See Tolkien's unpublished drawings of Middle-earth and his entire literary universe


"The Art of The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien" is a new collection of the drawings, maps, diagrams, and sketches that Tolkien drew to help him navigate Middle-earth, and the entire complex universe he created for his novels. Edited by Tolkien scholars Wayne G. Hammond and Christina Scull, the hardcover book contains nearly 200 images, the majority of which have never been published before.

"The Art of The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien" (Amazon)

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The Bathrobe Knight: Volume 1


Originally written as a web serial, this novel about a gamer transported into the world of MMORPGs is hilarious! I read The Bathroom Knight as a novel, and so I can only review it as such. I think it'd have been even more fun as a serial, a format I greatly enjoy.

Charles Dean rapidly sets up a fantastic fantasy world! Darwin, our extremely unique protagonist, really loves to play MMORPGs. So much so, he even plans to spend Christmas immersed! After beating up a burglar who interrupts his holiday fun, Darwin is magically transported into a game, and must quest to save the realm and figure himself out.

I liked Dean's take on gaming. He both shows the fun and camaraderie of gamers, and the terrible aspects of a "trapped-in-a-game, must level-up" mentality. Character development is pretty good for a freshman novel, and while the use of RPG vernacular occasionally baffled me, mostly it was easy to understand. I think Dean has done a fantastic job having fun with a genre, and not taking it seriously, at all.

This is a fun read. I bought it for my Kindle as Dean has apparently spent time, energy and money working with editors. In web serial format the novel is available here free.

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The Dungeoneers, a playful and hilarious adventure

The Dungeoneers

A case of mistaken identity lands Durham, a going no-place palace guard, a job with a troop of dwarvish treasure hunters. Seeing his big chance to make something of himself, our hero joins the Dungeoneers.

Durham is a pretty boring guy, but a common spelling mistake sends him, a lowly guard who rarely needs a vocabulary, on an adventure in place of the Keeper of the Vault! Added to a crack team of dwavish treasure seekers, Durham would be completely out of his element, if he had one. Seeing his opportunity to finally be the hero, Durham is positive he'll make something of himself. No one else shares his optimism. The gang of dwarves he is sent to aid see him as a bad luck charm, the only human woman around thinks he is comic relief, and he doesn't know a damn thing about recovering treasure.

This indie fantasy is a lot of fun. The novel has some light editing errors and isn't perfect, but author Jeffrey Russell has written a fantastic example of the fantasy quest/adventure. I'll be hoping for more!

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Enchantress, book one in James Maxwell's Evermen series

James Maxwell's Enchantress is an engaging, dense fantasy that drew me right in.

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“Wire Cutters,” a wonderful short film on the rough lives of off-world robot miners


“A chance encounter proves fateful for 2 robots mining on a desolate planet.”

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Final Pratchett novel is out: The Shepherd's Crown

Well, The Shephed's Crowd (a Tiffany Aching book) is out in the UK, anyway -- (idiotically) the US release will be Sept 1. Read the rest

Hand-cut silhouettes from Tolkien, Rowling, GRRM

Jack Tuckwell is a UK sculptor who sells on Etsy as Alarm Eighteen, in a store that features silhouettes cut out of pages from fantasy novels like The Hobbit, Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter, and Game of Thrones: Bag End, Barad-dûr, Harry Potter vols 1-7. Read the rest

Kickstarting new music from Sassafrass, who created the insanely great Icelandic saga opera

I wrote about sf writer and historian Ada Palmer's music before -- heart-stoppingly beautiful music about space and Icelandic gods -- and now's your chance to help bring more of it to life. Read the rest

WAS: a new edition of Geoff Ryman's World Fantasy-nominated Oz novel

The novel tore my heart out in 1992: a contrafactual memoir of L Frank Baum; a desperately poor girl called Dorothy Gael from Manhattan, KS; and a makeup artist on the set of the classic MGM film. Read the rest

Borges's widow threatens remixer with prison

Argentina's crazy copyright laws provide for prison sentences for "intellectual property fraud" -- in this case, rewriting a Borges short story in Borgesian fashion and publishing it in a super-limited underground press edition of 300. Read the rest

Crazy, Frazetta-esque vintage cologne ad

Matt writes, "This is awesomeness beyond awesome. Magic swords, barbarians, crazy, nausea-inducing camera angles, pterodactyls... If 'Heavy Metal' needed a personal scent, it would be this." Read the rest

Shadowshaper: outstanding supernatural YA contemporary fantasy

Daniel José Older's debut novel Shadowshaper is a thrilling supernatural YA novel with a diverse, likable cast of characters whose peril can only be averted through acceptance, true friendship and an embrace of their identity.

Winners of the 2015 Locus Awards!

The winners from last night's Locus Awards Banquet in Seattle have been announced: Read the rest

Why the Healer deserves to be a Hero


We talk with author Beth Cato, author of The Clockwork Dagger, about why healers are never the hero in genre fiction and how she decided to change that. We also press her for baked brie recipes and discover how the Foo Fighters helped shape Octavia Leander.

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The Sword and Laser (S&L) is a science fiction and fantasy-themed book club podcast hosted by Veronica Belmont and Tom Merritt. The main goal of the club is to build a strong online community of science fiction / fantasy buffs, and to discuss and enjoy books of both genres. For show notes and previous episodes, head here. You can also help support us on Patreon! Read the rest

American Gods will be a TV series

Starz has greenlit a TV series based on Neil Gaiman's outstanding contemporary fantasy novel American Gods, in which all the gods of antiquity must find their way in America, coping with modernity and new ways of believing. Read the rest

Library at Mount Char: urban fantasy that has the magic

Scott Hawkins's debut horror novel, The Library at Mount Char, is a sprawling, epic contemporary fantasy about cruelty and the end of the world, compulsively readable, with the deep, resonant magic of a world where reality is up for grabs.

Kate Milford's Greenglass House: lyrical, tense YA mystery

Kate Milford made a name as a young adult writer able to tap into a rich Bradburian vein of lyricism with the Boneshaker -- now she shows us that she's an expect mystery writer as well, in Greenglass House, an illustrated middle-grades novel that will keep you guessing.

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