Rachel Swirsky reviews Short Fiction, October 2016

Clarkesworld 4/16, 6/16, 8/16
Uncanny 3-4/16, 7-8/16
Beneath Ceaseless Skies 5/16, 7/16

While Gardner Dozois is recovering, Locus has given me the enormous privilege to fill in with two columns. I join everyone in wishing him a swift return to health and writing brilliant articles.

This review focuses on a sampling of short fiction from three prominent online venues – Beneath Ceaseless Skies, Clarkesworld, and Uncanny Magazine. Since I have ...Read More

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Russell Letson reviews Alastair Reynolds

Revenger, Alastair Reynolds (Orion/Gollancz 978-0575090538, £18.99, 432pp, hardcover) September 2016; (Orbit 978-0-3165-5556-2, $14.99, 560pp, tp)
February 2017.

In Revenger Alastair Reynolds inserts a distinctly old-fashioned space opera into a Stapledonian milieu right out of Last and First Men, a solar system rendered unrecognizable by millions of years of natural and unnatural processes. Reynolds has used the ancient-far-future trope before in, for example, House of Suns (reviewed in August ...Read More

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Paul Di Filippo reviews Dave Hutchinson

Europe in Winter, by Dave Hutchinson (Solaris 978-1781084632, £7.99, 320pp, trade paperback) November 2016

I first encountered the work of Dave Hutchinson in 2015, when, as one of the judges for the Campbell Memorial Award, I voted to put his Europe in Autumn (2014) on the final ballot. Then, as circumstances so often conspire to ordain, I was unable to approach the sequel that I had much anticipated, Europe ...Read More

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Faren Miller reviews Keith Donohue

The Motion of Puppets, Keith Donohue (Picador 978-1-250-05718-1, $26.00, 332pp, hc) October 2016.

Keith Donahue’s The Motion of Puppets opens with a bold statement from the heroine’s perspective: ‘‘She fell in love with a puppet.’’ Kay Harper loves the ancient thing – body ‘‘hewn from a single piece of poplar,’’ simple limbs designed for lost connections, ‘‘pierced at the hands and feet’’ – not just for its beauty and ...Read More

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Gary K. Wolfe reviews Connie Willis

Crosstalk, Connie Willis (Gollancz 978-1-473-20093-7, £14.99, 512pp, tp) September 2016. (Del Rey 978-0-345-54067-6, $28.00, 498pp,
hc) October 2016.

Connie Willis’s love of old movies has been evident throughout her career (see the novella Remake, for example), and her skill at deploying the resources of screwball comedy – the ping-pong dialogue, eccentric secondary characters, missed connections, and endless exasperation – has been a recurring feature of her short fiction, ...Read More

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Paul Di Filippo reviews Mariko Koike

The Graveyard Apartment, by Mariko Koike (St. Martin’s/Thomas Dunne 978-1250060549, $25.99, 336, hardcover) October 2016.

Based on available information, Mariko Koike appears to have had and continues to enjoy a remarkable and prestigious career in her native Japan, with her first novel appearing as far back as 1985. But for English-language readers, she remains an untranslated enigma. AbeBooks lists but one or two of her titles in English, long ...Read More

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Paul Di Filippo reviews Will McIntosh

Faller, Will McIntosh (Tor 978-0-7653-8355-6, $25.99, 352pp, hardcover) October 2016.

I have consistently praised Will McIntosh for the freshness of the novum in each of his books, the core speculative “what if” or “why not” concept that serves as the engine of the story. I think he and Adam Roberts are running neck and neck in this amiable contest to conceive of startling derangements or extensions of reality. And ...Read More

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Tim Pratt Reviews Nick Mamatas

I Am Providence, Nick Mamatas (Night Shade 978-1597808354, $15.99, 256pp, tp) August 2016.

In recent years Nick Mamatas has moved away from the horror, SF, and experimental fiction fields in order to write more crime fiction, including the 2013 novel Love Is the Law. I was afraid, if this trend continued, that I wouldn’t be able to justify reviewing his books for Locus anymore. That time may yet come, but ...Read More

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Carolyn Cushman Reviews Lackey, Meadows, Nielsen, Novik, Ribar

Mercedes Lackey, Elite (Disney/Hyperion 978-1-4847-0785-2, $17.99, 360pp, hc) September 2016. Cover by Shane Rebenschied.

Joy, now a member of the Elite Hunter unit, faces ever more dangerous Othersider attacks in this second book in the young-adult dystopian Hunter series. It’s nearly non-stop action this time, with new monsters outside and intrigue inside to deal with. The Elite don’t even bother hitting up the clubs to improve their popularity rankings; they’re ...Read More

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Carolyn Cushman Reviews Armstrong, Black & Clare, Durst, Elliott, Evans

Michael A. Armstrong, Truck Stop Earth (Perseid Press 978-0-9975310-1-5, $25.20, 275pp, tp) July 2016.

Michael Armstrong’s latest novel set in Alaska is science fiction – at least if you believe the narrator, who could just be extremely unreliable. James Ignatius Malachi Obadiah Osborne (call me Jimmo) is hitching ever further north when he finally ends up in Della AK. The residents there are interestingly strange, what Jimmo calls GETS (genuinely, ...Read More

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Gary K. Wolfe Reviews Christopher Priest

The Gradual, Christopher Priest (Titan 978-1-78565-303-2, $24.99, 400pp, hc) September 2016.

In the three and a half decades in which Christopher Priest has been inviting us along to his colorful but shifty Dream Archipelago – including an extensive if inconclusive gazetteer with The Islanders in 2011 – he has mostly confined his viewpoints to those of the archipelago’s inhabitants, though we are given to understand that an endless and vicious ...Read More

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Liz Bourke Reviews Fran Wilde

Cloudbound, Fran Wilde (Tor 978-0765377852, $25.99, 400pp, hc) September 2016.

Fran Wilde, the mind behind the podcast Cooking the Books, burst onto science fiction and fantasy bookshelves last year with her debut novel Updraft. And not just onto bookshelves: nominated for a Nebula, winner of the Andre Norton Award, winner of the Compton Crook Award, Updraft has been making quite a few waves. (It is, to my knowledge, the ...Read More

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Faren Miller Reviews Beth Cato

Breath of Earth, Beth Cato (Harper Voyager 978-0-06-242206-4, $14.99, 300pp, tp) August 2016.

Breath of Earth by Beth Cato evokes the spirit of a time and place – San Francisco, at the dawn of the 20th century – in a world where magical beings and forces are an accepted part of human history, culture and daily life. When ‘‘the wealthy of Nob Hill journeyed to Sunday picnics in wagons ...Read More

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Paul Di Filippo Reviews Ursula K. Le Guin

The Found and the Lost: The Collected Novellas of Ursula K. Le Guin, Ursula K. Le Guin (Saga Press 978-1-4814-5208-3, $29.99, 804pp, hc) October 2016.

How can a reviewer possibly say something fresh and illuminating about a writer of Ursula K. Le Guin’s immense stature, at this epochal moment in her career? Among all but the most newly minted readers of fantastika, her name should be a well-known byword ...Read More

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Rachel Swirsky Reviews Dreaming in the Dark

Dreaming in the Dark, Jack Dann, ed. (PS Australia 978-1-83863-968-3, £25.00, 419pp, hc) Cover by Greg Bridges. August 2016.

‘‘What’s this business about Australia’s Golden Age?’’ Jack Dann asks in his introduction to Dreaming in the Dark. ‘‘Are we in a Golden Age? Well, I think we are.’’

Dreaming in the Dark is an anthology of Australian science fiction, fantasy, and horror, collecting stories by authors such as Sean ...Read More

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John Langan Reviews Paul Tremblay

Disappearance at Devil’s Rock, Paul Tremblay (William Morrow 978-0-0623-6326-8, $25.99, 336pp, hc) June 2016.

Disappearance at Devil’s Rock, the gripping new novel from Paul Tremblay, begins with a phone call in the small hours of the morning. Elizabeth Sanderson, who answers the phone, has been waiting for a check-in from her son, thirteen-year-old Tommy, who is at a sleepover at a friend’s house. The phone’s trill fills her with ...Read More

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Gary K. Wolfe reviews Drowned Worlds

Drowned Worlds, Jonathan Strahan, ed. (So­laris 9781781084519, $14.95, 336pp, tp) July 2016. Cover by Les Edwards.

Nina Allan also provides what could easily be the tagline for Jonathan Strahan’s provocative if depressing new anthology Drowned Worlds: ‘‘The problem is that no one gives much of a shit about the future until it actually happens’’. This observation is from her story ‘‘The Com­mon Tongue, the Present Tense, the Known’’, ...Read More

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Paul Di Filippo reviews Alexander Weinstein

Children of the New World, by Alexander Weinstein (Picador 978-1250098993, $16.00, 240pp, trade paperback) 13 September 2016

Once some inspired writer conceived of the notion of writing a coherent “future history” in science fictional mode, then the corollary notion of visiting different points of that future history in a series of related but not directly sequential stories was also almost immediately born. And so we have the milestone volume ...Read More

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Faren Miller reviews Jennifer Mason-Black

Devil and the Bluebird, Jennifer Mason-Black (Amulet 978-1-4197-2000-0, $17.95. 330pp, hc) Cover by Monica Ramos. May 2016.

A powerful debut novel, Jennifer Mason-Black’s Devil and the Bluebird begins with a teenager’s memories of what had been her mother’s guitar, as she stands at a dirt crossroad on a chilly, moonless night with the instrument strapped to her back, hoping to make a deal with something like a devil. When ...Read More

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Paul Di Filippo reviews Brian Lee Durfee

The Forgetting Moon, by Brian Lee Durfee (Simon & Schuster/Saga Press 978-1-4814-6522-9, $25.99, 800pp, hardcover) 30 August 2016

I remain ashamedly unversed in modern epic or heroic fantasy, despite growing up on Howard, Leiber, Tolkien, Eddison and the rest of the early canon. My dreadful ignorance is not due to any lack of interest, but merely lack of time. The mode involves capacious tomes that come in sets, and ...Read More

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Gary K. Wolfe reviews Kij Johnson

The Dream Quest of Vellitt Boe, Kij Johnson (Tor.com 978-0-7653-9141-4, $14.99, 176pp, tp; -8651-9,$2.99, eb) August 2016.

Apparently, it’s time to deal with The Lovecraft Problem – and not just with the question of whether the World Fantasy Award ought to be represented with a weapons-grade Gahan Wil­son cudgel that looks vaguely like an oversized Monopoly token. Last year saw Daryl Gregory repurposing Lovecraftiana for YA in Harrison Squared ...Read More

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Paul Di Filippo reviews Women of Futures Past

Women of Futures Past, edited by Kristine Kathryn Rusch (Baen 978-1476781617, $16.00, 288pp, trade paperback) 6 September 2016

Kris Rusch is a busy and successful author. For her to doff her comfortable novelist’s cap and don the old green-celluloid editorial eyeshade that she wore so capably during her years editing, first, Pulphouse, and then F&SF, she must have an important mission in mind. And indeed she does. With ...Read More

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Faren Miller reviews Mary Robinette Kowal

Ghost Talkers, Mary Robinette Kowal (Tor 978-0-7653-7825-5, $24.99, 300pp, hc) August 2016. Cover by Chris McGrath.

Mary Robinette Kowal had her own ways of find­ing gritty truths in the course of her five ‘‘Glam­ourist Histories’’, where the forces of history, and the waywardness of life (and character) shatter the gloss that can make standard Regency Romantic Fantasy seem bland. When she turns to a mixture of spycraft and spiritualism ...Read More

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Rich Horton reviews Short Fiction, September 2016

F&SF 7-8/16
Asimov’s 9/16
Clarkesworld 6/16, 7/16
Lightspeed 8/16
Beneath Ceaseless Skies 7/21/16
Lady Churchill’s Rosebud Wristlet 7/16
Swords v. Cthulhu, Jesse Bullington & Molly Tanzer, eds. (Stone Skin Press) August 2016.

Lavie Tidhar offers perhaps the best novella of the year in the July/August F&SF. ‘‘The Vanishing Kind’’ is set in London in the 1950s, but in an alternate London where the Nazis won WWII, and ...Read More

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Gary K. Wolfe reviews China Miéville

The Last Days of New Paris, China Miéville (Del Rey 978-0-345-54399-8, $25.00, 208pp, hc) August 2016.

You’d think that Surrealism and genre fan­tasy would have developed a more cordial relationship during the century or so that both have been distinct forms, but that hasn’t ex­actly been the case. The handful of novels usually associated with the Surrealist movement – Bret­on’s Nadja, de Chirico’s Hebdomeros, Coates’s The Eater ...Read More

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John Langan reviews Christopher Buehlman

The Suicide Motor Club, Christopher Buehl­man (Berkley 978-1101988732, $26.00, 368pp, hc) June 2016.

The Suicide Motor Club, the new novel from Christopher Buehlman, is a lean, mean, souped-up, eight cylinder, four-speed race car of a book. It begins at high speed, with Judith Lamb, the protagonist, in a car with her husband and five-year-old son. The year is 1967, and the Lamb family is driving east through New ...Read More

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Russell Letson reviews Charles Stross

The Nightmare Stacks, Charles Stross (Ace 978-0-425281-192, $27.00, 385pp, hc) June 2016. Cover by Larry Rostant.

This month’s theme might be horror and the horrific, with the subtheme ‘‘Why am I reading horror when I usually don’t much care for it?’’ Of course, none of the books under consideration here are entirely or even ‘‘really’’ horror, no matter how extensively and elaborately concerned with horrific events, hauntings, or monstrous ...Read More

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Paul Di Filippo reviews Michael Swanwick

Not So Much, Said the Cat, by Michael Swanwick (Tachyon Publications 978-1-61696-228-9, $15.95, 285pp, trade paperback) August 2016

Mostly unremarked, this year signifies the thirty-sixth anniversary of Michael Swanwick’s first story sale, in Robert Silverberg’s anthology New Dimensions 11. The astonishing array of high-quality tales he has graced the world with since then would constitute a sufficiency for most writers. But the damn thing is, nearly forty years ...Read More

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Faren Miller reviews The Big Book of Science Fiction

The Big Book of Science Fiction, Ann & Jeff VanderMeer, eds. (Vintage 978-1-101-91009-2, $25.00, 1,176pp, tp) July 2016.

In their Introduction to The Big Book of Science Fiction, editors Ann & Jeff VanderMeer note that they’re dealing with 20th-century fiction that ‘‘depicts the future, whether in a stylized or realistic manner’’ – emphasis theirs – and the breadth of the definition proves to be crucial. They link SF ...Read More

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John Langan reviews Joe Hill

The Fireman, Joe Hill (William Morrow 9780062200631, $28.99, 768pp, hc) May 2016.

The Fireman, Joe Hill’s big new novel, is a freight train of a book. Long, composed of many sections, it’s already in motion on the first page, and it does not let up until the very end. Its premise is straightforward: a plague is spreading around the world. The infection’s scientific name is Draco incendia trychophyton, ...Read More

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Paul Di Filippo reviews Alvaro Zinos-Amaro and Robert Silverberg

Traveler of Worlds: Conversations with Robert Silverberg, by Alvaro Zinos-Amaro (Fairwood Press 978-1933846637, $16.99, 280pp, trade paperback) August 2016

Early Days: More Tales from the Pulp Era, by Robert Silverberg (Subterranean 978-1596067998, $20.00, 344pp, hardcover) August 2016

Pick one of your favorite deceased writers. The only criteria for the selection is that the person should be somewhat underserved by the historical record. In other words, no chatterboxes like ...Read More

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