Spooks and spaceships: October recap

It’s been a lean month in terms of productivity – real life got in my way again. But as I type this on the first (bright, windy) day of a two-week holiday, I am determined to improve matters.

Let’s see what October got done…



At the moment I am still (horribly) overdue for a final post, but the Kushiel’s Dart Read Along concluded this month! I’ve thoroughly enjoyed this revisit to a classic epic fantasy that is well worth your time, if you haven’t read it before.



1920s period setting (that is absolutely not whitewashed)? Check. Gentle but deeply moving romance? Check. The darkest of underworlds, chillingly described? Check. Wonderfully talented writer presenting yet another fresh narrative style as well as all of the above, making me sick* with how adept she is? Resounding check.

Gods of Jade and Shadow was the only novel I managed to get through this month, but holy hell, it was a fantastic choice. I need more Silvia Moreno-Garcia fiction in my life, and so do you. Go and read this.

* Sickness not literal


Art by Sergey Nivens on 123RF.com


Our annual Halloween mini-event under the Wyrd & Wonder banner came around again this year, and the fantasy/horror blogging community showed up! I continue to be amazed and delighted that so many people enjoy our online celebration/shenanigans. We’ve had Instagram/Twitter prompt challenges, reviews, showcases and more! You can check it all out under the #SpooktasticReads hashtag, and by following @wyrdandwonder on Twitter for signal boosting and updates.

Nine Hearths

My home/online D&D game brought the highly dramatic pain this month, as our party went into full militia squad mode following an invasion by their antagonistic Dominion neighbours. We found a group of said invaders hiding out, licking their wounds. Battle ensued. My paladin almost died (seriously guys, love and appreciate your clerics), but managed to capture an enemy squad commander while her friends took down a higher-ranking spellcaster (also definitely love and appreciate your bards) and a bunch of archers (love and appreciate your rangers while we’re at it).

A bit of a debate followed about whether or not to show their dying spellcaster any mercy, but … er, it ended up being a moot point; he died while we were debating. Oops. But I live for chewy character development/interactions and moral grey areas!

In other player news, Naivara, my fighter-paladin/nobleman’s daughter is starting to earn real respect from her people for her actions, and is also now beginning to (tentatively) embrace the prospect of stepping up as her father’s heir while her older sibling follows their own path in a priesthood. Like I said: chewy character development. It’s all getting a bit complicated. Bring it on.



Sci-Fi Month 2020 is right around the corner, and I am rolling up my sleeves and tackling a TBR pile – and other things! – that are well and truly lighting a fire in me this time round. As you might be able to tell from our choice of banner art and quotes this year, we’re certainly not blind to the struggles that many of us are facing. Science fiction has always been political, but it’s also always been about hope. We are a motley crew of nerds with a rainbow of tastes, and this event has always been about bringing us together to celebrate that fact. This year’s event is no exception. So be at your nerdy best, don’t forget to be kind, and let’s see what happens, shall we?

For our part as hosts, we’ve got some delicious goods for you. My co-host imyril can tell you more about her side of things over at There’s Always Room For One More, but for my part, I plan to kick off this year’s Sci-Fi Month with a very special giveaway!

I am teaming up with The Portal Bookshop, a fabulously queer indie bookshop based in Leeds, to offer one lucky winner their choice of any SF book from Portal’s online store – but if there’s something you’d really like that they don’t have listed, fear not! I have it on good authority that if the book can be ordered, a request can be made to get it sent your way!

You can find this wonderful shop online here, and get lovely customer service via Twitter by following @PortalBookshop.

I’m covering the cost of the book and shipping, though the giveaway is limited to UK entries only.ย So get browsing, see what tempts you, and if you’d like to enter the giveaway, simply leave a comment on this post with the keyword RESIST, and let me know how I can find you on social media.

The giveaway will run from today until midnight on Saturday, November 7th.

In other exciting Sci-Fi Month news, I have been in conversation behind the scenes with a Press Officer from Orbit Books about collaborating to get some of their SF authors involved in guest features as part of Sci-Fi Month, and to help promote their stuff!

So if you are participating and would like to feature an Orbit author on your blog in some way – or review their books! – you can contact Nazia (aka @Gambit589 on Twitter) and tell her I sent you, or get in touch with me via my contact form if you’d prefer to use email, and I can put you in touch with her.

NOTE: if you do email me, please use the subject line FRIENDS OF SCI-FI MONTH.

(Really, feel free to use all-caps. Shouting at me to get attention might be necessary over the next few weeks…)

I think that’s it from me for the moment – I’ve got a lot of reading to do. See you next time…


Spooktastic Reads banner: Artwork by Sergey Nivens on 123RF.com

Sci-Fi Month 2020 banner: Artwork by Tithi Luadthong on 123RF.com; Quote from Seven Devils by Elizabeth May & Laura Lam.

27 comments On Spooks and spaceships: October recap

  • Who can resist portal bookshop? Iโ€™m on twitter as @Mummy2atockstar.

  • Oooh, The Portal Bookshop sounds fantastic! Couldnโ€™t resist checking them out!

    Thanks for organising the giveaway!

  • Who can resist a book giveaway? ๐Ÿ˜€ And yay for supporting Portal!

  • Can’t resist Portal Bookshop t is my fave place to go and you can find me at @abiwalton4

  • Ooh! I adore Portal Bookshop. I canโ€™t resist entering. Iโ€™d love to win a copy of A Memory Called Empire because Iโ€™ve heard absolutely phenomenal things! My twitter handle is @SpaceForBooks. Thank you so much for this chance.

  • While I cannot think of any puns with the word resist, I would like to enter the giveaway. I loved visiting the portal book shop before all the Corona business, they’re pretty awesome. (Twitter- rj_unofficial)

  • Portal Bookshop is such an awesome indie to support- itโ€™d be hard to RESIST ordering…

    That was way too cheesy for me. ๐Ÿ˜‚

  • I recently read “a long way to a small angry planet” and the ir (resist)ible cast, world building and scenery make me really want to read the second book, “a closed and common orbit”!!!!

  • Saw your post on Twitter (I’m calypte_sarah), and you’re lovely ๐Ÿ™‚ I couldn’t RESIST (heh) the chance of a shiny new book!

  • I loved visiting the Portal Bookshop for my birthday a few months back. A small act of resist(ance) for me this month was voting in the US elections as I’m originally from the states.

  • What a wonderful review – I’ve had this on my to read list for a while and this has made me even more excited! Oh I absolutely love Portal Bookshop – always so kind and helpful!! Although it always means I can never RESIST buying more books than originally planned๐Ÿ˜‹ (@amidstthepaper is my twitter/insta)๐Ÿฅฐ

  • Oh, this is amazing! I read Mexican Gothic and completely loved it so this one is on my list! Resist and you can find me @albaarnau1 on twitter

  • *immediately orders Gods of Jade and Shadow* โ˜บ

      • I ordered Gods of Jade and Shadow yesterday using the new bookshop website!
        Portal are excellent, I found them at the start of lockdown and they’re so good, really prompt service.
        RESIST Amazon!

        You can find me @emzyesque on twitter ๐Ÿ™‚

  • I love Portal Bookshop, I wish it had been around when I lived over there! Can’t wait to Resist this November, and you can find me on Twitter as for_every_helen ๐Ÿ™‚

    • I read Sarah Gailey’s American Hippo duology last year during my breaks at work, and ever since I heard about Upright Women Wanted I’ve dreamt about reading it (and the rest of their books to be honest). Like, apart from being in a pulp Western setting and the fact I’m training to be an archivist, ‘queer librarians resist(ing) against a fascist government’ low-key sounds like my future (if things continue to go horribly wrong that is). I’m super stoked about finding this blog and The Portal Bookshop too bc I need more bookshops and book reccs in my life! I’m @disastrousley on twitter

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