazines. She is waiting for the shuttle to arrive – but just five minutes before she’ll be safely away, all her plans are shattered by Harrowhark Nonagesimus, Reverend Daughter of the Ninth House and a necromancer. The Emperor has invited the heirs to each of his loyal Houses to a deadly trial of wits and skill. Should Harrowhark succeed she will become all powerful and immortal. But each necromancer has to bring their cavalier – and guess who suddenly becomes the cavalier of the Ninth.

This book was massively hyped before its publication – more than enough to make anyone suspicious. However, to me it lives up to all that hype – I love it. Like Charles Stross said in his blurb on the front cover: “Lesbian necromancers explore a haunted gothic palace in space! Decadent nobles vie to serve the deathless Emperor! Skeletons!”

The story simmers along slowly unveiling more and more information while keeping your attention occupied with fascinating characters, locales, hidden plots and feelings being exposed. The book is divided into four acts and each act see action and information being upgraded a notch. In act four things are deftly and heart pounding summed up in an action filled ending, with a cliffhanger to make you want the next instalment now!!

Don’t worry you won’t have to wait long, as HARROW THE NINTH will be published June 2, 2020. The last book in the trilogy will be ALECTO THE NINTH and it should be published in 2021 – or maybe even late 2020. Now maybe 2022?

TOR really produced a beautiful book. To watch some of the details, press the button.

The page edges are painted black, but only on the first printing. However, the skull printed on the front of the binding is also on the second printing at least.

..and here is the beautiful front cover without any disturbing text:

As an extra here is a preview of the cover for Harrow the Ninth – also by  Tommy Arnold:

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As you can see below, there are a lot of fighting skeletons in the book 😉



The Wayward Children – Seanan McGuire

Nancy stood frozen in the center of the foyer, her hand locked on the handle of her suitcase as she looked around, trying to find her bearings. She wasn’t sure what she’d been expecting from the “special school” her parents were sending her to, but it certainly hadn’t been this … this elegant country home.

The Wayward Children is a beautiful, lovely and heartbreaking series about estrangement and children trying to find themselves, live the lives they want and need to live, to survive as the persons they are and want to be.

Children slipping through gateways into other worlds has always happened – Narnia, Oz, Harry Potter, Alice in Wonderland. But what happens, if the children get thrown out of these worlds – even though they want and need to stay?

Seanan McGuire has written a fantastic series. It will make you cry and feel for these children. Read it!


The Wayward Children

  1. Every Heart a Doorway
  2. Down Among the Sticks and Bones
  3. Beneath the Sugar Sky
  4. In an Absent Dream



Here are some beautiful postcards by Rovina Cai that were given away as promotional material, when the books were published.

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The Medusa Cycle – Emily Devenport

Sam Weber

Cover artist

I usually don’t have much time for reflection, but lately I seem to have nothing but time, and I find myself wondering – what sort of killer am I?

Technically I qualify as a serial killer, because I have been killing for many years. I probably also qualify as a mass murderer, because once I killed twenty-six people within a five-hour period.

Oichi Angelis is a worm. That is a very low manual labourer in the generation starship Olympia. But that changes after the ruling elite kills her. Whether she survives or not she is officially dead.

In the two books of the Medusa Cycle – Medusa Uploaded and Medusa in the Graveyard – Oichi wants a better life for herself and people like her, and to get that she has to kill the leaders of the ruling class. She gets help from Medusa, who is not human – and Oichi’s long and difficult road towards freedom starts.

Emily Devenport’s first novels in more than fifteen years are very welcome. This is Space Opera that we did not know we missed, until these books came along.

The books are page turners with a well defined and likeable protagonist, AI’s of different kinds, bio-constructs, huge generation spaceships, power plays, murders and all the twists, complications and surprises you could want.

Excellent world building, characters that are living, loving, adorable or scheming, cold and power hungry – and lots of things in between. In other words they are alive!

The Medusa Cycle has a satisfying ending in book two – but that does not mean that Emily Devenport cannot write more books in this universe, should she want to. I kind of hope she does.

To be Taught if Fortunate – Becky Chambers

Alyssa Winans

Cover artist

We exist where we begin, yet to remain there is death.

At the turn of the twenty-second century scientists make a breakthrough in human spaceflight. Through a revolutionary method known as somaforming, astronauts can survive in hostile environments off Earth using synthetic biological supplementations.

The MERIAN is sent to explore four habitable planets fifteen light years from Earth. Its crew of four are sleeping while in transit, but when they arrive, they are woken up to survey the four planets.

This novella is concentrating on the ecologically survey the crew of the MERIAN is conducting. But at the same time it is also keeping in mind that Earth may change in the decades the expedition takes from the point of view of Earth – and the fact that Earth may not really be interested in the expedition anymore, because they may have other problems. 

Some readers may think that this sounds a bit dry, but as usual BECKY CHAMBERS’ story makes for an interesting read. Science, joy of new discoveries and living your dreams are what this book is about. There are no murders, violence and fatal accidents that many other authors might have chosen as essential for an interesting story.

You come away from this book knowing that you have been told a sincere and serious story of a possible future of human space exploration. And hopefully the feeling that it is important to keep exploring space if humanity wants to keep evolving.


The book ends with a quote:


As the Secretary General of the United Nations, an organisation of one hundred and forty seven member states who represent almost all of the human inhabitants of the planet Earth, I send greetings on behalf of the people of our planet. We step out of our solar system into the universe seeking only peace and friendship – to teach, if we are called upon; to be taught, if we are fortunate. We know full well that our planet and all its inhabitants are but a small part of this immense universe that surrounds us, and it is with humility and hope that we take this step.

– Former UN Secretary General Kurt Waldheim, 1977, as recorded on the Voyager Golden Record.

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Middlegame – Seanan McGuire

Will Staehle

Cover artist

There is so much blood.

Roger didn’t know there was this much blood in the human body. It seems impossible, ridiculous, a profligate waste of something that should be precious and rare – and most importantly, contained. This blood belongs inside the body where it began, and yet here it is, and here he is, and everything is going so wrong.

Dodger isn’t dead yet, despite the blood, despite everything. Her chest rises and fall in tiny hitches, barely visible to the eye. Each breath is a clear struggle, but she keeps fighting for the next one. She’s still breathing. She’s still bleeding.

She’s not going to bleed for long. She doesn’t, no pun intended, have it in her. And when she stops breathing, so does he.

Roger and Dodger are twins, but they are adopted with Roger living on the east coast and Dodger on the west coast – so they don’t know this until much later.

In 1901 Asphodel D. Baker talked to the American Alchemical Congress about the Doctrine of Ethos, which she was prepared to incarnate. Asphodel is the master and mentor of James Reed, who is also her killer. In 1986 he presents the incarnation of the Doctrine of Ethos – newborn twins Roger and Dodger.

All this is the opening of Middlegame by Seanan McGuire.

She has written more than fifty books in just ten years. She has won Hugos, Nebulas, Locus awards and the John W. Campbell award. She is a New York Times bestselling author. She writes fantasy, SF, comics and you will also find elements of horror, thrillers and fairy tales. She writes both under her own name, and the pseudonym Mira Grant. She also sings and writes filksongs.

That is just a portion of what she has done, but it should give you an idea of her skills, productivity and popularity.

In my opinion Middlegame is the best book she has written – yet!

However, it may not be for everyone. If you need your books to fit into a certain genre, you will probably be frustrated by Middlegame. It has elements of fantasy, science fantasy, fairy tales, science fiction and …..

Also, if you need every little thing explained, well maybe you should not be reading fantasy or SF.

Seanan McGuire tries to do a lot of things with this book, and she mostly succeeds. 

Following Roger and Dodger as children, teenagers and adults is fascinating. As they slowly learn what they are, and what they have to become to survive, we are mesmerised by Seanan Mcguire’s way of making Roger and Dodger living, interesting and lovable characters. If you don’t feel love and interest for Rodger and Dodger, you might as well stop reading this fabulous book.

Middlegame clocks in at slightly over 500 pages, and I loved it all, but

there is so much blood, there is so much blood, there is so much blood……

Universe of Xuya – Aliette de Bodard

Cover artist:
On a Red Station Drifting – Nhan Y Doanh
Tithi Luadhtong (hardcover)
The Citadel of Weeping Pearls – Maurizio Manzieri
The Tea Master and the Detective – Maurizio Manzieri

Cover artist

The Universe of Xuya is the universe in which Aliette de Bodard writes most of her space operas.

This universe is a universe, where the Vietnamese are the rulers. They have developed mindships – run by artificial intelligences grown in human wombs.

The societies are based upon old Vietnamese and Chinese traditions and societies, which makes for a fascinating and strange (to a Westener like me) backdrop and gives Aliette de Bodard the possibility of writing space operas that are quite different from the usual ones based on Western military backgrounds.

Done with the beautiful and precise prose of Aliette de Bodard this makes for mind bending reading on top of the author’s very human and personal characters.

At the moment the author has written approximately 30 stories of varying length in this universe – and she is working on her first novel in the Universe of Xuya. 

Published separately at the moment are the three novellas above:

  1. On a Red Station Drifting
  2. The Citadel of Weeping Pearls
  3. The Tea Master and the Detective

In September 2019 a collection of her short works (with lots of Universe of Xuya stories and Dominion of the Fallen stories included) will be published by Subterranean Press. Press the button below to read more.



Of Wars, and Memories, and Starlight will be published in September 2019 by Subterranean Press in a signed and numbered hardcover edition with a beautiful cover by Maurizio Manzieri:

Table of Contents:

  • Introduction
  • The Shipmaker
  • The Jaguar House, in Shadow
  • Scattered Along the River of Heaven
  • Immersion
  • The Waiting Stars
  • Memorials
  • The Breath of War
  • The Days of the War, as Red as Blood, as Dark as Bile
  • The Dust Queen
  • Three Cups of Grief, by Starlight
  • A Salvaging of Ghosts
  • Pearl
  • Children of Thorns, Children of Water
  • Of Birthdays, and Fungus, and Kindness (original novella)
    • Story Notes  
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If you want to see some covers without disturbing text, please press the button below.


Cover artist: Maurizio Manzieri


Cover artist

The Citadel of Weeping Pearls – Aliette de Bodard

Maurizio Manzieri

Cover artist

The Turtle’s Golden Claw, Bach Cud’s masterpiece, diving into the furthest deep spaces, seeking traces of something that had vanished many years ago.

The Citadel of Weeping Pearls – and, with it, its founder and ruler, the Empress’s eldest and favourite daughter, Bright Princess Ngoc Minh.

This novella in the Universe of Xuya takes place later than Aliette de Bodard’s earlier novella “On a Red Station, Drifting” and the main character of that novella (Lê Thi Linh) plays a role in this one.

The Citadel of Weeping Pearls disappeared thirty years ago and was never seen again. Now the Empress tries to find it, as she is desperately in need of its weapons. This is a desperate move that may have dire consequences.

Once again the Universe of Xuya is a fascinating setting in the hands of Aliette de Bodard and as always this novella is a must read. 

At the moment Aliette de Bodard is working on her first novel in this universe – I can hardly wait. 

On a Red Station, Drifting – Aliette de Bodard

Cover artist: Nhan Y Doanh (left image)
Tithi Luadthong (right image)

Cover artist

She stood silent and unmoving as he dragged her into the trance: she got a brief flash of his credentials as Keeper of the Outer Gates for Prosper Station, and an even briefer flash of his family tree, the line of his greater ancestors lighting up in red, warm tones, all the way up until it intersected her own lineage. A cousin, somewhat removed. Hardly surprising, as most of Prosper Station came, ultimately from the same stock that had bred her: Lê Thi Phuoc, who had borne in her womb the Honoured Ancestress and Her four human siblings.

Lê Thi Linh arrives at Prosper Station as a fugitive from the war that has come to the Dai Viet Empire.

The Honoured Ancestress – the artificial intelligence born of a human womb – has guided and protected its human relatives on Prosper Station. Now, her mind is faltering, and the future of the station itself hangs in the balance.

This novella is part of Aliette de Bodard’s Universe of Xuya, where the Vietnamese rules the universe with their mindships. The combination of space opera and a universe based on old Vietnamese and Chinese society is both new and fascinating.  The vivid description in beautiful prose makes this  novella another great read by the author.

In 2019 it was published in a beautiful numbered and signed hardcover – the cover to the right of the two covers above.

In the Vanishers’ Palace – Aliette de Bodard

Kelsey Liggett

Cover artist

“Here” the dragon said. She held out Mother to Yên. Yên took her, arms bowing under the weight. Mother was old and frail, but to carry her as effortlessly as the dragon had… “She’s exhausted herself summoning me,” the dragon went on. There was no emotion in her voice.

Yên opened her mouth and tried to speak, but found no words in the scorched desert of her heart.

“Take care of her,” the dragon said. “I’ll be back.”

Failed scholar Yên is sold to Vu Côn, one of the last dragons walking the earth, and she expects to be tortured or killed for Vu Côn’s amusement. But it turns out Vu Côn has other plans for her.

The Vanishers came, enslaved the people, poisoned and ruined the world – and then they left leaving monstrous beings and weird creations behind.

This short novel is not a part of any of Aliette de Bodard’s other worlds, neither the world of the Dominion of the Fallen or Universe of Xuya. However, the worldbuilding is just as beautiful and tight.

The characters and the story is fascinating, and I sincerely hope, that we shall see more of this world in the future.

As usual with this author – a must read. 

October Daye series – Seanan McGuire

All covers are by Chris McGrath

Cover artist


The “October Daye” series is the first and longest running series by Seanan McGuire.

October Daye (Toby) is a changeling – half fae and half human. Having to adopt to both worlds and survive presents some real problems. In this series we follow Toby as she finds out exactly who and what she is.

This is one of the very best urban fantasy series around. Right away Toby and her universe becomes real – and you cannot wait to follow her development and antics.

Be aware that the first couple of books in the series (Seanan McGuire’s first books)  shows her developing as a writer, but around book three and onwards her skills as a writer and storyteller has reached an awesome level.

Toby, her friends, the world and the stories are so alive that I dare you not to love this series.

October Daye:

  1. Rosemary and Rue
  2. A Local Habitation
  3. An Artificial Night
  4. Late Eclipses
  5. One Salt Sea
  6. Ashes of Honor
  7. Chimes at Midnight
  8. The Winter Long
  9. A Red-Rose Chain
  10. Once broken Faith
  11. The Brightest Fell
  12. Night and Silence
  13. The Unkindest Tide

If you would like to see some of the cover art without intruding text, please press the button below.

Here is a link to the website of Chris Mcgrath.

Cover artist

The Tea Master and the Detective – Aliette de Bodard

Maurizio Manzieri

Cover artist

That gaze again from Long Chau. The Shadow’s Child was used to respect or fear; to downcast eyes; to awkwardness, even, with people who weren’t used to dealing with a shipmind, especially one that wasn’t involved in passenger service.

The Universe of Xuya is filled with Vietnamese scholars and living mindships.

Long Chau needs to solve a problem, and she comes to the mindship The Shadow’s Child for help. They both have problems, but together they may be able to solve these as an aside to the problem Long Chau originally needed help for.

Besides being a space opera this beautiful novella is a pastiche of the Holmes/Watson pairing with Long Chau as Sherlock Holmes and The Shadow’s Child as Dr. Watson.

The Universe of Xuya is a fascinating construct. To a Westener like me, the idea of a universe dominated by Vietnamese makes for very interesting reading. I have no real knowledge of how the Vietnamese or Chinese cultures worked. Aliette de Bodard manages to bridge the gap of understanding and give at least a very interesting insight into Eastern societies of old. As usual her nearly poetical use of language makes her stories a delight.

Aliette de Bodard has written about 30 stories in her Universe of Xuya, where the Vietnamese and Chinese dominate and have created a society based on their old cultures from earth. The Tea Master and the Detective won the 2018 Nebula Award for best novella and is also nominated for the 2019 Hugo Award.

In September 2019 a collection of her short works (with lots of Universe of Xuya stories and Dominion of the Fallen stories included) will be published by Subterranean Press. Press the button below to read more.



Of Wars, and Memories, and Starlight will be published in September 2019 by Subterranean Press in a signed and numbered hardcover edition with a beautiful cover by Maurizio Manzieri:

Table of Contents:

  • Introduction
  • The Shipmaker
  • The Jaguar House, in Shadow
  • Scattered Along the River of Heaven
  • Immersion
  • The Waiting Stars
  • Memorials
  • The Breath of War
  • The Days of the War, as Red as Blood, as Dark as Bile
  • The Dust Queen
  • Three Cups of Grief, by Starlight
  • A Salvaging of Ghosts
  • Pearl
  • Children of Thorns, Children of Water
  • Of Birthdays, and Fungus, and Kindness (original novella)
    • Story Notes    
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At the moment Aliette de Bodard is working on a new novel in the Universe of Xuya, which I am really looking forward to.

Press the button below to see another beautiful cover for a trade paperback edition of The Tea Master and the Detective .

Cover artist:  Dick Berger



Dominion of the Fallen – Aliette de Bodard

The House of Shattered Wings: Nekro
The House of Binding Thorns: Nekro
The House of Sundering Flames: Dick Berger

Cover artist

A Fallen. A young one, barely manifested in the world, lying in pain, somewhere close; somewhere vulnerable in a city where young Fallen were merchandise, creatures to be taken apart and killed before they became too powerfull and did the taking apart and the killing.

The fallen angels are the rulers of an alternate Paris. The Fallen are split up in factions, each belonging to a different house. The houses fought a devastating war with each other to gain ultimate power over Paris. 

Now the city is more or less ruined, the houses are weakened but still plot against each other – and at the slightest sign of weakness they pounce and try to eliminate the weak house.

Into these fights come other powers. Dragons living in the depths of the Seine and an exiled Annamite (Vietnamese) from the Imperial Court of Immortals.

Magic, power, arrogance – fear, poverty, desolation – love, kindness and compassion are all stirred in a big pot in the hope of getting a mixture that can satisfy and sustain the city and its inhabitants.

The pot is stirred by Aliette de Bodard. She is fantastic – that’s a fact.

Her mixture of Eastern and Western cultures gives the story an extra spice, that is fascinating for someone (that’s me) who does not have a real knowledge of old Vietnamese culture. 

This mix of cultures is carried out with a poetic use of language that makes every page a small wonder.

Already Aliette de Bodard has gotten 3 Nebula awards, 1 Locus award and 1 BSFA award for her shorter work and has been nominated for more Nebula and Hugo awards.

The first book in the Dominion of the Fallen trilogy won the BAFTA award for best novel in 2015.

These books should be read in the order they were published:

  1. The House of Shattered Wings.
  2. The House of Binding Thorns.
  3. The House of Sundering Flames.

Do yourself a favour and read these fantastic books.

The House of Sundering Flames was first published in a tradepaper edition by Gollancz (UK) with this cover:

As this is the first edition, this is the edition I have. I do not have the US edition, and the book has not been published in a hardcover edition.

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Wilder Girls – Rory Power

Akyut Aydoğdu

Cover artist

Across the roof deck Byatt lowers her gun, rests it on the railing. Road clear.

I keep mine up, just in case, keep the sight raised to my left eye. My other eye’s dead, gone dark in a flare-up. Lid fused shut, something growing underneath.

The Baxter School for Girls has been put under quarantine for eighteen months now – since the Tox hit.

Pupils and teachers die and the infection turns the bodies of the surviving girls strange and foreign. The girls are told to wait and stay alive until a cure can be found.

We follow the developing friendship and love between three teenage girls – Hetty, Byatt and Reese.

Of course things are not quite, what they seem – as we shall soon find out.

WILDER GIRLS shows how strong love and friendship can be between young adult girls and what difference it can make in horrendous situations.

It is Rory Power‘s first novel and it carries tremendous promise. How she writes about emotions, strength in adversity and willingness to act in nearly hopeless situations is done in such a beautiful and wise way, that it makes you love this book.

I had never heard of Rory Power. What made me look at the book, was the fantastic cover by Akut Aydoğdu – wow! I picked up the book, and the blurb by Jeff Vandermeer made me buy and read it immediately.

WILDER GIRLS is the best YA book I’ve read so far this year – and I cannot wait for Rory Power‘s next book.

The book is a YA (targeted for 14-17 years). Personally, I think it might give quite a few in that agegroup a nightmare or two – see the Trigger and Content Warnings that Rory Power has written on her homepage by pressing the button below.

Trigger and Content Warnings Below!

Graphic violence and body horror. Gore.

On the page character death, parental death, and animal death, though the animals are not pets.

Behavior and descriptive language akin to self harm, and references to such.

Food scarcity and starvation. Emesis.

A scene depicting chemical gassing.

Suicide and suicidal ideation.

Non-consensual medical treatment.


Here is a nice piece of fanart to show you the three main characters.

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The Ruin of Kings – Jenn Lyons

[expander_maker id=”7″ more=”Cover artist” less=”Close cover artist”] Cover artist:  Lars West [/expander_maker]

When they brought me up to the auction block, I looked out over the crowd and thought:

I would kill you all if I had a knife. And if I wasn’t naked, I amended.
And shackled. I had never felt so helpless, and-

These are the opening lines of Chapter 1 of Jenn Lyons‘ fantastic novel – The Ruin of Kings.

559 pages of epic fantasy – the best I’ve read since Patrick Rothfuss’ The Name of the Wind.

Kihrin is the slave. His jailer is Talon. She is a lot of different things – human is not among them. Kihrin is not interested in telling his story, but Talon has very good arguments to get him to do so anyway. She also has firsthand knowledge of details of which he is not aware. How she has that knowledge is a story (or stories) in itself.

As you are taken along for the ride, you will be well advised to concentrate. This is not a book about just the protagonist and his jailer. There are many people, gods and demons and more to keep track of. Things are not always what they seem, persons may not be, who you think they are….and so on.

The story is told with lots of footnotes. This is very well done – giving you more important information and an extra perspective on the story.

When you have finished the story, you want more, more, more.

And don’t worry, you shall get more. The Ruin of Kings is the first book in Chorus of Dragons a projected series of five books. TOR is planning to publish them with short intervals. Book two – The Name of All Things – is being published on October 29, 2019. So we don’t have to wait too long.

The scope of this first book, the intrigues, the incredible world-building, the characters and the quality of the writing leaves me in awe of Jenn Lyons – I cannot wait for October to come around!

Terra Ignota – Ada Palmer

All covers by Victor Mosquera

Cover artist

The Terra Ignota universe is the brainchild of history Professor, Ada Palmer. “Too like the Lightning” is her first novel – and it is amazing.

We are in the 25th century. We are on Earth – but an earth, where society is vastly different from today.

If you commit a crime, you are not put in prison, but are required to walk the world and be as helpful to all, as you possibly can. Mycroft Canner committed a crime – and he is forced to tell us all about it in the Terra Ignota books.

The questions raised in the first book are mostly answered in the second.

We are told of an earth, that is close to a human Utopia. A society that is built upon history and old philosophers. We are told of this in a fascinating way incorporating what SF is really about – sense of wonder and what if….

So far this series is superior SF and should be read by any SF fan.

Terra Ignota

  1. Too Like the Lightning
  2. Seven Surrenders
  3. The Will to Battle

Seven Surrenders – Ada Palmer

Victor Mosquera

Cover artist

The wait is over, and I have read “Seven Surrenders”, which left me totally flabbergasted.

If “Too like the Lightning” was full of questions – “Seven Surrenders” was full of answers. So even, when it turns out, there is a third book (“The Will to Battle”) coming out in December, you have not been left hanging.

We get a lot of answers about, why Mycroft Canner acted as he did, what he did and also what the seven leaders of the great hives did – and why. This is where I think the book is on the verge of giving us so much information, that it slows things down a bit too much.

But, that is a minor complaint. When one ghastly thing has just been revealed, the next one pops up, and the next one, and…..

Your head is in a whirl, as you try to keep track of the whats and whys. Your reading speed is kind of slow so as not to miss anything – but you cannot help to be amazed of the amount of information you are offered, and the way the author keeps it all together.

The story is glued together with references to history and old philosophers. Unfortunately I am sure, that I miss a lot of these references, as I don’t know all that much about either history or philosophers. I know names and such, but alas, not alway what they stand for.

However, don’t let that keep you from reading. You can miss a lot of references and still feel the fascination of this book and the universe the author has put together.

The “Terra Ignota” universe of these books is, what SF is all about. Most of all these books tell you about a Utopia, that humankind wants – but are they ready for it?

I, for one, know which book I am going to read come December.


Contact me and comments page

Should you need to contact me, you can use this page. If you want to make comments to any of the posts, you should also use this page.

I welcome comments – positive and negative.


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This means that I will not be publishing these kind of comments, and I reserve the right not to publish a comment without giving any reason.

Comments, where neither your name nor your email-address are included, will not be published. Your name will be published – your email-address will only be published if you specifically request it to be.

I shall not check for new comments every day.



The Merchant Princes – Charles Stross

Cover artist for the first six volumes: Paul Youll
Volume 7 and 8 are photo composites

Cover artist

The series consisted of six books published from 2005 to 2010. However, in 2017 a new cycle of the series started – we now have eight books with more to come.
It is an interesting and intense series of parallel worlds, where some people have the ability to jump between these worlds.
We follow the main protagonist Miriam Beckstein as she finds out, what and who she really is and the consequences for her and the parallel worlds. We are deftly sucked into a whirlwind of intrigue, crime, political power struggles and personal problems with strong characters trying to save the day. No holds are barred in the cataclysmic ending of book six.
If you like your SF fast paced, full of ideas and politically savvy, then this series is a must read. Personally, I am eagerly awaiting the next book.

The Merchant Princes

  1. The Family Trade
  2. The Hidden Family
  3. The Clan Corporate
  4. The Merchants’ War
  5. The Revolution Business
  6. Trade of Queens
  7. Empire Games
  8. Dark State

In the acknowledgements page in the first book, Charles Stross writes: “This book might not have happened if I hadn’t read the works of H. Beam Piper and Roger Zelazny.”

Parallel worlds is the theme of H. Beam Piper’s Paratime novels and stories, and the Amber books of Roger Zelazny. Try and search them out, they are very good.

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Empire Games – Charles Stross

Empire Games is number seven in the series The Merchant Princes. The series started in 2005 with The Family Trade, and book six (The Trade of Queens) was out in 2010. Then we had a long gap until Empire Games came out here in 2017.

The earth is not just the earth – but one of many parallel earths. Some people can skip between these earths, if they have the right coordinates. This trope is not new, but the details are different from other outings of course.

Rita Douglas is the daughter of Miriam Burgeson (aka Miriam Beckstein – the main protagonist of the previous books). However, she was adopted at birth, and has never known her mother. Does she have world skipping abilities, will she be roped into the political machinations surrounding the parallel worlds and will she meet her mother?

The series continues to be filled with action, high politics and personal dramas – it’s good to be back in this interesting and exiting multiverse.

I suppose you could start with this book – at the beginning the author gives us an overview of timelines and main characters – but you really should start with the first one, The Family Trade.

Empire Games is clearly the start of a new cycle of the series. I am going to read the new ones as fast as they are published.

Central Station – Lavie Tidhar

Sarah Anne Langdon

Cover artist


Here we have another contender for best SF of 2016.

Central Station is a huge tower situated in Tel Aviv/Jaffa. The top of the tower is the departure point for the planets, moons, asteroids and space stations in the solar system.

In the city around the tower’s base we follow the lives of those, who stayed behind, when most of humanity left for the rest of the solar system. Humanity has diversified – some have digital enhancements, some are purely digital entities, some are outdated robot warriors and some are very strange and peculiar children and so on.

The book is a mosaic novel. Most of the chapters were published as short stories in a slightly different form. Thus each chapter can stand alone as a finished story. But by putting these stories together as a novel, we get a vivid picture of a culture – a much greater and more comprehensive picture than just a single story would have given us.

Lavie Tidhar has written a breathtaking book. The prose is so rich and splendid and at the same time so tightly written that the book has no unnecessary filler at all.

For long time SF readers we get many nods to earlier giants and stories in the field: “Shambleau” by C.L. Moore, Louis Wu in “Ringworld” by Larry Niven and Cordwainer Smith’s “The Instrumentality of Mankind” to mention a few.

Lavie Tidhar is an author to be watched – and Central Station is a must read and a very strong contender, when award season comes around.

You should try reading some stories or novels by C.L. Moore – she is worth the effort and time.  Some cover pictures: “Shambleau and others” – the original book publication by Gnome Press 1953 (the story was published earlier in Weird Tales, November 1933). I also have an LP (with a fantastic cover by Frank Kelly Freas) where C.L. Moore herself reads the story.

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The Indranan War & The Farian War- K.B. Wagers

Cover artist: There Before the Chaos and Down Among the Dead – Stephan Martiniere

Cover artist

Hail Bristol is a gunrunner. Having made a name for herself she is both feared and respected. But what she really is turns out to be the heir to the Indranan Empire.

After nearly being killed by assassins at the very beginning of the first book, she is dragged back to the Empire. As it turns out, she is the only living heir. Will she have to change from gunrunner to Empress? Will she want to? Does everyone want her to become their Empress? Will they try to kill her?

The Indranan War is action filled Space Opera of the old kind. The books are page turners and hard to put down. Book four continues right after book three, but is also the first book in The Farian War, which Hail now faces after the end of The Indranan War.

The characters are interesting and you root for Hail and her companions and want them to keep on living through more books.

The Indranan War

  1. Behind the Throne
  2. After the Crown
  3. Beyond the Empire

The Farian War (This series starts directly after “Beyond the Empire”)

  1. There Before the Chaos
  2. Down Among the Dead
  3. Out past the Stars

After the Crown – K.B. Wagers

This is book two of the Indranan War.

The book starts up where “Behind the Throne” ended. Hail is moving up in the world, which means she is in deeper trouble with more and nastier enemies.

Another action-filled thrill ride with Hail trying desperately to live up to her title and the hopes of the people around her.

No slacking in action and pacing – it is still a fast and good read. Another book you will read in  one sitting. Now we wait for book three – hopefully not too long a wait.

Behind the Throne – K.B. Wagers

This is K.B. Wagers first novel – and a whopping good one.

Old fashioned Space Opera with non-stop action and a very cool protagonist.

Hail Bristol is a gunrunner. Having made a name for herself she is both feared and respected. But what she really is turns out to be the heir to the Indranan Empire.

After nearly being killed by assassins at the very beginning of the book, she is dragged back to the Empire. As it turns out, she is the only living heir. Will she be able to change from gunrunner to Empress? Does everyone want her to become their Empress? Will they try to kill her?

A fast, exiting, action filled and thrilling read. Before you know it, you have read it all. But – not to worry. The sequel is already published – and at least at the beginning Hail is still alive.

The Expanse – Season One

Bringing good Space Opera to the screen – a very positive surprise.

James S.A. Corey has so far written six books in The Expanse series with more to come (press tag below to read about the book series). Now Syfy brings the series to the small screen.

Season One follows the books very well. It tells most of the story by showing you instead of having people telling you, what you are seeing. Of course that is the cinematic way, but can be a bit difficult to follow in the beginning, because there is so much information to process. But if you hang in there, you shall be well rewarded. It is a much better way to do things than having talking heads explain to you, what is happening.

200 years in the future Earth and Mars are the two big players of the solar system. Each wants to dominate and each have huge space navies. In the middle we have the individuals of the asteroid belt that mine the belt for metals, water and whatever they can sell to the two big ones. Powerful organisations being what they are, they squeeze the belters by lowering the pay for their products and rising the cost of the spare parts that the belters need. Telling you more would include spoilers, so this is all you get.

Just like the books this is Space Opera on a huge canvas, and season one looks fantastic. Deservedly it was very well received and season two starts screening in February 2017.

This kind of treatment is what I want to see, when we are talking good Space Opera. I hope it stays on target, gets lots of viewers and keeps on going as long as the books.

P.S. The cover of the blu-ray (see above) is beautiful.

The Expanse series – James S.A. Corey (Pseudonym of Daniel Abraham and Ty Franck)

[expander_maker id=”7″ more=”Cover artist” less=”Close cover artist”] All covers are by Daniel Dociu [/expander_maker]

All covers are by Daniel Dociu

Cover artist

The Expanse series is one of the best Space Opera series running at the moment.

We have a huge canvas, alien constructions and technology, politics, wars, scientific discoveries, criminal acts – all human behaviour and misbehaviour in one big pot. Start stirring.

200 years in the future Earth and Mars are the two big players of the solar system. Each wants to dominate and each have huge space navies. In the middle we have the individuals of the asteroid belt that mine the belt for metals, water and whatever they can sell to the two big ones. Powerful organisations being what they are, they squeeze the belters by lowering the pay for their products and rising the cost of the spare parts that the belters need.

Enter: An alien protomolecule – and the game changes completely. Gates opens to the unknown. Are there earthlike planets out there? Are there dangerous, peaceful or no aliens out there? Will people of the overpopulated earth get their chance to escape and find a better life? Will the dream of terraforming Mars become irrelevant? What will happen to the belters, if their services are no longer needed?

The pot is ready to boil over.

We follow the political powers and their attempts to consolidate and expand their power bases, but we also follow the consequences this have for the normal people and how they act – and the belters finally revolting.

Our main protagonists are Captain James Holden and his crew of a pirated Martian war ship – the Rocinante. They do a great job of catching your interest, helping the reader to understand the human side of things and make you like them and want them to succeed and survive. The characters in this series are well drawn and fulfil their purpose of explaining things on a personal level  that makes you want to read on and on and on…..

The sixth volume of the series have just been published, and there are no signs of fatigue. A huge, exiting and thoughtful must read series.

A TV-series has already been made. The first season is published on blu-ray and DVD – and it is very good. The second season starts next month – February 2017 on SyFy. You should watch it.

  1. Leviathan Wakes
  2. Caliban’s War
  3. Abaddon’s Gate
  4. Cibola Burn
  5. Nemesis Games
  6. Babylon’s Ashes
  7. Persepolis Rising
  8. Tiamat’s Wrath

Babylon’s Ashes – James S.A. Corey (Pseudonym of Daniel Abraham and Ty Franck)

Daniel Dociu

Cover artist

“Babylon’s Ashes” is book no. 6 in the series “The Expanse” – a huge Space Opera series of the finest kind. A must if you like Space Opera.

The series should be read in order of publication.

“Babylon’s Ashes” picks up where “Nemesis Games” (no. 5 in the series) left off. It continues the story of James Holden and his crew in the Rocinante – and all the other major players we have gotten to know in the previous books.

This instalment is centred in the solar system, the belt, outlying moons and space stations. War and politics take precedence over scientific discoveries.

But as usual it is the consequences of war and politics for the people (important and just normal) and how they react to those consequences that take centre stage here.

The scope of this series is huge. The books are large. The development of the plot and characters very interesting and solid.



The Commitments

Alan Parker’s great film from 1991 is now out on Blu ray. The restauration for the Blu ray is fantastic – especially the sound quality of the music stands out.

The movie focuses on some young people in Dublin trying to start a band playing soul music from the sixties.

For the leads Parker was looking for singers, who could really sing – and if they could also act a little bit, that was fine.

The result is a gorgeous film filled with really soulful music. If you can sit still and not tap your feet, there is probably something wrong with your ears.

It was a surprise for me to see, that Maria Doyle Kennedy started out as a singer, and then became an actor (Orphan Black is a good example of her acting powers). She has a beautiful and powerful singing voice.

The main lead Andrew Strong has a great voice for soul music. But the whole ensemble and the music is what this is about.

Jessica Jones – The Complete First Season

At last – Jessica Jones’ first season is now available on Blu ray. In Europe at least. It is worth the wait.

Jessica Jones has powers. But she does not want to be a hero. She just wants to be left in peace after some traumatic incidents. The worst being her encounter with Kilgrave – played by a fantastic David Tennant (Dr. Who).

Kristen Ritter is great as Jessica Jones and we are not just talking about a female lead – a lot of the other significant characters in the series are female and doing a fine job.

It is very nice to see a superhero series with such a number of fully fleshed out female characters. It really makes the series stand out and not nearly as testosterone driven as the usual superhero stuff – which in a lot of cases has grown a bit tiresome.

Watch Jessica Jones – a fine series.

Rolling in the Deep – Mira Grant (pseudonym of Seanan McGuire)

Julie Dillon

Cover artist

“We’re here at an undisclosed dock in Washington state, where the majestic ocean vessel Atargatis is getting ready to set sail on what promises to be a historic journey of discovery and danger. Because this isn’t just any voyage, and we’re not sailing with just any crew. Some of the world’s best minds have assembled – scientists, scholars, researchers from all over the globe – to answer, once and for all, the question that has plagued mankind since we first took to the seas. Are mermaids the hallucinations of lonely sailors? Or are they real?”

What if mermaids were real, but not even close to being cute? Beautiful, yes. Cute – forget it.

Cruise ship Atargatis is filled with scientists, media people and of course sailors. They are on an expedition to the Mariana Trench on a search for reported mermaids. Can mermaids be real? Do they exist?

Find out in this beautiful horror novella.

Mira Grant is a pseudonym of Seanan McGuire, which she uses when writing SF and Horror.

This novella is the first book in “Mermaids in the Drowning Deep” series, and you should read it before you read the second – “Into the Drowning Deep”.

Every Heart a Doorway – Seanan McGuire

Nancy stood frozen in the center of the foyer, her hand locked on the handle of her suitcase as she looked around, trying to find her bearings. She wasn’t sure what she’d been expecting from the “special school” her parents were sending her to, but it certainly hadn’t been this … this elegant country home.

Every Heart a Doorway is a fantastic, beautiful and moving story about estrangement, that will touch your heart in so many ways. Wonderfully told by Seanan McGuire – one of her very best.

Children slipping through gateways into other worlds has always happened – Narnia, Oz, Harry Potter, Alice in Wonderland. But what happens, if the children get thrown out of these worlds – even though they want and need to stay?

Eleanor West’s Home for Wayward Children does its best to help – but can it be enough?

Every Heart a Doorway is the first novella in this series of The Wayward Children. It won the 2016 Nebula Award for best novella, the 2017 Hugo Award for best novella and the 2017 Locus Award for best novella.

There are still novellas in the series to be written and published – and the series so far is still wonderful and important.


Here are some beautiful postcards by Rovina Cai that were given away as promotional material, when the book was published.


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Once Broken Faith – Seanan McGuire

Chris McGrath

Cover artist

“Once Broken Faith” by Seanan McGuire is the tenth in her October Daye (Toby) series. This series is a must read, if you like Urban Fantasy.

The book fully (and then some) lives up to the level of the previous books in the series. Toby of course faces new problems and situations, she can only solve, if she keeps developing. Luckily for us she does just that, but still remains the Toby we love.

As an extra bonus the book includes an original Arden Windermere novella.

To avoid spoilers for those who have not yet read the other books in the series, I cannot tell you much more but urge you to start reading this series. Click the tag at the bottom to find out titles and order of publication.

Too like the Lightning – Ada Palmer

Victor Mosquera

Cover artist

Ada Palmer’s “Too like the Lightning” is one of the best SF novels of the year.

It builds on history and philosophy, but creates a new world entirely its own. It poses questions, that makes you think. It does, what SF does best – introduces new ideas based on the basic SF question “What if…..”.

Mycroft Canner committed a horrible crime. Getting to know him as a kind and gentle person you wonder, what he could have done. You are finally told, and cannot believe it. Why did he do it?

For the answer to that you have to wait for book two (“Seven Surrenders”) that will be out in February 2017. Book one ends abruptly stating: “Here ends the first half of Mycroft Canner’s History”.

“Too like the Lightning” is Ada Palmer’s first SF book – and it is fascinating. It is not a fast read, there is too much information crammed into its pages for that. But oh, you are richly awarded for the time it takes to read it.

The book contains so much of what makes SF brilliant and special. It was much hyped by other authors before publication, but it lives up to every praise and even exceeds it. The only reason it may not take some of the major prices in the field is the fact, that it is only the first half of a story.

I cannot wait for February.