Colleen Mondor Reviews Gallant by V.E. Schwab

Gallant, V.E. Schwab (Greenwillow 978-0-06-283577-2, $18.99, 352pp, hc) March 2022. Cover by David Curtis.

Victoria Schwab’s Gallant is a dark confection, a tale that shares tropes with gothic classics (a curse, ghosts, a house of faded glamour that is shrouded in mystery) and pins its hope for a happy ending on a tortured heroine who is haunted by the secrets of a past she never knew. There is a ...Read More

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Gary K. Wolfe Reviews The Embroidered Book by Kate Heartfield

The Embroidered Book, Kate Heartfield (Harp­erVoyager 978-0-00838-059-5, $28.99, 672pp, hc) May 2022.

After reading Kate Heartfield’s thoroughly engrossing The Embroidered Book, with its account of the secret role of magic in European politics around the time of the French Revolution, I made the mistake of checking out what Wikipedia had to say about such topics as ‘‘secret history’’ or ‘‘historical fantasy.’’ Not too surprisingly, the depth and consistency ...Read More

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Paul Di Filippo Reviews Hokuloa Road by Elizabeth Hand

Hokuloa Road, Elizabeth Hand (Mulholland 978-0316542043, hardcover, 368pp, $28.00) July 2022.

In days of yore, when the actual internet was merely science fiction, curious fans found out scarce biographical tidbits about their favorite authors in whatever manner they could: from fanzines, or dustjacket flaps, or occasional media articles and even the rare autobiographical essay. Heinlein lived on a walled estate in Colorado Springs. Poul Anderson, Frank Herbert and Jack ...Read More

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Gabino Iglesias Reviews Echo by Thomas Olde Heuvelt

Echo, Thomas Olde Heuvelt (Tor Nightfire 978-1-250-75955-9, $29.99, 416pp, hc) February 2022.

Reviewing the work of Thomas Olde Heuvelt is no easy task, and Echo, his latest, is no different. Translated from the Dutch by Moshe Gilula, this is a complex, creepy, atmospheric, labyrinthine monster that comes in at more than 400 pages.

Echo by Thomas Olde Heuvelt is a novel about many things; grief, trauma, unconditional love, ...Read More

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Caren Gussoff Sumption Reviews The Girl Who Outgrew the World by Zoje Stage

The Girl Who Outgrew the World, Zoje Stage (Lethe 978-1-59021-523-4, $15.00, 180pp, tp) May 2022.

Eleven-year-old Lilly is having a growth spurt. Only this is no ordinary, normal march towards adolescence. In Zoje Stage’s new novella, The Girl Who Outgrew the World, the title itself reveals the scale and pace of Lilly’s development, a mysterious, monstrous, and inexplicable surge that baffles and frightens her father, her friends, her ...Read More

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Ian Mond Reviews The Doloriad by Missouri Williams

The Doloriad, Missouri Williams (MCD x FSG Originals 978-0-37460-508-7, $17.00, 240pp, tp) March 2022.

Missouri Williams’s debut novel, The Doloriad, comes close to pipping Mónica Ojeda’s Jawbone as the most disturbing book I’ve read this year (note, I said close; Jawbone still holds the crown). It’s a post-apocalyptic story where an unknown cataclysm, possibly environmental (though it’s never made clear) has wiped out humanity. Well, almost. In a ...Read More

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Colleen Mondor Reviews Lakelore by Anna-Marie McLemore

Lakelore, Anna-Marie McLemore (Feiwel and Friends 978-1-250-62414-7, $18.99, 304pp, hc) March 2022. Cover by Carolina Rodriguez Fuenmayor.

The delicate contemporary fantasy Lakelore uses author Anna-Marie McLemore’s fa­miliar lush language to describe a strange and beautiful world beneath a lake and the two teenagers who explore it. The magic elements are subtle and largely expressed through the papier-mâché construction of alebrije, Mexican folk art sculptures of imaginary creature which come ...Read More

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Maya C. James Reviews Bitter by Akwaeke Emezi

Bitter, Akwaeke Emezi (Knopf Books for Young Readers 978-0593309032, 272pp, $17.99, hc) February 2022. Cover by Shyama Golden.

Content warning: sexual violence, anti-Black racism.

I would be amiss to not begin with the words that Akwaeke Emezi writes in their dedication of Bitter: ‘‘Still and always, for Toyin Salau. You deserved a better world.’’ Toyin was raped and murdered by an older man who assaulted her after offering ...Read More

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Paul Di Filippo Reviews The Moonday Letters by Emmi Itäranta

The Moonday Letters, Emmi Itäranta (Titan 978-1803360447, trade paperback, 368pp, $15.95) July 2022.

One of John Campbell’s prescriptions for the kind of science fiction he wanted to see was to say, paraphrased, “Give me a story which could legitimately be presented as contemporary fiction in a magazine of the year 2100.” In other words, a story narrated out of a deep and implicit and shared set of assumptions about ...Read More

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Ian Mond Reviews The Path of Thorns by A.G. Slatter

The Path of Thorns, A.G. Slatter (Titan Books 978-1-78909-437-4, $15.95, 384pp, tp) June 2022.

Over the last decade, beginning with the collec­tion Sourdough and Other Stories, A.G. Slatter has steadily built a lush and deeply imagined sec­ondary world inspired by European fairy tales, myths, and legends. Last year she published the first novel set in this universe, the fabulous gothic fantasy, All The Murmuring Bones (one of my ...Read More

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Paul Di Filippo Reviews Ymir by Rich Larson

Ymir, Rich Larson (Orbit 978-0316416580, trade paperback, 416pp, $17.99) July 2022.

If one tried to engineer a young writer who would embody all the core values, tactics, and ambiance of Classic SF while still conveying ultra-contemporary attitudes, ambiance, and affect, one could hardly produce a better candidate than Rich Larson. Just turned thirty years old, he’s already delivered over a hundred fine stories and now brings us his third ...Read More

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Caren Gussoff Sumption Reviews Face by Joma West

Face, Joma West (Tordotcom 978-1-25081-029-8, $26.99, 272pp, hc) August 2022.

We already live in a world where, for many, looks are currency, identity is performative, and status is a game. There’s no shortage of opinion on the effects of social media on culture, research on how phones have – literally – changed our posture and vision, and speculation on how replacing online communication either enhances or erodes human connection. ...Read More

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Alex Brown Reviews This Wicked Fate by Kalynn Bayron

This Wicked Fate, Kalynn Bayron (Bloomsbury YA 978-1-54760-920-8, $18.99, 320pp, hc) August 2022.

Kalynn Bayron concludes her riveting This Poison Heart duology with This Wicked Fate. Briseis Greene begins the novel still reeling from the revelation that her family is descended from Greek gods. She is desperate to save her mother from her untimely death. With her family and friends at her back (and with her god-given gifts ...Read More

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Tim Pratt Reviews Locklands by Robert Jackson Bennett

Locklands, Robert Jackson Bennett (Del Rey 978-1-984-82067-9, $28.99, 506pp, hc) June 2022.

Locklands is the third and final volume in the Founders trilogy by Robert Jack­son Bennett, begun with Shorefall and Foundryside. It’s hard to talk about the last book in a trilogy without spoiling the first two, so consider yourself warned.

The central magical conceit of the series is scriving, inscribing objects with a magical script that ...Read More

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Russell Letson Reviews Needle by Linda Nagata

Needle, Linda Nagata (Mythic Island 978-1-937197-40-7, $19.00, 356pp, tp) July 2022. Cover by Sarah Anne Langton.

Decades ago, my imagination of the far, far future of humankind was formed by Olaf Stapledon’s Last and First Men and Star Maker: melancholy, long-lens scenarios that lack individual characters and conventional plot-lines but whose visions of the possible range of thinking beings and civilizations and deep time were simultaneously breathtaking and ...Read More

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Gary K. Wolfe Reviews The City Inside by Samit Basu

Chosen Spirits, Samit Basu (Simon & Schuster India 978-9386797810, ₹499.00, 243pp, hc) April 2020. (Self-published, $3.99, eb) April 2020. As The City Inside, Samit Basu (Tordotcom 978-1-25082-748-7, $25.99, 256pp, hc) June 2022.

Samit Basu’s The City Inside appeared in India a couple of years ago under the title Chosen Spir­its, and was reviewed in this magazine (August 2020) by Ian Mond, who, while noting parallels between Basu’s ...Read More

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Caren Gussoff Sumption Reviews January Fifteenth by Rachel Swirsky

January Fifteenth, Rachel Swirsky (Tordotcom 978-1-25019-894-5, $15.99, 240pp, tp) June 2022.

If you’ve ever read any of Rachel Swirsky’s short fiction, then you’re familiar with her signature elegant prose and her very literary deconstruction of traditional plot. Swirsky’s style is instantly recognizable and widely appreciated, earning her multiple Nebulas, and, at the very least, enthusiastic nods from nearly all the award committees in genre.

Swirsky’s latest novella, January Fifteenth ...Read More

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Ian Mond Reviews Lapvona by Ottessa Moshfegh

Lapvona, Ottessa Moshfegh (Jonathan Cape 978-0-59330-026-8, $27.00, 272pp, hc) June 2022.

It shouldn’t surprise anyone who has been tracking Ottessa Moshfegh’s career that her fourth novel, Lapvona, takes place in a me­dieval fiefdom. Beginning with the publication of McGlue – an experimental novella following the dark and violent exploits of a 19th-century sailor – and then her debut (and break-out) novel, the Man Booker-shortlisted Eileen – a claustrophobic ...Read More

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Colleen Mondor Reviews Book of Night by Holly Black

Book of Night, Holly Black (Tor 978-1-250-81219-3, $27.99, hc, 320pp) May 2022.

Bestselling YA author Holly Black makes her long-awaited adult debut with the dark fantasy Book of Night. Set in ‘‘the Silicon Valley of shadow magic’’ (aka Western Massachusetts), with reformed thief and conwoman Charlie Hall at its center, Book of Night introduces a world where shadows can be re­moved, enhanced, or manipulated. This is unpredict­able magic ...Read More

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Russell Letson Reviews Eyes of the Void by Adrian Tchaikovsky

Eyes of the Void, Adrian Tchaikovsky (Orbit 978-0316705875, $28.00, 608 pp, hc) May 2022. Cover by Steve Stone.

Adrian Tchaikovsky’s Eyes of the Void is the sequel to Shards of Earth, second in a sprawling, gaudy space opera series featuring a menagerie of space-traveling life­forms, a galactic history of warfare and ruined civilizations, and entire species on the run from inscrutable, invulnerable planet-killers. Human­kind is a latecomer to ...Read More

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Maya C. James Reviews The Hacienda by Isabel Cañas

The Hacienda, Isabel Cañas (Berkley 978-0593436691, 352pp, $27.00, hc) May 2022. Cover by Vi-An Nguyen.

The Hacienda by Isabel Cañas is a gothic hor­ror set in the recent aftermath of the Mexican War of Independence. After her father was murdered and their house burned down, Beatriz marries the wealthy Rodolfo to inherit his estate, and move her mother away from their cruel aunt and uncle. Upon her arrival, it ...Read More

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Gary K. Wolfe Reviews January Fifteenth by Rachel Swirsky

January Fifteenth, Rachel Swirsky (Tordotcom 978-1-25019-894-5, $15.99, 240pp, tp) June 2022.

SF has long had a somewhat fraught relationship with economic policy. On the one hand, it would seem to be an inescapable part of any future society; on the other, it doesn’t easily lend itself to high drama. ‘‘Epic economics’’ isn’t really a thing, despite what Asimov may have thought decades ago. As a result, economics is often ...Read More

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Colleen Mondor Reviews Blood Scion by Deborah Falaye

Blood Scion, Deborah Falaye (Harper Teen 978-0-06-295404-4, $18.99, hc, 432pp) March 2022. Cover by Taj Francis.

Deborah Falaye’s Blood Scion is an intense and sometimes brutal immersion into the horrors of colonialism, war, and oppression that is undeni­ably one of the season’s most powerful reads. Take this warning to heart: There is a lot of violence depicted and discussed in this novel, including rape, beating, and the horrors inflicted ...Read More

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

Diabolical Plots 3/22, 4/22 Lightspeed 5/22 Fantasy 5/22 F&SF 5-6/22

April Fool’s Day brought a special extra story to Diabolical Plots, and fans of the Teenage Mu­tant Ninja Turtles might want to check out Josh Strnad’s “Food of the Turtle Gods”. Then, in “She Dreams In Digital” by Katie Grace Carpenter, an intelligent starship tries to keep a garden alive following the loss of ...Read More

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Adrienne Martini Reviews Rosebud by Paul Cornell, The Necessity of Stars by E. Catherine Tobler, and And What Can We Offer You Tonight by Premee Mohamed

Rosebud, Paul Cornell (Tordotcom 978-1-25076-539-0, $14.99, 110pp, tp). April 2022.

Just to get it out of the way, the Rosebud in Paul Cornell’s Rosebud is a survey ship, not a sled. Said Rosebud has happened upon a mysterious black sphere out in space, and its digital inhabitants “a balloon, a goth, some sort of science aristocrat possibly, a ball of hands, and a swarm of insects” decide to investigate ...Read More

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Ian Mond Reviews Rouge Street: Three Novellas by Shuang Xuetao

Rouge Street: Three Novellas, Shuang Xuetao (Metropolitan Books 978-1-25083-587-1, $26.99, 240pp, hc) April 2022.

Rouge Street: Three Novellas is the first Eng­lish-language publication of Shuang Xuetao’s fic­tion, translated by Jeremy Tiang, who worked on Yan Ge’s Strange Beasts of China last year. Like Yan Ge, Xuetao’s short stories and novels have long been celebrated in China. He’s taken home several awards, including the Blossoms Literary Prize, the Wang Zengqi ...Read More

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Colleen Mondor Reviews Comeuppance Served Cold by Marion Deeds

Comeuppance Served Cold, Marion Deeds (Tor­dotcom 978-1-250-81108-0, $16.99, tp, 192pp) March 2022. Cover by Helen Crawford-White.

The prize for most original book I’ve read in a while goes to Comeuppance Served Cold, a magical caper yarn by Marion Deeds. Set in an alternate 1929 Seattle, where Prohibition has spurred a black market full of speakeasys and bootleggers, Comeuppance Served Cold is the story of Dolly White, who appears ...Read More

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Alex Brown Reviews The Lost Dreamer by Lizz Huerta

The Lost Dreamer, Lizz Huerta (Farrar, Straus, Giroux 978-1-25075-485-1, $18.99, 384pp, hc) March 2022.

Short fiction writer Lizz Huerta makes her young-adult novel debut with the sumptuous The Lost Dreamer. The first book in a planned duology, it tells the story of two young women in a fantasy world inspired by ancient Mesoamerica.

In the city of Alcanzeh live the Dreamers, women who can enter the Dream realm ...Read More

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Maya C. James Reviews City of Orange by David Yoon

City of Orange, David Yoon (Putnam 978-0-59342-216-8, 352pp, $27.00, hc) May 2022. Cover by Kristin Del Rosario.

What is an apocalypse if no one is around to care about it?

David Yoon’s City of Orange tack­les this difficult reality in a character-driven post-apocalyptic tale of a man who refuses to remember life’s difficult moments, or to bear witness to the current state of a dying world. We begin with ...Read More

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Gary K. Wolfe Reviews Utopias of the Third Kind by Vandana Singh

Utopias of the Third Kind, Vandana Singh (PM Press 978-1-62963-915-4, $15.00, 128pp, tp) April 2022.

Vandana Singh’s Utopias of the Third Kind is the 28th volume in PM Press’s useful ‘‘Outspoken Authors’’ series of chapbooks edited by Terry Bis­son, and, following the customary format, includes a mix of fiction and nonfiction rounded out by Bisson’s interview with the author and a brief bibliography. As with the earlier volumes, it ...Read More

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Gabino Iglesias Reviews Mage of Fools by Eugen Bacon

Mage of Fools, Eugen Bacon (Meerkat Press 978-1-94615-484-2, $15.95, 220pp, tp) May 2022. Cover by Tricia Reeks.

Eugen Bacon’s Mage of Fools is the kind of too-close-to-reality science fiction nar­rative that manages to simultaneously awe with its use of language and imagination and serve as a warning of what things could become.

Mafinga used to be a great place to live, a place where free speech and freedom of ...Read More

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Adrienne Martini Reviews Last Exit by Max Gladstone

Last Exit, Max Gladstone (Tor 978-0-76533-573-9, $18.99, 400pp, tp). March 2022.

Max Gladstone’s voice is one that defies easy description. It’s both succinct and verbose, dour and silly, dark but also light. Last Exit, his homage to the great American road story, is peak Gladstone, the voice he has de­veloped through his Hugo-nominated Craft series and his award-winning This is How You Lose the Time War. Yes, ...Read More

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