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Empress by Karen Miller

Karen Miller’s Empress, the first in the Godspeaker trilogy, is a book of epic high fantasy that clocks in at a whopping 717 pages. The length makes it look like a bit of a chore, but Miller’s tight prose and interesting representations of religious fervor will keep readers riveted. Lush action scenes filled with gore and righteous godly anger compliment the unforgiving harshness of the desert setting Miller has chosen. The unforgiving God of Mijak, who communicates through scorpions and pools of blood and who protects its people even as it horribly kills those who question it, is also well suited for the environment. The pace of the book is excellent, so the first 500 pages go by surprisingly quickly. However, in the last couple hundred pages when other protagonists begin to take center stage in preparation for the rest of the trilogy, Miller stumbles a little. The pace shifts and jumps time in odd ways, expecting us to connect and care about some characters that have only been secondary through most of the work. It’s a bit of a tough sell but it’s obvious that Miller is setting up the two remaining books in the trilogy, so some of it is forgivable…

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Puppet Strings: Rachel Swirsky

In 2006, as my friend Vylar Kaftan was planning her wedding, she kept having horrible visions. What if there was a storm? Or lightning struck the groom? Or she suffered spontaneous human combustion?

That summer, Vylar and I participated in the Clarion West Write-a-thon, a fundraiser for the workshop. Writers take pledges for marathon writing, much the same way that people take pledges for walk-a-thons. During the write-a-thon, Vylar organized an exchange in which several writers contributed first lines to stories they didn’t intend to write. I submitted “The trouble with claiming to be a shapeshifter is someone eventually expects you to prove it.” In exchange, I received the line Vylar had written: “The wedding went well until the bride caught fire.”

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Puddlejumpers by Mark Jean and Christopher C. Carlson

Puddlejumpers, by Mark Jean and Christopher C. Carlson, is the story of Ernie Banks, an orphan boy from Chicago who knows nothing about where he came from or the special destiny he’s meant to fulfill. Despite this overly familiar premise, the book managed to reel me in with an action-filled plot, an engaging main character, […]

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Fanfic: Menace or Threat?

I’ve written one piece of fanfic, back when I was in my teens, featuring the Uncanny X-Men, the supervillain Arcade, and an embarassingly thinly disguised version of me. I’m curious what people’s experience in the arena of fanfic are — what do you think someone gets out of writing it? Is there a world that […]

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Puppet Strings: Darja Malcolm-Clarke

“The Holy Spirit’s ‘endless speaking’ seemed to me an apt metaphor for the patriarchal/phallocentric discourse in which Western culture is so embedded. It informs the basic assumptions about what it means to be a man or a woman…“ Over the next few weeks we’re rolling out some new features at Fantasy Magazine. One that we’re […]

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The Magician and The Fool by Barth Anderson

Barth Anderson’s latest work, The Magician and The Fool, is a dense descriptive piece that informs the reader of a possible history of the tarot while leading you into a netherworld full of rich conflicting images. The historical facts and speculation are engaging, but the pacing of the book is so slow and disjointed that […]

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Blog For A Beer! Twitter Takes Over

Welcome to the newest installment of Blog for a Beer on this lovely Fantasy Friday. Every week we offer up a bloggy prompt and invite you to discuss and debate the topic. The comments will close at 11:59PM Pacific time Saturday and, if we have at least 10 participants, we’ll award $10 in beer (or […]

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The Duke in His Castle by Vera Nazarian

The premise of The Duke in His Castle is that, many generations ago, all the nobles of an unnamed kingdom rose up against the Just King, who punished them by confining them and their heirs to their own castle grounds. He promised that any one of the nobles who learned the secret powers of each […]

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Blog For A Beer! Open Thread

It’s Fantasy Friday again, and you know what that means: It’s time to blog. For a beer! (Or hot chocolate, whatev.) This week we’re doing an open post. That means you, our dear readers, have free reign in the comments to talk about whatever genre topic is on your minds. Or you can throw up […]

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Blog for a Beer! How Has The Internet Changed Fandom?

First, congratulations to last week’s winner, Clint Harris, for his contributions to the Science vs. Fantasy discussion. Sorry for the delay in picking–along with this new Blog for a Beer comes some new stuff behind the scenes. The kinks, as they say, need working out. But we think we’ve got it now 🙂 Welcome to […]