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The Things by Peter Watts is a 2011 Hugo Award Nominee, 2010 BSFA Award Finalist, 2010 Shirley Jackson Award Winner, 2011 Finalist: the Locus Award for Best Short Story, 2011 Theodore Sturgeon Award Nominee. I’ve not seen John Carpenter’s The Thing, the movie Watts’ story is based on, but I found Watts’ story captivating nonetheless. It’s available for free over at Clarkesworld Magazine.

Something else that’s currently available: an excerpt from The Siren Depths, the third book in Martha WellsRaksura series. I read and enjoyed the first two books, The Cloud Roads and The Serpent Sea earlier this year. The Siren Depths is one book I’ll be looking forward to this December!

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About a month ago, I was catching up with a friend, chatting about books (as you do). I mentioned that I’ve been rather disappointed with the young adult novels I’ve read, at which point she whipped out her phone, pulled up the photo of the blurb of Hex Hall, and told me we couldn’t be friends anymore if I didn’t like it.

I’m happy to report that she and I are still friends. Hex Hall is a quick, fun read that has understandable amounts teenage angst. The relationship-angst doesn’t take over the rest of the plot, either. It’s a nice compliment to the story.

I loved that the author included references to literary classics like Edith Wharton’s The Age of Innocence, Edgar Allen Poe’s “Cask of Amontillado,” as well as poking fun at the current pop culture vampire/werewolf fascination. Neither the werewolves or vampire(s) in Hex Hall are evil — they’re just people, some of whom may have made bad decisions in their lives. Hawkins also brings into focus the horrors of high school cliques and hierarchies, and how being popular or pretty doesn’t necessarily mean you’re a good person.

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