A College of Magics, by Caroline Stevermer

The title of Caroline Stevermer's A College of Magics makes it sound like yet another Harry Potter-inspired tale of gifted children, magical hijinks, and saving the world from He Whose Name In This Book We Do Not Yet Know, but in fact it is nothing of the kind.The tale is set in an alternate Europe, toward the end of the 19th century. There are railroads, and automobiles are not unheard of, but there are no airplanes and the First World War is not yet even a dream. There is magic, clearly, … [Read more...]

Flannery O’Connor Not Your Cup Of Tea?

So you've heard people talk about Flannery O'Connor and how deeply Catholic she is, and maybe you've glanced at her stories and been repelled. As Tod Worner suggests, try out her collected letters. … [Read more...]

Power of Three, by Diana Wynne Jones


A boy, son of the chief of a clan living in a mound on an English moor of uncertain date, beginning to get his growth, and terribly full of himself, finds and kills his counterpart from an enemy tribe of water dwellers in order to steal the ornate golden torc from around his neck.  Along with the torc he receives his enemy's dying curse. His little sister is with him, and indeed inadvertently made it possible for him to find his enemy; and she resolves to undo the curse...and therein hangs the … [Read more...]

What Not To Read on a Fourteen Hour Flight


I wrote this review of Stephen King's Everything's Eventual in March of 2013.Reading this book was a mistake.You almost certainly misunderstood that last statement.I like Stephen King. He's a darn good story teller, and he's darn good at evoking just the response he wants (which, it seems to me, isn't quite the same thing). I use to buy all of his books as they came out, until I got to Insomnia, which was frankly a waste of time. He told the story well, but the story itself was … [Read more...]

The Human Wisdom of St. Thomas, by Josef Pieper


In 1948, Josef Pieper published a selection of short texts from the writings of St. Thomas Aquinas, specifically, those texts he wanted to bring to the attention of his friends so that they could come to understand the character and thought of St. Thomas. The texts (often no more than a sentence) are arranged in a particular order by topic, so as to lead the reader through the philosophical thought of the saint. The book is entitled The Human Wisdom of St. Thomas.Beyond a short … [Read more...]

Three Parts Dead, by Max Gladstone

In Three Parts Dead, Max Gladstone paints a picture of a fascinating world where gods are a commodity to be bought and sold, where "soulstuff" is the coin of the realm, and where knowledge of the Craft can be a key to immortality...of a sort.The city of Alt Coulumb came out of the God Wars with one of its gods intact, Kos the Everburning. In return for the worship of his people, Kos provides heat and steam power to the citizens of Alt Coulumb; he is also the hub of a vast network of power … [Read more...]

Mormons and Full Frontal Snogging — UPDATED

Now, with the relevant link.Leah Libresco discusses an article that asks, why is it that there are so many Mormons in genre fiction? Certainly there are, and they include some of my favorites, including Orson Scott Card and Brandon Sanderson. (L.E. Modesitt is also a favorite, but although he lives in Utah and has written a couple of books that riff on Mormonism, I don't know whether he's a Mormon or not.) And then of course there's Stephenie Meyers' sparkly vampires. One conjecture the … [Read more...]

Words I Wish I’d Written: Bad Language

“Dang Brodell,” Emmett said. Actually that isn’t what he said. But about a year ago I got a four-page letter from a woman in Wichita, Kansas, saying that she had read all of my reports and that as each of her fourteen grandchildren reached his or her twelfth birthday she gave him or her copies of three of them just to get them started. If I go ahead and report what Emmett Lake actually said I would almost certainly lose that nice old lady, and what about the grandchildren who aren’t twelve yet? I … [Read more...]

Dinner at Deviant’s Palace

Today only, Amazon has made Tim Powers' early novel … [Read more...]