Essays & Discussions

Finding What Was Meaningful – a 2020 Retrospective

I started a “Best of 2020” list. Then, I started over. I scrapped it. Started again. I looked through my books, ran my fingers down their spines, and tried once more. I threw together a spreadsheet from Goodreads, sorted it by date, then by rating, then by author. Deleted it in frustration when the books didn’t feel the way I needed them to. I couldn’t do it. … More Finding What Was Meaningful – a 2020 Retrospective

Does The Player of Games by Ian M. Banks Hold Up to a Modern Reading?

Within the context of its time, The Player of Games is a shockingly progressive novel. Given that it was written at the height of the AIDS epidemic, I’m impressed that Ian M. Banks chose to deliberately and consciously include queer themes and explicitly endorse homosexuality as something that is not just okay, but also a perfectly normal part of a healthy utopian society.  … More Does The Player of Games by Ian M. Banks Hold Up to a Modern Reading?

The Rape of Galadriel: A Deadly Education’s Mishandled Treatment of Sexual Assault

A Deadly Education is an oddly niche book given how widely it has been marketed. While on the surface it appears to be a bit more on the YA side, the tone and content of the novel is more akin to a dark adult fantasy. We’ve seen a great deal of controversy surrounding it these past few weeks, specifically regarding its multicultural cast. Yet amidst the discussions of dreadlocks, Asian rep, and whether the main character is Indian enough, it seems we’ve collectively managed to gloss over Novik’s mishandling of rape and sexual assault in an academic setting. … More The Rape of Galadriel: A Deadly Education’s Mishandled Treatment of Sexual Assault

Review of Daughter from the Dark by Marina and Sergey Dyanchenko, translated by Julia Hersey, and contemplations on connections to Vita Nostra

Similar to Vita Nostra, Daughter from the Dark defies simple attempts at explanation. While it is straightforward on the surface, it’s clear to a reader that there are many depths and dangers lying beneath that topmost narrative layer. It’s almost absurdist, in some respects. Humorous at times. It’s a power struggle between two opposite characters – one who is driven and focused in the extreme, and one who is cowardly, fearful, and selfish. Both are dysfunctional in their own unique ways, struggling to navigate a world filled with death, pain, and hunger. They hurt one another, sometimes intentionally and sometimes not. Marina and Sergey Dyachenko, joined by translator Julia Hersey, take us on a dark dive into the human psyche once again, forcing the brightness of the unknown to cast stark shadows that define the edges of our own reality. … More Review of Daughter from the Dark by Marina and Sergey Dyanchenko, translated by Julia Hersey, and contemplations on connections to Vita Nostra

Virtual r/Fantasy Con, COVID-19 News, and a Few Cozy Book Recommendations!

Hi there, everyone! I’m taking a partial deviation from my normal content to discuss out current major issue: the fact that a pandemic is occurring right outside our very doors. While we’ve all learned about the basic measures we can take as individuals to help prevent the spread, I’m hoping to highlight a few key points that have been less publicized here. Also included are resources to share with your friends and family who may not understand why COVID-19 is such a problem and may need a bit of convincing to begin social distancing.  … More Virtual r/Fantasy Con, COVID-19 News, and a Few Cozy Book Recommendations!

A Personal Exploration of Sexual Assault and Trauma through Speculative Fiction – Pt. 2

I’ve started this second post so many times. I tried to decide: should I start with the man who raped me, who placed drink after drink into my hand and grabbed my arm and pulled me back when I tried to go home to get away from him? Should I start with the one who pressured me into sex acts when I was vulnerable, my self esteem at an all-time low? How about the serial abuser who “only” touched me once, when he did so much worse to other women? Or maybe the man who began to stalk me as soon as I told him I didn’t want to see him any more, who told me how attractive he found it when I was angry at him when he wouldn’t leave me alone? How about the coworker who put his hands on me, who told me how sexy he found me, told me he wanted to know “what made me tick”?  … More A Personal Exploration of Sexual Assault and Trauma through Speculative Fiction – Pt. 2

A Personal Exploration of Sexual Assault and Trauma through Speculative Fiction – Pt. 1 

This is Part 1 of series of deeply personal reflections on my own sexual assault, rape, and how they relate to the portrayal of rape and sexual assault in speculative fiction. This particular article will discuss a prolonged instance of childhood sexual assault. Future articles in this series will cover other trauma I experienced as an adult in college and beyond.  … More A Personal Exploration of Sexual Assault and Trauma through Speculative Fiction – Pt. 1 

Basilisk Books’ Best of 2019

Well, it’s that time of year, isn’t it? Time for all the Best Of and Top Ten lists to begin poking their heads out to herald in not just a new year, but a new decade. 2019 was one hell of a busy one for me, having started it with a move across the country and some quite major changes in my personal life as well. It’s been one for the books, if you will. … More Basilisk Books’ Best of 2019

A Love Letter to Imaginary Worlds: The Prose of Science Fiction and Fantasy

SF&F has been filled with gorgeous, prosaic writing ever since its inception. To say otherwise is both myopic and factually incorrect. In the 1920s, we had Hope Mirlees. In the 40 and 50s, Mervyn Peake. In the 70s, we had Samuel R. Delany and Patricia McKillip. Janny Wurts entered the genre in the 80s. In more recent decades, voices such as Amal El-Mohtar and Sofia Samatar have made their debut. Today and throughout history, we have had multitudes of authors writing delightfully lyrical prose, every word, every phrase, every sentence forming a love letter to writing and the worlds we’ve created. … More A Love Letter to Imaginary Worlds: The Prose of Science Fiction and Fantasy

Science Fiction & Fantasy Novellas

Part 3 in a Series of Bingo Challenge Themed Reviews & Suggestion Lists – Full List of Squares and Introduction Available Here. SFF Novella – works of fiction of between 17,500 and 40,000 words. HARD MODE: Novella is NOT published by Tor.com Publishing. – Reddit r/Fantasy Novellas are great bite-sized option when you’re not looking to … More Science Fiction & Fantasy Novellas

Books Featuring Disability

This is such an interesting square! It’s often challenging to find novels that include protagonists who suffer from a disability. There are a wide variety of options here, ranging from something mild like anxiety or depression all the way up to a physical disability that severely impedes a normal life. It’s nice to see a focus on inclusion like this. … More Books Featuring Disability

Get new reviews delivered directly to your inbox.