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

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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

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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

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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

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Paul Di Filippo Reviews The Best of Lucius Shepard Volume Two

The Best of Lucius Shepard Volume Two, edited by Bill Sheehan (Subterranean Press 978-1645240358, hardcover, 844pp, $50.00) December 2021.

When Subterranean Press gifted us all with The Best of Lucius Shepard in 2008, the author still walked among us, with some six productive years left in his wide-ranging, extravagant, hectic, and literarily prolific life. (He died in 2014 at the too-young-but-still-amazing-for-his-profligate-ways age of seventy.) One can presume Shepard had ...Read More

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Paul Di Filippo Reviews Michael Bishop’s A Few Last Words for the Late Immortals

A Few Last Words for the Late Immortals, Michael Bishop (Fairwood Press 978-1933846125, trade paperback, 250pp, $17.99) November 2021.

Fairwood Press has become the classy home to many of Michael Bishop’s fine books from his large and exciting backlist. They have now issued a dozen of his titles, all extensively revised by the author. But this latest compilation is something very different, a brand-new assemblage of poetry and flash ...Read More

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Paul Di Filippo Reviews Mike Ashley’s Nature’s Warnings: Classic Stories of Eco-Science Fiction

Nature’s Warnings: Classic Stories of Eco-Science Fiction, edited by Mike Ashley (British Library Publishing ‎ ‎ 978-0712353571, trade paperback, 320pp, $16.95) November 2021.

Being an anthologist is much like being a party host. If you have excellent taste in people (or stories) and know a lot of interesting people (or stories) and can instinctively or cleverly create harmonious or synergistic or even antagonistic assemblages of people (or stories), you ...Read More

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Paul Di Filippo Reviews Shoggoths in Traffic and Other Stories by Tobias S. Buckell

Shoggoths in Traffic and Other Stories, Tobias S. Buckell (Fairwood Press ‎ 978-1933846187, trade paperback, 328pp, $17.99) November 2021.

The twentieth anniversary of Tobias Buckell’s first story appearance, “The Fish Merchant,” in Science Fiction Age for March 2000 (making him one of editor Scott Edelman’s many insightful launches), has come and gone without much ado, although by rights it should have been celebrated widely. For Buckell has become a ...Read More

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Paul Di Filippo Reviews The Fall of Babel by Josiah Bancroft

The Fall of Babel, Josiah Bancroft (Orbit 978-0316518192, trade paperback, 672pp, $17.99) November 2021.

As everyone from gymnasts to songwriters knows, “sticking the landing” is essential for creating an artistic triumph. You might be doing great for nine-tenths of your balance-beam ballet or your three-minute pop tune, but unless you go out elegantly, with a bang, and in fulfillment of all that you have set up earlier, after prepping ...Read More

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Paul Di Filippo Reviews Galaxias by Stephen Baxter

Galaxias, Stephen Baxter (Gollancz 978-1473228863, trade paperback, 544pp, $22.84) October 2021.

Stephen Baxter’s latest novel is a mind-expanding trip into an unpredictable but scientifically rigorous future—in other words, one of his patented Hard SF wonderworks. But much as I enjoyed it, my reading pleasures only bloomed after I had dashed some of my perhaps not-unwarranted expectations. I was ready to read Wylie and Balmer’s When Worlds Collide, and ...Read More

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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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