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Matt Hlinak

Matt Hlinak
Matt Hlinak is an administrator at Dominican University, just outside of Chicago. He teaches courses in English and legal studies. His short stories have appeared in 'Sudden Flash Youth' (Persea Books 2011) and several literary magazines. 'DoG' (2012) is his debut novel.

Shadows gather in V.E. Schwab’s ‘A Gathering of Shadows’

The pace of 'A Gathering of Shadows' is slow up until the final pages when we get, in V.E. Schwab’s words, “the dreaded cliffhanger.” This makes it difficult to assess 'A Gathering of Shadows' for we won't know whether Schwab succeeded or failed until (at least) the third book in the series. But I’m certainly going to read it to find out.

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Republished ‘The Final Programme’ is not for casual Moorcock fans

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My ability to recommend 'The Final Programme' is dependent on your familiarity with Michael Moorcock’s work. If you already know Elric of Melniboné or Duke Dorian Hawkmoon, you’ll enjoy analyzing Jerry Cornelius as another aspect of the Eternal Champion. But if this is your first visit to the Multiverse, start with Melniboné first.

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Magic and science go to war in ‘All the Birds in the Sky’

'All the Birds in the Sky' features compelling characters working through complex problems and emotions. Charlie Jane Anders sometimes struggles to find the right tone, and the novel’s sillier parts feel out of synch with the apocalyptic conclusion. But on the whole, this is a thought-provoking marriage of fantasy and science fiction that sheds light on the real-world problem of environmental degradation.

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‘Prince of Nightmares’ wishes you sweet dreams

'Prince of Nightmares' is a fast-paced and cinematic horror novel. Rather than relying on shock value, McNee’s horror arises from thrusting interesting characters together in an unsettling setting. These characters face dangers beyond their control, but they are hardly blameless victims. For our nightmares are all in our heads—whom else can we blame for them but ourselves?

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‘Made to Kill’ is a pitch-perfect tribute to Raymond Chandler… with robots

'Made to Kill' is a pitch-perfect tribute to Raymond Chandler, but its unique premise builds on rather than merely imitates the work of the master. The novel zings along with spitfire dialogue and madcap action. This is a solid kickoff to a fun new series, and I look forward to reading the next Ray Electromatic Mystery.

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Our top 10 favorite books of 2015

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At Pop Mythology, we are ardent devotees of what’s popularly known as genre fiction, particularly the areas of fantasy, sci-fi, mystery and horror. Here are our 10 favorite books from these genres from 2015.

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The stakes rise even higher in ‘The Walking Dead: Compendium Three’

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Because this is 'The Walking Dead,' a much-beloved character dies. And every time things start to look up for our heroes, the situation quickly gets worse than they had imagined. The more capable the group becomes, the greater the scope of dangers they face. Writer Robert Kirkman really excels at upping the stakes and the tension. And 48 issues in one volume makes 'The Walking Dead Compendium Three' a must-have for TWD fans.

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‘A Borrowed Man’ could have used a real woman

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For all of his talent and novel-writing experience, Gene Wolfe still struggles to write female characters. In 2015, this flaw is so distracting that it drowns the interesting things 'A Borrowed Man' has to say about important issues like slavery, population control, disability, pornography and resource depletion. Like his narrator, Gene Wolfe is sadly a writer living outside of his own time.

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‘Ancillary Mercy’ brings the Imperial Radch trilogy to a successful end

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Taken as a whole, the Imperial Radch Trilogy is a refreshing new take on the space opera genre, and Leckie’s vision of a gender-less future illustrates sci-fi's ability to shape worlds free of the inequities of ours. 'Ancillary Mercy' offers surprises up to the very end and successfully concludes this epic saga.

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‘Bats of the Republic’ is hard to categorize, easy to enjoy

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'Bats of the Republic' is a wonderfully original debut novel by Zachary Thomas Dodson. Billed as “an illuminated novel,” it is a remarkable physical object with gorgeous maps, illustrations and even a sealed envelope that holds the key to the novel’s conclusion. But Bats of the Republic is not gimmicky—the storytelling is every bit as strong as the visual layout.

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‘Luna: New Moon’ is an epic Western set on the moon

'Luna: New Moon' is a western that just happens to take place on Earth’s moon in the 22nd Century. Ian McDonald set the debut novel of his epic saga on a dangerous world with its own versions of a gold rush and range wars. This is a classic empire story about rival families looking to out-compete—and out-fight—each other for control of the moon’s natural resources.

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