Swords and Spaceships

Swords and Spaceships Dec 15

Happy Friday, changelings and chrononauts! Today we’ve got reviews of Cold Wind and Radio Silence, some adaptation news, some sf/f holiday cheer, and more.

The Language of Thorns by Leigh BardugoThis newsletter is sponsored by The Language of Thorns by Leigh Bardugo.

Inspired by myth, fairy tale, and folklore, #1 New York Times-bestselling author Leigh Bardugo has crafted a deliciously atmospheric collection of short stories filled with betrayals, revenge, sacrifice, and love. Perfect for new readers and dedicated fans, the lavishly illustrated tales in The Language of Thorns will transport you to lands both familiar and strange—to a fully realized world of dangerous magic that millions have visited through the novels of the Grishaverse.

A present for John Scalzi fans: We’re getting a movie adaptation of Old Man’s War from Netflix. Let the fancasts begin!

Need more YA for your TBR? Alex picked some favorite YA SFF of 2017, and they are organized by handy categories like “Court Intrigue” and “I’m Not Crying, You’re Crying.”

Calling all Gryffindors: here’s a reading list just for you.

Not a gift guide but a guide to gifting: Aisha breaks down how to be a good gift-giver, and her advice is A++.

If you’re a long-time reader, you know that Doctor Who is not one of my specialties, so I cannot comment on how correct they are, but! The folks at Syfy decided to rank all the Doctor Who Christmas specials.

Hosting a holiday party and want to add some Star Trek to it? Here’s a recipe for Romulan ale.

Courtesy of Kelly Link: What would your fantasy series be called? Mine was A Bodega of Amethyst and Dusk, which I now feel obliged to write.

Watch this immediately: John Boyega and Gwendoline Christie play “What’s In The Box” and I literally wept with laughter for 5 minutes. ACTUAL TEARS.

Last not but least: we’re giving away a stack of our 20 favorite books of the year! And said stack includes stellar SF/F titles Her Body and Other Parties, The Gauntlet, and A Conjuring of LightClick here to enter.

Today’s reviews are books that make me want to bundle up. Best read under a blanket and with the hot beverage of your choice.

Cold Wind by Nicola Griffith

cover of Cold Wind by Nicola GriffithThis is the first time I’ve ever reviewed a short story for this newsletter, I do believe! But this one is so perfect for the holiday season, I couldn’t pass it up.

Set in a Seattle bar on the Winter Solstice and following a narrator whose motivations twist and turn along with the plot, this is a story that calls on the spirits of the the darkest part of the year. Griffith plays cat and mouse with the reader and her characters as she melds myth and contemporary life and looks at desire in its various forms. To say much more would be to spoil the delicious unfolding of the plot, so I will just say that it is atmospherically perfect. You can purchase the story, or read it online right here.

Radio Silence (Off the Grid #1) by Alyssa Cole

cover of Radio Silence by Alyssa ColeWhether or not you think you like romance novels, I urge you to pick this near-future tale up. It starts off with our heroine, Arden, trudging through the snow. She and her friend John are headed to his family’s cabin near the Canadian border because the world is ending.

No electricity, no running water, no trappings of civilization — they all shut down one day and no one really knows why. Rather than wait around Rochester NY to find out, they decide to head for the hills. But the journey isn’t an easy one, nor does their arrival at the cabin mean that everything is going to work out. When John’s parents go missing, Arden must help John and his siblings figure out what to do and who to trust, all while trying to understand her own feelings for his brother Gabriel.

A zoomed-in near-future apocalypse story, Radio Silence sorts through the emotional heft of love among the ruins. Its steamy scenes balance out with the day-to-day work of living in a world that is changing shape; the family dynamics will be oh-so-familiar to anyone who has ever spent a long weekend with relatives in close quarters, then heightened by the societal upheaval. I laughed, I bit my nails, I occasionally blushed — and then I read the rest of the series as well. This story will make you thankful both for good reading material and for your central heat during the next blizzard!

And that’s a wrap! You can find all of the books recommended in this newsletter on a handy Goodreads shelf. If you’re interested in more science fiction and fantasy talk, you can catch me and my co-host Sharifah on the SFF Yeah! podcast. For many many more book recommendations you can find me on the Get Booked podcast with the inimitable Amanda.

Your fellow booknerd,