Paul Di Filippo Reviews Hokuloa Road by Elizabeth Hand

Hokuloa Road, Elizabeth Hand (Mulholland 978-0316542043, hardcover, 368pp, $28.00) July 2022.

In days of yore, when the actual internet was merely science fiction, curious fans found out scarce biographical tidbits about their favorite authors in whatever manner they could: from fanzines, or dustjacket flaps, or occasional media articles and even the rare autobiographical essay. Heinlein lived on a walled estate in Colorado Springs. Poul Anderson, Frank Herbert and Jack ...Read More

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Paul Di Filippo Reviews The Moonday Letters by Emmi Itäranta

The Moonday Letters, Emmi Itäranta (Titan 978-1803360447, trade paperback, 368pp, $15.95) July 2022.

One of John Campbell’s prescriptions for the kind of science fiction he wanted to see was to say, paraphrased, “Give me a story which could legitimately be presented as contemporary fiction in a magazine of the year 2100.” In other words, a story narrated out of a deep and implicit and shared set of assumptions about ...Read More

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Paul Di Filippo Reviews Ymir by Rich Larson

Ymir, Rich Larson (Orbit 978-0316416580, trade paperback, 416pp, $17.99) July 2022.

If one tried to engineer a young writer who would embody all the core values, tactics, and ambiance of Classic SF while still conveying ultra-contemporary attitudes, ambiance, and affect, one could hardly produce a better candidate than Rich Larson. Just turned thirty years old, he’s already delivered over a hundred fine stories and now brings us his third ...Read More

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Paul Di Filippo Reviews Among Strangers by Robert Silverberg

Among Strangers, Robert Silverberg (Subterranean Press 978-1645240693, hardcover, 760pp, $50.00) June 2022.

This generous new compilation containing a choice selection from Robert Silverberg’s vast output from his mid- to late-career apex allows us to do several things simultaneously. First, and primarily, we get to enjoy some excellent fiction which might be otherwise hard to come by. (I note on ISFDB that recent editions for the three novels herein are ...Read More

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Paul Di Filippo Reviews The Next Time I Die by Jason Starr

The Next Time I Die, Jason Starr (Hard Case Crime 978-1789099515, trade paperback, 256pp, $14.95) June 2022.

I have been an aficionado of the Hard Case Crime line of mysteries ever since its debut in 2004. What great books they issue! But I confess that I tend to read only their reprint volumes, the classic, forgotten, vintage stuff. It’s just my quirk that I prefer the older goods. So ...Read More

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Paul Di Filippo Reviews City of Orange by David Yoon

City of Orange, David Yoon (Putnam’s 978-0593422168, hardcover, 352pp, $27.00) May 2022.

For those readers intent on firmly categorizing books—and I admit to having my own moments of fussy classifying obsessiveness—David Yoon’s excellent and engrossing debut novel presents some issues. And even speaking of those issues with specific examples is tricky, because this reviewer hesitates to spoil the twists and turns of the book. I shall confine myself to ...Read More

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Paul Di Filippo Reviews Forkpoints by Sheila Finch

Forkpoints, Sheila Finch (Aqueduct Press 978-1-61976-218-3, trade paperback, 336pp, $19.00) June 2022.

Before we turn our attention to the sterling new collection from Sheila Finch, I beg the reader’s indulgence. Please visit the page at Isfdb for Finch’s publisher, Aqueduct Press, which was founded in 2004. There you will see the titles of over 150 books, each of them assembled with care and craft and curatorial canniness, under the ...Read More

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Paul Di Filippo Reviews Mercury Rising by R.W.W. Greene

Mercury Rising, R.W.W. Greene (Angry Robot 978-0857669728, trade paperback, 400pp, $15.99) May 2022.

Greene’s third novel is, overarchingly, a counterfactual tale of what happens in the several decades after the year 1961, when Earth is threatened by invaders from Mercury. But that over-simplified description ignores a host of other themes and virtues and plot contrivances which render the book a jam-packed action-adventure tale centered around a lovable anti-hero. The ...Read More

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Paul Di Filippo Reviews Glitterati by Oliver K. Langmead

Glitterati, Oliver K. Langmead (Titan 978-1789097962, trade paperback, 288pp, $15.95) May 2022.

If Jack Vance had scripted the Zoolander movies, the result might look very much like Oliver Langmead’s sophomore novel, Glitterati. It’s an SF version of one of those frothy comedies perfected by Wodehouse and Firbank, Benson and Thirkell, which nonetheless conceals sharp social commentary and a steely lesson in how to learn to live in the only ...Read More

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Paul Di Filippo Reviews Masters of Science Fiction: Robert Sheckley by Robert Sheckley

Masters of Science Fiction: Robert Sheckley, Robert Sheckley (Centipede Press 978-1-61347-311-5, hardcover, 728pp, $65 February 2022.

There have been four previous volumes in Centipede Press’s gorgeous series Masters of Science Fiction. (Lordy, how splendidly assembled and adorned these books are!) The dedicatees are: James Patrick Kelly, Fritz Leiber, Richard Wilson, and Kate Wilhelm. I endorse these selections wholeheartedly. (I even did the introduction to the Wilson volume.) True ...Read More

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Paul Di Filippo Reviews Flint and Mirror by John Crowley

Flint and Mirror, John Crowley (Tor 978-1250817525, hardcover, 256pp, $26.99) April 2022.

Shortly after the 2017 publication of John Crowley’s masterful novel, Ka: Dar Oakley in the Ruin of Ymr, Crowley was heard to opine that the book might be his last piece of long fiction, some fifty years of hard work and exquisite dreaming having taken their natural toll and led to a point of closure and ...Read More

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Paul Di Filippo Reviews Aspects by John M. Ford

Aspects, John M. Ford (Tor 978-1250269034, hardcover, 496pp, $26.99) April 2022.

I discovered something unique in all my years of reading, upon encountering John M. Ford’s posthumously published novel: it is possible to be both elated and melancholy at the same time. I am elated because what we have here—in nearly five hundred pages of polished text—is a shining, brilliant example of fantasy writing, nothing but pure pleasure and ...Read More

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Paul Di Filippo Reviews The Cartographers by Peng Shepherd

The Cartographers, Peng Shepherd (William Morrow 978-0062910691, hardcover, 400pp, $27.99) March 2022.

I must confess that Peng Shepherd’s award-winning debut novel from 2018, The Book of M, slipped right under my radar, and so I come now to her sophomore production without any expectations. From that particular reviewer’s stance, let me say right from the get-go that I am captivated by her sharp eye, her smooth prose stylings, ...Read More

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Paul Di Filippo Reviews How High We Go in the Dark by Sequoia Nagamatsu

How High We Go in the Dark, Sequoia Nagamatsu (William Morrow 978-0063072640, hardcover, 304pp, $27.99) January 2022.

Sequoia Nagamatsu’s debut novel, How High We Go In the Dark, is in the nature of a “fixup,” that time-honored and actually quite often innovative structure that is assembled from previously published pieces which were deemed at the time to be independent and self-sufficient tales. I’m not sure if these earlier segments ...Read More

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