Alexandra Pierce Reviews Nightwatch Over Windscar by K. Eason

Nightwatch Over Windscar, K. Eason (DAW 978-0-75641-859-5, $28.00, 480pp, hc) No­vember 2022. Cover by Tim Green.

First things first: you definitely don’t want to read this without reading the first in the series, Nightwatch on the Hinterlands (2021). This second book in the series opens just months after the events in the first, and while there is a little backstory as a reminder of the stakes, it’s definitely not ...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

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

Alexandra Pierce Reviews Twice in a Lifetime by Melissa Baron

Twice in a Lifetime, Melissa Baron (Alcove Press 978-1-63910-136-8, $17.99, 336pp, tp) December 2022. Cover by David Drummond.

The blurb suggests that this debut novel is ‘‘The Time Traveller’s Wife meets Oona Out of Order’’, but the premise is unlike either of those: there is no genetic condition and no hopping around in time. Rather, Melissa Baron is using an idea familiar from the 2006 film The ...Read More

Read more

Alexandra Pierce Reviews Small Angels by Lauren Owen

Small Angels, Lauren Owen (Random House 978-0-59324-220-0, $28.99, 400 pp, hc) August 2022. Cover by Sarah Whittaker.

The Mockbeggar Woods like stories. If you go to the woods and tell it a story, you may well feel the trees responding. And sometimes a particularly resonant story might be one that the trees decide to keep, and keep alive. This might be a comfort if you think the woods will ...Read More

Read more

Alexandra Pierce Reviews Twelve by Joan Marie Verba

Twelve, Joan Marie Verba (FTL Publications 978-1-93688-172-7, $19.95, 146pp, hc) July 2022. Cover by GetCovers.

In Twelve, Joan Marie Verba’s first novel since 2020’s Defying the Ghosts, the fairy tale of the 12 dancing princesses is retold from the male protagonist’s perspective. I love a good fairytale retelling, although this one – written down by the Grimms for their 1812 collection – isn’t one I’ve seen reimagined ...Read More

Read more

Alexandra Pierce Reviews Phase Change: Imagining Energy Futures by Matthew Chrulew, ed.

Phase Change: Imagining Energy Futures, Matthew Chrulew, ed. (Twelfth Planet Press 978-1-92210-173-0, $29.99, 447pp, pb) March 2022. Cover by Cathy Larsen.

“Cli-fi” – climate fiction – seems to be a hip new trend; or at least, a new(ish) name for a type of fiction that has existed for a long time and finally seems to be getting more interest. Phase Change doesn’t quite fit into that mold, for all ...Read More

Read more

Alexandra Pierce Reviews The Mimicking of Known Successes by Malka Older

The Mimicking of Known Successes, Malka Older (Tordotcom 978-1-25086-050-7, $19.99, 176pp, hc) March 2023. Cover by Christine Foltzer.

Imagine a future where the Earth has gone so completely belly-up that people have moved to Jupiter. But humans being humans, they’re not prepared to accept that as the end of the old world. So they set up a university and encourage research in Classics, which focusses on under­standing Earth, its ...Read More

Read more

Alexandra Pierce Reviews Self-Portrait with Nothing by Aimee Pokwatka

Self-Portrait with Nothing, Aimee Pokwatka (Tordotcom 978-1-25082-084-6, $26.99, 304pp, hc) October 2022. Cover by Jaya Miceli.

The idea of a multiverse has spawned count­less explorations of what-if: what are the conse­quences of this choice over that? Is my alternative version living a better life? Can I access those alternate worlds, and what happens if I do? Until now, my favorite treatment of this trope was Jo Walton’s My Real ...Read More

Read more

Alexandra Pierce Reviews Thistlefoot by GennaRose Nethercott

Thistlefoot, GennaRose Nethercott (Anchor 978-0-59346-883-8, $28.00, 448pp, hc) Sep­tember 2022.

Baba Yaga’s chicken-footed house has been delivered to her descendants, estranged siblings living in the United States some three generations removed from their maternal ancestor. The sib­lings have no idea who their progenitrix was, why this house has come to them, or even really what to do with it; and they definitely don’t know that with the house they ...Read More

Read more

Alexandra Pierce Reviews Ithaca by Claire North

Ithaca, Claire North (Orbit 978-0-31642-296-3, $28.00, 400pp, tp) September 2022. Cover by Lisa Marie Pompilio.

People have been doing rewrites of Greek myths since they were first shared in the agora: the different births of Aphrodite, the many fates of Iphigenia, and so on. The last few decades have seen feminist reworkings of these epic stories, bringing women to the forefront, with (it must be said) varying levels of ...Read More

Read more

Alexandra Pierce Reviews The Best of World SF: Volume 2 by Lavie Tidhar, ed.

The Best of World SF: Volume 2, Lavie Tidhar, ed. (Head of Zeus 978-1-80328-031-8, £25.00, 656pp, hc) October 2022.

Lavie Tidhar is prolific. His first volume of The Best of World SF came out in 2021 – the same year as his novels The Hood and The Escape­ment and collection The Lunacy Commission– and now this second volume arrives just a year later (along with two other novels). ...Read More

Read more

Alexandra Pierce Reviews The Future is Female! Vol 2: the 1970s: More Classic Science Fiction by Women edited by Lisa Yaszek

The Future is Female! Vol 2: the 1970s: More Classic Science Fiction by Women, Lisa Yaszek, ed. (Library of America 978-1-59853-732-1, $27.95, 450 pp, hc) October 2022.

I scraped into the 1970s with just a couple of months to spare and, although I’ve done a fair amount of reading from the time, I’m not going to claim any expertise in assessing what is the best, or even what is ...Read More

Read more

Alexandra Pierce Reviews Unraveller by Frances Hardinge

Unraveller, Frances Hardinge (Macmillan Chil­dren’s 978-1-50983-697-0, £14.99, 496pp, hc) September 2022. (Amulet 9-781-41985-931-4, $19.99, 432pp, hc). Cover by Vincent Chong. January 2023.

If you live in Raddith, and you hate someone deeply enough and long enough, you might develop what the people there call a curse egg. When you’ve really, really had enough of that per­son, you can let the curse go and the object of your hatred will ...Read More

Read more

Alexandra Pierce Reviews Station Eternity by Mur Lafferty

Station Eternity, Mur Lafferty (Ace 978-0-59309-811-0, $17.00, 336pp, tp) October 2022. Cover by Will Staehle.

In Station Eternity, her first novel since Nebula, Hugo, and Philip K. Dick Award nominee Six Wakes, Mur Lafferty turns two old tropes of the PI-murder-mystery genre on their head. Firstly, the misanthropic investigator. It’s an old one, and maybe not seen as much these days, but the loner PI who’s grown

...Read More Read more

Alexandra Pierce Reviews The Genesis of Misery by Neon Yang

The Genesis of Misery, Neon Yang (Tor 978-1-25078-897-9, $27.99, 432pp, hc) September 2022. Cover by Angela Wang.

There’s a certain magic in using history in science fiction. Perhaps the most common option is alternative history. Another is what I think of as transposing history: taking what makes a sequence of historical events remarkable and moving them to a completely different setting, simultaneously keeping them recognizable and yet also creating ...Read More

Read more

Alexandra Pierce Reviews Enclave by Claire G. Coleman

Enclave, Claire G. Coleman (Hachette Australia 978-0-73364-086-5, AU$29.99, 307pp, tp) June 2022. Cover by Grace West.

Claire G. Coleman’s third novel Enclave seems, at first, deceptively simple. Coleman is an Indig­enous Australian; Enclave follows Terra Nullius (published by Hachette in Australia, and Small Beer in the US) and The Old Lie (also Hachette). In this novel, the language is direct and seems to be telling the perhaps ordinary story ...Read More

Read more