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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Paul Di Filippo Reviews To Hold Up the Sky by Cixin Liu

To Hold Up the Sky, Cixin Liu (Tor 978-1250306081, 336pp, $27.99, hardcover) October 2020.

Cixin Liu’s first story collection in English continues to provide the same pleasures found in his award-winning novels: the simultaneous honoring and detournement of classic SF tropes, as filtered through a distinctly non-Western worldview and a quirky set of personal sensibilities. He is at once a radical and a conservative, an optimist and a pessimist, ...Read More

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Paul Di Filippo Reviews My Favorites by Ben Bova

My Favorites, Ben Bova (Blackstone 978-1094000923, 352pp, $24.99, hardcover) October 2020

Ben Bova turns 88 in November of 2020. He also just published a new novel, Uranus, a few months ago. Two statements of this general import are not usually compatible. Writers who continue to maintain their productivity—and personal standards of quality—so late in life form a small elite. In our field, we note such towering figures as ...Read More

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Blinks: NYT, Guardian reviews; Cory Doctorow; Andrew Liptak

» NY Times: Amal El-Mohtar reviews C.L. Polk, V.E. Schwab, Susanna Clarke

» Slate: Cory Doctorow: The Dangers of Cynical Sci-Fi Disaster Stories: I’m changing how I write fiction—for the benefit of the real world.

» Guardian: Eric Brown reviews Andrzei Sapkowski, Tony Ballantyne, Peter F. Hamilton, Kate Elliott, Graham Masterton

» Polygon: Andrew Liptak selects 15 recent sci-fi books that forever shaped the genre and other articles in its ...Read More

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Blinks: Butler; KSR; Pullman; Dirda; reviews of Flynn, Chang, Martine; Edelman dines

» LA Times: 5 paths to continue your Octavia E. Butler discovery after ‘Parable of the Sower’

» Guardian: ‘There is no planet B’: the best books to help us navigate the next 50 years, by Kim Stanley Robinson

» Guardian: 25 years of His Dark Materials: Philip Pullman on the journey of a lifetime

» Washington Post, Michael Dirda: Can’t get enough Game of Thrones or Star Wars? New ...Read More

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Paul Di Filippo Reviews Edited By, Edited by Ellen Datlow

Edited By, Ellen Datlow, ed. (Subterranean 978-1596069671, 632pp, $45, hardcover) September 2020.

When does one properly offer a career retrospective for a creative person? Certainly it’s safe to issue one when the creator is dead. Then the career is etched in stone, with no further additions possible, and also with no dissents or quibbles from the creator! And if enough time goes by between the creator’s passing and the ...Read More

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Paul Di Filippo Reviews Hench by Natalie Zina Walschots

Hench, Natalie Zina Walschots (William Morrow 978-0062978578, 416pp, $27.99, hardcover) September 2020.

Have we reached Peak Deconstruction of Superheroes yet? One could reasonably argue that the trend harks back at least as far as Mad magazine’s “Superduperman” and “Batboy and Rubin” parodies from 1953. Marvel and DC both poked fun at the conventions of the genre during the Sixties, with titles like The Inferior Five and Not Brand Echh ...Read More

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Paul Di Filippo Reviews The Constant Rabbit by Jasper Fforde

The Constant Rabbit, Jasper Fforde (Viking 978-0593296523, 320pp, $28, hardcover) September 2020.

The trope of uplifted animals is a potent one in science fiction, especially as we advance into a future where humanity’s sheer existence more and more comes to impinge on the rest of animate creation. From Cordwainer Smith’s Underpeople to David Brin’s Uplifted dolphins to Grant Morrison’s trio of assassins, dog, cat and rabbit, in We3; ...Read More

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