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 ...Read More

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Rachel Swirsky Reviews Mandelbrot the Magnificent by Liz Ziemska

Mandelbrot the Magnificent, Liz Ziemska (Tor.com Publishing 9780765398055, $10.99, 128pp, November 2017, trade paperback). Cov­er artist Will Staehle.

“I want to make a discovery just like Kepler’s,” Mandelbrot announced, [his] life’s purpose sud­denly clear to [him], “a discovery so simple, so obvious, that no one else has thought of it.”

Liz Ziemska’s Mandelbrot the Mag­nificent is a fantastical, fictionalized biography of Benoit Mandelbrot and his discovery of the Man­delbrot ...Read More

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Rachel Swirsky Reviews The Fisher of Bones by Sarah Gailey

The Fisher of Bones, Sarah Gailey (Fireside Fiction 9780998778327, $14.99, 130pp, tp) Oc­tober 2017. Cover by Miranda Meeks.

Since August, Fireside Fiction has been se­rializing Sarah Gailey’s novella The Fish­er of Bones online. Now readers can also get the complete 12 parts in book form.

The story begins with the death of a prophet. On his deathbed, he names his daughter to serve as prophet after him. Now tasked ...Read More

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Rachel Swirsky Reviews Madame Zero by Sarah Hall

Madame Zero, Sarah Hall (Custom House 9780062657060, $23.99, 192pp pages, hc) July 2017. Cover by Eugenia Loli.

Madame Zero by Sarah Hall begins with a woman turning into a fox, and ends with one struggling to become herself.

Hall’s collection features nine stories, some speculative and others not. All are invigorated by her literary style of character-driven thematic ex­plorations, written in a witty, mellifluous voice.

“Mrs. Fox”, the story ...Read More

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Rachel Swirsky Reviews The Beautiful Ones by Sylvia Moreno-Garcia

The Beautiful Ones, Sylvia Moreno-Garcia (Thomas Dunne Books 978-1250099068, $26.99, 323pp, hc) October 2017.

The Beautiful Ones by Sylvia Moreno-Garcia lives up to its title – it’s beautifully written, both in the sentences themselves and the images they create.

Garcia’s historical fantasy is set in Paris-like Loisail, where rich people gather for summers of courtship, parties, and simply being seen. The main character, Antonina, is a rural girl from ...Read More

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Rachel Swirsky reviews Six Months, Three Days, Five Others by Charlie Jane Anders

Six Months, Three Days, Five Others, Charlie Jane Anders (Tor.com 9781250099068, $12.99, 185pp, tp) October 2017.

Charlie Jane Anders is ridiculously bril­liant.

Yes, this is going to be one of those reviews, full of glowing praise. Six Months, Three Days, Five Others collects six stories by Charlie Jane Anders, all edited by Patrick Nielsen Hayden for Tor.com. Although some are better than others, they’re all good reads.

Anders’s unique ...Read More

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Rachel Swirsky Reviews An Excess Male by Maggie Shen King

An Excess Male, Maggie Shen King (Harper Voyager 9780062662552, $15.99, 416pp, tp) September 2017.

Wei-Guo is An Excess Male. One of a huge population of unmarried men in China, Wei-Guo has never slept with a woman apart from his weekly government-allotted sex worker. Finally, at 40, he and his fathers have saved enough money for a small dowry, just enough to attract the attention of May-Ling and her two ...Read More

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Rachel Swirsky Reviews Dreaming in the Dark

Dreaming in the Dark, Jack Dann, ed. (PS Australia 978-1-83863-968-3, £25.00, 419pp, hc) Cover by Greg Bridges. August 2016.

‘‘What’s this business about Australia’s Golden Age?’’ Jack Dann asks in his introduction to Dreaming in the Dark. ‘‘Are we in a Golden Age? Well, I think we are.’’

Dreaming in the Dark is an anthology of Australian science fiction, fantasy, and horror, collecting stories by authors such as ...Read More

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