Amy Goldschlager Reviews The Wrong Heaven Audiobook by Amy Bonnaffons

The Wrong Heaven, Amy Bonnaffons; Alex Vail­lant, narrator (Hachette Audio 9781478999676, $24.98, digital download, 6.25 hr., unabridged) July 2018.

I’m typically drawn to new audiobooks by read­ing about them. This is, oddly enough, the only instance that I can recall where I picked up an audiobook after hearing a piece of it. In November 2017, the Public Radio International show “This American Life” broadcast an excerpt of Amy Bonnaffons’s short ...Read More

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Russell Letson Reviews The Final Frontier, edited by Neil Clarke

The Final Frontier, Neil Clarke, ed. (Night Shade 978-1-59780-939-9, $17.99, 579 pp, tp) July 2018. Cover by Fred Gambino.

Last month I recommended Jonathan Stra­han’s original anthology, Infinity’s End, as a window into what SF is up to Right This Minute (or up to the minutes the stories were completed, anyway). At the same time I was also reading Neil Clarke’s recent-retrospective The Final Frontier, which samples work that first ...Read More

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Karen Burnham Reviews Short Fiction: Lightspeed, BCS, Tor.com, and CSZ

Lightspeed 8/18, 9/18
Beneath Ceaseless Skies 9/18
Tor.com 7/19/18, 8/1/18
Cascadia Subduction Zone, Vol 8, No. 3

Lightspeed has reached its 100th issue! A proud milestone for any magazine, they celebrate in style this September with a more-than-double issue: ten stories plus extra reprints and interviews. It leads with a mythic SF story, “Her Monster, Whom She Loved” by Vylar Kaftan. In this story a goddess births 500 gods, but ...Read More

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Paula Guran Reviews All the Fabulous Beasts by Priya Sharma

All the Fabulous Beasts, Priya Sharma (Under­tow 978-1-988964-02-7 $17.99 tp) May 2018.

Despite frequent appearances in “year’s best” compilations and on Locus Rec­ommended Reading Lists, as well as a British Fantasy Award for Short Fiction, Priya Sharma may not yet have come to your attention. This award-worthy debut collection from Sharma, a practicing medical doctor in England, could change that. Sharma’s stories often feature families or the sea, but range ...Read More

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Paul Di Filippo reviews Mike Ashley’s Lost Mars: Stories from the Golden Age of the Red Planet

Lost Mars: Stories from the Golden Age of the Red Planet, edited by Mike Ashley (University of Chicago Press 978-0226575087, $17.00, 304pp, trade paperback) October 2018

Once upon a time, when book publishers first decided that there was a wealth of fantastical stories that deserved reprinting, buried in back issues of magazines, our field featured many expert spelunkers of pulp, editors who could delve deep into the substrata of ...Read More

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Rich Horton Reviews Short Fiction by Eric Brown, F. Brett Cox, and Sandra M. Odell

The Martian Simulacra, Eric Brown (NewCon Press) January 2018.

The End of All Our Exploring, F. Brett Cox (Fairwood Press) August 2018.

Godfall and Other Stories, Sandra M. Odell (Hydra House) April 2018.

There’s another Martian novella from NewCon Press, after Jaime Fenn’s excellent The Mar­tian Job. This one, The Martian Simulacra by Eric Brown, is more of a mixed bag. It’s a mashup of Conan Doyle and H.G. Wells, ...Read More

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Gary K. Wolfe Reviews How Long ’til Black Future Month? by N.K. Jemisin

How Long ’til Black Future Month?, N.K. Jemisin (Orbit 978-0-316-49134-1, $26.00, 404pp, hc) November 2018.

When an author achieves as much suc­cess as N.K. Jemisin has with huge architectonic structures like the Broken Earth and Inheritance trilogies, readers might be excused for greeting her first story collection in either of two ways: gleefully expecting more of the same, or cynically suspecting a series of outtakes or early yeomanlike exercises. I ...Read More

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Gary K. Wolfe Reviews Zion’s Fiction: A Treasury of Israeli Specula­tive Literature, Edited by Sheldon Teitelbaum & Emanuel Lottem

Zion’s Fiction: A Treasury of Israeli Specula­tive Literature, Sheldon Teitelbaum & Emanuel Lottem, eds. (Mandel Vilar Press 978-1-94213-452-7, $24.95, 336pp, tp) September 2018.

It’s nearly 45 years since Jack Dann’s ground-breaking anthology of Jewish fantasy and SF Wandering Stars, and as he pointed out way back then, a lot of American SF had already been shaped by Jewish writers and editors, from Asimov, Avram Davidson, and Horace Gold, to Ellison, ...Read More

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Rich Horton Reviews Short Fiction: Lady Churchill’s Rosebud Wristlet, Interzone, Galaxy’s Edge & Forget the Sleepless Shores

Lady Churchill’s Rosebud Wristlet 7/18
Interzone 7-8/18
Galaxy’s Edge 7/18
Forget the Sleepless Shores, Sonya Taaffe (Lethe Press)

I was very impressed the last time I saw a Jo­anna Ruocco story in Lady Churchill’s Rosebud Wristlet, and her latest such, “Stone, Paper, Stone“, in #38, does not disappoint, either. It’s about Sara Kasp, who lives in a town known for its limestone quarry. She is a hard worker, for a ...Read More

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Russell Letson Reviews Infinity’s End, Edited by Jonathan Strahan

Infinity’s End, Jonathan Strahan, ed. (Solaris 978-1-78618-106-0, $14.99, 347 pp, tp) July 2018. Cover by Adam Tredowski.

For seven years and six volumes, editor Jonathan Strahan has been devising a con­sistently strong original anthology series that has engineered, reached, met, and bridged infinity from the edge onward (or inward?), and even gone to war in it. Now, in the seventh and last of the Infinity Project anthologies, we have reached ...Read More

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Karen Burnham Reviews Short Fiction: Tor.com, Clarkesworld, Fireside, Giganotosaurus & Strange Horizons

Tor.com 6/20/18, 7/11/18
Clarkesworld 7/18
Fireside 7/18
Giganotosaurus 7/18
Strange Horizons 7/30/18

July also brings a special issue of Strange Hori­zons, with six stories guest edited by Sheree Renée Thomas, Erin Roberts & Rasha Abdulhadi. The issue focuses on the Southeastern USA and writing by black, indigenous, and POC authors. I only saw four before this issue went to press, but they all pack a punch. Christopher Caldwell‘s “Hide Me ...Read More

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Rich Horton Reviews Short Fiction: F&SF, Stonecoast Review, Fireside Quarterly & Pulp Literature

F&SF 7-8/18
Stonecoast Review Summer ’18
Fireside Quarterly 9/18
Pulp Literature Summer ’18

The July-August F&SF features an im­pressive novella from a new writer, L.X. Beckett, “Freezing Rain, a Chance of Falling“. Drow Whiting is a journalist and (for now) failed musician, and he’s in serious trouble, because a prominent singer just tried to commit suicide because of a bad review he wrote. That’s bad enough (says this reviewer!), but ...Read More

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Karen Burnham Reviews Short Fiction from Beneath Ceaseless Skies

Beneath Ceaseless Skies 6/21/18, 7/5/18, 7/19/18, 8/2/18, 8/16/18, 8/20/18

Starting out a new-to-me short fiction reviewing column, I find myself in the enviable position of having a lot of issues of Beneath Ceaseless Skies to catch up on. The blend of fantasy, dark fiction, and dreams present throughout the stories gives BCS a par­ticularly strong character. September marks its tenth anniversary, and editor Scott H. Andrews has brought out a ...Read More

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John Langan Reviews All the Fabulous Beasts by Priya Sharma and At the Mercy of Beasts by Ed Kurtz

All the Fabulous Beasts, Priya Sharma (Under­tow 9781988964027, $17.99, 288pp, tp) May 2018.

“The Crow Palace”, the opening story in Priya Sharma’s luminous debut collection, All the Fabu­lous Beasts, begins with its protagonist revisiting a childhood memory. When she was young, Julie tells us, living with her parents and twin in a large house in the English countryside, her father built a bird table, an arrangement of large shelves on ...Read More

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John Langan The Ones Who Are Waving by Glen Hirshberg

The Ones Who Are Waving, Glen Hirshberg (Cemetery Dance 9781587676314, $40.00, 208pp, hc) March 2018.

“Freedom is Space for the Spirit”, the first story in Glen Hirshberg’s excellent collection, The Ones Who Are Waving, is a tale of returns. It begins when Thomas, its protagonist, receives a telegram from Vasily, a friend from his youth, requesting his return to St. Petersburg. As a university student, Thomas left then-East Germany for ...Read More

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Paula Guran Reviews Short Fiction: Nightmare, The Dark, and Dark Discoveries

Nightmare 7/18
The Dark 6/18
Dark Discoveries Spring ’18

Nightmare, issue 70, published, as usual, two originals. In “Kylie Land” by Caspian Gray, Ky­lie Eland lives by “Rules” that help him deal with life, but he doesn’t fit into high school any better than he does anywhere else. He makes friends with Michael Ramage, a shunned new student with a bad reputation, in hopes he can help Ramage. Ramage has ...Read More

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Rich Horton Reviews Shades Within Us, Edited by Susan Forest & Lucas K. Law

Shades Within Us, Susan Forest & Lucas K. Law, eds. (Laksa Media Groups) September 2018.

Shades Within Us is an anthology devoted to “Tales of Migrations and Fractured Borders” and, almost predictably, the better stories are those less rigorously meeting the anthology’s theme. For example, Tonya Liburd‘s “Superfreak” does concern a young woman moving from Trinidad to Toronto, in order to escape her abusive uncle. Alas, the uncle in Toronto ...Read More

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Karen Burnham Reviews Short Fiction: Fireside Fiction, GigaNotoSaurus, Strange Horizons, and Augur

Fireside Fiction 6/18
GigaNotoSaurus 6/18
Strange Horizons 6/2/18 – 8/20/18
Augur 6/18

Fireside Fiction #56 provides four short pieces, of which the most memorable is “Cast Off Tight” by Hal Y. Zhang. A man is grieving the loss of his girlfriend when he realizes he can literally hear her when he touches her unfinished knitting project. A trip to the yarn store yields a new technology (thread that can encode ...Read More

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Rich Horton Reviews Speculative Japan 4 Edited by Edward Lipsett

Speculative Japan 4, Edward Lipsett, ed. (in paperback and ebook from Kurodahan Press) April 2018.

Speculative Japan 4 is an anthology of SF and fantasy (and horror) from Japan – some recent, some from decades ago. Most of the stories are of a distinctly different flavor and focus than most recent anglophone SF, and different from, for example, the Chinese SF that we have seen a great deal of recently. ...Read More

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Rich Horton Reviews Artificial Condition by Martha Wells and Twelve Tomorrows edited by Wade Roush

Artificial Condition, Martha Wells (Tor.com Publishing) May 2018.

Twelve Tomorrows, Wade Roush, ed. (The MIT Press) July 2018.

Artificial Condition is the second Murderbot novella from Martha Wells. (The first, All Systems Red, won the most recent Nebula and Locus Awards for Best Novella.) In this story, Murderbot, having gained somewhat ambiguous autonomy, plans to return to the scene of the killing spree it apparently engaged in on a previous ...Read More

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Karen Burnham Reviews Short Fiction: Clarkesworld, Tor.com, Shimmer, Apex, and Lightspeed

Clarkesworld 6/18
Tor.com 6/6/18
Shimmer 7/18
Apex 6/18
Lightspeed 7/18

I’d like to honor the debt I owe to Gardner Dozois: for several illuminating exchanges over the years, for many books, for his editing, and for his reviews. I was shocked and saddened when I heard about his sudden passing. I hope to follow in his footsteps, reading as widely as possible, promoting new voices and new perspec­tives, and getting ...Read More

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Rich Horton Reviews Short Fiction: The Paris Review, New Yorker, Asimov’s, and Analog

The Paris Review Summer ’18
New Yorker 6/4-11/18
Asimov’s 7-8/18
Analog 7-8/18

This month Karen Burnham steps in for the late and much-lamented Gardner Dozois, and we’re making changes to ensure Locus covers as much short fiction as possible. We’ve decided to split review sources between three reviewers: this column will cover primarily print magazines and anthologies, Karen will cover primarily online sources, and Paula Guran will continue her focus ...Read More

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Paula Guran Reviews Short Fiction: Shimmer, Uncanny, and Black Static

Shimmer 5/18
Uncanny 5-6/18
Black Static 5-6/18

The regular venues this column covers had quite a bit to offer as spring turned to sum­mer. Shimmer went spooky with all four stories in their 43rd issue. Katherine Kendig‘s “What the Skeleton Detective Tells You (while you picnic)” is dark “lite”: a cute reworking of a private eye yarn with a living skeleton detec­tive. “You, In Flux” by Alexis A. Hunter is ...Read More

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Gary K. Wolfe Reviews Alien Virus Love Disaster by Abbey Mei Otis

Alien Virus Love Disaster: Stories, Abbey Mei Otis (Small Beer 978-1-618-73140-1, $16.00, 238pp, tp) August 2018.

As I’ve mentioned before, the better small presses cultivate a curatorial sensibility, a distinct personality which can be a reliable indicator that, whatever this new book is, it’s probably at least interesting. Small Beer Press is near the top of this list, and Alien Virus Love Disaster is a good example of what they ...Read More

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Gary K. Wolfe Reviews The Promise of Space by James Patrick Kelly

The Promise of Space, James Patrick Kelly (Prime 978-1-607-01495-9, $15.95, 384pp, tp) July 2018.

In his afterword to The Promise of Space, James Patrick Kelly assures us that none of the 16 stories were included in his massive Centipede Press collection from a couple of years ago, the impos­ingly titled Masters of Science Fiction: James Patrick Kelly – which serves as an indication that his accomplished career as a short ...Read More

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Colleen Mondor reviews A Thousand Beginnings and Endings edited by Ellen Oh & Elsie Chapman

A Thousand Beginnings and Endings, Ellen Oh & Elsie Chapman, eds. (Greenwillow 978-0-06-267115-8, $17.99, 336pp, hc) June 2018.

In the introduction to A Thousand Beginnings and Endings, editors Elsie Chapman & Ellen Oh write of their deep love for myth and leg­end, something many readers will likely identify with. However, for Chapman and Oh, immersion in tales of Greek and Norse gods, while exciting, was always a bit disappointing. The ...Read More

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Rich Horton Reviews Short Fiction from Clarkesworld, Lightspeed, LCRW, and Ian McDonald

Clarkesworld 5/18
Lightspeed 6/18
Lady Churchill’s Rosebud Wristlet 3/18
Time Was, Ian McDonald (Tor.com Publishing)

In the May Clarkesworld I liked Sally Gwylan‘s “Fleeing Oslyge” most. It’s set on a colony planet which has been overtaken by the Tysthänder, who have used overwhelming power to subdue the colo­nists, apparently with the aim of removing them from the planet. Their motives are fuzzy – environmental perhaps? Or simply a desire to ...Read More

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Rich Horton Reviews Short Fiction from Tor.com, Analog, and Asimov’s

Tor.com 5/18
Analog 5-6/18
Asimov’s 5-6/18

Just as I was preparing this month’s column I heard the stunning news of the hospitalization, rapid decline, and death, of my colleague here at Locus, Gardner Dozois. Gardner was not just my colleague, both as Locus short fiction columnist and as anthologist, he was a friend. He treated me from the first as an equal, as I surely was not; always happy to ...Read More

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Rachel Swirsky Reviews The Underwater Ballroom Society Edited by Tiffany Trent & Stephanie Burgis

The Underwater Ballroom Society, Tiffany Trent & Stephanie Burgis, eds. (Five Fathoms Press, $4.99, 330pp, eb) April 2018.

Around the turn of the last century, speculator and con man Whitaker Wright built an underwater aquarium and smoking room beneath one of the lakes stippling his mansion’s grounds. Due to its shape, the room came to be referred to as a ballroom. A description from a 1903 article in The West ...Read More

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Amy Goldschlager Reviews Mad Hatters and March Hares Audiobook, Edited by Ellen Datlow

Mad Hatters and March Hares: All-New Stories from the World of Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland, Ellen Datlow, ed.; C.S.E. Cooney & Eric Michael Summerer, narrators (Tantor Audio 978-1-5414-1327-6, $42.99, 10 CDs, 12.5 hr., unabridged [also available as a digital download]) December 2017.

It is an interesting experience to listen to an anthology inspired by two so intensely visual books. Both Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass ...Read More

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Rich Horton Reviews Short Fiction: F&SF, Clarkesworld, and Beneath Ceaseless Skies

F&SF 5-6/18
Clarkesworld 4/18
Beneath Ceaseless Skies 4/12/18, 4/26/18

In the May-June F&SF my preferred sto­ries were from relatively new voices. Pip Coen‘s first stories appeared last year, and Brian Trent has only been publishing a bit longer. Coen’s “Inquisitive” is the tale of the life of a decidedly non-neurotypical young woman, Saffi Kenyon, and her school career, in which her blunt inquisitiveness puts her on the path to entry ...Read More

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Rich Horton Reviews Short Fiction: Lightspeed, Tor.com, and Giganotosaurus

Lightspeed 5/18
Tor.com 4/11/18
Giganotosaurus 2/18, 3/18, 4/18

The SF in the May Lightspeed interested me most. Carolyn Ives Gilman’s “We Will Be All Right” is a very short, dark reflection on a future in which a gender-based pathogen kills men when their lovers conceive. The narrator is ready to meet her son’s girlfriend… as I said, it’s a short piece, and mostly a meditation, and quite effective in its ...Read More

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