Colleen Mondor Reviews Even Though I Knew the End C.L. Polk

Even Though I Knew the End, C.L. Polk (Tor­dotcom 978-1-2508-4945-8, $19.99, hc, 144pp) November 2022.

Oh. My. God. If you are a fan of noir, if you love a dark crime mystery with a supernatural twist, if complicated family dynamics are a favorite addition to your drama reading experience, and if romance – solid, true, emotionally intense relationship-py romance – makes you happy, then you must read C.L. Polk’s ...Read More

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Wole Talabi Reviews Flight from the Ages and Other Stories by Derek Künsken

Flight from the Ages and Other Stories, Derek Künsken (Solaris 978-1-78618-728-4, $16.99, 400pp, tp) December 2022.

Have you ever looked up at the night sky, seen the stars and felt the knowledge that you are looking into the past overwhelm you? It can be a dizzying feeling, like being tipsy or high, and it is what I felt after reading most of the stories in Canadian author Derek Künsken’s ...Read More

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Maya C. James Reviews The Ones We Burn by Rebecca Mix

The Ones We Burn, Rebecca Mix (Marga­ret K. McElderry Books 978-1-5344-9351-3, $21.99, 480pp, hc) November 2022. Cover by Eliot Baum.

The Ones We Burn is a witchy, queer YA fan­tasy novel about a blood-witch named Ranka. Her frightening and rare powers make her the perfect weapon against the humans who wish to destroy witches. When she is named the treaty bride to human prince Galen, her coven gives her ...Read More

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Caren Gussoff Sumption Reviews Lonely Castle in the Mirror by Mizuki Tsujimura

Lonely Castle in the Mirror, Mizuki Tsujimura (Erewhon 978-1-64566-040-8, $27.95, 400pp, hc) October 2022.

Newly translated from the Japanese by Philip Gabriel, Mizuki Tsujimura’s 2018 bestselling and award-winning novel, Lonely Castle in the Mirror, is a gorgeous, wrenching fantasy that lays bare the anxieties and desperation – as well as small triumphs – of adolescence. Told using a deft amalgamation of Western fairy tales – invoked by the ...Read More

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Alex Brown Reviews Voodoonauts Presents: (Re)Living Mythology by Shingai Njeri Kagunda, Yvette Lisa Ndlovu, H.D. Hunter, & LP Kindred, eds.

Voodoonauts Presents: (Re)Living Mythology, Shingai Njeri Kagunda, Yvette Lisa Ndlovu, HD Hunter & LP Kindred, eds. (Android 978-1-95812-111-5, $19.99, 177pp, tp) November 2022. Cover by Paul Lewin.

Voodoonauts Presents: (Re)Living My­thology is everything I’ve ever wanted from a speculative anthology. It’s a col­lection of short fiction and poetry rooted in stories and traditions from across the African continent and throughout the Black diaspora. I have read many of ...Read More

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Colleen Mondor Reviews The Collectors by Philip Pullman

The Collectors, Philip Pullman (Knopf 978-0-593-37834-2, $14.99, hc, 68pp) September 2022.

Originally released as an audiobook in 2014, Philip Pullman’s short story “The Collectors” is now available in an illustrated gift book edition that will be most welcome to his fans. A compan­ion to His Dark Materials (and the The Book of Dust), The Collectors is largely composed of an evening conversation between two friends, both art collectors, ...Read More

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Gabino Iglesias Reviews The Witch in the Well by Camilla Bruce

The Witch in the Well, Camilla Bruce (Tor Books 978-1-25030-209-0, $26.99, 308pp, hc) October 2022.

Pulling off novels with various points of view is no easy task, but Camilla Bruce does it beautifully in The Witch in the Well. A story of lost friend­ship, animosity, murder, magic, and writing, The Witch in the Well looks at history and obsession while telling the story of two old friends turned ...Read More

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Christopher Rowe Reviews The Citadel of Forgotten Myths by Michael Moorcock

The Citadel of Forgotten Myths, Michael Moorcock (Saga 978-1-98219-980-7, 336pp, $28.99, hc) December 2022.

For over 60 years, Michael Moorcock has written the adventures of the doomed albino swordsman Elric of Melniboné. And rewritten them. And expanded, condensed, revised, revisited and at times even retitled the stories and books that began with a novelette, “The Dreaming City”, first published in the British magazine Science Fantasy in 1961 and continuing ...Read More

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Archita Mittra Reviews The Queen of Summer’s Twilight by Charles Vess

The Queen of Summer’s Twilight, Charles Vess (NewCon 978-1-914953-27-9, £12.99, 262pp, tp) September 2022. Cover by Charles Vess.

Charles Vess’s award-winning illustrations have a spellbinding quality to them, but his debut novel, The Queen of Summer’s Twilight, a Tam Lin retelling richly shaded with evocative descriptions, failed to similarly bewitch this reader.

There are only a few notable adaptations of the Scottish ballad of Tam Lin – Diana ...Read More

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Gabino Iglesias Reviews Little Eve by Catriona Ward

Little Eve, Catriona Ward (Weidenfeld & Nichol­son 978-0297609681, 288pp, tp) July 2018. (Tor Nightfire 978-1-25081-265-0, $17.98, 288pp, hc) October 2022.

Catriona Ward’s Little Eve, which won the Shirley Jackson Award for Best Novel in 2018, is an atmospheric narrative that’s as elegant and strange as it is dark and complex. At once a story of religious fanaticism with gothic elements, a chronicle of the downward spiral of a ...Read More

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Caren Gussoff Sumption Reviews Tales from a Robotic World: How Intelligent Machines Will Shape Our Future by Dario Floreano & Nicola Nosengo

Tales from a Robotic World: How Intelligent Machines Will Shape Our Future, Dario Floreano & Nicola Nosengo (MIT Press 978-0-26204-744-9, $24.99, 280pp, hc) September 2022.

I love robots. From Roombas to Twiki, the Boston Dynamic dance crew to Awesom-O 4000, the Mars Rover to Marvin: I am a fan of both true technological wonders and kitschy speculation, a true believer in the infinite possibili­ties autonomous machines can bring to ...Read More

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Alexandra Pierce Reviews Best of British Science Fiction 2021 by Donna Scott, ed.

Best of British Science Fiction 2021, Donna Scott, ed. (NewCon Press 978-1-91495-324-8, £26.99, 368pp, hc) August 2022. Cover by Ian Whates.

Donna Scott has edited the Best of British Sci­ence Fiction for NewCon Press since 2016. For 2021 she has brought together 23 stories that she calls a “snapshot” of British science fiction, some of which reflect the issues of 2021 on a global scale, in terms of the ...Read More

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Gary K. Wolfe Reviews The Red Scholar’s Wake by Aliette de Bodard

The Red Scholar’s Wake, Aliette de Bodard (JABberwocky Literary Agency 9781625676108, $9.99, 258pp, eb) November 2022.

In the past few years, Aliette de Bodard has been productively exploring different genres such as space opera (The Citadel of Weeping Pearls), fairy tales (In the Vanisher’s Palace) and myster­ies (The Tea Master and the Detective, Seven of Infinities), so when she subtitles The Red Scholar’s ...Read More

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Colleen Mondor Reviews Ghostlight by Kenneth Oppel

Ghostlight, Kenneth Oppel (Knopf 978-0-593-48793-8, $17.99, hc, 387pp) September 2022. Cover by Katrina Damkoehler.

Ghostlight by Kenneth Oppel has all the hall­marks of classic teen mystery. There’s a trio of friends spending their summer working in the town amusement park who suddenly find themselves engaged in deadly battle against a terrifying ghost. One of the kids can see a local ghost, one is a mechanical savant, and one is ...Read More

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Maya C. James Reviews Invisible Things by Mat Johnson

Invisible Things, Mat Johnson (One World 978-0-59322-925-5, $27.00, 272pp, hc) July 2022.

Nalini Jackson is a sociologist looking to boost her academic career, and after being selected to join cryoship SS Del­aney for the first manned mission to Jupiter, her research aims to answer the following: can society’s most intelligent individuals overcome humankind’s social downfalls? The crew she travels with has a much different task: find a hos­pitable plant ...Read More

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Ian Mond Reviews Concerning Those Who Have Fallen Asleep: Ghost Stories by Adam Soto

Concerning Those Who Have Fallen Asleep: Ghost Stories, Adam Soto (Astra House 978-1-66260-135-4, $17.00, 272pp, p) September 2022

My initial reaction to “Polyptych for the Begin­ning of the End of the World, or Three Begin­nings for the End of the World and a Play”, was that it was a poor choice of story to open Adam Soto’s debut collection, Concerning Those Who Have Fallen Asleep: Ghost Stories. As ...Read More

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Alexandra Pierce Reviews The Measure by Nikki Erlick

The Measure, Nikki Erlick (William Morrow and Co 978-0-06320-420-1, $28.99, 368pp, hc) June 2022. Cover by Elsie Lyons.

By the middle of 2020 I was wondering what novels could possibly look like in the future. Would they all be set in 2019? Would they all be alternate history? What sort of themes would be prevalent? John Scalzi’s The Kaiju Preservation Society (2022) was probably the first novel written entirely ...Read More

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Paul Di Filippo Reviews The Thing in the Snow by Sean Adams

The Thing in the Snow, Sean Adams (Morrow 978-0063257757, hardcover, 288pp, $27.99) January 2023

An enormous, spooky, half-abandoned, cryptic building, whose inhabitants pursue ceremonies and rituals with unthinking adherence, while menaces hover both within (due to interpersonal conflicts) and also on the perimeters. We must be talking about Peake’s monumental and essential Gormenghast series, right? Not at all. Instead we are concerned with Sean Adams’s second novel, The Thing ...Read More

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Gabino Iglesias Reviews All Nightmare Long by Tim Lebbon

All Nightmare Long, Tim Lebbon (PS Publish­ing 978-1-78636-851-5, $32.68, 417pp, hc) May 2022. Cover by Daniele Serra.

Sometimes reviewing a big (400+ pages) short story collection can be complicated because there are often a plethora of voices, themes, and approaches – not to mention a variety of different tales – in its pages. When that happens, the easiest thing to do is to go with some of the overarching ...Read More

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Maya C. James Reviews Revelations: Horror Writers for Climate Action by Seán O’Connor, ed.

Revelations: Horror Writers for Climate Ac­tion. Seán O’Connor, ed. (Stygian Sky Media 978-1639510054, $40.00, 344pp, hc) April 2022.

Revelations: Horror Writers for Climate Action begins with the charred landscape of a California wildfire. Writing of her family’s vaca­tions in northern California, and her more recent experiences with its intensifying fires, horror reviewer Sadie Hartmann offers a focused and passionate introduction to the anthology: climate change is real, it is affecting ...Read More

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Caren Gussoff Sumption Reviews Unbreakable by Mira Grant

Unbreakable, Mira Grant (Subterranean, 978-1-64524-103-4, $45.00, 152pp, hc), De­cember 2022.

Have you ever had a book sneak up on you? I mean, had something about the title, maybe the cover art, the back description make you think, ‘‘Meh, this will be okay,’’ but then – then you read it – and it smacks you upside your head because it was so unexpectedly, so unbelievably good?

Yeah, Seanan McGuire’s (writing ...Read More

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Caren Gussoff Sumption Reviews Ruin by Cara Hoffman

Ruin, Cara Hoffman (PM Press 978-1-62963-931-4, $25.95, 136pp, hc) April 2022.

I was halfway through the ten stories in Cara Hoff­man’s latest collection, Ruin, before I was able to start to understand how to read them – and then, nearly done with all of them when it became clear why the collection fit in Locus at all. Highly liter­ary, strikingly stylized, and mondo experimental, Ruin is a collection ...Read More

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Adrienne Martini Reviews The Golden Enclaves by Naomi Novik

The Golden Enclaves, Naomi Novik (Del Rey 978-0-59315-835-7, $28.00, 416 pp, hc) Sep­tember 2022.

Naomi Novik’s The Golden Enclaves wraps up her Scholomance trilogy. If you’ve not read A Deadly Education or The Last Graduate, I’d suggest skipping this review in order to read the first book fresh. This is definitely a series better enjoyed if you begin at the beginning, where you’ll meet El and what become ...Read More

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Alexandra Pierce Reviews Twice in a Lifetime by Melissa Baron

Twice in a Lifetime, Melissa Baron (Alcove Press 978-1-63910-136-8, $17.99, 336pp, tp) December 2022. Cover by David Drummond.

The blurb suggests that this debut novel is ‘‘The Time Traveller’s Wife meets Oona Out of Order’’, but the premise is unlike either of those: there is no genetic condition and no hopping around in time. Rather, Melissa Baron is using an idea familiar from the 2006 film The ...Read More

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Paul Di Filippo Reviews The Scarab Mission by James L. Cambias

The Scarab Mission, James L. Cambias (Baen 978-1982192396, hardcover, 288pp, $18.00) January 2023

This rousing, unstoppable, non-stop adventure follows Cambias’s The Godel Operation (reviewed here), which introduced his cosmos of the Billion Worlds: a future where our Solar System is overstuffed with a zillion habitats, polities and species (human and other wise), some struggling for supremacy, others just following their mundane blisses. It’s a definite post-scarcity—if not even posthuman—environment, ...Read More

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Colleen Mondor Reviews The Atlas Paradox by Olivie Blake

The Atlas Paradox, Olivie Blake (Tor 978-1-250-85509-1, $27.99, hc, 416pp) October 2022. Cover by Jamie Stafford-Hill.

Blake returned in October with the latest installment in The Atlas series, The Atlas Para­dox, and quickly tossed readers into more intrigue with the Society of Alexandrians and the drama surrounding its newest members. Fans of the first book, The Atlas Six, will be well aware of the major twist and ...Read More

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Paul Di Filippo Reviews Knot of Shadows by Lois McMaster Bujold and After Many a Summer by Tim Powers

Knot of Shadows, Lois McMaster Bujold (Subterranean 978-1-64524-114-0, hardcover, 160pp, $45.00) January 2023.

It’s time for another nigh-aleatory pairing of two novellas, as we dip into the current state of this fascinating artform, which, it has been said, is almost ideal for works of fantastika: long enough for worldbuilding and deep speculations; short enough not to grow wearisome or bogged down.

Today’s offerings both come from the fabulous Subterranean ...Read More

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Maya C. James Reviews The Lies of the Ajungo by Moses Ose Utomi

The Lies of the Ajungo, Moses Ose Utomi (Tordotcom 978-1-25084-906-9, $19.99, 96pp, hc) March 2023. Cover by Alyssa Winans & Christine Foltzer.

Indebted to the wicked Ajungo Empire, all citi­zens of the City of Lies have their tongues cut out when they turn 13. Not only do they sacrifice their blood, but their history. In return for their tribute, they receive just enough water from the Ajungo to keep ...Read More

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Gary K. Wolfe Reviews Beyond the Burn Line by Paul J. McAuley

Beyond the Burn Line, Paul J. McAuley (Gollancz 978-1-39960-371-3, £22.00, 455pp, hc) September 2022.

Paul McAuley also makes use of bifurcated time­lines in Beyond the Burn Line, but on a much vaster scale, and he also considers the global ef­fects of the Anthropocene Era, already relegated to the mists of ancient history as his tale rather modestly begins. Eventually we learn that the “burn line” is the historians’ ...Read More

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Colleen Mondor Reviews Singer Distance by Ethan Chatagnier

Singer Distance, Ethan Chatagnier (Tin House 978-1-95353-443-9, $27.95, hc, 280pp) October 2022.

In the slightly altered Earth history of Ethan Chatagnier’s Singer Distance, Mars made contact in 1896, but not in the way readers may likely expect. Rather than the bold arrival of a spacecraft, this interplanetary communication was prefaced by a Dutch astronomer’s large scale art carving of parallel marks in a Tunisian desert in 1894. When ...Read More

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Ian Mond Reviews Weasels in the Attic by Hiroko Oyamada

Weasels in the Attic, Hiroko Oyamada (New Directions 978-0-81123-118-3, $13/95, 96p, hc) October 2022.

In my humble opinion, the best surrealist fic­tion being published today is coming out of Japan, spearheaded by female authors like Yoko Tawada, Sayaka Murata, Yōko Ogawa, and Hiromi Kawakami. Included in that list is the elusive and discombobulating work of Hiroko Oyamada, whose third book, Weasels in the Attic, has been translated into ...Read More

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Maya C. James Reviews The Last Dreamwalker by Rita Woods

The Last Dreamwalker, Rita Woods (Forge 978-1-25080-561-4, $27.00, 272pp, hc) Sep­tember 2022.

Layla Hurley spends most of her life avoid­ing her nightmares. Whether through anxiety pills, wine, or a combination of those, she would do anything to sleep through the night without experiencing another lucid dream. But after her mother’s death, Layla learns that her nightmares are not chance recurrences, but a gift passed down from her family through ...Read More

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