Colleen Mondor Reviews Trace by Pat Cummings

Trace, Pat Cummings (HarperCollins 978-0-06-269884-1, $16.99, 320pp, hc) April 2019.

Sometimes, readers want a gentle story with big-hearted characters that manages to convey powerful drama in a subtle plot. Trace by Pat Cummings is exactly that, a ghost story that combines an unfolding historical mystery with a heartfelt coming-of-age tale. It is a muted novel, as much about the struggle of adapting to a new family situation as it ...Read More

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Rich Horton Reviews Short Fiction: Analog, Asimov’s, and F&SF

Analog 7-8/19 Asimov’s 7-8/19 F&SF 5-6/19

I’ve always thought that if Analog was truly the central bastion of hard SF among our magazines it ought to be publishing Greg Egan but, with the exception of “Beyond the Whistle Test” 30 years ago, his work has not appeared in the magazine. Until now! And “The Slipway” qualifies as pure a hard SF story as you might want – so ...Read More

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Karen Haber Reviews The Thousand Demon Tree by Jeffrey Alan Love

The Thousand Demon Tree, Jeffrey Alan Love (Flesk 978-1-64041-010-7, $29.95, 93pp, hc) Au­gust 2019. Cover by Jeffrey Alan Love.

In The Thousand Demon Tree, Jeffrey Alan Love follows up his popular Notes from the Shadowed City (Flesk, 2017) with a powerful 96-page wordless graphic novel.

Love has painted an eloquent tale whose haunt­ing silhouettes and strange atmospheric effects create a timeless eerie story in which the reader is ...Read More

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Katharine Coldiron Reviews Necropolis PD by Nathan Sumsion

Necropolis PD, Nathan Sumsion (Parvus Press 978-0-99978-423-5, $15.99, 412pp, tp) April 2019.

“Why am I always a few steps behind every conversation I get into?” asks Jake Green, the protagonist of Nathan Sumsion’s Necropolis PD, about halfway through this overlong, rudimentary novel. The potential answers to this question: Jake is an idiot, or Sumsion relies on thin narrative strategies to maintain tension. Or both. Although the novel moves ...Read More

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Ian Mond Reviews Midnight at the Organporium by Tara Campbell

Midnight at the Organporium, Tara Campbell (Aqueduct Press 978-1-61976-163-6, $12.00, 112pp, tp) March 2019.

Tara Campbell’s Midnight at the Organporium (Conversation Pieces: Volume 67) is a more eclectic collection, showcasing an array of moods and story-telling techniques. In the opening piece, “Death Sure Changes a Person”, Harlan is visited by his dead wife, Lucille, who orders him to start dating again. This surprises Harlan, not because the advice is ...Read More

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Adrienne Martini Reviews Finder by Suzanne Palmer and The Daughters of Temperance Hobbs by Kath­erine Howe

Finder, Suzanne Palmer (DAW 978-0-7564-1510-5, $26.00, 400pp, hc) April 2019.

Hugo Award winner Suzanne Palmer’s Finder gets off to slow start, despite its action packed opening scene. Fergus Ferguson, an Earth-born repo man/thief/finder of lost things, is traveling in a cable car between space habitats. The other passenger in the car, Mother Vahn, assures him that the ride will smooth out soon. It doesn’t. Instead, they are attacked, the ...Read More

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Karen Haber Reviews Yoshitaka Amano and James Cawthorn

Yoshitaka Amano: The Illustrated Biography/Beyond the Fantasy, Florent Gorges (Dark Horse 978-1-50670-753-2, $49.99, 336pp, hc) November 2018. Cover by Yoshitaka Amano.

The illustrated biography of Yoshitaka Amano is another hefty, handsome volume, so large that it seems to have required two sub-titles besides its main title. The 335-page retrospective pays homage to the revered Japanese fine artist, il­lustrator, character designer, and scenic and costume designer.

Amano began his remarkable ...Read More

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Karen Burnham Reviews Short Fiction: Clarkesworld, Fiyah, and BCS

Clarkesworld 6/19 Fiyah Spring ’19 Beneath Ceaseless Skies 6/6/19, 6/20/19

Clarkesworld starts its June issue with a gut punch of a story, “The Painter of Trees” by Suzanne Palmer. Colonizers of an alien world have a society with very strict protocols. As their terraforming efforts kill off the last of the indigenous population, one colo­nizing individual maintains contact with the last representative, Tski, hoping to gain insight ...Read More

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Colleen Mondor Reviews Lovely War by Julie Berry

Lovely War, Julie Berry (Greenwillow 978-0-451-46993-9, $18.99, 468pp, hc) March 2019.

From the cover, Lovely War by Julie Berry appears to be the historical novel that it is. You have a young woman in period dress, a photo of WWI soldiers in the background, and a statue of the Eiffel Tower encircled with biplanes in the woman’s hands. There is nothing to suggest fantasy from the cover, but rest ...Read More

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Paul Di Filippo Reviews Hollywood North by Michael Libling

Hollywood North, Michael Libling (ChiZine Publications 978-1-77148-490-9, $17.99, 360pp, trade paperback) September 2019

After winning a World Fantasy Award in 2015, ChiZine Publications has continued even more strongly than before as a powerhouse of offbeat fantastika, publishing dozens of titles from such visionary luminaries as Bracken MacLeod, Helen Marshall, and David Nickle. Their latest is the debut novel of Michael Libling, based on his award-nominated short with the same ...Read More

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Ian Mond Reviews Everything is Made of Letters by Sofía Rhei

Everything is Made of Letters, Sofía Rhei (Aqueduct 978-1-61976-149-0, $12.00, 152pp, tp) February 2019.

Since 2004, Aqueduct Press has published a small paperback series, called Conversation Pieces, that aims to “document and facilitate the grand conversation” of feminist science fiction. The more than 60 volumes issued so far collect essays, poetry, novellas, and short fiction authored by an impressive range of writers, a veritable who’s who of the field ...Read More

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Carolyn Cushman Reviews We Rule the Night by Claire Eliza Bartlett and Stormrise by Jillian Boehme

Claire Eliza Bartlett, We Rule the Night (Little, Brown 978-0-316-41727-3, $17.99, 390pp, hc) April 2019.

Young women get the unprecedented chance to serve in the military as pilots in this thrilling young-adult tale set in a magical version of WWII Soviet Russia, and based on actual history. The Union of the North faces an enemy with superior technology, includ­ing deadly aircraft powered by forbidden Weave magic. The Union, strapped for ...Read More

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Karen Haber Reviews The Electric State by Simon Stålenhag

The Electric State, Simon Stålenhag (Skybound 978-1-5011-8141-2, $35.00, 141pp, hc) September 2018. Cover by Simon Stålenhag.

The Electric State is a fascinating work, an il­lustrated novel in which the art carries the burden of the narrative. The tale is one of an alternative reality in the recent past in the western US where the accelerated development of AI and VR in the wake of a civil war has led ...Read More

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Katharine Coldiron Reviews If, Then by Kate Hope Day

If, Then, Kate Hope Day (Random House 978-0-52551-122-9, $26.00, 272pp, hc) March 2019.

Kate Hope Day’s debut novel, If, Then, is a sliding doors narrative revolving around a group of characters living in the same neighborhood, all of whom have reached a gloomy kind of breaking point in their personal lives. Ginny, a neurosur­geon, is working herself to death and inhabits a marriage that’s on life support. Her ...Read More

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Alvaro Zinos-Amaro Reviews Aliens in Popular Culture, Edited by Michael M. Levy & Far­ah Mendlesohn

Aliens in Popular Culture, Michael M. Levy & Far­ah Mendlesohn, eds. (Greenwood 978-1440838323, $94.00, 335pp, hc) March 2019.

Back in the antediluvian days of high school, I’d look forward to lazy Saturday mornings spent perusing Peter Nicholls & John Clute’s landmark The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction. I mention this not merely for nostalgia’s sake, but because my recent experience reading the encyclo­pedic volume on hand is the closest ...Read More

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Colleen Mondor Reviews Other Words for Smoke by Sarah Maria Grif­fin

Other Words for Smoke, Sarah Maria Grif­fin (Greenwillow 978-0-06-240891-4, $17.99, 331pp, hc) March 2019.

Let’s talk about a very creepy book, shall we? Other Words for Smoke by Irish au­thor Sarah Maria Griffin is about witches, a haunted house, a mysterious “other” world, Ireland’s history of abusing unwed mothers, and the seductive allure of power. It’s also about a cat and an owl who are most certainly not just ...Read More

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Ian Mond Reviews Radio Dark by Shane Hinton

Radio Dark, Shane Hinton (Burrow Press 978-1941681602, $16.99, 130pp, tp) August 2019.

Shane Hinton’s debut novel (really a debut novella) Radio Dark is a mostly run-of-the-mill post-apocalyptic story, but with an arresting image at is centre. From the long menu of end-of-the-world scenarios, Hinton chooses a condition – possibly a virus – that leaves people catatonic. Memphis, who works as a janitor at a local radio station, first comes ...Read More

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Amy Goldschlager Reviews Unauthorized Bread Audiobook by Cory Doctorow

Unauthorized Bread, Cory Doctorow; Lameece Issaq, narrator (Macmillan Audio 978-1-25022316-6, $10.99, digital download, 3 hr., unabridged) April 2019.

Selima, a Libyan immigrant, is grateful to leave the refugee shelter in Arizona for a subsidized, fully furnished studio apartment in Boston’s Dorchester Towers, even if she is only allowed to use the elevator when the building’s market-value tenants don’t require it. Then the company supplying her internet-equipped ap­pliances – which ...Read More

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Paul Di Filippo Reviews First Cosmic Velocity by Zach Powers

First Cosmic Velocity, Zach Powers (Putnam 978-0525539278, $26, 352pp, hardcover) August 2019

Thirty years after the fall of the Soviet Union (counting from the initial revolts of the satellite nations in 1989, albeit not from the official dissolution date of 1991)—and ignoring all the present complicated realities that remnant Russia entails on the geopolitical scene—the era of the Communist empire (roughly starting in 1917) seems—at least to my perceptions, ...Read More

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Gary K. Wolfe Reviews Trapped in the R.A.W., A Journal of My Experiences during the Great Invasion by Kaylee Bearovna by Kate Boyes

Trapped in the R.A.W., A Journal of My Experiences during the Great Invasion by Kaylee Bearovna, Kate Boyes (Aqueduct 978-1-61976-159-9, $20.00, 312pp, tp) July 2019.

Every once in a while, a novel seems to drop in from out of nowhere, with little to go on but a promo let­ter and – in the case at hand – the reputation of the publisher. Aqueduct Press has earned a reputation not ...Read More

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Katharine Coldiron Reviews Air Logic by Laurie J. Marks

Air Logic, Laurie J. Marks (Small Beer Press 978-1-61873-160-9, $17.00, 400pp, pb) June 2019. Cover by Kathleen Jennings.

You might not believe me, but this is the truth: Laurie J. Marks’s Elemental Logic books are as good as Elena Ferrante’s monumental Neapolitan Quartet. They achieve the same depth, the same spellbinding quality, and the same sense of falling entire into a world on the page, tethered to real life ...Read More

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Ian Mond Reviews Big Giant Floating Head by Christopher Boucher

Big Giant Floating Head, Christopher Boucher (Melville House 978-1612197579, $16.99, 224pp, tp) June 2019.

In his new novel, Big Giant Floating Head, Christoper Boucher takes us to the fictional town of Coolidge MA where his alter-ego, also named Christopher Boucher, is struggling to cope with his wife’s decision to leave him. As Boucher informs us, the news came unexpectedly via Twitter. “You can go back on her timeline ...Read More

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Amy Goldschlager Reviews Girls with Sharp Sticks Audiobook by Suzanne Young

Girls with Sharp Sticks, Suzanne Young; Caitlin Davies, narrator (Simon & Schuster Audio/Black­stone Audio 978-1-50828140-5, $39.99, 9 CDs, 10.5 hr., unabridged [also available as a digital download]) March 2019.

I hesitate to mention just which classic early 1970s book, adapted into a well-known film and a bad remake, and now an indelible part of our popular culture, that this new YA novel reminds me of, because it’ll spoil the ...Read More

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Paul Di Filippo Reviews The Silver Wind by Nina Allan

The Silver Wind, Nina Allan (Titan 978-1789091694, $14.95, 368pp, trade paperback) September 2019

There’s a certain kind of SF that no one does better than the British. Eerie, ambiguous, sly, multivalent, sensitive to the nuanced emotional weather of the protagonists, highly naturalistic despite the weirdness…. If I mention the names Christopher Priest, Brian Aldiss, D.G. Compton and, on the horror end of the spectrum, Robert Aickman, I think you’ll ...Read More

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Gary K. Wolfe Reviews A City Made of Words by Paul Park

A City Made of Words, Paul Park (PM Press 978-1-629-63642-9, $14.00, 128pp, tp) June 2019.

Paul Park has always had a rather sidewise relationship with science fiction and fantasy. His early novels demonstrated a sophisticated awareness of the literary possibilities of the far-future, dying-Earth theme, and his vastly underappreciated A Princess of Roumania series was as carefully worked-out an alternate history as you could ask for – except that ...Read More

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Karen Burnham Reviews Short Fiction: Clarkesworld, Lightspeed, and BCS

Clarkesworld 5/19 Lightspeed 6/19 Beneath Ceaseless Skies #277, #278

May’s Clarkesworld is a treasure trove, with five original stories that bring us both the rich and the bizarre, some­times all at once. It starts with “Tick-Tock” by Xia Jia (translated by Emily Jin), a tale of a dreamer and those who construct his dreams, (which can be made to order). There’s a very effective repetitive leit motif that ...Read More

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Amy Goldschlager Reviews Echo in Onyx, Echo in Emerald, and Echo in Amethyst Audiobooks by Sharon Shinn

Echo in Onyx, Sharon Shinn; Emily Bauer, nar­rator (Audible Studios, $34.96, digital download, 15 hr., unabridged) March 2019.

Echo in Emerald, Sharon Shinn; read by Emily Bauer (Audible Studios, $30.58, digital down­load, 13.25 hr., unabridged) March 2019.

Echo in Amethyst, Sharon Shinn; read by Emily Bauer (Audible Studios, $30.58, digital down­load, 15 hr., unabridged) March 2019.

It is always a pleasure to review books that, at the ...Read More

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Liz Bourke Reviews The Outside by Ada Hoffmann

The Outside, Ada Hoffmann (Angry Robot 978-0-85766-813-4, $12.99, 346pp, tp) May 2019.

The Outside is Ada Hoffmann’s much-anticipated debut novel. Well, much anticipated in my circles and, I have to say, the novel lives up to its buzz. (If you take nothing else away from this review, take away that it’s well worth checking out.)

In Hoffmann’s space opera universe, artificial intelligences have become Gods. These AI-Gods don’t exist ...Read More

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Gary K. Wolfe Reviews The Gameshouse by Claire North

The Gameshouse, Claire North (Orbit 978-0-316-49156-3, $15.99, 448pp, tp) May 2019.

Claire North has made something of a career of taking weatherbeaten tropes (reincarnation in The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August, invisibility in The Sudden Appearance of Hope, Death personified in The End of the Day) and reimagining them in a stylish contemporary voice, usually with a witty twist on the original conceit. In The ...Read More

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Katharine Coldiron Reviews Upon a Burning Throne by Ashok K. Banker

Upon a Burning Throne, Ashok K. Banker (John Joseph Adams Books 978-1-32891-628-0, $26.00, 688pp, hc) April 2019.

Ashok K. Banker returns to America with little to prove. He has already published dozens of books in India, including a great deal of epic fantasy. His American return, Upon a Burning Throne, is the first in a new series, the Burnt Empire. Whether the series will do as well here ...Read More

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Ian Mond Reviews Last Day by Domenica Ruta

Last Day, Domenica Ruta (Spiegel & Grau 978-0525510819, $27.00, 272pp, hc) May 2019.

Domenica Ruta’s fiction debut, Last Day is a novel about the apocalypse, but one where there’s no sign that the world is about to end, no plagues no zombies, no fallout from a nuclear blast. Instead, Ruta invents an ancient holiday, named “Last Day”, where every year people celebrate the possible and sudden cessation of all ...Read More

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Amy Goldschlager Reviews The Fever King Audiobook by Victoria Lee

The Fever King, Victoria Lee; Michael Crouch, narrator (Brilliance Audio 978-1-7213-3626-5, 11 CDs, $26.99, 14 hr., unabridged [also available on MP3-CD and as a digital download]) March 2019.

The early 21st century of an alternate Earth becomes infected by magic, a plague which kills most but leaves the survivors with powers. The dangerous disease and violent prejudice against the surviving “witchings” splinters the US. The most powerful witching, Calix ...Read More

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