Recent Reviews

Half a King by Joe Abercrombie

reviewed by Liz Bourke

18 August 2014

Half a King draws its influences rather more directly from the coming-of-age narrative so traditional in epic fantasy that it has at times descended into cliché—and then proceeds, neatly and without undue fuss, to subvert several of our expectations for how this sort of story should go.

Memory of Water by Emmi Itäranta

reviewed by Katherine Farmar

15 August 2014

The idea of a future archaeology delving into the objects we present-day people, and our successors, will leave behind, has been explored with care and insight by some of science fiction's finest writers. But the subject has seldom been handled with the grace and style Emmi Itäranta has brought to her debut, Memory of Water.

Resistance by Samit Basu

reviewed by Z. Irene Ying

13 August 2014

The sequel to Samit Basu's Turbulence, Resistance, much like its preceding volume, is a post-modern, comedic, smart romp through superhero storylines and tropes.

The Girl with All the Gifts by M. R. Carey

reviewed by A. S. Moser

11 August 2014

A writer practiced at his craft and knowledgeable of the field can, from the tail end of a genre's heyday, survey what has come before and produce something inventive and affecting. For the most part, M. R. Carey is such a writer, and his novel The Girl with All the Gifts is very nearly such a book.

Child of a Hidden Sea by A. M. Dellamonica

reviewed by Sarah Frost

08 August 2014

Child of a Hidden Sea by A. M. Dellamonica joins the list of fantasy novels whose portrayal of science and scientists outstrips anything I have seen from recent science fiction.

The Race by Nina Allan

reviewed by Dan Hartland

06 August 2014

Structurally and thematically, and not a little stylistically, Allan is trying something rather unusual with The Race: a distancing novel about drawing in, a science fiction novel aware of its own artifice, a literary fiction impatient with mimesis.

The Time Traveler's Almanac, edited by Ann VanderMeer and Jeff VanderMeer

reviewed by Paul Kincaid

04 August 2014

Though it is every bit as heavy as The Weird, I don't think this new anthology quite matches its predecessors. This is partly because no one anthology, no matter how extensive, could hope to contain all of the great time travel stories; but mostly it is because of a series of editorial decisions that seem, to my mind, questionable.

The Happier Dead by Ivo Stourton

reviewed by David Hebblethwaite

01 August 2014

Stourton's future society is presented as a set of disconnected little worlds, which only occasionally interact.

The Way Inn by Will Wiles

reviewed by Nina Allan

30 July 2014

It is genuinely thrilling to discover a book that defies the clichés of the horror genre and charts an original course into new territory. To discover a writer who, instead of wheeling out the same tired leitmotifs, dares to imagine situations, worlds, textures that relate neither to the Victorian ghost story nor to the 80s horror boom but to the cultural and political landscape of our present reality.

In Other Words, edited by Saira Ali and Julia Rios

reviewed by Rochita Loenen-Ruiz

28 July 2014

In Other words is a chapbook of poetry and flash fiction brought together by editors Saira Ali and Julia Rios to raise funds for Con or Bust.

Salvage by Alexandra Duncan

reviewed by Phoebe North

25 July 2014

Alexandra Duncan's debut, Salvage, stands out from the crowd in that it does not concede to most typical YA genre formulations. Her heroine, Parastrata Ava, is not a particularly kick-ass girl, and though well-rendered, she is mostly notable in her pliant nature and passivity. Acting more as a lens for Duncan's striking future Earth and off-planet environs, Ava, in some ways, resembles more a typical literary heroine than YA hero.

The Moon King by Neil Williamson

reviewed by Matt Hilliard

23 July 2014

Although The Moon King is accurately described by its publisher as a fantasy, it borrows tropes from many genres.

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