Some of The UnBook Reporter’s Favorite Anthologies

These are just some of the anthologies I’ve enjoyed over the years.

1—The Chicks in Chainmail Series

Edited by Esther Friesner, I believe this series is still ongoing. Humorous tales of damsels who refuse to be in distress, warrior women who want equality with their male fellows, and just generally to have more sensible armor than a chainmail bikini. Lots of fun.

2—Witches, Vampires, and Werewolves, Oh My

Witch Way to the Mall, Fangs for the Mammaries, and Strip Mauled are also edited by Esther Friesner. Also humorous, this set of set of anthologies focuses on witches, vampires, and werewolves respectively.

3—Anything by Martin H. Greenberg

Some of the books I have that he’s co-edited are A Girl’s Guide to Guns and Monsters, the Catfantastic series, Warrior Princesses, and Wizards, Inc. I’m sure there are more in my collection but some of my books are still in boxes from the move.

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The Tough Guide to Fantasyland—Fun and Funny

The Tough Guide to Fantasyland by Diana Wynne Jones book
The Tough Guide to Fantasyland by Diana Wynne Jones

A “guidebook” by Diana Wynne Jones, the premise of The Tough Guide to Fantasyland (updated and Dark Lord Approved!) is that all fantasy novels take place in the same world. Entries cover tropes and cliches, such as food—it’s always stew—places such as nunneries (for sacking, with on survivor left); surmises on the ecology of Fantasyland, such as the lack of insects and preponderance of hares/rabbits, and the supposition that horses in Fantasyland breed via pollination.
In particular, I like the “Official Management Terms” such as calling magical ability Talent of Gift, or insistence on using the word “dwell”. Each chapter (which are alphabetical) starts with a completely random gnomic utterance, because that’s just how things are done in Fantasyland.
Everything from “Adept” to “Zombies” is covered and every entry is entertaining. Read in order or follow the “links” from one article to the next. If you like fantasy books then I recommend picking up the Tough Guide to Fantasyland. It’s a hoot.

The UnBook Reporter’s Favorite Mystery/Crime Shows to Relax To

You may have noticed I’ve been on a bit of a murder mystery novel kick lately, so I thought I’d share some of my favorite tv shows too.

1—Midsommer Murders

A British series, Midsommer Murders follows Chief Inspector Barnaby and his Sergeant as they solve murders in the idyllic little villages of Midsommer.

2—Agatha Christie’s Poirot

Based on the character created by Agatha Christie, the titular Hercule Poirot is a Belgian private detective in 1930s England, and sometimes abroad. The show has a distinctly Art Deco look, with beautiful sets and costume. The mysteries are fun too.

3—Columbo

A classic from the ‘70s. Each episode follows the murderer from before the murder through being caught. The through line is Lieutenant Columbo from LA Homicide, who catches them. Known for its tight plotting and intriguing filming techniques, Columbo is still a unique shows decades later.

4—Blue Bloods

Blue Bloods follows a family of cops, from Police Commissioner down to Rookie, and with an ADA on the side. The show neither sugar coats nor delves into the truly gruesome, and it’s one of the few modern police dramas I’ve found to be in this middle ground. Bad things happen but I never leave an episode feeling depressed, and I like that.

5—Murder She Wrote

Running from the m’id-80s through the mid-‘90s, Murder She Wrote stars Angela Lansbury as Jessica Fletcher, a novelist from Maine who just keeps running into corpses. Light and fun, this series sometimes catches flack for not always showing all the clues needed for the audience to solve the case, but if you’re like me and don’t care then it’s still a good romp.

Royal Blood—Fun With Vampires

Royal Blood by Rhys Bowen book cover
Royal Blood by Rhys Bowen

Lady Georgiana Rannoch gets sent to represent the crown at the wedding of her school friend, Princess Maria Theresa. While there, she spots a man climbing up the castle wall, sees her friend with a suspiciously red substance on her lips, and meets up with a certain Darcy O’Mara.

1—The Hazards of Sudden Travel

Like in the first book, there’s a lot of set up up front with this book. It takes Georgie a while to get to the castle. But first she must acquire a maid on short notice, as she’s been doing without due to being broke. Georgie ends up with Queenie, who keeps calling Georgie “miss” instead of “my Lady” and burns Georgie’s best dress while attempting to iron it. Georgie also acquires an overbearing escort, Lady Middlesex. Continue reading “Royal Blood—Fun With Vampires”