Paul Di Filippo Reviews The Thing in the Snow by Sean Adams

The Thing in the Snow, Sean Adams (Morrow 978-0063257757, hardcover, 288pp, $27.99) January 2023

An enormous, spooky, half-abandoned, cryptic building, whose inhabitants pursue ceremonies and rituals with unthinking adherence, while menaces hover both within (due to interpersonal conflicts) and also on the perimeters. We must be talking about Peake’s monumental and essential Gormenghast series, right? Not at all. Instead we are concerned with Sean Adams’s second novel, The Thing ...Read More

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Karen Burnham Reviews Short Fiction: The Sunday Morning Transport, Slate Future Tense, and New Edge Sword and Sorcery

The Sunday Morning Transport 10/16 & 11/20/22 Slate Future Tense 9/24/22 New Edge Sword and Sorcery Fall ’22

Catching up with The Sunday Morning Transport in the fall, one of my favorites is “Trinity’s Drag­on” by Holly Lyn Walrath. Trinity is an older woman and space veterinarian, which means she actually has a chance when a sick space dragon wraps itself around her spaceship. Against the advice ...Read More

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Gabino Iglesias Reviews All Nightmare Long by Tim Lebbon

All Nightmare Long, Tim Lebbon (PS Publish­ing 978-1-78636-851-5, $32.68, 417pp, hc) May 2022. Cover by Daniele Serra.

Sometimes reviewing a big (400+ pages) short story collection can be complicated because there are often a plethora of voices, themes, and approaches – not to mention a variety of different tales – in its pages. When that happens, the easiest thing to do is to go with some of the overarching ...Read More

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Maya C. James Reviews Revelations: Horror Writers for Climate Action by Seán O’Connor, ed.

Revelations: Horror Writers for Climate Ac­tion. Seán O’Connor, ed. (Stygian Sky Media 978-1639510054, $40.00, 344pp, hc) April 2022.

Revelations: Horror Writers for Climate Action begins with the charred landscape of a California wildfire. Writing of her family’s vaca­tions in northern California, and her more recent experiences with its intensifying fires, horror reviewer Sadie Hartmann offers a focused and passionate introduction to the anthology: climate change is real, it is affecting ...Read More

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Charles Payseur Reviews Short Fiction: Worlds of Possibility, Baffling, and Cast of Wonders

Worlds of Possibility 10/22 Baffling 10/22 Cast of Wonders 10/14/22, 10/23/22, 10/29/22, 10/31/22

I’m quite happy that Julia Rios is back in an editing chair, and Worlds of Possibility makes for an interesting next chapter for them. As sad as I was to see Mermaids Monthly come to a close at the end of 2021 (and as much as I’m hoping that project will still find a way to return ...Read More

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Caren Gussoff Sumption Reviews Unbreakable by Mira Grant

Unbreakable, Mira Grant (Subterranean, 978-1-64524-103-4, $45.00, 152pp, hc), De­cember 2022.

Have you ever had a book sneak up on you? I mean, had something about the title, maybe the cover art, the back description make you think, ‘‘Meh, this will be okay,’’ but then – then you read it – and it smacks you upside your head because it was so unexpectedly, so unbelievably good?

Yeah, Seanan McGuire’s (writing ...Read More

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Caren Gussoff Sumption Reviews RUIN by Cara Hoffman

RUIN, Cara Hoffman (PM Press 978-1-62963-931-4, $25.95, 136pp, hc) April 2022.

I was halfway through the ten stories in Cara Hoff­man’s latest collection, RUIN, before I was able to start to understand how to read them – and then, nearly done with all of them when it became clear why the collection fit in Locus at all. Highly liter­ary, strikingly stylized, and mondo experimental, RUIN is a collection ...Read More

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Adrienne Martini Reviews The Golden Enclaves by Naomi Novik

The Golden Enclaves, Naomi Novik (Del Rey 978-0-59315-835-7, $28.00, 416 pp, hc) Sep­tember 2022.

Naomi Novik’s The Golden Enclaves wraps up her Scholomance trilogy. If you’ve not read A Deadly Education or The Last Graduate, I’d suggest skipping this review in order to read the first book fresh. This is definitely a series better enjoyed if you begin at the beginning, where you’ll meet El and what become ...Read More

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Alexandra Pierce Reviews Twice in a Lifetime by Melissa Baron

Twice in a Lifetime, Melissa Baron (Alcove Press 978-1-63910-136-8, $17.99, 336pp, tp) December 2022. Cover by David Drummond.

The blurb suggests that this debut novel is ‘‘The Time Traveller’s Wife meets Oona Out of Order’’, but the premise is unlike either of those: there is no genetic condition and no hopping around in time. Rather, Melissa Baron is using an idea familiar from the 2006 film The ...Read More

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Paul Di Filippo Reviews The Scarab Mission by James L. Cambias

The Scarab Mission, James L. Cambias (Baen 978-1982192396, hardcover, 288pp, $18.00) January 2023

This rousing, unstoppable, non-stop adventure follows Cambias’s The Godel Operation (reviewed here), which introduced his cosmos of the Billion Worlds: a future where our Solar System is overstuffed with a zillion habitats, polities and species (human and other wise), some struggling for supremacy, others just following their mundane blisses. It’s a definite post-scarcity—if not even posthuman—environment, ...Read More

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Colleen Mondor Reviews The Atlas Paradox by Olivie Blake

The Atlas Paradox, Olivie Blake (Tor 978-1-250-85509-1, $27.99, hc, 416pp) October 2022. Cover by Jamie Stafford-Hill.

Blake returned in October with the latest installment in The Atlas series, The Atlas Para­dox, and quickly tossed readers into more intrigue with the Society of Alexandrians and the drama surrounding its newest members. Fans of the first book, The Atlas Six, will be well aware of the major twist and ...Read More

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Paul Di Filippo Reviews Knot of Shadows by Lois McMaster Bujold and After Many a Summer by Tim Powers

Knot of Shadows, Lois McMaster Bujold (Subterranean 978-1-64524-114-0, hardcover, 160pp, $45.00) January 2023.

It’s time for another nigh-aleatory pairing of two novellas, as we dip into the current state of this fascinating artform, which, it has been said, is almost ideal for works of fantastika: long enough for worldbuilding and deep speculations; short enough not to grow wearisome or bogged down.

Today’s offerings both come from the fabulous Subterranean ...Read More

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Charles Payseur Reviews Short Fiction: Kaleidotrope, Diabolical Plots, and F&SF

Kaleidotrope 10/22 Diabolical Plots 10/22 F&SF 11-12/22

Kaleidotrope’s October issue is positively burst­ing with flash fiction – twenty stories in all. The focus on shorter works gives the issue a breadth of ideas while allowing readers to move quickly from piece to piece, from world to world. It’s a speculative smorgasbord mixing fantasy, sci­ence fiction, and horror of all stripes and flavors. Ziggy Schutz provides a story of fae and ...Read More

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Maya C. James Reviews The Lies of the Ajungo by Moses Ose Utomi

The Lies of the Ajungo, Moses Ose Utomi (Tordotcom 978-1-25084-906-9, $19.99, 96pp, hc) March 2023. Cover by Alyssa Winans & Christine Foltzer.

Indebted to the wicked Ajungo Empire, all citi­zens of the City of Lies have their tongues cut out when they turn 13. Not only do they sacrifice their blood, but their history. In return for their tribute, they receive just enough water from the Ajungo to keep ...Read More

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Gary K. Wolfe Reviews Beyond the Burn Line by Paul J. McAuley

Beyond the Burn Line, Paul J. McAuley (Gollancz 978-1-39960-371-3, £22.00, 455pp, hc) September 2022.

Paul McAuley also makes use of bifurcated time­lines in Beyond the Burn Line, but on a much vaster scale, and he also considers the global ef­fects of the Anthropocene Era, already relegated to the mists of ancient history as his tale rather modestly begins. Eventually we learn that the “burn line” is the historians’ ...Read More

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Colleen Mondor Reviews Singer Distance by Ethan Chatagnier

Singer Distance, Ethan Chatagnier (Tin House 978-1-95353-443-9, $27.95, hc, 280pp) October 2022.

In the slightly altered Earth history of Ethan Chatagnier’s Singer Distance, Mars made contact in 1896, but not in the way readers may likely expect. Rather than the bold arrival of a spacecraft, this interplanetary communication was prefaced by a Dutch astronomer’s large scale art carving of parallel marks in a Tunisian desert in 1894. When ...Read More

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Paula Guran Reviews The Dark, Nightmare, and The Deadlands

The Dark 9/22, 10/22 Nightmare 10/22 The Deadlands 10/22, 11/22

The Dark 89 offers its usual four originals. In ‘‘The Eighth Cigarette’’ by Lisa Cai, a woman who, in one of her previous lives was inspiration for Pierre Loti’s Madame Chrysanthème (published in 1887), takes revenge for the decades the author’s fiction had impact on the West’s understanding – or rather misunderstanding – of Asian women and culture. A real ...Read More

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Ian Mond Reviews Weasels in the Attic by Hiroko Oyamada

Weasels in the Attic, Hiroko Oyamada (New Directions 978-0-81123-118-3, $13/95, 96p, hc) October 2022.

In my humble opinion, the best surrealist fic­tion being published today is coming out of Japan, spearheaded by female authors like Yoko Tawada, Sayaka Murata, Yōko Ogawa, and Hiromi Kawakami. Included in that list is the elusive and discombobulating work of Hiroko Oyamada, whose third book, Weasels in the Attic, has been translated into ...Read More

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Maya C. James Reviews The Last Dreamwalker by Rita Woods

The Last Dreamwalker, Rita Woods (Forge 978-1-25080-561-4, $27.00, 272pp, hc) Sep­tember 2022.

Layla Hurley spends most of her life avoid­ing her nightmares. Whether through anxiety pills, wine, or a combination of those, she would do anything to sleep through the night without experiencing another lucid dream. But after her mother’s death, Layla learns that her nightmares are not chance recurrences, but a gift passed down from her family through ...Read More

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Alex Brown Reviews Direwood by Catherine Yu

Direwood, Catherine Yu (Page Street Publishing 978-1-64567-612-6, $18.99. 288pp, hc) Septem­ber 2022.

Sisters Fiona and Aja are part of the only Chinese American family in their entire suburban town. It’s the 1990s, the era of grunge and disillusion­ment, and no one is more disillusioned than Aja. Or so she thinks. Fiona is the golden child. She is the perfect daughter beloved by everyone in town. Aja, meanwhile, is rough ...Read More

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Colleen Mondor Reviews The Nightland Express by J.M. Lee

The Nightland Express, J.M. Lee (Erewhon 978-1-64566-003-3, $18.95, hc, 368pp) October 2022. Cover by Jeff Langevin.

In J.M. Lee’s The Nightland Express, it is 1860, and Jessamine Murphy and Ben Foley have each answered an advertisement from the Pony Express:

Special Assignment. St Joseph, Missouri to Sacramento, California. Two Riders Wanted. Young, Skinny, Wiry Fellows not over eighteen. Must be expert riders, willing to risk death daily. Orphans ...Read More

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Gary K. Wolfe Reviews Mr. Breakfast by Jonathan Carroll

Mr. Breakfast, Jonathan Carroll (Melville House 9-871-61219-992-4, $27.99, 272pp, hc) January 2023.

With all of the original and idiosyncratic voices in SFF these days, it’s tempt­ing and maybe a bit lazy to casually describe an author as sui generis. But when folks have been saying this for more than 40 years, as is the case with Jonathan Carroll, it begins to sound like a pretty solid verdict. No doubt ...Read More

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Paula Guran Reviews PodCastle, PseudoPod, and Weird Horror

PodCastle 7/5/22 PseudoPod 9/9/22, 9/16/22 Weird Horror Fall ’22

PodCastle 742: “The Morning House” by Kate Heartfield deals with the shifting perceptions of reality involved with an aging parent suffering from dementia and, well, shifting reality.

PseudoPod 828: “Taxiptómy” by Shannyn Campbell presents a consideration of a “con­troversial art of deliberately causing the death of a human as part of a public performance, before preparing and ...Read More

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Gabino Iglesias Reviews Fairy Tale by Stephen King

Fairy Tale, Stephen King (Scribner 978-1-66800-217-9, $32.50, 608pp, hc) October 2022. Cover by Kyle Kabel.

The fact that Stephen King can still surprise us is further proof that he’s one of the best living writers, and I say that as someone who recently reviewed the two new and very surprising Cormac McCarthy novels. King’s career is full of books that play across genres and exist in a unique spectrum ...Read More

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Alexandra Pierce Reviews Small Angels by Lauren Owen

Small Angels, Lauren Owen (Random House 978-0-59324-220-0, $28.99, 400 pp, hc) August 2022. Cover by Sarah Whittaker.

The Mockbeggar Woods like stories. If you go to the woods and tell it a story, you may well feel the trees responding. And sometimes a particularly resonant story might be one that the trees decide to keep, and keep alive. This might be a comfort if you think the woods will ...Read More

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Alex Brown Reviews Rust in the Root by Justina Ireland

Rust in the Root, Justina Ireland (Balzer + Bray 978-0-06303-822-6, $18.99. 488pp, hc) September 2022.

Justina Ireland’s latest YA alternate history novel Rust in the Root feels a bit like a cross between P. Djèlí Clark’s Ring Shout, Jeff VanderMeer’s Annihilation, and Victor LaValle’s The Ballad of Black Tom. If Ireland’s Dread Nation series (set just after the Civil War and involving zombies, queer Black teens,

...Read More Read more

Maya C. James Reviews The Monsters We Defy by Leslye Penelope

The Monsters We Defy, Leslye Penelope (Red­hook 978-0-316-377911, $17.99, 384pp, tp) Au­gust 2022. Cover design by Lisa Marie Pompilio.

Clara Johnson is a short-tempered woman who can see and speak with spirits. While Clara typically offers her services as one-off favors, she is soon approached by a woman whose son has become lifeless. He still breathes and walks, but will not eat unless prompted, and wanders off if not ...Read More

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Charles Payseur Reviews Short Fiction: Fusion Fragment, Fiyah, Flash Fiction Online, and GigaNotoSaurus

Fusion Fragment 10/22 Fiyah 10/22 Flash Fiction Online 10/22 GigaNotoSaurus 10/22

Fusion Fragment’s September issue is full of speculative stories that spring up in the wake of grief and loss, with characters searching for healing and belonging. It’s a theme that plays through many of the works, and perhaps most powerfully in Amy Nagopaleen’s “We’ll Al­ways Have Enceladus”, where Trisn is mourn­ing the loss of their partner, ...Read More

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Adrienne Martini Reviews The Art of Prophecy by Wesley Chu

The Art of Prophecy, Wesley Chu (Del Rey 978-0-593237-63-2, $28.99, 544 pp, hc) August 2022.

New York Times bestselling author Wesley Chu’s The Art of Prophecy, which kicks off his War Arts Saga trilogy, is the anti-Dune. Rather than chart the development of a random kid who fulfills a prophecy despite all of the obstacles in his way, Chu focuses on a kid who knows he’s ...Read More

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Russell Letson Reviews Imperium Restored by Walter Jon Williams

Imperium Restored, Walter Jon Williams (Harper Voyager 978-0-06246-705-8, $17.99, 496 pp, tp) September 2022.

Twenty years ago, Walter Jon Williams started a trilogy, Dread Empire’s Fall, that has since grown to seven novels (two trilogies and a standalone short novel), a novella, and a short story, and gotten new series labels: the First and Second Books of the Praxis. The main line of the series is arguably one long ...Read More

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Karen Burnham Reviews Short Fiction: khōréō and Asimov’s

khōréō 9/22 Asimov’s 9-10/22

The leading story in the latest issue of khōréō is particularly beautiful and im­pactful. In “Unname Me at the Altar” by Ashaye Brown, Bamidele is the child of a grandparent whose name may change every day. Every day she and her father reintroduce themselves over breakfast and find out who the grandparent is that day – old or young, male or female, etc. ...Read More

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Ian Mond Reviews Here Be Leviathans by Chris Flynn

Here Be Leviathans, Chris Flynn (University of Queensland Press 978-0-70226-277-7, $A32.99, 240pp, tp) August 2022.

I first encountered the work of Chris Flynn with his third novel, Mammoth. Narrated by an American mastodon and including the view­points of a Tyrannosaurus bataar (not rex), a pterodactyl, a prehistoric penguin, and the sev­ered hand of an Egyptian mummy, Mammoth tells the story of how these bones and fossilised remains came ...Read More

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