Gabino Iglesias Reviews Milk Teeth by Helene Bukowski

Milk Teeth, Helene Bukowski (The Unnamed Press 978-1-95121-335-0, $26.00, 223pp, hc) September 2021. Cover by Chrissy Kurpeski.

Helene Bukowski’s Milk Teeth, which has been beautifully translated from the German by Jen Calleja, is an enigmatic narrative about three women that succeeds as much because of what’s on the page as it does thanks to the questions left unanswered at the core of the story. Atmospheric, dark, a bit ...Read More

Read more

Gary K. Wolfe Reviews Boys, Beasts & Men by Sam J. Miller

Boys, Beasts & Men, Sam J. Miller (Tachyon 978-1-61696-3729, $17.95, 330pp, tp) June 2022.

In reading his new collection Boys, Beasts & Men, it came as a bit of a surprise to remember that Sam J. Miller’s first novel, The Art of Starv­ing, appeared only five years ago, and that the earliest of the 14 stories here date back only to 2013. This may in part be ...Read More

Read more

Adrienne Martini Reviews Nettle & Bone by T. Kingfisher

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

I am already a fan of T. Kingfisher (AKA Ursula Vernon). The three books (so far) in the Paladin series are full of light romance (with occasional corpses) and have kept me going through the last 18 months. Her young-adult stories like the Lodestar Award-winning The Wizard’s Guide to Defensive Baking are fun for adults as well ...Read More

Read more

Ian Mond Reviews The Candy House by Jennifer Egan

The Candy House, Jennifer Egan (Scribner 978-1-47671-676-3, $28.00, 352pp, hc) April 2022.

As the publishing Gods would have it, Emily St. John Mandel’s Sea of Tranquility is published in the same month as Jennifer Egan’s The Candy House. Moreso than Margaret Atwood, I consider Mandel and Egan to be the mainstream authors who have done the most to blur the artificial lines between literary and speculative fiction, as ...Read More

Read more

Colleen Mondor Reviews From Dust, A Flame by Rebecca Podos

From Dust, A Flame, Rebecca Podos (Balzer + Bray 978-0-06-269906-0, $17.39, hc, 416pp) February 2022.

Hannah Williams enjoys a largely manage­able life with her widowed mother and wicked cool older brother, Gabe, finding new homes from city to city in a variety of houses, cabins, apartments, and cottages. They move for no reason other than their mother’s restless spirit but have always landed on their feet and settle in ...Read More

Read more

Charles Payseur Reviews Short Fiction: Fantasy, Lightspeed, and Xenocultivars: Stories of Queer Growth

Fantasy 3/22 Lightspeed 3/22 Xenocultivars: Stories of Queer Growth, Isa­bela Oliveira & Jed Sabin, eds. (Speculatively Queer) March 2022.

March’s Fantasy Magazine features a new story by Isabel J. Kim, who has been having a very strong year. ‘‘Christopher Mills, Return to Sender’’ focuses on death and resurrection as Chris awakens from his own personal hell, a giant mall without a smoothie place, thanks to the ...Read More

Read more

Gary K. Wolfe Reviews A Mirror Mended by Alix E. Harrow

A Mirror Mended, Alix E. Harrow (Tordotcom 978-1-250-76664-9, $18.99, 144pp, hc) June 2022.

Although it hasn’t really caught on much, ‘‘bib­liofantasy’’ has always seemed to me a useful term for describing a certain kind of recursive fantasy, in which protagonists find themselves transported into classic stories or story-worlds. It has a pretty respectable pedigree, and although some of its earlier classics aren’t read much these days, it’s enjoyed a ...Read More

Read more

Alex Brown Reviews The Memory Librarian: And Other Stories of Dirty Computer by Janelle Monáe, ed.

The Memory Librarian: And Other Stories of Dirty Computer, Janelle Monáe, ed. (Harp­erVoyager 978-0-06307-087-5, $28.99, 336pp, hc) April 2022.

Celebrity writing projects can be an iffy prospect. Writing is a particular craft, one that doesn’t necessarily translate from act­ing or songwriting, and the results can sometimes feel less like an act of creativity and more like a vanity project. That is absolutely not the case with Janelle Monáe’s The ...Read More

Read more

Caren Gussoff Sumption Reviews The Way Spring Arrives and Other Stories by Yu Chen & Regina Kanyu Wang, eds

The Way Spring Arrives and Other Stories, Yu Chen & Regina Kanyu Wang, eds. (Tordotcom 978-1-25076-891-9, $26.99, 400pp, hc) March 2022.

By now, many of us are already prepar­ing for the 81st World Science Fiction Convention next year in China. So it’s the perfect time for an anthology like The Way Spring Arrives and Other Stories to hit shelves and tide us over until 2023.

Though Chinese publishers have ...Read More

Read more

Colleen Mondor Reviews Base Notes by Lara Elena Donnelly

Base Notes, Lara Elena Donnelly (Thomas & Mercer 978-1-542-03070-0, $15.95, tp, 408pp) January 2022.

Lara Elena Donnelly’s Base Notes appears ini­tially (if you ignore the dead body in the brief introduction) to be about perfumer Vic Fowler’s unique ability to capture memories in scent. Vic is struggling to keep her small perfume company afloat in a hostile financial environment, and a side hustle selling these special perfumes to high ...Read More

Read more

Gary K. Wolfe Reviews When Women Were Dragons by Kelly Barnhill

When Women Were Dragons, Kelly Barnhill (Doubleday 978-0385548229, $28.00, 352pp, hc) May 2022.

I suppose there are plenty of human-dragon metamorphoses in fantasy novels, but they aren’t what immediately came to mind when reading Kelly Barnhill’s first adult novel When Women Were Dragons – in which 642,987 American women suddenly transform into dragons on a single day in 1955. Instead, I was reminded of Ionesco’s 1959 play Rhinoceros, ...Read More

Read more

Alex Brown Reviews Fire Becomes Her by Rosiee Thor

Fire Becomes Her, Rosiee Thor (Scholastic 978-1-33867-911-3, $18.99, 368pp, hc) Febru­ary 2022.

In Rosiee Thor’s Fire Becomes Her, Candesce, a nation similar to the United States in the 1920s, is on the cusp of an historic presidential election. Gwendolyn Brooks, a former entertainer, is chal­lenging Senator Holt, an excessively wealthy man everyone believes is a shoe-in. When she was a child, Ingrid Ellis’s father was thrown in jail ...Read More

Read more

Adrienne Martini Reviews The Paradox Hotel by Rob Hart

The Paradox Hotel, Rob Hart (Ballantine 978-1-98482-064-8, 324pp, $28, hc) February 2022.

Rob Hart’s The Paradox Hotel sums its own energy up with one line of dialog: ‘‘We’re at DEFCON Level Holy Shit.’’ Hart not only starts in media res, he puts us on the rollercoaster that is the Paradox Hotel just as it is tipping down the first big hill. The pace never really lets up until the ...Read More

Read more

Ian Mond Reviews Sea of Tranquility by Emily St. John Mandel

Sea of Tranquility, Emily St. John Mandel (Knopf 978-0-59332-144-7, $25.00, 272pp, hc) April 2022.

There is this wink-to-the-audience moment about halfway through Sea of Tranquility where Olive Llewellyn, bestselling author of Marienbad, is asked what it’s like to have written such a successful book.

Oh. It’s surreal, actually. I wrote three books that no one noticed, no distribution beyond the moon colonies… when I published Marienbad, I ...Read More

Read more

Colleen Mondor Reviews The Temperature of Me and You by Brian Zepka

The Temperature of Me and You, Brian Zepka (Disney-Hyperion 978-1-36806-471-2, $17.99, hc, 416 pp) January 2022.

Author Brian Zepka set out to blend a sweet romance with high school drama and a major science fiction twist in The Temperature of Me and You, a novel involving the teen victim of a lab accident/experiment that has left him literally burning from the inside out. I’ll be honest; I’m a ...Read More

Read more

Paul Di Filippo Reviews Masters of Science Fiction: Robert Sheckley by Robert Sheckley

Masters of Science Fiction: Robert Sheckley, Robert Sheckley (Centipede Press 978-1-61347-311-5, hardcover, 728pp, $65 February 2022.

There have been four previous volumes in Centipede Press’s gorgeous series Masters of Science Fiction. (Lordy, how splendidly assembled and adorned these books are!) The dedicatees are: James Patrick Kelly, Fritz Leiber, Richard Wilson, and Kate Wilhelm. I endorse these selections wholeheartedly. (I even did the introduction to the Wilson volume.) True ...Read More

Read more

Caren Gussoff Sumption Reviews Light Years from Home by Mike Chen

Light Years from Home, Mike Chen (MIRA 978-0-7783-1173-7, $28.00, 353 pp, hc) Janu­ary 2022.

The American painter, Conrad Marca-Relli, was known best for his abstract depictions of the body. He often relied on cut paper forms to build his work, famously stating, ‘‘You get a linear quality from collage that is more rapid than the swiftest drawn line.’’

While Mike Chen’s newest novel, Light Years from Home, is ...Read More

Read more

Adrienne Martini Reviews The Atlas Six by Olivie Blake

The Atlas Six, Olivie Blake (Self-published 978-1-679-91099-9, 383pp, tp) January 2020. (Tor 978-1-25085-451-3, 536pp, $25.99, hc) March 2022.

I am late to the Olivie Blake (AKA Alexene Farol Follmuth) party because I can’t com­mit to TikTok, which is where The Atlas Six first caught the imaginations of thousands of readers. This Tor edition is an expanded and revised edit of the version of the book that made the rounds ...Read More

Read more

Caren Gussoff Sumption Reviews Under Fortunate Stars by Ren Hutchings

Under Fortunate Stars, Ren Hutchings (Rebel­lion/Solaris 978-1-78618-592-1, $24.99, 480pp, hc) May 2022

It takes less than ten pages to understand the deep love Ren Hutchings has for space operas. Classic ones, modern ones. Movies, series, adaptations. From Firefly to The Forever War, the homages run deep in Under Fortunate Stars. But this is no cookie-cutter hack or half-baked collage. Under Fortunate Stars manages to tease out the ...Read More

Read more

Ian Mond Reviews Jawbone by Mónica Ojeda

Jawbone, Mónica Ojeda (Coffee House Press 978-1-56689-621-4, $16.95, 272pp, tp) Febru­ary 2022.

On occasion, I’ve been known to make bold pro­nouncements in this column. Back in January, I crowned John Darnielle’s Devil House as one of the best books of the year, having read less than a handful of novels published in 2022. Three months later and I stand by that proclamation. Having just finished Mónica Ojeda’s Jawbone, ...Read More

Read more

Liz Bourke Reviews The Bone Orchard by Sara A. Mueller

The Bone Orchard, Sara A. Mueller (Tor 987-1-250-77694-5, $26.99, 432pp, hc) March 2022.

The Bone Orchard is Sara A. Mueller’s debut novel. Aesthetically, it has more than a touch of the gothic; thematically, its arguments about autonomy and identity, personhood and empire, remind me strikingly of Arkady Martine’s science fiction, Max Gladstone’s Craft books, and A.K. Larkwood’s debut The Unspoken Name. Bones and traps and secrets, oh ...Read More

Read more

Paul Di Filippo Reviews Flint and Mirror by John Crowley

Flint and Mirror, John Crowley (Tor 978-1250817525, hardcover, 256pp, $26.99) April 2022.

Shortly after the 2017 publication of John Crowley’s masterful novel, Ka: Dar Oakley in the Ruin of Ymr, Crowley was heard to opine that the book might be his last piece of long fiction, some fifty years of hard work and exquisite dreaming having taken their natural toll and led to a point of closure and ...Read More

Read more

Adrienne Martini Reviews Battle of the Linguist Mages by Scotto Moore

Battle of the Linguist Mages, Scotto Moore (Tordotcom 978-1-250-76772-1, 448pp, $28.99, hc) January 2022.

Scotto Moore’s debut story Your Favorite Band Cannot Save You was a weird trip into the wild world of streaming music and touring bands. It was a strange delight – and at about 128 pages, it was just enough too muchness to be fun. Battle of the Linguist Mages is very much a Moore creation ...Read More

Read more

Paul Di Filippo Reviews Aspects by John M. Ford

Aspects, John M. Ford (Tor 978-1250269034, hardcover, 496pp, $26.99) April 2022.

I discovered something unique in all my years of reading, upon encountering John M. Ford’s posthumously published novel: it is possible to be both elated and melancholy at the same time. I am elated because what we have here—in nearly five hundred pages of polished text—is a shining, brilliant example of fantasy writing, nothing but pure pleasure and ...Read More

Read more

Russell Letson Reviews Quantum of Nightmares by Charles Stross

Quantum of Nightmares, Charles Stross (Tor­dotcom 978-1-25083-937-4, $27.99, 368 pp, hc) January 2022.

Charles Stross’s Quantum of Nightmares is the 11th of the Laundry Files books, a series whose trademark is the blending of tropes, motifs, and narrative conventions from the supernatural-horror and intrigue/crime/spy-thriller genre families. At the beginning, these struck me as light entertainment, part Lovecraftian-gothick, part secret-agent adven­ture, with a generous dollop of political-social satire, all delivered ...Read More

Read more

Gary K. Wolfe Reviews The Visual History of Science Fiction Fandom – Volume Two: 1940 by David Ritter & Daniel Ritter

The Visual History of Science Fiction Fandom – Volume Two: 1940, David Ritter & Daniel Rit­ter (First Fandom Experience 978-1-7366596-1-8, $195.00, 484pp, hc) December 2021.

It’s already been a couple of years since David & Daniel Ritter’s The Visual History of Science Fiction Fandom, Volume One: The 1930s gave us a sort of tomb-raider’s view of the early days of fan culture, more or less concluding with the first ...Read More

Read more

Gary K. Wolfe Reviews Crazy in Poughkeepsie by Daniel Pinkwater

Crazy in Poughkeepsie, Daniel Pinkwater (Tachyon 978-1-61696-374-3, $16.95, 192pp hc) April 2022.

There’s always a degree of satisfaction, maybe bor­dering on smugness, in finding that a favorite quirky writer is also a favorite of other writers you respect. In a career of half a century, Daniel Pinkwater has gained the admiration of writers as diverse as Cory Doctorow, Neil Gaiman, and Charlie Jane Anders – some lucky enough to ...Read More

Read more

Maya C. James Reviews The Broken Tower by Kelly Braffet

The Broken Tower, Kelly Braffet (Mira Books 978-0-77833-179-7, $27.99, 480pp, hc) Cover by Micaela Alcaino.

Content-warning: mentions of self-harm, child abuse.

Kelly Braffet’s The Broken Tower picks up right after the The Unwilling, where Judah the Foundling jumps from the top of a castle tower to save her stepbrother, Gavin. Following her leap of faith, she finds herself in the company of two mysterious men, and her magical ...Read More

Read more

Gary K. Wolfe reviews The Long Game by K.J. Parker

The Long Game, K.J. Parker (Subterranean 978-1-64524-080-0, $44.88, 108pp, hc) March 2022.

K.J. Parker may not have invented the idea of using an exasperated, put-upon narrator to under­cut the implicit pretensions of a classic fantasy setting, but he’s certainly become its reigning virtuoso. His latest novella, The Long Game, is again set in his alternate late-medieval Europe, with its not-quite-recognizable place names like Idalia or Sabades Amar but ...Read More

Read more

Caren Gussoff Sumption Reviews Freaks by Brett Riley

Freaks, Brett Riley (Imbrifex 9781945501531, $18.99, 283pp, hc) March 2022.

Hey, speculative fiction reader, indulge me on a hunch. Here it is: high school was not… great. Probably not a time you look back on with much fondness. Not one you’d willingly return to for all the money in the world. The awkwardness. The delicately balanced social rules – trying to balance being an individual with fitting in, wanting ...Read More

Read more

Gabino Iglesias Reviews Road of Bones by Christopher Golden

Road of Bones, Christopher Golden (St. Martin’s Press 978-1-25027-430-3, $27.99, 240pp, hard­cover) January 2022.

Christopher Golden’s Road of Bones packs a mixture of horror and adventure its 240 pages that makes it feel like a 100-page novella. Full of memorable characters and taking place in a truly unique and inhospitable location, the narrative walks a fine line between an all-out horror story about impossible creatures threatening a group of ...Read More

Read more

Gary K. Wolfe Reviews Kundo Wakes Up by Saad Z. Hossain

Kundo Wakes Up, Saad Z. Hossain (Tordotcom 978-1-250-82392-2, $15.99, 208pp, tp) March 2022.

Saad Z. Hossain’s Kundo Wakes Up returns us to the uniquely original vision of a future South Asia plagued by environmental disaster, swarm­ing with airborne nanotech, governed by mostly benevolent AIs, and occasionally plagued by rogue djinns, that we first encountered in The Gurkha and the Lord of Tuesday back in 2019. Even one of his ...Read More

Read more