7/28/20 - 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.
7/23/20 - Emily St. John Mandel's Station Eleven won the Arthur C. Clarke Award, and was nominated for a host of other SF trophies, as well as the National Book Award. Not sure why it took me so long to get around to it, since it's been on my Kindle for almost five years. If I had the time I'd re-read it right away, it's that good. Highly recommended.
7/19/20 - 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.
7/16/20 - 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.
7/15/20 - 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.
7/4/20 - 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.
7/1/20 - 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.
6/24/20 - Seanan McGuire's Middlegame is a Hugo finalist for Best Novel. It's good, but also frustrating, so it only gets a reserved recommendation.
6/16/20 - The third book 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.
6/14/20 - 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.
6/8/20 - 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.
6/7/20 - 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.
6/5/20 - 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.
6/4/20 - 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.
6/2/20 - 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.
5/30/20 - 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.
5/25/20 - 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.
5/21/20 - Sadly, Gene Wolfe passed away more than a year ago. Also sad, 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.
5/20/20 - 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.
5/17/20 - 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.
5/16/20 - 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.
5/10/20 - 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.
5/7/20 - 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.
5/4/20 - 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.
4/30/20 - 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.
4/28/20 - 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 #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.
4/26/20 - 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.
4/18/20 - 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.
4/14/20 - 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.
4/10/20 - 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.
4/9/20 - 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.
3/31/20 - 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.
3/23/20 - The Bill Campbell edited anthology Sunspot Jungle, Volume Two continues with both the diversity of authors and the quality of the fiction. Highly recommended.
3/16/20 - 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.
3/5/20 - 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.
3/1/20 - 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.
2/27/20 - 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.
2/23/20 - 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.
2/18/20 - 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.
2/15/20 - 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 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.
2/13/20 - 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.
2/5/20 - 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.
1/31/20 - 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.
1/26/20 - 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.
1/21/20 - 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.
1/19/20 - The first award-winning novel from newly named Grand Master Lois McMaster Bujold was 1988's Falling Free. It's very good.
1/13/20 - 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.
1/8/20 - 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 of 5 stars on Goodreads.
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.
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.
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 vote, but it still gets a positive recommendation.
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.
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, an individual one 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
7/15/19 - Do You Dream of Terra-Two? No, I don't, and I won't be thinking much about it after posting this review either. Not recommended.
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 book, but it's still very good.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
5/31/19 - Neon Twilight is another collection by Edward Bryant I got from ReAnimus Press. It's just two short stories and one novelette, plus a quirky introduction by the author. Not great, but not a waste of time either. The first and third stories are best.
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.
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.
5/21/19 - Megan E. O'Keefe has written several other novels, none of which I've read, that seem to be steampunk/fantasy. Now she turns to science fiction, verging toward space opera. Velocity Weapon is the first book in a series with the collective title of The Protectorate. It boasts an intricate, twisty, fast-paced plot, with several interesting characters, including a traumatized AI spaceship. A good start to a series I'll want to follow, especially because it ends on multiple cliffhangers.
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.
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.
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. As individual stories they are mostly very good, but taken as a whole there are too many repetitions of themes, not enough uniqueness. Recommended, but with those reservations.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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."
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
3/24/19 - Sarah Pinsker has only been publishing stories for a little more than six years, and yet has wracked up an impressive number of award nominations, with one Nebula and one Sturgeon Award wins. Her first collection, Sooner Or Later Everything Falls Into The Sea, is highly recommended.
3/21/19 - Hanna Alkaf's The Weight of Our Sky is a very impressive debut novel, and contender for best new book I've read this year. It 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.
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 better, and 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.
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.
3/12/19 - In spite of Arthur C. Clarke's weakness in regards character development, Rendezvous With Rama is still highly recommended.
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.
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.
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.
2/28/19 - Tade Thompson's novella The Murders of Molly Southbourne won a 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.
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.
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.
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, and I hope he returns to this series soon.
2/18/19 - Although not the first Fred 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.
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.
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.
2/11/19 - Frederik Pohl's Man Plus won the Nebula in 1977. I recall liking it when I read it about forty years ago. This time, not so much.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 to believable in this gun-obsessed culture.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 I reviewed last Saturday. But only slightly. 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
11/24/18 - Beneath the Sugar Sky is the third entry in Seanan McGuire's Wayward Children series. We go from children isolated from their families, even from the other children at Eleanor West's school, to some of them learning how to open up and cooperate with others. In other words, learning how to be an ally.
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.
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.
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.
11/15/18 - I've re-read George Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-Four, for the third time I believe. It's still a great book after all these years, doubleplusgood as they say, although I'm sure my thoughts on it don't bring anything new to the discussion.
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.
11/7/18 - The first words that come to mind in describing Gabino Iglesias' Coyote Songs might sound negative, but they're merely descriptive. Devastating, horrific, gut-wrenching. He calls it a novel, but it's actually separate character studies, although they do share common themes. If you're willing to stare into the abyss, look evil in the eye, and face the consequences come what may, you may like this. I did, and I'm not even that big a horror fan.
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. I may be in the minority, since it's getting very positive reviews from professionals and other readers.
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.
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.
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.
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.
9/25/18 - The Black God's Drums by P. Djèlí Clark is a novella, an alt-history/steampunk tale set in New Orleans sometime in the latter half of the 19th Century. Great characters, exciting action. Definitely recommended.
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. Highly recommended.
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, and even if she never returns to this story I'll be thinking about the possibilities for a long time.
8/30/18 - Tomi Adeyemi's first novel, Children of Blood and Bone, is also the first in a proposed trilogy titled the Lecacy of Orïsha. Just because I used that name in the page URL does not mean I will be reading the later books. Maybe, maybe not. There are some very well written scenes, of both action and character development, but other elements are too clichéd. Being a YA title, I fully admit I am not the target audience, but also acknowledge it has been highly praised by others.
8/28/18 - Earlier this year I reviewed Eliot Peper's Bandwidth. I haven't yet deleted that page, but decided to create a new one, combining the multiple books of his Analog series. The second title is Borderless, with a third, Breach, mentioned as being in the editing phase. I will definitely be reading that when it's available.
8/26/18 - Zero Sum Game is the first book in the Cas Russell series by S. L. Huang. It is not a new book, but it is getting a new edited version in October. Originally self-published in 2014, Tor Books now has the rights to it and its sequels. It's very good.
8/24/18 - Another NetGalley e-book, Charlie Jane Anders' new(old) novella, Rock Manning Goes For Broke. Individual parts had been previously published, but it was all new to me. A special edition hardcover is due on September 30 from Subterranean Press. It's expensive, way beyond my budget, but I hope a paperback and/or e-book comes out later. It's an incredible story, I'd like more people to have an chance to read it.
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.
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.
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.
8/15/18 - Two reviews today. The first is a novella, self-published by Premee Mohamed. The Apple-Tree Throne is an alt-history rumination on the futility of war, and an indictment of class privilege. Very good. Then there's the long awaited Irontown Blues, another Eight Worlds novel by John Varley. Not a waste of time, but not as good as I'd hoped.
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.
8/10/18 - Another older, short stand-alone novel, something rapidly becoming extinct in modern SF. In spite of the problematic element of how some women characters are depicted, Alfred Bester's 1956 novel, The Stars My Destination, is still a good book, fast-paced, great world-building, with several elements that pre-date cyberpunk. It probably would have won a Hugo if not for the fact awards were only presented to magazines that year.
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.
8/5/18 - The Descent of Monsters is the third novella in JY Yang's Tensorate series. It's a lot shorter than the previous two, and it raised some concerns that I may have forgotten details, so after finishing it I went back and re-read all of them again. I made a few minor edits to the previous sections, so if interested just scroll up to the top of that page.
8/1/18 - Fonda Lee's Jade City has received many award nominations, including for the Nebula, so it was one I anticipated liking. I can't say I'm sorry I read it, but it just didn't wow me. Again, YMMV.
7/17/18 - Robert Jackson Bennett starts a new fantasy trilogy with Foundryside. Recommended, but with minor caveats.
7/12/18 - 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.
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.
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.
6/29/18 - An exciting new post-apocalyptic SF/F/H series begins. Rebecca Roanhorse's debut novel, Trail of Lightning, is the first book of The Sixth World. Recommended.
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, maybe even below No Award. YMMV.
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.
6/21/18 - Earth is not completely broken at the end of N. K. Jemisin's The Stone Sky, the conclusion of the Broken Earth trilogy, but the outcome was uncertain right up to the very end. Most every question is answered, including my confusion of whether to consider it science fiction or fantasy. It's Science Fantasy. And recommended, although still not my absolute favorite books from the past few years.
6/13/18 - Rachel Heng's debut novel is Suicide Club. Its premise and a couple of the characters are interesting, but it's frequently inconsistent and illogical in the world-building and plot.
6/10/18 - Another award-winner (Nebula) from Vonda McIntyre, The Moon and the Sun, was not as good as I had hoped.
5/31/18 - Vonda N. McIntyre's Dreamsnake won both the Hugo and Nebula in 1979, but this was the first time I read it. I rated it only three stars on Goodreads. It would have been higher based on the evocative prose and interesting characters, maybe a bit lower for the meandering plot that never quite jelled.
5/25/18 - At least Yoon Ha Lee was consistent. Revenant Gun was just as confusing and frustrating as the first two books.
5/17/18 - The second book in Yoon Ha Lee's Machineries of Empire trilogy is Raven Stratagem. It is a finalist for this year's Hugo. Maybe a bit less confusing than the first, but disappointing because it was mostly set-up for the concluding volume.
5/9/18 - Yoon Ha Lee's Ninefox Gambit was a finalist for a Hugo last year, as well as the Nebula and Clarke awards, and it won the Locus poll for Best 1st Novel. I did read it but didn't review because I was so confused I felt a re-read was in order. The time for that has come since the second book in the series is up for a Hugo this year. I'm still confused, but still looking forward to the next book.
5/4/18 - Bruja Born is the second book in Zoraida Córdova's series about a family of Brooklyn Brujas. I think it's just as good as the first book, and it opens the story up to many other factions not mentioned before, with hints as to where the story might go later. Recommended.
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.
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.
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.
4/15/18 - Sylvain Neuvel brings his Themis Files trilogy to a close with Only Human. In spite of the fact I felt the narrative technique was an affected conceit, that every single thing was a recorded dialog, or a written log or letter, with no other exposition or description, the story is still compelling, with a satisfactory conclusion. I recommend the entire series. The link goes to the new comments; if you haven't read any of the previous review, just scroll up to the top of the page.
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.
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.
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.
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.
4/4/18 - Future Fiction: New Dimensions in International Science Fiction is a collaborative effort between editors Bill Campbell of Rosarium Publishing in the US, and Francesco Verso of Italy's Future Fiction. Twelve stories from around the world, mostly SF about advanced tech, in both positive and negative situations, as well as one fantasy. One is new, the others are reprints whose original publications range from 2003-2016. The quality ranges from good to excellent, with two of them I would have on a tentative list for next year's Hugos if they weren't already several years old. Recommended, and hopefully just the first of many future volumes.
3/27/18 - Michael Bishop won a Nebula for 1982's No Enemy But Time, a thoughtful, introspective look at a man who feels he doesn't belong in the modern world. Maybe he really belongs in Pleistocene era Africa, which he is able to visit as participant in a time-travel experiment. Highly recommended.
3/20/18 - Another Net Galley title, one offered in an email rather than me searching for it or selecting it off one of their lists. I do not recommend School For Psychics. The only reason I finished it and am reviewing is because I did download it, and I feel obligated so that I don't lose free e-book privileges. I'll now let this book and the name K. C. Archer fade from memory.
3/20/18 - I got a free e-book of Julia Whicker's debut novel, Wonderblood, from Net Galley in exchange for an honest review. Honestly, the prose is impeccable in places, evocative of place and mood, but the plot and character development left me cold. Yet another start of a multi-book saga, one I'll likely not want to continue with. YMMV.
3/16/18 - Another great debut novel, Jeannette Ng's Under the Pendulum Sun, a story of the fae and a couple of humans(?) who try to understand them. About six hours left until Hugo nomination deadline, and I already had a solid five titles on my list, but now have to decide whether this one bumps another off the ballot. I might not finalize that until the bitter end. This is very good, but so are the other five.
3/12/18 - Nalo Hopkinson's debut novel was Brown Girl in the Ring. It won a Locus award as Best 1st Novel, and also helped her get the John W. Campbell Award as Best New Writer in 1999. Both were well deserved.
2/18/18 - I've been reading shorter stories the past couple of weeks, and some were novellas that are in print (and Kindle) editions. I have a strong hunch that one or the other, if not both, of the Tensorate Duology by JY Yang will get a lot of Hugo nominations.
2/5/18 - Roger Zelazny won his first Hugo for This Immortal, which was originally titled "...And Call Me Conrad" when it was serialized in the Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction in 1965. It actually tied with Dune, which is a much better book.
2/2/18 - The Philosopher's Flight is the debut novel by Tom Miller. It's an alt-history with a magical touch. Highly recommended.
1/29/18 - I've added to an existing page, since Blood Binds the Pack is a sequel to Alex Wells' Hunger Makes the Wolf. That link goes to the new comments. If you haven't read the review of the previous book, just scroll up to the top of that page. I think there will be at least one more book in the sequence, although it has not been announced yet.
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.
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.
1/17/18 - Nnedi Okorafor says The Night Masquerade completes the Binti trilogy, but I hope that doesn't mean she won't evenually write more about this exraordinary character.
1/15/18 - Karen Lord's first novel, Redemption in Indigo, won the Mythopeoic Fantasy Award for Adult Literature, and was nominated for the World Fantasy Award. It's one of the best I've read in quite a while. Highly recommended.
1/14/18 - Robert Silverberg's A Time of Changes won the 1971 Nebula Award. It is good, interesting characters and intricate worldbuilding, but it has a few flaws. Not my favorite from that year, but still recommended for his fluid prose style.
1/10/18 - Shadowhouse Fall is a continuation of Daniel José Older's Shadowshaper Cypher. Lots of action, hardly any of it repetitive, plenty of surprises along the way. Recommended, as is the entire saga so far.
1/1/18 - My first review of the year is for Silvia Moreno-Garcia's novella, Prime Meridian. She self-published with funds gained through an Indiegogo campaign, and even though it is copyright 2017 and eligible for current award consideration, its conventional publication date is not until July 10.
12/22/17 - Another review for a book I can't recommend, Humans, Bow Down, by James Patterson, Emily Raymond & Jill Dembowski, although I have no way of knowing how much each contributed to the story.
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.
12/14/17 - My latest review is for something I can't recommend, Sarah Gailey's novella, River of Teeth.
12/12/17 - Kim Stanley Robinson's New York 2140 looks at how the city has managed to survive after fifty feet of rising seas transformed the landscape, transformed its citizens, how the mundane and the miraculous blend to keep the city as lively as it has always been. It's as much a character showcase as it is one of physical change, and it's the main reason it's recommended.
12/7/17 - The seventh novel in the Expanse book series is Persepolis Rising. I could nit-pick a couple of plot points, 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.
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.
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.
11/22/17 - Hunger Makes the Wolf is the debut novel from Alex Wells. Characters and situations might remind you of other stories, but the exciting action makes up for it. Get ready for biker gang witches fighting an evil corporation on a desert mining planet. Hob Ravani ROCKS!
11/18/17 - Labyrinth Lost by Zoraida Córdova is the first book in a new series, Brooklyn Brujas. It's very good, great characters under duress, growing into their magical powers. Recommended.
11/12/17 - Originally published separately in paperback, Ursula Le Guin's first long fiction was first collected in an omnibus titled Three Hainish Novels, but later editions changed that to Worlds of Exile and Illusion.
10/24/17 - Nearly a year ago I posted a review of Ursula K. Le Guin's Powers, which was so good I knew I'd eventually get around to reading the first two books of that series. Now I have - The Annals of the Western Shore.
10/20/17 - The Hidden Face is S. C. Flynn's second novel. Sadly, I didn't like it that much.
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.
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.
10/1/17 - Joan Vinge's The Snow Queen won Hugo and Locus awards, and was a Nebula finalist. I did not enjoy it as much as I'd hoped, and it didn't generate much interest in reading any of the sequels, two of which I already have. Maybe someday, but not soon.
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.
9/14/17 - My latest review is for another Nebula winner, 2003's The Speed of Dark by Elizabeth Moon. It's a compelling character study of an autistic adult in a near future society. Very good, but with points deducted for a rushed ending.
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.
9/4/17 - Neil Gaiman's The Graveyard Book won a Hugo in 2009. It's okay, but I can't really recommend it. Not as serious as the subject deserved.
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.
8/29/17 - I've again edited my comments on The Fifth Season, then added thoughts on The Obelisk Gate, the second book of N. K. Jemisin's Broken Earth trilogy.
8/24/17 - I've just finished a second read of N. K. Jemisin's The Fifth Season, which won the Hugo last year. I liked it a lot more this time around, and have revised the review, and will be getting to the second book, The Obelisk Gate, soon. It won the Hugo this year.
8/19/17 - Nicola Griffith's Slow River, the Nebula winner for 1996, is good and recommended, but with a caveat. It could be traumatic for anyone who has suffered mental or physical abuse themselves.
8/10/17 - I recall liking Stand on Zanzibar the first time I read it. This time...not so much. A lot of potential, so little of it realized.
8/4/17 - Reincarnation Blues by Michael Poore is another title I got free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. It's a mixed bag, lots of humor, but also deep insight into the value of a good life, what perfection might mean. It's best quality is its unpredictability.
7/30/17 - I think this marks the third time I've read Stephen King's The Gunslinger, the first of his long-running Dark Tower series. I have most of the others, not sure why I haven't gotten to them yet, but one day...?
7/25/17 - Gregory Benford won a Nebula for 1980's Timescape. Maybe not the best that year, but still a strong novel in spite of a few flaws.
7/18/17 - Another update to the Expanse book reviews, concerning the latest novella, Strange Dogs.
7/11/17 - Two new pages today. The better of the books I've read lately is Daniel José Older's Shadowshaper, with so far that novel and two novellas in the sequence, and another novel due in September. The other is not quite as good, but still worthwhile, and it checks one more award winner off the list of that project: Pat Murphy's The Falling Woman, the Nebula winner in 1987.
6/13/17 - The Strange Case of the Alchemist's Daughter is the debut novel by Theodora Goss. It is strange indeed, but it's debatable as to which character the title refers. Perhaps it's the first we meet, Mary, who happens to be the daughter of Dr. Henry Jekyll, but there are many other candidates. Highly recommended, and I hope we get more adventures concerning these remarkable women.
6/6/17 - Victor LaValle's The Changeling is a fantastical horror story, continually surprising and unpredictable. Recommended.
5/26/17 - One of this year's Hugo finalists is Becky Chambers' A Closed and Common Orbit, which is a sequel to her first novel, but luckily enough of a stand-alone story to appreciate on its own.
5/22/17 - Radiate is the third book in C. A. Higgins' Lightless series. It's not any better than the first two, and I'm sorry I wasted so much time on them. Not recommended.
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."
4/26/17 - Robert Jackson Bennett's conclusion to the Divine Cities trilogy is City of Miracles. As good as the previous in many respects, better in several particulars, it raises my opinon of the series up to a near perfect 5/5 stars. Exciting and continually unpredictable, profound and moving, it does not disappoint.
4/19/17 - Margaret Atwood's cautionary The Handmaid's Tale remains as relevant today as when it was written in 1985. Very powerful and disturbing, but well worth your time.
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. That "?" 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.
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.
3/27/17 - Sylvain Neuvel's Themis Files continues with the second book, Waking Gods. It still follows the same style, recorded conversations, personal journals, military logs, with no other narrative expostion. The story is still intriguing, but it gets a bit tiresome at times.
3/22/17 - I've updated the Earthseed review with thoughts on the second book, Parable of the Talents. Both are near perfect, with my only complaint being there probably should have been at least one more in the series to fully explore the Earthseed philosophy. I did make a few edits to the first part, so if you're interested, or if you haven't read it yet, just scroll up to the top of that page.
3/18/17 - Parable of the Sower by Octavia E. Butler is the first book of Earthseed. It's a chilling look at an all too probable post-apocalyptic America, although it is also hopeful and optimistic. I'll continue that page with thoughts on the second book as soon as possible.
2/9/17 - George Saunders has won several awards for short stories and non-fiction essays, and has also written children's books. The first thing of his I've read is his first novel, Lincoln in the Bardo, which is borderline fantasy, but based on his previous work is likely to be embraced more by mainstream critics and readers. It's damn good, and I highly recommend it.
2/7/17 - Peter Beagle returns with another tale of unicorns, but unfortunately In Calabria is not as good as his most iconic book.
2/6/17 - The Voices of Martyrs is a story collection from Maurice Broaddus, which covers a wide range of plots central to the Black experience, and should appeal to anyone who appreciates intriguing characters and situations. Recommended.
2/1/17 - Last year's Hugo & Nebula winner for best novella was Nnedi Okorafor's Binti. Yesterday saw the release of the continuation of the story, Binti: Home. I review them both.
1/30/17 - Another debut novel, and the start of another series. Sylvain Neuvel's Sleeping Gods is the first part of the Themis Files. A second book will be out in April, but I'm not sure yet if there will be more than that.
1/28/17 - After spending most of the month reading short stories in preparation for the Hugos, I finally finished Ada Palmer's first novel, Too Like the Lightning, which is the first of a two book series known as Terra Ignota. That's Latin for Unknown Earth, and it is similar to how utopia means "no place." It's good, very ambitious, but it does have its flaws.
12/17/16 - Latest review is of United States of Japan by Peter Tieryas. A few negatives concerning narrative structure and technique, but still an enjoyable read.
12/14/16 - Colson Whitehead's The Underground Railroad recently won the National Book Award. It is historical fiction with a speculative twist. Actual trains, traveling under the soil of Southern states, carry escaped slaves to freedom, even if that freedom is short-lived, or in some cases just as dangerous as what they were fleeing. A powerful story of events that should never be forgotten.
12/9/16 - I've reviewed all of the books and stories in The Expanse series by James S. A. Corey so far, but that page was getting very long, so I've started a new page. Book 6 is Babylon's Ashes, and there are at least three more novels that will follow in years to come.
12/6/16 - The Devourers by Indra Das can be read as a horror/fantasy set in India, or a dark, psychological tale of a confused man. Either way, it's very good.
11/13/16 - Powers, by Ursula K. Le Guin, won a Nebula in 2008. It's the third volume in a trilogy known as the Annals of the Western Shore. I don't have the first two in the sequence, but luckily this one was mostly a stand-alone story. It's very good.
10/20/16 - The latest release from the Tor.com novella program is Laurie Penny's Everything Belongs to the Future. It's her first fiction story I believe, and is flawed, but it's an interesting premise.
10/14/16 - I've finished a second reading of Malka Older's Infomocracy, and I liked it even more this time. I've edited a few lines and added some other comments. This is the best book I've read from 2016 so far, it's on the top of my list for a Hugo nomination.
10/5/16 - Cumulus by Eliot Peper is a near future techno-thriller. Fast-paced, action-filled, but points deducted for minimal plot background and character development. Not a waste of time, and I'll probably read more from him in the future.
9/29/16 - Two reviews today, both for Tor.com novellas that are alternate takes on Lovecraft stories. Victor LaValle's The Ballad of Black Tom and The Dream-Quest of Vellitt Boe by Kij Johnson.
9/25/16 - Seanan McGuire's Every Heart a Doorway is one of the first novellas Tor.com released in print form. Part fairy tale, part gothic horror. Recommended for those who prefer fantasy laced with metaphorical connections to real life.
9/24/16 - After Atlas is Emma Newman's follow up to last year's Planetfall, although I wouldn't call it a direct sequel. It won't be published until Nov. 8, but I got an advance copy from NetGalley. I inquired of the author on Twitter if it was too soon to post a review, she didn't think so, but tagged her editor in her reply. If they ask me to take it down I will, but I'm very enthusiastic about it and didn't want to wait.
9/22/16 - Connie Willis' latest novel is Crosstalk. Enjoyable enough, but more like a rom-com novel, lightweight in comparison to some of her other work.
9/18/16 - It has been a long time since I've read Peter Beagle, so it's hard to compare his latest with his other fantasies. While Summerlong might be different in style and tone, it's still very good.
9/7/16 - Everfair is the first novel from Nisi Shawl. It's been described as a steampunk alternate history, and it is that, but so much more. It details the efforts to create a utopian society in the heart of early 20th Century Africa. Did they succeed? Maybe, but you know what they say about utopia?
8/31/16 - Charlie Jane Anders' first SF novel, All the Birds in the Sky, is both a whimsical fantasy and a profoundly philosophical investigation of man and his trust in science. Recommended.
8/28/16 - Silvia Moreno-Garcia's second novel, Certain Dark Things, doesn't come out until Oct. 25, and I might be too early with this review. But I don't care. It's great, and highly recommended.
8/15/16 - Where Late the Sweet Birds Sang by Kate Wilhelm was the Hugo winner in 1977. Beautifully written, strong character drama, but light on the scientific end of things.
8/10/16 - C. J. Cherryh's Hugo-winning Downbelow Station is not as good as I remembered, but I'm sure my tastes have changed somewhat. Ambitious, but not a tight narrative.
8/2/16 - Stuart Charles Flynn's debut novel is Children of the Different. Recommended, with minor reservations.
7/30/16 - I continue my exploration of Earthsea with Tehanu, winner of a Nebula as best novel of 1990. At the time of its publication it was subtitled The Last Book of Earthsea. That would have to be dropped on later reprints when another novel came out in 2001.
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.
7/17/16 - Supernova is the follow-up to last year's Lightless by C. A. Higgins. It's not much of an improvement.
6/29/16 - Once again it seems my opinion doesn't correspond with the majority. N. K. Jemisin's The Fifth Season is the start of a new trilogy. It was nominated for a Nebula and Locus (didn't win either), but also up for a Hugo, so I needed to read it before voting. Not sure if I'll read the follow-ups, unless they are also nominated or win an award.
6/10/16 - Jim Butcher's The Aeronaut's Windlass is the first book in a series called The Cinder Spires. It has been nominated for a Hugo. It's entertaining, but not what I would call award-worthy. YMMV.
6/4/16 - Updates on two book series reviews today. It's been a while since I finished Nemesis Games, the fifth book of the Expanse series by James S. A. Corey, but I finally got around to writing about it. I had thought I would edit out some spoilers from previous sections of the review, instead I just added more spoiler warnings. Read at your own risk. The other update is for the second book in Le Guin's Earthsea saga, The Tombs of Atuan. I liked it a lot more than the first one.
5/26/16 - The first novel from the Tor.com imprint is also the first novel from Malka Older. Infomocracy is a taut political thriller set about fifty years in the future, in a world transformed by micro-democracy and the advanced technologies of Information. Recommended.
5/22/16 - A Wizard of Earthsea by Ursula K. Le Guin is highly regarded by most critics and readers. I rate it a little lower than the SF books I've read from her, but I'm hoping the later books change my mind.
5/15/16 - The latest Nebula winning novel is Uprooted by Naomi Novik. On the surface it's a fairly typical fairy tale, but it is surprisingly also a compelling and unpredictable story. Recommended.
3/16/16 - Ken Liu's The Grace of Kings has received generally positive reviews as well as a Nebula nomination for Best Novel. It's apparent others liked it more than me.
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.
2/29/16 - Three book reviews today, one good, one very good, one disappointing. In that order, they are The Mechanical, the first book in the Alchemy War series by Ian Tregills; The Water Knife by Paolo Bacigalupi; and Not Dark Yet by Berit Ellingsen.
2/18/16 - Le Guin's first story collection, The Wind's Twelve Quarters, won a Locus Award as Best Single Author Collection. The individual stories boast four award winners, along with nine other nominations. Yeah, most are that good.
2/13/16 - Le Guin again, this time her Hugo-winning novella from 1972, The Word For World As Forest. Definitely not as good as the two previously reviewed, and not even the best novella from that year.
2/9/16 - Le Guin also won a Hugo and Nebula (among other awards) for 1974's The Dispossessed. A strong contender for one of the best novels SF has ever seen.
2/3/16 - Ursula K. Le Guin won her first Hugo, and Nebula, with 1969's The Left Hand of Darkness. It's another classic that is just as good today as when it was published.
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.
1/27/16 - City of Blades is the second book in The Divine Cities series by Robert Jackson Bennett. It's even better than the first. If you haven't yet read my review of the first book just scroll up to the top of that page.
1/18/16 - City of Stairs is the first of a trilogy from Robert Jackson Bennett, under the collective title of The Divine Cities. The second book is out next week, but I already have an advance copy, so I'll update as soon as possible.
1/7/16 - Emma Newman's Planetfall is recommended.
1/2/16 - Harlan Ellison's latest book contains previously uncollected stories, quite a few of them old ones, but rewritten for this publication. Unfortunately, Can & Can'Tankerous is only for the die-hard fans.
11/19/15 - At this time I'd say that Cibola Burn is tied with Leviathan Wakes as the best of The Expanse series.
11/13/15 - Leiber won his second novel Hugo with The Wanderer. It's only a little bit better than the previous one.
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.
10/27/15 - Gene Wolfe's latest book is A Borrowed Man. I suppose I'll reread it one of these days, since there is usually a need to read between (and over and under) his lines. On the surface it's a fairly simple mystery story, but with multiple SF elements. A reread might make it more satisfying, but right now I have to say it's not.
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 really a transitional tale leading up to what I expect will be even more action in the subsequent books.
10/19/15 - Edward Bryant wrote only one novel, the previously reviewed Phoenix Without Ashes, but he was a master of the short story. His second collection, published in 1976, was Cinnabar.
10/14/15 - Kim Stanley Robinson's latest Hard-SF tale is Aurora. Recommended, but with reservations.
10/8/15 - Ann Leckie's Imperial Radch trilogy concludes with Ancillary Mercy.
9/26/15 - I just finished the second book in Weston Ochse's Task Force OMBRA series, Grunt Traitor. If you didn't read what I posted about the first book three weeks ago, just scroll up to the top of that page.
9/14/15 - Two new reviews today, 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.
9/5/15 - Weston Ochse's Grunt Life is the first book in a series about alien invasion. It's good and recommended.
9/2/15 - Kameron Hurley's Worldbreaker Saga has been getting a lot of positive buzz, but since I'm not as fond of fantasy I was not as impressed. It's good, just not what interests me. YMMV.
8/18/15 - On his 90th birthday, I review Brian Aldiss' most recent (and maybe his last) novel, Finches of Mars. No one is more disappointed than me when I say it is not very good.
8/9/15 - Stories For Chip, an anthology in tribute to Samuel R. Delany, edited by Nisi Shawl and Bill Campbell.
7/20/15 - Scott Hawkins' The Library at Mount Char is not the sort of story I'm normally drawn to, being more fantasy than science fiction, but it has been getting rave reviews by many I have been following on Twitter and Facebook. They were right. It is fantastic.
7/8/15 - I've finished, for now, my review on Jeff VanderMeer's Southern Reach Trilogy, although I'm still thinking about it and might edit that page in the future. The first novel, Acceptance won the Nebula this year, and the entire trilogy was nominated for a Locus Award (didn't win), and most recently for the World Fantasy Award to be announced in November. I do need to move on to another book, yet I feel I might be stuck in Area X for a long time.
6/29/15 - Made some minor edits to original review, then added comments on Authority, the second book in Jeff VanderMeer's Southern Reach Trilogy. I've already started on the third book and will update soon.
6/23/15 - Ray Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451 started out as a novella, "The Fireman," in Galaxy magazine, then expanded two years later. Fifty years after that it received a Retro Hugo award.
6/21/15 - It has been nearly three years since I reviewed James S. A. Corey's Leviathan Wakes. I've finally gotten around to the second book, Caliban's War, and decided to combine the reviews to one page, so I had to change the URL for that page, plus I edited it a bit and added some comments about two prequel short stories. So even if you had read that review, take a look at the revised page for The Expanse.
6/15/15 - Jeff VanderMeer's Annihilation won this year's Nebula for Best Novel. It is the first book in the Southern Reach Trilogy. It was very good, should have also been nominated for a Hugo. I've ordered the other books and will add to this review as soon as possible.
6/13/15 - The 2015 inductees to the SF Hall of Fame have been announced. Click through to see the latest additions to this elite group.
6/1/15 - I just read Arthur C. Clarke's Childhood's End for what I think was the third time. It's still just as good as I remembered, although more mystical and less scientific than the majority of his other books.
5/23/15 - The Goblin Emperor by Katherine Addison is another novel nominated for awards, including the Nebula, Hugo and Locus. Sorry, but I can't recommend it.
5/16/15 - The Three Body Problem by Cixin Liu is being promoted as the most popular and best selling SF book in China. The English translation has been nominated for just about every award imaginable. I'm wondering why.
5/7/15 - Ancillary Sword by Ann Leckie is a sequel to last year's multiple award-winning Ancillary Justice. It has already won this year's BSFA for Best Novel, and is also nominated for the Nebula, Hugo, and Locus awards.
4/12/15 - Michael Swanwick won a Nebula for Stations of the Tide in 1992. It was also nominated for the Hugo, Arthur C. Clarke and John W. Campbell Memorial awards.
4/12/15 - I've edited my Hugogate article with a few more thoughts and clarifications.
4/7/15 - My thoughts on the Hugo nomination controversy, which I'm calling Hugogate, although I'm not sure if anyone else named it that before me.
4/4/15 - I just updated the Hugo/Nebula pages, reflecting the nominees for this years' awards. Nebula winners will be announced in June, the Hugos in August.
4/1/15 - No, this is not a joke. I finally finished my profile article on Samuel R. Delany, and I also created another main page for him with links to the various reviews I've done, and there will be more to come, but I'll move on to something else first. Also created a new page with a list of all the SFWA Grand Masters, which includes a list at the bottom of the page of other writers I feel are deserving of the award in the future.
3/26/15 - Stars In My Pocket Like Grains Of Sand by Samuel R. Delany.
3/15/15 - Stanislaw Lem's The Futurological Congress.
1/18/15 - Andy Weir's first novel, The Martian is recommended.
1/11/15 - Neuromancer was William Gibson's first novel. It won the Hugo, Nebula and Philip K. Dick awards. It deserved them.
1/4/15 - Samuel R. Delany's Triton, later retitled Trouble on Triton, meanders around a bit looking for its focus, and I did set it aside several times because of that, but in the end the effort was worth it for the insightful thoughts on individuality, freedom and societal mores.
11/25/14 - Getting back to an award winner, I take a look at Flowers for Algernon, which tied for a Nebula with the previously reviewed Babel-17 by Samuel Delany. An earlier short story version also won a Hugo.
11/16/14 - And now the Sigil Trilogy review is complete, although I won't rule out editing it later in case I think of something else to say.
11/13/14 - Way back in April I posted a review of the first book in The Sigil Trilogy by Henry Gee. I wish I hadn't waited so long for the second one, Scourge of Stars, because it's very good and I'll be finishing up on the third one as soon as possible.
10/22/14 - Dark Lightning by John Varley.
10/15/14 - The Man Who Folded Himself by David Gerrold.
10/13/14 - Rite of Passage by Alexei Panshin, the Nebula Winner in 1968.
9/10/14 - John Christopher's juvenile novel, The Lotus Caves from 1969.
9/10/14 - Delany again. This time it's his Nebula-nominated Dhalgren from 1975. Long, complex and confusing, but still his best book as far as I'm concerned.
9/2/14 - Continuing with the work of Grand Master Samuel R. Delany, I now take a look at his 1968 novel Nova.
8/26/14 - Gregg Macklin, aka Starflight, has just published his first novel. In spite of a few stumbles by a beginning writer, Time's Crossroads is an entertaining read.
8/18/14 - I just updated the Hugo/Nebula pages to reflect the winners of the 2014 Hugos announced last night at LonCon3.
7/14/14 - Ancillary Justice is Ann Leckie's first novel. It won the Nebula this year and is also nominated for a Hugo. It's very good.
6/17/14 - The Jewels of Aptor was the first of Samuel R. Delany's stories to be published. It does exhibit some of the strengths we would later see him develop more fully, but it is ultimately unsatisfying.
5/14/14 - The Einstein Intersection, the second Nebula winner from Samuel R. Delany.
4/14/14 - Samuel R. Delany's Babel-17 earned him his first Nebula award, and in the current print edition is joined by a connected story, "Empire Star."
4/6/14 - Siege of Stars, the first book of the Sigil Trilogy by Henry Gee.
2/15/14 - Two reviews today, both Heinlein novels that won a Hugo. Double Star got him his first award, and his last was a posthumous Retro for Farmer in the Sky.
2/3/14 - Bring the Jubilee, Ward Moore's alternate history tale from 1953.
1/31/14 - Winter's Tale by Mark Helprin, from 1983.
1/19/14 - 2312 by Kim Stanley Robinson, winner of the 2012 Nebula.
1/5/14 - Redshirts by John Scalzi, last year's Hugo winner.
1/1/14 - The first book review of the year is for Costigan's Needle by Jerry Sohl, which I got as an e-book from ReAnimus Press.
12/8/13 - Walter M. Miller's A Canticle For Leibowitz is just as powerful a novel now as when it won the Hugo in 1961. Highly recommended.
11/25/13 - 11/22/63 by Stephen King.
11/10/13 - The Day of the Triffids by John Wyndham.
11/3/13 - Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card, winner of the Hugo & Nebula awards.
7/6/13 - The Chrysalids by John Wyndham.
2/24/13 - The Midwich Cuckoos by John Wyndham.
2/12/13 - Phoenix Without Ashes, a look at the novel by Edward Bryant and the graphic novel by Harlan Ellison, both based on Ellison's award-winning pilot script for the ill-fated television series The Starlost.
10/31/12 - Bug Jack Barron, Norman Spinrad's controversial 1969 novel.
10/17/12 - Leviathan Wakes is the first novel in a series collectively called The Expanse. A second novel (Caliban's War) and a couple of related short stories have already been published with a third novel on the way. They are credited to James S. A. Corey, which is a pen name used by Daniel Abraham and Ty Franck. It was nominated as Best Novel this year for both a Hugo and the Locus Readers' Poll. It's pretty good, and I look forward to more from these guys. I'll update this review when I get around to them.
10/3/12 - Jo Walton's Among Others, winner of both the Hugo & Nebula this year, as well as being nominated for the World Fantasy Award.
9/8/12 - John Varley's latest novel is Slow Apocalypse. Quite a bit different that anything else he's done.
9/3/12 - 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.
8/5/12 - Larry Niven's Ringworld, another dual winner.
7/8/12 - The Yiddish Policemen's Union, the Hugo and Nebula winner from 2007.
6/11/12 - The Templeton Gate is now an affiliate of ReAnimusPress, which is bringing back older SF titles in e-book formats (not printed books). My first review of one of their titles is of Jerry Sohl's Night Slaves from 1965.
3/11/12 - The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins.
1/2/12 - The first review of the new year is for Robert Charles Wilson's Spin, winner of the 2006 Hugo.
12/4/11 - I finally finished Blue Mars and have completed my review, although I reserve the right to go back and edit if I think of something else to say. I think I will work on a profile page for Robinson next.
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.
10/23/11 - I've been lazy again, but I just uploaded my profile article on Connie Willis' career to date, as well as creating a "main" page to list that article plus the individual book reviews already done.
9/25/11 - Now I take a look at Willis' Nebula winner To Say Nothing of the Dog.
8/18/11 - I review Connie Willis' Blackout & All Clear, this year's winner of both the Hugo and Nebula award for best novel.
6/19/11 - Here's my profile of Philip José Farmer.
6/12/11 - I believe Night Music is the first published story from Tobias Cabral. If so, it is a very impressive debut, and I look forward to more from him.
5/30/11 - A look at the first two books in the Riverworld series by Philip José Farmer, along with mention of an earlier version of the story. A profile page on Farmer will follow soon.
4/2/11 - I continue with my reviews of award winning books with Clifford D. Simak's Way Station.
3/13/11 - Robert Silverberg's latest book, The Last Song of Orpheus, is very short, but worth your time.
3/6/11 - The Man in the High Castle, Philip K. Dick's only Hugo winner.
2/26/11 - The City & the City by China Miéville, co-winner of the 2010 Hugo.
1/23/11 - Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Season 8 Graphic Novels.
1/2/11 - Hyperion by Dan Simmons, winner of the 1990 Hugo.
12/5/10 - The Windup Girl by Paolo Bacigalupi won a ton of awards this past year, but until I read all the other nominees I can't be sure it was really all that. It has its good points to be sure, but I was not as impressed as everyone else seems to be. Maybe it's just me.
11/14/10 - The Forever Machine (aka "They'd Rather Be Right") by Mark Clifton and Frank Riley was the second novel to win a Hugo. It did not deserve it, and if I hadn't already promised myself I would review all the winners I would not have finished it.
10/31/10 - Alfred Bester was among the first of the authors profiled when the site was created back in 2000. I should have gotten around to reviewing The Demolished Man long ago, considering its historic importance as the first Hugo winner, but it took a commitment of reviewing all of the Hugo and Nebula winners to remedy that situation.
9/18/10 - I've just uploaded three new pages. One is a profile page on James Blish, another is a review of his Hugo-winning novel A Case of Conscience. Third, I've created a "main" page for him considering there are now several pages devoted to his work, with some others to come in the (hopefully) near future.
6/21/09 - A review that combines the author and film categories, Harlan Ellison: Dreams With Sharp Teeth.
5/17/09 - Crap! A year has gone by without a book review. Someone needs to reprimand me about that. :-) This time I take a look at Robert J. Sawyer's Flashforward from 1999, which happens to be the basis of a new ABC series due to premiere this fall.
5/19/08 - Damn, it's been a long time. Finally a new book review, John Varley's Rolling Thunder.
9/9/07 - I've just uploaded a short review of the sixth book in E. E. Knight's Vampire Earth series, Valentine's Resolve.
5/27/07 - More shiny Firefly goodness! Here's my review of Titan Books new publication, Firefly Companion: Volume Two.
4/4/07 - I continue my review of E. E. Knight's Vampire Earth series, the latest title of which is Valentine's Exile.
10/13/06 - My review of Variable Star, a new novel by Spider Robinson, based on an outline and notes from Robert Heinlein.
10/3/06 - My review of Titan Books' Firefly: The Official Companion, Volume One.
7/16/06 - My review of John Varley's Red Lightning.
6/11/06 - ekt give us his thoughts on the Time Quartet series of books by Madeleine L'Engle.
5/14/06 - Michael Woodard now takes a look at Building Harlequin's Moon, a collaborative novel from Larry Niven and Brenda Cooper.
5/2/06 - Michael Woodard agains adds to existing reviews, with thoughts on Eyes of the Calculor, the concluding book in Sean McMullen's Greatwinter Trilogy, as well as a look at the second book in Peter Watts' Rifter's Trilogy, Maelstrom.
4/23/06 - It has been one year and three days since I last posted a book review. A bit discouraging of course, but I will endeavor to do better in the future. As with the last one, the new review is also a continuation of my look at E. E. Knight's Vampire Earth series. If you have not read any of that review (or any of the books) click on that link, or if you would like to jump directly to the latest update, click on this title - Valentine's Rising.
3/27/06 - Michael Woodard has some very good things to say about Starfish, the first book in Peter Watts' Rifters Trilogy.
3/5/06 - Michael Woodard's on a roll! He has added to his review of Sean McMullen's Greatwinter Trilogy with his thoughts on the second book - The Miocene Arrow.
3/1/06 - Two new reviews by Michael Woodard - the first book in Sean McMullen's Greatwinter Trilogy, Souls in the Great Machine and Gary Tigerman's The Orion Protocol.
2/16/06 - The Dread Empire's Fall series reviewed by Michael Woodard.
3/20/05 - At long last, another book review, a continuation of my look at E. E. Knight's Vampire Earth series with the latest installment, Tale of the Thunderbolt.
7/25/04 - I am pleased to present a new author profile page on Bob Shaw from a new contributor, and hopefully we will see more pages from him in the future. David Longhorn is from the UK and edits a periodical called Supernatural Tales. He found Templeton Gate through a search for info on Olaf Stapledon, then contacted me with compliments on the site and an inquiry of whether he could submit some things. I may have read something by Shaw, but darned if I can recall anything right now, although several of the titles I am familiar with. But from what David has to say about him I think I need to be on the lookout for some of his books.
6/20/04 - My review of Neil Gaiman's Hugo and Nebula winning novel, American Gods.
6/13/04 - A continuation of my review of E. E. Knight's Vampire Earth series, with my thoughts on the second novel, Choice of the Cat.
5/21/04 - My review of E. E. Knight's first novel, Way of the Wolf, which is the first in his Vampire Earth series.
3/2/04 - I've just uploaded my review of David Brin's Hugo Award nominated Kiln People.
1/25/04 - ekt reviews Connie Willis' Hugo and Nebula award-winning Doomsday Book.
1/17/04 - My review of Gene Wolfe's The Knight, part one of The Wizard Knight.
12/12/03 - My review of Heinlein's new/old novel, For Us, the Living, has just been uploaded.
11/30/03 - SFExplorer now takes a look at the graphic novel Orbiter by Warren Ellis and Colleen Doran.
11/29/03 - SFExplorer's first review, of Robert J. Sawyer's 2003 Hugo-winning novel Hominids.
11/18/03 - Raedom returns with two different book reviews: James P. Hogan's The Mirror Maze and Theodore Sturgeon's Case and the Dreamer.
(9/8/03) - My review of John Varley's Red Thunder.
(9/7/03) - Padre Mellyrn reviews Orson Scott Card's Ender & Homecoming Series.
(9/1/03) - My review of Spider Robinson's The Free Lunch
(8/24/03) - My review of Roger MacBride Allen's Orphan of Creation
(8/17/03) - My profile of author David Gerrold
(8/3/03) - Raedom's newest review concerns two books by Frederik Pohl and C. M. Kornbluth - The Space Merchants/The Merchants' War.
(7/24/03) - Raedom reviews James Blish's Cities In Flight.
(7/9/03) - My review of David Gerrold's four book series of the War Against the Chtorr.
(5/24/03) - My review of Charles Douglas Hayes' Portals in a Northern Sky.
(5/10/03) -wracked presents his second book review, of Mike Resnick's 1986 novel Santiago.
(3/23/03) - I am very pleased to present Raedom's first review, of David Gerrold's classic novel When Harlie Was One.
My review of Hyperthought, the debut novel from M. M. Buckner.
A new book review by tenavari
Chris Exner (tenavari on the forums) review's Slave Ship by Frederik Pohl.
Yet another recruit signs on!
A new poster at the forums, tenavari (Chris Exner) has sent me a very good article concerning "In Search of the Rare and Out of Print on the Internet." He has also promised other book reviews in the near future.
Another new reviewer at Templeton Gate!
wracked has written a review of a book he has mentioned several times (and which I have recently read, thanks to him) - Glen Cook's The Dragon Never Sleeps. Hope you enjoy it.
ekt favors us with a new article, on the fantasy trilogy His Dark Materials by Philip Pullman.
My review of an early Heinlein novel, Beyond This Horizon.
My review of David Gerrold's recent trilogy, The Dingilliad.
Starflight's first review is of Isaac Asimov's Fantastic Voyage 2.
Ogre3000's second comic review is about Joe's Comics, creations of J. Michael Straczynski.
Padre Mellyrn reviews Beowulf's Children by Niven, Pournelle & Barnes.
A confused review of some confusing books, Gene Wolfe's "Sun" Sagas (The Books of the New Sun, Long Sun, and Short Sun).
Ogre3000 reviews the comic compilation of Manhunter.
ekt's review of Lynn Flewelling's Nightrunner series.
A review of Allies and Aliens by Roger MacBride Allen
Asimov's Robot & Foundation Chronology
Isaac Asimov's Foundation Trilogy
Isaac Asimov's I, Robot
Harlan Ellison's Screenplay for I, Robot
The SF&F Hall of Fame Inductees
Dual Award Winners
My Hugo/Nebula Awards Rant
Heinlein's Future History
The Heinlein Juveniles
I have also provided the contents pages from:
The Science Fiction Hall of Fame: Volume 1 (short stories)
The Science Fiction Hall of Fame: Volume 2 (novellas/novelletes)
The Fantasy Hall of Fame (short stories)
General Information Articles
Science Fiction: A Primer
Science Fiction: Where to Start
Science Fiction References
Science Fiction vs Fantasy
My 1st Rant - Out of Print Books
My 2nd - Hugo/Nebula Awards Rant
And 3rd - Hugogate (or Puppygate if you prefer)
My Worldcon Experience - MidAmericon2
A Selection of Author Essays & Reviews (not a complete list, see above)
Brian W. Aldiss
Roger MacBride Allen
J. G. Ballard
David Brin - profiled by Eliza DoLots
Kiln People - reviewed by Galen
Orson Scott Card - Ender & Homecoming series reviewed by Padre Mellyrn
C. J. Cherryh - Downbelow Station reviewed by Galen
Arthur C. Clarke
Glen Cook - The Dragon Never Sleeps reviewed by wracked
Samuel R. Delany
Philip K. Dick
Philip Jose Farmer
Lynn Flewelling - the Nightrunner series reviewed by ekt
Neil Gaiman - American Gods and The Graveyard Book reviewed by Galen
Robert A. Heinlein
James P. Hogan - The Mirror Maze reviewed by Raedom
Daniel Keyes - Flowers for Algernon reviewed by Galen
Ursula K. LeGuin
Fritz Leiber - The Big Time and The Wanderer reviewed by Galen
Stanislaw Lem - The Futurological Congress reviewed by Galen
Sean McMullen - Souls in the Great Machine reviewed by Michael Woodard
Walter M. Miller, Jr. - A Canticle for Leibowitz reviewed by Galen
Ward Moore - Bring the Jubilee reviewed by Galen
Larry Niven - Ringworld reviewed by Galen
Alexei Panshin - Rite of Passage reviewed by Galen
Edgar Allan Poe
Philip Pullman - His Dark Materials reviewed by ekt
Mike Resnick - Santiago reviewed by wracked
Kim Stanley Robinson - Mars Trilogy, 2312 and Aurora reviewed by Galen
Spider Robinson - The Free Lunch reviewed by Galen
Variable Star (w/Heinlein) - reviewed by Galen
Robert J. Sawyer - Hominids reviewed by SFExplorer
Flashforward reviewed by Galen
Bob Shaw - profiled by David Longhorn
Clifford D. Simak
Dan Simmons - Hyperion reviewed by Galen
Neal Stephenson - Seveneves reviewed by Galen
Theodore Sturgeon - Case and the Dreamer reviewed by Raedom
Michael Swanwick - Stations of the Tide reviewed by Galen
Gary Tigerman - The Orion Protocol reviewed by Michael Woodard
James Tiptree, Jr.
Kate Wilhelm - Where Late the Sweet Birds Sang reviewed by Galen
Walter Jon Williams - Dread Empire's Fall reviewed by Michael Woodard
Robert Charles Wilson - Spin reviewed by Galen
John Wyndham - The Midwich Cuckoos and Day of the Triffids reviewed by Galen
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