Paul Di Filippo Reviews World Engines: Destroyer by Stephen Baxter

World Engines: Destroyer, Stephen Baxter (UK: Gollancz 978-1473223172, £20, 576pp, hardcover) September 2019

As nearly as I can suss out, Stephen Baxter currently has no publisher in the USA. His last three books in his classic Xeelee series—Xeelee Endurance (2015), Xeelee Vengeance (2017) and Xeelee Redemption (2018)—appeared from Gollancz in the UK, but not here. And this newest one has no American edition either.

Now, thanks to the ...Read More

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Rich Horton Reviews Short Fiction: F&SF, Uncanny, Interzone, Galaxy’s Edge, Bourbon Penn, and Amazing Stories

F&SF 9-10/19 Uncanny 7-8/19 Interzone 7-8/19 Galaxy’s Edge 7/19 Bourbon Penn 7/19 Amazing Stories 7/19

The September-October F&SF is notable for stories by some prominent writers. Maureen McHugh‘s “Under the Hill” is a very well-done, second person point-of-view story about Amelia, who matriculates at Burkman College, a prestigious institution that we quickly learn has an unusual student body – a significant subset are Fair Folk. The arc ...Read More

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Liz Bourke and Amy Goldschlager Review This Is How You Lose the Time War by Amal El-Mohtar & Max Gladstone

This Is How You Lose the Time War, Amal El-Mohtar & Max Gladstone (Saga 978-1-5344-3100-3, $19.99, 200pp, hc) July 2019.

A novel – or rather a novella – that does find me part of its enthusiastic readership is Amal El-Mohtar & Max Gladstone’s first tra­ditionally published collaboration, This Is How You Lose the Time War. Holy shit. Holy shit. Holy shit. This is the time-travelling queer epistolary romance ...Read More

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Ian Mond Reviews The Old Lie by Claire G. Coleman

The Old Lie, Claire G. Coleman (Hachette Australia 978-0-733-64084-1, A$32.99, 368pp, tp) August 2019.

You’d be forgiven for initially mistak­ing the setting of Claire G. Coleman’s sophomore novel, The Old Lie, as the battlefields of the First World War. The opening chapter begins with a stanza from “Dulce Et Decorum Est” by poet and WWI soldier Wil­fred Owen, and features a death march through a devastated terrain redolent ...Read More

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Katharine Coldiron Reviews FKA USA by Reed King

FKA USA, Reed King (Flatiron Books 978-1-25010-889-0, $27.99, 480pp, hc) June 2019.

Whether Reed King’s FKA USA works for you is going to depend on who you are as a reader. To some extent, this is true of any book in the world, but it’s particularly true for this book, a sprawling, self-conscious novel of the American apocalypse inspired by equal parts David Foster Wallace and The Wizard of ...Read More

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Gary K. Wolfe Reviews The Future of Another Timeline by Annalee Newitz

The Future of Another Timeline, Annalee Newitz (Tor 978-0-7653-9210-7, $26.99, 352pp, hc) September 2019.

Stories about time wars, or temporal wars, or change wars (in Fritz Leiber’s classic formulation), along with related tales about time police, time guards, time patrols, time ref­erees, or even just time nudniks, have gotten so ubiquitous that even Sarah Connor must be getting bored. Collectively, they constitute a kind of sub-subgenre somewhere in the ...Read More

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Colleen Mondor Reviews Five Midnights by Ann Dávila Cardinal

Five Midnights, Ann Dávila Cardinal (Tor Teen 978-1-250-29607-8, $17.99, 288pp, hc) June 2019.

Welcome to the seedy side of Puerto Rico, where at an early age teens are roped into gangs and drug dealing, the economy is under perpetual attack by greedy US business interests, and a terrifying murderer is on the prowl. It looks like a couple of young men walking on the wrong side of the law ...Read More

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Paul Di Filippo Reviews All Worlds Are Real by Susan Palwick

All Worlds Are Real Era, Susan Palwick (Fairwood 978-1933846842, $17.99, 322pp, hardcover) November 2019

With the publication of her new story collection, All Worlds Are Real, Susan Palwick charts her sixth book over the course of her 35 years of professional publication. Measured reductionistically by number of pages produced, she has not been extremely prolific. But when gauged by the quality of her prose and the allure and ...Read More

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Karen Burnham Reviews Short Fiction: Apex, Clarkesworld, and Lackington’s

Apex 5/19 Clarkesworld 7/19 Lackington’s Spring ’19

Issue #120 marks the passing of Apex Maga­zine. After a major health concern, editor Jason Sizemore has put the magazine on indefinite hiatus, but the final issue goes out in style with guest editor Maurice Broaddus elaborating on the theme of Afrofuturism with a mixture of original and reprint stories and essays. The three original stories cast a very wide net, starting with ...Read More

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Tom Whitmore Reviews The Grand Dark by Richard Kadrey

The Grand Dark, Richard Kadrey (Harper Voyager 978-0-06-267249-0 $26.99, 419 pp, hc) June 2019.

Richard Kadrey’s new novel is a depar­ture from his usual contemporary-setting dark fantasies, or maybe not. Set in a SF version of a middle-European city (Lower Proszawa) after one war has finished, where ev­eryone knows that a new one is on the way, it has the feeling of an alternate world that is very close ...Read More

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Liz Bourke Reviews Time’s Demon by D.B. Jackson

Time’s Demon, D.B. Jackson (Angry Robot 978-0-85766-793-9, $14.99, 490pp, pb) May 2019. Cover by Jan Wessbecher.

D.B. Jackson’s Time’s Demon is the sec­ond book in a series, the Islevale Cycle, that began with Time’s Children. I had been under the impression that it was the second book in a duology, but events proved this assump­tion wrong. It does its readers the courtesy of recapping the events of the ...Read More

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Katharine Coldiron Reviews The Fox and Dr. Shimamura by Christine Wun­nicke

The Fox and Dr. Shimamura, Christine Wun­nicke (New Directions 978-0-81122-624-0, $15.95, 160pp, tp) April 2019.

The Fox and Dr. Shimamura is a puzzling, unset­tling book. It has the feel of a story told half-asleep, with clear details and vague overall effect. What be­gins in promising magical realism veers into surrealist historical fiction, leans toward medical interests, and is likely to leave most readers behind with that turn. Christine Wunnicke ...Read More

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Richard A. Lupoff Reviews Frozen Hell by John W. Campbell, Jr.

Frozen Hell, John W. Campbell, Jr. (978-14794-4283-6, $29.99, 159pp) June 2019. Cover by Bob Eggleton.

When F. Orlin Tremaine, editor of Astound­ing Stories, was promoted to supervision of Street & Smith’s magazine division in 1937, his hand-picked successor was one of his star authors, a young man named John W. Campbell, Jr. Despite being a popular author, Campbell was struggling with the unreliable income of a freelance writer; he ...Read More

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Colleen Mondor Reviews The Weight of the Stars by K. Ancrum

The Weight of the Stars, K. Ancrum (Imprint 978-1-250-10163-1, $18.99, 375pp, hc) March 2019.

It is impossible for me to review K. Ancrum’s The Weight of the Stars without first mentioning Seanan McGuire’s stunner of a blurb. She wrote: “This book is starlight on broken concrete, it’s flowers on a broken rooftop, and it’s a masterpiece.” If you are a fan of McGuire (and good God, why wouldn’t you ...Read More

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Niall Harrison Reviews Miracles & Marvels: Stories by Tim Pratt

Miracles & Marvels: Stories, Tim Pratt (The Merry Blacksmith Press, 978-1-69571-634-6, $14.95, 289pp, pb) November 2019.

Patreon fiction is the dark matter of our field: it’s hard to tell how much there is, and how substantial it is. Many writers have estab­lished Patreons, and many of them offer regular original stories to their supporters; and since that counts as first publication, many or most of those stories never make ...Read More

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Tim Pratt Reviews The Luminous Dead by Caitlin Starling

The Luminous Dead, Caitlin Starling (Harper Voyager 978-0-06-284690-7, $16.99, 415pp, tp) April 2019.

One of my favorite movies is Neil Marshall’s The Descent (2006), about a group of women who enter an unexplored cave system and discover unspeakable subterranean horrors – so when I say Caitlin Starling’s The Luminous Dead is like a science fiction version of The Descent, but even more claustrophobic and harrowing, recognize it as ...Read More

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Katharine Coldiron Reviews Internment by Samira Ahmed

Internment, Samira Ahmed (Little, Brown 978-0-31652-269-4, $17.99, 400pp, hc) March 2019.

Internment is a breathless novel of our po­litical moment. In that vein, it succeeds com­pletely: it spools out the logical conclusion to the fearmongering and intolerance that currently gathers at rallies and shouts on Twitter, and it posits, with no small amount of real-life proof, that only the people who are teenagers right now have the capacity to ...Read More

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Ian Mond Reviews Outside the Gates by Molly Gloss

Outside the Gates, Molly Gloss (Atheneum 0-689-31275-X, $11.95, 120pp, hc) September 1986. (Saga Press 978-1-534-41498-3, $24.99, 128pp, hc) January 2019.

As far as I can tell (from a quick skim of the Internet Science Fiction Database), Molly Gloss’s debut, Outside the Gates, was never reviewed by Locus when it came out in 1986. This might be because the novella, initially published by Atheneum, was pitched at a younger ...Read More

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Gary K. Wolfe Reviews The Dollmaker by Nina Allan

The Dollmaker, Nina Allan (riverrun 978-1-787-47255-6, £14.99, 416pp, tp) April 2019. (Other Press 978-1590519936, $16.99, 416pp, tp) October 2019.

One of the questions Nina Allan’s fiction consis­tently raises is whether the idea of genre is even useful anymore. Her stories tend to burrow in and out of each other like enthusiastic metafictional badgers, borrowing and repurposing themes and even characters in an ongoing celebration of the fluidity of story; ...Read More

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Alvaro Zinos-Amaro Reviews Lost Transmissions, Edited by Desirina Boskovich

Lost Transmissions: The Secret History of Sci­ence Fiction and Fantasy, Desirina Boskovich, ed. (Harry N. Abrams 978-1419734656, $29.99, 288pp, hc) September 2019.

Desirina Boskovich, who with Jeff VanderMeer previously authored the informative and visually sumptuous The Steampunk User’s Manual (2014), here brings us a delightful potpourri of 80 essays and interviews on all manner of things imaginary, with dazzling complementary illustra­tions. The book’s subtitle, “The Secret History of Science ...Read More

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Rich Horton Reviews Short Fiction: Tin House, LCRW, and The CSZ

Tin House Summer ’19 Lady Churchill’s Rosebud Wristlet Summer ’19 The Cascadia Subduction Zone Vol 9 No 2

Sadly, the Summer issue of Tin House is its last – they are closing up shop after 80 issues – a full 20 years of really first-rate fiction, essays, poetry and reviews. They were very hospitable to fantastika, and this holds true in this final outing. “The Gondoliers” by Karen ...Read More

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Carolyn Cushman Reviews The Unkindest Tide by Seanan McGuire and Witch Hat Atelier 2 by Kamome Shirahama

Seanan McGuire, The Unkindest Tide (DAW 978-0-7564-1507-5, $26.00, 354pp, hc) Septem­ber 2019. Cover by Chris McGrath.

Toby’s all at sea in this uneven 13th novel in the October Daye series, which centers on an old bargain the Luidaeg (sea witch) made to undo a great wrong. Her children and descendants, the Roane, were mostly slaughtered by people who stole their magic skins. The Luidaeg turned the murderers’ children into Selkies, ...Read More

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Paula Guran Reviews This House of Wounds by Georgina Bruce

This House of Wounds, Georgina Bruce (Un­dertow Publications 978-1-988964-09-6, $27.99, 248pp, hc) June 2019. Cover by Catrin Welz-Stein.

Georgina Bruce’s searing debut collection contains 16 superbly written, often surreal stories of misogyny, blood, anger, agony, and abuse. Bruce’s stygian tales are technically ac­complished, but also powered by a profound depth of feeling. They often compel and overwhelm at the same time. Like the cover art by Catrin Welz-Stein, This ...Read More

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Paul Di Filippo Reviews Supernova Era by Cixin Liu

Supernova Era, Cixin Liu (Tor 978-1250306036, $27.99, 352pp, hardcover) October 2019

The Anglophone market for foreign fantastika often seems to have one significant niche available per era. No matter how many non-English-speaking authors are producing interesting material, only a single name becomes widely translated and prominent. For the longest time during the earliest years of the genre, that berth was filled of course by Jules Verne. Then by Lem. ...Read More

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Liz Bourke Reviews The Ascent to Godhood by JY Yang

The Ascent to Godhood, JY Yang (Tor.com Publishing 978-1-250-16587-9, $12.99, 120pp, tp) July 2019. Cover by Yuko Shimizu.

JY Yang’s Tensorate novellas have always been inventive and ambitious, an ambition and a sense of verve and innovation that’s been recognised by several award nominations. All three of those novellas to date have stood more or less alone, but with the fourth, this year’s The Ascent to Godhood, Yang ...Read More

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Ian Mond and Gary K. Wolfe Review Gods of Jade and Shadow by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

Gods of Jade and Shadow, Silvia Moreno-Garcia (Del Rey 978-0-525-62075-4, $26.00, 350pp, hc) August 2019.

Silvia Moreno-Garcia’s fourth novel, Gods of Jade and Shadow, is a rip-roaring adventure set in 1920s Mexico, featuring duelling Mayan Death Gods, a secondary cast of ghosts, spirits, and warlocks and, caught in the middle of it all, an 18-year-old who peers long­ingly at the stars and constellations she’s named after. When we ...Read More

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Karen Haber Reviews Don Punchatz: A Retrospective

Don Punchatz: A Retrospective, Don Punchatz (Centipede Press 978-1-61347-196-8, $50.00, 240pp, hc) March 2019. Cover by Don Punchatz.

Don Punchatz: A Retrospective is a long over­due and richly deserved retrospective of this master surrealist’s illustration work. A limited edition hardcover from Centipede Press’s Artist Series, the book punches well above its size and weight class.

Jam packed with art from its cover flaps to its endpapers, it is a ...Read More

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Karen Burnham Reviews Short Fiction: Lightspeed, New York Times, Tor.com, Big Echo, and Terraform

Lightspeed 7/19 New York Times 5/27/19 Tor.com 6/5/19 Big Echo 1/19 Terraform 5/13/19

The science fiction stories in July’s Lightspeed catch characters at very different phases of their lives. “The Null Space Conundrum” by Violet Allen is an over-the-top story of Aria, a supercool (and very self-conscious about that coolness) cosmic cyborg entity helping the liv­ing song entity Kantikle on a mission to save the Universe from a ...Read More

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Gary K. Wolfe Reviews Meet Me in the Future by Kameron Hurley

Meet Me in the Future, Kameron Hurley (Tachyon 978-1-61696-296-8, $15.99, 332pp, tp) August 2019.

Chances are that most of the futures in Kameron Hurley’s Meet Me in the Future aren’t ones you’d want to meet anyone in: plagues, endless wars, drowned cities, alien invasions, decaying spaceships, and endlessly inventive ways of disrupting the human body. Bodies, in fact, as Hurley notes in her engagingly personal intro­duction, seem to be ...Read More

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Paul Di Filippo Reviews Antediluvian by Wil McCarthy

Antediluvian, Wil McCarthy (Baen 978-1-4814-8431-2, $25, 320pp, hardcover) October 2019

Award-winning author Wil McCarthy has not brought forth a novel since—if I am reading his ISFDB entry aright—2005’s To Crush the Moon, and I suspect a whole new generation of readers is unfamiliar with his name and accomplishments: the ability to splendidly blend solid scientific outrageousness with slambang action and likable Everyman characters. That’s a shame, since, as ...Read More

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Russell Letson Reviews Rule of Capture by Christopher Brown

Rule of Capture, Christopher Brown (Harper Voyager 978-0-06-285909-9, $15.99, 378pp, tp) August 2019.

Christopher Brown’s second novel, Rule of Capture, is a kind of companion piece to his first, Tropic of Kansas, but not really a prequel. Tropic of Kansas (a finalist for the John W. Campbell Award) takes place in a fractured, alternate-near-future America hammered by cli­mate change and civil disorder. Rule of Capture shows how ...Read More

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Karen Haber Reviews DC Comics Super Heroines and Infected by Art Volume 6

DC Comics Super Heroines: 100 Greatest Moments, Robert Greenberger (Chartwell Books 978-0-7858-3618-6, $24.99, 312pp, hc) September 2018.

Occasionally a book comes along that I wish I could send through the time-travel mail to my 13-year-old self. DC Comics Super Heroines: 100 Greatest Moments is one of them. Yes, it’s got lots of women in tights – about 100 – but they are busy doing cool superhero stuff.

This wants ...Read More

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