Carolyn Cushman Reviews That Ain’t Witchcraft by Seanan McGuire

Seanan McGuire, That Ain’t Witchcraft (DAW 978-0-7564-1179-4, $7.99, 432pp, pb) March 2019. Cover by Aly Fell.

Antimony “Annie” Price’s adventures continue in this eighth volume in the InCryptid series. She and her cryptid friends, still on the road after their harrowing adventures at Lowryland theme park, finally find a safe place to stop for a while in Maine. But this is Stephen King country, where their rental house hides secrets, ...Read More

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Gary K. Wolfe and Ian Mond Review The Rosewater Insurrection by Tade Thompson

The Rosewater Insurrection, Tade Thompson (Orbit 978-0-316-44908-3, $15.99, 378pp, tp) March 2019.

Tade Thompson’s wildly original first novel Rose­water, with its political savvy, its problematic main character, its inventive notion of alien contact, and its colorful setting of the improvised city of Rosewater – which grew up around an alien dome near Lagos, Nigeria – also seemed to challenge some readers with its shifting timelines and questions of ...Read More

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Liz Bourke Reviews Permafrost by Alastair Reynolds

Permafrost, Alastair Reynolds ( Pub­lishing 978-125-030356-1, $14.99, 176pp, tp) March 2019.

Alastair Reynolds is one of a handful of authors writing science fiction today who can boast of having worked for a space agency as a scientist (as part of the European Space Research and Technology Centre). His long-form fiction has tended towards far-future science fiction, space operas with sprawling future histories and a strong interest in the influence ...Read More

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Russell Letson Reviews Tiamat’s Wrath by James S.A. Corey

Tiamat’s Wrath, James S.A. Corey (Orbit 978-0-316-33287-3, $30.00, 528pp, hc) March 2019. Cover by David Dociu.

There is an empire at the center of the eighth (and projected next-to-last) volume of James S.A. Corey’s Expanse sequence. Tiamat’s Wrath continues the story of the Laconian Empire (begun in Persepolis Rising, 2017), founded by a rebel admiral who is ambitious to have all of humankind under his rule and himself ...Read More

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Katharine Coldiron Reviews Smoke and Summons by Charlie N. Holmberg

Smoke & Summons, Charlie N. Holmberg (47North 9781503905436, $24.95, 332pp, hc) February 2019.

Charlie Holmberg has carved out a suc­cessful niche as a writer of speedy, fan-pleasing novels in a small constellation of fantasy genres. Smoke & Summons, the first book in the new Numina series, continues her work in the same field: it’s an urban fantasy set against a sooty metropolis, making use of religious corruption, ...Read More

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Karen Haber Reviews The Tales of Beedle the Bard by J.K. Rowling

The Tales of Beedle the Bard, J.K. Rowling, illustrated by Lisbeth Zwerger (Arthur A. Levine 978-1-338-26218-6, $34.99, 159pp, hc) October 2018. Cover by Lisbeth Zwerger

An unexpected pairing of author and artist has yielded a big payoff in The Tales of Beedle the Bard by J.K. Rowling with illustration by inter­nationally acclaimed illustrator Lisbeth Zwerger. This is surely one of the most impressive tie-in products to the Harry Potter ...Read More

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Rich Horton Reviews Short Fiction: Uncanny, F&SF, Interzone, Galaxy’s Edge, and Granta

Uncanny 1-2/19 F&SF 1-2/19 Interzone 1-2/19 Galaxy’s Edge 1/19 Granta Autumn ’18

Uncanny in January-February features a challenging story from Fran Wilde. (The last time I wrote about Wilde’s work I called both stories I covered “challenging.” I am sure I did it on purpose, and I am even surer Wilde does it on purpose.) “A Catalog of Storms” is built around names given to different kinds ...Read More

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Paul Di Filippo reviews novellas by Spinrad, Gloss, McCleary, and Powers

General Strike by Norman Spinrad (Self-published 978-1091528574, $7.00, 61pp, trade paperback) March 2019.

Outside the Gates by Molly Gloss (Saga Press 978-1534414983, $24.99, 128pp, trade paperback) January 2019.

Too Fat to Go to the Moon by Rob McCleary (Zero Books 978-1785352317, $13.95, 160pp, trade paperback) April 2019.

More Walls Broken by Tim Powers (Subterranean 978-1596068865, $25.00, 136pp, trade paperback) February 2019.

The widespread interest in—and production of—novellas continues apace. Large ...Read More

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Carolyn Cushman Reviews Terminal Uprising by Jim C. Hines and Circle of the Moon by Faith Hunter

Jim C. Hines, Terminal Uprising (DAW 978-0-7564-1277-7, $26.00, 324pp, hc) February 2019. Cover by Daniel Dos Santos.

Marion “Mops” Adamopoulos and her Hygiene and Sanitation Services team take their stolen ship, the EMCS Pufferfish, on a mission to Earth in this second book in the Janitors of the Post-Apocalypse series. In this future, the humans of Earth have all been reduced to zombie-like ferals, but some, like Mops and her ...Read More

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Katharine Coldiron Reviews The Lesson by Cadwell Turnbull

The Lesson, Cadwell Turnbull (Blackstone 978-1-5385-8464-4 $26.99, 272pp, hc) June 2019.

Although I could be wrong, I think The Lesson, Cadwell Turnbull’s debut novel, is an allegory for white interference in Black cultures, whether in Africa, America, or the Caribbean. I’m cautious of assigning this idea from inside my white skin, because I could be making a deeply insulting assumption. But if I am wrong, I’m listening to ...Read More

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Ian Mond Reviews Luna: Moon Rising by Ian McDonald

Luna: Moon Rising, Ian McDonald (Tor 978-0765391476, $29.99, 368pp, hc) March 2019.

I’ve long advocated to anyone who’ll listen (generally myself in the shower) that books in a trilogy or multi-volume series need to begin with a recap of the previous novel. The expectation that I’ll either remember the many plot threads and character arcs or reread the previous instalments is wishful thinking given my sketchy middle-aged memory and ...Read More

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Colleen Mondor Reviews Dragon Pearl by Yoon Ha Lee

Dragon Pearl, Yoon Ha Lee (Disney Hyperion 978-136801335-2, $16.99, 310pp, tp) January 2019. Cover by Vivienne To.

In the latest title from the Rick Riordan Presents imprint, Korean-American author Yoon Ha Lee transports traditional Korean animal folklore to space in an interplanetary adventure with all the thrills, spills, and surprises that younger teens could want. Dragon Pearl is a bit like the vintage “Perils of Pauline” serials (without the ...Read More

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Paul Di Filippo reviews The Science Fiction Fanzine Reader: Focal Points 1930-1960 edited by Luis Ortiz

The Science Fiction Fanzine Reader: Focal Points 1930-1960, edited by Luis Ortiz (Nonstop Press 978-1933065670, $30.00, 406pp, tp) February 2019.

Luis Ortiz is editor and publisher at NonStop Press, which had its origins many years ago as NonStop magazine. He has compiled several valuable studies of various artists of the fantastic — Lee Brown Coye, Ed Emshwiller. Jack Gaughan — and brought us such goodies as the two-volume assemblage ...Read More

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Alec Nevala-Lee Reviews The Pleasant Profession of Robert A. Hein­lein by Farah Mendlesohn

The Pleasant Profession of Robert A. Heinlein, Farah Mendlesohn (Unbound 978-1-78352-678-9, £25.00, 480pp, hc) March 2019.

In The New Biographical Dictionary of Film, the critic David Thomson arrives at “a major but very difficult realization” about Cary Grant:

As well as being a leading box-office draw for some thirty years, the epitome of the man-about-town… as well as being the retired actor, still handsome executive of a perfume ...Read More

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Liz Bourke Reviews The Ruin of Kings by Jenn Lyons

The Ruin of Kings, Jenn Lyons (Tor 978-125-031638-7, $24.99, 560pp, hc) February 2019.

One of the delightful conceits of Jenn Lyons’s debut – a much-hyped epic fantasy that almost lives all the way up the extravagant heights of its advance buzz – is that it is presented as an after-action report, a “full accounting of the events that led up to the Burning of the Capital” compiled by a ...Read More

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Karen Burnham Reviews Short Fiction:, Clarkesworld, Strange Horizons, and Beneath Ceaseless Skies 1/14/19, 1/16/19 Clarkesworld 1/19 Strange Horizons 1/19, 2/19 Beneath Ceaseless Skies #270

After a hiatus in December, returns in strength with a pair of stories by two great authors. “The Last Voyage of Skidbladnir” by Karin Tidbeck (her first new story in a while) gives us living starships who inhabit skyscrapers like hermit-crab shells. Saga is a crewmember on the ship Skidbladnir when it needs to ...Read More

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Karen Haber Reviews The Books of Earthsea by Ursula K. Le Guin

The Books of Earthsea: The Complete Illustrated Edition, Ursula K. Le Guin, illustrated by Charles Vess (Saga 9-781481-4655-88, $59.99, 993pp, hc) October 2018. Cover by Charles Vess.

The Books of Earthsea is a staggering achieve­ment, the first time the entire Earthsea cycle has appeared together in one illustrated omnibus. Saga has expended lavish production efforts on this statement-making book celebrating the late Ursula K. Le Guin’s beloved Earthsea ...Read More

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Paul Di Filippo reviews Finder by Suzanne Palmer

Finder, Suzanne Palmer (DAW 978-0-7564-1510-5, $26, 400pp, hardcover) April 2019.

The tropes and tools and furnishings of hardcore classical science fiction, as established and refined over the past hundred years or so, have proven remarkably durable, productive and adaptable. Humans colonizing the galaxy via FTL ships; robots and AIs; aliens; heroes and villains of operatic dimensions; new sciences and technologies; cosmic vistas. The apparatus and favored narrative strategies of ...Read More

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Gary K. Wolfe Reviews The City in the Middle of the Night by Charlie Jane Anders

The City in the Middle of the Night, Charlie Jane Anders (Tor 978-0-7653-7996-2, $26.99, 368pp, hc) February 2019.

After the popularity of her Nebula Award-winning first novel All the Birds in the Sky, we could hardly blame Charlie Jane Anders for being tempted to double down on the goodnatured, geek-friendly genre sandwich of that novel, which cheerfully piled together ele­ments of SF, fantasy, and rom-com in a tale ...Read More

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Katharine Coldiron Reviews Tides of the Titans by Thoraiya Dyer

Tides of the Titans, Thoraiya Dyer (Tor 978-0-7653-8598-7, $19.99, 320pp, tp) January 2019.

The first book in Thoraiya Dyer’s unusual fantasy series, Crossroads of Canopy, took place primarily in Canopy, the highest of three levels of a titanic forest filled with gods and their servants. The second book, Echoes of Under­storey, took place primarily at the middle level, Understorey. It stands to reason that her third book, ...Read More

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Russell Letson Reviews A Memory Called Empire by Arkady Martine

A Memory Called Empire, Arkady Martine (Tor 978-1-250-18643-0, $25.99, 462pp, hc) March 2019. Cover by Jaime Jones.

The byline on the cover of A Memory Called Empire, Arkady Martine, is the pen name of Dr. AnnaLinden Weller, a scholar of, among other things, the history of the Byzantine Empire. That is appropriate, since this first novel is all about the byzantine politics of an interstellar empire, as seen ...Read More

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Paul Di Filippo reviews The Man Who Walked Through Cracks: The Collected Short Fiction, Volume Five by R.A. Lafferty

The Man Who Walked Through Cracks: The Collected Short Fiction, Volume Five, R.A. Lafferty (Centipede Press 978-1613472026, $75, 360pp, hardcover) March 2019.

I last checked in with this essential series upon the release of Volume Three, reviewed at this very locale. All my praise, issued then, for sheer production values — and all my quibbles about the limited availability of such a fine series — still obtain, as does ...Read More

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Colleen Mondor Reviews The Dark Days Deceit by Alison Goodman

The Dark Days Deceit, Alison Goodman (Viking 978-0-670-78549-0, $19.99, 527pp, tp) November 2018.

The final book in the Lady Helen tril­ogy was released in November and it brought this regency romance/fantasy to a dramatic climax just as all of its fans (includ­ing me) were hoping. The Dark Days Deceit picks right up where the second book, The Dark Days Pact, left off. It is December 1812, Lady Helen ...Read More

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Rich Horton Reviews Snow White Learns Witchcraft by Theodora Goss and Sooner or Later Everything Falls into the Sea by Sarah Pinsker

Snow White Learns Witchcraft, Theodora Goss (Mythic Delirium) February 2019.

Theodora Goss‘s Snow White Learns Witchcraft is a selection of stories and poems recasting tradi­tional fairy tales. This has been a consistent source of inspiration for Goss – I recall reviewing her first published story, “The Rose in Twelve Petals”, in one of my first columns in these pages. That story (a Sleeping Beauty take) is in this ...Read More

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Carolyn Cushman Reviews Wild Country by Anne Bishop and Soulbinder by Sebastien de Castell

Anne Bishop, Wild Country (Ace 978-0-399-58727-6, $27.00, 480pp, hc) March 2019. Cover by Robert Jones.

A young woman dreaming of becoming a policewoman ends up working as a frontier deputy in this second book in the World of the Others series. It should be a great story – Jana Paniccia is a strong character, a woman determined to work in a field largely restricted to men in this world. She’s ...Read More

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Ian Mond Reviews Mouthful of Birds by Samanta Schweblin

Mouthful of Birds, Samanta Schweblin (Riv­erhead 978-0399184628, $26.00, 240pp, hc) January 2019.

I distinctly remember reading Samanta Schweblin’s Fever Dream during my kid’s swimming lessons at the local public pool. I know, I know; I should have been applauding their achievements, but from the opening page, there’s an intensity to the prose that makes it impossible to look away. A woman lies dying in a hospital bed, a small ...Read More

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Karen Haber Reviews Tales from the Inner City and Cicada by Shaun Tan

Tales from the Inner City, Shaun Tan (Arthur A. Levine 978-1338298406, $29.99, 224pp, hc) September 2018. Cover by Shaun Tan.

Cicada, Shaun Tan (Arthur A. Levine Books 9-781-338-29839-0, $19.99, unpagi­nated, tp) June 2018. Cover by Shaun Tan.

It’s always exciting to open a new book by Shaun Tan – you never know what you’ll see. Recipient of many awards, including an Academy Award for the animated film The ...Read More

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Colleen Mondor Reviews Sawkill Girls by Claire Legrand

Sawkill Girls, Claire Legrand (Katherine Tegan Books 978-0-06-269660-1, $17.99, 447pp, tp) October 2018.

Let’s talk about how to write a creepy book really, really well, shall we?

Claire Legrand’s Sawkill Girls utilizes an almost dream-like writing style to tell the converging stories of three teenage girls: Marion, Zoey, and Val. The girls live on the island of Sawkill Rock, a place of rolling horse farms, “houses like palaces,” and ...Read More

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Katharine Coldiron Reviews What Should Be Wild by Julia Fine

What Should Be Wild, Julia Fine (Harper 978-0-06-2684-13-4, $26.99, 368pp, hc) May 2018.

The central conceit of What Should Be Wild, an intense and surprising novel, is that Maisie, a young woman raised in almost total isolation, has the power to kill or to resurrect anything she touches. One touch will kill a live thing or revive a dead thing, and a second touch will have the opposite ...Read More

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Liz Bourke Reviews Once & Future by Amy Rose Capetta & Cori Mc­Carthy

Once & Future, Amy Rose Capetta & Cori Mc­Carthy (Jimmy Patterson 978-0-316-44927-1, $18.99, 336pp, hc) March 2019.

Like Shakespeare, the Matter of Britain and the Arthurian mythos is a vein that speculative fiction has delved deeply into over the years – it could be said, too deeply. I’ve seldom seen an unapologeti­cally Arthurian story – with an Arthur, a Merlin, and a Guinevere, all called by their Arthurian names ...Read More

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Gary K. Wolfe Reviews The Very Best of Caitlín R. Kiernan

The Very Best of Caitlín R. Kiernan, Caitlín R. Kiernan (Tachyon 978-1-61696-302-6, $17.95, 420pp, tp) February 2019.

The Very Best of Caitlín R. Kiernan, a title apparently meant to avoid confusion with the two volumes of The Best of Caitlín R. Kiernan published by Subterranean in 2011 and 2015, is probably as good a one-volume introduction to the variety of Kiernan’s work as we’re likely to get, though ...Read More

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Ian Mond Reviews King of Joy by Richard Chiem

King of Joy, Richard Chiem (Soft Skull 978-1593763091, $15.95, 208pp, tp) March 2019.

I’m always on the lookout for authors who play on the fringes of the genre. When I saw the cover of Richard Chiem’s debut novel, King of Joy – the pixelated face of a woman, her face frozen in a dull sort of ecstasy – I thought I was onto something. The back cover copy excited ...Read More

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