SFF180’s video review of This Census-Taker

There’s one more review of China Miéville’s new novella that I want to share, this time by the excellent Youtube book reviewer Thomas Wagner, on his channel SFF180. Watch it below, unless you don’t wish to know minor spoilers about the storyline and setting:

There’s also a text version of this review at Wagner’s website.

I’ve read/watched multiple reviews of this novella now but I’m still hazy as to exactly what the shape of the plot is, and whether you really could consider it a genre work at all. It sounds like a very nebulous — even unsatisfying — story, and my excitement is just a little dampened. Still, there’s also the novel The Last Days of New Paris to look forward to next year I suppose.

SFF180 is a really great Youtube channel, by the way (in fact I’ve blogged about it before). Wagner updates regularly, not just with reviews but also with editorial content, news about awards and the like, and weekly “Mailbag” shows which spotlight upcoming titles. You should subscribe to his growing channel; when he reaches 2000 subscribers, he promises to take viewers on a tour of his extensive library!

New trailer and clip from SyFy’s The Magicians adaptation

magicians_wallCheck out the brand new trailer and 3-minute clip from the upcoming TV adaptation of one of my absolute favourite fantasy novels, The Magicians by Lev Grossman.

I’ve blogged a few times in the past about this project, but I’ve decided I won’t be bringing exhaustive coverage or analysis in the future — I just don’t have the time. I will continue to make quick posts like this for things like trailer releases, and my thoughts on the show when it finally airs in January next year.

Anyway, this new footage looks amazing, and I am totally thrilled for the series to begin!

Edit: And here’s the 1-hour long panel about the show at New York Comic Con.

The Magicians TV series: the first trailer and some quick thoughts

Here’s the first trailer for SyFy’s The Magicians TV series, which has been picked up for a full season and will air in 2016! These books are some of my favourites of all time, and in the past I’ve talked about some of the approaches I hope SyFy takes for the show. It’s all just my wishful thinking, mind.

Anyway, the trailer looks very stylish, although I still don’t really like the ageing up of all the characters. I suppose I’ll get used to it quickly if the actors are good in their roles — and I have no reason to suspect they’re not!

Now let me talk about a few of the things I noticed…


Here’s an excellent half-hour chat with Alastair Reynolds

Sword & Laser is a fantastic SF/F online bookclub with a huge Goodreads community, an audio podcast and a Youtube channel! In their latest series of videos they’ve been doing author spotlights, where they sit down and chat with a different SF/F author each week. The latest video features one of my very favourite writers, Alastair Reynolds! The hosts sit down with Reynolds for nearly half an hour and talk about all sorts of interesting things. At one point Reynolds mentions that he’s working on a new short story set in the Revelation Space universe. Hopefully we’ll see that in a new collection sometime soon!

The interview is well worth watching, so check it out below, then go get into the other videos and podcasts!’s new Youtube channel is awesome


Book review blogs are now a dime a dozen, but video reviews of books are pretty rare. Well, there’s a new Youtube channel from Thomas Wagner of, called sff180, that features short-but-sweet SF/F book reviews as well as other content. The channel has high production values, evident for example in the adorably illustrated title cards for every video. Every video is slickly produced, and Wagner comes across as a natural host. The “set” of each video is the man’s enviable library — I just wish he’d show off more of it!

The video reviews are on varied SF/F material, and usually supplemented by text reviews on the main website. There’s also a weekly mailbag feature where Wagner opens all the parcels he’s received that week from publishers, and you can look on in envy as he unwraps advance copies of all sorts of new books while giving his initial impressions. It’s great fun. Check out a few of the recent reviews below, then check out the rest of the channel! I’m sure Wagner would appreciate your subscription.