Paul Di Filippo Reviews By the Pricking of Her Thumb by Adam Roberts

By the Pricking of Her Thumb, by Adam Roberts (Gollancz 978-1473221499, $24.99, 272pp, hardcover) August 2018

I seem to recall a character from one of John Barth’s early novels who wanted to live a life of utter unpredictability and inconsistency, as a kind of embodiment of the chaos principle. But then with a shock the man realized that total inconsistency was a kind of predictability. And so he picked ...Read More

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Weekly Bestsellers, 15 October 2018


Several titles debut this week, beginning with Anne Rice’s Blood Communion: A Tale of Prince Lestat (Knopf), ranking #5 on two lists, and David Weber’s Uncompromising Honor (Baen), ranking on three lists as high as #7.

Other debuts, as shown in the table below, are by David Levithan, Ransom Riggs, Neal Shusterman and Jarrod Shusterman, Laini Taylor, and Martha Wells. ...Read More

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One Small Step for a Family Man: Gary Westfahl Reviews First Man

Some people may wonder why a science fiction film reviewer is discussing a completely realistic film about an actual man and his actual accomplishments. But I can offer a simple explanation: I am reviewing, reasonably enough, a remake of the film that won science fiction’s Hugo Award as the “Best Dramatic Presentation” of 1969: namely, “News Coverage of Apollo 11.” (For even though, as I have noted elsewhere, space travel ...Read More

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Blinks: NYT on feminist dystopias; Reviews; Ansible; Scott Edelman

» New York Times front page on Wednesday: How Feminist Dystopian Fiction Is Channeling Women’s Anger and Anxiety, discussing works by Sophie Mackintosh, Naomi Alderman, Louise Erdrich, Joyce Carol Oates, and others

» NY Times Book Review: Amal El-Mohtar reviews C.L. Polk, Robert Jackson Bennett, John Schoffstall, Rachael K. Jones

» David Langford’s Ansible 375

» Scott Edelman dines with K. Tempest Bradford and Pat Cadigan ...Read More

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New Books : 9 October 2018

10 new October books, including follow-ups to: Power Play (Ben Bova), Rift Uprising (Amy Foster), Gilded Cage (Vic James), Miss Peregrine’s Home (Ransom Riggs), and The Tiger’s Daughter (K. Arsenault Rivera)

Ursula K. Le Guin’s last book of poems, So Far So Good: Poems 2014–2018, and other titles by Dale Bailey, Ben Bova, Amy S. Foster, Vic James, Gary Kemble, Marie O’Regan, Ransom Riggs, K. Arsenault Rivera, and K.B. ...Read More

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Paul Di Filippo reviews The Apex Book of World SF 5

The Apex Book of World SF: Volume 5, edited by Cristina Jurado and Lavie Tidhar (Apex, $16.95, 359pp, hardcover) October 2018

It can be convincingly argued, I believe, that the expressed genuine interest of the English-speaking SF audience in foreign science fiction is exactly coterminous with the birth of the genre. For did not the very first issue of Amazing in 1926 feature work by Jules Verne? Yes, that’s ...Read More

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New Books : 2 October 2018

N.K. Jemisin & John Joseph Adams’ The Best American Science Fiction and Fantasy 2018, Ellen Datlow’s The Best of the Best Horror of the Year: 10 Years of Essential Short Horror Fiction, Derek Künsken’s debut novel The Quantum Magician, and Rich Larson’s debut collection Tomorrow Factory.

Titles by Charlie Jane Anders, Terry Brooks, Catherine Cerveny, Julie E. Czerneda, N.S. Dolkart, Brendan DuBois, Dave Duncan, Jennifer Estep, ...Read More

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Paul Di Filippo reviews Salvation by Peter F. Hamilton

Salvation, by Peter F. Hamilton (Del Rey 978-0399178764, $30, 576pp, hardcover) September 2018

Peter Hamilton just keeps getting better and better with each book, more assured and more craftsmanly adroit, and more inventive. And to his credit, he wants to stretch and try different things, not just repeat himself. His newest–the first in a fresh cycle–is, to my eye, rather different than any of his previous books. I detect ...Read More

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New Books : 25 September 2018

Fulfill your sense of fantastical and SFnal mystery with new September books: Small Spaces, The Agony House, Sisters of the Winter Wood, The Astronaut’s Son, and Foe!

Shaun Tan’s Tales from the Inner City, Alice Hoffman & Lisa Hoffman’s Faerie Knitting: 14 Tales of Love and Magic, Sheldon Teitelbaum & Emmanuel Lottem’s Zion’s Fiction: A Treasury of Israeli Speculative Literature, and titles by Katherine Arden, Grace Draven, ...Read More

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Weekly Bestsellers, 24 September 2018


A new thriller by Dean Koontz, The Forbidden Door (Bantam), debuts on three lists, ranking as high as #5 on two of them.

Note that an error today on the Publishers Weekly website replaces the Children’s Frontlist Fiction list with a repeat of the Children’s Picture Books list; thus none of the YA titles that ranked on the PW list last week show up this week. ...Read More

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New Books : 18 September 2018

13 Unearthly New Books: Demons, Vampires, Witches, Frankenstein, and Portals to Hell. This September is all about the supernatural.


The US edition of Philip Pullman’s Daemon Voices: On Stories and Storytelling, plus titles by Myke Cole, Claire G. Coleman, Sebastien de Castell, Deborah Harkness, Tanya Huff, George Mann, Mark Morris, Catherine Reef, Brandon Sanderson, Peter Tieryas, Harry Turtledove, and Edward Willett. ...Read More

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Weekly Bestsellers, 17 September 2018

Several titles debut on lists this week, most prominently a new Forgotten Realms novel by R.A. Salvatore, Timeless (Harper Voyager), ranking as high as #11 on the Publishers Weekly list.

Also: Flight or Fright, an anthology edited by Stephen King and Bev Vincent and published by Cemetery Dance — the second title from that publishers ever compiled on these pages, after Gwendy’s Button Box by King and Richard Chizmar, ...Read More

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Paul Di Filippo reviews Michael Bishop’s The Sacerdotal Owl and Three Other Long Tales

The Sacerdotal Owl and Three Other Long Tales, by Michael Bishop (Fairwood Press 978-1933846729, $17.99, 280pp, trade paperback) August 2018

Vividly do I recall purchasing the 1970 issue of Galaxy magazine that contained Michael Bishop’s first story sale, “Piñon Fall.”  After all, I was only sixteen years old at the time, and in the midst of my own personal Golden Age of SF immersion.  Liking the eerie and evocative ...Read More

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New Books : 11 September 2018

From 9/11 conspiracies, to micro-democracy, to government mind-control programs, to migrations and fractured borders, September’s new books are filled with shadowy state machinations.

Christopher Priest’s An American Story, Sjón’s CoDex 1962, and titles by Holly Black & Cassandra Clare, Glen Cook, Susan Forest & Lucas K. Law, Sara Hanover, Dean Koontz, Malka Older, Parker Peevyhouse, Angus Watson, and Scott Westerfeld ...Read More

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Blinks: Ansible; Harari; reviews by Bradley, Brown, Wolfe; Edelman

» David Langford’s Ansible 374

» Wired: Yuval Noah Harari on science fiction, and Harari’s episode at Geek’s Guide to the Galaxy

» Spectator: James Bradley reviews Christopher Priest’s An American Story

» Guardian: Eric Brown reviews Peter F Hamilton, Tamora Pierce, Catherynne M Valente, Jasper Fforde, Martin Millar

» Chicago Tribune: Gary K. Wolfe reviews Abbey Mei Otis, Jeffrey Ford, John Varley

» Scott Edelman dines with Don McGregor ...Read More

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New Books : 4 September 2018

Ten years of short fiction in Irene Gallo’s anthology Worlds Seen in Passing, J.R.R. Tolkien’s unfinished The Fall of Gondolin, Stephen King & Ben Vincent’s anthology Flight or Fright, and new titles by Stephen Aryan, Larry Correia, Jaine Fenn, Sean Grigsby, Peter F. Hamilton, Nick Mamatas, Michael J. Martinez, Jack McDevitt, Seanan McGuire, Patrick Ness & Rovina Cai, Tim Pratt, Justina Robson, Greg van Eekhout, Steve ...Read More

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Paul Di Filippo reviews Irontown Blues by John Varley

Irontown Blues, by John Varley (Ace 978-1-101-98937-1, $16, 304pp, trade paperback August 2018

The science fiction and fantasy genres are conducive to long-lived series. Any number of writers who have managed to contrive extensive careers have found fandoms who relish receiving continuing installments of their favorite sagas. Sometimes enthusiastically, sometimes reluctantly, these writers keep the franchises ticking along. Jack Williamson gave us The Legion of Space in 1947–and in ...Read More

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Paul Di Filippo reviews A Voice in the Night by Jack McDevitt

A Voice in the Night, by Jack McDevitt (Subterranean 978-1-59606-880-3, $40.00, 464pp, hardcover) 31 August 2018

With nearly two dozen novels published, Jack McDevitt is one of those writers whose sturdy and engaging presence in the territory of long-form fiction definitely overshadows his stature at shorter lengths. But since his first story sale in 1981–nigh unto forty years ago, impossible as that seems!–he has accumulated, by ISFDB’s catalog, over ...Read More

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