Tuesday, January 15, 2019
Tuesday, January 08, 2019
Susan Rooke, The Space Between: The Prophecy of the Faeries. Self-published, 2017. Pp. 435. ASIN B074Q4Y6PQ. $16.95.Reviewed by Psyche Z. Ready
Tuesday, January 01, 2019
Francesca T. Barbini (ed.), The Evolution of African Fantasy and Science Fiction. Luna Press, 2018. Pp. 111. ISBN 978-1-911143-51-2. $15.99.Reviewed by Djibril al-Ayad
Thursday, December 20, 2018
Edward Willett, Worldshaper. Daw Books, 2018. Pp. 368. ISBN 978-0-7564-1346-0. $16.00.Reviewed by Lisa Timpf
Wednesday, November 21, 2018
George Sandison (ed.), 2084. Unsung Stories, 2017. Pp. 344 . ISBN 978-1-907389-53-5. £9.99.Reviewed by Małgorzata Mika
This is not an Orwell novel. This is not a premonition. A century on from the unforgettable 1984 becomes the title of George Sandison’s anthology auguring the future of our world. That future, foretold by writers before science fiction even existed, is a never-ending tale, changing its tools, characters and moods with regard to the epoch in which it was born. Proto-science fiction, science fiction, speculative fiction, anti-utopia and dystopia: the terms open up to the family of the fantastic telling the stories of the present time and its discontents. 2084 is no exception, but in this case it is no accident. In the introduction Sandison emphasizes how dissimilar the collection is in stark comparison with Orwell’s classic. In one sense, it is possible to recognize the truth in his words, as he elaborates on the how the world has changed since the completion of Animal Farm’s gloomy successor. Orwell’s post-war narratives were transfixed by the description of totalitarianism in the advent of the communist era. 2084 is supposed to relate to the family of Orwell’s novels arguably through what it is not, rather than what it is, becoming an adopted offspring of the timeless classic. Penned by fifteen writers, the stories in this anthology attempt to convey several different outcomes of (not so) futuristic realities that have pushed totalitarianism into a more subtle mode.
Thursday, November 15, 2018
Lavie Tidhar, Unholy Land. Tachyon Publications, 2018. Pp. 288. ISBN 978-161696-304-0. $15.95.Reviewed by N.A. Jackson
The narrative of Lavie Tidhar’s novel ducks and dives like a prizefighter, leaving his reader reeling. The protagonist, Tirosh, slips between worlds: the war torn lands of the Middle East, contemporary Berlin and other imagined worlds brought to shimmering life by Tidhar’s close observation. These are the ‘could-have-been’ worlds with elements of historical fact but steeped in mythology and fraught with darker perils and hints of monstrous beings and magical apparitions.
Wednesday, November 07, 2018
Ursula Pflug, Down From. Snuggly Books, 2018. Pp. 96. ISBN 978-1-943813-57-5. $10.14.Reviewed by Djibril al-Ayad
Wednesday, October 31, 2018
Francesca G. Varela, The Seas of Distant Stars. Owl House Books, 2018. Pp. 232. ISBN 978-1-947003-92-7. $17.95.Reviewed by Don Riggs
Wednesday, October 24, 2018
David Thomas Moore (ed.), Not So Stories. Abbadon Books, 2018. Pp. 320. ISBN 978-1-7810-8612-4. $15.99.Reviewed by Samira Nadkarni
Meant to address the legacy of Rudyard Kipling’s Just So Stories (1902), Not So Stories (2018) is a set of 14 postcolonial short stories that problematise or confront colonial nostalgia, and what Nikesh Shukla (in his foreword) terms the “feeling that the British Empire was a benign part of the lives of those oppressed.” The collection offers narratives that centre the point of view of those marginalised under British colonialism, responding not only to the racist narratives of Kipling’s original text, but also the persisting bedrock of colonial ideology its popularity once drew, and somehow continues to draw, upon. Shukla notes that these stories are for “children and adults” (his emphasis)—and I’d argue that the majority of the collection’s stories are in fact aimed at adults rather than children.
Wednesday, October 17, 2018
Francesca Forrest, The Inconvenient God. Annorlunda Books, 2018. Pp. 70. ISBN 978-1-944354-41-1. $7.99 pb/$2.99 e.Reviewed by Djibril al-Ayad
The Inconvenient God is a novelette-length story, approximately 11-12,000 words at my estimate, published as a standalone volume in print and e-book by Annorlunda Books, specialists in bite-sized, diverse novellas and novelettes “that you can finish in an afternoon.” This story is set in a secondary world with approximately contemporary technology and infrastructure (trains, telecommunications, etc. are familiar to a modern reader) in which a multitude of gods literally and visibly walk the earth. Perhaps a flavour of fabulist realism rather than fantasy, the story features a highly bureaucratic and centralized Polity (perhaps loosely Central Asian in flavor?), who send a Decommissioner from the Ministry of Divinity to retire a minor, regional—and waning—god of mischief in the northwestern province.
Wednesday, October 10, 2018
Jo-Anne Blanco, Morgan Le Fay: Small Things and Great (Book One of the Fata Morgana Child of the Moon Trilogy). Self-published, 2017. Pp. 288. ISBN 978-1-3658-2824-9. $10.94.Reviewed by Regina de Búrca
This retelling of the Arthurian legend, the first in a trilogy, is told from the point of view of a five-year-old Morgan le Fay—a young girl coming to terms with her powers and the confines of the world she lives in. Traditionally seen as a villain of the story, it is refreshing to read a story from her perspective: that of a powerful female in a patriarchal world. Morgan’s childhood is interrupted as she experiences visions and shortly afterwards, is tasked with saving the souls of lost children. Compelled to travel to the secret and dangerous faerie realm, Morgan encounters magical creatures for the first time. The descriptions of these encounters are very enjoyable—the faeries are at once beautiful and creepy.