Damaged Goods: Gary Westfahl reviews Annihilation

Jeff VanderMeer’s 2014 novel Annihilation is a magical and mysterious book, and the simplest way to criticize Alex Garland’s film of the novel is to say that it is not a magical and mysterious film. To be sure, director and screenwriter Garland might protest that he did the best he could to convey the essence of VanderMeer’s novel while working within the confines of contemporary Hollywood filmmaking, but the bottom ...Read More

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Paul Di Filippo reviews Embers of War by Gareth L. Powell

Embers of War, by Gareth L. Powell (Titan 978-1785655180, $14.95, 411pp, trade paperback) February 2018

The first appearance in Interzone that I can track down for Gareth Powell’s fiction is “Memory Dust” in 2009, although he had been publishing elsewhere since 2004. But Interzone is where I personally discovered this marvelous fellow, and I am glad I did. When his pivotal story “Ack-Ack Macaque” showed up (the three allied ...Read More

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Blinks: Naomi Novik on Ursula K. Le Guin; reviews in NYT, Guardian, WaPo

» Naomi Novik’s For Ursula, posted Jan. 24th, is printed in today’s NYT Book Review

» NY Times Book Review: Clare Clark reviews Matt Haig’s How to Stop Time

» Guardian: Eric Brown reviews Alastair Reynolds, Josiah Bancroft, Chris Beckett, Brooke Bolander, Nick Clark Windo

» Washington Post: Everdeen Mason reviews Paolo Bacigalupi and Tobias S. Buckell, E.J. Swift, Vandana Singh ...Read More

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Paul Di Filippo reviews Madness Is Better Than Defeat by Ned Beauman

Madness Is Better Than Defeat, by Ned Beauman (Knopf 978-0-385-35299-4, $27.95, 416pp, hardcover) February 2018

When I reviewed Ned Beauman’s first two novels–Boxer, Beetle and The Teleportation Accident–I concluded by citing “his endless fecundity of invention and specificity. No setting is unburnished, no individual, even walk-ons, left undistinguished. Second, and more amazing, is his patterning ability — a skill so important to an author yet one of ...Read More

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Paul Di Filippo reviews Tim Wirkus’s The Infinite Future

The Infinite Future, by Tim Wirkus (Penguin Press 978-0-7352-2432-2, $28, 400pp, hardcover) January 2018

The concept of “steam engine time” should be familiar to most SF readers. The notion derives from a line by Charles Fort in his book Lo!. “A social growth cannot find out the use of steam engines, until comes steam-engine-time.” This initial formulation evolved into a broader principle, as defined by the Urban Dictionary: ...Read More

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The Omega Boy: A Review of Maze Runner: The Death Cure, by Gary Westfahl

Although I haven’t read any reviews of the film, I suspect that Wes Ball’s Maze Runner: The Death Cure (simply entitled The Death Cure in the opening credits) will be praised, or condemned, as a routine action film, with a series of exciting, well-executed sequences pitting likable protagonists against impossible odds, stitched together by quieter scenes to advance its plot and develop the characters. In sum, if you like the ...Read More

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Paul Di Filippo Reviews Charles Stross’ Dark State

Dark State, by Charles Stross (Tor 978-0-7653-3757-3, $25.99, 352pp, hc) January 2018.

Charles Stross launched his “Merchant Princes” franchise in 2004 with The Family Trade. There were subsequently five more volumes in what might be thought of as the “first season” of the enterprise. I was able to read the first two installments and review them for Scott Edelman, then editing the online zine SF Weekly. There I ...Read More

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Paul Di Filippo Reviews K.J. Parker’s The Father of Lies

The Father of Lies, by K.J. Parker (Subterranean 978-1596068520, $40.00, 544pp, hardcover) 31 January 2018.

Like many other ultra-prolific and career-splitting authors before him (I’m thinking “Evan Hunter” and “Ed McBain” as an example), Tom Holt manages to put out multiple books every year, one or more under “Tom Holt,” and one or more under “K. J. Parker.” The year 2017 saw the publication of Holt’s The Management Style ...Read More

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Blinks: Reviews; Judith Merril; KGB events

» Washington Post: Everdeen Mason reviews Robots vs. Fairies, Ahmed Saadawi, Josiah Bancroft

» Chicago Tribune: Gary K. Wolfe reviews collections by Dave McKean and William Schafer, Dominik Parisien and Navah Wolfe, and Jo Walton

» Washington Post: Michael Dirda reviews Nick Harkaway’s Gnomon

» Toronto Star: Sci-fi author Judith Merril and the very real story of Toronto’s Spaced Out Library: A prolific author and pioneer Merril’s donation of 5,000 ...Read More

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