Posts Tagged ‘fantasy’

The four best books I read this year

These were my favorite reads this year. Give them a try! (These books are recently published, but not during 2021.)

ECHO IN ONYX. This fascinating page-turner from Sharon Shinn is about a royal society where a select few have dopplegangers (exact replicas of themselves) who are integrated into society and accompany and interact with their primary individual in fascinating ways. I was totally immersed in this book. The first book in a trilogy–also available in audio book.


KLARA AND THE SUN. A Booker Prize-winning book by literary author Kazuo Ishiguro. It’s a surprisingly believable view into the mental world of a humanoid-looking AI. The story conveys a sweet and sometimes unbearable poignancy. Ishiguro is a master of irony, where the reader is aware of things that the main character is not. Some may find it a bit slow, but I didn’t.


THE THOUSAND AUTUMNS OF JACOB DE ZOET. If you’ve read David Mitchell’s science fiction, you’re already a fan. He’s a total powerhouse literary writer and this one, with small elements of fantasy, is historical fiction set in 18th century Japan. The main character is a Dutch merchant who run afoul of his corrupt employer and harbors a secret love love of a Japanese woman.


GREAT STORIES DON’T WRITE THEMSELVES.  From the brilliant teacher Larry Brooks, a clear-sighted, inspiring guide to using major turning points in the novel, using a popular mystery book by Robert Dugoni as an example. His structural approach to the novel is the most helpful advice I’ve ever been given. I recommend all his other books as well!

Grounding the strange

I’m having a fascinating time moving into the world of the fantasy novel. How lucky we are in SF/F to have such a diverse genre to play in!

In late August, my first fantasy, A Thousand Perfect Things comes out. I thought long and hard about what kind of fantasy to begin with. For awhile I considered a traditional fantasy, but some reason, I find the usual epic fantasy is not a style I relish. (Still, I love it when others pull it off well, like Martin, Erickson, Weeks, Abercrombie.) Nor am I comfortable with softer worlds of hedge-wizards and courtesans. It’s too easy-going, maybe. I like something a bit stranger than that.

I think what I love about fantasy as altered history is that I can create unusual and fun worlds and still have a tether to the familiar. Read More…

Fantasies as re-imagined history


Right now on Black Gate magazine: Mucking with the Mundane, my take on fantasies set in alternate historical periods.

How do authors get readers to abandon what they know about what already happened and take a ride with the fantastical?

I look at Moorcock’s Gloriana, Card’s Alvin Maker series and such works as Novik’s Temeraire series.

If you haven’t checked out the excellent Black Gate: Adventures in Fantasy Literature, try it now!


The lovely deep of the fantastic

Jemison cover

Cover of a recent favorite fantasy book, N.K. Jemisin’s The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms.

When people ask me why I write science fiction and fantasy–or more often, why I don’t write, say, mysteries or mainstream–there is likely a question

lurking underneath: Why would I want to write sf/f?

I’m going to trot out this answer from now on: Mainstream is too restrictive for me.

Or, if I want to sound like a pompous twit (thanks for the great phrase, Don McQuinn) I could say that my mind just slips into metaphor. Because the fantastic is a meta-representation of the story. Read More…

Help pick my new cover art

I’m very excited to announce that I have a new novel coming out. This is a project I’ve been working on for several years. It’s an epic tale of magic in a reimagined England and India, where a Victorian woman dares to take on the scientific establishment — and the British Raj. The title is  A Thousand Perfect Things– available in late August from Premier Digital Publishing. Read More…