Recent Reviews

Glimmerglass by Marly Youmans

reviewed by Tom Atherton

25 March 2015

Youmans’s work, however, goes beyond adaptation and interpretation to comprise a vibrant estranging of genres; simultaneously a smashing-together and a pulling-apart of literary spaces. If the postmodern problem is that everything has been done before, and all we’re left with now is endless reproduction, Youmans’s response is one of reconfiguration.

The Book of Strange New Things by Michel Faber

reviewed by Nina Allan

23 March 2015

Taken purely within a science fictional context, what The Book of Strange New Things demonstrates most efficiently is how difficult genuinely propulsive, intellectually stimulating, and imaginatively accomplished SFnal conceits and lines of enquiry are to achieve.

The Apex Book of World SF 3, edited by Lavie Tidhar

reviewed by Maureen Kincaid Speller

20 March 2015

So much depends on two words: "world SF."

The Martian by Andy Weir

reviewed by Mark Granger

18 March 2015

The problem is that this generic Hollywood story-structure starts to rub up against the elements of reality—of authenticity—which Weir has strived so hard to maintain.

The Angel of Losses by Stephanie Feldman

reviewed by Alix E. Harrow

16 March 2015

They’re rich, strange, fairy-tale histories, and Feldman was apparently born to write rich, strange, fairy-tale histories.

The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August by Claire North

reviewed by Paul Kincaid

13 March 2015

The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August occupies an uncertain position somewhere between the two schools of alternate history.

Clariel by Garth Nix

reviewed by Electra Pritchett

11 March 2015

What does obedience mean if it is given unwillingly? If one's choices are not freely made, do they have any meaning? If you let your nature guide your actions, to what extent do you bear the blame for their consequences?

Vanamala and the Cephalopod by Shalini Srinivasan

reviewed by Mahvesh Murad

09 March 2015

While it makes threats to eat many children and has clearly been expanding its empire, it is hoodwinked pretty fast and doesn’t ever actually do more than wave its tentacles around and shout things like “Insufficient inkpots!” and “Belligerent Bivalves!” and “Valueless vampyromorphida” at those around it.

The City Stained Red by Sam Sykes

reviewed by Richard Webb

06 March 2015

Exactly why someone is doing what to whom is not always perfectly clear.

Stay by John Clute

reviewed by Matthew Cheney

04 March 2015

Watching other people wield Clute’s idiolect is like watching toddlers play with sex toys: at once funny, gross, and embarrassing.

The Death House by Sarah Pinborough

reviewed by Maximillian Edwards

02 March 2015

What is particularly impressive about The Death House as a science fiction novel, however, is that while the ‘what if’ is the foundation of the story – the titular Death House gives rise to much, if not all, of the action – the novel’s heart is in its characters.

Elysium by Jennifer Marie Brissett

reviewed by Niall Harrison

27 February 2015

By this point, if not before, we may be asking ourselves: why do we recognise this as narrative? What is it that persists, across these differently-named bodies, in varying relations to each other?

Vampire Diaries: Season 6

reviewed by Joseph Leray

25 February 2015

Season 6 of The Vampire Diaries strikes a more somber, reflective mood — refreshing in the way it casts off the plots and villains of its predecessors.

The Country of Ice Cream Star by Sandra Newman

reviewed by K. Kamo

23 February 2015

In taking this dialect and warping it, in ripping these words from their more conventional, normative, expected bases, Newman has worked a cleaving between signifier and signified, creating a situation where form frequently is meaning: words as music.

Archived Reviews

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