Colleen Mondor Reviews The Last Tale of the Flower Bride by Roshani Chokshi

The Last Tale of the Flower Bride, Roshani Chokshi (Morrow 978-0-06-320650-2, $27.99, hc, 304pp) February 2023. Cover by Elena Masai.

Roshani Chokshi has an exceptional ability to write dramatically different but wonderful books. Her Gilded Wolves series, aimed at older teens, is solidly in ‘‘magical James Bond-ian’’ territory (if such a thing exists) and follows a group of misfit gifted teens who break into places that seem im­possible to ...Read More

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Gary K. Wolfe Reviews Under My Skin by K.J. Parker

Under My Skin, K.J. Parker (Subterranean 978-1-64524-079-2, $50.00, 680pp, hc) March 2023.

Under My Skin is the third major collection from K.J. Parker, and like Academic Exercises in 2014 and The Father of Lies in 2018, it’s a hefty one. This is mostly because Parker tends to favor novella and novelette-length stories, and four of the 13 stories here – ‘‘Mightier Than the Sword’’, ‘‘My Beautiful Life’’, ‘‘Prosper’s Demon’’, and ...Read More

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Karen Burnham Reviews: Analog and Asimov’s

Analog 3-4/23 Asimov’s 3-4/23

The lead novella in the March/April Ana­log is ‘‘The Tinker and the Timestream’’ by Carolyn Ives Gilman. Rustem is a young man learning to be the tinker of his colony, which is tenuously living under the threat of a solar eruption wiping them out at any minute. Interstellar travelers arrive, travel­ing in a fascinatingly complex way involving time currents and bubbles of slow ...Read More

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Paul Di Filippo Reviews Pennies from Heaven by James P. Blaylock

Pennies from Heaven, James P. Blaylock (PS Publishing 978-1786368843, trade paperback, 304pp, $21.00) December 2022

I find it incredibly hard to believe that so many years have passed. But databases don’t lie. The Internet Science Fiction Database informs me that PS Publishing issued its first title in 1999—and since then has produced nearly one thousand more! That is some kind of dramatic major milestone for any small press, as ...Read More

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Gabino Iglesias Reviews Our Share of Night by Mariana Enriquez

Our Share of Night, Mariana Enriquez (Granta 978-1-78378-673-2, £18.99, 736pp, hc) October 2022. (Hogarth US 978-0-45149-514-3, $28.99, 608pp, hc) February 2023. Cover by Debbie Glasserman.

Once in a while a novel comes along that makes you think it was written just for you. That’s how I felt about Mariana Enriquez’s Our Share of Night, a superb novel beautifully translated from the Spanish by Megan McDowell. A sprawling epic ...Read More

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Gary K. Wolfe Reviews H’ard Starts: The Early Waldrop by Howard Wal­drop

H’ard Starts: The Early Waldrop, Howard Wal­drop (Subterranean 978-1-64524-117-1, $50.00, 370pp, hc) June 2023. Cover by Doug Potter.

I suppose there’s a nugget of irony in the fact that Howard Waldrop’s first professional sale, a story called “Lunchbox”, was also one of the very last stories that John W. Campbell, Jr. accepted for Analog. As Waldrop remembers it, Campbell ac­cepted the story in October of 1970 and dropped dead ...Read More

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Liz Bourke Reviews The Iron Princess by Barbara Hambly

The Iron Princess, Barbara Hambly (Open Road Media 978-1-50408-132-0, $34.99, 360pp, hc; 978-1-50407-902-0, $18.99, 360pp, tp) February 2023. Cover by Amanda Shaffer.

Barbara Hambly’s early career was defined by her fantasy novels, and for many read­ers in the 1980s – and indeed, a number of writers – books like The Ladies of Mandrigyn and Dragonsbane proved influential, even for­mative. But for the last decade and a half, she’s been ...Read More

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Charles Payseur Reviews Short Fiction: Cast of Wonders, Worlds of Possibility, Samovar, and Strange Horizons

Cast of Wonders 2/25/23, 2/28/23 Worlds of Possibility 2/23 Samovar 2/27/23 Strange Horizons 2/20/23, 3/6/23, 3/13/23

Cast of Wonders, which I mentioned last month, fit a few more stories into Feb­ruary, including a rather charming one about a ‘‘malfunctioning’’ AI in Marie Vibbert’s ‘‘Haunting the Docks’’. To the artificial dock­ing manager, though, it’s more accurate to say they’re just a bit enthusiastic about their work, and perhaps ...Read More

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Adrienne Martini Reviews Translation State by Ann Leckie

Translation State, Ann Leckie (Orbit 978-0-31628-971-9, $29, 432 pg, hc) June 2023.

With Translation State, Ann Leckie returns to the Radchaai universe she built in the Ancil­lary trilogy. This time, the focus shifts from the powerful and ritual-bound Radch to the rest of the humans who are just trying to live their lives without interference from system-wide events. That goes about as well as you’d think.

In the ...Read More

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Gary K. Wolfe Reviews Conquest by Nina Allan

Conquest, Nina Allan (riverrun 978-1-52942-803-2, £16.99, 308pp, hc) May 2023.

One of the first things you learn about Nina Allan’s novels is that there are virtually no minor characters – everyone has a story, and the stories are likely to weave together in unexpected ways. Another is that some of these stories involve speculative elements, although assigning a genre label like SF – or mysteries, as with her new ...Read More

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Paul Di Filippo Reviews Dual Memory by Sue Burke

Dual Memory, Sue Burke (Tor ‎ 978-1250809131, hardcover, 352pp, $29.99) May 2023

A small plucky polity full of rebellious freethinkers, under siege by outside aggressors, is led to victory by a quirky Artificial Intelligence eager to assist its humans, using asymmetric warfare. Of course, that’s Heinlein’s The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress, right? Right, but not in today’s particular case. Because we are talking about Sue Burke’s fourth ...Read More

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Paul Di Filippo Reviews Under the Hollywood Sign by Tom Reamy

Under the Hollywood Sign, Tom Reamy (Subterranean 978-1-64524-131-7, hardcover, 544pp, $50.00) May 2023

I got my first subscription to The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction in 1967. By the mid-seventies, I was a veteran F&SF reader, basking in the flow of new and familiar names. What a vintage era, under the editorship of Ed Ferman (who would later ennoble me and enlist me in his pantheon by buying ...Read More

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Paula Guran Reviews Uncanny and Tor.com

Uncanny 1-2/23 Tor.com 2/1/23, 2/8/23, 2/22/23

The year is off to an awesome start with an abundant amount of admirable fiction! I have a few quibbles here and there, but still find everything mentioned here to be worthwhile reading.

Issue 50 of Uncanny is double-sized and probably the best one yet. Lead-off “Collaboration?” by Ken Liu & Caroline M. Yoachim is a creative collaborative effort that explores creative collaboration. Interesting ...Read More

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Jake Casella Brookins Reviews Rose/House by Arkady Martine

Rose/House, Arkady Martine (Subterranean 978-1-64524-033-4, $45, 125 pp, hc) March 2023. Cover by David Curtis.

Arkady Martine’s Hugo-winning novels are delightfully huge, sprawling affairs. It’s a different kind of delight to see her approach some of the same themes and influences in a new style, as she does in her latest: the tight and unsettling novella Rose/House. Against the backdrop of the near-future California desert, two small-town detectives ...Read More

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Adrienne Martini Reviews Witch King by Martha Wells

Witch King, Martha Wells (Tordotcom 978-1-25082–6794, $28.99, 432 pg, hc) May 2023. Cover by Tommy Arnold.

‘‘I’m just trying to learn how everything works,’’ one of the secondary characters says in Martha Wells’s Witch King. Same, secondary character. Same.

For the last few years, Wells’s Murderbot stories have been collecting readers and awards across the genre. All of the praise is well-earned. These science fiction stories about a ...Read More

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Gabino Iglesias Reviews The Scourge Between Stars by Ness Brown

The Scourge Between Stars, Ness Brown (Night­fire 978-1-2508-3468-3, $16.99, 176pp, tp) April 2023.

Ness Brown’s The Scourge Between Stars is a perfect blend of science fiction and horror that has enough elements of each to fully satisfy lovers of both. Short, fast, engag­ing, wildly entertaining, and unexpectedly gory, it almost demands to be devoured in one sitting, but packs more than pulpy entertainment and alien forms spilling guts across ...Read More

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Ian Mond Reviews Flux by Jinwoo Chong

Flux, Jinwoo Chong (Melville House 978-1-68598-034-6, $28.99, 352pp, hc) March 2023.

Central to Jinwoo Chong’s whip-smart, time-bending, and emotionally scarring debut novel Flux is Raider, a fictional mid ’80s cop drama named after its gravel-voiced, leather-wearing hero known for his Dirty Harry-like catchphrase, ‘‘give me a reason.’’ For eight-year-old Bo, Raider is his favourite show. He watches and rewatches his father’s old VHS tapes, drawn to the titular ...Read More

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Alex Brown Reviews That Self-Same Metal by Brittany N. Williams

That Self-Same Metal, Brittany N. Williams (Amulet Books 978-1-41975-864-5, $19.99. 352pp, hc) April 2023.

I finished That Self-Same Metal, book 1 of Brit­tany N. Williams’ Forge and Fracture Saga, about 15 minutes before writing this and I’m already desperate for the sequel. That I have to wait a whole year for it is a crime, plain and simple.

Set in London in 1605 at the beginning of the ...Read More

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Russell Letson Reviews Rose/House by Arkady Martine

Rose/House, Arkady Martine (Subterranean 978-1-64524-033-4, $45, 125 pp, hc) March 2023. Cover by David Curtis

Arkady Martine’s new novella, Rose/House, is markedly different from the anthropological explorations and space operatics of her two far-future Teixcalaan Empire novels. Instead, it’s an Earthbound 22nd-century murder mystery that combines elements of the locked-room and police-procedural subvariet­ies, and features a science-fictionized haunted house. Detective Maritza Smith, working out of an understaffed China ...Read More

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Jake Casella Brookins Reviews A Brief History of Living Forever by Jaroslav Kalfař

A Brief History of Living Forever, Jaroslav Kalfař (Little Brown 978-0-31646-318-8, $28.00, 320pp, hc) March 2023.

‘‘The downsides of living forever’’ is practically a genre unto itself at this point, with all manner of fiction devoted to the philosophical and existential crises likely to crop up when faced with eternal life. And, on a slightly different tack, realistic AI and brain-uploading technologies have their own sets of ethical complications, ...Read More

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Ian Mond Reviews Dazzling by Chịkọdịlị Emelụmadụ

Dazzling, Chịkọdịlị Emelụmadụ (Wildfire 978-1-47288-964-3, £18.99, 352pp, hc) February 2023. (The Overlook Press 978-1-41976-979-5 , $27.00, 352pp, hc) December 2022

I’m embarrassed to admit that I wasn’t aware of Chịkọdịlị Emelụmadụ’s work until after I finished her debut novel, Dazzling. I say em­barrassed because Emelụmadụ has been writ­ing speculative short fiction for a decade, with several of her pieces nominated for awards, including the Shirley Jackson Award, the ...Read More

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Gabino Iglesias Reviews The Spite House by Johnny Compton

The Spite House, Johnny Compton (Nightfire 978-1-25084-141-4, $27.99, 272pp, hc) February 2023.

Johnny Compton’s The Spite House is a rare haunted house novel that manages to subvert some of the most common plots associated with this kind of story. It’s also a novel that stays close to horror and the elements of a haunted house narrative while also exploring history, racism, and what it means to protect your family ...Read More

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Alex Brown Reviews Linghun by Ai Jiang

Linghun, Ai Jiang (Dark Matter INK 978-1-95859-802-3, $14.99. 150pp, tp) April 2023.

Not far from Toronto is a place known as the Homecoming of Missing Entities, or HOME to its residents. It is a place where the lucky are able to buy or win at auction a house where their dead can visit and the unlucky are condemned to sleeping on the lawns of homes they dream of owning. ...Read More

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Charles Payseur Reviews Short Fiction: Beneath Ceaseless Skies, Lightspeed, Fantasy, and F&SF

Beneath Ceaseless Skies 2/9/23, 2/23/23 Lightspeed 2/23 Fantasy 2/23 F&SF 3-4/23

Following an issue focused on people chal­lenging the status quo, the second February issue of Beneath Ceaseless Skies is much more about colonization, language, and resistance. Both stories in the issue are quite good, full of difficult situations and people standing against the abuses of imperial power. In Kelsey Hut­ton’s “Your Great Mother Across the Salt Sea ...Read More

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Gary K. Wolfe Reviews The Voice That Murmurs in the Darkness by James Tiptree, Jr.

The Voice That Murmurs in the Darkness, James Tiptree, Jr. (Subterranean 978-1-64524-107-2, $45.00, 376pp, hc) May 2023.

The last line in James Tiptree, Jr.’s last story is “He headed down the highway, to encounter the ex­istential Unknown.” The story, “In Midst of Life”, is haunting for a number of reasons, not least of which is its description of the surprisingly gentle afterlife of a man who has just committed ...Read More

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Liz Bourke Reviews Rubicon by J.S. Dewes

Rubicon, J.S. Dewes (Tor 978-1-25085-123-9, $19.99, tp) March 2023.

Rubicon, J.S. Dewes’s third published novel after The Last Watch and The Exiled Fleet, offers a fresh setting and different approach to military-flavoured space opera than Dewes’ previous work.

Specialist Adrienne Valero has died 96 times since her enlistment. Every time, she’s resur­rected into a fresh ‘‘husk’’ and redeployed to the front lines of her people’s struggle against ...Read More

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Jake Casella Brookins Reviews Feed Them Silence by Lee Mandelo

Feed Them Silence, Lee Mandelo (Tordotcom 978-1-2508-2450-9, $19.99, 112pp, hc) March 2023.

I am a sucker for contact stories – aliens, ani­mals, strange fantasy creatures; that feeling of an encounter with otherness is one of the recurring delights of speculative literature. Tolkien noted it as “one of the primal desires that lie near the heart of Faërie.” But there’s more than enchantment pos­sible with these stories – once we ...Read More

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Paula Guran Reviews The Sunday Morning Transport and Apex

The Sunday Morning Transport 1/8/23, 1/18/23, 1/22/23, 2/5/23, 2/12/23, 2/19/23 Apex 1/23

The Sunday Morning Transport started 2023 on January 8 with the first of a two-part novella, “Tears Waiting to Be Diamondsby Sarah Rees Brennan. The second part was published January 28. Brennan revisits the Borderlands from her acclaimed novel In Other Lands. Set about ten years after the novel begins, the hero, Elliot ...Read More

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Ian Mond Reviews Sing, Nightingale by Marie Hélène Poitras

Sing, Nightingale, Marie Hélène Poitras (Coach House Books 978-1-55245-448-0, $22.95, 176pp, tp) February 2023.

I’m not sure I’ve read a book quite so fecund, so bursting with life (and sex) as Sing, Nightingale by Quebec writer Marie Helene Poitras (superbly translated from Québécois by Rhonda Mullins). Set during the height of Spring in the French countryside, the action centres in and around the Malmaison estate. The manor has seen ...Read More

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Charles Payseur Reviews Short Fiction: Diabolical Plots, GigaNotoSaurus, Escape Pod and Cast of Wonders

Diabolical Plots 2/23 GigaNotoSaurus 2/23 Escape Pod 2/5/23 Cast of Wonders 2/1/23

February’s Diabolical Plots features two stories where the lines between the human and super­natural worlds touch and ideals of perfection must give way to the beauty and magic of being able to make mistakes. It’s not an easy thing, though, especially for a goddess, as in Anja Hendrikse Liu’s “The Monologue of a Moon Goddess in ...Read More

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Adrienne Martini Reviews A House with Good Bones by T. Kingfisher

A House with Good Bones, T. Kingfisher (Tor 978-1-250-82979-5, $26.99, 256 pg, hc) March 2023. Cover by Karolis Strautniekas.

In A House with Good Bones, T. Kingfisher (AKA Ursula Vernon) travels back into the horror section like she did with What Moves the Dead. This time, the subject is roses rather than fungi, but rest assured, there are still the dead.

Sam, a 30-something archaeoentomologist, returns to ...Read More

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Gary K. Wolfe Reviews The Collected Enchantments by Theodora Goss

The Collected Enchantments, Theodora Goss (Mythic Delirium 978-1-7326440-7-6, $39.99, 436pp, hc) February 2023.

2023 is already shaping up as something of a ban­ner year for retrospective short story collections. Last month, I looked at new books from Peter S. Beagle and Catherynne Valente, and generous collections from Howard Waldrop and K.J. Parker are in the offing, as well as posthumous titles from Gene Wolfe, Joanna Russ, and James Tiptree, ...Read More

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