Paul Di Filippo Reviews Ready Player Two by Ernest Cline

Ready Player Two, Ernest Cline (Ballantine 978-1524761332, $28.99, 384pp, hardcover) November 2020

I am not often bowled over by first novels, but I admit to being very delighted and impressed with Ernest Cline’s bestseller, Ready Player One, when it appeared nearly ten years ago. I was then a judge for the John W. Campbell Memorial Award and cast my vote to ensure it got on the shortlist as ...Read More

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Paul Di Filippo Reviews Yesterday’s Tomorrows: The Story of Classic British Science Fiction in 100 Books by Mike Ashley

Yesterday’s Tomorrows: The Story of Classic British Science Fiction in 100 Books, Mike Ashley (British Library Published 978-0712353717, £15.00, 320pp, trade paperback) October 2020 (US edition titled Yesterday’s Tomorrows: The Story of Science Fiction in 100 Books, May 2021).

The British Library wants to share their wealth. Realizing that many of their 25 million books have undeservedly faded from current memory and attention, the BL has embarked on ...Read More

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Paul Di Filippo Reviews Rise of the Red Hand by Olivia Chadha

Rise of the Red Hand, Olivia Chadha (Erewhon 978-1645660101, $18.95, 384pp, hardcover) January 2021.

Olivia Chadha’s heartfelt, adroit, brisk and thoughtful debut novel proves that everything old is new again. While its “Clutian Real Year” (i.e., the headspace and zeitgeist that birthed it and which provided its themes) is definitely 2020, its soul and blood and sinews are somewhere back in 1985, with the nascent Neuromancer. It’s nth-generation ...Read More

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Paul Di Filippo Reviews The Saints of Salvation by Peter F. Hamilton

The Saints of Salvation, Peter F. Hamilton (Del Rey 978-0-399-17888-7, $32, 528pp, hardcover) November 2020.

One shameful sensation experienced by the over-burdened reviewer—or by any reader, I suppose, with more books than time—is how many series of novels one begins but then abandons, due solely to time constraints. For instance, after complete enjoyment of their predecessors, I have been unable to make time to read the fourth book in ...Read More

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Paul Di Filippo Reviews The Dragon Waiting by John M. Ford

The Dragon Waiting, John M. Ford (Tor 978-1250269010, $15.99, 400pp, trade paperback) September 2020.

For years after the death of John M. Ford in 2006, fans believed as doctrinal truth the assertion that, in the wake of his having died without formal plans for the continuance of his estate, his mean-spirited surviving family members, who all hated his career and even the existence of science fiction, were conspiring to ...Read More

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Paul Di Filippo Reviews The Book of Lamps and Banners by Elizabeth Hand

The Book of Lamps and Banners, Elizabeth Hand (Mulholland Books 978-0316485937, $27.00, 352pp, hardcover) September 2020.

Aging punk photographer Cass Neary is the kind of person who, when invited into your home, uses the first excuse to visit your bathroom and rummage through your medicine cabinet for interesting drugs to steal. This makes her a less than ideal friend, but an excellent protagonist for a series of louche, bizarre ...Read More

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Blinks: Bloom on Le Guin; LARB on Dune; WaPo’s Best SF/F/H Books of 2020

» The New Yorker: Harold Bloom on The Strange Friendships of Ursula K. Le Guin’s “The Left Hand of Darkness”

» Los Angeles Review of Books: Daniel Immerwahr on Heresies of “Dune”

» Washington Post: Silvia Moreno-Garcia and Lavie Tidhar select Best science fiction, fantasy and horror books of 2020; they’re by Stephen Graham Jones, Zen Cho, Tlotlo Tsamaase, Agustina Bazterrica, translated from the Spanish by Sarah Moses, and Paul ...Read More

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Paul Di Filippo Reviews The Book of Malachi by T.C. Farren

The Book of Malachi, T.C. Farren (Titan 978-1-78909-519-7, $14.95, 336pp, trade paperback) November 2020.

Tracey Farren has given the world two previous novels under that byline. Whiplash (2008), which was filmed as Tess (2016); and Snake (2011). Both were from the small South African publisher Modjaji Books, and, from description and appearances, were naturalistic tales. Now comes her third novel under the appellation of T.C. Farren, and it’s from ...Read More

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New Books : 17 November 2020

Religious fanaticism threatens humanity in THE SAINTS OF SALVATION, THE CHILDREN OF RED PEAK, and THE BURNING GOD.

New books this week are by Andrew Caldecott, Craig Dilouie, John Fleskes, Peter F. Hamilton, Essa Hansen, E.E. Knight, R.F. Kuang, Jonathan Maberry, Chloe Neill, J.K. Rowling, Brandon Sanderson, Harry Turtledove, and Kimberly Unger.

+ Caldecott, Andrew : Lost Acre (Jo Fletcher 978-1787473768, $26.99, 496pp, hardcover, November 2020) • Nominal Publication Date: ...Read More

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Blinks: Reviews at Guardian, New Scientist, WSJ; Kim Stanley Robinson; Penguin SF classics

» Guardian: Eric Brown reviews Christopher Priest, Kate Mascarenhas, Jonathan Sims, Tom Fletcher, Chloe Gong

» New Scientist: Will Heath reviews Micaiah Johnson

» Wall Street Journal: Tom Shippey reviews Cixin Liu’s To Hold Up the Sky

» Jacobin interviews Robert Markley about Kim Stanley Robinson

» The Irish Times: Science fiction: Fast forward into a universal future, about Penguin’s new line of SF classics ...Read More

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Weekly Bestsellers, 5 November 2020

Terry Brooks’ The Last Druid (Del Rey) and Don DeLillo’s The Silence (Scribner) debut on two lists each, as does a special “MinaLima” edition of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone.

Note: this is the page that would have been posted last Monday, 2 November, except that Amazon rankings here are today’s. Change indicators (+/-) are incomplete since no list was posted on 26 October, and data is unable ...Read More

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Paul Di Filippo Reviews Phoenix Extravagant by Yoon Ha Lee

Phoenix Extravagant, Yoon Ha Lee (Solaris 978-1781087947, 416pp, $24.99, hardcover) October 2020.

What exactly is “Phoenix Extravagant”? Very simply put, it is one of several magical pigments which, when deployed by an expert, can serve to program any kind of automaton, otherwise purposeless, with sophisticated behaviors and knowledge. (This notion of infusing non-sentient matter with agency, via arcane symbology, can also be seen in Bennett’s recent Foundryside, and ...Read More

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