Sharman Horwood

Writer and Visual Artist

Juniper Wiles, by Charles de Lint

One of Urban Fantasy’s Stars          Canadian author Charles de Lint says that though he’s been cited “as the ‘father of urban fantasy’” (Introduction p. v), he doesn’t agree, and of course he’s right. According to Wikipedia, urban fantasy dates back to the 19th century, which may be a reference to J.M. Barrie’s Peter Pan, […]

Parable of the sower, by Octavia E. Butler

A Sensible Future Octavia E. Butler won many awards during her life. Her novelette, “Bloodchild,” won the Hugo Award, the Locus Award, and the Nebula Award; Butler also won the MacArthur Foundation’s Genius Grant in 1995, the first science fiction author to receive this privilege. However, she received other honours that are quite rare for […]

Magpie murders by Anthony Horowitz

  To be honest, I was barely aware of Anthony Horowitz’s work, but I should have known his name. He was the creator and writer of an excellent television series: Foyle’s War. He also wrote the first few scripts for the Poirot television series, as well as others, like Midsomer Murders. The Young Adult television […]

Intelligent Dinosaurs?

In 2004, a nondescript lump of stone was found on a Sussex beach by a fossil collector. About the size of three or four pennies, this small lump turned out to have “the first known fossilized brain tissue from a dinosaur” (National Geographic, by Michael Greshko, Oct. 27, 2016). Paleontologists knew that dinosaurs had brains, […]

Intelligence: Cats and Dogs

If you’re at all interested in animal intelligence, I would recommend Frans De Waal’s Are We Smart Enough to Know How Smart Animals Are? Well written and clear, the book brings up many important issues. One of the first for me is the problem of measuring intelligence in animals. For instance, he brings up the […]

Finding Their Own Way

However they find home, some dogs have an innate ability to follow their humans, even when they go someplace the dog has never visited. If this was just one story, luck and a good nose would explain the way some dogs can do this, but there are several stories in which dogs confound our expectations. […]

Creature Comforts

Wild animals have quickly learned how to take advantage of human habitats. Coyotes like to hunt rodents on golf courses where there are fewer places for them to hide. Raccoons and squirrels much prefer city attics than any nest they can build; houses provide lots of opportunity for cozy, warm spots. They don’t have to […]