Amy Goldschlager Reviews The Fever King Audiobook by Victoria Lee

The Fever King, Victoria Lee; Michael Crouch, narrator (Brilliance Audio 978-1-7213-3626-5, 11 CDs, $26.99, 14 hr., unabridged [also available on MP3-CD and as a digital download]) March 2019.

The early 21st century of an alternate Earth becomes infected by magic, a plague which kills most but leaves the survivors with powers. The dangerous disease and violent prejudice against the surviving “witchings” splinters the US. The most powerful witching, Calix ...Read More

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Rich Horton Reviews Short Fiction: Uncanny, Galaxy’s Edge, Bourbon Penn, and Writers of the Future 35

Uncanny 5-6/19 Galaxy’s Edge 5/19 Bourbon Penn 3/19 Writers of the Future, Vol. 35, David Farland, ed. (Galaxy Press) April 2019.

Uncanny‘s May-June issue is also a bit slight. Still, Ellen Klages, as one might expect, doesn’t disappoint with “Nice Things“. Phoebe Morris is dealing with her late mother’s things and, in so doing, dealing with memories of her perfection­ist mother, how she wouldn’t let her ...Read More

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Colleen Mondor Reviews When the Sky Fell on Splendor by Emily Henry

When the Sky Fell on Splendor, Emily Henry (Razorbill 978-0-451-48071-2, $17.99, 340pp, hc) March 2019.

The publisher makes a direct comparison to Stranger Things in the dust jacket copy for Em­ily Henry’s latest, When the Sky Fell on Splendor. While I can see some similarities – teens on bicycles in a sleepy midwestern town who encounter some­thing otherworldly with very negative results – I find that the novel ...Read More

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Gary K. Wolfe Reviews Million Mile Road Trip by Rudy Rucker

Million Mile Road Trip, Rudy Rucker (Night Shade 978-1-94094838-6, $24.99, 504pp, hc) May 2019.

There’s little doubt that Rudy Rucker deserves his reputation as one of the founders of cyberpunk – his Software predated Neuromancer by a couple of years – but his own literary origins seem to reach as far back as Lewis Carroll and Edwin A. Abbott, to whose Flatland Rucker paid a kind of parodic tribute ...Read More

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Karen Burnham Reviews Short Fiction: Strange Horizons, Samovar, Constellary Tales, and Deep Magic

Strange Horizons 4/19, 5/19 Samovar 3/19 Constellary Tales #2 Deep Magic Spring ’19

At the end of April Strange Horizons set aside an issue to focus on Nigerian science fiction and fantasy that featured two original stories: “The Storm Painter” by Avodele Olofintuade and “Where the Rain Mothers Are” by Rafeeat Aliyu. Both happen to hit on themes of return­ing. Olofintuade’s story features an artist, ...Read More

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Amy Goldschlager Reviews Sal and Gabi Break the Universe Audiobook by Carlos Hernandez

Sal and Gabi Break the Universe, Carlos Hernandez; Anthony Rey Perez, narrator (Listening Library 978-1-98484579-5, $27.50, digital download, 9.5 hr., unabridged) March 2019.

Once again, I’m bending the general rules for this column to review a middle-grade book; suffice it to say that adults will not regret spending time engaging with it, whether or not they have tweens in their lives.

Twelve-year-old Sal, a clever aspiring stage magician, has ...Read More

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Paul Di Filippo Reviews The City and the Cygnets by Michael Bishop

The City and the Cygnets, Michael Bishop (Fairwood Press/Kudzu Planet Productions 978-1933846781, $19.99, 466pp, trade paperback) August 2019

Many authors can’t resist the temptation to revisit the work of their younger selves and do a little improving, while others subscribe to the famous verse by Omar Khayyám: “The Moving Finger writes; and, having writ,/Moves on: nor all thy Piety nor Wit/Shall lure it back to cancel half a Line,/Nor ...Read More

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Colleen Mondor Reviews Opposite of Always by Justin A. Reynolds

Opposite of Always, Justin A. Reynolds (Katherine Tegen 978-0-06-274837-9, $17.99, 464pp, hc) March 2019.

It is not a spoiler to state that Opposite of Always is a novel about time travel; specifically, the story of Jack traveling back over the same period of months again and again (and again and again) to save the life of his girlfriend, Kate. All of this is revealed on the book’s cover, which ...Read More

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Katharine Coldiron Reviews No Country for Old Gnomes by Delilah S. Daw­son & Kevin Hearne

No Country for Old Gnomes, Delilah S. Dawson & Kevin Hearne (Del Rey 978-1-52479-777-5, $28.00, 416pp, hc) April 2019.

Can we agree that writing humor is really difficult? And that writing humorous fantasy is even tougher? It’s so easy to write dreadful humorous fantasy, and so difficult to write it well that I can count the definite successes on one hand: Terry Pratchett, Robert Asprin, and maybe Piers Anthony. ...Read More

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Rich Horton Reviews Short Fiction: F&SF, Interzone, and Amazing

F&SF 7-8/19 Interzone 3-4/19 Amazing Spring ’19

In the July-August F&SF, Cassandra Khaw‘s “Mighty are the Meek and the Myriad” is very impressive. It’s set the year after a human-robot war ended in a treaty, with robots serving as humans, and, in various ways, being “humanized” by having them wear hats and mustaches and giving them corgis as pets. The story follows two somewhat unpleasant hu­man characters: ...Read More

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Amy Goldschlager Reviews Miranda in Milan Audiobook by Katharine Duckett

Miranda in Milan, Katharine Duckett; Saskia Maaleveld, narrator (Audible Studios, $12.99, digi­tal download, 4.5 hr., unabridged). March 2019.

Fantasy writers never want to accept Miranda’s happy ending with Ferdinand at the end of Shakespeare’s The Tempest. And who can blame them? Ferdinand is the only young man (or perhaps the second young man, depending on how you depict Caliban) that Miranda ever meets; can this really be a ...Read More

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Colleen Mondor Reviews An Affair of Poisons by Addie Thorley

An Affair of Poisons, Addie Thorley (Page Street 978-1-62414-713-5, $18.99, 383pp, hc) February 2019.

In 1679 there was a documented plot to assassinate King Louis XIV of France. Instigated by his discarded mistress, Madame de Montespan, a poisoned petition was prepared, and on three separate occasions there were attempts to present it to the king; all of them failed. The plot was uncovered and over 30 people were arrested ...Read More

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Paul Di Filippo Reviews Sing Your Sadness Deep by Laura Mauro

Sing Your Sadness Deep, Laura Mauro (Undertow 978-1988964133, $27.99, 236pp, hardcover) August 2019

This year marks the tenth anniversary of the founding of Undertow Publications, under the aegis of Michael Kelly, who wears a second hat as an accomplished fiction writer himself, thus continuing the field’s grand tradition of editors who know how stories are put together from the inside out (Knight, Dozois, Campbell, et. al). During that span ...Read More

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Adrienne Martini Reviews Magic for Liars by Sarah Gailey

Magic for Liars, Sarah Gailey (Tor 978-125-017461-1, $25.99, 336pp, hc) June 2019. Cover by Will Staehle.

Sarah Gailey’s Magic for Liars falls on the Lev Grossman’s The Magicians side of the magic schools continuum. Osthorne Academy is less Hogwarts and more Brakebills but with a touch of the former’s whimsy. That doesn’t make Magic for Liars a derivative work that lacks a fresh touch. This is a well that ...Read More

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Gary K. Wolfe Reviews Song for the Unraveling of the World by Brian Evenson

Song for the Unraveling of the World, Brian Evenson (Coffee House Press 978-156689-548-4, $16.99, 212pp, tp) June 2019.

In his story “Leaking Out”, which could be read as Brian Evenson’s characteristically oblique take on the haunted house tale, a “malformed man” (another characteristic Evenson figure) starts tell­ing a story with the warning that “this is not that kind of story, the kind meant to explain things. It simply tells ...Read More

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Liz Bourke Reviews Brightfall by Jaime Lee Moyer

Brightfall, Jaime Lee (Jo Fletcher 978-1-78747-920-3, £18.99, 312pp, hc) August 2019.

Brightfall is Jaime Lee Moyer’s first novel since her debut trilogy (Delia’s Shadow, A Barricade in Hell, and Against A Brightening Sky, the last of which came out in 2015). Brightfall is both like and unlike these previous books. Like, in that it shares a similar tone and a similar interest in women’s lives ...Read More

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Ian Mond Reviews The Laws of the Skies by Grégoire Courtois

The Laws of the Skies, Grégoire Courtois (Coach House 978-1552453872, $16.95, 160pp, tp) May 2019.

In March this year, my eight-year-old son Joshua went camping for the first time. A month later I read The Laws of the Skies by French author Grégoire Courtois (translated by Rhonda Mullins), which involves a group of six-year-olds embarking on their first-ever camp trip. If the order of these two events had been ...Read More

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Paul Di Filippo Reviews The Girls with Kaleidoscope Eyes by Howard V. Hendrix

The Girls With Kaleidoscope Eyes: Analog Stories for a Digital Age, Howard V. Hendrix (Fairwood Press 978-1-933846-77-4, $17.99, 318pp, trade paperback) August 2019

I do believe I’ve read all six of Howard Hendrix’s ingenious, well-crafted and entertaining novels, all of which I’ve enjoyed immensely. When, retrospectively, his output of novels seemed to cease with Spears of God, in 2006, I was dismayed and sad. For one reason or ...Read More

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Adrienne Martini Reviews Longer by Michael Blumlein

Longer, Michael Blumlein (Tor.com Publishing 978-1-250-22981-6, $15.99, 234pp, tp) May 2019.

In direct contrast to Stephenson’s much-muchness sits Michael Blumlein’s Longer. In this novella, he folds idea upon idea and builds distinct characters who are in constant and subtle movement. Longer packs so many interesting moments into its compact structure that it is a challenge to not turn immediately back to the first pages after you read the ...Read More

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Gary K. Wolfe Reviews Unraveling by Karen Lord

Unraveling, Karen Lord (DAW 978-0-7544-1520-4, $26.00, 258pp, hc) June 2019.

I don’t think it’s giving anything away to note that the final section of Karen Lord’s Unraveling is titled “Metanoia”, since that term has at least a couple of meanings that are relevant not only to the new novel (her fourth), but to the whole body of her work to date. The more-or-less theological meaning, which has to do ...Read More

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Liz Bourke Reviews Five Unicorn Flush by T.J. Berry

Five Unicorn Flush, T.J. Berry (Angry Robot US 978-0-85766-783-0, $12.99, 314pp, tp) May 2019. Cover by Lee Gibbons.

T.J. Berry’s debut novel, Space Unicorn Blues, took place in a fantastical space opera world, one in which creatures from human mythology, possessing magical powers, live and struggle alongside humans. These beings are known as the Bala, and the totalitarian, genocidal human government known as the Reason went to war ...Read More

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Karen Burnham Reviews Short Fiction: Tor.com, Lightspeed, BCS and Strange Horizons

Tor.com 4/3/19 Lightspeed 5/19 Beneath Ceaseless Skies 4/11/19 Strange Horizons 4/19

Kathleen Ann Goonan‘s story at Tor.com, “One/Zero” is a fascinating peek three-minutes-into-the-future. It’s told from two viewpoints: Vida is a teenager in Kurdistan, and the story begins in media res as her neighborhood is bombed and most of her family killed, sending her and her little brother on the road as refugees. An AV bus picks ...Read More

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Ian Mond Reviews The Archive of Alternate Endings by Lindsey Drager

The Archive of Alternate Endings, Lindsey Drager (Dzanc 978-1945814822, $16.95, 168pp, tp) May 2019.

Above the ten chapter headings that make up Lindsey Drager’s remarkable short novel The Archive of Alternate Endings are a range of years beginning with 1378 and ending with 2365. Those mathematically inclined will note a 75- to 79-year gap between each year, and those who know their celestial bodies will figure out that this ...Read More

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Gary K. Wolfe and Adrienne Martini Review Fall; or, Dodge in Hell by Neal Stephenson

Fall; or, Dodge in Hell, Neal Stephenson (Morrow 978-0-06-245871-1, $35.00, 896pp, hc) June 2019.

Neal Stephenson’s idea of a novel isn’t quite the same as anyone else’s, and for the most part this has served him remarkably well. His Baroque Cycle trilogy was really no more a trilogy than was Asimov’s Foundation series, except that while Asimov’s narrative units were stories and novellas, Ste­phenson’s were entire novels – and ...Read More

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Liz Bourke Reviews Broken Shadow by Jaine Fenn

Broken Shadow, Jaine Fenn (Angry Robot US 978-0-85766-803-5, $12.99, 432pp, tp) May 2019. Cover by Andreas Rocha.

Jaine Fenn’s Hidden Sun, out from Angry Robot Books last year, introduced the reader to the world of shadowlands and skylands. In the shadowlands, or at least the ones with which the novel concerns itself, a powerful Church restricts scientific development and unorthodox thought, while a patriarchal society relegates women to ...Read More

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Rich Horton Reviews Short Fiction: Analog, Asimov’s, and Space and Time

Analog 5-6/19 Asimov’s 5-6/19 Space and Time Spring/Summer ’19

The May-June Analog opens with a fun alternate history from Harry Turtledove, “Bonehunters“, retelling a version of the fossil wars of the late 19th century in a timeline where, apparently, dinosaurs never became extinct, and two separate intelligent species evolved from raptors. The story is told by Rekek, a “greenskin” who serves as a guide. His stepson Junior ...Read More

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Katharine Coldiron Reviews Amnesty by Lara Elena Donnelly

Amnesty, Lara Elena Donnelly (Tor 978-1-25017-362-1, $18.99, 384pp, tp) April 2019.

“It is not easy,” Aristide Makricosta tells a gathered crowd early in Amnesty, “to destroy your life. To coat the things you love in kerosene and light a match.” He is talking about Cordelia Lehane, a burlesque dancer turned resistance leader, who did exactly that when she decided to fight against the fascism sweeping across Amberlough. Cordelia ...Read More

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Ian Mond Reviews Triangulum by Masande Ntshanga

Triangulum, Masande Ntshanga (Two Dollar Radio 978-1937512774, $17.99, 367pp, tp) May 2019.

I was predisposed to enjoy Masande Ntshanga’s Triangulum. Some of my favourite books are “found manuscript” novels, including James Hogg’s The Private Memoirs and Confessions of a Justified Sinner, David Means’ Man Booker Prize longlisted Hystopia, and the granddaddy of them all, Mark Z. Danielewski’s breathtaking House of Leaves. Triangulum doesn’t feature the ...Read More

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Karen Burnham Reviews Short Fiction: Clarkesworld, Apex, Capricious, Apparition, and Aurealis

Clarkesworld 4/19 Apex 3/19 Capricious SF #11 Apparition #5 Aurealis #119

April’s Clarkesworld brings us the first in a planned run of stories translated from Korean, starting with “The Flowering” by Soyeon Jong (translated by Jihyun Park & Gord Sellar). This is a sly story told in interview style, with the sister of a known subversive who’s been working to literally ‘plant’ organic biotech routers to get ...Read More

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Gary K. Wolfe Reviews The Iron Dragon’s Mother by Michael Swanwick

The Iron Dragon’s Mother, Michael Swanwick (Tor 978-1-250-19825-9, $26.99, 366pp, hc) June 2019.

There are hints of the afterlife in Michael Swanwick’s The Iron Dragon’s Mother, but it’s hard to accuse a fantasy world of pretentiousness when it cheerfully includes living metal dragon jet fighters along with Hello Kitty backpacks, or in which the streets of a magical underwater city are lined with Vuitton and Dolce & Gabbana ...Read More

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Colleen Mondor Reviews Do You Dream of Terra-Two? by Temi Oh

Do You Dream of Terra-Two?, Temi Oh (Saga 978-1-53443-7401 $16.99, 528pp, tp) March 2019.

First, this book is a doorstop. I am not kid­ding, it’s a book about a deep space mission that doesn’t even leave the ground until more than 100 pages in. It has a big cast of char­acters (six living teens, one dead one, four adults, plus mentions of various parents and assorted other living and ...Read More

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Russell Letson Reviews The Warship by Neal Asher

The Warship, Neal Asher (Night Shade 978-1-59780-990-0, $26.99, 369pp, hc) May 2019. Cover by Adam Burn.

Okay, now it’s getting complicated. I called Infinity Engine (2017), the finale of Neal Asher’s Transformation trilogy, “sprawling and shaggy,” a description that ap­plies as well to his new book. The Warship is the plot-thickening middle volume of a trilogy that is also part of the Polity future history series that so far ...Read More

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