Maya C. James Reviews Heart of the Sun Warrior by Sue Lynn Tan

Heart of the Sun Warrior, Sue Lynn Tan (Harp­er Voyager 978-0-063031364, $27.99, 480pp, hc) November 2022. Cover by Kuri Huang.

Xingyin has already done the impossible by freeing her mother, moon goddess Chang’e, from the Celestial Empire’s imprisonment. But when a strange magic emerges from her home, she must flee once again to protect those she loves.

Heart of the Sun Warrior is the final install­ment of Sue Lynn ...Read More

Read more

Paul Di Filippo Reviews Victory City by Salman Rushdie

Victory City, Salman Rushdie (Random House 978-0593243398, hardcover, 352pp, $30.00) February 2023

Salman Rushdie’s new novel is an un-put-down-able narrative feast, rich with character, incident, aphorisms, and meditations on morality, life, and death. It’s a saga so rich and authentic, narrated with so much fluency and ceaseless invention, that it ranks with the other Ur-romances that Rushdie alludes to, such as the Ramayana. Flavors of The Thousand and ...Read More

Read more

Ian Mond Reviews How to Sell a Haunted House by Grady Hendrix

How to Sell a Haunted House, Grady Hendrix (Berkley 978-0-59320-126-8, $28.00, 400p, hc) January 2023.

Over the last several years, I’ve drifted away from core (mainstream) horror fiction to the extent that I haven’t read the last few Stephen King novels (something that I could not have imagined less than a decade ago). Grady Hen­drix is the exception. Since picking up My Best Friend’s Exorcism back in 2016, I’ve ...Read More

Read more

Alex Brown Reviews Tread of Angels by Rebecca Roanhorse

Tread of Angels, Rebecca Roanhorse (Saga Press 978-1-66800-663-4, $22.99. 208pp, tp) November 2022.

With Tread of Angels, Rebecca Roanhorse blends tropes from Westerns and noir with Biblical my­thology. In the western town of Goetia are the bones of a dead divine being. What is mined from those bones is used to power just about everything, from automobiles to strange mechanical objects. The town is mostly populated by two ...Read More

Read more

Gary K. Wolfe Reviews The Best of Catherynne M. Valente: Volume One by Catherynne M. Valente

The Best of Catherynne M. Valente: Volume One, Catherynne M. Valente (Subterranean 978-1-64524-077-8, $50.00, 800pp, hc) April 2023.

In a career of less than two decades, Catherynne M. Valente seems to have made an outsized im­pact on fantasy and SF, despite never quite fitting in to any movement or trend, and never quite getting predictable – except, perhaps, for her unabashed love of language. For a while, some of ...Read More

Read more

Gary K. Wolfe Reviews The Terraformers by Annalee Newitz

The Terraformers, Annalee Newitz (Tor 978-1-250-22801-7, 352pp, $27.99, hc) January 2023.

The very title of Annalee Newitz’s The Ter­raformers suggests ambition, and not only the hubris involved in setting out to remodel whole planets as though they were unfinished basements. The concept has been prominent in SF for decades–the term itself dates back to an 80-year-old Jack Williamson story – and Newitz is well aware that they’re revisiting territory ...Read More

Read more

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

Read more

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

Read more

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

Read more

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

Read more

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

Read more

Charles Payseur Reviews Short Fiction: Lightspeed, GigaNotoSaurus, and Reckoning: Our Beautiful Reward

Lightspeed 11/22 GigaNotoSaurus 11/22 Reckoning: Our Beautiful Reward 11/22

November’s Lightspeed features the wonderful novelette “The Noon Witch Goes to Sound Planet” by Kristina Ten, where Hailey is a young woman who doesn’t really want to be the Noon Witch, something she’s inherited from her mother, who used to give men heatstroke back in the old country. Hailey just wants friends and figures if she can spend ...Read More

Read more

Karen Burnham Reviews Short Fiction: Omenana, Analog, and Clarkesworld

Omenana 7/22 Analog 11-12/22 Clarkesworld 11/22

In July Omenana published their 22nd issue, this one in collaboration with the National Democratic Institute titled “Positive Visions of Democracy” featuring a lot of hopepunk and an emphasis on communal decision making. This is part of the same project that inspired Mithila Review’s “Planet Democracy” issue, which I reviewed in November. I’m hugely in favor of anything that nudges speculative fiction to dive ...Read More

Read more

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

Read more

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

Read more

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

Read more

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

Read more

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

Read more

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

Read more

Charles Payseur Reviews Short Fiction: Diabolical Plots, Beneath Ceaseless Skies, Flash Fiction Online and Fantasy

Diabolical Plots 11/22 Beneath Ceaseless Skies 11/3/22, 11/17/22 Flash Fiction Online 11/22 Fantasy 11/22

November’s Diabolical Plots surprised me a bit with a foodie science fiction story I definitely hadn’t seen before. Phil Dyer bakes up a creepy exploration story in “Beneath the Crust”, where a team moves into the mysterious Bake, a whole dimension of dough that some people can shape with their minds into any kind ...Read More

Read more

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

Read more

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

Read more

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

Read more

Charles Payseur Reviews Short Fiction: Samovar, Strange Horizons, Drabblecast, and Amazon: Into Shadow

Samovar 10/24/22 Strange Horizons 10/17/22, 10/31/22, 11/7/22 Drabblecast 11/22 Amazon: Into Shadow 11/22

Samovar also came out with an issue in Octo­ber, featuring two stories and poem presented bilingually. Mónica Bustos’s “Warm Beds”, translated by Analía Villagra, weaves together the fates of three people who come to exist only at different times of the day, all while sharing the same room, and same bed. While they never ...Read More

Read more

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

Read more

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

Read more

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

Read more

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

Read more

Karen Burnham Reviews Short Fiction: The Sunday Morning Transport, Slate Future Tense, and New Edge Sword and Sorcery

The Sunday Morning Transport 10/16 & 11/20/22 Slate Future Tense 9/24/22 New Edge Sword and Sorcery Fall ’22

Catching up with The Sunday Morning Transport in the fall, one of my favorites is “Trinity’s Drag­on” by Holly Lyn Walrath. Trinity is an older woman and space veterinarian, which means she actually has a chance when a sick space dragon wraps itself around her spaceship. Against the advice ...Read More

Read more

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

Read more

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

Read more

Charles Payseur Reviews Short Fiction: Worlds of Possibility, Baffling, and Cast of Wonders

Worlds of Possibility 10/22 Baffling 10/22 Cast of Wonders 10/14/22, 10/23/22, 10/29/22, 10/31/22

I’m quite happy that Julia Rios is back in an editing chair, and Worlds of Possibility makes for an interesting next chapter for them. As sad as I was to see Mermaids Monthly come to a close at the end of 2021 (and as much as I’m hoping that project will still find a way to return ...Read More

Read more