Blinks: SF Chronicle’s Best of 2017; Wells v. Orwell; Nature forum with KSR, Liu, others

» San Francisco Chronicle’s Best of 2017 includes titles by Omar El Akkad, Jeff VanderMeer, Victor LaValle, Louise Erdrich, George Saunders, Naomi Alderson, Robin Sloan, Zachary Mason

» The Conversation, via Salon: More H.G. Wells and less George Orwell: Can science save us from dystopia?

» Nature: Science fiction when the future is now, with comments by Lauren Beukes, Kim Stanley Robinson, Ken Liu, Hannu Rajaniemi, Alastair Reynolds, Aliette de ...Read More

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The Knack of the Puppet People: A Review of Downsizing

An introductory disclosure: when I was in graduate school, I became the friend, and occasional roommate, of Jim Taylor’s older brother Doug Taylor, and I met and talked with Jim a few times when he was a student at Pomona College. I particularly remember a final conversation when Jim reported that, after graduating, he had moved to Los Angeles to pursue, so far unsuccessfully, a career as a Hollywood screenwriter. ...Read More

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Blinks: Chiang; Delany; Tolkien; Best of 2017 at Seattle Times, B&N; Zinos-Amaro reviews; Borderlands events

» Buzzfeed: Ted Chiang’s Silicon Valley Is Turning Into Its Own Worst Fear, about capitalism, Silicon Valley, and its fear of superintelligent AI

» Slate Podcast: How Does Samuel R. Delany Work?: The acclaimed science-fiction novelist talks about his queer career.

» Guardian: Maev Kennedy: From the north pole to Middle-earth: Tolkien’s Christmas letters to his children

» Seattle Times: Nisi Shawl picks Noteworthy books of 2017: speculative fiction by ...Read More

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Paul Di Filippo reviews Until the Last Dog Dies by Robert Guffey

— Special to Locus Online —

Until the Last Dog Dies, by Robert Guffey (Night Shade Books 978-1-59780-918-4, $15.99, 320pp, trade paperback) November 2017

Somewhere up on a cloud–or somewhere down in the abyss–the ghost of Lenny Bruce is leering approvingly upon Robert Guffey’s Until the Last Dog Dies, after which the savage shade will nod off with a spike in his arm. Guffey’s book is a rarity ...Read More

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Is It Time to Let Old Things Die?: A Review ofStar Wars: The Last Jedi, by Gary Westfahl

Since Rian Johnson’s Star Wars: The Last Jedi contains almost all of the elements that have made the franchise so popular – likable heroes, implacable villains, superb special effects, colorful aliens and robots, the requisite number of space battles and lightsaber duels, and a rousing John Williams score – it will undoubtedly prove enormously successful and thoroughly satisfying to diehard fans. However, as time passes, I suspect that those fans ...Read More

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New in Paperback: November – December 2017

Titles newly in paperback the past two months include Gregory Benford’s The Berlin Project, Kameron Hurley’s The Stars Are Legion, John Kessel’s The Moon and the Other, two big collections by Ursula K. Le Guin, Ada Palmer’s Seven Surrenders, Robert Charles Wilson’s Last Year, and titles by Aiken, Bara, Brandt, Buettner, Clarke, Corey, Flint, Forstchen, Friedman, Goodkind, Kadrey, Koontz, McClellan, Neumeier, Roberson, Smale, Stross, and ...Read More

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Paul Di Filippo reviews The Clingerman Files by Mildred Clingerman

The Clingerman Files, by Mildred Clingerman (edited by Mark Bradley) (Size 5 1/2 B Publishing, 978-1981219926, $25, 306pp, trade paperback) November 2017

Mildred Clingerman (1918-1997) was a writer I grew up on, and loved. Although her heyday came during the 1950s, before I began reading SF, I would run across her memorable tales reprinted in anthologies–and also in their original venues, as I began to accumulate back issues of ...Read More

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The Creature Waltzes Among Us: A Review ofThe Shape of Water, by Gary Westfahl

As has happened before, I face the dilemma of reviewing a film that I have been clearly instructed to like, yet did not actually like. But, one might ask, what is there is dislike about The Shape of Water? It is the work of an author-director, Guillermo del Toro, who has repeatedly demonstrated his knowledge of, and fondness for, science fiction films, as well demonstrated by the excellent Pacific ...Read More

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New Books : 5 December 2017

New books published today include Katherine Arden’s The Girl in the Tower , James S.A. Corey’s Persepolis Rising, Ursula K. Le Guin’s No Time to Spare: Thinking About What Matters, Ken Scholes’ Hymn, and other titles by Catherine Cerveny, Eric Flint & Charles E. Gannon, Christopher Fowler, Francesca Haig, Faith Hunter, Mercedes Lackey, Alex Marshall, George R.R. Martin, Susan R. Matthews, Ryk E. Spoor, Benjanun Sriduangkaew, and Sam ...Read More

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Blinks: Ansible; NYTBR YA list for 2017 includes Okorafor and Pullman; NYTBR on John Hodgman

» David Langford’s Ansible 365

» NY Times Book Review — in addition to 100 Notable Books and 10 Best Books linked earlier — has a Children’s and YA list with the latter group including Nnedi Okorafor and Philip Pullman.

» NY Times Book Review: John Hodgman’s By the Book name-checks Richard Matheson, E.B. White, Cormac McCarthy, N.K. Jemisin, Michael Chabon, and Borges; and alludes to Frank Herbert and George ...Read More

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Paul Di Filippo Reviews Down and Out in Purgatory: The Collected Stories of Tim Powers

Down and Out in Purgatory: The Collected Stories of Tim Powers, Tim Powers (Baen 978-1-4814-8279-0, $25, 496pp, hardcover) November 2017.

Casual sports fans merely enjoy the games. Hardcore obsessive sports fans compile stats and follow the managerial maneuvers of the franchises. A similar dichotomy exists between casual readers of fantastika and the true aficionados. The latter nerds, such as myself, chart the careers of writers along several axes. And ...Read More

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Blinks: Best Books of 2017 from NY Times, LA Times, and Adam Roberts in The Guardian

» Guardian: Adam Roberts’ best science fiction and fantasy of 2017 includes titles by Kim Stanley Robinson, Paul McAuley, Jeff VanderMeer, and others

» New York Times’ Book Review’s 10 Best Books of 2017 includes Mohsin Hamid’s Exit West and Naomi Alderman’s The Power

» Los Angeles Times’ Best Fiction of 2017 includes Naomi Alderman’s The Power, Steve Erickson’s Shadowbahn, Mohsin Hamid’s Exit West, John Crowley’s Ka ...Read More

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Paul Di Filippo reviews The City of Brass by S.A. Chakraborty

The City of Brass, S.A. Chakraborty (Harper Voyager 978-0-06-267810-2, $25.99, 544pp, hardcover) November 2017

Even disregarding the familiar spectacle of publishers eagerly emulating the bestsellers of their rivals, we can notice that book people like mini-trends. So does the culture in general. No harm to the phenomenon, really, it’s just the way humans operate. Let something fresh become even modestly successful and suddenly the marketplace perceives a hitherto-unrecognized demand, ...Read More

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Paul Di Filippo reviews Creatures of Will and Temper by Molly Tanzer

Creatures of Will and Temper, Molly Tanzer (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt/John Joseph Adams 978-1-328-71026-0, $16.99, 368pp, trade paperback) November 2017

The earliest publication from relative newcomer Molly Tanzer–as certified both by ISFDB and her own website–seems to be 2010’s “In Sheep’s Clothing,” from Running with the Pack, an anthology edited by Ekaterina Sedia. Although 2010 seems, from one vantage, to be the day before yesterday, it’s seven years gone ...Read More

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Blinks: B&N’s, NY Times’ Best of 2017; Le Guin interview; New Republic on Manson, Hubbard, and Heinlein

» Barnes and Nobles’ Best Science Fiction & Fantasy of 2017 includes titles by Naomi Alderman, James Bradley, N.K. Jemisin, John Kessel, Annalee Newitz, Kim Stanley Robinson, Jeff VaderMeer, and many others

» NY Times’ 100 notable books includes novels by Omar El Akkad, Victor LaValle, Mohsin Hamid, Paul Auser, Louise Erdrich, George Saunders, Naomi Alderman, and N.K. Jemisin, and Edmund Gordon’s biography of Angela Carter

» LA Review of ...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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