Amy Goldschlager Reviews Fall; or, Dodge in Hell Audiobook by Neal Stephenson

Fall; or, Dodge in Hell, Neal Stephenson; Malcolm Hillgartner, narrator (Brilliance Audio 978-1-5113-2841-8, $44.99, 25 CDs, 31.75 hr., unabridged [also available on MP3-CD and as a digital download]) June 2019.

After about an hour’s worth of really heavy fore­shadowing about how hard it is to make convinc­ing virtual replicas of real-world phenomena and the potential danger of accidentally eating before a minor medical procedure that requires fasting, tech guru ...Read More

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Ian Mond and Gary K. Wolfe Review The Rosewater Redemption by Tade Thompson

The Rosewater Redemption, Tade Thompson (Orbit 978-0316449090, $16.99, 416pp, tp) October 2019.

I wasn’t expecting the third book in Tade Thomp­son’s Wormwood Trilogy to be released so soon after the second, The Rosewater Insurrection. Not that I’m complaining. I’ve been eager to find out how Thompson would resolve the numerous threads he left dangling at the conclusion of The Rosewater Insurrection. The relatively short lead time between ...Read More

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Adrienne Martini Reviews Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo

Ninth House, Leigh Bardugo (Flatiron 978-1-250-31307-2, $27.99, 448pp, hc) October 2019.

If you are a fan of Lev Grossman’s Magicians series or Neil Gaiman’s American Gods, odds are much better than even that you’ll fall head­first into Leigh Bardugo’s Ninth House and not want to ever emerge again. Like the worlds in those two titles/universes, Bardugo’s version of Yale, one where the secret societies practice certain sorts of ...Read More

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Amy Goldschlager Reviews Teeth in the Mist Audiobook by Dawn Kurtagich

Teeth in the Mist, Dawn Kurtagich; Al­lan Corduner, Gemma Dawson, Marisa Calin, Polly Lee & Steve West, narrators (Hachette Audio 978-1-54917591-6, $24.98, digi­tal download, 12.75 hr., unabridged) June 2019.

A medieval Welsh monk bargains with demonic forces to extend his life, a deal which taints the lives of three young women in different historical periods at Mill House, a sinister manor on a Welsh mountain. In the late 16th ...Read More

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Russell Letson Reviews The Menace from Farside by Ian McDonald

The Menace from Farside, Ian McDonald (Tor.com Publishing 978-1-250-24779-7, $14.99, tp) November 2019. Cover by Richard Anderson.

Ian McDonald’s The Menace from Farside is also an extension of ideas – and specific settings – from the author’s previous work, in this case his Luna sequence. The Menace from Farside is set earlier, in 2089, when much of the lunar infrastructure is still a-building, but with its wildly multicultural-libertarian social ...Read More

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Paula Guran Reviews The Monster of Elendhaven by Jennifer Gies­brecht

The Monster of Elendhaven, Jennifer Gies­brecht (Tor.com Publishing 978-1-250-22568-9 $16.99. 160pp, hc) September 2019.

Johann is a monster who kills as easily as he breathes. Apparently superhuman, he is able to quickly heal from any injury. Johann lives in Elendhaven, a dying city that lies on a “foul spit of land” in the (literally) black sea of a bay called Bad Moon. Elendhaven’s culture, one character says, is tragedy. ...Read More

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Paul Di Filippo Reviews Anyone by Charles Soule

Anyone, Charles Soule (Harper Perennial 978-0-06-289063-4, $21.99, 432pp, hardcover) December 2019

Alas for me, I have not yet had a chance to read Charles Soule’s well-regarded debut novel from 2018, The Oracle Year. But I have certainly enjoyed his clever, inventive, and exciting comics scripting, on such titles as Swamp Thing, Red Lanterns and She-Hulk. So I came to his sophomore book, Anyone, expecting a treat, and ...Read More

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Gary K. Wolfe Reviews Curious Toys by Elizabeth Hand

Curious Toys, Elizabeth Hand (Mulholland 978-0-316-48588-3, $27.00, 384pp, hc) October 2019.

Like her darkly wonderful Cass Neary crime novels, Elizabeth Hand’s Curious Toys is what we here at Locus Genre Control refer to as “associational,” meaning it’s not materially SF or fantasy, but con­tains much of interest to genre readers – and not solely because of Hand’s distinguished career in these parts. Curious Toys is being marketed largely as ...Read More

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Katharine Coldiron Reviews The Princess Beard by Delilah S. Dawson & Kevin Hearne

The Princess Beard, Delilah S. Dawson & Kevin Hearne (Del Rey 978-1-52479-780-5, $27.00, 384pp, hc) October 2019.

The Princess Beard, the third of the three-book Pell series co-written by Delilah S. Dawson & Kevin Hearne, is half swash­buckler and half set piece. Like the other two books in the series, it stands alone, with reference to but without dependence on its predecessors, and its tone sits primarily in ...Read More

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Ian Mond Reviews Frankissstein by Jeanette Winterson

Frankissstein: A Love Story, Jeanette Winterson (Jonathan Cape 978-1787331402, £16.99, 352pp, hc) May 2019. (Grove Press 978-0-8021-2-9499, $27.00, 352pp, hc) October 2019.

We’re all familiar with the story. In 1816, on a miserable summer’s day in Lake Geneva, Lord Byron challenges Doctor John Polidori, Percy Shelley, and Percy’s soon to be wife Mary Godwin, to invent their own tales of the supernatural. This, the most famous rainy-day activity in ...Read More

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Amy Goldschlager Reviews Magic for Liars Audiobook by Sarah Gailey

Magic for Liars, Sarah Gailey; Xe Sands, narrator (Macmillan Audio 978-1-25022786-7, $19.99, digital download, 9 hr., unabridged) June 2019.

Harry Potter is the person you want to be, but Ivy Gamble is the person you probably are. Ivy lives in a Potter-like version of Oakland, in the sense that magic, a magical bureaucracy, and a magical system of education all exist, largely un­known to those ungifted with magical ability. ...Read More

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Liz Bourke and Carolyn Cushman Review Gideon the Ninth by Tamsyn Muir

Gideon the Ninth, Tamsyn Muir (Tor.com Pub­lishing 978-1-250-31319-5, $25.99, 448pp, hc) September 2019. Cover by Tommy Arnold.

Gideon the Ninth, debut novel by much-hyped new voice Tamsyn Muir, is a book that spent several months on my shelf while I wrestled with my mixed feelings about how very hyped it has been since I first heard of it. Lesbian necromancers in space! Gothic cutthroat politics! Epic shit! You’ll ...Read More

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Rich Horton Reviews Short Fiction: Analog, Asimov’s, and f(r)iction

Analog 9-10/19 Asimov’s 9-10/19 f(r)iction Spring ’19

The cover story in the September-October Analog is “The Gorilla in a Tutu Principle; or, Pecan Pie at Minnie and Earl’s“, a novella from Adam-Troy Castro, the third in his series about the era of lunar coloniza­tion, and how the very unusual couple Minnie and Earl helped out. Castro is partly having fun with Analog expectations, because these stories, featuring ...Read More

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Paul Di Filippo Reviews Shadows in the Stone by Jack Dann

Shadows in the Stone, Jack Dann (IFWG Publishing 978-1-925956-36-8, $18.99, 362pp, trade paperback) November 2019

The Christian “heresy” of Gnosticism offers a fascinating mythos, a disturbing philosophy, and a ready-made set of fantasy props and beings that could be adapted for fictional narratives. Put very simply, Gnosticism holds that all of material creation, rather than standing as the shining example of a benign creator’s will, is a diseased prison ...Read More

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Colleen Mondor Reviews House of Salt and Sorrows by Erin A. Craig

House of Salt and Sorrows, Erin A. Craig (Delacorte 978-1-9848-3192-7, $18.99, 416pp, hc) August 2019.

Drawing from the classic fairy tale “The Twelve Dancing Princesses”, Erin Craig’s House of Salt and Sorrows is a heavily at­mospheric novel set in a world that historically echoes our own and brings all the mystery, drama, and horror that readers could want. Sis­ters are dying, a strange and secretive passage to distant and ...Read More

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Gary K. Wolfe and Rich Horton Review The Mythic Dream, Edited by Dominik Parisien & Navah Wolfe

The Mythic Dream, Dominik Parisien & Navah Wolfe, eds. (Saga 978-1-5344-4228-3, $24.99, 368pp, hc) September 2019.

With two well-received anthologies already to their credit (The Starlit Wood and Robots vs Fairies) Dominik Parisien & Navah Wolfe can’t possibly believe that their idea for the third one – retellings and reshap­ings of world myths – is going to strike anyone as wildly innovative. Not only are there many ...Read More

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Karen Burnham Reviews Short Fiction: Clarkesworld, BCS, Lightspeed, Strange Horizons, Augur, and Future SF

Clarkesworld 8/19 Beneath Ceaseless Skies #284 Lightspeed 9/19 Strange Horizons 8/19 Augur #2.1 Future Science Fiction Digest 6/19

August’s Clarkesworld leads off with “En­tangled” by Beston Barnett, a relative newcomer, if the Internet Speculative Fiction Database (<isfdb.org>) is correct. The nar­rator is the first-ever alien citizen of Earth, a Lem. Since birth, they have used quantum entangled FTL communications to project their conscious­ness into an xuit, and ...Read More

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Ian Mond Reviews Masterworks and Other Stories by Simon Jacobs

Masterworks and Other Stories, Simon Jacobs (Instar Books 978-1682199053, $20.00, 208pp, hc) August 2019.

Until recently, Simon Jacobs has enjoyed the coveted honour of being on the list of authors whose books I own but whom I’ve never read. I purchased his first novel, Palaces, more than a year ago because it looked right up my alley and, since then, it’s been collecting virtual dust on my Kindle ...Read More

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Adrienne Martini Reviews The History of Living Forever by Jake Wolff

The History of Living Forever, Jake Wolff (Farrar, Straus, Giroux 978-0-374-17066-0, $27.00, 384pp, hc) June 2019.

Jake Wolff’s The History of Living Forever isn’t really science fiction, but it isn’t really not science fiction, either. It falls into that interstitial space. (And a hat tip to Ellen Kushner and friends for popularizing that term.)

Most of the story is set in a world we all rec­ognize, especially if we’ve ...Read More

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Amy Goldschlager Reviews Three Audiobooks by P. Djèlí Clark

A Dead Djinn in Cairo, P. Djèlí Clark; Sue­hyla El-Attar, narrator (Macmillan Audio 978-1-25062446-8, $1.99, digital download, 1.75 hr., unabridged) August 2019. The Haunting of Tram 015, P. Djèlí Clark; Julian Thomas, narrator (Recorded Books 978-1-9800-3186-4, $13.99, digital download, 3.25 hr., unabridged) February 2019. The Black God’s Drums, P. Djèlí Clark; Chan­nie Waites, narrator (Recorded Books 978-1-9800-3186-4, $13.99, digital download, 3 hr., unabridged) March 2019.

I first encountered ...Read More

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Alvaro Zinos-Amaro Reviews The Time Machine Hypothesis by Damien Broderick

The Time Machine Hypothesis: Extreme Science Meets Science Fiction, Damien Broderick (Springer 978-3030161774, $27.99, 244pp, pb) July 2019.

J. Richard Gott III’s epigraph in Damien Brod­erick’s engaging survey may contain a mission statement of sorts: “To appreciate what scientists are studying now, an excellent first step is to explore major time-travel themes in science fiction, where many ideas in this arena were first advanced.” Brod­erick undertakes this exploration with ...Read More

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Paula Guran Reviews The Unlikely Escape of Uriah Heep by H.G. Parry

The Unlikely Escape of Uriah Heep, H.G. Parry (Redhook/Orbit 978-0-316-45271-7 $26, 464pp. hc) July 2019.

The idea of a reader being able to bring fictional characters to life is hardly a new one – Jasper Fforde, Jim C. Hines’s Magic Ex Libris series, Genevieve Cogman’s The Invisible Library, and, for younger read­ers, the Inkworld series by Cornelia Funke come readily to mind – but H.G. Parry’s twist in ...Read More

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Paul Di Filippo Reviews The Best of Uncanny, Edited by Lynne M. Thomas & Michael Damian Thomas

The Best of Uncanny, Lynne M. Thomas & Michael Damian Thomas, eds. (Subterranean 978-1596069183, $40, 680pp, hardcover) December 2019

In this challenging, ever-mutable internet era, when publishers are continually searching for ways to find an audience and stay alive, a magazine can take many forms. Some remain old-school print-only. Some are exclusively web-based. Others are hybrids on a regular basis. But one other interesting business model for zines that ...Read More

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Rich Horton, Liz Bourke, and Amy Goldschlager Review Desdemona and the Deep by C.S.E. Cooney

Desdemona and the Deep, C.S.E. Cooney (Tor.com Publishing 978-1-250-22983-0, $14.99, 222pp, tp) July 2019. Cover by Kathleen Jen­nings.

I’ve been looking forward to C.S.E. Cooney‘s Desdemona and the Deep for quite a while, and having arrived, it doesn’t disappoint. This is the third of her Breakers novellas (though it stands completely alone), centered around a set of houses called Breakers in three different worlds: the hu­man world, the ...Read More

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Colleen Mondor Reviews Last Bus to Everland by Sophie Cameron

Last Bus to Everland, Sophie Cameron (Mac­millan Children’s Books 978-1-509-85318-2, £9.99, 288pp, tp) May 2019. (Roaring Brook Press 978-1-250-14993-0, $17.99, 327pp, hc) June 2019.

After last year’s thoughtful Out of the Blue, author Sophie Cameron returns again to her native Scotland with Last Bus to Everland. In this “magical doorway” fantasy (that title was chosen for a reason), teenager Brody Fair finds the place he has al­ways ...Read More

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Russell Letson Reviews Stealing Worlds by Karl Schroeder

Stealing Worlds, Karl Schroeder (Tor 978-0-7653-9998-4, $29.95, hc) June 2019. Cover by Stephane Martinière.

Thanks to its depiction of a tech-based, street-smart, stick-it-to-the-man coun­terculture, Karl Schroeder’s Stealing Worlds will inevitably be compared to classic cyberpunk, but the vibe is quite distinct and not nearly as noirish. The setting is a just-over-the-horizon heterotopian future that nevertheless had me thinking of the much more exotic and farther-out worlds of Schroeder’s earlier ...Read More

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Adrienne Martini Reviews The Municipalists by Seth Fried

The Municipalists, Seth Fried (Penguin 975-0-14-313373-5, $16.00, 268pp, tp) March 2019. Cover design by Lucia Bernard.

Imagine Metropolis, the fictional comic book-based city that feels loosely based on Manhattan. Now imagine, instead of Super­man flying around and saving the day, the hero is a city planner, one who only feels satisfaction when the sewer system’s efficiency is improved by 4.73 percent, which is .03 percent above requirements. In Seth ...Read More

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Gary K. Wolfe Reviews Broken Places & Outer Spaces by Nnedi Okorafor

Broken Places & Outer Spaces: Finding Creativity in the Unexpected, Nnedi Okorafor (Simon & Schuster 978-1-5011-9547-2, $16.99, 96pp, hc) June 2019.

Nnedi Okorafor’s surprisingly and sometimes achingly personal account of her battle with sco­liosis and post-surgical paralysis, Broken Places & Outer Spaces, isn’t exactly a literary memoir, but one anecdote strikes me as ironically emblematic of her unique relationship with SF: when she was hospitalized, she was ...Read More

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Amy Goldschlager Reviews Spellswept and Snowspelled Audiobooks by Stephanie Burgis

Spellswept and Snowspelled, Stephanie Burgis; Emma Newman, narrator (Tantor Audio 978-1-40012121-2, $19.99, digital download, 7.25 hr., unabridged) May 2019.

I have a great fondness for those stories where the romance and the fantasy genres kiss and com­mingle. Snowspelled, book one of the Harwood Spellbook, and its prequel novella, Spellswept, definitely hit that sweet spot for me.

This previously self-published series is set in an alternate world ...Read More

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Katharine Coldiron Reviews The Last Supper Before Ragnarok by Cassandra Khaw

The Last Supper Before Ragnarok, Cassandra Khaw (Abaddon Books 978-1-78108-645-2, $11.99, 352pp, pb) June 2019.

What an odd book Cassandra Khaw has written. It’s extraordinarily immediate, inherently diverse, jammed with whip-fast wisecracks, and peppered with language so precise and sophisticated it awes. But the book is also chaotic, unevenly character­ized, and weakly plotted. The difficulty comes in judging the book as a whole, because its ele­ments divide so steeply ...Read More

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Rich Horton and Gary K. Wolfe Review Anthologies Edited by Jonathan Strahan

Mission Critical, Jonathan Strahan, ed. (So­laris 978-1781085806) July 2019.

Jonathan Strahan’s new anthology is Mission Critical. The theme is characters responding to desperate situations, when something goes pear-shaped. Oddly, many of the stories, all well executed, seem a bit too much the same in adher­ing to the theme. The best are “Hanging Gar­dens” by Gregory Feeley, and “Cyclopterus” by Peter Watts. Feeley’s ...Read More

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Amy Goldschlager Reviews Four Tor.com Audiobooks

As Good as New, Charlie Jane Anders; Frankie Corzo, narrator (Macmillan Audio 978-1-25062443-7, $1.99, digital download, 0.75 hr., unabridged) August 2019. The President’s Brain Is Missing, John Scalzi; P.J. Ochlan, narrator (Macmillan Audio 978-1-25062438-3, $1.99, digital download, 0.75 hr., unabridged) August 2019. This World Is Full of Monsters, Jeff Vander­Meer; Vikas Adam, narrator (Macmillan Audio 978-1-25062445-1, $1.99, digital download, 1.5 hr., unabridged) August 2019. Warm Up, ...Read More

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