Paul Di Filippo Reviews Shadows of Eternity by Gregory Benford

Shadows of Eternity, Gregory Benford (Saga 978-1534443624, 496pp, $27.99) October 2021.

It’s hard to label any book the “capstone” to a career when the author in question is still lively, vibrant, intellectually bold, ambitious, au courant, and masterfully proficient. Who knows what new heights such a person might reach beyond the current title? And yet one is tempted to attach this label to Greg Benford’s newest, Shadows of Eternity, ...Read More

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Paul Di Filippo Reviews Juicy Ghosts by Rudy Rucker

Juicy Ghosts, Rudy Rucker (Transreal Books 978-1940948485, 332pp, $24.95) September 2021.

If any currently working SF author can be held up as an instance of the main thesis in that valuable but sadly underutilized volume by the Panshins—The World Beyond the Hill: Science Fiction and the Quest for Transcendence—then Rudy Rucker is that writer. All his work involves humanity’s desire to reach or at least to observe ...Read More

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Paul Di Filippo Reviews Stanisław Lem’s The Truth and Other Stories

The Truth and Other Stories , Stanisław Lem (The MIT Press ‎ 978-0262046084, 344pp, $39.95) September 2021.

“Of these twelve short stories by science fiction master Stanisław Lem, only three have previously appeared in English, making this the first ‘new’ book of fiction by Lem since the late 1980s.” Thus reads the press release accompanying this hot-off-the-presses volume (from a somewhat unlikely source, MIT Press), a plain and sober statement ...Read More

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Paul Di Filippo Reviews Bewilderment by Richard Powers

Bewilderment , Richard Powers (Norton 978-0393881141, 288pp, $27.95) September 2021.

Since his first book in 1985, Richard Powers has published a dozen novels, with this newest one being his lucky thirteenth. In one way or another, to one degree or another, they have all manifested deep concern with matters of technology and culture, the core remit of SF. Some, such as Galatea 2.2, have been flat-out undeniable science fiction. ...Read More

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Blinks: NYT and Guardian reviews; Becky Chambers and KSR; and three guides to SF&F

» NYT, 21 Sept: Amal El-Mohtar reviews Lincoln Michel, Ryka Aoki, Cadwell Turnbull

» Guardian, 10 Sept: Lisa Tuttle reviews James Kennedy, Silvia Moreno-Garcia, Rian Hughes, Guy Morpuss, and Kai-Fu Lee & Chen Qiufan

» Wired, 16 Sept: Is Becky Chambers the Ultimate Hope for Science Fiction?, subtitled, “Her gentle, heartwarming stories seek to soothe our troubled souls. They also aim to blow up the entire genre.”

» The New ...Read More

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Weekly Bestsellers, 27 September 2021

Five new books published in mid-August appear on print bestseller lists this week, beginning with Joe Abercrombie’s The Wisdom of Crowds (Orbit), ranking #10 on the NYT fiction hardcover list.

Other debut titles are Kristen Britain’s Winterlight (DAW), Jay Kristoff’s Empire of the Vampire (St. Martin’s), Seanan McGuire’s When Sorrows Come (DAW), and Faith Hunter’s True Dead (Ace).

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Paul Di Filippo Reviews The Scholars of Night by John M. Ford

The Scholars of Night, John M. Ford (Tor 978-1250269171, 256pp, $18.99) September 2021.

While we all eagerly await the heretofore-unseen last novel by John M. Ford, Aspects, due in April of next year, we will have to quench our desires for all things Fordian with the various reprints that are tilling the soil for that harvest. We earlier got The Dragon Waiting (my review here) which had gone ...Read More

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Paul Di Filippo Reviews In the Watchful City by S. Qiouyi Lu

In the Watchful City , S. Qiouyi Lu ( 978-1250792983, 192pp, $14.99) August 2021.

Close as I can discern, S. Qiouyi Lu began their career circa 2016, with a story in Strange Horizons titled “Her Sacred Spirit Soars.” (Although their CV does list a poem from one year earlier, “Particularities.”) In either case, the succeeding short span of years have been filled with a respectable number of tales from their ...Read More

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Weekly Bestsellers, 6 September 2021

Two titles by Madeline Miller, The Song of Achilles (Ecco trade paperback; first published in 2012) and Circe (Back Bay trade paperback; first published in 2018), previously untracked here, are added this week. The Song of Achilles is notable for ranking #1 on this week’s LA Times paperback list (and ranking on three other lists), not because a film or TV version is imminent, but apparently, according to Wikipedia, due
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Paul Di Filippo Reviews Appleseed by Matt Bell

Appleseed, Matt Bell (Custom House ‎ 978-0063040144, 480pp, $27.99) July 2021.

Matt Bell is a writer whose whole oeuvre (a couple of previous novels and several story collections) is plainly steeped in the elements of fantastika; a writer who is manifestly cognizant of all the hardcore tropes of the genre, able to deploy them deftly. But he is published outside the genre fences, and hailed as non-denominational Literature with ...Read More

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Paul Di Filippo Reviews Everything in All the Wrong Order by Chaz Brenchley

Everything in All the Wrong Order: The Best of Chaz Brenchley, Chaz Brenchley (Subterranean ‎ ‎978-1645240112, 568pp, $45.00) August 2021.

Starting in 1974 with The Best of Stanley G. Weinbaum, Ballantine Books began issuing a series of best-of volumes that became a definitive record of canonical authors and stories, providing a reading map and sense of history for a generation or two of readers. (To a lesser extent, ...Read More

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Paul Di Filippo Reviews Reclaimed by Madeleine Roux

Reclaimed, Madeleine Roux (Ace 978-0451491855, 320pp, $17.00) August 2021.

Not many tropes derive their name from one specific seminal work of art. And yet such a thing did happen with the 1932 Karloff spookfest, The Old Dark House. Over the decades, the movie gradually lent its name to a whole genre or iconography, whose lineaments are now so familiar that their invocation often results in cliché. But mashing ...Read More

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Blinks: Stanislaw Lem; Ursula K. Le Guin; Reviews in NYT, Guardian, WSJ

» NYT: A Century in Stanislaw Lem’s Cosmos

» NYT: When a Fictional Utopia Offers a Pathway Home, by Amy Kurzweil: “Reading Ursula K. Le Guin’s ‘Always Coming Home’ after a cross country move to California.”

» NYT: Amal El-Mohtar reviews books by Marissa Levien, Nghi Vo, and editors Swapna Krishna & Jenn Northington

» Guardian: Lisa Tuttle reviews Catling, Hendrix, Murphy, Clark, Grant

» Wall Street Journal: Tom Shippey ...Read More

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Paul Di Filippo Reviews City of Iron and Dust by J.P. Oakes

City of Iron and Dust, J.P. Oakes (Titan ‎ 978-1789097108, 400pp, $15.95) July 2021.

If Joe Abercrombie climbed into his time machine to visit famed Black crime writer Chester Himes, and they then collaborated on a new version of the as-yet-unborn Cotton Comes to Harlem, the result might very well resemble Oakes’s debut novel, City of Iron and Dust. The book is a grim’n’gritty yet often blackly humorous ...Read More

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Paul Di Filippo Reviews The Hidden Palace by Helene Wecker

The Hidden Palace, Helene Wecker (Harper 978-0062468710, 480pp, $28.99) June 2021.

Helene Wecker’s sequel to her stunning 2013 debut, The Golem and the Jinni [reviewed here], succeeds 100 percent in recapturing the assured voice, the delicate magic, the solid historical verisimilitude, and the engaging interplay of personalities that she delivered in the first book. But she does not merely replicate all the pleasures, plot points, devices, and charms of ...Read More

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