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Fantasy Characters Behaving Politely

The problem with most popular fantasy is that it’s all reactions to Tolkien, either following staunchly in his footsteps (like David Eddings) or trying to deconstruct the heroic fantasy archetype (like Terry Pratchett). It’s a rare fantasy novel that ignores ol’ J. R. R. altogether. But Susanna Clarke’s first novel draws far more from Pride and Prejudice than Return of the King and is an altogether... read more

GK Chesterton: Edgy as he wants to be

The first Terry Pratchett book I ever read wasn’t a discworld novel. But it was also the first Neil Gaiman book I ever read… Look, it was Good Omens, and unless someone beats me to it I’ll write about that wonderful little novel someday. But here’s the point. Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman are like two sides of the same coin: they both write intelligent, lively fantasy, but Terry... read more

The Death Rat Cometh

For most people who read this site all I should have to say is "Mike Nelson wrote a novel. Here's the Amazon link. Go buy it." and we'd be good. But I'm going to choose to believe... read more

Dying Bites – Monster Majority!

Stop me if you’ve heard this one before: Sexy kickass heroine battles werewolves and vampires in a world that is beyond her control. You’ve heard it right? Bought the t-shirt, wore it for a few years, and now it’s lurking crumpled and tatty at the back of your closet? Nope, you haven’t heard this. D.D. Barant’s Dying Bites is better than that in every way that matters. Our sexy kickass fed... read more

The Information: Envy is a funny thing

There's a scene in The Information in which the protagonist is thrilled when his friend's wife says that her husband "Can't write for toffee." (This is a British idiom which loosely translated means "He sucks on toast.") read more

Tana French: Gloriously sordid

One of my favorite things to do on or before a vacation is to hit a bookstore and prowl through the mystery and true crime sections, searching for books that combine reasonably deft writing with somewhat gothic content: child disappearances, dark forgotten secrets, people living double lives. Arty stuff, you know, on that thin-thin line between a soupcon of sleaze and ewww, that’s totally gross! I... read more

Epic fantasy with a double shot of fun

Let’s get one thing straight right now: I love these books. I love them like a brother. Meaning: I can make fun of them, because I love them. But if an outsider makes fun of them they will experience the full extent of my wrath.* That needed to be said because I can’t tell you how awesome these books are without making fun of them at least a little bit. Quite a bit, actually. Also: spoilers... read more

Uncommon Reader:
Uncommonly good!

If you’re British, you already know all about Alan Bennett. Some lad mag (or is it lit mag?) publishes excerpts from his diary every year, right? Then he makes that Christmas broadcast on the BBC, and you see him when you’re punting the Thames. He shows up at your birthday parties, even, and brings you your lunch when you’ve forgotten it at home. I’m sure this is true. He’s the UK’s kindly gay... read more
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