On the fifth day of each month, 5 on the 5th shares five of something that I like or recommend to readers. Whether it’s five items that share a common theme, or five reasons why I like the topic at hand, this monthly meme gives you and me an opportunity to bond over other subjects that I don’t normally blog about. If you have suggestions about future 5 on the 5th topics, feel free to suggest them in the Comments section at the end of this article.
This month, I’m featuring Five Fantastic Speculative Fiction Blogs. Like last month’s writing websites, these five blogs are places I regularly visit, and each has a unique twist on their genre coverage. While I love “big-name” sites like Tor.com or TheOneRing.net, I wanted to showcase a few other favorites that readers might not have heard of before. So, if you’re a fan of science fiction, fantasy, and horror, this list is for you!
Visit any of these sites by clicking on their respective logos or on any of the article links provided.
The Bibliosanctum has become one of my favorite speculative fiction blogs since I discovered it last summer. Mogsy, Tiara, and Wendy cover a vast spectrum of speculative fiction, focusing mostly on YA and adult novels but also dabbling in audiobooks, graphic novels, and comics. And with the reviews, all three bloggers do their best to be fair yet honest, resulting in pieces that are thorough, funny at times, and persuasive. I put Juliet Marillier’s Daughter of the Forest on my TBR list after reading Mogsy’s review, and am seriously considering checking out Claire North’s Touch as well. Other favorites include Wendy’s post on N.K. Jemisin’s The Kingdom of Gods and Tiara’s thoughts on Holly Bodger’s 5 to 1.
The Bibliosanctum also participates in weekly book blog memes such as Top 10 Tuesdays and the SFF-specific Tough Traveling, where bloggers feature novels they’ve read that feature that week’s selected genre trope. The team never fails to pull together comprehensive lists each week – and some, like this one about boat travelers, are downright HYSTERICAL. 😀
Another blog I found in 2014, Books Bones & Buffy follows YA and adult fantasy, science fiction, and horror, as well as literary fiction. And like The Bibliosanctum’s reviews, Tammy’s are the kind I enjoy reading most. They’re in-depth and candid, with a balanced discussion of the book’s strengths and weaknesses. So, when a reviewer you trust gives high praise to Naomi Novik’s Uprooted, Kirsty Logan’s The Gracekeepers, and Rachel Caine’s Ink and Bone, of course you want to read them, too! Tammy also joins in on memes like Waiting On Wednesday and Tough Traveling, and invites authors for occasional guest posts, interviews, and giveaways.
My favorite part about BB&B, though? Tammy’s monthly book review giveaways, where she selects a lucky reader to win their choice of any ARC reviewed at the site during the past month. The June giveaway for May’s ARCs is over, but you can still check it out here to see how it will work for July’s giveaway of June ARCs.
Doesn’t Fantasy Cafe sound like the perfect name for a coffee shop in Diagon Alley, one that’s filled with shelves of speculative fiction books from floor to ceiling? The site reflects that idea, too. Its warm, cozy theme and clean font offers a comfortable and easy reading experience. Webmastress Kristen uses the site to share her love of YA and adult fantasy, science fiction, and urban fantasy. She features book reviews, guest posts from authors, and book giveaways, among other things. And every April, Fantasy Cafe hosts the Women in SFF Month, where female speculative fiction writers and bloggers share different angles of the genres they all love. This year’s Women in SFF Month featured pieces by Danielle L. Jensen (Stolen Songbird, Hidden Huntress), Karina Sumner-Smith (Radiant, Defiant), Rachel Hartman (Seraphina, Shadow Scale), and Wendy and Tiara from The Bibliosanctum.
Isn’t that such an awesome blog name?? And On Starships and Dragonwings is a spiffy site to boot, with one of the creative (and most genre-appropriate) custom templates I’ve ever seen. Run by Anya, OS&D concentrates on Middle Grade, YA, and adult science fiction and fantasy. Reviews post two or three times each week, in a summary and list format that shares (what Anya considers to be) the book’s pros and cons. Anya also takes reader recommendations; I was one of a few fans who put a bug or two in her ear about Maria V. Snyder’s Poison Study, so I was thrilled when she checked it out and loved it!
In addition to reviews, OS&D hosts book giveaways as well as a weekly contest where readers can share links to their favorite sci-fi and fantasy articles of the past week for the chance to win their choice of an Amazon gift card or an ARC from Anya’s personal shelf. Top that off with guest pieces from authors and discussion posts that range from serious (e.g., romance in YA speculative fiction) to fun and random (e.g., guessing the cover color for a series’ next book), and you have a truly delightful site that beckons you to return on a near-daily basis!
It’s hard to sum up the award-winning site SF Signal – because there’s so much to it! Book reviews, TV and movie discussions, guest posts, podcasts, interviews with traditionally published and self-published authors… and the list goes on. Basically, if you enjoy fantasy, science fiction, and comics / superheroes, you can’t miss SF Signal. I particularly like their weekly column Mind Melds, where speculative fiction authors and/or bloggers answer a question regarding their personal libraries. “Which authors are on your must-buy list?” “What are some of your favorite novels outside of speculative fiction?” “What are some of your favorite speculative fiction book covers?” Mind Melds alone has the power to triple your reading wishlist. Plus, it’s fascinating to see how fans of the same genre can have amazingly diverse answers.
Are you a fan of any of the websites listed above? What are some of your favorite blogs / sites for speculative fiction or writing? Share your answers in the Comments section below. Also, feel free to share suggestions you may have for future 5 on the 5th posts!