‘This Man Is Not Our Enemy’: A Review of Man of Steel

by Gary Westfahl

In the first version of an earlier review, I mistakenly described a moment from a film preview as part of the film itself – an inexcusable error, to be sure, but an understandable one, given the way that all contemporary action films increasingly blur together in one’s mind, each rigidly adhering to the same monotonous conventions. Figures with magical powers or high-tech vehicles race and chase each

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Colleen Mondor reviews A Thousand Beginnings and Endings edited by Ellen Oh & Elsie Chapman

A Thousand Beginnings and Endings, Ellen Oh & Elsie Chapman, eds. (Greenwillow 978-0-06-267115-8, $17.99, 336pp, hc) June 2018.

In the introduction to A Thousand Beginnings and Endings, editors Elsie Chapman & Ellen Oh write of their deep love for myth and leg­end, something many readers will likely identify with. However, for Chapman and Oh, immersion in tales of Greek and Norse gods, while exciting, was always a bit ...Read More

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Liz Bourke Reviews Breach of Containment by Elizabeth Bonesteel

Breach of Containment, Elizabeth Bonesteel (Harper Voyager 978-0-06-241368-0, $16.99, 576pp, tp) October 2017.

Breach of Containment is Elizabeth Bonesteel’s third novel, the latest in her Central Corps series after The Cold Between and Remnants of Trust. Like the rest of Bonesteel’s novels, this is a book I wanted to like more than I did, but a book I enjoyed nonetheless, despite some flaws.

At the end of Remnants ...Read More

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A Working Model for Superhero Films: A Review of Wonder Woman

Without a doubt, Patty Jenkins’s Wonder Woman is the very best of the recent “DC Extended Universe” superhero films – yet the praise doesn’t mean as much as it should, inasmuch as its undistinguished precursors – Man of Steel (2013 – review here), Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016 – review here), and Suicide Squad (2016 – review here) – set the bar very low, to put it mildly.

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Paul Di Filippo reviews Allen Steele

Avengers of the Moon, by Allen Steele (Tor 978-0-7653-8218-4, $26.99, 304pp, hardcover) April 2017)

Of the reviving of old franchises there is no end. No pulp hero is ever truly dead. I suppose that their unkillable nature is what made them true pulp heroes to begin with. And although some revivals seem crass and merely mercenary, we have no complaints of that nature when the result is an authentic,

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“No One Stays Good in This World”: A Review of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice

Since debuting in 1938, Superman has confronted many imposing adversaries, including Lex Luthor – a formidable foe whether characterized as an obsessed bald scientist or scheming corporate tycoon; the alien computer Brainiac; Terra-Man, armed with an endless array of ingenious weapons; several Kryptonian supervillains who survived the destruction of their planet in the Phantom Zone; and the ancient Kryptonian monster Doomsday, who once succeeded in killing the Man of Steel.

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Paul Di Filippo reviews Emily St. John Mandel

Some scholar could construct a fine dissertation on the symbolic (and practical) importance of ruined highways in post-apocalypse fiction. (You might be able to work in Ballard’s famous empty, debris-strewn swimming pools too.) Representative of all our modern achievements and freedoms, highways, in a ruinous state, are quick and potent emblems of a fallen condition, futurity gone bad. I always recall the opening of William Tenn’s “Eastward Ho!” in this

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Russell Letson reviews Allen Steele

Allen Steele’s V-S Day fiddles with time in a more familiar manner. This is (if I’m counting correctly) Steele’s fifth take on his ‘‘Alternate-Space’’ story-family, in which the space race begins a couple decades early thanks to a German decision to abandon the V-1 in favor of the Silbervögel, a suborbital transcontinental bomber, which sets off a corresponding US project to build a Silbervögel killer. Steele has been working with

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Paul Di Filippo reviews Allen Steele

The alternate history or uchronia mode of science fiction is a particularly treacherous one for the writer. Done sloppily, with little rigor, logic, or true invention (and the temptation to be sloppy is enormous), it rapidly devolves into a slapdash game of casually inverting historical outcomes and casting famous folks into the most unlikely roles. What if Marilyn Monroe had been elected President of the USA, and JFK were a

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2013 Romantic Times Reviewers’ Choice Nominees

Romantic Times Book Reviews has announced the nominees for their 2013 Reviewers’ Choice Awards. There are over a dozen categories of SF/Fantasy/Horror interest.

The Book of the Year category includes the following works of genre interest: Omens, Kelley Armstrong (Dutton); The Shining Girls, Lauren Beukes (Mullholland); Written in Red, Anne Bishop (Roc); Wicked as She Wants, Delilah S. Dawson (Pocket); The Chocolate Kiss, Laura Florand ...Read More

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Blinks: Harlan Ellison, Kit Reed, Samantha Shannon; reviews; KGB photos

» Salon interviews Harlan Ellison

» LA Review of Books interviews Kit Reed

» Salon: Laura Miller likes Samantha Shannon’s The Bone Season

» Seattle Times: Nisi Shawl reviews Will McIntosh, Charles Stross, Alan Averill

» Sydney Morning Herald: Colin Steele reviews Matt Haig, Hari Kunzru, Christopher Priest

» Ellen Datlow’s photos from KGB with Libba Bray and Nova Ren Suma ...Read More

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Steele and Kondo Win 2013 Heinlein Award

Allen Steele and Yoji Kondo are the winners of the 2013 Robert A. Heinlein Award, given for outstanding published works in science fiction and technical writings that inspire the human exploration of space. Administration of the award has been taken over from the Heinlein Society by the Baltimore Science Fiction Society, and the award is now given out annually at Balticon.  Winners receive a plaque, a sterling silver medallion, and ...Read More

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Paul Di Filippo reviews Allen Steele

The press release from Pyr for Allen Steele’s new book, Apollo’s Outcasts, labels it “YA—Ages 12 & Up.” Such a statement is of course both true and not true. This compelling and solidly engineered near-future tale is straightforwardly “the latest Allen Steele,” a typically Steele-ian novel written to his usual high standards and exhibiting his recurring concerns, which also simply happens to feature not an adult but a sixteen-year-old

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Once More Out of the Breach: Gary Westfahl Reviews Pacific Rim: Uprising

If you are delayed by inclement weather while traveling to see Pacific Rim: Uprising, do not be overly dismayed, because the film might actually be more enjoyable if you walk into the theater an hour after it has started. True, you will struggle to understand some aspects of the plot, but when you are watching enormous, human-controlled robots (jaegers) battling against loathsome reptilian monsters (kaiju) in brilliantly choreographed sequences ...Read More

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Six Characters in Search of an Auteur: A Review of Justice League, by Gary Westfahl

Much to my surprise, I actually enjoyed watching Justice League, which can be appreciated as unpretentious fun, featuring likable characters and some moments of genuine humor. To be sure, it is not an ideal film, but the concept of bringing together popular superheroes to battle against common foes is appealing enough to overcome the recurring infelicities that have marred almost all of the recent films in the DC Extended ...Read More

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Dawn of Injustice: A Review of Suicide Squad

by Gary Westfahl

It is not a critical term that often comes to mind, but David Ayer’s Suicide Squad strikes me as a very meh kind of film – a hodgepodge of characters and moments that work, and characters and moments that don’t work, tossed together in a story line that sometimes makes sense and sometimes doesn’t. Further, the film cannot escape the perception that it is a stopgap measure,

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Karen Burnham reviews AfroSF v2

AfroSF v2, Ivor W. Hartmann, ed. (StoryTime 978-91-982913-1-5, $16.00, 488pp, pb) December 2015.

In 2015 editor Ivor W. Hartmann returned to the theme of his 2012 anthology, AfroSF: Science Fiction by African Writers. While the original volume contained stories by over 20 authors, this second volume takes a riskier approach, present­ing five novellas by six authors. The novella is sometimes called the perfect vehicle for science fiction: long

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The 2014 Scribe Awards Winners

The International Association of Media Tie-In Writers announced the winners of the 8th Annual Scribe Awards, for the best in tie-in fiction of 2013, at Comic-Con International in San Diego, July 24-27, 2014.

General Novel Original

  • Mr. Monk Helps Himself, Hy Conrad (Penguin)
  • The Executioner: Sleeping Dragons, Michael A. Black (Gold Eagle)
  • Murder She Wrote: Close-Up on Murder, Donald Bain (Penguin)
  • Leverage: The Bestseller Job, Greg
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Dinosaur Train Wreck: A Review of Godzilla

by Gary Westfahl

So, if you’re longing for the experience of watching an enormous dinosaur trample his way through a contemporary city this weekend, access your Netflix account, or find one of the few remaining DVD rental stores, and check out a Godzilla movie. Any Godzilla movie. The original 1954 film is, of course, a must-see, preferably the version without Raymond Burr (though his edited-in performance has its moments); films

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2014 Scribe Award Nominees

The International Association of Media Tie-in Writers announced the nominees for the 2014 Scribe Awards, honoring excellence in licensed tie-in writing:

General Novel Original

  • The Executioner: Sleeping Dragons, Michael A. Black (Gold Eagle)
  • Murder She Wrote: Close-Up on Murder, Donald Bain (Penguin)
  • Leverage: The Bestseller Job, Greg Cox (Berkley)
  • Leverage: The Zoo Job, Keith R. A. DeCandido (Berkley)
  • Mr. Monk Helps Himself, Hy Conrad (Penguin)
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Rich Horton Reviews Short Fiction: Asimov’s, Analog, Robots vs Fairies, The Book of Magic, and An Agent of Utopia

Asimov’s 11-12/18
Analog 11-12/18
Robots vs Fairies, Dominik Parisien & Navah Wolfe, eds. (Saga Press) January 2018.
The Book of Magic, Gardner Dozois, ed. (Ban­tam) October 2018.
An Agent of Utopia, Andy Duncan (Small Beer Press) December 2018.

The stories in the final 2018 issue of Analog that worked best for me seem also exem­plars of “Analog being Analog” – pure SF extrapolation, both near-future ...Read More

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Year-in-Review: 2018 Magazine Summary

We are mixing it up a little this year. The following sections are sorted by Hugo Eligibility: Professional, Semiprozine, etc., and by the SFWA qualifying standard for pay rate, then sorted loosely by pay rate and amount of fiction published. We covered 70 magazines, 14 audio sites, and nine critical magazines.

The short fiction market held strong through 2018, with more new voices, more inclusivity, and more translations than we’ve ...Read More

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Gary K. Wolfe Reviews An Agent of Utopia by Andy Duncan

An Agent of Utopia, Andy Duncan (Small Beer 978-1-61873-153-1, $16.00 288p, tp) November 2018.

There are few contemporary writers in any genre as immediately identifiable by voice alone as Andy Duncan, and it’s a voice with roots as far back as Mark Twain and as current as Howard Waldrop, finely attuned to the various tributaries of American vernacular – but often quite a bit darker than its down-home patina ...Read More

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New Books : 22 January 2019

From the Middle East; to Guerdon, a city of saints and thieves; to the Pearl Famous Academy of Skate & Sword; to the lower wards of Kahnzoka, a great port city of the Blessed Empire; to the Golden State, there are many places to explore in these new books!
New titles this week are by Josiah Bancroft, Michael Chabon, S.A. Chakraborty, Curtis Craddock, Gareth Hanrahan, Henry Lien, Chuck Wendig, Django ...Read More Read more

Liz Bourke Reviews Girls of Paper and Fire by Natasha Ngan

Girls of Paper and Fire, Natasha Ngan (Jimmy Patterson Presents 978-0316561365, $18.99, 400pp, hc) November 2018.

In terms of worldbuilding, Natasha Ngan’s Girls of Paper and Fire works a lot better for me. Overall, it just purely works: part of that might be the sheer weight of feeling that Ngan packs into this, her third novel and fantasy debut. (And what an accomplished, explosive novel it is.)

Lei is ...Read More

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Rich Horton Reviews Short Fiction: Asimov’s, Analog, On Spec, and Amazing Stories

Asimov’s 9-10/18
Analog 9-10/18
On Spec #108
Amazing Stories Fall ’18

As usual, there is a certain focus on Halloween-themed stories in the Sep­tember-October Asimov’s. The cover novella comes from a writer one hardly expects to be working in that mode, but Greg Egan‘s “3-adica” does open in a foggy Victorian Lon­don of sorts, and Sagreda and her lover Mathis do encounter dangerous vampires. It’s quickly ...Read More

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Classic Reprints, Sept. – Nov. 2018

Vintage stories about Mars and the Moon, Peter S. Beagle’s THE LAST UNICORN, and two books by Ursula K. Le Guin are all on the latest list of Classic Reprints

Classic works in new editions include a Library of America anthology of SF by women edited by Lisa Yaszek, other anthologies by Mike Ashley and by Hank Davis & Christopher Ruocchio, and titles by Poul Anderson, Peter S. Beagle, David ...Read More

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Gary K. Wolfe Reviews An Informal History of the Hugos by Jo Walton

An Informal History of the Hugos: A Personal Look Back at the Hugo Awards, 1953-2000, Jo Walton (Tor 978-0765379085, $29.99, 576pp, hc) August 2018.

Since their inception in 1953, the Hugo Awards have been SF’s most unignorable elephant in the room, providing generations of readers with a de facto canon and reading list, despite an often wild inconsistency and occasional tendency to reward beloved authors simply because they’re beloved. ...Read More

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Gary K. Wolfe Reviews Irontown Blues by John Varley

Irontown Blues, John Varley (Ace 978-1-101989-37-1, $16.99, 304pp, tp) August 2018.

John Varley’s Eight Worlds sequence of stories and novels – not really a series, since it’s less a consistent future history than a shared conceit among several stories and novels – dates back to the beginning of his career in the 1970s, when he seemed like the hottest new voice in SF since the arrival of Delany, Disch, ...Read More

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