Karen Burnham Reviews Short Fiction:Clarkesworld, Abyss & Apex and The Sunday Morning Transport

Clarkesworld 1/22 Abyss & Apex Q1 ’22 The Sunday Morning Transport 1/9/22, 1/16/22

Back in my usual haunts, January’s Clarkesworld opens with a story of grief, love, and food in “The Uncurling of Samsara” by Koji A. Dae. The narra­tor is part of a family that has historically provided food engineering for their generation starship, a very important job that keeps the population healthy and uplifts morale. ...Read More

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Gabino Iglesias Reviews Mickey7 by Edward Ashton

Mickey7, Edward Ashton (St. Martin’s 978-1-25027-503-5, $27.99, 304pp, hc) February 2022.

One of the most impressive things about genre fiction is its ability to surprise and entertain regardless of how long we’ve been reading it. Edward Ashton’s Mickey7, his third novel, is a multilayered, wildly entertaining story that takes readers into a human colony fighting to survive on a truly inhospitable planet of rock and extreme cold that ...Read More

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Caren Gussoff Sumption Reviews The Beholden by Cassandra Rose Clarke

The Beholden, Cassandra Rose Clarke (Erewhon 978-1-64566-025-5, $18.95, 523pp, tp) January 2022.

The De Malena sisters are desperate. Or­phaned and destitute, they’ll do anything to save their estate and their titles – even bargain with the Lady of the Serpentine, the un­predictable Airiana goddess of the river.

In The Beholden, the latest novel by Cassandra Rose Clarke, the Lady grants the sisters their wish. Celestia, beautiful and delicate, ...Read More

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Gary K. Wolfe Reviews All the Horses of Iceland by Sarah Tolmie

All the Horses of Iceland, Sarah Tolmie (Tor­dotcom 978-1-250-80793-9, $15.99, 112pp, tp) March 2022.

Sarah Tolmie’s All the Horses of Iceland might also be described as a concise epic, purporting to describe how horses came to Iceland, but it’s cast more in the form of a chronicle than a plot­ted tale. Its narrator is a priest named Jor, who is reconstructing from a distance of centuries the story of ...Read More

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Alex Brown Reviews Trouble the Waters by Sheree Renée Thomas, Pan Morigan, & Troy L. Wiggins, eds.

Trouble the Waters, Sheree Renée Thomas, Pan Morigan & Troy L. Wiggins, eds. (Rosarium 978-0-99870-596-5, $19.95, 300pp, tp) November 2020. (Third Man Books 978-1-73484-227-2, $17.95, 404pp, tp) January 2022.

In Trouble the Waters: Tales from the Deep Blue, editors Sheree Renée Thomas, Pan Morigan & Troy L. Wiggins pull together 33 stories and poems from a staggering array of creative voices. Longtime read­ers of short speculative fiction will ...Read More

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Paul Di Filippo Reviews The Cartographers by Peng Shepherd

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

I must confess that Peng Shepherd’s award-winning debut novel from 2018, The Book of M, slipped right under my radar, and so I come now to her sophomore production without any expectations. From that particular reviewer’s stance, let me say right from the get-go that I am captivated by her sharp eye, her smooth prose stylings, ...Read More

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Charles Payseur Reviews Short Fiction: Kaleidotrope, Fireside, Beneath Ceaseless Skies, and Diabolical Plots

Kaleidotrope 1/22 Fireside 1/22 Beneath Ceaseless Skies 1/1/22, 1/13/22, 1/27/22 Diabolical Plots 1/22

 

Another quarterly ushering in the new year is Kaleidotrope, whose winter issue features ten original short stories and seven poems. The tone of the publication tends toward the grim and hor­rifying, though often wrapped around a gooey heart. For instance, “Seven Times Seven” by A.C. Wise finds Jax, a child of an abusive father ...Read More

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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Karen Burnham Reviews Short Fiction:Analog and Asimov’s

Analog 1-2/22 Asimov’s 1-2/22

When I took over part of the Locus short fiction reviewing duties after Gardner Dozois’ sad passing in 2018, I figured I’d be sharing this space with Rich Horton for many years to come. But as he announced in Janu­ary, he has retired from his column and is turning his attention elsewhere – especially to adorable grandchildren! So I find myself starting on this verso page ...Read More

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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

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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

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Charles Payseur Reviews Short Fiction: Anathema, Mermaids Monthly, Zooscape, and FIYAH

Anathema 12/21 Mermaids Monthly 12/21 Zooscape 12/21 Fiyah 12/21, 1/22

Every year a few publications put out is­sues on December 31, and 2021 was no exception. Aside from Baffling Magazine, which I looked at last column, both Anathema and Mermaids Monthly released their December issues on the final day of the month and year, and while that might make them easy for busy readers to miss, both are very much ...Read More

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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

Lightspeed 1/22 Fantasy 1/22 Nightmare 1/22 F&SF 1-2/22

January’s Lightspeed leans decidedly grim to kick off the new year, with a majority of the original fiction opting away from happy endings. It’s a trend that will continue in sibling publications Fantasy and Nightmare (though that last certainly makes sense, given the Nightmare’s horror focus). In Lightspeed, though, Aimee Ogden’s flash fiction “Dissent: A Five-Course Meal (With Suggested Pairings) ...Read More

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