Katharine Coldiron Reviews The Cloven by B. Catling

The Cloven, B. Catling (Vintage 978-1-101-97274-8, $16.95, 512pp, paperback) July 2018.

The problem with The Cloven, the third book in B. Catling’s intense fantasy trilogy, which began with The Vorrh and contin­ued with The Erstwhile, is the same problem that dogged the first two books: Catling is not very experienced, and it shows. These books, imaginative and daring as they are, make rookie mistakes, and for whatever reason, Catling’s editors ...Read More

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Amy Goldschlager Reviews The Wrong Heaven Audiobook by Amy Bonnaffons

The Wrong Heaven, Amy Bonnaffons; Alex Vail­lant, narrator (Hachette Audio 9781478999676, $24.98, digital download, 6.25 hr., unabridged) July 2018.

I’m typically drawn to new audiobooks by read­ing about them. This is, oddly enough, the only instance that I can recall where I picked up an audiobook after hearing a piece of it. In November 2017, the Public Radio International show “This American Life” broadcast an excerpt of Amy Bonnaffons’s short ...Read More

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Adrienne Martini Reviews The Wild Dead by Carrie Vaughn

The Wild Dead, Carrie Vaughn (Mariner/John Joseph Adams 978-0-544-94731-3, $14.99, 272pp, tp) July 2018.

Carrie Vaughn’s The Wild Dead is set in the same universe as her Bannerless, where there has been a cataclysmic Fall of the society and technology we’d recognize now. Those who survived from Vaughn’s version of 100 years ago had to make hard choices. They saved the knowledge to make pharmaceuticals but not refrigeration, solar power ...Read More

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Carolyn Cushman Reviews Smoke and Iron by Rachel Caine and Empire of Silence by Christopher Ruocchio

Rachel Caine, Smoke and Iron (Berkley 978-0-451-48921-0, $17.99, 432pp, hc) July 2018. Cover by Katie Anderson.

Jess takes the battle to the corrupt Great Library of Alexandria in this fourth of five volumes in the Great Library series. At the end of the last volume, Jess turned himself over to the Library – disguised as his brother Brendan, the heir to the Brightwell family of book smugglers. Jess also turned ...Read More

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Karen Haber Reviews Art Books: The Art of Fantasy, Sci-Fi and Steampunk by Hi­roshi Unno

The Art of Fantasy, Sci-Fi and Steampunk, Hi­roshi Unno (PIE 9784756249753, $49.95, 360pp, tp) June 2018.

The Art of Fantasy, Sci-Fi and Steampunk is a delightful book crammed full of beautiful im­ages and surprising artistic connections that will take you on an art history journey through the precursors of fantasy, sci-fi, and steampunk art. It’s a pleasure to flip through, dip into, and use for inspiration. At the very least, ...Read More

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Russell Letson Reviews The Final Frontier, edited by Neil Clarke

The Final Frontier, Neil Clarke, ed. (Night Shade 978-1-59780-939-9, $17.99, 579 pp, tp) July 2018. Cover by Fred Gambino.

Last month I recommended Jonathan Stra­han’s original anthology, Infinity’s End, as a window into what SF is up to Right This Minute (or up to the minutes the stories were completed, anyway). At the same time I was also reading Neil Clarke’s recent-retrospective The Final Frontier, which samples work that first ...Read More

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Amy Goldschlager Reviews Witchmark Audiobook by C.L. Polk

Witchmark, C.L. Polk; Samuel Roukin, narrator (Re­corded Books 978-1-9800-0200-0, $20.95, digital download, 9 hr., unabridged) June 2018.

Dr. Miles Singer, a doctor and military veteran of the war between Aeland and Laneer, is desperately trying to find out why his fellow veterans are com­ing home and brutally slaughtering their loved ones. Then a new mystery – and a new danger – show up at his hospital: Nick Elliot, a witch ...Read More

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Karen Haber Reviews Art Books: Hâsib & the Queen of Ser­pents by David B

Hâsib & the Queen of Ser­pents: A Tale of a Thousand and One Nights, David B. (NBM Graphic Novels 978-1-68112-162-8, $24.99, 112pp, hc) June 2018. Cover by Da­vid B.

The brilliant French cartoonist and comic artist David B. (David Beauchard) has switched gears, moving away from black-and-white linework and personal stories to create a full-color fantasy tour-de-force in Hâsib & the Queen of Serpents.

Co-founder of L’association, the famed French ...Read More

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Amy Goldschlager Reviews Brief Cases Audiobook by Jim Butcher

Brief Cases, Jim Butcher; James Marsters, Jim Butcher, Julia Whelan, Cassandra Campbell & Oliver Wyman, narrators (Penguin Audio, $29.95, digital download, 15.5 hr., unabridged) June 2018.

While we wait endlessly for Butcher to finish the next novel in The Dresden Files, here’s a short-story collection to tide us over. The stories take place at various points during the arc of the series about professional wizard and Chicago PI Harry Dresden, ...Read More

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Ian Mond Reviews The Emissary by Yoko Tawada

The Emissary, Yoko Tawada (New Directions 978-0811227629, $14.95, 138pp, tp) April 2018. As The Last Children of Tokyo, Yoko Tawada (Portobello Books 978-1846276705, £9.99 144pp, tp) June 2018.

The unsettling premise of Yoko Tawada’s short novel The Last Children of Tokyo (published as The Em­issary in the US), translated by Margaret Mitsutani, is that the adults of Japan are living longer while the children are dying before they reach maturity. ...Read More

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Karen Haber Reviews Art Books: Aliens: Past, Present, Future, edited by Ron Miller

Aliens: Past, Present, Future, Ron Miller, ed. (Watkins Pub­lishing 978-1-78028-968-7, $32.50, 224pp, hc) October 2017.

The somber, dignified cover and design of Aliens: Past, Present, Future gives no indication of how much fun this book really is. Perhaps, given the colorful, flamboyant depiction of extraterrestrial life in popular culture over, say, the past 70 years, the design decision naturally embraced the oppo­site. That is not to say that his book ...Read More

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Amy Goldschlager Reviews The Dragon’s Path and The King’s Blood Audiobooks by Daniel Abraham

The Dragon’s Path, Daniel Abraham; Pete Bradbury, narrator (Hachette Audio 9781549118821, $24.98, digital down­load, 14.75 hr., unabridged) June 2018.

The King’s Blood, Daniel Abraham; Pete Brad­bury, narrator (Hachette Audio 9781549118838, $24.98, digital download, 14.75 hr., unabridged) June 2018.

When The Dragon’s Path, book one of The Dagger and the Coin, first came out in 2011, I searched for an audio version of the book so that I’d be able to ...Read More

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Paula Guran Reviews All the Fabulous Beasts by Priya Sharma

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

Despite frequent appearances in “year’s best” compilations and on Locus Rec­ommended Reading Lists, as well as a British Fantasy Award for Short Fiction, Priya Sharma may not yet have come to your attention. This award-worthy debut collection from Sharma, a practicing medical doctor in England, could change that. Sharma’s stories often feature families or the sea, but range ...Read More

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Karen Haber Reviews Art Books: Line of Beauty by Wendy Pini

Line of Beauty: The Art of Wendy Pini, Wendy Pini (Flesk 978-1-933865-88-1, $50.00, 304pp, hc) June 2017. Cover by Wendy Pini.

Wendy Pini is a remarkable outlier who, from a very early age, seemed destined to pursue a career in art and illustration. Despite a lack of support from her adoptive parents, and growing up without art instruction or role models in the pre-digital age, she taught herself how to ...Read More

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Adrienne Martini Reviews Before Mars by Emma Newman

Before Mars, Emma Newman (Ace 978-0-399-58732-0, $16.00, 352pp, tp) April 2018.

Emma Newman adds more perspectives to the universe she created in both Planetfall and After Atlas with Before Mars, which shares a timeline with After Atlas but is set on the red planet rather than in a future England. Rather than a straight-up who-done-it like After Atlas, Before Mars is a Memento-esque mystery.

Anna Kubrin is a geologist/painter who ...Read More

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Paul Di Filippo reviews Mike Ashley’s Lost Mars: Stories from the Golden Age of the Red Planet

Lost Mars: Stories from the Golden Age of the Red Planet, edited by Mike Ashley (University of Chicago Press 978-0226575087, $17.00, 304pp, trade paperback) October 2018

Once upon a time, when book publishers first decided that there was a wealth of fantastical stories that deserved reprinting, buried in back issues of magazines, our field featured many expert spelunkers of pulp, editors who could delve deep into the substrata of ...Read More

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Rich Horton Reviews Short Fiction by Eric Brown, F. Brett Cox, and Sandra M. Odell

The Martian Simulacra, Eric Brown (NewCon Press) January 2018.

The End of All Our Exploring, F. Brett Cox (Fairwood Press) August 2018.

Godfall and Other Stories, Sandra M. Odell (Hydra House) April 2018.

There’s another Martian novella from NewCon Press, after Jaime Fenn’s excellent The Mar­tian Job. This one, The Martian Simulacra by Eric Brown, is more of a mixed bag. It’s a mashup of Conan Doyle and H.G. Wells, ...Read More

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Karen Haber Reviews Art Books: Short Takes

Weinberg Tales: Collecting Fantasy Art, Doug Ellis, Bob Garcia & Phyllis Weinberg, eds. (Amer­ican Fantasy Press 978-0-99078466-1, $25.00, 269pp, pb) April 2017. Cover by Douglas Klauba.

Weinberg Tales is an affectionate memorial to the late, great, fantastic art collector and authority Bob Weinberg. Designed to echo the look of an old pulp magazine, printed on pulp paper, it provides surprisingly good image reproduction. The charm­ing, old-style cover by Douglas Klauba ...Read More

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Ian Mond Reviews Freshwater by Akwaeke Emezi

Freshwater, Akwaeke Emezi (Grove Press 978-0802127358, $24.00, 229pp, hc) February 2018.

Akwaeke Emezi’s debut novel Freshwater is a book that refuses to be pigeon-holed into a literary or genre category. The back-cover copy, with its talk of alternate selves and splintered personalities, suggests the story of a young woman struggling with a dissociative identity disorder. However, the opening chapter’s account of spirits possessing the body of an infant bears all ...Read More

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Colleen Mondor Reviews The City of Sand by Tianxia Bachang

The City of Sand, Tianxia Bachang (Delacorte 978-0-553-52410-9 $17.99, 243pp, tp) November 2017.

For readers looking for a full-tilt adventure with a side order of the supernatural, Chi­nese author Tianxia Bachang has all they could want with The City of Sand. The novel starts with a bang as teenage “gold hunters” Tianyi and Kai awaken a very angry spirit while looking for treasure inside a grave. Their Indiana Jones bonafides ...Read More

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Karen Haber Reviews Art Books: Celtic Faeries, English De­luxe Edition by Jean-Baptiste Monge

Celtic Faeries, English De­luxe Edition, Jean-Baptiste Monge (Goblins Way Pub­lishing 978-2-9815289-1-9, C$30.00, 144pp, hc) July 2016. Cover by Jean-Baptiste Monge.

French artist Jean-Baptiste Monge is an award-winning practitioner of time-honored handskills whose crowdfunded book Celtic Faeries: The Secret Kingdom is filled with color and black-and-white illustrations of dwellers in faerie.

From his studio in Canada, home of his Gob­lins’ Way Press, Monge depicts characters who are by turns whimsical, frightening, ...Read More

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Liz Bourke Reviews Daughters of Forgotten Light by Sean Grigsby

Daughters of Forgotten Light, Sean Grigsby (Angry Robot 978-0857667953, $12.99, 352pp, tp) September 2018. Cover by John Coulthart.

I came away from Sean Grigsby’s debut novel, science fiction pulp extravaganza Daughters of Forgotten Light, deeply entertained, and moved by its apparent feminism and queer-inclusiveness – the latest in Angry Robot’s (really quite strong) feminist, queer-inclusive and fun pulp list. Further consideration, though, leaves me re-evaluating my initial impressions.

Don’t get ...Read More

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Gary K. Wolfe Reviews How Long ’til Black Future Month? by N.K. Jemisin

How Long ’til Black Future Month?, N.K. Jemisin (Orbit 978-0-316-49134-1, $26.00, 404pp, hc) November 2018.

When an author achieves as much suc­cess as N.K. Jemisin has with huge architectonic structures like the Broken Earth and Inheritance trilogies, readers might be excused for greeting her first story collection in either of two ways: gleefully expecting more of the same, or cynically suspecting a series of outtakes or early yeomanlike exercises. I ...Read More

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Stefan Dziemianowicz Reviews The Thing’s Incredible! The Secret Origins of Weird Tales by John Locke

The Thing’s Incredible! The Secret Origins of Weird Tales, John Locke (Off-Trail Publications 978-1-935031-25-3, $35.00, 314pp, hc) June 2018.

We’re creeping up on the 100th anniversary of Weird Tales, the first issue of which was dated March 1923 but was available at newsstands the month before. It’s an event deserving of some fanfare. Although it struggled financially for the entirety of its almost 32-year existence – we’re talking the original ...Read More

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Paul Kincaid Reviews Europe at Dawn by Dave Hutchinson

Europe at Dawn, Dave Hutchinson (Solaris 978-1781086094, £7.99, 320pp, pb) November 2018.

It may seem paradoxical, but it is the ordinari­ness that Dave Hutchinson evokes that makes his work so extraordinary. The normal run of things in science fiction is to emphasise how dif­ferent the invented world is from our normal daily experience. The world may be gritty or glitzy, utopian or dystopian, but it is decidedly not like what ...Read More

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Lila Garrott Reviews In the Night Wood by Dale Bailey

In the Night Wood, Dale Bailey (Houghton Mif­flin Harcourt, 978-1-328-49443-6, $23, 224pp, hc) October 2018. Cover by Andrew Davidson.

Charles and Erin Hayden move to England following the accidental death of their young daughter Lissa. Erin is descended from Caedmon Hollow, the author of In the Night Wood, a children’s book from the Victo­rian era. As the last survivor of the family, she gets the Hollow estate: a lot of ...Read More

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Gary K. Wolfe Reviews Terra Nullius by Claire G. Coleman

Terra Nullius, Claire G. Coleman (Hachette Australia 978-0733638312, A$29.99, 304pp, tp) August 2017. (Small Beer 978-1-61873-1517, $17.00, 304pp, tp) September 2018.

The idea of alien invasion as a commentary on colonialism is at least as old as H.G. Wells, but unfortunately never seems to get out of date. Wells himself, in the very first chapter of The War of the Worlds, formulated it succinctly:

The Tasmanians, in spite of their ...Read More

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Paul Di Filippo reviews Amanda Bridgeman’s The Subjugate

The Subjugate, by Amanda Bridgeman (Angry Robot 978-0857667717, $12.99, 400pp, trade paperback) November 2018

I have not had the pleasure of reading Amanda Bridgeman’s six-book Aurora series, nor her previous standalone novel, The Time of the Stripes. But if they are half as good as her newest singleton, The Subjugate, I will heartily search them out with the guaranteed prospect of enjoying them thoroughly. This new book ...Read More

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Carolyn Cushman Reviews An Easy Death by Charlaine Harris

Charlaine Harris, An Easy Death (Saga Press 978-1-4814-9492-2, $26.99, 306pp, hc) October 2018.

Harris turns to a different sort of Wild West set in an alternate-history world in which the US was shattered by the assassination of FDR and by the Great Depression. Sharpshooter Lizbeth “Gun­nie” Rose lives in the country of Texoma, a rough, near-lawless place barely hanging on between Mexico and New America, where gunslingers wish each other ...Read More

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Paul Kincaid Reviews An American Story by Christopher Priest

An American Story, Christopher Priest (Gollancz 978-1473200579, £20.00, 320pp, hc) September 2018.

The first thing you notice is the title: An American Story. For almost 40 years, Christopher Priest has followed the same structure for the titles of practi­cally all of his novels: The X, where X is an often very oblique reference to what follows. What was affirmed in The Affirmation; what was gradual in The Gradual? The new ...Read More

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Liz Bourke Reviews The Dreaming Stars by Tim Pratt

The Dreaming Stars, Tim Pratt (Angry Robot 978-0857667670, $7.99, 384pp, pb) September 2018. Cover by Paul Scott Canavan.

The theme of this month, for me, is science fiction that leaves me gleeful and delighted by how much it’s pandering to my taste for low adventure and high fun. Tim Pratt’s The Dreaming Stars is delightful. It follows The Wrong Stars, the first novel in his Axiom series. The Wrong Stars ...Read More

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Gary K. Wolfe Reviews Zion’s Fiction: A Treasury of Israeli Specula­tive Literature, Edited by Sheldon Teitelbaum & Emanuel Lottem

Zion’s Fiction: A Treasury of Israeli Specula­tive Literature, Sheldon Teitelbaum & Emanuel Lottem, eds. (Mandel Vilar Press 978-1-94213-452-7, $24.95, 336pp, tp) September 2018.

It’s nearly 45 years since Jack Dann’s ground-breaking anthology of Jewish fantasy and SF Wandering Stars, and as he pointed out way back then, a lot of American SF had already been shaped by Jewish writers and editors, from Asimov, Avram Davidson, and Horace Gold, to Ellison, ...Read More

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