Paul Di Filippo Reviews How High We Go in the Dark by Sequoia Nagamatsu

How High We Go in the Dark, Sequoia Nagamatsu (William Morrow 978-0063072640, hardcover, 304pp, $27.99) January 2022.

Sequoia Nagamatsu’s debut novel, How High We Go In the Dark, is in the nature of a “fixup,” that time-honored and actually quite often innovative structure that is assembled from previously published pieces which were deemed at the time to be independent and self-sufficient tales. I’m not sure if these earlier segments ...Read More

Read more

Colleen Mondor Reviews Shattered Midnight by Dhonielle Clayton

Shattered Midnight, Dhonielle Clayton (Hy­perion 978-1-368-04642-8, $17.99, hc, 304pp) January 2022.

The Mirror series, which began with Julie C. Dao’s Broken Wish in 2020, continues with Shattered Midnight by Dhonielle Clayton. Set in New Orleans in 1928, it is full of historic atmo­sphere, immersing readers in the sights, sounds, and flavors of the city that Zara Broussard now calls home. There is a great sense of foreboding, however, both ...Read More

Read more

Ian Mond Reviews The Best of Lucius Shepard: Volume 2 by Lucius Shepard

The Best of Lucius Shepard: Volume 2, Lucius Shepard (Subterranean Press 978-1-64524-035-8, $50.00, 848pp, hc) January 2022. Cover by Armando Veve.

In his Guardian obituary of Lucius Shepard – who passed away on March 18, 2014 – Christopher Priest wrote that Shepard’s preferred format, the novella, “almost certainly held back the recognition he deserved,” and that “his writing was shielded from wider apprecia­tion because of its association with the ...Read More

Read more

Alex Brown Reviews Reclaim the Stars by Zoraida Córdova, ed.

Reclaim the Stars, Zoraida Córdova, ed. (Wednesday Books 978-1-250-79063-7, $19.99, 432pp, hc) February 2022.

Anthologies are as risky for readers as they are exciting. On one hand, the reader gets to not only indulge in authors whose work they already like but also gets to explore voices they’ve never heard before. On the other hand, the quality of the stories can fluctuate, and there is often at least one ...Read More

Read more

Gary K. Wolfe Reviews The Cartographers by Peng Shepherd

The Cartographers, Peng Shepherd (William Morrow 978-0062910691, $27.99, 400pp, hc) March 2022.

Speaking of maps, thanks largely to Tolkien they’re all but inescapable in modern secondary-world fantasy, but fantasies about maps are much less common. With her second novel The Cartog­raphers, Peng Shepherd sets out to correct that, focusing in part on the actual practice by early commercial mapmakers of inserting fake ‘‘phan­tom settlements’’ in their maps as ...Read More

Read more

Colleen Mondor Reviews No Beauties or Monsters by Tara Goedjen

No Beauties or Monsters, Tara Goedjen (Dela­corte Press 978-1-5247-1480-2, $17.99, hc 356pp.) December 2021. Cover by Jack Hughes.

In No Beauties or Monsters, Rylie and her fam­ily have returned to the US Marine Corps base in Twentynine Palms CA after a tragic accident four years earlier. From the very first pages author Tara Goedjen piles on the foreshadowing, with strange creatures sighted, mysterious fog, oblique mes­sages from Rylie’s ...Read More

Read more

Russell Letson Reviews Galaxias by Stephen Baxter

Galaxias, Stephen Baxter (Gollancz 978-1473228856, $26.99, 538 pp, hc) May 2022.

Stephen Baxter’s Galaxias poses an inter­esting case of the Spoiler Problem. The publisher’s promotional Tweet offers a dra­matic teaser: ‘‘What would happen to the world if the sun went out? The end is nigh. Someone has sent us a sign.’’ And indeed the opening chapters describe the sudden disappearance of the sun at the moment of totality of ...Read More

Read more

Paul Di Filippo Reviews Tom Beckerlegge’s The Carnival of Ash

The Carnival of Ash, Tom Beckerlegge (Solaris 978-1786185006, hardcover, 528pp, $24.99) March 2022.

Some modes of fiction can start to appear dead or at least quiescent, until a certain writer comes along, gives them a shake, and infuses new life into the somnolent corpus. Such has just happened with Tom Beckerlegge’s first novel for adults (as Tom Becker he has had a sterling career producing YA books), With The ...Read More

Read more

Gabino Iglesias Reviews Flowers for the Sea by Zin E. Rocklyn

Flowers for the Sea, Zin E. Rocklyn (Tordot­com 978-1-25080-403-7, $13.99, 108pp, tp) October 2021.

Zin E. Rocklyn’s Flowers for the Sea is one of those rare narratives that somehow manages to be fantastical, smart, and hor­rific, all in just over 100 pages. An impressive debut, the latest from a strong, unique new voice in science fiction, this is the kind of novella that’s read in a single sitting not ...Read More

Read more

Alex Brown Reviews The Kindred by Alechia Dow

The Kindred, Alechia Dow (Inkyard Press 978-1-33541-861-6, $18.99, 400pp, hc) January 2022.

I’ve been on a bit of a science fiction kick lately. Lots of spaceships, aliens, climate crises, and dystopian futures in my to-read queue. So far, my favorite book of the bunch is Alechia Dow’s The Kindred. This young-adult novel is set in the same world as her debut The Sound of Stars, about a ...Read More

Read more

Colleen Mondor Reviews The Grimrose Girls by Laura Pohl

The Grimrose Girls, Laura Pohl (Sourcebooks Fire 978-1-7282-2887-7, $10.99, tp, 400pp) November 2021.

Laura Pohl’s The Grimrose Girls is set in an elite, extra gothic-y, boarding school in Switzerland where three classmates are reeling from the recent death of their best friend, Ariane. It is no surprise that Ella, Yuki, and Rory are unsettled by the loss and deeply suspi­cious of the circumstances surrounding Ariane’s drowning. So, following in ...Read More

Read more

Liz Bourke Reviews Nettle & Bone by T. Kingfisher

Nettle & Bone, T. Kingfisher (Tor 978-1-25024-404-8, $25.99, 256pp, hc) April 2022.

Kingfisher, as many of us know, is the open pen name of Ursula Vernon. Vernon is an award-winning author under both names, and her novels and stories as Kingfisher are united by their combination of pragmatism among characters and peculiarity in worldbuilding, with a strong sense of humour and a definite impression that, given a choice between ...Read More

Read more

Paul Di Filippo Reviews John Scalzi’s The Kaiju Preservation Society

The Kaiju Preservation Society, John Scalzi (Tor 978-0765389121, hardcover, 272pp, $26.99) March 2022.

As you might suspect from the title alone, this novel is not one of John Scalzi’s more sober-sided, tragic, or grim-scenario’d offerings. In fact, it is an inventive, light-hearted, sprightly romp, replete with a low-key sensawunda vibe, that slyly makes, along the way, a few sharp points about ethics, friendship, capitalism, pure scientific research, and humanity’s ...Read More

Read more

Adrienne Martini Reviews Ogres by Adrian Tchaikovsky

Ogres, Adrian Tchaikovsky (Solaris 978-1-78618-528-0 $30.00, 144pp, hc) March 2022.

Adrian Tchaikovsky’s Ogres is hard to warm up to at first, mostly because it is written in the second person. It’s so hard to do well, the second person. Stick with it. Tchaikovsky knocks it out of the park, once you find your way in.

Ogres is the story of Torquell, a young man who is six feet tall, ...Read More

Read more

Gary K. Wolfe Reviews Dreams Bigger Than Heartbreak by Charlie Jane Anders

Dreams Bigger Than Heartbreak, Charlie Jane Anders (Tor Teen 978-1250317391, $18.99, 320pp, hc) April 2022.

It’s practically an unwritten rule that middle vol­umes of trilogies should shade a bit darker, with higher stakes, unexpected complications, dimmer hopes, and a growing sense of desperation. If you’re going to (apparently) kill off Frodo, volume two is the place to do it. The second volume of Charlie Jane Anders’s YA Unstoppable trilogy, ...Read More

Read more

Caren Gussoff Sumption Reviews Longing and Other Stories by Jun’ichirō Tanizaki

Longing and Other Stories, Jun’ichirō Tanizaki (Columbia University Press, 978-0-231-20215-2, $20.00, 160pp, tp) January 2022.

One of Japan’s most celebrated and prolific authors of the last century, Jun’ichirō Tanizaki has remained relatively unknown in the West – a great loss for us, one that will be, hopefully, remedied by this new translation of Longing and Other Stories by Anthony H. Chambers & Paul McCarthy

It’s difficult to know how ...Read More

Read more

Adrienne Martini Reviews Sisters of the Forsaken Stars by Lina Rather

Sisters of the Forsaken Stars, Lina Rather (Tordotcom 978-1-250-78214-4, $16.99, 192pp, tp) February 2022.

The events in Sisters of the Vast Black, Lina Rather’s first novella in her ‘‘space nuns’’ series, have caught up with said space nuns in Sisters of the Forsaken Stars, at least those who remain in the Order of Saint Rita. The Central Governance, which sprung from Old Earth and intends to rule ...Read More

Read more

Ian Mond Reviews The This by Adam Roberts

The This, Adam Roberts (Gollancz 978-1-47323-092-7, £16.99, 304pp, hc) February 2022.

In 2015, Adam Roberts wrote an extraordinary novel that deserved more attention and love than it received. The Thing Itself blended Fermi’s Paradox, Immanuel Kant’s The Critique of Pure Reason and John Carpenter’s The Thing (with a side-dish of wry humour and literary allusions) to deliver a madcap, centuries-spanning meditation on the ineffable nature of reality. Roberts’s latest ...Read More

Read more

Colleen Mondor Reviews Bright Ruined Things by Samantha Cohoe

Bright Ruined Things, Samantha Cohoe (Wednesday Books 978-1-25-076884-1, $18.99, 352pp, hc) February 2022.

Samantha Cohoe’s intriguing mashup of Shake­speare’s The Tempest and Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby makes for a thoroughly immersive read. Set on an island dominated by the wealthy and powerful Prosper family, Bright Ruined Things focuses on a single day when 18-year old Mae, daughter of a deceased but much loved retainer of Lord Prosper, finds herself ...Read More

Read more

Caren Gussoff Sumption Reviews Can’t Find My Way Home by Gwynne Garfinkle

Can’t Find My Way Home, Gwynne Garfinkle (Aqueduct Press 978-1-61976-212-1, $20.00, 342pp, tp) January 2022.

Two days shape young Joanna Bergman’s life: when she both got the lead role in her high school’s production of ‘‘Saint Joan’’ and began her friendship with the beautiful, popular Cynthia ‘‘Cyn’’ Foster, and when, three years later, Cyn dies in a botched protest bombing of a storefront Vietnam War draft board office. And, ...Read More

Read more

Gary K. Wolfe Reviews Sea of Tranquility by Emily St. John Mandel

Sea of Tranquility, Emily St. John Mandel (Knopf 978-0-593321447, $25.00, 272pp, hc) April 2022.

One of the central characters in Emily St. John Mandel’s Sea of Tranquility is a novelist known for a bestseller about a worldwide pandemic, published just a few years before an actual pandemic makes it a bestseller all over again, with a blockbuster film adaptation in the works. Not surprisingly, she’s on a world­wide book ...Read More

Read more

Maya C. James Reviews Daughter of the Moon Goddess by Sue Lynn Tan

Daughter of the Moon Goddess, Sue Lynn Tan (Harper Voyager 978-0-06-303130-2, $27.99, 512pp, tp) January 2022.

Living on the moon for most of her life, Xin­gyin never imagined more for herself—not growing into her magical powers, fleeing from her home, or risking her life for the kingdom that wants her dead. But after accidentally reveal­ing her existence to the Celestial Emperor, Xingyin embarks on a perilous journey to free ...Read More

Read more

Liz Bourke Reviews Servant Mage by Kate Elliott

Servant Mage, Kate Elliott (Tordotcom 978-1-250-76905-3, $19.99, 176pp, hc) January 2022. Cover by Tommy Arnold.

Kate Elliott is perhaps best known for her epic fantasy, though her most recent novel, Unconquered Sun, opens a whole new space opera universe. (It tells a story that’s just as epic.) Her work is characterised by a deep and substantial interest in the details of world and culture, in power and the ...Read More

Read more

Russell Letson Reviews Escape from Yokai Land by Charles Stross

Escape from Yokai Land, Charles Stross (Tordotcom 978-1-25080-570-6, 96 pp, $19.99, hc) March 2022.

Charles Stross continues to figure out ingenious extensions of and variations on the givens of his Laundry series of horror/secret-agent/comedy entertainments. A while back I decided that the recipe for these stories is ‘‘one-third eldritch threat, one-third workplace comic satire, and one-third spy-thriller action,’’ with the mix allowing a range of comedic-horrific effects. The latest ...Read More

Read more

Colleen Mondor Reviews The Upper World by Femi Fadugba

The Upper World, Femi Fadugba (Penguin UK 978-0-24-150561-8, £7.99, 368pp, tp) August 2021. (Harper Teen 978-0-06-307859-8, $18.99, 368pp, hc) December 2021.

In a note to readers preceding his perceptive debut title, The Upper World, author Femi Fadugba recalls a quantum physics paper he wrote as a university student which was published in a respected scientific journal leading to a na­tional award and presentation before the Houses of Parliament. ...Read More

Read more

Ian Mond Reviews Lesser Known Monsters of the 21st Century by Kim Fu

Lesser Known Monsters of the 21st Century, Kim Fu (Tin House Books 978-1-95114-299-5, $16.95, 220pp, tp) February 2022.

Lesser Known Monsters of the 21st Century, with its colourful mosaic cover, is the debut collection from Kim Fu, the author of two novels and a book of poetry. The 12 short stories that make up the collection showcase various influences, including science-fiction, magical realism, and horror. As someone encountering ...Read More

Read more

Gary K. Wolfe Reviews The Adventurists by Richard Butner

The Adventurists, Richard Butner (Small Beer 9781618731944, $17.99, 312pp, tp) March 2022.

Here’s a good example of the value of a well-curated small press. To the best of my knowledge, I’d never read a word of fiction by Richard Butner, though I recognized the name as one mentioned respectfully by some of the attendees at the fabled Sycamore Hill Writers’ Workshop, which he’s been directing for several years. But ...Read More

Read more

Adrienne Martini Reviews The Annual Migration of Clouds by Premee Mohamed

The Annual Migration of Clouds, Premee Mohamed (ECW Press 978-1770415935, $15.95, 168pp, tp) September 2021. Cover by Veronica Park.

Premee Mohamed’s The Annual Migration of Clouds isn’t interested in telling a story like Ogres’s, one where the main character goes on a journey to become a hero. At first, though, it feels like that’s the arc that is being set up: Reid, a young woman, receives a one-in-a-million ...Read More

Read more

Colleen Mondor Reviews Walking in Two Worlds by Wab Kinew

Walking in Two Worlds, Wab Kinew (Penguin 978-0-7352-6900-2, $17.99, 281pp, hc) Septem­ber 2021. Cover by Jay Soule | CHIPPEWAR.

Bagonegiizhigok ‘‘Bugz’’ Holiday lives on the Anishinaabe Reservation where she is a mostly happy, somewhat anxious, a little bit frustrated, but dearly loved teenager. With a handsome, athletically gifted older brother (who’s also a really great guy) capturing a lot of attention, Bugz buries her insecurities about her body and ...Read More

Read more

Ian Mond Reviews Present Tense Machine by Gunnhild Øyehaug

Present Tense Machine, Gunnhild Øyehaug (Farrar, Straus, Giroux 978-0-37423-717-2, $25.00, 176pp, hc) January 2022.

Parallel universes seem to be everywhere I look these days. I know it’s an effect inflated by the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but as I write this, my social media feeds are abuzz with the trailer of Everything, Everywhere All At Once – a multiverse adventure starring Michelle Yeoh. Of course, parallel realities have been a ...Read More

Read more

Russell Letson Reviews Beyond the Hallowed Sky by Ken MacLeod

Beyond the Hallowed Sky, Ken MacLeod (Orbit 978-0-356-51479-6, £8.99, 336pp, pb) November 2021. Cover by Duncan Spilling.

Ken MacLeod has long been deploying a useful kind of what-iffery, in which the futures he depicts are not ours but alternate futures, branched off from crucial events in our past – a strategy that powers the Fall Revolution and Engines of Light sequences. It’s a useful way of generating scenarios that ...Read More

Read more

Paul Di Filippo reviews Stolen Skies by Tim Powers

Stolen Skies, Tim Powers (Baen ‎ 978-1982125837, hardcover, 304pp, $26.00) January 2022.

I must assume that all my readers here today are hardcore fans of Tim Powers and are up-to-speed on his wonderful Vickery and Castine series, the third volume of which sequence is now before us. To assume otherwise is to contemplate the unthinkable: that there are benighted readers of fantastika who are woefully depriving themselves of such ...Read More

Read more