Get High… Creatively

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Stoke Your Creative Fire with Visual Cartwheels, Mood Altering Sounds, and More Brain Candy Get High Now (Without Drugs), by James Nestor is a reference book of techniques for shifting your consciousness. Some are more advisable than others (you won’t catch me staring at the vomit vectors), but I applaud the range of options offered. […] Read more »

A Review of Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell, by Susanna Clarke

Cover Art of Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell by Susanna Clarke

Jane Austen Dreams of Harry Potter and Writes 1000+ pages. Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell was Time Magazine #1 Book of the Year, Winner of the Hugo Award and the World Fantasy Award, as well as making about a dozen top fiction lists in 2004, the year it came out. In short, it is one […] Read more »

The Illumination by Kevin Brockmeier

The Illumination by Kevin Brockmeier Cover Art

The Illumination is a literary novel with only one fantastic element, but it’s a doozy: one day, inexplicably, the bodily pain of each and every human being on earth begins to manifest as a white light. Everything from a headache to leukemia shines out of the body like a beacon for all to see. The […] Read more »

Freaks’ Amour, by Tom De Haven

Cover of Freaks' Amour, a novel by Tom De Haven

Mutants on the Outside, Looking In Hardcore. That’s the word that comes to mind. But not just because Freaks’ Amour refers to a XXX rated show where Normals go to watch mutant men rape their wives and girlfriends (and for a finale the Normals pelt them with rotten fruit). The sex scenes are not particularly […] Read more »

Mechanique: A Tale of the Circus Tresaulti, by Genevieve Valentine

Mechanique, A Tale of the Circus Tresaulti, by Genevieve Valentine, cover image

This novel, which received a Nebula nomination for Best Novel, takes place in a post-war landscape. The particulars are left vague: we know that there were bombs and radiation, followed by smaller wars for control, and the creation of city-states. Outside of these, borders have become fluid, and life brutal. To stay out of trouble, […] Read more »

The Sirens of Titan, by Kurt Vonnegut Jr.

The Sirens of Titan book cover

An Alien Anthropologist Visits Planet Earth I’ve read quite a few of Vonnegut’s novels now, and I’ve decided he is, in fact, an alien observer of a strange and dangerous race: humans. Vonnegut’s stories show us our every shortcoming without rancor. Like a good anthropologist, he’s neither angry nor particularly compassionate. He doesn’t make excuses […] Read more »

Review of Illyria, by Elizabeth Hand

Cover of Illyria, by Elizabeth Hand

An Elegant Explosion of Repressed Creativity and Desire This is beautifully written, Romantic (in the 18th century sense, not the Danielle Steele sense) novella about soul mates, forbidden love, and being a magical child in a family that’s lost its mojo. It’s also about talent, both the kind that emerges full-blown and the kind that […] Read more »

Review of Osama, by Lavie Tidhar

Cover of Osama, by Lavie Tidhar

Wishing Terrorism Was Only Fiction Many people have compared the novel Osama by Lavie Tidhar to books by Phillip K. Dick. It is similar in that the main characters come to realize that reality is not at all what it seems, and that there are those who would stop them from learning the truth. However, […] Read more »

How to Write Science Fiction and Fantasy, by Orson Scott Card

How to write Science fiction and Fantasy - Orson Scott Card

This is a useful book for intermediate-level writers, or for more experienced writers new to writing science fiction and fantasy. Although in some respects it might be considered dated, the foundations are solid. Do be aware that it focuses much more heavily on science fiction than fantasy, though most of the principles covered can be […] Read more »

A Review of Zoo City, by Lauren Beukes

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A Noir Detective Pagan Cyberpunk Novel Zoo City is a ghetto in Johannesburg, populated by outcasts. Each person there is marked by the wild animal that appears just after they kill someone (intentionally or not). Animal and human become extensions of one another, and any “Zoo” unfortunate enough to lose her animal gets a visit […] Read more »