A Tunnel in the Sky

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Calendar dates on this site are in standard American notation: Month/Day/Year.

All updates for the current year can be found on the Home page. The following is a list of news updates from the previous years, starting with my very first post on July 27, 2000. My name is Galen Strickland, and unless specified in the updates below, you can assume the majority of articles were written by me. Click on the other years, or continue scrolling down the page.

2001 | 2002 | 2003 | 2004 | 2005 | 2006 | 2007 | 2008 | 2009 | 2010 | 2011 | 2012 | 2013 | 2014 | 2015 | 2016 | 2017 | 2018 | 2019 | 2020

 

2000

7/27/00: Welcome to my new site entitled, obviously, "The Templeton Gate." A few essays have been uploaded in each category, but many, many more will be added in the future. Bookmark this site and check back frequently for new updates. Also, please visit the Templeton Gate Forums and let me know what you think.

7/30/00: Added images of Alfred Bester and Edgar Pangborn to their pages in SF Authors. My sincere thanks to Sames, my email friend in Germany for these images.

8/08/00: Added a list of SF Reference books. Also added a quote at the beginning of RAH's Future History article, from Science Fiction, the Illustrated Encyclopedia by John Clute. I do not have this book and it is not on the list added, I just happened to browse through it on a recent trip to my favorite used bookstore.

9/04/00: Posted just the beginning of what should be a long article on Harlan Ellison. On the links page I added Rick Wyatt's excellent page called Ellison Webderland.

9/13/00: Added Part 2 of my article on Ellison.

9/21/00: Behold! Part 3 of the Ellison article.

9/24/00: I just added a dedication for this site, and I have also added a new page explaining the reason for this. I also added a page of my picks for a Heinlein TOP 10 list.

10/01/00: Part 4 of my Ellison article has just been added.

10/10/00: The conclusion (at least for now) of my Ellison article has been posted.

10/18/00: Just uploaded the beginning of an article on Ray Bradbury.

10/27/00: I have added to the Bradbury article and also added a link to a Ray Bradbury webpage.

10/30/00: I've just uploaded an article on the film A Boy and His Dog, as well as an update on the TV series Babylon 5. Also you've probably already noticed I finally figured out I didn't have to have the "embedded" ad at the top of the page and now it is one you can click on to close. I hope you approve of the change.

11/01/00: Added a new article, SF vs Fantasy.

11/09/00: An article on Brian Aldiss has been added, along with a link to the Official Brian W. Aldiss Webpage.

11/18/00: Added an article on John Varley. Also added a link to the online review magazine Strange Words.

11/27/00: I've just uploaded an article on James Tiptree, Jr., and added two listings to the links page, one for Tiptree, another a general SF bibliography page, Spacelight.

12/19/00: Added a short article on Frank Herbert, as well as one on Dune-The Movie and Dune-The Mini-Series.

 

2001

1/06/01: Welcome to Templeton Gate 2.0

I realize it is still very simple compared to a lot of other sites you may visit, but then again there are many that in my opinion have too many "bells and whistles" - fancy buttons and icons that are distracting from the content. My emphasis will always be on the authors, books, and films, etc. that I am recommending, and if there are those who don't revisit this site because of its simple design then they probably aren't going to agree much with what I think is worth reading and viewing either. Along with some new images we have moved the menu bar to the left. This created a narrower margin field for the essays, so I think they will be easier to read.

I have also added some new essays on Isaac Asimov, and others will follow concerning The Foundation Trilogy and the Robot novels as soon as I am able to complete them, although it is possible I will write about someone else before that. I also added two Asimov sites to the Links page.

I want to thank my son Alex again for all his help with the image designs and his patience with me. I don't know a tenth of what he does about computers, but I am learning a little more each day. We are contemplating a few other changes in the near future that will hopefully make your experience here more enjoyable. As always, I would appreciate your feedback. One thing I did not have time to do was check every link and image on every page, so if you spot a link that does not work or an image that does not load please let me know as soon as possible. Either email me or post it on the Templeton Gate Forums.

1/12/01: For lack of a better title, I have just posted My First Rant.

1/15:01: Oh, my aching back! I've spent the last three days slaving over my hot HTML editor, and I would guess I got about 10 hours sleep during that whole time. Was it worth it? I have no idea, but at least I have the worst of my headaces behind me. Adding to the different links as I add pages will be a snap compared to this. I have compiled four different pages, for books, films, and TV series available through amazon.com, as well as a page devoted to all the titles I have mentioned that are currently out of print. Also, each book or film is also linked within the articles themselves, although I would not be a bit surprised if I haven't missed one or two (or a dozen), or accidentally provided the wrong link on a title. There are several of the essays that I have edited somewhat, inserting some titles or other information. For instance, in two different RAH pieces I had mentioned an online poll of the best 100 novels of the 20th Century. I now have created a link to the archive of that poll and added it to the "Juvenile" and "His Life and Works" pages. I also put it on the Frank Herbert page, since Dune came in at #14, just ahead of The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress and Stranger in a Strange Land. By the way, the ranking I have mentioned is from the readers' part of the poll. There is also another list compiled by the editors at Random House. And on the Links page I added a section for online retailers - amazon, the Science Fiction Book Club, Barnes and Noble, and Columbia House.

The other day I posted on the forums about a reprint of Orphans of the Sky, available from Stealth Press, but now I realize it can be purchased through amazon as well, so if you had been thinking of adding this to your collection or replacing an older copy, feel free to use that link. I realize there are a multitude of sites with a link to amazon, and this site's association with them will not amount to much, but I think it is going to be interesting to track the new stuff being published as well as hopefully seeing some older titles come back in print. I mean, can you believe that Arthur C. Clarke's Hugo and Nebula award winner The Fountains of Paradise is currently out of print!?!?!? How did anyone let that happen?

One other thing and then I've got to get a little sleep. I have added some images of book covers to the Heinlein Juvenile page. All of them were scanned from the copies I now have, even though in the past I had other editions. I gave a whole set of them to Alex but I have now replaced them on my shelves. What is there now is just a test, even though I like the look of it. Alex thinks all the images should have the new border, but so far he has not had the time to complete those. When he does we will put them up and ask for a vote as to which looks better. Eventually I would like to add a lot more images like that, not just books, but also film and television scenes, and who knows what all. I'm hoping we can keep coming up with fresh ideas to make the site more enjoyable. Thanks for all your support and encouragement, and I'll be talking at ya again later.

1/20/01: This week I have been working late hours trying to compile lists of all the Hugo and Nebulas, not just the winners, but all the nominees too. It has been like an SF history lesson, and I hope when I have them completed you can enjoy them as much more than just a list. It is interesting to see what the competition was in certain years and how the two awards either complimented each other, or conflicted. It has brought back so many memories of stuff I haven't read in many years, and I am including the novellas and short stories too, since almost all the genre writers start out with short works. Also, it has been a bit sobering for me, since things I recall as "recent" really are quite a few years back, and it surprised me about how many writers who are still very active and popular go back many more years that I had realized. Can't say for sure now when the pages will be ready, as I will be linking any available ones to amazon. I just added a few new amazon images to those pages, and also re-worded my intro there, so you might want to take a look at that again. Regardless of where you do get your books, I hope you enjoy them immensely! Later.

1/30/01: I finally got around to adding images to another page, this time it was the Gene Wolfe essay. Please note that the bookcover images on that page are scanned from my copies (except for The Books of the Short Sun and Strange Travelers, which I have not bought or read yet). Those I copied off amazon. The newer editions of these books, most of which are available from amazon, feature different cover art. I think you should be able to tell by the size of the images which ones I have in paperback and which in hardcover. All of the hardcovers I got from the Science Fiction Book Club, including the four volumes of the Book of the New Sun and the two volume set of the Book of the Long Sun, but unfortunately none of those are available from the club now. They are offering a one-volume edition of the Book of the New Sun however, but it is the only one of his books you can get from them at the moment. I really love the cover art by Don Maitz on Shadow/Claw/Sword/Citadel that I have, and I think all of the books I have feature better covers than those of the current printings. I decided that the book covers look best without the border that is around the author's portraits, but more than likely whenever I get around to images from films and TV shows they will get the border and the "scan-line" look. Perhaps Alex can make those borders look more like a movie screen or a TV.

I am still working on the Hugo/Nebula awards lists. So far I've tried about three different designs looking for the one that looks best, and since there are so many titles to check and link to amazon it may be another week before it's ready. I am also thinking of doing a page devoted to the John W. Campbell and the Philip K. Dick awards.

2/04/01: The Hugo & Nebula Award pages are now up and ready for inspection. There are several other related pages, all of which you can access from links on that main page of the 2000 awards. All of the new pages are also mentioned on the Literature page, and all of the new book titles have been updated on both the Books at Amazon and Out of Print pages. I am very tired already from having to type the phrases "out of print" and "unavailable" so many times, maybe someone can help me come up with an alternative way to say that. Since most computer users are used to seeing and using acronyms all the time I might start using a new one - "OOP."

2/09/01: I have added an image to the Frank Herbert page. Since I have mentioned several times that I didn't start reading SF until 1967, you will know that the magazine cover I have added is not one I bought new. A friend of mine found it recently at a flea-market sale and was kind enough to give it to me.

2/11/01: I have gone back to gray for the links, although it is not as dark a gray as we were using before. Also, I wanted to stress again that if you do not have the Helvetica font on your computer then you are not seeing the pages in the way that Alex and I designed them. Helvetica is a much broader and bolder font than Times New Roman, and in my opinion it is much easier to read. Hopefully we will soon have information for you on that.

2/16/01: I've added some more links recently. I already mentioned cordwainer-smith.com on the forums the other day, and I found a link on that site for another book review page, called Ex Libris. Also, I added the SFWA's recipients of the Author Emeritus Award to the Hugo-Nebula Pages. They began that particular award in 1994 to honor writers who have a long and distinguished career, but who were not as well known and not likely to be considered for Grand Master. This year's honoree for Author Emeritus will be Robert Sheckley, with the Grand Master Award going to Philip José Farmer.

2/17/01: Another link has been added, for a John Varley site. This is not the johnvarley.com page I mentioned in my article - that one is still in the building stage. If I'm not mistaken I came across this one in my initial search but it must have been under construction at the time (and what website isn't always under construction of some sort, at least any that are worth looking at?). It mentions an upcoming novel entitled Irontown Blues, but does not give any specific information on when it is due. There is a letter from Varley posted there that mentions it as being part of what he is referring to as his "metal" trilogy, following Steel Beach and The Golden Globe, so it is obvious it also fits into his ever-growing Eight Worlds sequence.

3/22/01: Miracle of miracles! Finally an update!
I have just added an article on J. G. Ballard, along with a new link for an unofficial page concerned with his work. Yes, I know I had said I would write some more on Asimov, and I will eventually, but so far I have not been satisfied with what I have on The Foundation Trilogy, and I need to re-read the Robot and Empire novels before writing anything on them. I will be doing them, I just can't say exactly when right now. But I do plan to do a piece on Ellison's screenplay for I, Robot soon.

3/31/01: I was finally successful in logging into to Tripod and I added an article concerning Harlan Ellison's Screenplay for I, Robot. Also, I have added a book title to the SF References page, and I made a few minor revisions in my article on Babylon 5, although I still intend to add a lot more to that page in the future.

4/06/01: Today's update is a page on the film Blade Runner. I apologize for going against my previously stated intention of avoiding spoilers in reviews, but I hope you will agree that it was necessary in this case.

4/20/01: I finally finished my article on Asimov's Foundation Trilogy. You might wonder why it took me so long since it is not a long article or very detailed in its analysis. I probably started it over at least five times trying for the right balance of descriptive detail without revealing too many elements that would spoil the books for anyone who has yet to read them. Also, I changed the image on the Blade Runner page, and as you may already be aware, I've changed the font style as well. So far I have made this change only on the Asimov articles, and the ones on Blade Runner and Ellison's I, Robot Screenplay. I will be working some more on this over the weekend and will eventually change all the pages over to this new font (Arial).

5/05/01: I added a short article on Roger MacBride Allen, and soon I will add a page with a review of his first two novels. Also added a link to his website. Since no one responded to my post on the forums regarding Allen I have to assume most of you are unfamiliar with his work, but based solely on his first two books I am recommending him highly.

5/10/01: I just uploaded a review of Roger MacBride Allen's first two novels, known collectively as Allies and Aliens. I also finally got around to adding the most recent Nebula Award-Winners to that page, and also added an image to the review page for the film 2001: A Space Odyssey.

So Long, And Thanks For All The Fish…
5/12/01; 2:41 pm PST - Hello all, Alex here. I just thought that this should be on the main page. Friday morning, Douglas Adams, author of such hilarious books as "The Hitchhikers Guide To The Galaxy," "Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency," and "The Long Dark Tea-Time Of The Soul," passed away at the age of 49 from a heart attack. He will be dearly missed by his fans. I'm not very good at writing this sort of thing, but I certainly hope that wherever he is now he's finally found the question to the Ultimate Answer. Thanks for all the laughs, Doug.

Slaughterhouse Five
5/23/01; A page on the film Slaughterhouse Five has been added.

Poul Anderson
6/03/01; Just uploaded a page on Poul Anderson, and added a link to a good site devoted to his work on the Links page. As Anderson is a very prolific writer, and since I mention many of his books in the article, it was necessary to add many titles to the Out of Print page under his name. Fortunately, the majority of the novels he has released over the past dozen years are still in print, and I included them on the Books at Amazon page, and they are also linked within the article itself.

Arthur C. Clarke
6/19/01; A new article about Arthur C. Clarke has been added, although I am sure I will return to add other comments on him and several of his books at a later time.

Philip K. Dick
8/02/01; Sorry for such a long time since the last update. Today I posted an article on Philip K. Dick, and I also added a link to philipkdick.com.

A.I.
8/15/01; Finally finished my article on the film A. I. I would like to have said more about it, but didn't want to spoil it too much for anyone who has yet to see it. Hopefully we can discuss it on the forums, as I feel it deserves a lot more attention than any other film I have seen this year.

Norman Spinrad
9/03/01; Again, it has been longer than I had wished since the last update, but this evening I have added a page on Norman Spinrad. One of the main reasons it took longer than anticipated is I kept thinking of other things I wanted to say about his work, and over the last couple of weeks I have also been sampling some of his shorts stories and portions of his novels. Damn, I wish I had more time to read. Right now I feel like re-reading all of his stuff! Also, be sure to visit his Homepage, there is a lot of good information there.

Hugo And Nebula Awards List
9/05/01; I have updated the Hugo-Nebula pages to reflect the latest winners, and reorganized the pages somewhat, creating a new separate page just for the Retro-Hugos.

Clifford D. Simak Article Online
10/20/01; I've just uploaded a new page devoted to the work of Clifford D. Simak, and also added a link to the best webpage I could find on him.

It’s about time!
11/16/01; 5:04 pm PST - Alex: Finally, after a long period of slacking off and procrastination, I've finished a review for the Templeton Gate! The review in question? An overwhelmingly positive analysis of Peter Jackson's Dead Alive (also known as Braindead). Head on over to the films section and check it out!

Silverbob time!
12/09/01; A new page on Robert Silverberg has just been added. Also added some new Links and made some slight revisions to several other pages, most notably adding images to the Babylon 5, Dune Mini-series, and Star Trek: TOS pages.

 

2002

A few minor updates
2/06/02; The last couple of months have been very hectic for me, including a move back to my hometown of Waco, Texas, and starting a new job. I have not had the time I would prefer to work on these pages, but I have recently begun another author profile which should be completed soon. What I have been doing over the last few weeks is changing over almost all of the links on my pages to ones which will open a new browser window rather than take you to the other page in question, leaving Templeton Gate behind. I have been worried that people might click on an amazon.com link, or one to an author's website, and forget where they started and not return to the Gate. I also finally got around to linking all the available non-fiction books, films and tv shows listed as nominees and winners on the
Hugo/Nebula pages, and added some new pages for miscellaneous items available from amazon. I welcome your input on what should be listed there, hopefully to generate more referral fees for your humble webmaster.

New Author profile online
2/15/02; After more than two months I've finally added another author profile, this time on another Grand Master from the Golden Age, Frederik Pohl. I have also added a new feature to a few pages so far, with more to come. At the end of the article I have linked to several other pages where you can get more information on Pohl's work. He does not have an official site, not even a fan appreciation page, but there are several bibliography pages available, along with several other people's reviews of select titles. Only a handfull of other pages have these new added links so far, but I will endeavor to expand that feature to as many pages as possible.

Hey! We've got some new reviewers!
2/24/02; I am happy to announce two new pages added today, both movie reviews, and both written by other people. A week or so ago, Mark Ebert emailed me with his review of A. I. I offered to add it to the pages here and he agreed. Also, ElizaDolots, one of the most active posters on the Templeton Gate Forums, agreed to put her passion for The Fellowship of the Ring down into words and offer her opinions for all to see. My son Alex, who contributed a review of an earlier Peter Jackson film, Dead Alive, a couple of months ago, is also featured on another new page, entitled "Dossiers," which links to pages that give a little information about our reviewers. I again offer an open invitation to anyone else who would be interested in contributing articles, whether they be author profiles, or book, film, or television reviews.

Eliza writes about David Brin!
3/01/02; Eliza Dolots gives us a very good profile of a very good writer, David Brin, one of the most popular and influential SF authors of recent years. As an indication of just how popular he is, every title of his mentioned in the article is still in print, which is a first for any author article so far!

Harry Potter and the Review of Doom!
3/08/02; Eliza Dolots is on a roll! This week's entry is a review of the film version of Harry Potter & the Sorcerer's Stone.

Hail to the King, Baby!
3/09/02; 7:02pm PST - Alex: That's right: I've got not one, not two, but three - count 'em, three - reviews for your reading pleasure. It's possible you can expect some more reviews coming your way tomorrow, but for now you'll have to make due with my thoughts on Army of Darkness, Brazil, and The Fellowship Of The Ring. Snootch to the nootch.

Eliza reviews TIME BANDITS!
3/17/02; Taking a cue from Alex's earlier review of Brazil, Eliza Dolots takes on another Terry Gilliam film, the 1981 fantasy Time Bandits.

Two new pages, one new reviewer!
4/14/02; Ekt joins the TGate crew, with a review of the Nightrunner series of books by Lynn Flewelling. More will be forthcoming soon on those books. Also, Mark Ebert, who earlier reviewed A. I., now turns his attention to another Spielberg film, as he gives us his thoughts on the theatrical re-release of E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial.

Go, Web, Go!
5/25/02; 8:10pm PDT - Alex: Finally got around to completing my review for the new Sam Raimi movie; a small little independent, art-house flick you probably haven't heard of called "Spider-Man". Head on over to the movie pages to check it out.

Episode 2 reviewed by Eliza!
5/26/02; Eliza gives us her insights into the latest in the Star Wars saga, Episode 2: Attack of the Clones, as well as reminiscing about the original films.

Ogre's Favorite Comic of All Time!
6/15/02; Ogre3000 honors us with his first comic review, Manhunter. Enjoy!

Finally! My new Wolfe article is done!
6/16/02; At long last, I've completed another article, this one on Gene Wolfe's "Sun" Books (The Books of the New Sun, Long Sun, and Short Sun). Not as complete as I would have liked, but it took me long enough to write what I have, and as I'm sure the essay makes clear, I need to re-read the books to clarify a few puzzling points of the plots. But who knows when I will be able to do that?

Bebop, anyone?
6/23/02; ekt favors us with his second review, this one on the Japanese anime series Cowboy Bebop. It's really a great review which has made me anxious to see this series!

Padre reviews "Beowulf's Children"
7/09/02; Templeton Gate adds another reviewer, Padre Mellyrn, who gives us his thoughts on the novel Beowulf's Children by Niven, Pournelle & Barnes.

Starflight joins the TGate crew, and Ogre reviews more comics!
7/28/02; Starflight reviews Isaac Asimov's 1987 novel, Fantastic Voyage 2, and Ogre3000 tells us about "Joe's Comics," several series created by J. Michael Straczynski.

The Dingilliad Trilogy from David Gerrold
8/01/02; I finally finished these three books and have written a short article about them, with very little that could be considered spoilers. They are great books, and I recommend them highly!

Heinlein's Beyond This Horizon reviewed
8/31/02; Beyond This Horizon has recently been reissued in paperback, I re-read it for the first time in many years, and now I've posted a short synopsis and review of this very early work by the Grand Master. Other updates include new links for all the various video versions of The Fellowship of the Ring, along with links for preordering both Spider-Man and Episode 2: Attack of the Clones.

New Hugo Awards Posted
9/02/02; The new award-winners recently announced at the Worldcon, Con José 2002, have been posted on the complete Hugo/Nebula Awards Pages.

Edgar Allan Poe
10/20/02; Halloween is just around the corner, and who better to read at this time of the year that the master of the macabre himself, Edgar Allan Poe, who also wrote some of the first examples of SF.

Also, over the past few days I have updated several individual author pages as well as the Books at Amazon page, to reflect quite a few new and reprinted titles that are now available. The authors effected include Brian Aldiss, Roger MacBride Allen, Poul Anderson, Ray Bradbury, and Harlan Ellison. I will be checking all the other writers soon as well to see if any others have new books available.

Philip Pullman's Fantasy Trilogy His Dark Materials
11/01/02; ekt favors us with another article, this time on the popular fantasy trilogy His Dark Materials by Philip Pullman.

 

2003

Happy 2003 Everyone!
1/5/03; I realize I'm a few days late with that greeting, but I have been very busy lately. All of the updates from 2002 have now been archived. I hope your year started off better than mine. In case you are not a frequent visitor to the Templeton Gate Forums you may not be aware of the situation with my son (co-creator of this site)
Alex, who was injured in an auto-pedestrian accident shortly before Christmas. Although his condition is not critical it definitely is serious, and he will be several months in recovery. Alex and I both want to thank all our friends for their kind words of concern and encouragement.

Glen Cook's The Dragon Never Sleeps
1/5/03; Another reviewer joins the Templeton Gate ranks!
"wracked" reviews Glen Cook's The Dragon Never Sleeps, which he has mentioned several times on the forums, and on at least two other sites I've seen. His review makes me very anxious to find and read this unfortunately out-of-print title.

Collecting SF
1/14/03; Someone new on the forums - tenavari - has sent me a very good article concerning "In Search of the Rare and Out of Print on the Internet," mainly dealing with eBay.com, but also covering other websites. He has also said he is working on other book reviews, which will be posted when I receive them.

Chris Exner reviews Slave Ship
1/20/03; Frederik Pohl's Slave Ship is reviewed by T-Gate's newest member, Chris Exner ("tenavari" on the forums).

Eliza reviews Chamber of Secrets
1/23/03; Eliza Dolots offers us her opinion on the sequel film Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, and speculates on the production of the third Potter film as well.

Alex reviews The Two Towers!
1/26/03; Even though he is still recovering from his accident, Alex was able to see The Two Towers yesterday, and he has already written a review. Other reviews will follow, but I had saved the honor of the first review for Alex. Enjoy!

Starflight's The Two Towers review
1/27/03; Starflight has been patient enough, now he gets to chime in with his thoughts on The Two Towers.

Daredevil - The Man Without Fear
2/16/03; Ogre3000 returns with an enthusiastic review of the newest comic-to-film adaptation, Daredevil.

Hyperthought by M. M. Buckner
3/10/03; I have just uploaded a short, but positive, review of Ms. Buckner's debut SF novel Hyperthought. Hope you like it.

David Gerrold's When Harlie Was One
3/23/03; Raedom presents what I hope is just the first of many reviews, as he disects both published versions of David Gerrold's When Harlie Was One.

X2 Movie Review
5/03/03: Ogre3000 presents his second film review for The Gate, that of the sequel film X2: X-Men United. He likes the film a lot, and I hope you like his review.

Santiago by Mike Resnick
5/10/03; wracked presents his second book review, of Mike Resnick's 1986 novel Santiago.

Portals in a Northern Sky
5/24/03; For the second time I have received a request for a review from an author, and luckily both of them were well worth reading. This one is also a debut novel - Charles Douglas Hayes' Portals in a Northern Sky.

The Science Fiction & Fantasy Hall of Fame
6/1/03; After reading of the latest inductees into the SF&F Hall of Fame I decided to create a page listing all the current members of this illustrious group.

The 2003 Wooden Rocket Awards
6/12/03; The Templeton Gate has recently received an Honorable Mention as Best Fan Site Home Page in the first annual Wooden Rocket Awards.

Ogre3000 reviews Hulk
6/20/03; Were you planning on going to see Hulk this weekend? Better read Ogre's review first.

The War Against the Chtorr
7/9/03; My review of this four book (so far) series by David Gerrold.

Raedom reviews Cities in Flight
7/24/03; Raedom contributes his second book review, James Blish's Cities in Flight.

Raedom's Third Review!
8/2/03; Raedom's latest book review is actually on two books, The Space Merchants & The Merchants' War by Frederik Pohl and C. M. Kornbluth.

At Long Last! The David Gerrold Profile
8/17/03; I've finally uploaded my general profile page on David Gerrold, and it inlcudes a short question-and-answer interview I conducted with him recently via email.

Roger MacBride Allen's Orphan of Creation
8/24/03; I've recently read this very good third novel from Allen, and have just uploaded my review. Hope you enjoy it.

Spider Robinson's The Free Lunch
9/1/03; Take a look at my review of this novel from 2001.

Padre likes Orson Scott Card
9/7/03; Padre Mellyrn reviews two different multi-book series by Orson Scott Card - The Ender & Homecoming Series.

Hey! Let's Go to Mars!
9/8/03; I review John Varley's latest novel, Red Thunder.

Raedom returns with two book reviews
11/18/03; Raedom offers up two different book reviews today: James Hogan's The Mirror Maze and Theodore Sturgeon's Case and the Dreamer.

SFExplorer's First Review!
11/29/03; SFExplorer, who maintains the MSN Group Links for Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror, has graciously allowed me to copy a review he posted on his site. It is an excellent review of Robert J. Sawyer's recent Hugo-winning novel Hominids, which is the first of a trilogy.

Two new reviews today!
11/30/03; Ogre3000 returns with a review of the film we have been promoting this month, Bubba Ho-Tep. I can't wait to see it myself, but it still does not have full distribution across the country. Also, SFExplorer takes a look at the graphic novel Orbiter, written by Warren Ellis and illustrated by Colleen Doran. Enjoy!

Heinlein's new/old novel
12/12/03; I've just uploaded my review of the newly published first novel by Robert A. Heinlein, For Us, the Living.

Firefly is shiny!
12/24/03; I've just uploaded a page with my thoughts of the tragically defunct tv series Firefly, recently released on DVD. I've been watching it a lot the last two weeks and am convinced it's the best gorram show I've ever seen!

Have a Happy Hobbit Holiday!
12/24/03; Two reviews for The Return of the King. Hopefully more to come, but first up are the thoughts from Alex and Starflght. Enjoy!

 

2004

Have a Happy 2004!
1/08/04; Again, I'm a few days late with my New Year's greeting, but I was on vacation visiting my son in California until this week. All of the page updates from 2003 have now been archived. I am currently in the midst of reading three different books, not quite sure which I will finish first, but I am likely to write a review on all of them eventually. If there is anyone else who would care to submit reviews of books, films, television shows, comics, whatever...just email me through the link on the menu buttons.

Gene Wolfe's The Knight
1/17/04; I have just uploaded my review of Gene Wolfe's latest novel, The Knight, which is Book One of The Wizard Knight series.

ekt reviews Connie Willis
1/25/04; ekt returns with a review of Connie Willis' Hugo and Nebula award-winning novel Doomsday Book.

David Brin's Kiln People
3/2/04; I've just uploaded my review of David Brin's Hugo nominated novel Kiln People.

Dawn of the Dead '04
3/19/04; Ogre3000 reviews the new remake of the George Romero horror classic, Dawn of the Dead (2004).

Dawn of the Dead Redux
3/24/04; Alex presents his thoughts on the new remake of Dawn of the Dead.

Ogre Reviews Hellboy!
4/6/04; Ogre3000 has nothing but good things to say about Hellboy.

Final Hugo Ballot Announced
4/11/04; The awards committee of this year's Worldcon, Noreascon4 in Boston, have released the final ballot for the Hugo Awards, winners of which will be announced on September 6. I have updated our Hugo/Nebula pages, along with the appropriate Books at Amazon and Films at Amazon pages as well. We would appreciate it if you would help support this site by clicking on some of those links. Thanks.

Ogre disses Van Helsing
5/10/04; If you recall last month Ogre really liked Hellboy, but now Van Helsing...not so much. If anyone disagrees I'll be happy to host their review too.

The Vampire Earth
5/21/04; Hope you enjoy my review of E. E. Knight's first novel, Way of the Wolf, which is the first in his series called The Vampire Earth. I am confident you will enjoy the book itself!

More Vampire Earth
6/13/04; I've added to my review of E. E. Knight's Vampire Earth series with my thoughts on the second book, Choice of the Cat.

American Gods reviewed
6/20/04; I've just uploaded my short, but positive review of Neil Gaiman's Hugo and Nebula winning American Gods.

The Prisoner of Azkaban
6/29/04; Eliza Dolots reviews the third film in the series, Harry Potter & the Prisoner of Azkaban.

Spider-Man 2
7/7/04; Alex gives us his impression of the blockbuster sequel Spider-Man 2.

Bob Shaw profile
7/25/04; Here is a profile of Irish author Bob Shaw, contributed by David Longhorn, editor of Supernatural Tales.

2004 Hugos and Retros
9/6/04; I have just completed updating the Hugo/Nebula pages to reflect the winners announced Saturday night at Noreascon4 in Boston, along with the other various related pages, Books at Amazon, Films at Amazon, etc, along with changing several different book links to reflect recent paperback editions and reprints of older titles available again.

Edge of Darkness
9/12/04; David Longhorn offers up a very compelling review of a show I had never heard of before (but am now interested in seeing), a 1985 BBC mini-series called Edge of Darkness. Enjoy.

Two New Reviews Today - One Movie, One TV Show
11/7/04; Eliza Dolots returns with an extremely positive review of the new Disney/Pixar production of The Incredibles. Plus, David Longhorn gives us his thoughts on perhaps the first cult tv show ever, The Prisoner. Enjoy!

Lemony Snicket
12/21/04; Ogre3000 reviews the new #1 movie, Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events.

 

2005

2004 Updates
1/23/05; Better late than never, I suppose. All of the updates for pages added in 2004 have now been archived. Also, I guess Alex has recently rewatched his Bubba Ho-Tep DVD, since he finally finished a
review he had promised me over a year ago. Could a review of 28 Days Later be far behind?

Constantine
2/21/05; Ogre3000 gives us a positive, although not overwhelmingly enthusiastic, review of Constantine, starring Keanu Reeves and based on the Hellblazer comics.

H. G. Wells in Hollywood
3/6/05; David Longhorn, our resident British SF expert, now turns his critical eye on three different film productions based on the work of H. G. Wells - The War of the Worlds (1953), The Time Machine (1960), and The Time Machine (2002).

More Vampire Earth
3/20/05; I have again added to my review of E. E. Knight's SF book series, The Vampire Earth, with my thoughts on the third novel, Tale of the Thunderbolt.

Doctor Who
3/27/05; With a new Doctor Who series now airing in the UK after a hiatus of more than fifteen years, David Longhorn takes this opportunity to look back on the previous Doctors and give us A Highly Prejudiced Overview. I'll be adding to that page as soon as David sends me an update.

Sin City
4/1/05; Ogre really, really likes Sin City, the new film based on the graphic novels by Frank Miller, and co-directed by Miller and Robert Rodriguez.

Doctor Who Redux
4/25/05; David Longhorn has updated his overview of the British television series Doctor Who, with thoughts on some of the other incarnations of the character since his original review.

Don't Forget Your Towel!
5/3/05; Ogre3000 reviews Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy.

Sith Happens!
5/19/05; There's likely to be more reviews shortly, but the first take on Revenge of the Sith belongs to Ogre3000.

Oops! Finally, Nebulas/Hugos Updated
6/05/05; I really thought I had done this already, but I guess I got side-tracked. Over a month late, but I finally updated the Hugo/Nebula pages to reflect the most recent Nebula winners along with those nominated for the upcoming Hugo Awards.

Here's some math for you…(Solaris X 2) + (Quatermass X 3) = 3 New Reviews
6/12/05; David Longhorn returns with reviews of five SF films: Andrei Tarkovsky's 1972 version of Solaris, Steven Soderbergh's Solaris (2002), + the Quatermass Trilogy.

Holy Batman Mythos!
6/16/05; Ogre says they got it right this time. He really, really likes Batman Begins.

Fear and Loathing in the Land of the Dead
6/27/05; Alex reviews the latest zombie flick from George Romero - Land of the Dead.

War of the Worlds
6/30/05; I've just uploaded my review of Steven Spielberg's latest, War of the Worlds, based loosely on the H. G. Wells novel.

Is Fantastic 4 really fantastic?
7/9/05; At least Ogre seems to think so. Check out possibly the only review of Fantastic 4 that says it does not suck.

Late again, but I've got reasons
8/21/05; I've had some computer problems the last couple of weeks, but hopefully that is all resolved for now. Also, because this year's World Science Fiction Convention was held early (it's usually around the Labor Day weekend), I am late in reporting the winners of this year's Hugo Awards, and I also updated the Books at Amazon and Films at Amazon pages to include all of this year's winners and nominees.

Serenity NOW!
8/30/05; It is now one month from the official U. S. release of Joss Whedon's Serenity. My initial review is spoiler-free (in my opinion at least), but if you are extremely spoiler-phobic, read at your own risk. A full review will follow in a month's time.

The Brothers Grimm
9/5/05; I think the majority of negative reviews I have seen for this film were from people convinced they would not like it beforehand. I went to see it expecting Gilliam to dazzle me once again, and The Brothers Grimm did not disappoint.

Serenity Redux
10/6/05; I finally finished my full, spoiler-filled review of Serenity, although to avoid anyone seeing that page by mistake I am only linking to it on my original Serenity page. Don't click that extra link for the full review if you have not seen the movie and don't wish to be spoiled for it. Dong ma?

The New Harry Potter
11/25/05; Eliza Dolots, who has reviewed all the previous Harry Potter films, continues the tradition with her thoughts on the latest, The Goblet of Fire.

ekt takes on Avatar: The Last Airbender
12/11/05; ekt has provided a very enthusiastic review of the new Nickelodeon animated series, Avatar: The Last Airbender. Enjoy!

It's good to be the King!
12/14/05; Ogre3000 gives an ecstatic review for Peter Jackson's King Kong.

 

2006

A new reviewer at The Gate!
2/16/06;
Michael Woodard contacted me recently after he had found Templeton Gate through a search for info on John Varley. He has now offered his first book review - for Walter Jon William's three book series Dread Empire's Fall.

Final 2005 Nebula Ballot released
2/26/06; I've just added the nominees for the 2005 Nebula Awards, the winners of which will be announced on May 7.

Michael Woodard reviews two more books
3/1/06; Michael Woodard offers up reviews of two more books, one he can recommend - Sean McMullen's Souls in the Great Machine, the first of his Greatwinter trilogy - and another - Gary Tigerman's The Orion Protocol - well…not so much.

Michael's on a roll!
3/5/06; Michael Woodard's been reading a lot lately, and now gives us a review of the second book in Sean McMullen's Greatwinter trilogy - The Miocene Arrow.

Lovecraft horror on DVD!
3/12/06; Alex is a big fan of H. P. Lovecraft, and has just reviewed the new (old style silent) film out on DVD - The Call of Cthulhu. Enjoy!

V for Vendetta
3/19/06; Ogre3000 is a big fan of the Alan Moore/David Lloyd graphic novel, and has only a few minor nits to pick with the film version of V for Vendetta.

Peter Watts' Rifters Saga
3/27/06; Michael Woodard has some very positive things to say about Starfish, the first book in Peter Watts' Rifters Trilogy.

More Vampire Earth
4/23/06; It has been a year and three days since my last book review. Very discouraging for me, and I will endeavor to do better in the future. As with the last one, this new review is a continuation of my look at E. E. Knight's Vampire Earth series, the latest title being Valentine's Rising.

More Rifters and Greatwinter
5/2/06; Michael Woodard returns to add to two different reviews: Maelstrom is the second book in Peter Watts' Rifter's Trilogy, and Eyes of the Calculor concludes Sean McMullen's Greatwinter Trilogy.

Hugo/Nebula updates
5/7/06; I have just updated the Hugo/Nebula Awards pages to reflect the recently announced winners of the 2005 Nebulas, as well as entering the final ballot nominees for the 2006 Hugos, to be announced on August 27.

One Book, One Movie
5/14/06; Michael Woodard offers up two different reviews today, one book and one movie, but both collaborative efforts. First up is Building Harlequin's Moon, a novel from Larry Niven and Brenda Cooper, and then he looks at the film MirrorMask, from the creative minds of Neil Gaiman and Dave McKean.

The Time Quartet
6/11/06; ekt favors us with his thoughts on the Time Quartet book series by Madeleine L'Engle.

Supes Returns
6/29/06; Ogre3000 reviews Bryan Singer's Superman Returns.

Superman Returns. Again
7/1/06; I enjoyed Superman Returns a lot too, but I do have a few quibbles with it, so wanted to balance Ogre's review.

!Red Lightning!
7/16/06; I've just uploaded my review of John Varley's latest, Red Lightning, which is a sequel to Red Thunder.

2006 Hugos
8/27/06; I've just updated the Hugo/Nebula pages to reflect the winners of the 2006 Hugos, presented last night at LAConIV in Anaheim.

Firefly Companion
10/3/06; Not talking about Inara here, but a new publication from Titan Books, Firefly: The Official Companion, Volume One.

Variable Star
10/13/06; Spider Robinson was given the unenviable task of turning Robert Heinlein's outline and notes into a finished novel, and for the most part Variable Star was worth the wait and his effort.

 

2007

Archives Update
1/7/07; All of the updates from 2006 have now been archived.

Children of Men
1/8/07; The first review of the year is up. I really liked Alfonso Cuarón's
Children of Men, starring Clive Owen, Julianne Moore and Michael Caine.

El Laberinto del Fauno
2/4/07; That's Pan's Labyrinth in English, the new film by Guillermo del Toro, which I highly recommend.

Prepare for Glory!
3/14/07; Ogre3000 reviews Zack Snyder's 300, based on the graphic novel by Frank Miller.

Hugo/Nebula Page Updated
3/31/07; I've just finished updating the Hugo/Nebula Pages to include the recently nominated works for the 2007 Hugos and 2006 Nebulas, along with providing links to amazon.com for all the books, films or tv shows represented.

Valentine's Exile
4/4/07; I review the fifth book in E. E. Knight's book series about The Vampire Earth, Valentine's Exile.

Spider-Man 3
5/7/07; Ogre3000 reviews the latest installment in the web-slinging franchise - Spider-Man 3.

More Firefly Goodness!
5/27/07; A new publication is now available, and it's a great one! In case you missed the earlier review, here's my thoughts on both volumes of Titan's Firefly: The Official Companion Books.

Harry Potter 5
7/14/07; Eliza Dolots continues the tradition with a review of the latest Potter film, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix.

2007 Hugo winners announced
9/1/07; I had not expected the awards to be announced until either this evening or Sunday, but apparently the Japanese are impatient and had the ceremony last night. Head on over to our Hugo/Nebula Awards page to check out the winners.

Valentine's Resolve
9/10/07; I've just uploaded a short review of the sixth book in E. E. Knight's Vampire Earth series, Valentine's Resolve.

 

2008

Archives Update
1/1/08; 2007 was a lean year for reviews at the Gate so it didn't take me long to archive those.

El Orfanato
1/13/08;
The Orphanage is a new film produced by Guillermo del Toro (Hellboy, Pan's Labyrinth) and directed by relative newcomer J. A. Bayona. He's mainly done television and music video production in Spain, but this is a very impressive international feature debut. Should have no problem getting a Foreign Language Oscar nomination.

Cloverfield
1/20/08; Short review - if you aren't bothered by motion sickness, go see it. For the full review, click HERE.

Jerome Bixby's The Man from Earth
1/27/08; I believe this was a direct-to-dvd release, or any theatrical showings were very limited. Perhaps that is best, because I am not sure it would play well on the big screen, but in the intimacy of your living room it will have a profound impact if you enjoy the SF of ideas. Hopefully my review will do it justice. It deserves to be seen by a wider audience.

Nebula Winners - Hugo Nominees
4/27/08; I have just updated the Hugo/Nebula Pages to reflect the winners of the 2007 Nebulas announced last night in Austin, Texas, along with the nominations for the 2008 Hugos, to be awarded at Denvention 3, August 6-10.

Rolling Thunder
5/19/08; Finally! A new book review, of John Varley's Rolling Thunder.

The Dark Knight
7/20/08; I've just uploaded a short but positive review of The Dark Knight, the Batman sequel film from writer/director Christopher Nolan.

Avatar: The Last Airbender
7/27/08; ekt (also known as ektomage, teknomage and tek ni over the years) wrote us a review of this Nickelodeon animated series a couple of years ago, and now returns with his revised thoughts now that the series has ended its three year run. Enjoy Avatar: The Last Airbender.

2008 Hugos
8/10/08; I've just updated the Hugo/Nebula pages to reflect the winners of the 2008 Hugos, announced this weekend at Denvention3, the 66th Annual World Science Fiction Convention.

 

2009

Archives Update
1/1/09; The pages added in 2008 have now been archived. And of course, Happy New Year!

Watchmen
3/7/09; Finally a new review! This time it is the film adaptation of
Watchmen, the seminal graphic novel from Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons. I have not read the book yet, but there will be another review shortly from someone who has, Ogre3000.

Watchmen 2
3/8/09; Nope, not a sequel already. Just another review of the new film by Ogre3000, and as I suspected his reaction was a bit different than mine.

Nebula Awards Announced
4/26/09; The 2008 Nebula Awards were presented in Los Angeles last night. All winners and nominees have been noted on our Hugo/Nebula Awards page. I haven't yet linked available titles to amazon.com, but will do that when I'm not so lazy.

Star Trek, the J. J. Abrams way
5/12/09; ElizaDolots gives us a (mostly) enthusiastic review of the new Star Trek film, directed by J. J. Abrams. She says it brings the fun back to the Trek universe.

Flashforward
5/17/09; I've just uploaded a review of Robert J. Sawyer's 1999 novel Flashforward, which is the basis of a new ABC series premiering this fall.

Dreams With Sharp Teeth
6/21/09; Here's a review of the documentary film about Harlan Ellison: Dreams With Sharp Teeth, produced and directed by Erik Nelson.

Ground Control to Duncan Jones!
7/12/09; I've just uploaded a review of the new film Moon, starring Sam Rockwell and directed by new-comer Duncan Jones, son of David Bowie.

Harry Potter 6
7/21/09; Eliza Dolots continues the tradition with a review of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, sixth in the blockbuster movie franchise.

District 9
8/16/09; I've just uploaded a positive review for District 9, a documentary-like SF film, directed by South African newcomer Neill Blomkamp, and produced by Peter Jackson.

James Cameron's Avatar
12/18/09; Avatar has been hyped almost as much as Star Wars: Episode One, but in this case the hype was warranted and it does not disappoint.

 

2010

Archive Update
1/18/10; The articles posted in 2009 have been archived, and along with previous years, are accessible through the menu link at the top left of the page.

The Road
2/21/10; I finally saw
The Road yesterday and have just uploaded my review. Chilling, horrific, depressing, but at the same time quite inspirational (to me at least).

2001: A Space Odyssey
6/16/10; This is the first of the review pages updated in the new format. Only minor changes were made to the original article first posted on July 27, 2000.

Update
6/16/10; Pardon the mess, we're under construction. I've been promising for years to revamp the site and I've finally started to do so. Yeah, I know I haven't written many reviews for entirely too long, but that's going to change soon. But first I have to reformat all the existing pages, and that's going to take some time. Hopefully I will get it done by July 27, which will mark the tenth anniversary of the site. Not all of the links on the new pages work yet, and most that do will take you to the old pages for now, so until everything is done you can still go to the old Mainpage and follow links from there.

Airbenders and Waterbenders and Firebenders...Oh My!
7/4/10; After a few more tweaks of the layout Alex and I seem to be in agreement that it looks good, so I'll start in on converting as many pages as I can tomorrow. Today I worked on ekt's (also known as tek ni) reviews of the new M. Night Shyamalan film The Last Airbender, as well as updating his review of the TV series "Avatar: The Last Airbender" to the new format.

Dream a Little Dream
7/17/10; I've just uploaded a short but positive review for Christopher Nolan's new film, Inception. As far as updating pages to the new design, I've done about 15-20% I guess, but I'm not going to list those done so far, but will make an announcement (hopefully soon) that all are complete. I've been working somewhat in alphabetical order, although I have skipped over a few that I need to spend more time making changes. I know I won't make the anniversary deadline, now just ten days away, but I'll make every effort to do as much as I can.

Redesign Complete
9/12/10; I finally completed the task of changing all the pages over to the new design format, plus making a few other changes. The archives are now on one page rather than individual pages by year, and along with some other deletions that reduced the overall page count. To boost that count up a bit I have just created new "main" pages for several authors for whom several reviews have already been done, similar to how I already had for Asimov and Heinlein. These include Roger MacBride Allen, Harlan Ellison, David Gerrold, Frederik Pohl, John Varley and Gene Wolfe. At the same time I put some future (and hopefully not too distant future) reviews of other works by these authors on those pages. That brings our total page count to 234, down from a previous high of 240. It has been over a year since I did a book review, but I am working on one now along with a profile page on its author. I'll probably finish the profile first, since research for that is giving me some insight on how I want to structure the book review. More on that soon.

A Case of James Blish's Conscience
9/18/10; Today I uploaded three new pages. One is an author profile of James Blish, along with a review of his Hugo-winning novel A Case of Conscience. Lastly, I created a new "main" page for him, since there are now several pages devoted to his work. I also listed a few other things there that I hope to work on in the near future.

Alfred Bester's The Demolished Man
10/31/10; I have just uploaded a new book review. This time it is of Alfred Bester's The Demolished Man, the first novel to win a Hugo Award. Even though I already have the complete Hugo and Nebula Awards on different pages, I have also added a new page listing just for all of the novel winners of both the Hugo and Nebula, five others which have already been reviewed. My intention is to eventually review all of them, and will at least start in chronological order, whether I continue with that order is subject to change. That means the next one up is The Forever Machine (aka They'd Rather Be Right) by Mark Clifton and Frank Riley, which I have never read. I have stated on numerous occasions over the last ten years that I would only be reviewing books, movies and TV shows that I can recommend to others, but now that I have set the task of reviewing all of these novels I am sure there are a few that I might not like that much, but I will review them anyway. I've read the majority already, although it has been many years for a lot of them.

Monsters
11/06/10; Here is my review of the ultra low budget film Monsters, currently in very limited theatrical release, but also available as a digital rental from amazon.com and iTunes.

The Forever Machine (aka They'd Rather Be Right)
11/14/10; I continue with my reviews of Hugo winning novels with The Forever Machine by Mark Clifton and Frank Riley. It is the second book to win the award, and was originally serialized in Astounding magazine under the title "They'd Rather Be Right." One of the worst books I've read in a long time, and if I hadn't promised myself I would review all the winners I would not have finished it.

Harry Potter 7.1
11/25/10; Eliza DoLots returns with a review of the latest film in the popular series, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 1.

The Windup Girl
12/5/10; I've decided I'll be doing my Hugo/Nebula book reviews in a random order, at this time jumping to present day as I disect the latest dual-winner, Paolo Bacigalupi's The Windup Girl.

 

2011

!Happy 2011!
1/2/11; I hope the new year finds you in good health and good spirits, and I wish that everyone's 2011 is as good for them as 2010 was for me. Yeah, I might bitch and moan about work and other stuff from time to time, but in truth things have been going well for me on most fronts. Also, all the news updates from last year have been archived and are accessible through the link at the top left of every page on the site.

Hyperion
1/2/11; As stated previously, I'm going to be doing my Hugo/Nebula book reviews in a random order. This first review of the year is for Dan Simmons'
Hyperion, published in 1989 and the winner of the Hugo for 1990. I would like to have finished a re-read of its immediate sequel and included it in the review, but that would have delayed uploading the page even longer. I probably will in the near future, but for now I have something else in mind for my next review.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer
1/23/11; This evening I've uploaded two new pages, reviews of Buffy the Vampire Slayer the TV series, and the Buffy Season 8 Graphic novels.

The Fall of Hyperion
2/16/11; I've added to my Hyperion review with comments on its sequel, The Fall of Hyperion.

The City and The City
2/26/11; I review China Miéville's The City and the City, co-winner of last year's Hugo Award.

2010 Nebula Awards
2/26/11; The final ballot for this year's Nebula Awards has been released by the SFWA. Winners will be announced on May 22 at the Nebula Awards Banquet in Washington, D.C. Since our pages on the Hugos & Nebulas are grouped by decade I have created a new page for the 2010's. I have updated the other pages with the new link and also added the new titles to the AmazonBooks and AmazonFilms pages.

The Adjustment of PKD
3/13/11; The Adjustment Bureau is a fairly entertaining film, but one thing is it not is a Philip K. Dick story.

Short but sweet
3/13/11; Robert Silverberg's latest book, The Last Song of Orpheus is more novella than novel in length, but sometimes good things come in small packages.

From the sublime to the ridiculous!
3/27/11; Or maybe it's just the sublimely ridiculous, cause I'm not sure which category fits the two movies I'm reviewing today. I had originally thought Sucker Punch might be sublime, but it's not, and Paul is beyond ridiculous.

Use the Source Code, Jake!
4/2/11; Jake Gyllenhaal does a great job in an entertaining, if somewhat predictable, thriller, Source Code. Is it just me, or was it released on April 1 for a reason?

Way Station
4/2/11; I continue with reviews of award-winning novels with a look at Way Station by Clifford D. Simak, which received a Hugo in 1964.

2010 Nebulas
5/22/11; The 2010 Nebula awards were announced last night, and I have updated the pages to reflect the winners. The Hugo nominations are also featured, and they will be awarded at Renovation, the World Science Fiction Convention in Reno, Nevada, August 17-21. Follow the links on that page for all of the past winners and nominees, as well as reviews of some of the books.

Riverworld
5/30/11; I review the first two books in the Riverworld series by Philip José Farmer, along with mention of an early version of the story. A profile page on Farmer will follow soon. I hope.

The Tree of Life
6/7/11; Terrence Malick's new film, The Tree of Life is not science fiction or fantasy, but it is speculative fiction of the highest order. Even though I know there is a large segment of the movie-going audience that will not like it, or at least not as much as I do, my recommendation for it is unreserved, and I have no qualms about reviewing it here.

Super 8
6/12/11; What a difference a week makes. Last week I saw a film I loved but that most people won't. This week it is the opposite. Not that I hated Super 8, but it could have been so much better than the re-tread it turned out to be.

A little "Night Music" please!
6/12/11; Tobias Cabral has recently self-published his novella Night Music via amazon.com's Kindle service. It is a very good Hard-SF tale reminiscent of some of the masters, and if he can duplicate this effort his will be an interesting career to follow.

Philip José Farmer
6/19/11; I've finally finished my profile page on Philip José Farmer. Not that it took me this long to write, but as is typical I've been procrastinating. Working in 100+ degree heat everyday has wiped me out for most weekday evenings and the weekends have been devoted to other chores.

The Last Harry Potter
7/19/11; Eliza DoLots treats us to her take on Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2, the end (?) of the road for the film franchise.

Thor
7/31/11; I was surprised how much I enjoyed Thor, considering I'm not a comic geek and know little of the story as presented in that format. But director Kenneth Branagh and a cast headed by Chris Hemsworth, Natalie Portman and Anthony Hopkins made it well worth my time.

Blackout/All Clear by Connie Willis
8/18/11; The lastest entry in Willis' Oxford Time Travel series, the dual novels Blackout & All Clear, won the Nebula earlier this year, and Saturday night we will find out if it also wins a Hugo. It is the only one of the nominated novels I've read, but I'm rooting for it and I think it has an excellent chance to win again.

Hugo Winners Announced
8/21/11; As I was expecting (and hoping), Blackout/All Clear won the Hugo tonight, and I've edited that page to add that information, as well as adding a few other things to the review. I have also updated the Hugo/Nebula Award pages for all the other winners too.

Apollo 18 (or, Blair Witch Goes to the Moon)
9/4/11; I could have made reference to another (and older) low budget horror film, but it would have been too much of a spoiler. Not a great film by any means, but Apollo 18 is worth a look at matinee price, or worth a rental if you want to wait for the video release.

To Say Nothing of the Dog
9/25/11; I review Connie Willis' To Say Nothing of the Dog, the 1999 Hugo winner for best novel.

Connie Willis: Her Life and Work
10/23/11; Here's my profile on the career of Connie Willis. I have also created a "main" page for her, listing the books already reviewed.

The Mars Trilogy by Kim Stanley Robinson
11/26/11; I'm still reading Blue Mars, but I decided to go ahead and upload the start of my review of the Mars Trilogy by Kim Stanley Robinson. I'll add to the review later, and might even edit some things I've already said.

Update on Mars
12/4/11; I've finished (for now) my review of Kim Stanley Robison's Mars Trilogy. I'll probably work on a profile page on Robinson next, and may think of a few other things I wanted to say about the trilogy.

 

2012

Happy New Year!
1/2/12; I hope everyone's 2012 is going okay so far. In my opinion it's gonna be the best year ever, with many more great ones to come. A pox on those dumb Mayans!
PS: The first book review of the year will be uploaded sometime later today.

Spin, Spin, Spin!
1/2/12; The first book review of the year is for Robert Charles Wilson's
Spin, the 2006 Hugo winner.

Another Earth
1/7/12; Ever wonder if there's another you somewhere out there in the universe? Maybe they're on that new planet that just mysteriously appeared in the solar system. That's the premise of the independent film Another Earth, now out in a Blu-Ray/DVD Combo pack.

Go, Apes!
1/22/12; The new prequel film, Rise of the Planet of the Apes, is now out on DVD and Blu-Ray and I've seen it twice within the last week. It has some strong points along with a few weaknesses, but still well worth watching.

Hugo
1/30/12; Hugo has been nominated for eleven Academy Awards. It deserves everyone of them, and even more. Great film, the best I've seen in several years.

Chronicle
2/19/12; Chronicle is yet another "found footage" film, with shaky camcorder footage. Just a few elements of the film work, but for the most part it was "been there, seen that" for me. The effects are impressive considering the budget, but I'd rather have seen a more original story idea.

The Hunger Games
2/11/12; The Hunger Games is the first of a trilogy of books by Suzanne Collins. It is a very popular Young Adult series, and while I am not in the target demographic I enjoyed it for the most part. To understand the few quibbles I had about it you just need to read my review.

John Carter
2/18/12; John Carter is not the easiest film to review. It's much better than what you've probably already heard, but it is not without its faults. I'd say go see it and make up your own mind.

The Hunger Games - The Movie
2/23/12; Like the book, the movie version of The Hunger Games is good, but not great. Regardless, it's gonna be a box office smash.

Still Hungry?
2/27/12; Eliza DoLots gives us her take on the box office winner, The Hunger Games.

Come to my cabin?
4/15/12; The Cabin in the Woods, co-written by Joss Whedon and Drew Goddard, and directed by Goddard, has been promoted as a "mind-blowing horror film that turns the genre inside out." That's hyperbole for sure. It's enjoyable enough, but nothing that surprising or unexpected for me.

Avengers Assemble!
5/5/12; Joss Whedon deserves success and acclaim, and I think it inevitable he will get both due to his remarkable work on The Avengers.

Update on Hunger Games
5/13/12; I've updated my review page for The Hunger Games to add some thoughts on the two sequel novels.

Nebula Winners
5/20/12; I've just updated the Hugo/Nebula Awards page to highlight the winners of the 2011 Nebulas announced last night, and I also realized I hadn't yet entered the nominees for the 2012 Hugos, to be announced at Chicon 7 in September.

Prometheus
6/11/12; In spite of its pedigree, and my fervent anticipation of it, Prometheus proved to be a big disappointment. My suggestion is to skip it and rewatch Alien instead.

New Affiliate - New Review
6/11/12; The Templeton Gate is now an affiliate of ReAnimusPress, a fairly new enterprise bent on bringing older SF titles back in e-book formats (not printed books). My first review is of Jerry Sohl's 1965 novel Night Slaves, which was later adapted for a made-for-TV movie.

The Yiddish Policemen's Union
7/8/12; Here's my review of Michael Chabon's Hugo and Nebula award winning novel from 2007.

The Dark Knight Rises
7/22/12; I've just seen Christopher Nolan's latest (and last?) Batman film, The Dark Knight Rises. It's good, but not as good as the two previous films.

Companion Needed For Time Travel
7/26/12; Once again a low budget, independent film has caught my eye. I would like to say that entertainment is guaranteed, but I know my tastes differ quite a bit from a lot of other people. But I loved Safety Not Guaranteed. Is it an SF film? Yes. Maybe. Who cares?

Larry Niven's Ringworld
8/5/12; I've just uploaded my review of Larry Niven's 1970 novel Ringworld, winner of both the Hugo and Nebula.

Welcome to Rekall
8/11/12; I've recently re-watched the original film from 1990, then the new remake, as well as re-reading the short story both were "inspired" by. Here are my thoughts on Total Recall.

2012 Hugo Awards
8/11/12; I've just updated the Hugo/Nebula page to reflect the winners of the 2012 Hugos announced this weekend in Chicago. I also added Jo Walton's Among Others to the Novel Winners and Dual Awards pages, since it also won the Nebula earlier this year, and I hope to read and review it soon.

Update on Night Slaves
9/8/12; A few months ago I reviewed Jerry Sohl's 1965 novel Night Slaves, and I had mentioned I had seen the TV movie adapted from it but that it had never been released on any video format. About a week ago someone uploaded the full movie to YouTube. I've edited the review to include that information.

Slow Apocalypse
9/8/12; John Varley's latest novel, Slow Apocalypse, is something entirely different than we've ever seen from him.

Among Others
10/3/12; Jo Walton's Among Others won both the Hugo and Nebula this year, and has been nominated for the World Fantasy Award. I recommend it. I won't say it's highly recommended, but it's a pretty good book.

Leviathan Wakes (The Expanse, Book 1)
10/17/12; 10:20pm CDT - Galen
James S. A. Corey is a pen name used by Daniel Abraham (primarily a fantasy writer) and Ty Franck, who is an assistant to George R. R. Martin, and he has only one other short story to his credit so far. Leviathan Wakes is the first novel in a series collectively knows as The Expanse. It was nominated for a Hugo and a Locus Award for Best Novel this year. It is an entirely different kind of book than the last one I reviewed, Among Others, which won both the Hugo and Nebula. I enjoyed Leviathan Wakes more.

Cloud Atlas
10/27/12; Cloud Atlas is based on a book that has been described as "unfilmable." I've just ordered the book to find out why, but right now I'd have to say that was a fallacious assumption. It could have been an ambitious mess, and while not everythng works and at least one segment could have been deleted, for the most part it is successful in telling a cohesive story that spans multiple scenarios and hundreds of years, past, present and future. Highly recommended.

Awww....Go Bug Jack Barron!
10/31/12; Bug Jack Barron was controversial when it was originally published in 1969. In spite of several dated elements it is still a very powerful book that asks some tough questions about how we allow the government and the media to manipulate us.

Sound of My Voice
11/4/12; Sound of My Voice is another indie film co-written and co-produced by actress Brit Marling (Another Earth). It will take a few more viewings of both to decide which one I like more, but right now I'd say they are even.

The Hobbit begins…
12/17/12; …but will it ever end? Overall, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey gets my recommendation, but I do have some major issues with it. Someone really needs to reel in Peter Jackson's ego and point out the fact that sometimes less is better.

 

2013

Happy 2013!
1/1/13; Well, those Mayans were dead wrong, and in spite of the fact there is a 13 in this year's date I have a suspicion it will be a very lucky year. All of last year's updates have been archived, and are accessible through the link at the upper left of each page on the site. It was a pretty good year for the Gate, with reviews of sixteen movies and eleven books, probably the most active since the first couple of years. We are nearing a total of 300 pages, with 293 at last count. The first review of the year will be along in a few days, probably over the weekend. I have just a bit to read in a book that has a peripheral connection to the main one the review will be about.

Phoenix Without Ashes
2/12/13; Well, it took a lot longer getting around to this review than I had anticipated, but work has been full and I've also been a bit under the weather at times. Anyway, I've just uploaded a review that encompasses the novel
Phoenix Without Ashes by Edward Bryant as well as the graphic novel of the same name by Harlan Ellison, both of which are based on Ellison's Writer's Guild Award winning pilot script for the ill-fated TV series The Starlost. There's a few other tidbits thrown in to round out the whole story.

Midwich Cuckoos/Village of the Damned
2/24/13; Two new pages today, one on the novel The Midwich Cuckoos by John Wyndham, the other on the three film versions of the story, two of which are titled Village of the Damned.

Oblivion
4/21/13; At long last, another review. I think Oblivion is the perfect title for this movie, since I now want to wipe all traces of it from my memory.

Star Trek Into Darkness
5/20/13; Eliza DoLots gives us her take on J.J. Abrams' second foray in the Trek universe, Star Trek Into Darkness.

Man of Steel
6/16/13; In spite of a few negatives, Man of Steel is possibly the best Superman movie to date. And yes, I do like the first two of Christopher Reeve's films.

The Chrysalids by John Wyndham
7/6/13; I thought The Chrysalids was a Wyndham book I hadn't read yet. I was wrong. Around forty years ago I encountered it under its American title, Re-Birth. It's still as good as I remember, maybe even better.

Pacific Rim
7/14/13; Giant robots fighting giant monsters. What's not to like about Pacific Rim?

Elysium (Or Neill Blomkamp Takes a Nose Dive)
8/18/13; It takes a pretty bad movie to be worse than Oblivion. Sad to say, Elysium is that movie.

2013 Hugo Awards
9/2/13; I attended three of the five days of this year's Worldcon, LoneStarCon3 in San Antonio, which is just closing down about now. I did not stay for the Hugo ceremony though, but I have just updated the Awards page to reflect this year's winners.

Gravity can get you down
10/6/13; There are both good things and bad about Gravity, and I try to explain both in my review. YMMV.

Ender's Game
11/3/13; I've just uploaded reviews of both Orson Scott Card's novel from 1985, as well as the new movie in theaters now.

Beware the Triffids!
11/10/13; Two new pages today, one on the novel The Day of the Triffids by John Wyndham, another on three different film versions of the story, the 1962 theatrical feature and two different BBC mini-series.

Classic Doctor Who
11/23/13; It's been well over a year since I started watching Classic Doctor Who through Netflix and Amazon, and now on the 50th Anniversary of the show I've finally posted the beginning of my review.

Catching Fire
11/25/13; The Hunger Games: Catching Fire is a better film than its predecessor, just not good enough to satisfy me.

11/22/63
11/25/13; Anyone from my gereration knows exactly where they were when they heard the news. Have you ever wondered what the world would be like if JFK had not been assassinated? Well, so has Stephen King, along with the protagonist of his novel, 11/22/63.

A Canticle For Leibowitz
12/8/13; Winner of the Hugo for Best Novel in 1961, A Canticle For Leibowitz is still as powerful a book as it was more than fifty years ago. Highly recommended.

 

2014

Happy New Year, Hobbitses!
1/1/14; Well, 2014 is here, and I'm finally getting around to a movie review I should have done several days ago, but it took a while to decide if I should bother. Peter Jackson continues his expansive, overblown, and over-long adaptation of Tolkien's The Hobbit, the second film in his trilogy being subtitled
The Desolation of Smaug. Anyone who has read the book and seen this film knows that title is incorrect, and that's just one of many things wrong with it.

Hobbit Update
1/1/14; I've added a few comments to my review of The Desolation of Smaug, even a few positive ones believe it or not. Even if you've already read it you might want to take another look.

Costigan's Needle
1/1/14; Jerry Sohl's Costigan's Needle was his first novel, published in 1953. Interesting premise, poor execution, but I felt compelled to finish the review since ReAnimus Press provided the e-book for free.

Redshirts
1/5/14; Anyone who is a fan of Star Trek doesn't need the title explained. If you are a Trek fan, or even if you're not, my recommendation is to run far away from John Scalzi's novel, as if you're a redshirt yourself trying to escape your fate. What were the Hugo voters thinking last year?

2312 by Kim Stanley Robinson
1/19/14; Following along the same timeline as Robinson's Mars Trilogy, 2312 is the winner of last year's Nebula award. I was expecting it to repeat and also win the Hugo, because it is infinitely better than Redshirts.

Winter's Tale
1/31/14; Winter's Tale by Mark Helprin is a beautifully written fantasy, and I predict the upcoming film will not do it justice.

Bring the Jubilee
2/3/14; Ward Moore's 1953 novel Bring the Jubilee is an intriguing alternate history tale, in this case exploring the possibilities of what might have happened if the South had won the Civil War.

Winter's Tale - The Movie
2/15/14; Not as good as the book, but that was expected. Akiva Goldsman's adaptation of Winter's Tale was surprisingly satisfying in spite of so much story missing. A bit too much magic compared to the book, or at least explained too much, but most of it works.

Two Hugo winners from Heinlein
2/15/14; I just uploaded two book reviews, both from Heinlein, and both Hugo winners. Double Star was his first win in 1956, then fifty years after the fact, 1950's Farmer in the Sky received a Retro Hugo in 2001. It shouldn't have.

Siege of Stars
4/6/14; 2:30pm CST - Galen
Siege of Stars by Henry Gee is the first book of the Sigil Trilogy, and is available from ReAnimus Press.

Babel-17 & Empire Star
4/14/14; Samuel R. Delany won his first Nebula with Babel-17, and in the current print edition it is joined with the connected story "Empire Star."

The Einstein Intersection
5/14/14; A month's long enough, and considering it's been over a week since I finished Samuel R. Delany's The Einstein Intersection, it's about time for a review.

2013 Nebula Awards
5/18/14; The Nebulas were announced last night, and after several hours tracking down links for all the books, movies and TV shows available from Amazon, I've just finished updating the Hugo/Nebula page, including the Hugo nominations that will be decided in August.

The Jewels of Aptor
6/17/14; The first of Samuel R. Delany's stories to be published, The Jewels of Aptor, shows the promise of the eventual Grand Master, but it is ultimately unsatisfying.

Gojira vs. Godzilla
6/17/14; The original 1954 film Gojira has its faults, but it is vastly superior to the latest American version of Godzilla. Here's my review of both.

The Fourth Doctor
6/30/14; I finally got around to updating my Classic Doctor Who review, this time adding comments on the Tom Baker years.

The Edge of Futures Past
6/30/14; It has been a couple of weeks since I've seen these movies, not sure why it's taken me this long to post reviews. Both are likely to not be in theaters much longer, but since a lot of people wait for the DVD release anyway, I guess it doesn't matter. They are both unique, and don't have any connection to each other, except that both utilize their own form of time travel to correct past mistakes. Edge of Tomorrow and X-Men: Days of Future Past.

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
7/14/14; I know most everyone else will disagree, but I was thinking a better first word for the title would be Yawn.

Ancillary Justice
7/14/14; Ancillary Justice is the first novel from Ann Leckie. It has already won the Nebula and is also nominated for a Hugo (and it won that one too). It is very good.

2014 Hugo Awards
8/18/14; I've just updated the Hugo/Nebula pages to reflect the winners announced last night at LonCon3, including the Retro Hugos.

Time's Crossroads
8/26/14; Gregg Macklin has written reviews here, as well as posted on the forums, under the username of Starflight. It's been a while since the last of those reviews, and that might not change much in the future, since he is now writing his own stories. His first novel is Time's Crossroads.

Nova
9/2/14; Continuing with the work of Grand Master Samuel R. Delany, today I take a look at his 1968 Hugo-nominated novel, Nova.

Dhalgren
9/10/14; Delany again. This time it's his Nebula nominee from 1975, the much praised (and much criticized) Dhalgren.

The Lotus Caves on High Moon
9/28/14; Two new pages today. A review of John Christopher's 1969 juvenile novel The Lotus Caves, along with a look at the extremely loose adaptation of it, High Moon, which was supposed to be a pilot for a series on Syfy, but they finally made a wise decision by not picking it up.

Doctor Who Update
10/12/14; It has been several weeks since I watched the last of Peter Davison's episodes on Classic Doctor Who, but I finally got around to updating that page.

Rite of Passage
10/13/14; The Nebula Winner for 1968 was Rite of Passage by Alexei Panshin.

The Man Who Folded Himself
10/15/14; Originally published in 1973, then revised in 2003, David Gerrold's The Man Who Folded Himself is still a good time travel tale, but maybe not as good as I remembered.

The Zero Theorem
10/18/14; Another wild and weird cinematic journey from Terry Gilliam, The Zero Theorem might still be showing in theaters, but likely only in large markets. Otherwise, it's already on VOD from various sources, including Amazon.

Dark Lightning
10/22/14; Dark Lightning is the latest from John Varley, continuting events that began in 2003's Red Thunder.

Interstellar
11/8/14; Interstellar is being hailed as a science fiction epic by some, and it does have some positive attributes, but for me the negatives far outweigh them.

Sigil Trilogy Book 2
11/13/14; It has been nearly seven months since I posted the review of the first book in Henry Gee's Sigil Trilogy. I shouldn't have waited this long to read the second one, Scourge of Stars, because in spite of a few quibbles I might have, it is still very good and I'll finish the third book as soon as possible.

Sigil Trilogy Complete
11/16/14; My review of Henry Gee's Sigil Trilogy is complete, although I won't rule out editing it later if I think of something else I should have said. I probably spoiled too many things already, so I'll quit for now.

Birdman Flies High!
11/25/14; Birdman is the best film I've seen this year, and hopefully it will get the recognition it deserves, not only for Michael Keaton's perfomance, but also the other actors, the director, and cinematographers. A near perfect film.

Flowers for Algernon
11/25/14; Getting back to award-winning books, I take a look at Daniel Keyes' 1966 novel Flowers for Algernon which tied for the Nebula with the previously reviewed Babel-17 by Samuel Delany. It was preceded by a short story version, which won a Hugo in 1960.

Mockingjay, Part 1
12/14/14; Just as with the third book in Suzanne Collin's Hunger Games trilogy, I am losing interest in the film franchise as well. They should have kept the third book to just one film, because Mockingjay, Part 1 is light on action and long on boring exposition and lifeless acting.

The Hobbit 3
12/30/14; Finally, hopefully, Peter Jackson is done with Middle Earth. The Battle of the Five Armies is actually the shortest of the three Hobbit films. Why did it feel like the longest?

 

2015

Another Year Gone By
1/1/15; All of the updates for 2014 have been moved to the
Archives page, and that page is accessible from any other page on the site through the link in the "News" column to the left. It was one of, if not the most productive years for the site, with reviews of twenty-two books and twelve movies, updates on one TV show plus one other new one, as well as updates to miscellaneous pages like the Hugo/Nebulas and the SF Hall of Fame. No matter how much that was an improvement over the past few years, I still need to do more, since I am not working now. No resolutions, since I don't want to break them, but I will try harder this year.

Triton by Samuel R. Delany
1/4/15; The first review of the year is here! It took a while to get through Triton (aka Trouble on Triton). I'm glad I persevered though, since it proved well worth the time and effort.

Predestination
1/11/15; If you've read Heinlein's "—All You Zombies—" there won't be any surprises, but you might like Predestination anyway.

Neuromancer
1/11/15; William Gibson's first novel, Neuromancer, won the Hugo, Nebula and Philip K. Dick awards. It deserved them.

12 Monkeys (1995)
1/16/15; I've been meaning to review Terry Gilliam's 12 Monkeys about as long as this site has been active. Now that Syfy is premiering a series based on it I guess it's about time I did that.

The Martian
1/18/15; Andy Weir's first novel, The Martian, has been getting a lot of positive buzz, along with a few nay-sayers claiming it is boring and repetitive. It's not boring, in fact I read it about as fast as anything in quite a long time. I like Hard-SF stories with lots of realistic action. If you do too, it is recommended.

A Tale of Two Congresses
3/15/15; It's been entirely too long since the last update, so I'll try to make up for that a bit with two reviews today. First is the book The Futurological Congress by Stanislaw Lem, and then the movie loosely adapted from it, The Congress, starring Robin Wright, Harvey Keitel and Jon Hamm.

In other news, there are several other things I've been meaning to get around to, quite a few films, a TV series, as well as other books, and it's not like I can use the old excuse of not enough time. I just have to do it.

Stars In My Pocket Like Grains Of Sand
3/26/15; Stars In My Pocket Like Grains of Sand came out in 1985, nearly ten years after Delany's previous science fiction novel.

No Joke!
4/1/15; Believe it or not, I finally finished my profile article on Samuel R. Delany. Today happens to be his 73rd birthday. I also created a main page for him that has links to all the reviews I've done so far, and I will be adding to that list, but I don't know when. I need to move on to somebody else for a while.

I also decided to create another page that lists all of the SFWA Grand Masters, Delany having received that honor last year. Then I went into other pages to create a link to that for other recipients for which I've written articles, along with linking specific ones to the SF Hall of Fame. One thing I haven't done yet, and not sure when I'll get to it, is going through all the pages where Delany might have been mentioned so I can put a link on his name directed to his main page.

Hugo/Nebula Awards
4/4/15; I've just updated the current Hugo/Nebula page with the nominees for the 2014 Nebulas, to be presented June 6, and the 2015 Hugos, which will be handed out on August 22.

Hugogate [UPDATED]
4/12/15; *I've edited this article to include more information and to clarify a few thoughts.* The nomination process for this year's Hugo Awards is embroiled in controversy, similar to what is going on with Gamergate, so I've dubbed my thoughts on it as Hugogate, although it's likely someone else called it that before me.

Stations of the Tide
4/12/15; Another random trip through my reviews of award winners takes us back nearly twenty-five years, with my take on Michael Swanwick's Stations of the Tide, written in 1990, published in book form in '91, and winner of the Nebula in '92.

Hugo Nomination Revisions
4/17/15; Several changes have occurred since I first posted the Hugo nominations. Two entries were ruled ineligible for various reasons, plus two authors have withdrawn their works from consideration. There had already been subsititutions named for the ineligible items, but I wasn't sure those rules would apply to the ones who had voluntarily withdrawn, but the awards committee announced this morning that there would be substitutions there too. In the Best Novel category, Lines of Departure by Marko Kloos was been withdrawn by its author, and has been replaced by The Three-Body Problem by Cixin Liu. Annie Bellet withdrew her "Goodnight Stars" from the Short Story category, and it was replaced by “A Single Samurai" by Steven Diamond. Officials say that the final ballots are going to the printers soon and no further changes will be made. A full list of nominees for the Hugos and this year's Nebulas can be found here.

Two Movies, One Terrible, One So-So
4/30/15; I saw two movies a couple of weeks ago at the discount theater. I'd be really upset if I had paid more than 50¢ each. The worst was Jupiter Ascending, which is not recommended. Chappie wasn't a total disappointment, even though I'll likely not want to watch it again.

Age of Ultron
5/2/15; Avengers: Age of Ultron will easily win the box office this weekend, perhaps even surpassing its record-breaking predecessor. The majority will love it. When have I ever been in the majority?

One Book, One Movie
5/7/15; I've just uploaded two new reviews. Ancillary Sword is Ann Leckie's follow-up to last year's multiple award-winner Ancillary Justice. It has already won this year's BSFA, and is also nominated for the Nebula, Hugo and Locus awards.

Ex Machina is an excellent film that I highly recommend. If it's playing near you I'd say go for it, but don't delay because it will likely be pushed out of theaters soon by the juggernaut of The Avengers plus a couple of other upcoming blockbusters.

The Three Body Problem
5/16/15; The Three Body Problem by Cixin Liu is possibly the best selling and most popular science fiction novel from China. It's English translation came out late last year and it has been nominated for many awards, including the Nebula and Hugo. As you might be aware, I am at times somewhat of a contrarian, and I've been wondering what everyone else sees in this book. YMMV.

The Goblin Emperor
5/23/15; The Goblin Emperor by Katherine Addison is another book nominated for several awards, including the Nebula, Hugo and Locus. Sorry to say, but I cannot recommended it.

Childhood's End
6/1/15; Arthur C. Clarke's Childhood's End is just as good as I remembered. I fear the upcoming Syfy mini-series won't do it justice, but we'll always have the book. For those who haven't read it (or even for those who have) it is highly recommended, even though it is more mystical and less scientific than the majority of his other work.

Nebula Winners
6/7/15; Congratulations to Jeff VanderMeer for his Best Novel Nebula winner, Annihilation, which is the first book in the Southern Reach trilogy. I have just ordered the book and will read and review it as soon as I can. Check out all the other winners and nominees on the Hugo/Nebula page.

SF Hall of Fame
6/13/15; The 2015 inductees into the SF Hall of Fame have been announced. Click through to see who has been selected to join this elite group.

Annihilation - Southern Reach Book 1
6/15/15; Jeff VanderMeer's Annihilation just won a Nebula for Best Novel. It is the first book in the Southern Reach Trilogy. It was very good, and I've ordered the other books and will continue with this review as soon as possible.

The Expanse
6/21/15; It has been nearly three years since I reviewed Leviathan Wakes by James S. A. Corey. I finally got around to the second book in the series, Caliban's War. I decided to combine the reviews, so check out the new page now all about The Expanse. Even if you had already read that first review you might want to look again, since I edited it a bit, plus added comments on a couple of prequel short stories.

Fahrenheit 451
6/23/15; One of Ray Bradbury's best, which means it's one of the genre's very best, started out as a short story titled "The Fireman" in Galaxy magazine in 1951. Two years later, the expanded novel, Fahrenheit 451 was released. Since there were no Hugos awarded in '54, it had to wait fifty years before it received a Retro Hugo.

Authority - Southern Reach Book 2
6/29/15; I made some minor edits to the original review, then added comments on Authority, the second book in Jeff VanderMeer's Southern Reach Trilogy. I've already started the third book and will update again soon.

Help! I'm stuck in Area X
7/8/15; I've finished (for now) my review of Jeff VanderMeer's Southern Reach Trilogy, but I won't rule out editing some more. I do need to move on to another book, but I fear I may be stuck in Area X for a long time. I've been through Annihilation, been beaten down by Authority, but I'm now in Acceptance mode. I loved it!

Beware the Librarians!
7/20/15; Scott Hawkins' first novel is the incredibly fascinating, disturbing, bizzare and original The Library at Mount Char. You'll never think of librarians the same way again.

15th Anniversary!
7/26/15; I'm jumping the gun on this by a few hours, but tomorrow marks 15 years since The Templeton Gate went live. We started with less than 20 pages, now with the latest update there are a total of 367. Even subtracting those pages that are merely category groupings with links to the articles, or the Hugo/Nebula pages, intros to the various reviewers, etc, that still leaves 312 reviews or essays. We would surely have topped 400 overall, except for the fact that quite a few reviews cover more than one book, such as the recent Southern Reach Trilogy, along with at least 20 other examples of multiple book series. Then again, I'm not consistent, since there are individual reviews that probably should have been combined, like Varley's four Thunder & Lightning books and the two (so far) of Ann Leckie's Imperial Radch. I may combine them later, maybe not, but if I do I would have to change links and edit several other pages.

Something new is that I've created a new category on the site, for comics. There have only been four reviews of that type so far (or five if you stretch the criteria), and I had included them in the literature category before, but I plan on several others in hopefully the near future. There have been two that I read over the past year that I had intended to review, just haven't gotten around to it, which means I probably need to re-read them. Graphic novels are bigger than ever these days, and the Hugo Awards added that category six years ago. I've been reading the nominees for this year and may review some or all of them.

Who knows what the future holds? Both the domain name registration and hosting service are up for renewal in November, and I plan to renew both for five years as I did the last time. That way I save a little bit of money and don't have to worry about it for a while. I did well on posting updates during the first two or three years, then slacked off in the middle period as my workload increased. Now that I'm not working (and I hope that can continue) I'm reading more, although I had also intended to increase the number of movie and TV reviews. If I can maintain a good pace maybe I'll be talking about 500 pages the next time the renewals roll around. That's only another 133 between now and then, an average of 26.5 per year, and I've already added 24 this year. It's doable.

Stories For Chip
8/9/15; Stories For Chip, edited by Nisi Shawl and Bill Campbell, is an anthology in tribute to Grand Master Samuel R. Delany.

Finches of Mars
8/18/15; Today, on Brian Aldiss' 90th birthday, I review his latest (and reportedly last) novel. No one is more disappointed than me that Finches of Mars is not very good.

Hugo Awards Announced
8/23/15; The winners of the 2015 Hugo Awards have been announced. Click through to see the full list, including all nominees.

Worldbreaker Saga
9/2/15; Anyone who's been paying attention knows I prefer science fiction to fantasy, but I've been trying to expand my reading list in recent years. Kameron Hurley's Worldbreaker Saga has been getting a lot of positive buzz. The second book comes out October 6, but I got an advance copy. The third book should be released about this time next year, if not sooner. I'm not the best judge of this type of story, so take my comments with a grain of salt, or multiple grains as necessary.

Grunt Life
9/5/15; Weston Ochse's Grunt Life is the first book in a series about an alien invasion. It's well-written and exciting, recommended.

Two Book Reviews
9/14/15; Two new reviews, both from advance e-books I received from Net Galley. The better of the two is Nalo Hopkinson's short story collection, Falling In Love With Hominids. The other one had potential but didn't come through. Lightless is the first novel from C. A. Higgins. If she had concentrated on just a couple of the plot threads she could have fashioned a tight thriller, but the four she tried to combine were too much for her talent at this time.

Grunt Traitor
9/26/15; I continue my look at Weston Ochse's book series Task Force OMBRA with a few comments on the second book, Grunt Traitor. If you haven't already read the start of the review I posted three weeks ago, just scroll up to the top of that page.

The Martian (The Movie)
10/3/15; Ridley Scott's The Martian is as realistic a spaced-based movie as could be expected. Highly recommended.

Ancillary Mercy
10/8/15; Ann Leckie's Imperial Radch trilogy concludes with Ancillary Mercy. The first book is still the best, but overall it is a strong story that I recommend, and I know I'll be re-reading one of these days.

Aurora
10/14/15; Kim Stanley Robinson's latest Hard-SF tale is Aurora. Recommended, but with reservations.

Cinnabar
10/19/15; Cinnabar is a magical place, a mysterious city at the center of time, or lost in time, or maybe in another dimension, and Edward Bryant told some fabulous stories about it.

Abaddon's Gate
10/24/15; The third novel in James S. A. Corey's Expanse series is Abaddon's Gate. It's good, introducing several more interesting characters, but it's essentially a transitional tale leading up to what I expect will be even more exciting adventures in the subsequent books.

A Borrowed Man
10/27/15; Gene Wolfe's latest novel is A Borrowed Man. On the surface it's a fairly simple mystery, although it has several SF elements. The surface of a Wolfe novel is usually deceptive, so a reread is in order, but my first impression is not that positive.

The Big Time
11/5/15; Fritz Leiber's The Big Time was a big letdown. Just because it won a Hugo doesn't mean it's any good.

The Wanderer
11/13/15; The second novel that won a Hugo for Fritz Leiber is The Wanderer. It's better than his previous one, but not by much. Only about 25% is well written and worth reading, the rest is full of repetitive actions by poorly realized characters.

Cibola Burn
11/19/15; The fourth novel in the Expanse series is Cibola Burn. At this time I'd say it's tied with Leviathan Wakes as the best.

Mockingjay, Part 2
12/8/15; I have not been very impressed with either the book or movie series, and the concluding film doesn't change my opinion much. I only bothered with Mockingjay, Part 2 because I'm a completist.

The Expanse series on Syfy
12/10/15; I'm a big fan of the books, and have been eagerly awaiting this series since it was announced. I probably should have waited on this review, but I want to help promote The Expanse as much as possible. [UPDATED on 12/17/15]

The Force Awakens
12/21/15; Eliza DoLots returns to review the latest Star Wars saga, The Force Awakens.

Two TV Reviews
12/29/15; I finally got around to two TV reviews I've been thinking about for several weeks. Amazon's The Man in the High Castle and Syfy's Childhood's End mini-series. The first is recommended, the latter, sort of, but with reservations.

 

2016

Hello 2016?
1/1/16; Happy New Year! All of last year's updates have been moved to the
Archives page. Can't say yet when a new one for this year will be uploaded, but maybe this weekend. I reviewed a total of thirty-two books in 2015, while also re-reading a few previously reviewed ones. That's an increase of ten over 2014, but I will endeavor to do even more this year, with my goal being at least fifty. There were also ten movie reviews, three for TV shows, one author profile, plus other miscellaneous additions to existing pages. All in all, an improvement over 2014, but not as much as I would have liked.

Harlan Ellison is CanTankerous
1/2/16; Harlan's latest book contains previously uncollected stories, some very old, but rewritten for this publication. Unfortunately, Can & Can'Tankerous is only for the die-hard fans.

Planetfall
1/7/16; Planetfall by Emma Newman is both a taut mystery about colonizing an alien planet, as well as an intense portrait of an interesting, but disturbed, woman. Recommended.

City of Stairs
1/18/16; Robert Jackson Bennett's City of Stairs is the first of a trilogy called The Divine Cities. Great world-building, interesting characters, a compelling mystery. Recommended. The second book will be out a week from tomorrow, but I have an advance copy, so I'll be updating the review soon.

The X-Files
1/23/16; In anticipation of the new mini-series starting tomorrow on FOX, I recently completed a re-watch of all nine seasons of The X-Files, quite a bit of which I had not seen the first time around. My review page also includes comments on the two movies, and I'll update with comments on the new episodes soon, although I may wait until all six have been broadcast.

City of Blades
1/27/16; The second novel of The Divine Cities by Robert Jackson Bennett is City of Blades. It's actually better than the first, and I expect it to show up on quite a few award ballots next year. If you haven't yet read my review of the first book of the series just scroll up to the top of that page.

Signal To Noise
1/31/16; Silvia Moreno Garcia's first novel, Signal To Noise, is a vivid tale of teenage angst mixed with music and magic in Mexico City in the late 1980s, with later reflections in 2009. Recommended.

The Left Hand of Darkness
2/3/16; Ursula K. Le Guin won her first Hugo, and Nebula, for 1969's The Left Hand of Darkness. It's just as good now as it was then, a testament to a true classic. If you haven't read it yet, what are you waiting for?

The Expanse TV (Revised)
2/9/16; Now that the first short season is complete, I edited my review a bit.

The Dispossessed
2/9/16; Ursula Le Guin also won a Hugo and Nebula (among others) for 1974's The Dispossessed, both a personal and a political story. One of the best there has ever been.

The Word For World Is Forest
2/13/16; The Word For World Is Forest won a Hugo as best novella in 1973. It originally appeared in the 1972 anthology Again, Dangerous Visions, but has also been printed on its own in several editions over the years.

The Wind's Twelve Quarters
2/18/16; Le Guin's first short story collection, The Wind's Twelve Quarters, boasts four award winners along with nine other nominations, and the book itself won a Locus Award for Best Single Author Collection for 1975.

2015 Nebulas
2/21/16; The SFWA has announced the nominees for the 2015 Nebulas, and I've just finished revising the Awards Page, as well as the Amazon Books & Amazon Films pages to include links for available books and films. This is the first year I've included links for any of the novellas, but several of those are in print or on Kindle. As soon as I get the chance, I'll review previous years to see if any of the shorter works are in book form, but of course a lot of those would also have been included in 'Best Of' collections too. The Nebula winners will be announced on May 14.

Three Book Reviews
2/29/16; I've read four novels since uploading the last review, and had previously thought I would continue reading as many Hugo eligible titles as possible before doing any more reviews. But I am taking advantage of Leap Day to post some comments about three of them. I'll get to the fourth one as soon as possible, but since it is a continuation of an on-going series I need to take a fresh look at that page to see if I should do some edits of previous comments first. At this time, at least one of the following is in my Top 5 picks for a Hugo nomination.

The Mechanical, Book 1 of The Alchemy War by Ian Tregillis
Not Dark Yet by Berit Ellingsen
The Water Knife by Paolo Bacigalupi

Seveneves
3/11/16; In spite of a few minor faults, Neal Stephenson's Seveneves is one of the best books I've read in a while, a real mind-blower. Definitely on my Hugo nomination list.

The Grace of Kings
3/16/16; Ken Liu's The Grace of Kings has received generally positive reviews and has been nominated for a Nebula. I obviously didn't like it as much as others.

2015 Nebulas
5/15/16; I've just updated the Awards Page with the winners of this year's Nebulas, as well as the nominees for the Hugos (to be presented mid-August), plus added links to all the appropriate Amazon pages. I finished reading the Nebula winner last night, and will follow up with a review as soon as possible.

Uprooted
5/15/16; The latest Nebula winning novel is Uprooted by Naomi Novik. On the surface it seems a typical enough fairy tale, but it's really compelling and unpredictable.

Captain America: Civil War
5/15/16; My opinion is once again different from a lot of others. No, this is not the best of the MCU. Of course that opinion is based on absolutely no knowledge of the storyline from the comics. I just didn't care for how our "heroes" acted in this one.

A Wizard of Earthsea
5/22/16; This fantasy series from Le Guin is very highly regarded by most critics and readers, but I have to rate A Wizard of Earthsea below the SF books that I have read by her. I'm hoping the rest of the series helps to change my mind, and I'll get back to it soon, but another book from another author will come before that.

Infomocracy
5/26/16; Malka Older's first novel is also the first novel from the Tor.com imprint. Infomocracy is a taut thriller in a near future with a transformed political landscape, while at the same time it has some eerie parallels to current political and social situations. Recommended.

Updates for Two Book Series
6/4/16; It's been a while since I finished Nemesis Games, the fifth novel in the Expanse book series by James S. A. Corey. I had wanted to take another look at that review, maybe eliminate some spoilers in previous sections. I may have deleted or changed a few comments, but mainly just put up more spoiler warnings. If you haven't read any of the books yourself, or any of my review, I suggest you scroll to the top of that page and stop after the first section. If you're not worried about spoilers and just want to get a sense of the story, feel free to continue through the review.

The other addition for today is The Tombs of Atuan, the second novel in Le Guin's original Earthsea trilogy.

The Aeronaut's Windlass
6/10/16; Jim Butcher's latest novel, The Aeronaut's Windlass, is the beginning of a new series called The Cinder Spires. It has been nominated for a Hugo, and while it is entertaining enough, not what I would call award-worthy. YMMV.

The Fifth Season
6/29/16; Yet another book I wanted to like much more than I did. N. K. Jemisin's The Fifth Season is the beginning of a new trilogy. It was nominated for Nebula and Locus awards, but didn't win either, but also up for a Hugo. I had to read it before voting, but I'm not sure I'm interested in the rest of the series, unless they are also nominated or win some awards. [EDIT: I later changed my mind, re-read this book and continuted with the series. Mea culpa. Mind now blown.]

Supernova
7/17/16; C. A. Higgins' second novel is a continuation of the story begun in last year's Lightless. I made a few edits to that page and added comments on the new book below that.

Back to Earthsea
7/24/16; I return to Le Guin's Earthsea with a few comments on the third book of the original trilogy, The Farthest Shore.

Star Trek Beyond
7/26/16; Eliza is a bigger Trekkie than me, so I asked her for this movie review: Star Trek Beyond.

NOT the Last Book of Earthsea
7/30/16; Eighteen years after the end of the original Earthsea Trilogy, Le Guin returned to that world for another adventure. Not sure if it was her decision or her publisher's, but Tehanu, later a Nebula winner, was at that time identified as the Last Book of Earthsea. It wasn't; she would later release another novel, a story collection, plus a non-fiction lecture series on her fictional universe. I don't have any of those yet, so at this time I can say that Tehanu is the best of the series that I have read.

Children of the Different
8/2/16; Stuart Charles Flynn's debut novel is Children of the Different. Recommended, with a few reservations.

Downbelow Station
8/10/16; C. J. Cherryh won a Hugo for Downbelow Station in 1982. Not as good as I remembered, but I'm sure my tastes have changed somewhat. It was ambitious, but maybe longer and more complex than she could handle at that time in her career. I'd say at least three other books nominated that year were better.

Where Late the Sweet Birds Sang
8/15/16; Where Late the Sweet Birds Sang by Kate Wilhelm was the Hugo winner in 1977. Beautifully written, strong character drama, but weak on the scientific end of things.

2016 Hugo & 1941 Retro Hugo Awards
8/22/16; I attended three of the five days of this year's Worldcon, MidAmeriCon2 in Kansas City, and had a great time. I intend to write about the experience, but that will have to wait for now. What I have done today is update the Hugo Award and the Retro Hugo pages to highlight the latest winners. All available titles are linked to amazon in case you're interested in purchasing any of them.

My MidAmeriCon II Report
8/24/16; I finally got around to writing a bit about MidAmeriCon II. All in all, my experience was a positive one. Unfortunately, it didn't go smoothly for everyone.

Certain Dark Things
8/28/16; Silvia Moreno-Garcia's second novel, Certain Dark Things, is a dark and gritty tale of a teenage boy in Mexico City, caught between vampire drug lords, human gangsters, and cops. I haven't decided yet if I like it more or less than her first book, Signal to Noise. They are such different kinds of stories, but both are highly recommended.

All the Birds in the Sky
8/31/16; Charlie Jane Anders' first SF novel, All the Birds in the Sky, is both a whimsical fantasy and a profoundly philosophical look at man's trust in science.

Everfair
9/7/16; Nisi Shawl's first novel, Everfair, is sort of a steampunk alternate history, but that's just the simple description. It's a complex and epic tale of a possible utopian society being created in the heart of early 20th Century Africa. But just as utopia means "no place," can any man-made government ever be fair for everyone involved?

Summerlong
9/18/16; Peter Beagle's Summerlong might be different in style and tone from the other fantasies I've read by him, but it's still very good.

Crosstalk
9/22/16; Connie Willis' latest novel is Crosstalk. Enjoyable enough, but not as serious as I would have liked. A rom-com novel if you will.

After Atlas
9/24/16; Emma Newman's After Atlas is a follow-up to last year's Planetfall, and while it is connected, it's not what I would call a direct sequel. It's not out until Nov. 8, but I got an advance copy from NetGalley. Maybe too soon to post a review, and I will take it down if requested, but I'm very enthusiastic about it and didn't want to wait.

Every Heart a Doorway
9/25/16; Every Heart a Doorway by Seanan McGuire is one of the first novellas that Tor.com released in print form. It's part fairy tale, part gothic horror. Interesting characters and situations, although not that original, but maybe it's what's under the surface that's more important. Just the first of several stories in this 'verse, and I'll review the others when I get to them.

2 Novellas, Both Alternate Lovecraft Stories
9/29/16; Two new reviews today, both Tor.com novellas, and both alternate takes on Lovecraft stories. Victor LaValle's The Ballad of Black Tom and The Dream-Quest of Vellitt Boe by Kij Johnson.

Cumulus
10/5/16; Cumulus by Eliot Peper is a fast-paced, action-filled, near future techno-thriller. Points deducted for minimal plot background and character development, but not a waste of time.

Infomocracy Redux
10/14/16; Yes, I do have lots of other books to read, but I decided to re-read Infomocracy by Malka Older, in hardcover this time. I've edited a few things and added other comments, so even if you've read the review before I invite you to take another look. This is at once fast-paced, with interesting characters, but also with thought-provoking ideas on political possibilities at a point in our world where it seems rabid nationalism is once again on the rise, threatening to drive us all apart. I recommend this book very much. At this time it is at the top of my list for a Hugo nomination next year.

Two New Pages: 1 Novella, 3 TV Shows
10/20/16; Everything Belongs to the Future is a new novella by Laurie Penny, and I believe this is her first fiction story. It's good but has flaws.

Another new page, long overdue, takes a look at the first three shows of Marvel on Netflix, Daredevil, Jessica Jones & Luke Cage. All are recommended, but the second two are the better ones, hard to choose between them.

One Movie, One Book
11/13/16; Arrival is a remarkable film, with great performances from Amy Adams and Jeremy Renner, but highest accolades go to the director and cinematographer.

The last of Ursula Le Guin's award winners (for now) is Powers, which is the third volume of her Annals of the Western Shore. I don't have the first two yet, but fortunately this was mostly a stand-alone tale, which I really liked. One of these days I'll read Gifts and Voices, and when I do I'll update this page.

The Devourers
12/6/16; The Devourers by Indra Das was published last year in India, this year in the US and other places. It's either a horror/fantasy of werewolf-like creatures in India several centuries ago, or maybe just a psychological fantasy from the mind of a confused and tortured modern-day Indian history professor. Either way, it's pretty good, and recommended.

Babylon's Ashes
12/9/16; I've reviewed all of the Expanse book series by James S. A. Corey so far, but that page was getting very long. I've started a new page with the sixth book, Babylon's Ashes. There will be at least three more novels after this.

The Underground Railroad
12/14/16; Colson Whitehead's The Underground Railroad recently won the National Book Award. It is historical fiction with a speculative twist. Powerful and disturbing, but highly recommended.

United States of Japan
12/17/16; United States of Japan by Peter Tieryas is another alternate history in which America lost World War 2. Completely different in style than a novel by Philip K. Dick that inspired it. Enjoyable, but it does have faults.

Rogue One
12/23/16; I haven't seen it yet, but Eliza has. Here's her review of Rogue One: a Star Wars Story.

 

2017

Another trip 'round the sun
1/1/17; Happy New Year, everyone! Starting a new home page, with all of 2016's updates moved to the
Archives. It might be a while before I upload the next book review, since I am currently reading as many shorter stories as possible, from the Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction on my Kindle, print copies of Asimov's borrowed from my brother-in-law, and scores more bookmarked online. The next review might actually be an update of a previous TV show page. We'll see.

Too Like the Lightning
1/28/17; This is the first novel by Ada Palmer, in a two book series known as Terra Ignota, which means Unknown Earth. Similar to a utopia, which means "no place." It is good, very ambitious, but it does have its flaws. The second book is out in March.

Sleeping Giants
1/30/17; Another debut novel, and the start of another series. Sylvain Neuvel's Sleeping Giants is the first book of the Themis Files. It's pretty good, and I'm looking forward to the second book.

Binti
2/1/17; Last year, Nnedi Okorafor won a Hugo and Nebula in the novella category for Binti. I read it as part of the voting packet provided by MidAmeriCon2. I liked it a lot, and was satisfied with the win, even though it had just been my #2 pick. I recently re-read it, and yesterday the second part of the sequence, Binti: Home, was released, and I review both. Highly recommended.

The Voices of Martyrs
2/6/17; The Voices of Martyrs is a story collection from Maurice Broaddus, which covers a wide range of the Black experience, in Africa, America, and elsewhere, and should appeal to anyone who loves intriguing characters and plots. Recommended.

In Calabria
2/7/17; The latest book I got from NetGalley is not as good as the previous one, although for a lot of people I think it might be a pleasurable enough read. In Calabria is the latest fantasy from Peter S. Beagle. It is about unicorns, but not as good as The Last Unicorn in my opinion.

Lincoln in the Bardo
2/9/17; Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders will likely be embraced more by mainstream critics, simply based on his previous work, but it is borderline fantasy no matter what anyone else says. It's also damn good, highly recommended.

Parable of the Sower
3/18/17; This is the first book of Earthseed by Octavia E. Butler. It was nominated for a Nebula in 1994. A chilling look at a post-apocalyptic America, but surprisingly it is also hopeful and optimistic. I'll follow up with thoughts on the second book as soon as I can.

Parable of the Talents
3/22/17; I've added to the Earthseed review with thoughts on the second book, Parable of the Talents. I did make a few edits to previous comments, so if interested, or if you haven't read that part yet, scroll to the top of that page.

Waking Gods
3/27/17; The second book in Sylvain Neuvel's Themis Files, Waking Gods, continues in the same style. Mostly all dialog from recorded interviews, military and personal logs, etc, with no other narrative exposition. It gets a bit tiresome at times, but the story is still intriguing, and if sales are good there will be at least one more book, although not announced yet.

Hugo & Nebula Finalists
4/5/17; I've just edited the Hugo & Nebula Awards page, listing the finalists for this year, along with links to Amazon for all available titles. The 2016 Nebulas will be announced May 20 in Pittsburgh, with the Hugos being presented August 12 in Helsinki, Finland. Please note the use of the term "finalists" this year. There have been problems with some writers promoting themselves as award nominees just because someone had listed them on their nominating ballot, they had never actually been on one of the final ballots, so hopefully this will clear up any confusion in the future.

Who Fears Death + The Book of Phoenix
4/9/17; Some books are fascinating to read but difficult to review, for me at least. I know I didn't do these justice, but I know I'll re-read them eventually, maybe I'll understand them better the next time. For now, I highly recommend Nnedi Okorafor's Who Fears Death and its prequel, The Book of Phoenix.

Grunt Hero
4/16/17; Weston Ochse's military SF/alien invasion series, Task Force OMBRA, comes to a conclusion (?) with the third book, Grunt Hero. The whole trilogy is recommended. The "?" reflects the fact that the story's hero, Ben Mason, is alive (and mostly well) at the end, with probably many more adventures ahead of him. Not sure if we'll ever read any of that, or if Ochse has other things in mind for the future.

The Handmaid's Tale
4/19/17; Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale is likely as relevant now as when it was written in 1985. Perhaps it will always be relevant. Let's hope is remains a cautionary tale for us, although I know there are some countries where it has already come to pass.

City of Miracles
4/26/17; Robert Jackson Bennett's Divine Cities trilogy comes to a grand conclusion with City of Miracles. Just as exciting and unpredictable as before, with lots of action and great characters. I honestly can't say it is better than the previous two, since in retrospect I have to upgrade my rating for them and give the entire trilogy a near perfect 5/5 stars.

A Taste of Honey
4/30/17; Kai Ashante Wilson has several well reviewed stories over the past few years. His latest novella, A Taste of Honey, is a finalist for both the Nebula and Hugo this year. I review it along with another connected story, "The Sorcerer of the Wildeeps."

2016 Nebula Awards
5/21/17; Congratulations to Charlie Jane Anders and all the other Nebula winners. I've updated the Awards page with the results announced this evening in Pittsburgh.

Radiate (Lightless #3)
5/22/17; If you've read any part of my review on C. A. Higgins' Lightless series, you might share my puzzlement as to why I would bother with the third installment, Radiate. Yeah, I got it free from NetGalley, and I do feel obligated to finish any that I get from them, but this was just as much a struggle as the first two books, if not more so. Not recommended.

A Closed and Common Orbit
5/26/17; Becky Chambers' second novel is a Hugo finalist this year. It's a sequel, but enough of a stand-alone story to appreciate on it's own. I will get around to reading the first book one of these days, so that's why I've given the page the collective name for the series, Wayfarers.

Wonder Woman
6/3/17; I'd just about given up on overblown CGI action fests, but Wonder Woman saves the day. Highly recommended.

The Changeling
6/6/17; Victor LaValle's The Changeling is a fantastical horror story, continually surprising and unexpected. Recommended.

The Strange Case of the Alchemist's Daughter
6/13/17; The Strange Case of the Alchemist's Daughter is Theodora Goss' first novel. It's a quick and enjoyable read, but also deals with serious issues, as did the other stories it uses as a basis of a joint narrative. One of the best I've read this year, highly recommended.

Ms. Marvel, Kamala Khan
6/22/17; Finally got around to some graphic novels. First up, Ms. Marvel, the latest incarnation being Kamala Khan, a sixteen year old Pakistani-American Muslim girl. Volume 1 won a Hugo two years ago, Vol. 5 is up for that award this year. Very good, highly recommended.

Saga
7/2/17; Saga by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples is a very good graphic story, although maybe not to everyone's taste. It features some violent content, as well as nudity and sexual situations, definitely not a kid's comic, although a couple of the featured characters are children. Volume 1 won a Hugo in 2013, Vols. 2 & 3 were nominated in 2014-15, and this year, Vol. 6 is up for consideration. That's as far as I've read, but one more has been published since then, with another due early next year.

2017 Best Graphic Story Finalists
7/5/17; I've already reviewed Ms. Marvel and Saga. Now I take a brief look at the four other finalists for this year's Best Graphic Story Hugo Award. All are good, some better than others of course, but the one thing I felt about all of them is that, since they are all first volumes in a continuing story, it was hard to judge the plot. My final voting preference is listed at the end of the article.

The Handmaid's Tale on Hulu
7/8/17; As is usually the case, the book is better, but I wouldn't dissuade anyone from watching this adaptation of The Handmaid's Tale, especially if you already have Hulu, or if you've been considering it. It's exclusive to them for now, but there will likely be a DVD/Blu-Ray release in the future. A free trial is available, which should give you enough time to watch the short (10 episode) season.

Two Reviews: Shadowshaper & The Falling Woman
7/11/17; The better of the recent books I've read was Shadowshaper by Daniel José Older. There has been one novel and two novellas in the sequence so far, with another novel due out September 12. The other book is one I can check off the award winners project, Pat Murphy's The Falling Woman, the Nebula winner in 1987.

Syfy's The Expanse - Updated for Season 2
7/15/17; Blu-Ray & DVD release coming up on Tuesday, so I've updated The Expanse review for Season 2.

Now an update on the Expanse book series
7/18/17; The latest novella in the long-running Expanse series by James S.A. Corey was released today. It's Strange Dogs.

Valerian & the City of a Thousand Planets
7/20/17; The latest film from Luc Besson (The Fifth Element) is similar in style, but with many more CGI effects. Spectacular visuals, but not as strong a story for Valerian & the City of a Thousand Planets. Still, I think I'd like to see it again.

Timescape
7/25/17; Gregory Benford won a Nebula for 1980's Timescape. Probably not that year's best, but still strong in spite of a slow start and a few other flaws.

The Gunslinger, Dark Tower #1
7/30/17; I believe this is the third time I've read Stephen King's The Gunslinger, and I'm not sure why I haven't read any of the others, yet, even though I've had them for many years. One of these days...

Reincarnation Blues
8/4/17; Reincarnation Blues by Michael Poore is another title I got free from NetGalley in exhange for an honest review. This is his second novel, but I'm pretty sure I hadn't heard of him until recently, when this book was recommended by another writer/reviewer I follow on Facebook. It's a mixed bag, quite a bit of humor, but also insight on being a good person, what perfection might be. Its unpredictability is its greatest asset.

Stand on Zanzibar
8/10/17; I recall liking John Brunner's Hugo winner Stand on Zanzibar when I first read it around 45 years ago. This time…not so much. I think I conflated some memories of it with another of his books read around the same time.

2017 Hugo Results
8/11/17; I just edited the current Awards page to reflect the winners of this year's Hugos, plus updated various other pages for things that have been reviewed. Last year's novel winner was not my favorite, and I didn't get through its sequel before voting, but now I will have to go back, maybe re-read The Fifth Season, and try The Obelisk Gate again.

Iron Fist
8/11/17; I've edited the Marvel on Netflix page, adding comments about Season 2 of Daredevil, extra info on Blu-Ray releases, plus Iron Fist, which I haven't watched completely yet, but probably will before The Defenders drops next Friday.

Slow River
8/19/17; Nicola Griffith's Slow River won a Nebula in 1996. It is good and recommened, but with a caveat. It could be traumatic for anyone who has suffered from mental or physical abuse themselves.

The Fifth Season (Revised Review)
8/24/17; I've just finished a re-read of N. K. Jemisin's The Fifth Season, which won the Hugo last year. I've revised my review, since I liked it a lot more this time around. It's sequel, The Obelisk Gate won this year, although I didn't finish reading it before voting. I think I'll have an easier time getting into it now with the first one fresh in my mind.

The Obelisk Gate, Broken Earth #2
8/29/17; The Obelisk Gate is this year's winner of the Hugo Award, which marks only the third time an author has won in succeeding years, and the first time it's happened in 25 years. I'm still puzzled by a lot of the story's elements, especially whether or not to consider this science fiction or fantasy. It will take the concluding volume of the trilogy to be sure, but I won't be surprised if I'm still confused then.

The Beautiful Ones
9/1/17; Silvia Moreno-Garcia's The Beautiful Ones is a romance, a novel of manners, but with a twist. The two main characters are telekinetics, although that bit of fantasy only affects the plot toward the very end. I liked it much more than I expected.

The Graveyard Book
9/4/17; The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman won the Hugo in 2009. Sorry, but I can't give it a recommendation. Essentially a fairy tale, which is okay, but without the seriousness the subject deserved.

The Healer's War
9/9/17; Elizabeth Ann Scarborough's The Healer's War is a harrowing look at the Vietnam War, with a slight fantasy element. It won the Nebula in 1989, and is highly recommended.

The Speed of Dark
9/14/17; Another Nebula winner, this time it's Elizabeth Moon's The Speed of Dark from 2003. It's an interesting, compelling look at the life of an autistic adult in the near future, who has to grapple over the choice of a revolutionary new treatment that might possibly cure his condition, or else remain as he is. Recommended, even though the ending is rushed and unsatisfying.

Null States
9/21/17; Null States is the second book in Malka Older's Centenal Cycle, which began last year with Infomocracy. I kept the URL on that page the same, giving the new book a sub-header. If you haven't read the review of the first book just scroll to the top of that page, or even if you have, since I've edited it several times.

The Snow Queen
10/1/17; Joan Vinge's The Snow Queen won Hugo and Locus awards, and was also a Nebula finalist. This was the first time reading it for me, and I did not like it as much as I'd hoped. It has three sequels, two of which I already have, but I doubt I'll be getting to either of them any time soon.

Artemis
10/4/17; Andy Weir's second novel, Artemis, is not as good as The Martian, but I suspect it will be successful just from name recognition alone. I don't recommend it though.

The Dark Tower
10/6/17; The Dark Tower movie is much better than most any review led me to believe. I do recommend it, and since it's probably not in many theaters now, check out the link for the DVD coming October 31.

Blade Runner 2049
10/9/17; At this time I am saying that Blade Runner 2049 is almost as good as the original. It will take many more viewings to determine my final rating. Considering I had no interest in a sequel for a long time, that should tell you something. I do recommend it, and it is one best appreciated on the big screen.

Autonomous
10/14/17; Autonomous is the first novel from Annalee Newitz, co-founder of the genre/tech blog site io9, and currently an editor at ArsTechnica.com. It involves robotics and bio-tech in the mid-22nd Century. It's very good.

The Hidden Face
10/20/17; The Hidden Face is the second novel from S. C. Flynn. Sadly, I didn't like it as much as I did his first. It's due to be published on Nov. 25, but not listed on Amazon yet, so the link on the review page takes you to a site where you can sign up for a book excerpt, and for notification when the book is available.

Annals of the Western Shore
10/24/17; It's been almost a year since I posted a review of Ursula Le Guin's Powers, which won a Nebula in 2008. At that time I did not have the first two books in the Annals of the Western Shore trilogy, but it was so good I knew I'd get to them eventually, and now I have. I actually think the second book is the best of the group, very close to the best I've read by Le Guin, which is very high praise from me.

Worlds of Exile and Illusion
11/12/17; The first two stories in this collection may actually be novellas by current standards, but all three were originally published separately in paperback, and later collected as Three Hainish Novels, and now as Worlds of Exile and Illusion. While they are worth reading to track Le Guin's career path, they lack the polish of her later award-winning work. Still, even less than brilliant Le Guin is better than a lot of other author's best work.

Labyrinth Lost
11/18/17; Labyrinth Lost by Zoraida Córdova is the first book in a new series, Brooklyn Brujas. It's good, with some familiar elements, but lots of surprises, and great characters going through life-changing events.

Hunger Makes the Wolf
11/22/17; Alex Wells' debut novel, Hunger Makes the Wolf, has been described as "Sons of Anarchy meets Dune." Get ready for biker gang witches battling an evil corporation on a desert mining planet. Hob Ravani ROCKS!

Borne (+ The Strange Bird)
11/30/17; Jeff VanderMeer's Borne was one of my most anticipated books ever since it was announced, seeing as how I loved the Southern Reach Trilogy. Unfortunately, I didn't like it as much as I expected, although I can't say I'm sorry I read it. The Strange Bird is a companion novella, which I liked more.

An Unkindness of Ghosts
12/4/17; In spite of what the title might suggest, Rivers Solomon's debut novel, An Unkindness of Ghosts, is not horror, although horrific events do occur. It transports a society much like the antebellum South onto a generational starship. It is not clear whether the society of a dying Earth was an alternate world in which segregation and slavery still existed (or existed again), or if the society on the ship changed after an accident some 250 years prior to the main action. Based on current political trends, including racial strife, I don't think it matters, either scenario is believable. Recommended.

Persepolis Rising
12/7/17; The seventh novel in the Expanse book series is Persepolis Rising. I could nit-pick a couple of plot points (and I do), but they don't hinder this from being one of the better entries of the series. I'm still a big fan, on board for the ride as long as it lasts.

New York 2140
12/12/17; Set in the titular year, Kim Stanley Robinson's latest, New York 2140, is more of a character-driven story than I expected, but that is its strength. Recommended.

River of Teeth
12/14/17; Sarah Gailey's River of Teeth is another release from the Tor.com novella program. It already has a sequel, so I'm not sure why it couldn't have been held for a single, novel-length edition. Then again, I got the Kindle version when it was on sale, and after reading I felt I still paid too much. Not recommended, and it's the reason I'm not bothering to add it to the banner announcement above, since I'd be replacing it very soon with another.

Meet the Murderbot
12/16/17; Martha Wells' All Systems Red is the first in a series known as The Murderbot Diaries. It is another release from the Tor.com novella program, much better than the previous one I read. I am interested in continuing with the story, but I'm not sure I will, the reasons for which I give in the last paragraph of the review.

Star Wars: The Last Jedi
12/20/17; Eliza returns for a review of Star Wars: The Last Jedi. I haven't seen it yet, and tried my best to just copy & paste her review without really reading it. There may be some edits later if I made any mistakes, or she spots a typo, or maybe after I've seen it I'll take a close look.

Humans, Bow Down
12/22/17; Humans, Bow Down is the first book I've read by James Patterson, although I have no idea how much he contributed, and what to credit to his co-authors. Doesn't matter. It's not good. NOT recommended.

 

2018

Happy New Year + 2017 in review
1/1/18; 1:45pm CST -
Galen
I hope everyone's new year is starting off great. I'm trying to maintain a postive outlook for the future, but I want to also recognize what went on last year, the most productive year for the site so far. I read more than ever before, a total of sixty-two individual titles, although three of those were re-reads before going on to their sequels, and three non-SF titles I did not review. Also, five movie reviews, three for TV, and three pages on graphic novels covering six titles. Can I do even more this year?

All of 2017's updates have been moved to the Archives, and my first new review will be added shortly.

Prime Meridian
1/1/18; Silvia Moreno-Garcia has already become one of my current favorites, and she continues to fascinate with her novella, Prime Meridian, which she self-published via an Indiegogo campaign. It's copyright 2017 and eligible for current award consideration, but won't be in general release until July 10. I recommend you pre-order.

Shadowhouse Fall
1/10/18; Shadowhouse Fall is a continuation of Daniel José Older's Shadowshaper Cypher. Still good, still exciting, still recommended.

A Time of Changes
1/14/18; Robert Silverberg's A Time of Changes won the Nebula Award for 1971. It is good, full of interesting characters and intricate world-building, but it does have a few flaws. Comparing it to other books nominated that year, including for the Hugo, I'd say it might have received my #3 vote.

Redemption in Indigo
1/15/18; Karen Lord's debut novel, Redemption in Indigo, is at least partially a retelling of a Senagalese folktale, although it may also have influences from her native Barbados. It's an excellent book, and it would be so simple just to quote another review, from Booklist: "One of those literary works of which it can be said that not a word should be changed."

The Night Masquerade
1/17/18; Nnedi Okorafor says The Night Masquerade completes the Binti trilogy, but I'm sure I'm not the only one who hopes she changes her mind one of these days.

The Shape of Water
1/21/18; Guillermo del Toro's The Shape of Water is good, while not up to the masterpiece level of Pan's Labyrinth, but still recommended. The performances of Sally Hawkins and Richard Jenkins outshine some of the cliche elements.

The Best of All Possible Worlds
1/23/18; The Best of All Possible Worlds is Karen Lord's second novel. Quite different than her first, this is science fiction on a grand scale, highly sociological and psychological in nature. It's also a love story, although very different in that regard too. Recommended.

The Only Harmless Great Thing
1/24/18; The Only Harmless Great Thing is a novella by Brooke Bolander. It's well written, but emotionally devastating. I rate it highly in a literary sense, but it's difficult to know if I should recommend it. It may be too intense for some readers.

Blood Binds the Pack
1/29/18; Blood Binds the Pack is a sequel to Alex Wells' Hunger Makes the Wolf so I've continued on that same page. If you haven't read the review of Hunger just scroll up to the top of that page. I think there will be at least one more book in the sequence, but it has not been announced yet.

The Philosopher's Flight
2/2/18; The Philosopher's Flight is the debut novel from Tom Miller. It's a flight of fancy, an alt-history story with a magical touch. Highly recommended.

This Immortal
2/5/18; Roger Zelazny won his first of two Hugos for This Immortal, originally serialized in the Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction under the title "...And Call Me Conrad." It actually tied with Dune, which is a much better book.

Wakanda Forever!
2/16/18; I saw Black Panther in an advance screening last night. It's great, recommended.

The Tensorate Series by JY Yang
2/18/18; The Tensorate Series is, so far, two novellas released on the same day last year. Both are good, the author seeming to think the first is better, but I liked the second more, if only just a little bit. I suspect one or the other, if not both, with get a lot of Hugo nominations. There is already at least one more story in the sequence planned, to be released in July, but I suspect there will be several others. I hope so.

Annihilation
2/23/18; Annihilation is Alex Garland's adaptation of the first novel in Jeff Vandermeer's Southern Reach Trilogy. I loved the books, love the movie, even with its changes. Highly recommended.

Brown Girl in the Ring
3/12/18; Nalo Hopkinson's debut novel, Brown Girl in the Ring, received a Locus Award for Best 1st Novel, and she also was awarded the John W. Campbell for Best New Writer in 1999. Both were well deserved.

Under the Pendulum Sun
3/16/18; Jeannette Ng's Under the Pendulum Sun is a remarkable debut. Quite different than I expected, more subtle in approach, as much a gothic romance as it is high fantasy, although there are plenty of fantastical elements. Tonight is the deadline for Hugo nominations, and I'll probably be struggling up to the last minute whether this one should bump one of the other five, very strong titles that were already on my list. It's that good. Highly recommended, and I don't even mind it's the first of a series, although no word yet on a second title. I'm anxious to travel to Arcadia again, very soon.

Wonderblood
3/20/18; I got a free e-book of Julia Whicker's Wonderblood from Net Galley. It is a dark, post-apocalyptic dystopia, the beginning of yet another multi-book saga. I doubt I'll be interested in continuing the journey in later books. YMMV.

School For Psychics
3/22/18; The title alone should have been warning enough. School For Psychics is another title I got free from Net Galley, but one offered in an email rather than me seeking it out. The only reason I finished it was I feel obligated for any I download from them, in order not to lose free e-book privileges in the future. Reviewed, but not recommended.

No Enemy But Time
3/27/18; Michael Bishop won a Nebula for 1982's No Enemy But Time, a thoughtful, introspective look at a man who doesn't feel at home in the modern world. Maybe he actually belongs in Pleistocene era Africa, which he is able to visit as participant in a time-travel experiment. Highly recommended.

Future Fiction
4/4/18; Future Fiction: New Dimensions in International Science Fiction is a collection of twelve stories from around the world, a collaboration of editors Bill Campbell of Rosarium Publishing in the US and Francesco Verso of Italty's Future Fiction. One story is fantasy, the others SF concerning tech innovations, in both positive and negative situations. Very good mix of styles. Recommended.

The City of Lost Fortunes
4/7/18; Bryan Camp's debut novel, The City of Lost Fortunes, is a magical journey through a magical city, New Orleans. Set six years after Katrina, neither the city or its people, not even the demigods that control its fortunes, have fully recovered from the devastating storm.

Before Mars
4/9/18; Emma Newman's Before Mars is the third novel in a future history sequence, although each can be read and enjoyed as individual stories. In spite of some heavy-handed expostion toward the end, I liked this just as much as the other two. Ms. Newman is good at creating characters you can care about even if they aren't the most noble and sympathetic.

I Met a Traveller in an Antique Land
4/10/18; I Met a Traveller in an Antique Land is a novella by Connie Willis. When I requested it from Net Galley I only knew it was by her, but thought it was a novel. I wasn't aware it had already appeared in Asimov's late last year, which I found out when I borrowed those from my brother-in-law to read for Hugo consideration. I thought maybe the e-book, a promotion for an special edition hardcover, would be an expanded version of the story, but it's not, or at least the e-book wasn't. It's okay, but I don't recommend it, certainly not for the $40 Subterranean Press will be asking.

The Terminal Experiment
4/13/18; I needed to read and review Robert Sawyer's The Terminal Experiment as part of my project of covering all past award winners. It won the Nebula for 1995, and was nominated for a Hugo and others. Unfortunately, I can't recommend it.

Only Human
4/15/18; Sylvain Neuvel's Themis Files comes to a satisfactory conclusion with Only Human. That link takes you to the new comments. If you haven't read the previous parts of the review, just scroll up to the top of that page.

The Poppy War
4/17/18; R. F. (Rebecca) Kuang's debut novel, The Poppy War, is the best new book I've read this year. It's complex and unpredictable, frequently unpleasant, with characters you can love and hate at the same time. Highly recommended.

Bandwidth
4/21/18; Eliot Peper's Bandwidth is the first of a series under the collective title of Analog, with another book due in October. It seems to be set in the same world as his previous Cumulus, since that company gets a very brief mention, but it's many years later. Tech has advanced quite a bit from the earlier book, and climate change has also wreaked havoc on the world. The main character has had a hand in that, but slowly but surely he develops a conscience that leads him in another direction.

Taty Went West
4/29/18; I got Nikhil Singh's Taty Went West from Net Galley. It is the first book I've reviewed without finishing. It's a crazy kaleidoscope of weird imagery and even weirder characters, but it was difficult connecting with it. There were parts I liked, others were frustrating and confusing, and I can't recommend it at this time. I might finish it one of these days, but I have too many other books waiting.

Bruja Born, Brooklyn Brujas #2
5/4/18; Bruja Born is the second book in Zoraida Córdova's Brooklyn Brujas series. It's just as good with plot and character development, opening up the story to reveal lots more magical/supernatural activities going on around New York. Recommended.

Ninefox Gambit, the Machineries of Empire #1
5/9/18; I read Yoon Ha Lee's Ninefox Gambit last year since it was nominated for a Hugo. It didn't win, and I didn't review it then because it was so confusing I felt a re-read was necessary. I've done that, and will also read the second book in the series next, since it's up for a Hugo this year. I'm still confused, but still looking forward to more.

Raven Stratagem, The Machineries of Empire #2
5/17/18; Raven Stratagem, the second book in Yoon Ha Lee's Machineries of Empire series, is up for a Hugo this year. Maybe a bit less confusing than the first, but disappointing since it was mainly a set-up for the conclusion, due out next month.

Syfy's 12 Monkeys
5/22/18; Long time coming for this review. The fourth and final season of Syfy's 12 Monkeys is approaching (June 15) and I've been rewatching the earlier episodes on Hulu. I've finished with Season 1, and for the most part I've kept my comments limited to that, but I will add to the page as I continue with the series.

Revenant Gun, The Machineries of Empire #3
5/25/18; At least the author was consistent. Revenant Gun was just as confusing and frustrating as the first two books in the series.

Dreamsnake
5/31/18; This was my first time reading Vonda N. McIntyre's Dreamsnake, which won Hugo, Nebula, and Locus awards in 1979. I liked it, but not as much as I had hoped. My tastes have changed over the years, no idea what my reaction would have been back then, and I wouldn't try to dissuade anyone from reading it now.

More 12 Monkeys
6/3/18; I've updated my review of the Syfy series 12 Monkeys with a few comments about Season 2. More to follow soon.

Sense8 - Updated
6/9/18; With the 2½ hour Sense8 finale dropping June 8 on Netflix, I've rewatched the previous 23 episodes and started a page on why I love the show. I'll update soon. I'm of two minds on that; anxious to see it, but not anxious for it to be over.

EDIT: Now updated with my thoughts on the finale.

The Moon and the Sun
6/10/18; Vonda McIntyre's Nebula winner from 1997, The Moon and the Sun, is another I didn't like as much as I'd hoped.

Time Loop Back to 12 Monkeys
6/11/18; I've updated the page for Syfy's 12 Monkeys with thoughts on Season 3. I've made a few edits to the previous portions of the review as well.

Suicide Club
6/13/18; Rachel Heng's debut novel is Suicide Club. It has an interesting premise, and it is unpredictable, but that's mainly because the plot development and world-building are inconsistent, and characters don't act logically a lot of the time.

The Stone Sky, Broken Earth #3
6/21/18; The conclusion of N. K. Jemisin's Broken Earth trilogy, The Stone Sky, answers all my questions satisfactorily, including whether or not to consider it science fiction or fantasy. It's Science Fantasy. And very good, recommended, although still not my absolute favorites from the past few years.

Provenance
6/25/18; Ann Leckie's Provenance is set within the same fictional universe as her Imperial Radch trilogy, although it is not a direct sequel. It introduces new characters, new planets, new settings, and it is not necessary to have read the trilogy to understand it. I'd still recommend the trilogy over this, or at least Ancillary Justice, one of the best books of this decade at least. This one...not so much, even though it's up for a Hugo.

The Collapsing Empire
6/27/18; John Scalzi's The Collapsing Empire recently won a Locus award, and is also a Hugo finalist. I'm not voting this year but still wanted to sample all the novels. If I was voting, this would be at the bottom of my ballot, maybe even below No Award. YMMV.

Trail of Lightning, The Sixth World Book 1
6/29/18; An intense and thrilling post-apocalyptic science fiction/fantasy/horror hybrid, Trail of Lightning is the debut novel from Rebecca Roanhorse. It is recommended, and I know I'll want to read the further adventures, so I've given the page the collective name for the series, The Sixth World.

The Expanse, Season 3
7/2/18; Now that SeasonThree of Syfy's The Expanse is done, I have a few, hopefully non-spoilery, comments about it.

Six Wakes
7/7/18; Mur Lafferty's Six Wakes was a finalist for Nebula and PKD awards, winning neither. It is also up for a Hugo. It would not have been one of my nominations if I had read it before that deadline, and if voting it would be no higher than #4 (out of 6) on my ballot.

The Defeat of the 12 Monkeys
7/7/18; Syfy's 12 Monkeys concluded this past Friday night. While not perfect, I still regard it as one of the best shows for this century at least. New comments for Season 4 include quite a few spoilers, but they're clearly marked as such and easily skipped. I made minor edits to the other sections, so scroll up on that page to see all of my comments even if you read that before.

Wayward Children
7/10/18; It's been almost two years since I reviewed the first novella in this series by Seanan McGuire, even before it won Hugo, Nebula, and Locus Awards. I should have known there would be sequels, since she has multiple ongoing fantasy and science fiction series, including under her alternate pseudonym Mira Grant. There's already a third title, which I don't have yet, and a fourth announced for next January. I haven't deleted the previous review yet, but decided to combine the titles into one page. I did re-read the first, Every Heart a Doorway, and made some edits to my comments, and then continued with the second title, Down Among the Sticks and Bones, on a page using the collective name of Wayward Children.

Starship Troopers
7/12/18; The book, not the movie. Some may wonder why I like Heinlein so much, considering my own personal and political opinions. I doubt our thoughts clashed more than in his second Hugo-winner, Starship Troopers. I'm not sure if I was successful in explaining why I still like it.

Foundryside
7/17/18; Robert Jackson Bennett begins a new fantasy trilogy with Foundryside. Recommended, but with minor caveats.

Jade City
8/1/18; It's difficult writing about a book I'd hoped to like a lot, which many others obviously did, since Fonda Lee's Jade City has received multiple award nominations. I can't say I'm sorry I read it, but it didn't wow me, and I doubt I'll continue with what is yet another multi-volume series.

The Descent of Monsters - Tensorate #3
8/5/18; The Descent of Monsters is the third part of JY Yang's Tensorate series. It's shorter than the previous two, but the author says it's also a novella. It's a quick read and in a different style as the others, and it raised a few questions about things I might have forgotten about the earlier stories. After finishing, I went back and re-read all of them again. All are recommended, but the second one is still my favorite. I made minor edits to the previous sections of the review, so if interested just scroll up to the top of that page.

The Forever War
8/8/18; Joe Haldeman won Hugo, Nebula, Locus, and Ditmar awards for his first SF novel, 1974's The Forever War. Still a remarkable book. Many authors can't accomplish in a trilogy what Haldeman did in a little more than 200 pages.

The Stars My Destination
8/10/18; As with the previous book review, Alfred Bester's The Stars My Destination is an example of something nearly extinct in modern SF; a short, stand-alone novel. In many ways it was a pioneering work, with many elements that pre-date cyberpunk. Unfortunately, it also has some problematic elements, primarily the way the women are depicted. That's my only reservation, otherwise it's a very good book.

Amberlough
8/13/18; Lara Elena Donnelly's debut novel, Amberlough, was a finalist for this year's Nebula, although it is neither science fiction or fantasy, not even steampunk. It is set in a fictional world reminiscent of the Weimar Republic of the early 1930s. Well written, sparkling dialogue, a few interesting characters, with some parallels to current events, but ultimately unsatisfying. It's the first of a trilogy, but I doubt I'll continue with the series.

The Apple-Tree Throne
8/15/18; Premee Mohamed's The Apple-Tree Throne is a novella, self-published and only available for Kindle or Kobo e-readers at this time. It's short, inexpensive, and recommended.

Irontown Blues
8/15/18; Irontown Blues is a book John Varley mentioned well over twenty years ago. Since he's one of my favorite writers, and it's an addition to the Eight Worlds sequence, I had been anxiously awaiting it. Unfortunately, even though it's not a waste of time, it did not meet my expectations.

Embers of War
8/19/18; Gareth L. Powell's Embers of War is yet another beginning to a trilogy (at least). It's ambitious, with some intriguing elements, but it didn't quite hook me into being anxious for a continuation. Maybe, maybe not, depending how subsequent books are received by other reviewers and readers.

Passing Strange
8/21/18; Ellen Klages' Passing Strange was a finalist for Nebula, Locus, and Mythopoeic awards, and is still in contention for both British Fantasy and World Fantasy awards. I'd be hard pressed to name a love story as beautifully told. Highly recommended.

A Curious Matter Of Men With Wings
8/24/18; I received a free e-book of A Curious Matter Of Men With Wings by F. Rutledge Hammes, from Edelweiss this time. A few minor flaws, but it is his first solo novel. Surprisingly good.

Rock Manning Goes For Broke
8/24/18; Individual parts of this had been previously published, but Charlie Jane Anders' novella, Rock Manning Goes For Broke, was all new to me. It's an incredibly fast paced, stream of consciouness style of narrative, with tragedy and heartache, but also laughter in the midst of the pain. It will be out in a special edition hardcover from Subterranean Press on September 30, but I got an advance e-book from Net Galley. I hope there's a less expensive version out later, either e-book or paperback, because I'd like many others to have the chance to read it.

Zero Sum Game, Cas Russell #1
8/26/18; Zero Sum Game is not a new book, but it is getting a new edited version. S. L. Huang originally self-published in 2014, but Tor Books bought the rights to it and its sequels. It will be out in hardcover and e-book on October 28. I recommend it.

Borderless, Analog #2
8/28/18; Borderless is the second title in Eliot Peper's Analog series. I reviewed the first, Bandwidth, earlier this year. I haven't yet deleted that page, but decided to combine the titles on another. If you haven't read that review, just scroll to the top on the new page. A third title is in the editing phase now, one I will definitely be reading as soon as it's available.

Children of Blood and Bone
8/30/18; As far as I can tell, Children of Blood and Bone is Tomi Adeyemi's first professionally published work, although she wrote her first story at the age of 5, and there was at least one other novel before this which never sold. It's a young adult title, set in a fictitious African nation patterned after Nigeria. It's also the first book in a proposed trilogy, with a collective title of Legacy of Orïsha, based on dieties worshipped in Nigeria and other West African lands, as well as several Latin American countries. The fact I used orisha in the page's URL does not mean I will be reading the follow-up books. Maybe, maybe not. If I do, then I won't have to change it later.

Cloak & Dagger
9/10/18; The 10 episode first season of Cloak & Dagger premiered on FreeForm in June, but I watched it on Hulu. It's still available there, although maybe not for long, but you might catch it on FreeForm's website, or buy it from AmazonVideo. Links in review. It's recommended.

State Tectonics, Centenal Cycle #3
9/13/18; State Tectonics is the third novel in Malka Older's Centenal Cycle. It is said to conclude the series, but really its ending is just a new beginning. Even if she never returns to this story I'll be thinking about the possibilities for a long time.

Forever Peace
9/23/18; In spite of information you can find elsewhere, Joe Haldeman's Forever Peace is not a sequel to the earlier Forever War. It does share some thematic elements, but it doesn't follow the same characters or events, nor is it set in the same fictional timeline. However, it is like the earlier book in that it is very good. Both are well deserving of their many awards and accolades, and both are highly recommended.

The Black God's Drums
9/25/18; P. Djèlí Clark's The Black God's Drums is an exciting adventure, an alt-history/steampunk tale, with magic based on the gods of orisha. It's a novella, but with lots of action and exposition packed into that short frame. Definitely recommended.

Burning Sky
9/27/18; Burning Sky is the start of a new series by Weston Ochse. It is like some of his other books, focusing on a military unit, but instead of a science fiction or horror setting, this one is more mystical in nature. It is also very good. Recommended.

The Traitor Baru Cormorant
10/2/18; Seth Dickinson's debut novel, The Traitor Baru Cormorant, is also the first of a series with the collective title of The Masquerade. That's a colloquial term for the ruling Empire of Masks. The title character was born and raised on an island annexed by the empire when she was a child. Her plan is to crush the empire, although it's possible she'll end up ruling it herself. Too soon to tell, since there will be at least three more books in the sequence. I have an ARC of the second one, due out at the end of the month.

An Agent of Utopia
10/21/18; I got a free ARC of Andy Duncan's third story collection, An Agent of Utopia, from Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. Twelve stories, the majority well worth recommending, several also well deserving of the awards and nominations they received.

Camouflage
10/24/18; Joe Haldeman's third major award-winner was Camouflage. It garnered Nebula and Tiptree trophies, and was a Locus finalist. Another very good, short, self-contained novel, which disects human nature from an alien perspective.

The Monster Baru Cormorant
11/4/18; The second book in Seth Dickinson's Masquerade series, The Monster Baru Cormorant, was not as good as the first, and there were several times I thought I might not even finish it. I eventually did, but I have little interest in continuing with the series.

Coyote Songs
11/7/18; Devastating, horrific, gut-wrenching. Those might sound negative, but they're not, merely the most accurate words I can think of to describe Gabino Iglesias' Coyote Songs. Are you willing to stare into the abyss, look evil in the eye, come what may? I'm not that big a fan of horror, but I liked it, and it's recommended. It will help if you know Spanish, or have a Spanish/English dictionary handy, since some dialog is in Spanish, but you might be able to deduce some of it from context.

The Extraordinary Adventures of the Athena Club
11/11/18; I reviewed the first book in Theodora Goss' Athena Club series last year. At that time I wasn't sure there would be a sequel, but I am extremely glad there was, and hope there will be more. I've left the old page up for now, but the link is for a new page with a new URL, combining the two books, with some minor edits to the original review. Both are very good and recommended.

Nineteen Eighty-Four
11/15/18; I doubt my thoughts about George Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-Four bring anything new to the discussion. It's still a great book, in spite of a few debatable flaws, and destined to be influential for many years to come. It's doubleplusgood as they say.

Moving Mars
11/20/18; Greg Bear's Moving Mars won the Nebula for 1994, and was also a Hugo finalist. Parts are good, parts are boring. Some intriguing speculations on future technologies, but the major event went to space-opera territory, if not outright fantasy.

The Book of the Unnamed Midwife, Road to Nowhere #1
11/22/18; Meg Elison's first novel is also the first of a series, the collective title of which is The Road to Nowhere. The Book of the Unnamed Midwife won the Philip K. Dick Award in 2015. It's very good, recommended. I will continue with this series soon. I already have the second one, and the third will be out next April. I will be getting it too, maybe even early from Net Galley or Edelweiss.

Alice Payne Arrives
11/22/18; The Alice Payne series by Kate Heartfield is the latest entry from the tor.com novella program. Alice Payne Arrives was published a couple of weeks ago, the second title will be out next March. Great characters, intriguing premise, a combination of steampunk and time travel. Recommended.

Beneath the Sugar Sky, Wayward Children #3
11/24/18; Seanan McGuire's third entry in her Wayward Children series is Beneath the Sugar Sky. The story changes from children isolated from their families, isolated even from the other children at Eleanor West's school, to one of cooperation, trust, and undesrtanding the traumas others have suffered. In other words, learning how to be an ally.

Red Moon
11/27/18; I've read approximately half of Kim Stanley Robinson's novels. Red Moon is my least favorite so far. Some interesting ideas, a couple of sympathetic characters, but the plot is so fractured, events incohesive and inconclusive. I got the feeling he rushed it, more editing was needed.

Sorcerer to the Crown
12/2/18; Zen Cho's first novel, Sorcerer to the Crown, was a British Fantasy Award finalist in 2016 for Best Fantasy Novel. She didn't win that, but on its strengths she was recognized as Best Newcomer. It's set in England's Regency Era, but in an alternate world full of magic. Two very strong lead characters, both fighting against other magical forces as well as the strictures of the class system. I'm anxious to read the sequel due next March.

The Book of Etta
12/4/18; The second book in Meg Elison's Road to Nowhere series is The Book of Etta. Still very good, although I'd rate this one a bit below the first. The main character, while interesting and well described, is not as sympathetic as the Midwife.

Darwin's Radio
12/11/18; Darwin's Radio needed a better tuner...uh, I mean a better editor. Greg Bear's second Nebula winner features a fascinating premise, a couple of intriguing characters (as well as a third late in the book), but ultimately falters from poor execution. There's a sequel too, but it won't be on my TBR pile any time soon.

The Calculating Stars
12/14/18; The first of the Lady Astronaut stories by Mary Robinette Kowal was the Hugo-winning novelette "The Lady Astronaut of Mars." I do have a few brief comments about it, but most of this new page is devoted to the first novel published earlier this year, The Calculating Stars. There's already a second novel, which I will get to soon, and two more announced. Very good, recommended.

Mortal Engines
12/15/18; Mortal Engines, the new movie co-written and produced (but not directed) by Peter Jackson, is not recommended.

Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse
12/16/18; Unlike the movie I reviewed yesterday, I can recommend Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse without reservation. I don't care if you've never heard of Peter Parker or Miles Morales, never read a comic book. This movie is fantastic, a must see.

Mortal Engines, the book
12/18/18; Mortal Engines is the first of four novels in a YA series by Philip Reeve. This might be slightly better than the movie, my review of which has been edited. I can't really recommend either, but the book is likely to appeal to younger readers, ones even younger than its fifteen-year-old protagonists.

The Armored Saint
12/19/18; Myke Cole's The Armored Saint is the first in a fantasy series with the collective title of The Sacred Throne. A second title has already been released. I don't have it yet but will get to it someday. I think there will be a third, but nothing else has been announced yet. Recommended.

Rosewater
12/23/18; Tade Thompson's Rosewater was originally published by Apex in 2016. The current edition is from Orbit, but I don't know if it has been edited to a significant amount to make it eligible for current award consideration. It has been showing up on a lot of "Best Of 2018" lists lately, and it definitely makes mine, whether or not it is eligible. Fascinating, complicated, even confusing at times, but in a good way. Highly recommended.

Ink
12/29/18; I'm sure this will be the last review of the year. While it might have been nice to close out the year on a more positive note, I can't think of any book more relevant to the time I read it. Originally published in 2012, it was met with skepticism for its gloomy scenario. Here at the end of 2018, the new edition of Ink by Sabrina Vourvoulias reads like tomorrow's headlines.

 

2019

Happy 2019 + A Look Back
1/1/19; May your New Year be better in every way! I'm not setting any reading goals this year, other than hoping I can make a dent in my enormous TBR pile + I have quite a few ARCs waiting, so I need to be sure I review them in a timely manner. The book I'm currently reading is a paperback ARC I got directly from the author. It might be a couple of days before I finish it. As far as 2018, I was able to continue my rising book review count, 80 titles, an increase of 24 over 2017. Also 5 movies and 3 TV shows, with plans for many more this year, but again no promises. Didn't review any comics last year, although I have quite a few I need to get to. One of these days. All of last year's updates have been moved to the
Archives page.

Bloodleaf
1/3/19; Bloodleaf is the debut novel from Crystal Smith. It's a YA epic fantasy, of which I acknowledge I'm not in the target demo. As impossible as it was, I tried to read it from the perspective of a younger reader. The protagonist is a 17-year-old woman, flawed but admirable, who could be successful if she trusts herself and those who depend on her.

Snow White Learns Witchcraft
1/5/19; Theodora Goss, whose novels of the Athena Club I've really loved, now has a story and poem collection coming out next month. I was lucky to get an advance copy, and I can recommend Snow White Learns Witchcraft for anyone who loves fairy tales.

Lord of Light
1/14/19; Roger Zelazny won his second Hugo for 1967's Lord of Light. Humans pretending to be Hindu gods on an alien planet. An interesting literary experiment, but not completely successful. YMMV.

Slan
1/17/19; A. E. van Vogt's Slan won a Retro Hugo in 2016, 75 years after it would have been eligible if Hugos had been established then. It is not good, not recommended, an example that at least some of the Golden Age classics show considerable tarnish. I'm not featuring it in the promotional banner above since it doesn't deserve the extra exposure.

The Fated Sky
1/19/19; The second novel in Mary Robinette Kowal's Lady Astronaut series is The Fated Sky, continuing the adventures of Elma York in an alternate history space expedition to Mars. An optimistic story reminiscent of the Golden Age, with a modern sensibility. Highly recommended.

How Long 'Til Black Future Month?
1/25/19; In the introduction to N. K. Jemisin's first story collection, How Long 'Til Black Future Month?, she says she was initially only interested in novels, and didn't think she would be any good at short stories. Oh, how wrong she was. This is a major collection, highly recommended.

Dealing in Dreams
1/28/19; Lilliam Rivera's first novel was a mainstream YA story, which I read and enjoyed, but didn't review since it wasn't SF. Her second is, but unfortunately, I didn't like Dealing in Dreams as much. It's the beginning of a series, which I doubt I'll want to continue with.

A Study in Honor
1/29/19; A Study in Honor is the first book in The Janet Watson Chronicles by Claire O'Dell. It is a new variation on Sherlock Holmes, set in the near future with both Watson and Holmes gender and race flipped. Two strong, intelligent, resourceful Black women, who team up to investigate a mystery during the Second American Civil War against the New Confederacy. Highly recommended, and I will be following this series in the future.

Vigilance
1/30/19; Robert Jackson Bennett's Vigilance is another novella from tor.com. It's like the darkest Black Mirror episode imaginable. Outrageous, yet all too believable in this gun-obsessed culture.

Today I Am Carey
1/31/19; In 2016, Martin L. Shoemaker's short story "Today I Am Paul" was a Nebula finalist, and winner of the Small Press Award from the Washington Science Fiction Association. Now he has expanded it into the novel Today I Am Carey. It comes out March 5, but I got an ARC from Edelweiss. It's about a self aware caretaker android, and it's very good, as was the short story, which I link to at the end of the review.

Friday Black
2/3/19; Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah was honored as one of the National Book Foundation's "5 Under 35" authors last year. His first book, Friday Black, is a collection of twelve stories, some mainstream, others either science fiction, fantasy, or horror. Most are dark and violent. Not all are recommended, but the collection as a whole is.

Mars: Stories by Asja Bakić
2/6/19; Asja Bakić is a Bosnian writer now living in Croatia. Her first story collection was published there in 2015, but now there's a US edition coming out next month. I got a free ARC from Edelweiss, and I really liked it. Mars is the book's title, but it's not the title of the only story set on the Red Planet. A mix of mainstream, fantasy, quasi-horror, and science fiction.

The True Queen
2/10/19; The True Queen is the second novel in a series by Zen Cho, which has been called the Sorcerer Royal series, while the cover of this one says "A Sorcerer to the Crown Novel," even though neither of those really apply anymore. The heroine of the first book is now the new Sorceress Royal. Another thing that is slightly wrong is the title of this book, but I won't spoil why. I'll just say it's good, perhaps even better than the first. Recommended.

Man Plus
2/11/19; Frederik Pohl's Man Plus won the Nebula in 1977. I recall liking it when I read it around forty years ago. This time, not so much. I'm not adding this to the banner announcment above since I don't recommend it, and I will probably have another review ready tomorrow anyway.

The Test
2/12/19; Sylvain Neuvel's The Test is a new novella from Tor, released today. Only about 100 pages, but full of ideas that will keep me thinking for quite some time. More than one test going on, and I'm not sure I could pass any of them.

The City in the Middle of the Night
2/15/19; Charlie Jane Anders' second SF novel is The City in the Middle of the Night, a complex tale of humans settled on a tidally locked planet, one side always facing its sun, the other in perpetual cold and darkness. The only complaint I have is it wasn't long enough. So many things about Earth and the Mothership's voyage, plus other events after they reached January, that cried out for more elaboration. Other than that, it is recommended.

Gateway, Heechee Saga #1
2/18/19; Although not the first Frederik Pohl story to mention the Heechee, the first novel in the sequence was 1977's Gateway. I've used the series title for the URL of that page, and while I have all of the other books, there's no telling when I might get to them. A couple of them were finalists for various awards, but Gateway was the only winner, for both Hugo and Nebula, as well as several others.

The Haunting of Tram Car 015
2/19/19; The Haunting of Tram Car 015 is a new novella from P. Djèlí Clark, set within the same milieu as his 2016 novelette "A Dead Djinn in Cairo," which I also mention in the review. Both are full of remarkable characters and situations, packed with visual details of this alt-history/steampunk/mythological fantasy world. Highly recommended.

Seraphina's Lament
2/25/19; Seraphina's Lament is the debut novel from book blogger Sarah Chorn, and also the first of a series known as The Bloodlands. Described as within the fantasy sub-genre of Grimdark, it is definitely that. Grim, dark, bloody, violent. But also very good, and recommended, unless you only want lightness and positivity in your fiction.

Witchmark
2/27/19; Witchmark by C. L. Polk is a finalist for the 2018 Nebula for Best Novel. It starts slow, but I gave it a chance, and it didn't take long to fall under its spell. It falls short of a 5 star rating, but I won't elaborate to avoid spoilers. I've now read four of the six finalists, and while this isn't my favorite, it would not be a disappointment if it wins.

The Murders of Molly Southborne
2/28/19; Tade Thompson's novella The Murders of Molly Southbourne won last year's Nommo Award from the African Speculative Fiction Association, and was also a finalist for the British Fantasy, British Science Fiction, and Shirley Jackson (Horror) awards. It is a mix of genres, with the SF element only revealed toward the end. Not a completely satisfying story, but intriguing enough to look forward to its sequel coming out in July.

Atlas Alone
3/4/19; Atlas Alone is the fourth book by Emma Newman to be set within the same fictional universe, although this is the first one that I feel can't be read as a stand-alone. It closely follows the events from the second book, After Atlas. Even though I have once again created a separate page for the new book, I strongly suggest you not read it until you've read at least that second book, the climactic event of which I did not spoil in the earlier review.

Alice Payne Rides
3/5/19; The second entry in Kate Heartfield's time-traveling adventure tales is Alice Payne Rides. In some ways it's just as good as the first one, in others it stretches credibility, risking being almost as confusing as it is entertaining.

The Book of Flora
3/7/19; I'm pretty sure The Book of Flora concludes Meg Elison's Road to Nowhere series, even though it ends on a shocking revelation. That scenario is far-fetched, which reduced my overall rating for the book, but up until then I was thinking it was the best of the trilogy.

Alita: Battle Angel
3/8/19; A short, not so sweet review. There's a reason I don't go to the theater much these days, nor review many films at all. I'm tired of FX blockbusters with plots interchangeable with every other FX blockbuster that comes along. It that's what you like, you may enjoy Alita: Battle Angel, but I don't recommend it.

Incredibles 2
3/10/19; Not sure why I waited til Incredibles 2 was on Netflix. I think the story is just as good as the first one, with the animation detail being even better.

Rendezvous With Rama
3/12/19; In spite of Arthur C. Clarke's weakness in regards character development, Rendezvous With Rama should still be regarded a genre classic.

Particle Theory
3/16/19; Particle Theory is a story collection by the late Edward Bryant, originally published in 1981. Highly recommended, with several that are among the best stories I've ever read. It is one of eleven of his titles I bought from ReAnimusPress a few years back, just the third to be reviewed, but I hope to get to the others throughout the year.

The Fountains of Paradise
3/19/19; The Fountains of Paradise is another Hugo & Nebula winner from Arthur C. Clarke, but not as good as Rama. It could have been much shorter if it only concentrated on the construction of the space elevator and forgot about Taprobanean history and religion, which was a fictionalized version of Clarke's adopted homeland of Sri Lanka. I guess I could say I recommend about half the book.

The Weight of Our Sky
3/21/19; A very impressive debut novel, and contender for best new book I've read this year. Hanna Alkaf's The Weight of Our Sky is set in Kuala Lumpur in 1969, during the riots known as the 13 May Incident. The first-person narrator is 16-year-old Melati Ahmad, separated from her mother, and also tormented by a Djinn. Highly recommended.

Sooner Or Later Everything Falls Into The Sea
3/24/19; Sarah Pinsker has only been publishing stories for a little more than six years, and yet has racked up an impressive number of award nominations, with wins for Nebula and Sturgeon awards. Her first collection, Sooner Or Later Everything Falls Into The Sea, is highly recommended.

Tiamat's Wrath, Expanse Book #8
3/27/19; Tiamat's Wrath is the eighth novel in the Expanse book series by James S. A. Corey. Just as action-packed as all the others, lots of shocks and surprises, but also plenty of strong character moments. Hard to believe they'll be able to wrap up the story in just one more book, but I'm ready for it no matter how long the wait.

A Memory Called Empire
3/30/19; Another excellent debut novel, my favorite of anything I've read so far this year, new or old. Arkady Martine's A Memory Called Empire is the first in a new series, with the collective title of Teixcalaan, which is the interstellar empire at the heart of the story. Highly recommended.

Breach, Analog #3
4/3/19; Breach is the third, and I assume final book in Eliot Peper's Analog series. Not as good as the two previous books, although I do like the situation at the end, just less so for the actions that bring us to that point. I still recommend the whole trilogy.

Gather the Fortunes, Crescent City #2
4/10/19; I debated whether to create a new page for this or combine it with a previous review. I decided on the latter, so Bryan Camp's first two novels are now reviewed as the Crescent City series.

The Gods Themselves
4/14/19; Some may still consider Asimov to be one of the SF gods, but even The Gods Themselves has to be viewed in modern context, which sometimes proves some "classics" don't stand the test of time.

The Diamond Age
4/21/19; Neal Stephenson's Hugo award winner, The Diamond Age, is a complex novel, part cyberpunk, part steampunk, with many other social and literary references. Maybe not completely successful in developing all its various parts, but still a remarkable book. Recommended.

Blackfish City
4/22/19; Sam J. Miller's Blackfish City is a finalist for the 2018 Nebula. It's unique, quite unlike anything I've read before. Strong worldbuilding, intriguing premise and characters, totally unpredictable. Recommended.

Storm of Locusts
4/23/19; Rebecca Roanhorse's Sixth World series continues in Storm of Locusts. Just as exciting and action-packed as the first book, with some returning characters plus new faces, and new perils. Highly recommended.

Captain Marvel
4/26/19; A short, mostly positive review of Captain Marvel, which I finally got around to seeing yesterday. I will want to see it again, maybe even in theaters, since her appearance in Avengers: Endgame will likely boost ticket sales for a few more weeks.

The Baku by Edward Bryant
4/26/19; The Baku is another story collection from Edward Bryant. Three short stories and one television script, all of which are very good, but also depressing. You'd know that without reading if only you were aware some editions of the book have a subtitle, "Tales of the Nuclear Age."

The Assimilated Cuban's Guide to Quantum Santeria
4/29/19; The first story collection from Carlos Hernandez, The Assimilated Cuban's Guide to Quantum Santeria, is a remarkable mix of fantasy and science fiction, with one story not really either. Very good, and recommended.

Spinning Silver
5/1/19; Naomi Novik's Spinning Silver is a finalist for both Nebula and Hugo awards. It's very good, as much for the human drama as it is for the magic. Recommended.

The Great Eastern
5/4/19; I got an e-book ARC of Howard Rodman's first novel The Great Eastern from Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. It is an alternate history, as well as a mash-up of real life people and events with fictional characters from other books. Starts slow, but builds in excitement, but with an anachronistic style that might not suit some readers. I liked it.

Unraveling
5/7/19; This time the ARC came from Net Galley. Karen Lord's fourth novel, Unraveling, will be released June 4. The blurb at Amazon says it's a stand-alone fantasy, but it could also be considered a sequel to her first book, Redemption in Indigo, which I reviewed last year. I was confused through most of the book, but that says more about possibly missing clues or not being able to read between the lines. I think I know the answer to the riddle, but may be mistaken. A re-read is in order, but that will have to wait for later. Recommended.

More Unraveling
5/10/19; Another Edelweiss ARC, this time a short story collection by Brian Evenson. Song for the Unraveling of the World includes 22 stories, ranging from fantasy to science fiction, from horror to existential dread, even a few set in the mundane world. Recommended, but with this reservation. As individual stories they are mostly very good, but taken as a whole there's too much repetition of themes, not enough uniqueness.

The Lesson
5/14/19; Thanks again to Edelweiss for an ARC of Cadwell Turnbull's debut novel, The Lesson, an alien invasion story from a unique perspective. Recommended.

Sundiver, Uplift #1
5/18/19; Sundiver was David Brin's first novel, as well as the first book in the original Uplift Trilogy. Some good concepts, but also quite a few plot elements not fully developed. I'll follow up with thoughts on the second book soon, but another ARC will come first.

Velocity Weapon
5/21/19; Megan E. O'Keef'e Velocity Weapon is the first book in a proposed series with the collective title of The Protectorate. A twisty, fast-paced plot, with several interesting characters, including a traumatized AI spaceship. Recommended.

Startide Rising, Uplift #2
5/26/19; David Brin won Hugo, Nebula, and Locus awards for Startide Rising, the second book in the original Uplift trilogy. It's much better than the first, well deserving of its awards, but there are a few weaknesses.

The Uplift War
5/31/19; The Uplift War won Hugo, Locus, and Seiun awards, and was also a Nebula and Prometheus finalist. It is the best of the original trilogy, but still frustrating, since the mystery of Streaker's discoveries has yet to be revealed.

Neon Twilight
5/31/19; Ending the month with a look at another story collection by Edward Bryant. Neon Twilight is just two short stories and one novelette, all of the space opera variety, plus a quirky introduction by the author. Not great, but not a waste of time either. The first and third stories are best.

Null Set, Cas Russell #2
6/2/19; S. L. Huang's Cas Russell series continues with Null Set. Similar levels of action and intrigue, but too much repetition of action and dialog, with nary a resolution at the end. I'll still be on the lookout for the third book.

Wilder Girls
6/3/19; Rory Power's debut novel, Wilder Girls, might be considered Young Adult, but there's plenty of adult content. The actions of several of the characters, the gruesome descriptions of their physical changes, and their psychological state could be traumatic for some readers. It's still recommended.

This Is How You Lose the Time War
6/4/19; This Is How You Lose the Time War is a novella (I think), a collaboration by Amal El-Mohtar and Max Gladstone. Two rival time travel agents begin a secretive correspondence, which leads to sympathetic feelings towards the other, perhaps even love. Beautiful, lyrical, prose as poetry. Highly recommended.

Native Tongue
6/9/19; Suzette Haden Elgin's Native Tongue was originally published in 1984. A new edition comes out next month, and I got an ARC of it from Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. It has multiple interesting elements, but none are developed completely, but it is just the first book in a trilogy. Not sure if I'll read the other two, but if I do I doubt it will be soon.

The Philosopher's War
6/12/19; The second book in Tom Miller's series about flying alchemists is The Philosopher's War. I'd rate it a bit below the first book, but only because of my typical aversion to stories of war, of man's inhumanity to man. It's still very well written and exciting.

Wyoming Sun
6/13/19; I almost didn't bother reviewing this. Edward Bryant's Wyoming Sun is another short collection, just five stories. Trouble is, three of them, the best three, were repeats from a previously reviewed title, which I recommend over this one.

Speaker for the Dead
6/20/19; Orson Scott Card accomplished something no one else has done, winning both the Hugo and Nebula two years in a row. The second time was for Speaker for the Dead.

Gods of Jade and Shadow
6/24/19; Silvia Moreno-Garcia's fourth novel, Gods of Jade and Shadow, will be published next month, but I got an e-ARC from Net Galley in exchange for an honest review. It's about Mayan gods in Jazz Age Mexico. Silvia remains one of my favorite current authors, she hasn't disappointed me yet.

Dune
6/30/19; This may have been the third time for me to read Frank Herbert's Dune, maybe the fourth. Not sure why it hasn't been more than that. A monumental achievement, one of the best novels of any genre.

The Dragon Republic
7/10/19; The Dragon Republic is a sequel to R. F. Kuang's first novel, The Poppy War, my favorite from last year. I've added comments on that previous page. Do not assume the time it took me to read reflects badly on the book. It's not a light read, it's both brutal and depressing, so I had to take it in short segments. I might not like it as much as the first one, but it's still very good.

Do You Dream of Terra-Two?
7/15/19; The answer to that question is no, I don't dream of Terra-Two, and I won't be thinking much about it after posting this review either. Not recommended.

The Warehouse
7/18/19; Rob Hart's The Warehouse is about a future internet based company called Cloud, best described as Amazon on steroids. I can't criticize it too harshly, but neither am I giving it a recommendation. Readable, but not memorable.

Rainbow's End
7/24/19; Rainbows End won Vernor Vinge his fifth Hugo award in 2007. It's the only Hugo or Award nominated novel from that year I've read, so I can't say how it compares, but I didn't like it, and I don't recommend it.

Foundation's Edge
7/29/19; Isaac Asimov's Foundation's Edge won Hugo and Locus awards, and was also a Nebula finalist. In it, he began the consolidation of his various fictional sequences into a unified whole. It starts slow but improves throughout. Several intriguing puzzles, and better characterizations than usual for him. I could have done without the misogyny though.

Predators and Other Stories
7/30/19; The six stories in Ed Bryant's Predators and Other Stories had previously appeared in another anthology which included stories by others. ReAnimus released it in 2014. I'd give it an overall grade of three out of five stars, even though some of the individual stories would be worth more.

The Xuya Universe Novellas
8/4/19; Aliette de Bodard has been writing stories in her Xuya Universe since 2007. They are up for a Hugo this year for Best Series, and the latest is up for a Hugo on its own after winning a Nebula earlier this year. I will continue with this series one of these days, but for now I take a look at three of the Novellas.

Gideon the Ninth
8/11/19; Tamsyn Muir's debut novel, Gideon the Ninth, publishes in one month. It's been getting a lot of positive buzz, but I didn't like it as much as I'd hoped, and I can't recommend it. YMMV.

Gods, Monsters, and the Lucky Peach
8/14/19; Kelly Robson's Gods, Monsters, and the Lucky Peach is a finalist for a Hugo as Best Novella. I didn't vote this year, and even if I had this would not have been my #1 pick, but it still gets a positive recommendation.

Artificial Condition, Murderbot #2
8/16/19; Another Hugo finalist for Best Novella, Martha Wells' Artificial Condition has already won a Locus Award, and was a Nebula finalist. It is the second in a series with the collective title of The Murderbot Diaries. I liked it, maybe not as much as the first, but I'm still interested in continuing the series.

2019 Hugo Awards
8/18/19; The Hugos were announced today in Dublin, and I just finished updating relevant pages, Hugo/Nebula Awards, Books at Amazon, Novel Winners, Dual Award Winners, and the review page that features the latest to accomplish that feat, The Calculating Stars by Mary Robinette Kowal.

Of Wars, and Memories, and Starlight
8/22/19; Stories from the Xuya Universe dominate Aliette de Bodard's first major story collection, Of Wars, and Memories, and Starlight. Two stories are from her Dominion of the Fallen series. I'd rate individual stories from good, to very good, to excellent, and I gave the collection 5 out of 5 stars on Goodreads.

Stranger in a Strange Land
8/25/19; After many readings, my opinion of Stranger in a Strange Land has changed somewhat. It's not as good as I once thought, but that doesn't mean I don't still like quite a bit about it.

The Moon is a Harsh Mistress
8/28/19; After many readings, my opinion of The Moon is a Harsh Mistress has NOT changed. It's still my favorite Heinlein novel, which means it's among my favorite books of all time.

The Sinister Mystery of the Mesmerizing Girl
9/1/19; I received an ARC of the third book in Theodora Goss' Athena Club series. The Sinister Mystery of the Mesmerizing Girl will be published in one month. I have to rate this one lower than the previous two. It has as much exciting plot, as much explosive action, but the camaraderie of the women is weaker, thus the strengths of the feminist message is diminished. I still recommend the series as a whole.

Antediluvian
9/11/19; Another ARC, from Edelweiss this time. Wil McCarthy's Antediluvian publishes in three weeks, October 1. It's a variant on a time travel adventure, or at least a thought experiment about time travel. It's good and recommended.

A Fire Upon the Deep
9/28/19; It took me longer to read Vernor Vinge's Hugo-winning A Fire Upon the Deep than it should have, but there were a lot of personal things going on for me this month. I've titled the review page Zones of Thought because I intend to follow up with the other books in the sequence soon, at least the prequel which also won a Hugo. Ran out of time this month, but hopefully soon.

Conjure Wife
9/30/19; Fritz Leiber had two novels up for a Retro Hugo this year, neither of which I had read before. Conjure Wife won, but it wasn't as good as I'd hoped.

The Deep
10/2/19; Rivers Solomon's new novella, The Deep, will be published in a little over a month, November 5. It is excellent, highly recommended. The premise had been developed by quite a few other creators over recent years, and this might not be the final iteration of the concept.

Ad Astra
10/2/19; The title of this film is Latin for "To the stars." That's where Ad Astra belongs. Blasted into space, never to be seen again. Avoid it.

The Book of Lost Saints
10/5/19; Daniel José Older's new novel, The Book of Lost Saints, is a contender for my favorite novel of the year. A remarkable story of conflict, betrayal, and reconciliation in Cuba before, during, and after the revolution, and among modern day Cuban-Americans. With a supernatural twist.

Talk Like a Man
10/12/19; Nisi Shawl's story collection, Talk Like a Man, is weird and wonderful, but much too short. Only four stories, one essay, and an interview conducted by Terry Bisson. Still good though, and recommended.

A Deepness in the Sky
10/23/19; Vernor Vinge's A Deepness in the Sky won more awards than his previous novel, A Fire Upon the Deep, yet I didn't like it as much. It had the potential to be great, but the narrative was scattered over three different tracks, neither of which was developed as fully as I would have liked. It could have been, probably should have been, expanded to a trilogy.

The Queen of Crows
10/26/19; The second book in Myke Cole's Sacred Throne series is The Queen of Crows. Just as good as the first book, even more action-packed, but also with several quieter moments of character reflection. I've already started the third book, will be adding to this review as soon as possible.

The Killing Light
10/27/19; Myke Cole's Sacred Throne trilogy concludes with The Killing Light. I rate it a bit lower than the previous two, mainly for some cliché elements and events that did not come as a surprise. Still recommended though.

The Sword in the Stone
10/29/19; T. H. White's The Sword in the Stone was published in 1938, and later became the first story in a collection titled The Once and Future King. It won a Retro Hugo as Best Novel in 2014. More whimsical in nature than a lot of other King Arthur stories, a quick read, but not that satisfying. YMMV.

Fetish
10/30/19; Fetish is a novella by Edward Bryant, originally published in 1991, reissued in 2014 by ReAnimus Press. The first-person narrator is Angela Black, who presents herself as an herbalist, but in truth she's a witch of considerable powers. She was in a story in a previously reviewed collection, and in at least three others I know of, which I need to track down.

The Ten Thousand Doors of January
11/2/19; Starting a new month with the first e-book I got through my renewed library card and the Cloud Library app. Alix E. Harrow's The Ten Thousand Doors of January came out in September and has been getting rave reviews. That praise is justified. Highly recommended.

Dead Astronauts
11/5/19; Jeff VanderMeer's new novel, Dead Astronauts, will be released in a month, but I got an e-ARC from Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. I probably shouldn't review it without re-reading, since I'm completely confused about almost everything.

The Future of Another Timeline
11/7/19; Annalee Newitz's second novel, The Future of Another Timeline, is quite a bit different than any other time travel story I've read. It's also very good. Don't miss it.

Auberon, an Expanse novella
11/13/19; Auberon is the latest story in the Expanse book series by James S. A. Corey. They say it's a novella, but if so it just barely qualifies, only 66 pages on Kindle. As with the other shorts, not essential reading, but I think it gives a hint about the path the next novel, supposedly the last, might take.

Dead Sky
11/16/19; Dead Sky is the second book in a duology by Weston Ochse, the story beginning in Burning Sky. I'd rate this one slightly below the first, but together they are still highly recommended.

…and Other Disasters
11/18/19; Malka Older's first story collection, …and Other Disasters, is short but powerful, full of intriguing ideas, deft characterizations, and emotional resonance. Highly recommended.

Sunspot Jungle
11/21/19; Bill Campbell is the owner/chief editor of the small press Rosarium Publishing, along with being a writer of fiction and non-fiction. His latest anthology project is in two volumes, each of which contains fifty stories. I'm sure I'll feel the same when I get to Volume Two, but for now Sunspot Jungle is highly recommended.

Cyteen
11/27/19; I haven't read as much of C. J. Cherryh's work as I should have, and I need to correct that one of these days. She won another Hugo for Best Novel with 1988's Cyteen. It's complex and thought-provoking. Strongly recommended.

Doomsday Book
11/30/19; My second reading (after more than 25 years) of Connie Willis' Doomsday Book was even more enjoyable this time around. It's not the best of her novels, probably not the best of other finalists that year, but it's still very good.

A Song for a New Day
12/5/19; Sarah Pinsker's debut novel, A Song for a New Day, is an expansion on the theme in her Nebula-winning novelette "Our Lady of the Open Road." A few elements are changed, or more fully explained, but it could also be that the novelette, set decades later, is in an alternate reality. The story is very good, the novel is great.

Seeker, Alex Benedict #3
12/10/19; Jack McDevitt won a Nebula for 2005's Seeker, which was the third book in his series featuring explorer and antiquities dealer Alex Benedict. I will eventually follow-up on other books in that series, only the first of which I had read before, although I have no idea when that might happen.

The Expanse, Season 4 on Prime
12/13/19; The Expanse is now an Amazon Prime original series. New episodes dropped early yesterday evening, and I watched in three different sessions. My comments are as non-spoilery as I could make them. Still great, still just as good as the books, even with the inevitable changes. Well, all but one of those changes, which irritated me, but I won't elaborate on it, and I'm willing to give them the benefit of the doubt for now.

The Broken Heavens
12/16/19; Kameron Hurley's Worldbreaker Saga comes to a conclusion with The Broken Heavens. It's been more than four years since the second book, I didn't have time for a re-read, so I was just as confused as ever. It may appeal to others, but I can't recommend the series at this time.

Among the Dead
12/19/19; Among the Dead was Edward Bryant's first story collection, although it is the last of his reissued by ReAnimus Press for me to review. Unfortunately, I cannot recommend it, but I mention the better stories and the other collections in which they appeared.

Hominids, Neanderthal Parallax #1
12/24/19; Robert J. Sawyer's Hugo-winner Hominids was the first in a trilogy, with the collective title of the Neanderthal Parallax. Several interesting characters and intriguing ideas, but not without some problematic elements too. One of these days I'll follow up with the other books.

The Rise of Skywalker
12/29/19; Eliza DoLots favors us with her thoughts on the latest Star Wars film, The Rise of Skywalker. I haven't seen it yet, only copied and pasted her review into a template in order to avoid spoilers, but I trust she will let me know if there are any typos or other things she might want to change.

 

2020

Happy New Year, and A Look Back
1/1/20; 7:45am CST
Hello, 2020! Not sure what the year will be like here, although I find it hard to believe it could top 2019, the most productive year for the site. As we enter our 20th Anniverary year, there is now a total of 628 pages (if my math is not in error), almost 100 of them added in 2019. There were a total of 102 reviews, although some of them were sequel books on an already existing page. It's gonna be tough topping that, and I'm not even going to try. No specific goals this year, that way I won't be upset if I don't meet them. I'll just keep reading and writing reviews, and we'll see how it goes.

The first review will be along in a few days, hopefully, but I'm also in the midst of making minor edits on all the pages, and that will take a while. A new category has been created, for
Non-SF related media, something I've thought about for several years. It's not likely there will be a lot of content there any time soon, but the first book review is imminent, sometime this month. There won't be any links to any of the category pages there until content is uploaded. Last year's updates have been moved to the Archives page.

Have a great year, everyone!

The Lost Book of Adana Moreau
1/4/20; 11:25am CST
I had expected the first book to go into the new Non-SF section would come a bit later, but Michael Zapata's debut novel fits the bill. It will appeal to SF fans, but the speculative elements in The Lost Book of Adana Moreau are only contained within books written by this book's characters. It's very, very good.

Shadowshaper Legacy
1/8/20; 10:15am CST
Shadowshaper Legacy is said to conclude Daniel José Older's series, although I'm hoping that is not the case. The major mysteries have been revealed, Sierra Santiago and her fellow shadowshapers prevail, but there are many side plots and peripheral characters I'd like to learn more about. Especially Uncle Neville. Whether we ever get any of those doesn't matter, this series is still recommended.

Last Song Before Night
1/13/20; 11:00am CST
Ilana C. Myer's debut novel, Last Song Before Night, is also the first in the Harp and Ring sequence. I can't give it a strong recommendation, but it does have positive attributes, and since more and more people prefer fantasy over science fiction, some of them might like it more than me. I plan to continue with the series soon.

Untamed Shore
1/15/20; 7:40am CST
Silvia Moreno-Garcia's latest novel is another departure for her. Untamed Shore is not SF, Fantasy, or Horror, instead it's a noir-thriller set in 1979 on the west coast of Baja California. It's the second book to fit into the new Non-SF section of the site, in fact it was what prompted me to create that. It's out next month, but I was lucky in getting an advance e-book from Net Galley. As with everything else I've read by her it is very good.

Falling Free
1/19/20; 4:50pm CST
The first award-winning novel from newly named Grand Master Lois McMaster Bujold was 1988's Falling Free. It's very good.

The Return of Murderbot!
1/21/20; 5:55pm CST
I had already reviewed the first two novellas in Martha Wells' The Murderbot Diaries, gave up hoping they'd drop the Kindle prices on the others, so I checked them out of the library. So a few brief words about Rogue Protocol & Exit Strategy.

The Wolf of Oren-Yaro, Bitch Queen #1
1/26/20; 2:50pm CST
Originally self-published a couple of years ago, the first two books in K. S. Villoso's Chronicles of the Bitch Queen are being reissued by Orbit Books. The first, The Wolf of Oren-Yaro, is already out on Kindle, the paperback coming next month, with the second title due in September.

Shards of Honor
1/31/20; 6:30pm CST
Lois McMaster Bujold's first published novel was Shards of Honor in 1986. There was a direct sequel five years later, Barrayar, which won the Hugo. At one time they were available in one volume under the title Cordelia's Honor, so that's what I used for the URL of this new page. I'll follow up with thoughts on Barrayar soon, but at least one other book will come before that.

Docile
2/5/20; 3:15pm CST
K. M. Szpara's debut novel, Docile, has an interesting premise, but too much of the narrative was disturbing. Only recommended for those who can read all the review and still be interested.

Fire Dance
2/13/20; 4:50pm CST
Fire Dance is the second book in Ilana C. Myer's Harp & Ring sequence. I rate it about the same as the first book; lyrical prose, some intriguing characters, but poor pacing. Just when it seems important revelations are imminent, the narrative shifts to another scenario, which is frustrating.

The Survival of Molly Southbourne
2/15/20; 1:05pm CST
The second novella in a series by Tade Thompson, The Survival of Molly Southbourne, continues the weird and fascinating story of Molly, or I should say a molly, one of the original's blood clones. A few negatives, things that don't make sense in the overall scenario, but enough action and speculation to satisfy. I hope there will be another story soon, although no word on that yet.

The Rosewater Insurrection
2/18/20; 5:50pm CST
Another second book from Tade Thompson, this time The Rosewater Insurrection, finalist for a BSFA award. Just as good as the first book, although told from multiple perspectives this time instead of just one. Exciting action, intriguing future tech, and very interesting characters, not all of whom you'll like.

The Rage of Dragons
2/23/20; 4:45pm CST
Evan Winter's debut novel, The Rage of Dragons, is not the type of fantasy I'm usually drawn to, but it has been getting lots of positive reviews, and when Amazon dropped the Kindle price I took a chance. As I suspected, it's not the type of fantasy that interests me. Too much fighting, too much brutality, and a rigid caste society that has hardly any redeeming qualities. It's been described as Game of Thrones meets Gladiator, so if that sounds interesting you may like it more than me.

Barrayar
2/27/20; 12:35pm CST
Lois McMaster Bujold's Barrayar continues the adventures of Cordelia Vorkosigan, née Naismith. Even though five years separated it from the publication of Shards of Honor, the events pick up almost immediately after it. A solid Hugo-winner, with character predominate, but plenty of action to satisfy almost any fan, as well as effective commentary touching on personal rights and autonomy, trauma and disabilities.

The Poet King
3/1/20; 3:45pm CST
The most positive thing I can say about The Poet King, and the Harp & Ring series as a whole, is that it is not predictable. But it is frustrating, and ultimately unsatisfying.

Beneath the Rising
3/5/20; 5:55pm CST
Do you like Lovecraft? Even if you don't I'd say you'll probably still enjoy Premee Mohamed's debut novel, Beneath the Rising, a creepy occult horror story with just the right amount of humor thrown in.

Young Miles (Vorkosigan Saga)
3/16/20; 12:30pm CDT
I continue my reviews of Grand Master Lois McMaster Bujold's work with Young Miles, an omnibus of two novels and one novella, the early adventures of Miles Naismith Vorkosigan.

Sunspot Jungle, Volume Two
3/23/20; 1:35pm CDT
The Bill Campbell edited anthology Sunspot Jungle, Volume Two continues with both the diversity of authors and the quality of the fiction. Highly recommended.

Vagabonds
3/31/20; 6:20pm CDT
Hao Jingfang is the first Chinese woman to win a Hugo, for her 2015 novelette "Folding Beijing." Ken Liu translated that, and he does the honors again with her first novel Vagabonds, which was published in 2018 with a title that would translate as Wandering Maearth. A bit tedious at times, but it ends much stronger than it begins, and it gets a recommendation.

Shorefall, Founders #2
4/9/20; 1:20pm CDT
The second book in Robert Jackson Bennett's Founders trilogy, Shorefall, is a lot like its predecessor. Both start slow, but end very strong. Both get a recommendation.

"Jack" by Connie Willis
4/10/20; 4:15pm CDT
A short, hopefully spoiler-free review of Connie Willis' 1991 novella, Jack, which gets the special edition treatment from Subterranean Press at the end of the month.

Network Effect, a Murderbot Novel
4/14/20; 6:20pm CDT
The four previous novellas in the Murderbot series concluded, for the most part, the original story arc. Martha Wells' latest novel, Network Effect, is being marketed as a stand-alone continuation, and while it has sufficient exposition to fill you in on previous events, I'd recommend starting from the beginning if you haven't already done that.

The City We Became
4/18/20; 7:20pm CDT
N. K. Jemisin begins a new trilogy, completely different than the previous one of The Broken Earth. This one has the collective name of The Great Cities. The first book is The City We Became, which is an expansion of her Hugo-nominated short story, "The City Born Great" from 2016.

Heinlein's World As Myth
4/26/20; 11:20pm CDT
Robert Heinlein introduced the concept of the multiverse in 1980's The Number of the Beast. What no one knew until recently, another book about parallel universes with the same characters as in Number had been written but never published. It has now. There are sections that are duplicates in the two books, but there are also places where they diverge. I've re-read Number, and combine thoughts on it and The Pursuit of the Pankera on a page I've titled the World As Myth.

Cetaganda, a Miles Vorkosigan Adventure
4/28/20; 4:20pm CDT
My exploration of Lois McMaster Bujold's work, and the adventures of Miles Vorkosigan, continues with Cetaganda, on a page I've named Miles Vorkosigan Saga #2, and I'll follow up with two others on that page as soon as possible, maybe even before the end of May, but I've got a lot of others on my To Be Read pile.

Of Honey and Wildfires
4/28/20; 4:20pm CDT
Sarah Chorn's second self-published novel, Of Honey and Wildfires, might not be considered Grimdark like her first, but it is still pretty grim and dark, with just the slightest bit of brightness and hope at the end.

Borders of Infinity, more Miles Vorkosigan
5/4/20; 2:00pm CDT
Borders of Infinity consists of three novellas in the Vorkosigan Saga, with added scenes framing them around interviews of Miles by his superior, Simon Illyan. As with a lot of this saga, publication dates are different than internal chronology, which leads to a few inconsistencies in the plots. But the stories themselves are strong, both plot-wise and in characterizations.

Brothers in Arms (Miles has a brother?)
5/7/20; 7:40pm CDT
Another short but action packed adventure with Miles Vorkosigan. Hardly anything is as it seems in Brothers in Arms, wherein Miles meets his clone brother, Mark.

We Ride the Storm
5/10/20; 3:25pm CDT
Devin Madson has several self-published novels to her credit, and they've been successful enough to warrant Orbit Books reissuing them. First up is her fourth, We Ride the Storm, the first in the Reborn Empire trilogy. Paperback comes out next month, e-books were released in January. I got it through a Twitter giveaway. I prefer SF to Fantasy, and urban to epic fantasy, so I didn't like this as much as many others have. As in all things, YMMV.

Hella by David Gerrold
5/16/20; 2:05pm CDT
David Gerrold's new novel, Hella, is a continuation of his Dingilliad Trilogy from the early 2000s. It may be the beginning of a new trilogy, not sure about that, but I hope so. It's hella good.

The Order of the Pure Moon Reflected in Water
5/17/20; 5:30pm CDT
Zen Cho's novella, The Order of the Pure Moon Reflected in Water, comes out next month, but I got an advance look from Edelweiss. It was different than I expected, well-written but not that satisfying, especially if this the only look we get into this world.

Veil by Eliot Peper
5/20/20; 5:45pm CDT
Eliot Peper's latest novel, Veil, is a fast-paced, near future SF thriller, part spy romp, part environmental activism, with a very strong protagonist in Zia León. Highly recommended.

Interlibrary Loan
5/21/20; 5:25pm CDT
Sadly, Gene Wolfe passed away more than a year ago. Sadly, what I assume is his final novel, the posthumously published Interlibrary Loan, is a disappointment. It's a sequel to 2015's A Borrowed Man, which I'll give a reserved recommendation, but not so for this one.

Mexican Gothic
5/25/20; 2:00pm CDT
Once again, Silvia Moreno-Garcia does not disappoint. Mexican Gothic is highly recommended. There are familiar elements, although you'll likely guess wrong several times about what is going on.

Mirror Dance
5/30/20; 5:30pm CDT
Miles Vorkosigan, and his clone-brother Mark, return in the Hugo and Locus winner Mirror Dance. I've started a new page for it, entitled Miles Vorkosigan Saga #3, and will follow up on that page with comments on two other books.

Memory
6/2/20; 1:25pm CDT
Even though Bujold's Memory was a finalist for Hugo, Nebula, and Locus awards, it didn't win any of them. But it's as good as any of the others in the Vorkosigan Saga.

Komarr
6/4/20; 4:30pm CDT
I'd rate Komarr a bit lower than most of the others in the Vorkosigan Saga. It's still good and entertaining, but more a mystery with too many predictable elements.

Of Dragons, Feasts and Murders
6/5/20; 5:30pm CDT
One of Aliette de Bodard's series has the collective title of Dominion of the Fallen, consisting of a trilogy of novels, along with several shorter works. I have the first novel but haven't read it yet, but have now read four of the shorts, with the latest, Of Dragons, Feasts and Murders due out next month. It's about Fallen Angels, dragons, and of course, murders. It's pretty good, and enough of a stand-alone if you know a bit about the general premise.

Or What You Will
6/7/20; 1:20pm CDT
Jo Walton's Or What You Will comes out next month, but I got an ARC from Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. Honestly, it's in contention for favorite of the year. Highly recommended.

Red Dust
6/8/20; 12:40pm CDT
Red Dust is a newly translated version of the 2004 novel Polvo Rojo by the Cuban writer Yoss, pen-name of José Miguel Sánchez Gómez. There's no way for me to know if the tranlation is the problem, but it was not what I was expecting, not as good as I was hoping. I can't recommend it.

The Vast of Night
6/8/20; 7:50pm CDT
It's been a very long time since I've reviewed a movie, and I think that one (Ad Astra) was the last time I went to the theater, long before they closed due to Covid19. But The Vast of Night is on Prime Video. It's low budget, set in the late 1950s, and reminiscent of drive-in fare of that time. I'm not giving it an enthusiastic recommendation, but there's lots worse things you could do with an hour and a half.

New Eyes
6/14/20; 11:10am CDT
Tobias Cabral's debut novel, New Eyes, is a continuation of a story that began in a collaborative novella that I have not read, but there's enough expostion for this to be understandable on its own. Post-Cyberpunk, rogue androids, even more rogue humans, but a few good ones too. Recommended, but with a few reservations.

The Relentless Moon
6/16/20; 6:40pm CDT
The third novel in Mary Robinette Kowal's Lady Astronaut series is The Relentless Moon. The timeline overlaps that of the second book, but instead of more about Elma York and the Mars expedition, another lady astronaut tells of her perilous adventures on the Moon. It's very good, highly recommended.

Middlegame
6/24/20; 1:40pm CDT
Seanan McGuire's Middlegame is a Hugo finalist for Best Novel. It's good, but also frustrating, so it only gets a reserved recommendation.

Bookshop.org
6/24/20; 2:10pm CDT
In addition to Amazon and ReAnimus Press, we are now also an affiliate of Bookshop.org, which was recently started to support independent bookstores that had been forced to close due to the Covid19 pandemic. I've created just a basic page for now, with only one link, the only book I've reviewed since signing up with them. I'll add more information later. As with Amazon, you don't have to buy the item you linked to, you can do a general search once you get to their site, and as long as you complete a purchase within 48 hours, we'll still be credited for the sale.

The Light Brigade
7/1/20; 5:25pm CDT
I can highly recommend Kameron Hurley's The Light Brigade, which is a Hugo finalist, as well as for Locus and Arthur C. Clarke awards. If I was voting this year it would be a difficult decison, but it would place no lower than #2 on my ballot.

The Girl and the Ghost
7/4/20; 1:15pm CDT
Hanna Alkaf's first novel was a YA set in Malaysia in 1969, historical but with a slight fantasy element. Her second is MG, so I'm definitely not in the target demographic, but I loved it. The Girl and the Ghost is again set in Malaysia, this time it's current day with story elements based on traditional folklore. I knew it was a good idea to follow her career, and I'm looking forward to anything else she writes.

A Civil Campaign + Winterfair Gifts
7/15/20; 4:30pm CDT
After a couple of false starts on other books I went back to Bujold. A page I've named Miles Vorkosigan Saga #4 starts with comments on 1999's A Civil Campaign and 2004's "Winterfair Gifts," and I'll follow up with two more novels on that page soon.

Brave New World
7/16/20; 1:50pm CDT
With a new TV adaptation just released, I re-read Aldous Huxley's Brave New World. It has been close to 50 years since the first time, and I am almost 100% positive my original opinion does not match my current one. Interesting, but simplistic and derivative ideas, and the prose is weak.

The Hound of Justice
7/19/20; 4:20pm CDT
The second book in Claire O'Dell's Holmesian series, The Janet Watson Chronicles, is The Hound of Justice. I'd rate it a bit below the first one, but it's still good and recommended, in spite of some cliché elements and illogical developments.

Tales from the Loop
7/23/20; 4:10pm CDT
Tales from the Loop is an Amazon Prime series, just eight episodes so far. It's based on an art book of the same name by Simon Stålenhag, which depicts the eerie atmosphere in a town above a particle accelerator. It's very good, but it's slow and contemplative, full of emotion rather than action. Highly recommended, and I hope there will be more.

Station Eleven
7/23/20; 8:00pm CDT
I'm not sure why it took me so long to get around to Emily St. John Mandel's Station Eleven. Published almost six years ago, it's been on my Kindle almost five years. If I had the time I'd be re-reading it already, it's that good.

It Was Twenty Years Ago Today...
7/27/20; 9:15am CDT
Reflections on the 20th Anniversary of The Templeton Gate.

Architects of Memory
7/28/20; 5:00pm CDT
Karen Osborne's debut novel is the start of a new series with the collective title of The Memory War. The fact I used that in the URL of the new page is not an indication I'll read the second book.

2020 Hugo Awards
8/1/20; 5:00pm CDT
The 2020 Hugo Awards were announced last night by CoNZealand. I've edited the current Hugo/Nebula and Retro Hugo pages to reflect all the new winners, as well as editing several review pages to add their award wins. I was very pleased, but surprised, that my favorite novel won, Arkady Martine's A Memory Called Empire, as did the novella This Is How You Lose the Time War, and The Expanse books won for Best Series.

Greythorne
8/3/20; 4:35pm CDT
Greythorne is Crystal Smith's second novel, second in a series that began with Bloodleaf. They are both good and recommended, with the new one having a faster pace, and many twists and turns of plot.

Wayward Witch
8/8/20; 2:15pm CDT
Wayward Witch is said to be the conclusion of Zoraida Córdova's Brooklyn Brujas series. Obviously it is the end of a trilogy, but I can imagine the Mortiz family has many more adventures ahead, and I will read them if Zoraida ever writes them. Recommended.

Diplomatic Immunity
8/11/20; 6:45pm CDT
Bujold's Diplomatic Immunity continues the exploits of Miles Vorkosigan, as his honeymoon with Ekaterin is interrupted by an urgent case direct from Emperor Gregor. Another high stakes adventure, mystery and intrigue, so many clues it takes Miles a while to sort them all out. Recommended.

Cryoburn
8/17/20; 5:45pm CDT
The last (for now) of Bujold's novels that center directly on Miles Vorkosigan is Cryoburn. Unfortunately, it's the first of the series I cannot recommend. Somewhat interesting story, but poorly paced.

The Ascent to Godhood
8/20/20; 12:30pm CDT
The normal pattern of books in a series is they usually get longer as the story progresses. JY Yang has gone in the opposite direction. The Ascent to Godhood is the shortest of the Tensorate series. Each has had a different style, the first two more lyrical, the last two more mundane. They don't always go in the direction you anticipate, and I'm not sure to whom the latest title refers. I liked it, but the second one is still my favorite.

Riot Baby
8/22/20; 11:40am CDT
Riot Baby is Tochi Onyebuchi's first adult title, a novella that packs a terrific punch. Brutal but honest. Angry but also redemptive. It is an SF story, with a girl with powers of telekinesis and more, a story that centers the tragedies of her Black family's life, but behind that is the history of so much more pain. Sort of a mash-up of The X-Men, The Hate U Give, and the recent HBO adaptaion of Watchmen. Highly recommended, even though it is not a pleasant read.

Miranda in Milan
8/23/20; 4:20pm CDT
Katharine Duckett's Miranda in Milan is another novella from tor.com. It's a sequel to Shakespeare's The Tempest, with Prospero up to his old tricks of magic and mayhem, and Miranda hidden away in her rooms in the Milan castle, cut off from her betrothed Ferdinand, with no means of communicating with him, and contacts with almost everyone else restricted. It received mixed reviews on publication last year, but I loved it. A worthy successor to the Bard's story, with modern sensibilities, and a potentially happy ending.

World of the Five Gods
9/1/20; 7:10pm CDT
I've enjoyed Bujold's science fiction immensely, the fantasy series of the World of the Five Gods much less so. The second book won both Hugo and Nebula, so needed to be reviewed, although I liked the first one a bit more.

Burning Roses
9/3/20; 3:00pm CDT
S. L. Huang's Burning Roses will be published at the end of the month. It is recommended, but to get an idea of whether you'd like it I link to two previous short stories available to read online.

The Last Dance
9/7/20; 1:00pm CDT
Martin L. Shoemaker's The Last Dance is what's known as a fix-up. Not a novel, but several previous stories with framing sequences to tie them together. It's the first of the Near Earth Mysteries, but it could just as well have been called "The Chronicles of Nick Aames." High concept. Hard-SF. Recommended.

The Last Campaign
9/9/20; 3:25pm CDT
The Last Dance combined previously written stories, but its follow-up, The Last Campaign, is a novel, and it lives up to the series' collective title of Near Earth Mysteries. Complex and convoluted, with multiple threads tied up at the end, in a conclusion that is sure to reverberate throughout the solar system for years to come. It's not clear if the two main characters will live long enough to see a Free Mars, but I hope so, and I will definitely read those stories when they come. Highly recommended.

Ring Shout
9/11/20; 2:05pm CDT
P. Djèlí Clark's Ring Shout is set in Georgia in 1922, the narrator being a Black woman monster hunter, tracking down otherworldly Ku Kluxes that have infested some members of the Klan.

Black Sun
9/14/20; 5:25pm CDT
Rebecca Roanhorse hasn't completed her Sixth World series, but she's started another. Black Sun is the first in a projected trilogy with the collective title of Between Earth and Sky. I liked it, but the end was a bit frustrating.

The Once and Future Witches
9/18/20; 5:55pm CDT
Alix E. Harrow's second novel proves her first was no fluke. The Once and Future Witches is exciting, well plotted, with great characters. Witchcraft blended with political thought, even though I may have read some things into the narrative she didn't intend. Highly recommended.

City of Saints and Madmen
9/25/20; 7:00pm CDT
Jeff VanderMeer's City of Saints and Madmen, published in 2001, then revised and expanded several times since, is a collection of novellas + extras. I have it in a paperback which I hadn't read yet, but it's getting yet another edition, in an omnibus that will include two related novels, titled Ambergris. I have an ARC of that from Edelweiss, but I've also read portions in the paperback, since it doesn't seem that the omnibus will actually be the "complete" Ambergris. What I've read so far is very good, and I'll follow up later, but not before several other books.

Dreamweaver's Dilemma
9/28/20; 8:10am CDT
Dreamweaver's Dilemma is a collection of stories and essays by Lois McMaster Bujold. It also includes bibliographical information about her books and awards, a character pronunciation guide, and lots of other information. Two of the stories had been previously unpublished, including the title story. It's a worthy addition to the Bujold canon.

Seven of Infinities
9/30/20; 2:50pm CDT
Seven of Infinities is a new novella by Aliette de Bodard, set in her Xuya Universe, so I'm adding it to an existing page. Scroll up from where that link takes you in case you haven't read the other parts of the review. Each are very good, worthy of your time, with my only complaint being they should be longer, with more information and background. Otherwise highly recommended.

Ethan of Athos
10/2/20; 6:55pm CDT
Ethan of Athos was Bujold's third published novel, but it's the ninth (or tenth) in the order of the Vorkosigan Saga chronology. Not a waste of time, but not that enjoyable, landing at the very bottom of the list, my least favorite of the series that I've read so far.

Captain Vorpatril's Alliance
10/11/20; 9:45am CDT
Continuing with peripheral characters in the Vorkosigan Saga, we come to 2012's Captain Vorpatril's Alliance. I liked it, but with reservations. Could have been more tightly edited, and I got the impression all the extra expostion was tying up loose threads that could have been in another book, but probably won't.

The Flowers of Vashnoi
10/20/20; 9:45am CDT
The last Vorkosigan story to have been published, although it's second to last by internal chronology, is the novella The Flowers of Vashnoi. Miles does appear in a few scenes, but the focus is on his wife, Lady Ekaterin. Entirely too short, and this better not be her last appearance. One more novel to go and I'll be done with the Vorkosigan Saga.

The Burning God
10/26/20; 12:40pm CDT
R. F. Kuang's Poppy War series comes to an explosive conclusion in The Burning God. Almost literally heart-breaking. Recommended for those who can take it, but not for those who want their fantasy light and positive.

Shriek: An Afterword
11/2/20; 4:50pm CST
Shriek: An Afterword is the second part of Jeff VanderMeer's Ambergris trilogy. Very good, sometimes rambling and confusing, but ultimately satisfying, profound and moving. Highly recommended.

Finch
11/5/20; 2:00pm CST
The Ambergris trilogy concludes with Finch, a finalist for Nebula, World Fantasy, and Locus awards in 2010. Even more confusing that the previous books, and it will take re-readings to be sure about the end, which is why I only rated this one four stars, but the trilogy as a whole warrants the full five stars.

Bone Chase
11/10/20; 2:00pm CST
Weston Ochse's Bone Chase is a conspiracy theory thriller with an interesting premise, but poor execution.

Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell
11/22/20; 4:40pm CST
Susanna Clarke's Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell won the Hugo and a raft of other awards, and was finalist for many more. It is very long, very complex, very, very good. Highly recommended.

The Empress of Salt and Fortune
11/24/20; 4:50pm CST
This is a novella by Nghi Vo, set in a land reminiscent of imperial China, although I can't say what era or dynasty it might be based on, or if it's completely original to the author. There will be at least one sequel, due in two weeks, and the collective title is The Singing Hills Cycle.

In an Absent Dream
11/26/20; 4:40pm CST
Starting a new page with the fourth of Seanan McGuire's Wayward Children stories, In an Absent Dream. Very good and recommended.

Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell, the BBC series
11/26/20; 6:50pm CST
I was very impressed with the BBC mini-series of Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell, especially considering it was just seven episodes based on a very long book. Highly recommended.

Shadow Over Mars
11/26/20; 6:50pm CST
Leigh Brackett's Shadow Over Mars won the 1945 Retro Hugo for Best Novel, presented this year, 75 years after it would have been eligible if the Hugos existed when it was published. It's bad, really, really bad. Don't bother with it. The Kindle book was just 99¢ and that was too much.

Gentleman Jole and the Red Queen
12/2/20; 3:00pm CST
I started on the Vorkosigan Saga in January. Sixteen novels, five novellas, and one story/essay collection later, I come to the end (for now) with my thoughts on Gentleman Jole and the Red Queen. As happened a few other times, it wasn't necessarily the book I wanted to read, but I still enjoyed it, and until she writes anything else, I can entertain my own thoughts about adventures left to be explored.

The Long Tomorrow
12/5/20; 1:20pm CST
According to available information, Leigh Brackett was the first woman to be a finalist for a Best Novel Hugo, for 1955's The Long Tomorrow. It's a decent novel with a few limitations, but infinitely better than her recent Retro Hugo winner.

Come Tumbling Down
12/6/20; 2:35pm CST
Come Tumbling Down is the fifth novella in Seanan McGuire's Wayward Children series. Unfortunately it is my least favorite so far, but that doesn't mean I'm not recommending it, since I'm sure it could be someone else's favorite. As in all things, YMMV.

When the Tiger Came Down the Mountain
12/8/20; 4:25pm CST
Nghi Vo's Singing Hills Cycle continues in the second novella, When the Tiger Came Down the Mountain. The title refers to the legendary Ho Thi Thao, a shape-shifting tiger who falls in love with a human woman. The woman reciprocates. Beautiful, lyrical, heart-warming, but not without a few chills and frights along the way. Recommended.

The Ministry for the Future
12/15/20; 3:30pm CST
Kim Stanley Robinson's The Ministry for the Future is among the best I've read this year, although I acknowledge its appeal will be limited.

Across the Green Grass Fields
12/18/20; 3:30pm CST
Across the Green Grass Fields is the sixth story in Seanan McGuire's Wayward Children series, but it could easily act as an introduction. It follows one girl into her portal world, which is sort of a cross between Wonderland and Oz, with no mention of Eleanor West's school or any of the other children we've met so far. It also ends abruptly as Regan returns to her old house. I'd welcome further stories about her. Recommended.

Remote Control
12/19/20; 3:15pm CST
Nnedi Okorafor's Remote Control is another novella from Tor, a combination of science fiction and fantasy set in near-future Ghana. A young girl is infected with a substance from an alien artifact, and the powers she manifests inspires her nickname, the "Adopted Daughter of the Angel of Death." It's possible there will be more stories in the sequence, but it's complete enough to stand on its own.

The Route of Ice & Salt
12/20/20; 12:00pm CST
José Luis Zárate's The Route of Ice & Salt was originally published in 1998, in Spanish by a small Mexican press hoping to establish a market for native speculative fiction authors. That effort was not successful, and while the story later got a French translation, this is its first appearance in English, thanks to an Indiegogo campaign spearheaded by Silvia Moreno-Garcia for her independent Innsmouth Free Press. It's a retelling of Dracula's journey to England on the Demeter, full of literary metaphors and queer desire.

Piranesi
12/22/20; 4:50pm CST
Susanna Clarke's second novel, Piranesi, is quite different from her first, but no less fascinating. I "read" it in audio format, but wish I had it in print because I'd like to re-read right away. Highly recommended.

The Vanished Birds
12/26/20; 12:40pm CST
The Vanished Birds, the debut novel from Simon Jimenez, starts off brilliantly, but there are a few later disappointments. Unfortunately it would involve spoilers to explain. It gets a reserved recommendation.

The Expanse, Season 5
12/30/20; 3:55pm CST
I've watched each of the first five episodes of The Expanse, Season 5 twice already. Five more to go in a season that looks to be the best yet. My comments are brief, and as spoiler-free as I can make them.

 

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