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

Read more

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

Read more

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

Read more

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

Read more

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

Read more

Paul Di Filippo Reviews Tom Beckerlegge’s The Carnival of Ash

The Carnival of Ash, Tom Beckerlegge (Solaris 978-1786185006, hardcover, 528pp, $24.99) March 2022.

Some modes of fiction can start to appear dead or at least quiescent, until a certain writer comes along, gives them a shake, and infuses new life into the somnolent corpus. Such has just happened with Tom Beckerlegge’s first novel for adults (as Tom Becker he has had a sterling career producing YA books), With The ...Read More

Read more

Paul Di Filippo Reviews John Scalzi’s The Kaiju Preservation Society

The Kaiju Preservation Society, John Scalzi (Tor 978-0765389121, hardcover, 272pp, $26.99) March 2022.

As you might suspect from the title alone, this novel is not one of John Scalzi’s more sober-sided, tragic, or grim-scenario’d offerings. In fact, it is an inventive, light-hearted, sprightly romp, replete with a low-key sensawunda vibe, that slyly makes, along the way, a few sharp points about ethics, friendship, capitalism, pure scientific research, and humanity’s ...Read More

Read more

Weekly Bestsellers, 7 March 2022

Of the four titles that debuted on lists last week, only two remain for a second week. Sarah J. Maas’ House of Sky and Breath drop off one list but remains on two others, while Marlan James’ Moon Witch, Spider King drop off one list but rises to #1 on the Los Angeles Times list. (Though it hasn’t appeared on USA Today‘s list either last week or this.)

Publishers Weekly

...Read More Read more

Paul Di Filippo reviews Stolen Skies by Tim Powers

Stolen Skies, Tim Powers (Baen ‎ 978-1982125837, hardcover, 304pp, $26.00) January 2022.

I must assume that all my readers here today are hardcore fans of Tim Powers and are up-to-speed on his wonderful Vickery and Castine series, the third volume of which sequence is now before us. To assume otherwise is to contemplate the unthinkable: that there are benighted readers of fantastika who are woefully depriving themselves of such ...Read More

Read more

Weekly Bestsellers, 28 February 2022

Four debuts on print lists this week, beginning with Sarah J. Maas’ House of Sky and Breath (Bloomsbury), second in the Crescent City series, ranking #1 or #2 on all four lists. Next is Marlan James’ Moon Witch, Spider King (Riverhead), second in his Dark Star Trilogy, ranking as high as #4 on three lists.

Stephen King and Richard Chizmar’s Gwendy’s Final Task (Cemetery Dance), third in that series, is

...Read More Read more

Paul Di Filippo Reviews The Paradox Hotel by Rob Hart

The Paradox Hotel, Rob Hart (Ballantine 978-1984820648, hardcover, 336pp, $28.00) February 2022.

A large building full of functionaries employed by a mysterious organization in charge of policing the timestream, and one rebellious individual, subject to ethical and emotional stresses, who threatens to either wreck or save or reform the whole shebang.

No, we’re not going to be talking today about the Disney+ series Loki. I just thought I ...Read More

Read more

Paul Di Filippo Reviews Lord Quillifer by Walter Jon Williams

Lord Quillifer, Walter Jon Williams (Saga ‎ 978-1481490030, trade paperback, 528pp, $18.99) February 2022.

In 2009 my good friend Don D’Ammassa, noted critic, reviewer and fiction writer of long-standing prominence in our field, produced a volume which crystallized my perceptions of a heretofore overlooked or hidden genre. The book in question was the Encyclopedia of Adventure Fiction. In his perceptive introduction, D’Ammassa said in part: “Although there is ...Read More

Read more

Paul Di Filippo Reviews The This by Adam Roberts

The This, Adam Roberts (Gollancz 978-1473230903, hardcover, 304pp, $26.99) May 2022 in US; February 2022 in UK.

One science fiction writer’s utopia is another science fiction writer’s dystopia. In several of Rudy Rucker’s recent books, neural prosthetics allow direct brain-to-brain communications, or telepathy, and the result is to boost humanity to a new era of understanding and grooviness—albeit not without some glitches along the way. In Adam Roberts’s newest, ...Read More

Read more

Paul Di Filippo Reviews The Beholden by Cassandra Rose Clarke

The Beholden, Cassandra Rose Clarke (Erewhon 978-1645660255, trade paperback, 544pp, $19.95) January 2022.

Cassandra Rose Clarke’s fine new fantasy is a superior standalone (with mild climactic hints towards a possible sequel) that hybridizes three or four subgenres to create a uniquely tasty bit of fantastika. First, there’re flavorings of mannerpunk, insofar as the protagonists hail from a society of landed gentry on vast estates, whose members circulate among the ...Read More

Read more