Speculative Fiction

Patreon: Because November Isn't Busy Enough

Submitted by C B Wright on

Things I did yesterday:

Why would I even think of doing this in November, you ask? Because when I make poor decisions, I make them enthusiastically.

Review: Space Eldtritch

Submitted by C B Wright on

This review also appears on Goodreads.

This is a long article. If you’re not interested in long articles, the short version is that I like Space Eldritch very much, and I recommend you buy it immediately so that you too can like it very much. The long version follows.

One of the great allures of H.P. Lovecraft’s writing was that it didn’t so much cross genres as it did appropriate from them to make something uniquely his own. There was a strong element of fantasy in his work: dark fantasy, certainly, but his world was filled with history, ancient civilizations, magic, monsters, prophecies, secret societies, and mysteries that defied the rational mind. There was an equally strong element of science fiction: the Elder Gods were wholly alien to us, they possessed intimate knowledge of the way the universe worked, and many of their servitors were actually aliens from other planets, and used unknown technologies to pursue their goals. Even the magic in his stories was a hybrid of science, with mathematical calculations included in profane incantations.

But behind it all, Lovecraft’s mythos was horror: in his stories, the world we know is a veneer at best, and often simply a feeble lie told in the face of unimaginable horrors. Mankind, secure in its belief that it knew everything important about the universe, was unaware that most of what it knew was wrong and the rest was simply inadequate. There was a book that would tell you the truth about everything, but reading it would drive you insane. And there were things out there that could very easily destroy humanity—wipe us off the face of the earth, without a trace that we were ever here—and the only reason they hadn’t was they hadn’t noticed us yet.

It is a grim, bleak world, but the immensity and monstrosity of that bleakness brings with it a sense of wonder. It’s that wonder that ultimately dooms the characters in his stories, and will ultimately doom humanity, because humanity is enthusiastic about “piercing the veil,” but wholly incapable of handling what it finds on the other side.

It is in this kind of world that the stories in Space Eldritch exist.

Review: The Legion of Nothing

Submitted by C B Wright on

This review was originally posted on Web Fiction Guide. Now that Jim Zoetewey (the author) has released the first story arc as a Kindle Book (see link below) I'm reposting it here to help get the word out.

The Legion of Nothing, by Jim Zoetewey

I suppose there are people out there who will dismiss "superhero fiction" as trivial, just like there are people who feel that way about space opera, or sword & sorcery, high fantasy, or any other kind of genre fiction. I'm not one of those people, but I will admit that I'd never really been comfortable reading it. I'm used to reading about superheroes in comic books -- the genre and the medium are so intertwined in my experience it's difficult to imagine reading the genre in any other form. Maybe you're like me. Maybe you have the same association, and as such haven't tried reading any of the superhero serials listed on this site because you can't wrap your brain around the fact that it's not a comic book.

If that's the case... take a deep breath, steel yourself, and start reading this serial. In a few chapters you'll be cured.

Review: The Aphorisms of Kherishdar

Submitted by C B Wright on

“I am the Calligrapher, and I serve Civilization. You know my people as the Ai-Naidar; my empire as Kherishdar. It is a society that spans five worlds and several thousand years, with laws and customs that have served us for as long as we have walked these earths.”

With these words, author M.C.A. Hogarth introduces us to a civilization that is truly alien. And the way she does it is brilliant: the “author” of the book is an alien, a proud member of the Ai-Naidar, and is attempting to help foreigners understand how his empire functions.

Review: Shades of Milk and Honey

Submitted by C B Wright on

Note: This is a review I originally posted on Goodreads. From time to time I'll take one of those reviews and repost them here, where people are more likely to actually read them.

Shades of Milk and Honey, by Mary Robinette Kowal

I was intrigued by this book when I heard it described as "Jane Austen novels set in a world where magic is real." It was an interesting concept, and I wanted to see if the conventions of an Austen novel would mesh with the conventions of a fantasy novel, so I bought the eBook through Barnes and Noble's website.