Benedict Jacka, Fallen (Ace 978-0-440-00058-7, $7.99, 296pp, pb) September 2018. Alex Verus’s life takes a big turn for the worse in this tenth installment in the urban fantasy series. That’s not a huge surprise – this series has had a lot of ups and downs. This time, though, things get pretty desperate. Alex gets caught covering up for his girlfriend Anne, who let her dark self out and some really
Author and editor Christopher Tolkien, 95, son and literary executor of J.R.R. Tolkien, died January 15, 2020 in Provence, France. Tolkien dedicated his life to his father’s work, editing and shepherding into print more than a score of the elder Tolkien’s books. He organized and edited the The Silmarillion (1977), Unfinished Tales (1980), and the 12 volumes of The History of Middle-earth (1983), along with The Children of Húrin (2007),
Tim Pratt, via Twitter: Two things they got a lot of in Star Wars is droids and shit that don’t make no sense. Josh: I liked it more than The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi. Arley: Me too! Josh: Good! I recognize that The Last Jedi was trying to do a lot more, storywise. But when I rewatched it I was bored by a lot of parts, like for
The Vanished Birds, Simon Jimenez ((Del Rey 978-0-593-12898-5, $27, 400pp, hardcover) January 2020 Simon Jimenez’s touching, bold, surprising, gorgeous debut novel—a certain manner of postmodern space opera, despite the fantasy-resonant title—is not only the best debut novel I’ve read in ages, but simply one of the best SF novels in recent memory. I am reminded of the excitement I felt when encountering A.A. Attanasio’s Radix (1981). If The Vanished Birds
The Pursuit of William Abbey, Claire North (Orbit 978-0316316842, $16.99, 464pp, tp) November 2019. The Pursuit of William Abbey is Claire North’s sixth novel in six years, a period during which she also published three novellas (The Gamehouse trilogy). It’s a remarkable feat when you consider that (a) these are stand-alone books in an age of multi-volume series and (b) they’ve consistently received critical praise and won awards, including the
The longlist for the €100,000 2020 International Dublin Literary award has been announced, and includes numerous titles and authors of genre interest: Flames, Robbie Arnott (Text Publishing; Atlantic UK) The Luminous Sea, Melissa Barbeau (Breakwater) The Silence of the Girls, Pat Barker (Doubleday) The Woman in the Woods, John Connolly (Emily Bestler) Vox, Christina Dalcher (Berkley) The Saturday Night Ghost Club, Craig Davidson (Penguin) The Toymakers, Robert Dinsdale (Del Rey)
The Locus Bestsellers for January include top titles A Little Hatred by Joe Abercrombie (Orbit US); Good Omens by Neil Gaiman & Terry Pratchett (Morrow); and Forgotten Realms: Boundless by R.A. Salvatore (Harper Voyager US).
The Tenth Girl, Sara Faring (Imprint 978-1-250-30450-6, $18.99, 464pp, hc) September 2019. Sara Faring’s The Tenth Girl is a 1970s Gothic thriller filled with horrifying ghosts in an isolated Argentinian boarding school during the “Dirty War” when 30,000 civilians were disappeared at the hands of the US-backed military government. Eighteen-year old Mavi never knew her father, her rebel mother was recently arrested and hauled away with no hope of return,
BIRDS! Check out the cover of Rebecca Roanhorse’s latest, plus new titles THE CONFERENCE OF THE BIRDS by Ransom Riggs and THE VANISHED BIRDS by Simon Jimenez. New titles this week are by Mike Chen, Rod Duncan, Sara Hanover, Charlaine Harris, S.A. Hunt, Simon Jimenez, Joanna Kavenna, Parker Peevyhouse, Ransom Riggs, and Rebecca Roanhorse.
Joanna Russ, Gwyneth Jones (University of Illinois Press 978-0-252-08447-8, $22.00, 224pp, tp; 978-0-252-04263-8, $99.00, 224pp, hc). September 2019. Gwyneth Jones’s Joanna Russ, part of the University of Illinois Modern Masters of Science Fiction series (edited by Gary K. Wolfe, of this parish), also had me looking back at my reading history. For some reason, I have always thought of Russ, who died in 2011, as a contemporary, even though she
Michael Lowrey won the Trans-Atlantic Fan Fund (TAFF), defeating Ann Totusek, to travel from North America to Europe to attend Concentric: Eastercon 2020 from April 10-13, 2020 in Birmingham, UK. There were 103 votes counted. The fund is currently administered by Geri Sullivan in North America and Johan Anglemark in Europe. For more information, see the TAFF website. While you are here, please take a moment to support Locus with
The 2020 Philip K. Dick Award nominees have been announced: The Outside, Ada Hoffmann (Angry Robot) Velocity Weapon, Megan E. O’Keefe (Orbit) All Worlds Are Real, Susan Palwick (Fairwood) Sooner or Later Everything Falls into the Sea, Sarah Pinsker (Small Beer) The Rosewater Redemption, Tade Thompson (Orbit) The Little Animals, Sarah Tolmie (Aqueduct) The award is presented annually to a distinguished work of science fiction originally published in paperback form
Artist Steve Stiles, 76, died January 12, 2020 shortly after announcing a diagnosis of terminal cancer. He lived in Maryland. Stiles was one of fandom’s best-known artists, first nominated for a Best Fan Artist Hugo in 1967, and winning in 2016; he received 17 nominations in all. He won 15 FAAn Awards for his fanzine work (the first in 2001, the last in 2016), and in 1998 won the first
Author and legendary Rush drummer and lyricist, Neil Peart, 67, died on January 7, 2020, after a long struggle with brain cancer. Neil Ellwood Peart was born September 15, 1952 in Hamilton, Ontario and joined the band Rush in 1974. Peart played with lead singer and bassist Geddy Lee and guitarist Alex Lifeson for 45 years to sell-out audiences in the largest venues until the band’s retirement in 2015. Rush
Little changes this week, but notable is that the trade paperback of Richard Powers’ The Overstory has been on lists 40 weeks in a row since the novel won the Pulitzer Prize in April 2019.
Joseph Edward Abercrombie was born December 31, 1974 in Lancaster, England. He attended Manchester University, where he studied psychology. He worked at a TV post-production company and as a film editor before becoming a full-time writer. He was a finalist for the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer in 2008. His debut The Blade Itself (2006) was shortlisted for the Compton Crook Award for best first novel, and
Paula Guran Reviews Monster, She Wrote by Lisa Kröger & Melanie R. Anderson and The Twisted Ones by T. Kingfisher
Monster, She Wrote: The Women Who Pioneered Horror and Speculative Fiction, Lisa Kröger & Melanie R. Anderson (Quirk 978-1-68369-138-9, $19.99 352pp, hc) September 2019. Monster, She Wrote is a brief, breezy, yet fairly complete overview of women who pioneered horror and related fiction. It’s a fun read, chock-full of authors genre-lovers should know if they don’t already. Forty authors – from Margaret Cavendish (“the Kardashian of her day,” according to
The Institute, Stephen King (Scribner 978-1-9821-1056-7, $30.00, 576pp, hc) September 2019. It wouldn’t be accurate to say that Stephen King’s new novel, The Institute, is a blueprint for his career as a novelist, but in it King reprises themes that he has explored regularly over the past 45 years, notably: children endowed with wild paranormal talents (think Carrie, The Shining, and even End of Watch, the third novel in his
New issues of Abyss & Apex, Aphelion, Clarkesworld, The Dark, Galaxy’s Edge, GigaNotoSaurus, Kaleidotrope, Lightspeed, Nightmare, and Uncanny
Michael Chabon will receive the Barnes & Noble Writers for Writers Award “for his service on the board of the MacDowell Colony, for donating the proceeds of several books to organizations that support writers, and for helping to raise funds to assist other authors,” to be presented at the Poets & Writers 50th Anniversary Gala in New York City on March 16, 2020. Chabon & Ayelet Waldman’s company Escapist Fare
Chilling Effect, Valerie Valdes (Harper Voyager 978-0-06287-723-9, $16.99, 448pp, tp) September 2019. I met Valerie Valdes briefly at the Dublin 2019 Worldcon. Part of me wishes I’d already read Chilling Effect, her debut space opera novel, at that point, because I’d like to ask how many of the little things that look like nods to Mass Effect and the likes of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine are there on purpose,
The relationship between Italian readers and literary science fiction has always been, let’s say, complicated. Besides the mainstream recognition of classic authors like Philip K. Dick and J.G. Ballard, traditional long sellers like Isaac Asimov and Ray Bradbury and the temporary TV or movie driven successes – George R.R. Martin to mention the most recent one – it still remains a niche genre for a niche audience, published mostly under
» NY Times: For William Gibson, Seeing the Future Is Easy. But the Past? » Guardian: Eric Brown reviews Danny Tobey, Stephen Palmer, Kel Kade, Gareth Hanrahan, AJ Smith
Odsburg, Matt Tompkins (Ooligan 978-1947845084, $16.00, 202pp, tp) October 2019. I hadn’t intended to review Odsburg by Matt Tompkins. The book I had lined up was False Bingo, a new short-story collection by Jac Jemc (who wrote a terrific haunted house novel, The Grip of It, back in 2014). Unfortunately, while False Bingo is an excellent book, it has zero genre content and therefore is not really suitable for Locus.
Author Mike Resnick, 77, died January 9, 2020 of lymphoma. Resnick was a prolific and acclaimed SF, nominated 27 times for Hugo Awards and winning five. His Hugo Award winners include his first nomination “Kirinyaga” (1988), “The Manamouki” (1990), “Seven Views of Olduval Gorge” (1994), “The 43 Antarean Dynasties” (1997), and “Travels with My Cats” (2004), and his most recent fiction nomination was for “The Homecoming” (2011). His winners and
Return of the Science Fiction Ghost: Report on the Beijing SF Summit Forum 2019 and Shenzhen by Lavie Tidhar
The story I told quite a lot on my recent visit to China was how, nearly 20 years ago and with much longer hair, I arrived in Beijing. I got off the night bus from the Mongolian border, armed with nothing much more than a curiosity about Chinese science fiction, and a single email address for a Professor Wu Yan. I was warmly welcomed, introduced to many of the writers
Carolyn Cushman Reviews Laughter at the Academy by Seanan McGuire and Sorcery of Thorns by Margaret Rogerson
Seanan McGuire, Laughter at the Academy (Subterranean Press 978-1-59606-928-2, $40.00, 374pp, hc) October 2019. Cover by Carla Speed McNeil. McGuire’s introduction calls this her first single-author short story collection, which isn’t exactly true, but it is her first collection of non-series stories, 22 of them, all originally published from 2009-2017. The bulk of them are dark tales; she has a tendency to pick one creepy idea and then push it
The Washington Science Fiction Association is now accepting nominations of “works published for the first time in the English language in 2019” for its Small Press Award, given annually to an outstanding story of “imaginative literature” (17,500 words or fewer) published in the small press. Authors and small-press publishers are among those eligible to nominate, and need not be members of WSFA. Finalists are selected “by a committee of five
Public voting is now open for the Analog Science Fiction and Fact Analytical Laboratory (AnLab) and Asimov’s Science Fiction Readers’ Awards, covering works published in their 2019 issues. Readers can select three favorite choices from each magazine in novella, novelette, short story, poem, and cover categories, as well as a “Best Science Fact” article from Analog. The deadline to vote is February 1, 2020. For more information, see the Analog
SF in China: Chengdu International Science Fiction Conference and China Report by Jaymee Goh & Rafaela Yilun Fan
The Fifth Chengdu International Science Fiction Conference, organized by China’s oldest science fiction magazine Science Fiction World, opened with fanfare at the Eastern Memory Suburb of Sichuan province’s capital, free and open to the public. Panelists came from across the world, with different roles in science fiction: classic writers such as American authors Pat Murphy and Eileen Gunn and Belgian author Frank Roger; newer writers such as Niger’s Rich Larson,
Medusa in the Graveyard, Emily Devenport (Tor 978-1-25016-936-5, $18.99, 304pp, tp) July 2019. The first book in Emily Devenport’s Medusa Cycle, Medusa Uploaded, introduced an intriguing science fiction universe, a society with a complex and layered social structure, and a grandiose, unfathomable pantheon, but it limited the narrator and antihero Oichi Angelis to stepping-stone motivations, mostly espionage and murder. Medusa in the Graveyard, the second volume, grants Oichi diplomatic responsibilities
Vernor Vinge is the winner of the 2020 Robert A. Heinlein Award, given for “outstanding published works in science fiction and technical writings that inspire the human exploration of space,” recognizing his body of work, including nine novels, more than 24 short stories, and many non-fiction articles. The award is administered by the Baltimore Science Fiction Society (BSFS). The winner was chosen by a committee of SF authors chaired by
The Romance Writers of America (RWA) announced that they will not hold the RITA Awards in 2020, after numerous judges and entrants withdrew their participation. The move occurs amid significant controversy within the organization and following the resignation of its president, directors, and many members. RWA plans to use “next year’s contest to celebrate 2019 and 2020 romances,” and any RWA members who have already entered the 2020 contest will
Explore solarpunk winters, an algorithmically perfect country, and rival NASA and Soviet missions to the Kuiper Belt in these new books! New titles this week are by Sean Adams, Lois McMaster Bujold, Andrew Caldecott, C.J. Cherryh, Patrick Chiles, Genevieve Cogman, Tessa Gratton, Gareth Hanrahan, Marc-Uwe Kling, Seanan McGuire, Daniel José Older, John Ringo, Kacey Ezell & Christopher L. Smith, Sarena Ulibarri, and Django Wexler.
These are dire times for Brazil’s book market and publishing industry, with the current political and economic crisis extended under the unsympathetic-toward-culture Bolsonaro administration. In 2018, important book chains Saraiva and Cultura filed for the local equivalent of US Chapter 11. Measures included closing up bookstores; firing staff, clerks and booksellers; and withholding payments for publishing houses and other suppliers. In 2019, Saraiva revised its reorganization plan before court. In
The Return of the Incredible Exploding Man, Dave Hutchinson (Solaris 978-1-78108-584-4, $9.99, 300pp, tp) September 2019. There are two things that should be noted up front about Dave Hutchinson’s The Return of the Incredible Exploding Man: first, as the title might suggest, it’s quite different in tone and scope from his acclaimed Fractured Europe sequence of novels; and second, despite what the title suggests, it’s not a sequel to his
Nominations are now open for the 2020 Hugo Awards, the 1945 Retro Hugo Awards, the Astounding Award for Best New Writer, and the Lodestar Award for Best Young Adult Book. They will be presented at the 78th World Science Fiction Convention, CoNZealand, to be held July 29 – August 2, 2020 in Wellington, New Zealand. Members with an attending or supporting membership of CoNZealand or Dublin 2019 are eligible to
In XKCD comic 1357, “Free Speech”, Randall Munroe offers a characteristically concise and snappy summary of one of the canonical arguments about free expression: “The right to free speech means the government can’t arrest you for what you say. It doesn’t mean anyone else has to listen to your bullshit, or host you while you share it…. If you’re yelled at… or get banned from an internet community your free
Most genre titles slip on lists this week, though several titles by Andrzej Sapkowski, especially The Last Wish (Orbit), still dominate several lists.
Karen Burnham Reviews Short Fiction: Clarkesworld, Strange Horizons, BCS, Lightspeed, Tor.com, The Future Fire, and Cosmic Roots
Clarkesworld 9/19 Strange Horizons 9/19 Beneath Ceaseless Skies 8/29/19 Lightspeed 10/19 Tor.com 9/11/19, 9/18/19 The Future Fire 8/19 Cosmic Roots and Eldritch Shores 8/19, 9/19 In September, Clarkesworld takes us all over the future and then back to the past. In the near future we have a trio of stories in various flavors of anomie and alienation. The most flat-out fun is “Dave’s Head” by Suzanne Palmer. The eponymous head
» NY Times: Amal El-Mohtar’s Otherworldly column reviews Kacen Callender, Nino Cipri, Naomi Kritzer » SF Chronicle: Gabino Iglesias reviews Jeff VanderMeer’s Dead Astronauts » Slate: All of the Sci-Fi Stories We Published This Year
Seth Fishman will manage a new west coast office of literary agency The Gernert Company in Culver City CA, with plans to hire new employees. Fishman has spent three years operating from Los Angeles, and told Publishers Lunch, “I have been going to LA three or four times a year for 20 years, primarily doing work for John Grisham, and have always thought it would be ideal to open an
Homesick: Stories, Nino Cipri (Dzanc 978-1945814952, $16.95, 216pp, tp) October 2019. Nino Cipri’s debut collection, Homesick, is a selection of nine stories (of the more than 20 they have written) that appeared in a variety of venues including Nightmare, Liminal Magazine, Crossed Genres, and Tor.com. It also happens to be one of the best collections I’ve read this year, up there with outstanding books like Raphael Bob-Waksberg’s Someone Who Will
New issues of Beneath Ceaseless Skies and Strange Horizons, plus December posts at Daily Science Fiction and Tor.com
Author and philanthropist James Patterson is offering bonuses (a total of $200,000) to Barnes & Noble booksellers this year in the form of a contest: he will give $300 to the bookseller in each B&N branch who creates the best display, as judged by store managers. He says, “I’m excited about all the recent changes at Barnes & Noble and to see where they go next. But I’ve always been
Missing, Presumed Dead, Emma Berquist (Greenwillow 978-0-06-264281-3, $17.99, 369pp, hc) May 2019. In the opening pages of Emma Berquist’s suspenseful mystery Missing, Presumed Dead, readers learn that there is a growing epidemic of young adults vanishing in Los Angeles. The most recent one works with Lexi at a nightclub named Elysium. Lexi is concerned about Marcus, but she has bigger things to worry about than what might have happened to
The SFWA Pacific Northwest Reading Series hosted Caroline M. Yoachim and Shanna Germain on November 14, 2019 in Portland OR. Ken Scholes gave a eulogy for John Pitts. The next reading, featuring Daniel H. Wilson, Catherynne M. Valente, and Django Wexler, will be held January 30, 2020. For more, see the SFWA website. This story and more like it in the January 2020 issue of Locus. While you are here,
Rich Horton Reviews Short Fiction: F&SF, Uncanny, Interzone, Galaxy’s Edge, Not One of Us, and Others
F&SF 11-12/19 Uncanny 9-10/19 Interzone 9-10/19 Galaxy’s Edge 9/19 Not One of Us 10/19 If This Goes On, Cat Rambo, ed. (Parvus Press) March 2019 Tomorrow Girl and Other Stories, Robert Zoltan (Dream Tower) October 2019. Exhalation, Ted Chiang (Knopf) May 2019. I was very glad to see two stories in F&SF this month from long-time contributors whom we haven’t seen enough from lately. M. Rickert‘s “Evergreen” is a gentle
Visual futurist and artist Syd Mead, 86, died December 30, 2019 in Pasadena CA. Mead is most famous for his signature work in movies Blade Runner and Tron, as well as 2010, Star Trek, Short Circuit, Mission: Impossible III, and Aliens, most recently working on Blade Runner 2049. His artistic visions of the future were the platform for his career in both industry design and film. His artwork was collected in
Finalists for the 2019 Children’s and Young Adults Bloggers’ Literary Awards (Cybils) have been announced. Books of genre interest include: Young Adult Speculative Fiction Internment, Samira Ahmed (Little, Brown) The Wicked King, Holly Black (Little, Brown) Aurora Rising, Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff (Knopf) Echo North, Joanna Ruth Meyer (Page Street Kids) Fireborne, Rosaria Munda (Putnam) War Girls, Tochi Onyebuchi (Razorbill) Sorcery of Thorns, Margaret Rogerson (McElderry) Elementary/Middle Grade Speculative
Carolyn Cushman Reviews Sapphire Flames by Ilona Andrews and The Affair of the Mysterious Letter by Alexis Hall
Ilona Andrews, Sapphire Flames (Avon 978-0-06-287834-2, $7.99, 393pp, pb; -295258-5, $26.99, hc) August 2019. Cover by Gene Mollica. The action-packed Hidden Legacy series of urban fantasy romances starts a new trilogy – the fourth novel overall in the series. The previous trilogy centered on Nevada Baylor and her tempestuous relationship with the powerful Prime Connor Rogan, but now they’re conveniently out of the country on family business, and the focus
Storm of Locusts, Rebecca Roanhorse (Saga 978-1-53441-353-5, $27.99, 320pp, hc) April 2019. In 2018, Rebecca Roanhorse burst onto the urban fantasy scene with Trail of Lightning, the first in the Sixth World series about post-apocalyptic monster hunter Maggie Hoskie. The book had wonderfully complex characterization, sharply written ass-kicking, and a compelling apocalypse scenario with fresh fantasy elements drawn from indigenous stories. Many readers have waited with great impatience for Roanhorse’s
This list of new titles includes short stories from Ilona Andrews and THE BEST OF UNCANNY, a weaponized dominatrix clone, and jumping through parallel worlds with H.G. Wells. New titles this week are by Ilona Andrews, Deborah Teramis Christian, Joe R. Lansdale, and Lynne M. Thomas & Michael Damian Thomas.
Best New Horror #29, Stephen Jones, ed. (PS Publishing/Drugstore Indian Press 978-178636-392-3, £14.99, 579pp, tp) February 2019. Cover by Howard Nostrand. In 1990 Constable & Robinson published the first Best New Horror, edited by Stephen Jones & Ramsey Campbell, featuring horror short fiction from 1989. That volume won a British Fantasy Award, a World Fantasy Award, and began a legacy. Jones became sole editor with 1995’s The Best New Horror
It’s Locus’s 2019 Holiday Countdown of Staff Picks! Liz Bourke selects Ancestral Night by Elizabeth Bear. Russell Letson describes it as “a big book (with a promise of more bigness to come – the title page says it is ‘White Space Book 1’) crammed with a variety of SF motifs and tropes and furniture items: space operatics, interstellar civilization, Big (Variably Smart) Objects, alien encounters, deep galactic history, artificial intelligences,
Scottish author Alasdair Gray, 85, died December 29, 2019 at Queen Elizabeth University Hospital in Glasgow. Gray was famed as a playwright, poet, and novelist, and his literary fiction often included elements of the fantastic. His first work of SF interest was “The Star” (1951), an homage to H.G. Wells, and was collected with other speculative work in Unlikely Stories (1983). His most famous book is debut novel Lanark: A
Devonix and Martha Riva Palacio Obón are the 2019 recipients of the Otherwise Fellowship (formerly the Tiptree Fellowship). Each winner will receive a $500 grant, and work produced as a result of this support will be recognized and promoted by the Otherwise Award. “The Otherwise Award celebrates works of speculative fiction that imagine new futures by exploring and expanding our understanding of gender roles. Through the Fellowship Program, the Award
Seven different individual titles and sets of fantasy novels by Andrzej Sapkowski rank on Amazon lists today, with The Witcher Boxed Set: Blood of Elves, The Time of Contempt, Baptism of Fire (Orbit) ranking #1 this morning at Amazon.ca.
Barbara Tavres, 59, has filed a lawsuit against her former employer Barnes & Noble in the in the US District Court in Northern California, alleging age discrimination, and seeking class action status. She was fired on September 6, 2019 after a career that began in 2006, starting in community relations and ending at a shop in Emeryville CA. Tavres claims that on the day of her termination her manager took
King of the Dogs, Queen of the Cats, James Patrick Kelly (Subterranean 978-1-59606-934-3, $40.00, 128pp, hc) January 2020 One of the most enduring and useful conventions of traditional SF, dating back at least to the pulp era, is the notion of a broad confederation of planetary civilizations, whether it’s Le Guin’s League of All Worlds (later the Ekumen), Poul Anderson’s Pyrotechnic League, or James Patrick Kelly’s The Thousand Worlds (a
Salt Slow, Julia Armfield (Picador 978-1529012569, £12.99, 208pp, hc) May 2019. (Flatiron 978-1250224774, $24.99, 208pp, hc) October 2019. As chaotic as things are at the moment, the last couple of years have been an excellent time for the publication of debut collections, written by women, that explore feminist and intersectional issues through a speculative lens. This includes (and these are just the ones I’ve read, so it’s nowhere near an
It’s Locus’s 2019 Holiday Countdown of Staff Picks! Arley Sorg picks New Suns, edited by Nisi Shawl, which Rich Horton calls “a strongly balanced anthology, and a powerful one – surely one of the best original anthologies of 2019.” You can read Rich’s review online or in the May 2019 issue of Locus.
How Rory Thorne Destroyed the Multiverse, K. Eason (DAW 978-1-75641-529-7, $26.00, 416pp, hc) October 2019. Crash one genre into another unexpectedly, and the resulting explosion might be hard to diagnose. In How Rory Thorne Destroyed the Multiverse, K. Eason has elected to cross fairy tales with science fiction (“Princess Leia meets The Princess Bride,” one summary promises), and, indeed, the result is a mixed bag. Eason uses long-out-of-fashion writing techniques
It’s Locus’s 2019 Holiday Countdown of Staff Picks! One of top titles of the year is Dead Astronauts by Jeff VanderMeer. Ian Mond says, “Going as far as back his debut, Dradin, In Love and, more recently, his extraordinary (and hugely successful) Southern Reach Trilogy, VanderMeer has built a career on narratives that explore the limits of fiction, both in terms of language and form. His latest novel, Dead Astronauts,
And Go Like This, John Crowley (Small Beer 978-1-6187-3163-0, $25.00, 332pp, hc) November 2019. One of John Crowley’s most beautiful novellas, “The Girlhood of Shakespeare’s Heroines”, originally appeared in the now-famous, Peter Straub-edited issue of the literary journal Conjunctions in 2002, the first issue to prominently feature SF, fantasy, and horror writers. Crowley’s novella was the lead story, and now it’s quite properly the lead in And Go Like This,
It’s Locus’s 2019 Holiday Countdown of Staff Picks! Liza Trombi selects Ted Chiang’s latest collection, Exhalation. Gary K. Wolfe says, “At their best they have much the same kind of appeal of Borges’s most provocative tales – not without feeling and empathy, but, fundamentally, explorations of the sheer romance of thinking.” You can read his review online or in the May 2019 issue of Locus.
Sisters of the Vast Black, Lina Rather (Tor.com Publishing 978-1-250-26025-3, $14.99, 170pp, tp) October 2019. Cover by Drive Communication. I’d never heard of Lina Rather before I was informed I should keep an eye out for Sisters of the Vast Black. The words used to engage my attention were “nuns, lesbians, living ships, and murderous political conspiracies,” and that definitely worked, so maybe I should have heard of Lina Rather
It’s Locus’s 2019 Holiday Countdown of Staff Picks! Adrienne Martini chooses To Be Taught, If Fortunate by Becky Chambers, “a tight, frequently funny, character-driven novella that tells a cozy space exploration story, except what’s being explored is human brains rather than bug-eyed aliens and exotic worlds.” You can read her review of it in the December 2019 issue of Locus.
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 and
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 the second and
It’s Locus’s 2019 Holiday Countdown of Staff Picks! One of our top collections of 2019 is The Best of Greg Egan. Russell Letson says, “Egan is determined to make sense of everything – to understand the whole world as an intelligible, rational, material (and finally manipulable) realm – even if it means abandoning comfortable and comforting illusions. This is fundamental to the whole project of SF and it’s why Egan’s
Nina Allan, The Dollmaker (Other 10/19) Allan’s Gothic and experimental novel concerns a man who falls in love with an institutionalized woman he knows only through her letters and contains multiple nested short stories by a (fictional) writer and dollmaker named Ewa Chapman, which tend more overtly toward fantasy, horror, and even dystopian SF – “disturbing non-fairy tales that occupy a territory somewhere between Angela Carter and the more mordant
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 magic to
It’s Locus’s 2019 Holiday Countdown of Staff Picks! One of our top YA titles of 2019 is Lovely War by Julie Berry. Colleen Mondor says, “Lovely War is an excellent choice for readers looking for light fantasy who will appreciate a little something extra with their drama.” You can read her review online or in the August 2019 issue of Locus.
It’s Locus’s 2019 Holiday Countdown of Staff Picks! Arley Sorg picks War Girls by Tochi Onyebuchi as a top 2019 title. “War Girls is a thoughtful meditation on culture and conflict. It’s action-driven but complex, brutal but brilliant.” In her review of Onyebuchi’s debut last year, Colleen Mondor said, “Beasts Made of Night is a thoughtful, thoroughly unique novel, and it heralds the arrival of a dazzling talent.” War Girls confirms it.
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 century,
It’s Locus’s 2019 Holiday Countdown of Staff Picks! For space opera fans out there, we selected The Outside by Ada Hoffman. Liz Bourke says, “Compellingly written, tense, and thrilling, with fascinating (and weird) worldbuilding and brilliant characters, The Outside is a fantastic debut. I can’t wait to see what Hoffmann does next.” You can read her review online or in the July 2019 issue of Locus.
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 machinery
It’s Locus’s 2019 Holiday Countdown of Staff Picks! Colleen Mondor chooses The Weight of the Stars by K. Ancrum, “A novel about space travel where the characters barely leave the earth. I am so impressed by how the author crafted such a compelling and determined protagonist in Ryann Bird. She will make you cheer every hard-won step of the way.” You can read Colleen’s review of it online or in
Tomi Adeyemi’s Children of Virtue and Vengeance still ranks #1 on the New York Times Young Adult Hardcover list.