Liz Bourke Reviews The Deep and Shining Dark by Juliet Kemp

The Deep and Shining Dark, Juliet Kemp (Elsewhen Press 978-1911409243, £9.99, 272pp, tp). September 2018.

The Deep and Shining Dark is Juliet Kemp’s first novel, out of small outfit Elsewhen Press. Kemp (whose recent novella from Book Smug­glers Publishing you may remember me discuss­ing here before) has written a novel that’s one part high fantasy, one part political fantasy, and one part old-fashioned sword-and-sorcery – without the swords or the ...Read More

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Ian Mond Reviews Occupy Me by Tricia Sullivan

Occupy Me, Tricia Sullivan (Gollancz 978-1473212978, £8.99, 288pp, tp) November 2016. (Titan 978-1473212978, $13.99) September 2018.

I had planned to pick up Tricia Sullivan’s Oc­cupy Me two years back when it was first published in the UK. I never got around to it. When the novel was shortlisted for the 2017 Arthur C. Clarke award, I made serious plans to read it with the rest of the nominees. I failed ...Read More

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Paul Di Filippo reviews Shadow Captain by Alastair Reynolds

Shadow Captain by Alastair Reynolds (Orbit 978-0316555708, $15.99, 448pp, trade paperback, January 2019)

A person huddles alone in the wreckage of a spaceship, body glowing with strange patterns of light. And all that the person can think of is revenge on those responsible for the situation.

Sounds familiar, right? Good old Gully Foyle in The Stars My Destination. Well, surprisingly, that’s not the book under discussion today. Instead, we ...Read More

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Carolyn Cushman Reviews The Bartered Brides by Mercedes Lackey and The Extremely Inconvenient Adventures of Bronte Mettlestone by Jaclyn Moriarty

Mercedes Lackey, The Bartered Brides (DAW 978-0-7564-0874-9, $27.00, 314pp, hc) October 2018. Cover by Jody A. Lee.

Though the title evokes the comic opera The Bartered Bride by Smetana, this latest novel in the Elemental Masters series owes a lot more to Sherlock Holmes, or maybe the Sherlock TV series. Holmes’s death at Reichenbach Falls has just been announced, but the Watsons (both Elemental Masters), psychic Nan Killian, and medium ...Read More

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Arley Sorg Reviews Fright Into Flight, Edited by Amber Fallon

Fright Into Flight, Amber Fallon, ed. (Word Horde 978-1-939905-44-4, $15.99, 246pp, tp). September 4, 2018.

Fright Into Flight, Amber Fallon’s editorial debut, is an anthology featuring women as au­thors and story subjects. Despite the “Fright” part of the title and the “horror” label invoked in the description, not to mention Fallon’s Introduc­tion, “Now Boarding: Your Ticket to Terror”, the stories compiled within are not all horror stories. Those that fall ...Read More

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Colleen Mondor Reviews City of Ghosts by Victoria Schwab

City of Ghosts, Victoria Schwab (Scholastic Press 978-1-338-11100-2, $17.99, 285pp, hc) August 2018.

The plot for Victoria Schwab’s City of Ghosts is delightfully straightforward: 12-year-old Cass sees dead people and that leads to many uncomfortable situations. Her life is complicated by the fact that her parents are successful paranormal investigators/authors and actively search out places full of ghosts. Her best friend Jacob also happens to be a ghost, but that ...Read More

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Ian Mond Reviews The Third Hotel by Laura van den Berg

The Third Hotel, Laura van den Berg (Farrar, Straus, Giroux 978-0374168353, $26.00, 212pp, hc) August 2018.

Laura van den Berg’s second novel, The Third Hotel, takes place in Havana, Cuba where Clare is attending the annual Festival of New Latin American Cinema. She’s there on behalf of her husband, Richard, who intended to be at the festival until he was unexpectedly killed in a hit and run incident. Clare plans ...Read More

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Paul Di Filippo reviews Arkad’s World by James Cambias

Arkad’s World by James Cambias (Baen 978-1-4814-8370-4, $24, 304pp, hardcover, January 2019)

One of my all-time favorite SF novels is Earthblood, by Keith Laumer and Rosel George Brown. It’s a space operatic quest following the life of a man called Roan, from youth to maturity. He’s the only human, and despised, in a galaxy of oddball aliens, and he’s determined to find the rest of his species on the ...Read More

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Carolyn Cushman Reviews Breach by W.L. Goodwater and For a Muse of Fire by Heidi Heilig

W.L. Goodwater, Breach (Ace 978-0-451-49103-9, $16.00, 357pp, tp) November 2018.

Cold War espionage and magic mix in this fan­tasy spy thriller. Karen O’Neil is an American magician, a government researcher tired of dealing with men who don’t believe women can be competent. She’s excited to be assigned to a secret mission in post-WWII Berlin, where the Wall has developed a hole, small but growing. The Wall was erected overnight by ...Read More

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Gary K. Wolfe Reviews The Sacerdotal Owl and Three Other Long Tales by Michael Bishop

The Sacerdotal Owl and Three Other Long Tales, Michael Bishop (Fairwood Press/Kudzu Planet 978-1-933846-72-9, $17.99, 282pp, tp) August 2018.

Michael Bishop has been defining his own uniquely eclectic brand of humanistic SF since his emergence as one of the most prominent new writers of the 1970s, and it’s likely that this has been both good and bad news for his career. On the one hand, he’s given us works that ...Read More

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Paula Guran Reviews Knaves Over Queens, Edited by George R.R. Martin & Melinda M. Snodgrass

Knaves Over Queens, George R.R. Martin & Melinda M. Snodgrass, eds. (HarperVoyager 978-0008283599, £16.99, 550pp, hc) June 2018. (Tor 978-1250168061, $29.99, 560pp, hc) August 2019.

This 27th book in the laudable (but often underestimated) Wild Cards series is the first to focus solely on the British Isles. The cycle’s long history now spans more than three decades (since 1987) in publishing time and more than seventy years in fictional chroni­cling. ...Read More

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Tom Whitmore Reviews Temper by Nicky Drayden

Temper, Nicky Drayden (Harper Voyager 978-0-06-249305-7, $15.99, 400pp, tp) August 2018.

I didn’t feel connected enough to the world of Temper for much of the book: it was far enough outside my experience, and there were few clues to help me get into it. There was enough going on to keep me going, and I’m glad I found that, because in the end, it really made me think about privilege ...Read More

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Adrienne Martini Reviews Tell the Machine Goodnight by Katie Williams

Tell the Machine Goodnight, Katie Williams (Riverhead 978-0-525-53312-2, $25.00, 304 pp, hc) June 2018.

Katie Williams may win Best Title of 2018 with Tell the Machine Goodnight. In many ways, those four words tell you exactly what you need to know about this book, which seems to have slipped under the SFnal radar despite being most definitely science fiction.

The fictional science in question is the Apricity machine. Once your ...Read More

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Ian Mond Reviews Severance by Ling Ma

Severance, Ling Ma (Farrar, Straus, Giroux 978-0374261597, $26.00, 304pp, hc) August 2018.

I’ve lost count of how many books I’ve read that involve the flu wiping out most of humanity. The granddaddy of these is undoubtedly Stephen King’s The Stand, but recently we’ve had nov­els from Emily Mandel (Station Eleven), Meg Elison (The Book of the Unnamed Midwife and its sequels), and Margaret Atwood (The MaddAddam trilogy). You’d have thought ...Read More

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Paul Di Filippo reviews The Kingdom of Copper by S.A. Chakraborty

The Kingdom of Copper by S.A. Chakraborty (Harper Voyager 978-0-06-267813-3, $26.99, 640pp, hardcover, January 2019)

Chakraborty’s second novel, a sequel to The City of Brass, which I reviewed on this site, continues to chronicle with grace and elegance the ongoing exploits of Nahri, once an unassuming child of Cairo’s streets, whose true role was proven to be the scion of a race of magical healers. When her mystical powers ...Read More

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Carolyn Cushman Reviews The Mortal Word by Genevieve Cogman and Search Image by Julie E. Czerneda

Genevieve Cogman, The Mortal Word (Ace 978-0-399-58744-3, $15.00, 433pp, tp) Novem­ber 2018.

Irene faces a murder mystery in this fifth vol­ume in the Invisible Library series. Peace talks between the Fae and the dragons are disrupted when one of the dragon negotiators is murdered, and Irene and her great-detective friend Vale are asked to help. Fortunately, these secret talks are being held in Paris in a world very similar to ...Read More

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Gary K. Wolfe Reviews All the Fabulous Beasts by Priya Sharma

All the Fabulous Beasts, Priya Sharma (Un­dertow 978-1-988964-02-7, $17.99, 288pp, tp) May 2018.

Priya Sharma’s short fiction has mostly appeared in horror or dark fantasy venues, earning her a British Fantasy Award and a Shirley Jackson nomination for “Fabulous Beasts”, one of the strongest stories in her very strong first collection All the Fabulous Beasts. But her relationship to these genres, and to the often folkloric materials that she draws ...Read More

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Adrienne Martini Reviews Confessions of the Fox by Jordy Rosenberg

Confessions of the Fox, Jordy Rosenberg (OneWorld 978-0-399-59227-0, $27.00, 352pp, hc) June 2018.

Jordy Rosenberg’s Confessions of the Fox lives in that liminal space between fantasy and straight-up fiction. Many have taken to labeling the novels that live here “inter­stitial” – and the whys of that term are best discussed in another column or, better yet, at a bar. If you’ll allow it, let’s take it as read that Rosenberg’s ...Read More

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Carolyn Cushman Reviews Lies Sleeping by Ben Aaronovitch and Small Spaces by Katherine Arden

Ben Aaronovitch, Lies Sleeping (DAW 978-0-7564-1513-6, $26.00, 293pp, hc) November 2018. Cover by Stephen Walter.

Major developments turn up in this seventh novel in the Rivers of London series, which finds police detective/apprentice wizard Peter Grant and a good-sized police team working hard to track down Martin Chorley, the second Faceless Man, and his as­sociate, former Police Constable Lesley May. Their efforts include tracking down members of an Oxford dining ...Read More

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Gary K. Wolfe Reviews An Agent of Utopia by Andy Duncan

An Agent of Utopia, Andy Duncan (Small Beer 978-1-61873-153-1, $16.00 288p, tp) November 2018.

There are few contemporary writers in any genre as immediately identifiable by voice alone as Andy Duncan, and it’s a voice with roots as far back as Mark Twain and as current as Howard Waldrop, finely attuned to the various tributaries of American vernacular – but often quite a bit darker than its down-home patina would ...Read More

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Liz Bourke Reviews The Brilliant Death by Amy Rose Capetta

The Brilliant Death, Amy Rose Capetta (Viking Books for Young Readers 978-0451478443, $18.99, 352pp, hc) October 2018.

I haven’t much followed Amy Rose Capetta’s career to date, though buried somewhere in the depths of my to-read pile is (I believe) a copy of her third novel, last year’s Echo After Echo. The Brilliant Death is Capetta’s fourth novel, set in a land reminiscent of Italy, where five great families with ...Read More

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Ian Mond Reviews By the Pricking of Her Thumb by Adam Roberts

By the Pricking of Her Thumb, Adam Roberts (Gollancz 978-1473221499, £16.99, 400pp, hc) August 2018.

Like last year’s The Real-Town Murders, the sequel to Adam Robert’s near-future crime series, By the Pricking of Her Thumb, begins with an impossible murder. Where the previous novel featured a devilish and high-tech spin on the locked room mystery, this time the bewildering homicide involves a dead woman with a needle puncturing her thumb. ...Read More

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Gary K. Wolfe Reviews Unholy Land by Lavie Tidhar

Unholy Land, Lavie Tidhar (Tachyon 978-1-61696-304-0, $15.95, 262pp, tp) November 2018.

It may be the oldest Nimby game in the world. By now, we could assemble a small shelf of alternate histories concerning un­realized Jewish homelands in unlikely parts of the globe. Twenty years ago, Janet Berliner and George Guthridge won a Bram Stoker award for Children of the Dusk, the final volume of their Madagascar Manifesto trilogy, which had ...Read More

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Liz Bourke Reviews Time’s Children by D.B. Jackson

Time’s Children, D.B. Jackson (Angry Robot 9780857667915, $12.99, 528pp, tp) October 2018. Cover by Jan Weßbecher.

D.B. Jackson is the pen-name of David B. Coe. The author has written several novels under each name, though I confess I’ve only a read a couple of those – Thieftaker and Thieves’ Quarry, set in an alternate version of historical 18th-century Boston with magic. Time’s Children is the start of a new series, ...Read More

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Lila Garrott Reviews City of Broken Magic by Mirah Bolender

City of Broken Magic, Mirah Bolender (Tor 978-1-250-16927-3, $15.99, 400 pp, tp.) Novem­ber 2018. Cover by Tony Mauro.

Mirah Bolender’s debut is an enjoy­able, anime-influenced romp, with a surprising amount of attention paid to the details of the worldbuilding, and more three-dimensional characters than the Stuff Blows Up genre usually receives.

In this case, the Stuff that Blows Up is magi­cal: specifically, the people of this alternate-universe Japan use amulets ...Read More

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Russell Letson Reviews Terran Tomorrow by Nancy Kress

Terran Tomorrow, Nancy Kress (Tor 978-0-765390356, $27.99, 336pp, hc) November 2018.

A really good SF/F universe or future his­tory doesn’t want to end but to sprawl beyond arbitrary volume-number limits – it invites or even demands continued exploration and exploitation, answers to next-questions (in the Theodore Sturgeon “ask the next question” sense), or just a reason to tour around and see what might be lurking in the next solar system ...Read More

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Gary K. Wolfe Reviews The Book of Magic Edited by Gardner Dozois

The Book of Magic, Gardner Dozois, ed. (Ban­tam 978-0-399-59378-9, $30.00, 576pp, hc) October 2018.

In his introduction to The Book of Magic, his follow-up to last year’s The Book of Swords, Gardner Dozois somehow manages to build an argu­ment comparing SFF magazines to the Great Smoky Mountains, which I will admit to being a notion I had not previously entertained. (Basically, he claims the magazines served like “cove forests” during ...Read More

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Gary K. Wolfe Reviews More Walls Broken by Tim Powers

More Walls Broken, Tim Powers (Subterranean 978-1-59606-886-5, $25.00, 136pp, hc) February 2019.

One of the appealing aspects of Tim Powers’s fiction is his obvious affection for his settings, whether the 19th-century Britain of his Romantic and Victorian era novels, the Caribbean of On Stranger Tides, or the Southern California-Las Vegas axis of his Fault Lines trilogy and later novels. His relatively sparse shorter fiction hardly gives him room to dwell ...Read More

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Liz Bourke Reviews In the Vanishers’ Palace by Aliette de Bodard

In the Vanishers’ Palace, Aliette de Bodard (JABberwocky 9781625673749, $5.99, 145pp, eb) October 2018. Cover by Kelsey Liggett.

Aliette de Bodard’s In the Vanishers’ Palace is a new short novel from an ex­tremely talented author. At approximately 145 pages (or 49,000 words), it’s technically only a little longer than a novella, but it packs an epic amount of worldbuilding and character develop­ment into that short space.

The world is a ...Read More

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Ian Mond Reviews We Sold Our Souls by Grady Hendrix

We Sold Our Souls, Grady Hendrix (Quirk Books 978-1683690122, $24.99, 336pp, hc) September 2018.

I first fell in love with Grady Hendrix’s critical work with his laugh-till-you-cry-recaps of each godawful episode of Under the Dome for Those summaries were the only reason I persevered with the show (and I still couldn’t make it to the bitter end). I was on-board for his ambitious Stephen King reread (also for, ...Read More

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Adrienne Martini Reviews Swordheart by T. Kingfisher

Swordheart, T. Kingfisher (Argyll 978-1614504634, $24.95, 426pp, hc) November 2018.

Hugo and Nebula Award-winning Ursula Vernon, best known for her middle-grade Hamster Princess books, writes as T. Kingfisher when the work is more suited to adults. Swordheart, which is set in her Clocktaur War world but has nearly nothing to do with the events of Clockwork Boys and The Wonder Engine, is most definitely a book for grown-ups.

Not for ...Read More

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Russell Letson Reviews The Accidental War by Walter Jon Williams

The Accidental War, Walter Jon Williams (Harper Voyager 978-0-06-246702-7, $16.99, 476pp, tp) September 2018.

When, back in 2002, I reviewed The Praxis, the first volume of Walter Jon Williams’ Dread Empire’s Fall trilogy, the lede was, “The signals on the outside of [the advance copy of] the first volume of Walter Jon Williams’s new series don’t really prepare you for what’s inside.” I can’t come up with a better lede ...Read More

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