Carolyn Cushman Reviews Murder, Magic, and What We Wore by Kelly Jones

Kelly Jones, Murder, Magic, and What We Wore (Knopf 978-0-553-53520-4, $17.99, 287pp, hc) September 2017. Cover by Sarah Watts.

A young lady in 1818 London learns her father is dead and she’s now destitute in this charming young-adult fantasy Regency mystery/spy novel. Annis Whitworth isn’t the sort to give in easily to her change in circumstance; she’s figured out that her father was a spy, and she’s found a clue ...Read More

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Liz Bourke Reviews A Taste of Marrow by Sarah Gailey

A Taste of Marrow, Sarah Gailey ( Publishing 978-0-7653-9525-2, $14.99, 190pp, tp) September 2017. Cover by Richard Ander­son.

A Taste of Marrow is the sequel to Sarah Gai­ley’s alternate-history-with-American-hippos River of Teeth. While River of Teeth was an entertaining caper, if a flawed book – Gailey’s transitions cut brutally across time and space, jolting the reader to a new location or across a span of time with never quite enough ...Read More

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Rich Horton Reviews Short Fiction

F&SF 9-10/17
Analog 9-10/17
Beneath Ceaseless Skies 8/17/17
Lightspeed 10/17 9/6/17

The most exciting short fiction news this month is surely the appearance in the September/October F&SF of a new story by Samuel R. Delany. Even better, “The Hermit of Houston” is exceptional work! It’s set some time in a strange future and is hard to get a grip on (the best kind). From one angle it seems a ...Read More

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Paul Di Filippo reviews Until the Last Dog Dies by Robert Guffey

— Special to Locus Online —

Until the Last Dog Dies, by Robert Guffey (Night Shade Books 978-1-59780-918-4, $15.99, 320pp, trade paperback) November 2017

Somewhere up on a cloud–or somewhere down in the abyss–the ghost of Lenny Bruce is leering approvingly upon Robert Guffey’s Until the Last Dog Dies, after which the savage shade will nod off with a spike in his arm. Guffey’s book is a rarity ...Read More

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Paula Guran Reviews Short Fiction

Apex 9/17, 8/17
Black Static 9-10/17
Uncanny 9-10/17
The Dark 8/17
Nightmare 10/17
Beneath Ceaseless Skies 8/17

As of September 2017, Apex Magazine has survived for eight years and four months and made it to its hundredth issue – a more remarkable achievement than the average reader might expect. The issue’s three more-or-less originals are all entertaining and dark enough for me to write about.

Kameron Hurley‘s “Tumbledown” (also published ...Read More

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John Langan Reviews I Wish I Was Like You by S.P. Miskowski

I Wish I Was Like You, S.P. Miskowski (Jour­nalStone 9781945373787, $16.95, 249pp, tp) July 2017.

I Wish I Was Like You, the title of S.P. Miskowski’s searing new novel, is one half of a lyric from Nirvana’s song, “All Apologies.” Its conclusion, “easily amused,” helps to define the book’s narrator-protagonist, Greta. If she is anything, it’s not easily amused. Yet there’s an additional implication to Miskowski’s choice of title, and ...Read More

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Richard A. Lupoff Reviews The Mind Masters and The Time Masters by Gary Lovisi

The Mind Masters, Gary Lovisi (Wildside 978-1-4794-2786-4, $12.99, 152pp, tp) July 2017.
The Time Masters, Gary Lovisi (Wildside 978-1-4794-2789-5, $12.99, 156pp, tp) July 2017.

English novelist Edwin Lester Arnold cre­ated the interplanetary romance or “swords and planets” novel with Lieut. Gullivar Jones: His Vacation (1905), or at least I have so contended for many years. Edgar Rice Burroughs unquestionably perfected Arnold’s formula in his series of novels set on the ...Read More

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Carolyn Cushman Reviews Wellside by Robin Shortt

Robin Shortt, Wellside (Candlemark & Gleam 978-1-936460-77-9, $19.95, 293pp, tp) June 2017. Cover by Jenny Zemanek.

High school’s bad enough at the best of times, but Ben’s having real problems. His parents are getting divorced and playing tug-of-war with his time, overbooking him for tutors and classes and meetings with lawyers – the last both for the divorce and for criminal defense, since Ben got caught hacking into a company’s ...Read More

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Gary K. Wolfe Reviews The Changeling by Victor LaValle

The Changeling, Victor LaValle (Spiegel & Grau 978-0-8129-9594-7, $28.00, 434pp, hc) June 2017.

At least since his Shirley Jackson Award-winning The Big Machine back in 2009, and probably before that, Victor LaValle has been edging toward more direct engagement with genre materials, although his trademark approach has been to frame such materials in his sharp-edged brand of social realism. Last year, The Ballad of Black Tom (also nominated for multiple ...Read More

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Paul Di Filippo reviews The Clingerman Files by Mildred Clingerman

The Clingerman Files, by Mildred Clingerman (edited by Mark Bradley) (Size 5 1/2 B Publishing, 978-1981219926, $25, 306pp, trade paperback) November 2017

Mildred Clingerman (1918-1997) was a writer I grew up on, and loved. Although her heyday came during the 1950s, before I began reading SF, I would run across her memorable tales reprinted in anthologies–and also in their original venues, as I began to accumulate back issues of ...Read More

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Faren Miller Reviews Other Arms Reach Out to Me by Michael Bishop

Other Arms Reach Out to Me: Georgia Sto­ries, Michael Bishop (Fairwood Press/Kudzu Planet 978-1-933846-65-1, $17.99, 238pp, tp) June 2017. [Order from Fairwood Press, 21528 104th St. Ct. E, Bonney Lake WA 98391 (]

Other Arms Reach Out to Me, Michael Bishop’s new collection of Georgia Stories, sits just enough askew from mainstream notions of reality to read like Southern Gothic, whether he’s dealing with spinster nuns, the many kinds of ...Read More

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Gardner Dozois Reviews Short Fiction 8/9/17, 7/19/17, 8/2/17, 5/17/17
F&SF 9-10/17
Overview: Stories of the Stratosphere, Mi­chael G. Bennett, Joey Eschrich & Ed Finn, eds. (ASU Center for Science and the Imagination) August 2017. has had a run of strong stories in the past couple of months. Best of them is Greg Egan‘s “Uncanny Valley“, posted on August 9, which deals shrewdly and poignantly with the question of whether the “copy” of a ...Read More

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John Langan reviews Hieroglyphs of Blood & Bone by Michael Griffin

Hieroglyphs of Blood & Bone, Michael Griffin (JournalStone 9781945373527, $13.95, 176pp, tp) February 2017.

Hieroglyphs of Blood & Bone, Michael Griffin’s strong debut novel, is narrated by Guy, a man newly divorced from his wife of more than two decades. Adrift without her, he has moved into a houseboat with Karl, his co-worker at the boatyard where Guy has an office position. Karl is 29, a college dropout, a repository ...Read More

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Gary K. Wolfe reviews Quillifer by Walter Jon Williams

Quillifer, Walter Jon Williams (Saga 978-1-4814-8997-3, $27.99, 544pp, hc) October 2017.

In one of Donald Barthelme’s funnier stories, a hapless would-be writer finds that one of the questions on the National Writer’s Examination (“a five-hour fifty-minute examination, for his certificate”) involves recognizing at least four archaic words for sword. On the basis of his new novel Quillifer, Walter Jon Williams would get that certificate with flying colors. His vocabulary of ...Read More

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Rich Horton reviews Infinite Stars by Bryan Thomas Schmidt, ed.

Infinite Stars, Bryan Thomas Schmidt, ed. (Titan 9781785655937, $24.95, 688pp, hc) Oc­tober 2017.

Bryan Thomas Schmidt’s new anthol­ogy Infinite Stars is a big collection of space opera stories, split roughly evenly between reprints and originals. The reprints serve to some extent as an introduction to the subgenre, with examples from such classic series as Cordwainer Smith’s Instrumentality of Man­kind, Anne McCaffrey’s Ship Who Sang books, Lois McMaster Bujold’s Vorkosigan series, ...Read More

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Rachel Swirsky reviews Six Months, Three Days, Five Others by Charlie Jane Anders

Six Months, Three Days, Five Others, Charlie Jane Anders ( 9781250099068, $12.99, 185pp, tp) October 2017.

Charlie Jane Anders is ridiculously bril­liant.

Yes, this is going to be one of those reviews, full of glowing praise. Six Months, Three Days, Five Others collects six stories by Charlie Jane Anders, all edited by Patrick Nielsen Hayden for Although some are better than others, they’re all good reads.

Anders’s unique humor ...Read More

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Gary K. Wolfe reviews Tool of War by Paolo Bacigalupi

Tool of War, Paolo Bacigalupi (Little, Brown 978-0-316-22083-5, $17.99, 378pp, tp) October 2017.

Paolo Bacigalupi’s Ship Breaker trilogy, which concludes with Tool of War, began as a disturbing ecological fable of young people trying to survive by mining ruined oil tankers for copper and other resources in a devastated southeastern US, mostly around New Orleans, then moved to an almost equally devastated DC area in The Drowned Cities. Over the ...Read More

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Adrienne Martini reviews The Stone in the Skull by Elizabeth Bear

The Stone in the Skull, Elizabeth Bear (Tor 978-07-6538-0135, $27.99, 368pp, hc). October 2017. Cover by Richard Anderson.

Full disclaimer: I haven’t read Elizabeth Bear’s first trilogy set in the Eternal Sky world (Range of Ghosts, etc.) but am also not sure it matters. While I’m sure a read­ing of The Stone in the Skull would be enhanced by knowing about this world before dropping into it, that knowledge is ...Read More

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Paul Di Filippo Reviews Down and Out in Purgatory: The Collected Stories of Tim Powers

Down and Out in Purgatory: The Collected Stories of Tim Powers, Tim Powers (Baen 978-1-4814-8279-0, $25, 496pp, hardcover) November 2017.

Casual sports fans merely enjoy the games. Hardcore obsessive sports fans compile stats and follow the managerial maneuvers of the franchises. A similar dichotomy exists between casual readers of fantastika and the true aficionados. The latter nerds, such as myself, chart the careers of writers along several axes. And ...Read More

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Stefan Dziemianowicz reviews Haunted Nights by Ellen Datlow & Lisa Morton, eds.

Haunted Nights, Ellen Datlow & Lisa Morton, eds. (Blumhouse/Anchor 978-1-101-97383-7, $16.95, 368pp, tp) October 2017.

In the horror field it’s pretty much a given that every writer has at least one good Halloween story up his or her sleeve. Haunted Nights, edited by Ellen Datlow & Lisa Morton under the auspices of the Horror Writers Association, is an anthology of 16 previously unpublished stories on the Halloween theme that bears ...Read More

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Colleen Mondor reviews Wild Beauty by Anna-Marie McLemore

Wild Beauty, Anna-Marie McLemore (Feiwel and Friends 978-1-250-12455-5, $17.99, 352pp, hc) October 2017.

Entering into the lush, gorgeous garden of writ­ing that infuses Anna-Marie McLemore’s Wild Beauty, readers are lulled into thinking that what lies before them is a diversionary romance with moments of peril neatly inserted into a plot whose happily-ever-after ending is pre-ordained from the start. This, of course, is probably what McLemore wants readers to think; how ...Read More

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Gary K. Wolfe reviews Ka: Dar Oakley in the Ruin of Ymr by John Crow­ley

Ka: Dar Oakley in the Ruin of Ymr, John Crow­ley (Saga 978-1-4814-9559-2, $28.99, 464pp, hc) October 2017.

Toward the end of John Crowley’s aston­ishing new novel Ka: Dar Oakley in the Ruin of Ymr, the immortal crow of the title asks a Coyote what they have ever got from the humans whose world has encroached upon and finally displaced their own, and the Coyote responds, “Stories…. We’re made of stories ...Read More

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Liz Bourke reviews Horizon by Fran Wilde

Horizon, Fran Wilde (Tor Books 978-0765377876, $27.99, 416pp, hc). September 2017. Cover by Tommy Arnold.

Fran Wilde’s Horizon marks the end of her Bone Universe books – at least for now. Hori­zon follows last year’s Cloudbound and 2015’s award-winning Updraft for a strong conclusion to this powerful trilogy about bone towers, social upheaval, and building the kind of society you want to live in.

Updraft was a novel about uncovering ...Read More

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Paul Di Filippo reviews The City of Brass by S.A. Chakraborty

The City of Brass, S.A. Chakraborty (Harper Voyager 978-0-06-267810-2, $25.99, 544pp, hardcover) November 2017

Even disregarding the familiar spectacle of publishers eagerly emulating the bestsellers of their rivals, we can notice that book people like mini-trends. So does the culture in general. No harm to the phenomenon, really, it’s just the way humans operate. Let something fresh become even modestly successful and suddenly the marketplace perceives a hitherto-unrecognized demand, ...Read More

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Russell Letson reviews Star-Begotten: A Life Lived in Science Fiction by James Gunn

Star-Begotten: A Life Lived in Science Fiction, James Gunn (McFarland 978-1-4766-7026-3, $25.00, 209pp, tp) November 2017. Cover photo by Jason Dailey.

I hope I might be excused for injecting personal notes into a review of James Gunn’s autobiography, Star-Begotten: A Life Lived in Science Fiction. As I read it, I couldn’t help noticing how many times and in how many ways my life in SF was affected by Gunn’s work ...Read More

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Liz Bourke reviews two Tensorate novellas by JY Yang

The Black Tides of Heaven, JY Yang ( Publishing 978-0-7653-9541-2, $3.99, 240pp, tp). September 2017. Cover by Yuko Shimizu.
The Red Threads of Fortune, JY Yang ( Publishing 978-0-7653-9539-9 $3.99, 216pp, tp). September 2017. Cover by Yuko Shimizu.

JY Yang’s first two Tensorate novellas, The Black Tides of Heaven and The Red Threads of Fortune, provide an interesting contrast to In Evil Times. Although the world the Tensorate novellas are ...Read More

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Russell Letson reviews Provenance by Ann Leckie

Provenance, Ann Leckie (Orbit, 978-0-316-38867-2, $26.00, 393pp, hc) September 2017. Cover by John Harris.

Ann Leckie’s Provenance takes place in the same far future as her Ancillary novels and shares some of that trilogy’s underlying issues: legal versus actual identity and citizenship status; the burdens, benefits, and oddities of cultural artifice or convention; the ways that polities can be subverted or per­verted. But there are no ancillaries or emerg­ing AIs ...Read More

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Adrienne Martini reviews The Real-Town Murders by Adam Roberts

The Real-Town Murders, Adam Roberts (Gollancz 978-14-73221-45-1, £16.99, 234pp, hc). August 2017.

Adam Roberts’s The Real-Town Murders is his version of a locked-room mystery, which is to say, it is both familiar and strange by equal turns. It is also delightful.

What is familiar is the set-up. Alma, a near-future private investigator, is delivered a case about a body found in the trunk of a car. Given that these particular ...Read More

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Paul Di Filippo reviews Creatures of Will and Temper by Molly Tanzer

Creatures of Will and Temper, Molly Tanzer (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt/John Joseph Adams 978-1-328-71026-0, $16.99, 368pp, trade paperback) November 2017

The earliest publication from relative newcomer Molly Tanzer–as certified both by ISFDB and her own website–seems to be 2010’s “In Sheep’s Clothing,” from Running with the Pack, an anthology edited by Ekaterina Sedia. Although 2010 seems, from one vantage, to be the day before yesterday, it’s seven years gone ...Read More

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Faren Miller reviews The Strange Bird by Jeff VanderMeer

The Strange Bird, Jeff VanderMeer (Farrar, Straus & Giroux 978-0-374-714932 $2.99, 86pp, eb) July 2017.

Jeff VanderMeer’s short novel The Strange Bird is a spinoff from the novel Borne, with the same background: a wrecked, far-future Earth, now be­ing devastated by techno/magical, quasi-mythic Company Wars. The title character was conjured in a lab where what had been a woman is turned into a creature that’s part avian and capable of ...Read More

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Gardner Dozois reviews Short Fiction

A Flight to the Future, Kathryn Cramer, ed. (XPrize/ANA).
The Best of Subterranean, William Schafer, ed. (Subterranean Press) July 2017.

A Flight to the Future is a multimedia proj­ect edited by Kathryn Cramer (although Eric Desatnik is also listed as “Creator and Producer”). Sponsored by XPrize and the Japanese airline company ANA, A Flight to the Future collects 30 very short stories, many by leading science fiction authors, all working ...Read More

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Liz Bourke reviews In Evil Times by Melinda Snodgrass

In Evil Times, Melinda Snodgrass (Titan 978-1-7832-9584-5, $14.95, 400pp, pb). July 2017. Cover by Alex Ronald.

I wanted to have good things to say about In Evil Times, sequel to Melinda Snodgrass’s The High Ground (2016). Instead, I found reading it to be a very alienating experience. This is not, I hasten to add, because of any insufficiency in Snodgrass’s prose or skill as a novelist. Rather, it’s because of ...Read More

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