Science fiction, er Speculative fiction?

Anybody out there reading science fiction?  How about speculative fiction?  (In case you’re wondering, they’re the same thing.  Sort of. Speculative fiction is a term critics and writers are using to tempt more general fiction readers over to the science fiction racks, but, personally, I think they are using speculative fiction as a category more for the alternate history/universe type of book.) Anyway, that’s just my opinion, back to my original question.  Anyone like sci-fi?  Recently on a librarians’ listserv, I ran across some web sites for sci-fi lovers and thought I would pass them on, along with recommendations for recent releases.  If anyone is interested in more sci-fi discussion, email us at

The two sites that seem to offer the most for book lovers are, first, It contains not only info on new releases, reviews, links to awards, but also excerpts and author news. One article on the site concerns the long list of great writers we have lost this year, including children’s greats Madeleine L’Engle and Lloyd Alexander as well as fantasy writer Robert Jordan (without finishing his Wheel of Time series, although they plan to publish the final book with another writer) and Berserker series author Fred Saberhagen.

The second site,, is the home of Locus magazine, a publication devoted to the genre.  This site also lists awards, reviews, and more.  The site is packed, and navigation can be a challenge: if you click on next for the wrong thread, you lose the list you were following. Still, it is worth the trouble, since there are so many different awards and commentaries gathered in one spot.Turning to some recommendations, among recent award-winners has been the Temeraire series by Naomi Novik. Novik has been awarded several awards, including the Locus award for Best First Novel and the John W. Campbell award for Best New Writer.  The option on her series has been picked up by director Peter Jackson (the Lord of the Rings and King Kong). This series of (so far) four books taps into several interests, including historical fiction, fantasy, and the Napoleonic Wars. It is one of this blogger's favorites. Need more encouragement?  Two words:  fighting dragons.

Another great new series began with Hugo-nominated Old Man’s War by John Scalzi.  The third volume, The Last Colony, is in SFSite’s Reader’s Choice list this year, and the second, The Ghost Brigades, was on the list last year. Scalzi’s series is wonderful military science fiction with humor and personality!

The number one book on the list this year is The Name of the Wind (The Kingkiller Chronicle, Day One) by Patrick Rothfuss.  Another first time author, Rothfuss won the Quill Award for Best Science Fiction/Fantasy for 2007.  Even the most hard-to-please reader will find much to love in this terrific tale!  Watch for the second volume, due out this spring!


janedb's picture

another great sf site

I love sci-fi too!  Speaking of fighting dragons, Anne McCaffrey's classic Pern series is fantastic.  I envy anybody who gets to read it for the first time!  Also, I love the Baen Web Site - they offer free books to read on-line or download to tempt you to try some new authors.  I love Alternate history as well, Harry Turtledove (his Lizard's war series is fascinating) - the master, and S. M. Stirling (I started with the Islands in the Sea of Time series and went on to the Dies the Fire series and now the Sunrise Lands Series).  They all imagine a world where all internal combustion and explosives don't work.  Makes for hours of engrossing escape.

Thanks for the tip on "name of the wind."  I'm always looking for new authors.

Tessa's picture

Anne McCaffrey's Pern series

The Pern series is one of my favorites, too, although the newer ones, written by her son, don't seem to have quite the rich intensity of her own world-builders.  Still, she wrote so many that re-reading them all would take years...I also like the Lanen Kaeler series by Elizabeth Kerner. Although this isn't the quality of McCaffrey's works, it fills a void!