Wednesday, April 16, 2008

In the Limelight - Websites and Blogs of Interest

First off, let me stress the fact that this article is completely subjective, but I really want to share with you all the great sites where I visit for my daily fix of genre news, book reviews, author interviews, new releases, various give-aways and other special features. I frequent a lot sf&f sites and blogs (god bless RSS feed), and every one of them has a particular appeal that makes them special in some way. I apologize in advance if I forgot to mention your site; it's not that I don't think it’s not worthy of mentioning, I probably just haven't got around to it…yet. But I must admit that I focus mainly on general fantasy and sf sites – I’m not a regular guest at the ones that are prone to urban fantasy and/or romance. So if you run a website or a blog that is dedicated to the genres of fantasy, science fiction or horror leave a comment or email me so I’ll be wandering in the proverbial dark no longer. But before I continue, I should explain that the following sites and blogs follow each other in no particular order, the sequence is totally random (neither alphabetical nor hierarchical).
Jumpdrives and Cantrips
is a relatively new blog that’s been running for about as long as ours. It is a project of Sara, a very intelligent and courteous lady. She is not the most prolific of bloggers, but all her entries bear a lot of weight. She reviews many books that I’m not usually familiar with or a big fan of the subgenre they represent (romance, urban fantasy, strong female protagonists). If I had to expose one thing in particular about her blog it would be the reviews – they are written in a way that truly resonates with my view of how a review should be written. So if you are not familiar with Jumpdrives and Cantrips, you don’t have any more excuses not to go there and read what she has to say. The blog really deserves wider recognition.

A Dribble of Ink
is one of the niftiest sites around. You are probably already familiar with Aidan site, since it is one of the most widely popular, but I still felt I should give kudos, where they are deserved. He is a dedicated fantasy fan and posts a lot of informative articles besides the reviews. I believe he is a big fan of older Salvatore and Steven Erikson.

The Wertzone
Adam Whitehead (Werthead) or the guy in charge of The Wertzone, has the most compatible tastes with mine. This similarity of tastes goes so far, that it is almost uncanny. Adam is a huge fan of the works of George R.R. Martin and Paul Kearney. He is also one of the most knowledgeable people (genre related of course) that I know and usually serves us with delicious insider news and insights. The reviews he posts are often about “yet to be released” books that are hugely anticipated. He’s also a big follower of television series, and often writes his thoughts on them as well.

Fantasy Book News & Reviews
was a “usual” book review blog before the change of focus happened in January. Jeff found himself too busy to update the blog on regular basis so he decided to produce an index, by author, of all the fantasy book reviews on blogosphere. It was a brilliant idea that took him a few months to complete, but its obviously an ongoing project. If you want to find a review on a certain book (from different angles) I urge you to visit Jeff’s blog – it’s like Wikipedia of blogs that specialize on fantasy book reviews. Lately Jeff has also found time to write his own reviews (they are distinct for its pros&cons approach) and other related articles. I have a gripe though – the index doesn’t include science fiction works :(

Pat’s Fantasy Hotlist
might just be the most visited and popular review site around. He has a very approachable style of reviewing and is a nice guy in general as well. He knows what to say and when to say it. And if you are still unconvinced, Pat literally showers his blog visitors with various book give-aways. All you have to do to participate is to send him an email with a specific keyword when he is giving away a particular set of books.

Fantasy Book Critic
Robert Thompson runs another juggernaut of a site. He is one of the more prolific and verbose (but never wordy!) bloggers. He runs a fabulous site, spitting out quality reviews, author interviews, book give-aways and other interesting articles with an almost inhuman speed. You really need to visit his site if you somehow managed to miss it, but I’m sure you already know about it; and besides, he doesn’t need my endorsement anyway (the other way around though…). Robert’s monthly posts informing us about new release is priceless as well!

OF Blog of the Fallen
Larry is as verbose as Robert from Fantasy Book Critic to be blunt, but otherwise their blogs have little in common. Larry is the true definition of the term “A Voracious Reader”, since while he reads at leisure cruising speed (I’m using his own words!) means about 200 pages per hour, but he can push the limit it up to 400 pages, if he is in the right mood. Talk about envy :). OF Blog of the Fallen is also not as specialized as the other genre sites; he loves mainstream literature and classics too and often tries to acquaint us with more exotic writers (the Serbian master-writer Zoran Živković for example). On forums Larry often lifts his brow at epic fantasy, but there is no one who wouldn’t respect his opinion. With one word – insightful.

is the main source (besides Fantasy Book Critic) of where I find out about all the new releases for the next month (updated on the 1st of every month). This site is a must for me.

launches only a fistful of reviews every month (usually around 3 to 6), but it’s enough to say only one thing – the reviews are probably the best I’ve read (or just the most suited to my tastes). The guy writing them (Thomas M. Wagner) is a genius by my standards. The reviews are quite long but well worth reading.

SFF World & A Song of Ice and Fire
SFF World is as close to a “home” as this blog is (only that now Realms of Speculative Fiction has become my first priority), since I’m a regular visitor at their forum and enjoy the reviews they post tremendously (written by Mark, Rob and some others). On the other hand, the reputation of A Song of Ice and Fire is based solely on its forum - but there gather all the wise-guys and the nutcraks that mean anything in the genre fandom on the internet community. Both sites are an invaluable source of information and a fun place to hang at.

SF Site
is another inevitable site if you want to be well informed on what is going on in the genres of fantasy and sf. Its contributors write excellent reviews and articles, especially if you like them long, analytical and well-constructed. I would especially expose “Overlooked or Over-hyped?”; an article, written by Neil Walsh, that takes two books or series and then elaborates on why one of them is unjustly overlooked and why the other is over-hyped by the readers.

Neth Space
is another great blog, run by a well-informed and well-respected blogger. I enjoy his reviews quite a lot and often find myself putting the books he reviews on my immediate to-buy-list. Beside his reviews I’d also like to point out his mini-interviews where the authors answer his five questions. But the reviews and the interviews are not all that Neth Space offers…visit Neth’s blog and find out his thoughts on the matter for yourself.

SF Signal
On this site, the content is posted faster than you can read it…and I’m barely kidding. Beside reviews, important genre news, links to other articles and to relevant YouTube material there are also a lot of links to free eBooks and other free contents. Great site that is run by a dedicated crew.

Graeme’s Fantasy Book Review
offers delicious content (reviews, give-ways, interviews, genre news) spiced up with Graeme’s own touch. His reviews are concise and to the point. He definitely deserves your attention. I’m a regular guest at his blog.

Grasping for the Wind
is one of my personal favorites. John is a great guy (I’ve been saying that a lot in this article, but it is true) and writes exquisite (in the sense of lavish elegance and refinement) reviews…I’m making this up as I go, but I want you to know how highly I think of his reviews (enough bootlicking for now). One other thing though, the books he chooses to review might seem peculiar, especially in comparison with the books the majority of sf&f sites review. Grasping for the Wind has other great contents beside reviews as well.

The Book Swede & His Blog
Chris, who really isn't a Swede (don’t ask me), runs this jewel of a blog. The posts brush various topics – from book news, reviews, interviews, some more general or personal stuff, genre links, thoughts on television series and other things. The reviews themselves are of course at the forefront of The Book Swede & His Blog’s attention. What I like about this site is, that Chris usually reviews books I really want to read somewhere in the near future, but they somehow elude me still...t3h irony, t3h drama!

The Genre Files
Darren ran a superb review page…while it lasted. Than he got a dream job as Orbit’s (online) marketing executive and put his blogging status on hibernation for obvious reasons (=bias). Congratulations again, Darren. As for the rest of us, we can still browse through the blog’s archives and hope for Darren to return The Genre Files to active status. eDiT: Darren just got back to me via mail and told me that he also runs "UK Sf Book News". He will keep this site updated on a more regular basis and it might be suited to a wider audience as well.

Sandstorm Reviews
run by another lady (another besides Sara from Jumpdrives and Cantrips) among all the ‘gents – Alice. I really like the name of the blog; reminds me of the song “Sandstorm” by Darude (YouTube). Alice did wonders with blog’s outlook. Sandstorm Reviews is almost exclusively centered on reviews, but allots some well deserved space to making fun of Terry Goodkind and it suits me just fine. Make no mistake though, Alice writes great reviews.
is another big site that has multiple contributors and hosts its own forum. The reviews are written by different authors so the quality varies a bit, but is generally on a very high level. This site can brag with occasional exclusive features and The Annual Book Tournament Championship - pitting the works of different authors against each other, that is raising a lot of dust around the net.

Fantasy Debut
is a project of a very energetic and active blogger Tia. FD deals exclusively with fantasy debuts (most of the time at least:). It’s a very chić site with great contents and does a great job to promote new authors.

Locus Online
is the online version of the “leading” news and review magazine of the science fiction, fantasy, and horror publishing fields – you’ve probably heard about Locus Awards, right? It has a lot of great contents and some of the most renowned authors write contributions (Jeff Vandermeer etc.). I usually go there to find out about new releases, forthcoming books and various award nominations/winners.

Speculative Horizons
James is an enthusiast just like the rest of us, and runs a blog that I really like to visit. His reviews are on par with the above mentioned sites and writes great articles as well – he often posts his own thoughts on the happenings in the genre and even if I don’t always participate in the discussions or agree with his view, I respect him for the originality. He also encouraged me with my series of articles entitled “Candy Covers” where I talk about beautiful cover art. James took an opposite approach and rather rants about the crappy fantasy book covers – to each his own I guess.

Dark Wolf's Fantasy Reviews
is a brand new blog dedicated to fantasy literature (the first post has a late March timestamp on it). Dark Wolf is a Romanian, but his handle on English shows none of it. The articles and reviews are rather scarce at the moment, but the blog looks promising so I’ll definitely hang around and watch the project grow. I suggest you do the same.

Fantasy Café
Kristen is web programmer and it shows – the blog is beautiful and intricate, but not only on the outside…the essence is on par with the form. As with the The Book Swede & His Blog, Kristen often reviews books that I really want to read asap, but find myself stranded with other obligations in the end. *sigh*

A Slight Apocalypse
Amras Elensar (what an elfish name!) runs a great blog with very diverse contents. I’ll just quote “the about” section from his blog because he explains better than I ever could: “Welcome, beloved browser, to 'A Slight Apocalypse', or 'the most awesome blog in the universe' as it is often dubbed. Here you are sure to fulfil your every need within the great realms of fantasy & science fiction. I review books, comics, Tv-series and the occasional film in the genre here on this blog, and you're also bound to find some sort of rambling entry if the mood strikes me. So set forth and explore the murky depths of this great site! It is your duty and honour as a human being to do so.”

Strange Horizons
is another terrific site that is updated weekly. It has a dedicated staff and publishes quality reviews, articles and columns. It also has an art gallery and supports fan poetry and short fiction. Highly recommended!
Joe Sherry's introduction: "Reviews and Discussion of Books of all kind, more often than not Science Fiction and Fantasy." It's modest and I like it. This is not a juvenille review site peppered with descriptions and synopsis (if I want to know what's going on in the book I'll read it thank you very much) but garners much personal thoughts on why and how. Don't miss Joe's site...its fab.
This would be all for now. I know I’ve omitted a lot of interesting sites, but a day has only 24 hours and I am only one man to rake the vast deserts of the web. I hope you’ll enjoy my picks, but if I left out an essential site dedicated to genre literature, please let me know. Back to studying now....


Anonymous said...

Thanks for the mention, Thrindir. I'll be sure to keep an eye on this blog in the future, seeing as it has great taste in blogs :)

John Ottinger III (Grasping for the Wind) said...

Brin on the bootlickin'!

Seriously though, thanks for the mention, and for the insight into what a reader thinks of my blog.

Jeff C said...

I also want to chime in to say thanks for the mention and kind words. And you are right, the review index is a work in progress..especially since I am trying to index 4 years of reviews at fantasybookspot at the moment. And sorry about the lack of SF reviews...that would have been just too much extra work to include those, since i have to add all the review links manually :(

James said...

Fantastic article! Cheers for the linkage!

Adam Whitehead said...

Cheers for the mention!

Chris, The Book Swede said...

Thanks for this! :) You listed a lot of cool blogs here, so I'm pleased to be included with them. I've just given you a mention on the blog, so, cheers!

Sara J. said...

Thanks very much for the mention and the compliments! And nice list in general. There were some that I'll definitely check out in the future :)

Aidan Moher said...

Right on! Thanks for including me on your list. I had no idea I had that kind of reputation...


A Dribble of Ink

ThRiNiDiR said...

Don't thank me, all the praises are well deserved. I appreciate that you dropped though!

Kristen said...

Thanks for the mention! I'm very flattered that you included my blog. :)

Patrick said...

Thanks for the kudos!;-)

Joe said...

Nice list.

Feel free to take a perusal over at Adventures in Reading.

I'll definitely take a look at what you do here. The Book Swede linked me over here.

John D. said...

Thanks for the link!

Mihai A. said...

Thank you very much for the mention.

Graeme Flory said...

Thanks for the mention and linkage! :o) (Sorry I haven't got round to answering your email, things have been manic over here...)

ThRiNiDiR said...

Don't mention it guys.

Joe, I'm actually a regular customer at your blog (one of your latest articles "Thoughts on Nebula Nominees 2008: Novellas" was awesome!). To be honest; Adventures in Reading unintentionally slipped my mind, I had so many things on my head when writing this article that this was almost inevitable - I'm sorry that it happened to you though :(. I'll remedy that the first five minutes I get. Tnx for reminding me.

Joe said...

I just figured you didn't love me. :)

Glad you liked the Nebula post. I'll have similar Hugo entries when I finish those stories.

Lsrry said...

Well, I like well-written epics, so perhaps I don't always lift my eyebrow all the time ;) But thanks for the kind words.

Neth said...

I can't believe you had the nerve to say such things about me....

...actually, I love the mention just like everyone else - but things are just too cheery around here ;)

ThRiNiDiR said...

Larry: who doesn't love 'em? :)

Neth: You had me for a moment there...

Tia Nevitt said...

Thanks for the mention. I never thought of myself as chic! Plus there are some blogs and sites here that are new to me.

Robert said...

Just wanted to say thanks for the inclusion :) I appreciate the comments and love the article! So many fantastic blogs, including this one :D

Liz said...

I am absolutely thrilled by this list! Thanks very much for the hard work in putting it together.

The blog has been bookmarked and the list has been neatly saved as a favourite.


ThRiNiDiR said...

very kind of you. Thank you Robert and Liz!

RobB said...

First thanks for the link to SFFWorld, I've been popping over here since you dropped a couple of reviews from here in the forums.

You might want to check the link to SFFWorld in the main post, though. ;)

Rob B (from SFFW)

ThRiNiDiR said...

thanks Rob, I've taken care of the false link (blogspot keeps adding its own prefixes to links *angry*); thanks for mentioning it! I've also trimmed the text a bit; it felt a bit awkward now that I've rearead it for the n-th time.

Anonymous said...

I wasn't aware that there are so many great blogs out there. have to check them out i guess :).

Anonymous said...

I didn't make the list :'(

But then again I'm not quite in their league! Excellent list!


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