Tuesday, July 26, 2016
Tuesday, July 19, 2016
Anna Kyle, Omega Rising. World Weaver Press, 2016. Pp. 270. ISBN 978-0-69266-950-1. $13.95.Reviewed by Cait Coker
Paranormal Romance is a hybrid genre that has flirted with oversaturating the market in recent years, largely because of the Young Adult vampire romance craze that peaked with the Twilight franchise. It then edged into the adult market with the Sookie Stackhouse Southern Vampire series that was popularized through True Blood (though that particular series of books and shows bear less resemblance to one another than one might think), as well as with J.R. Ward’s Black Dagger Brotherhood novels, which surprisingly have not been adapted to screen. While the popularity of vampires has waned in recent years, the genre still flourishes with a multitude of other supernatural creatures that vary from angels to werewolves. Werewolves make up several of the main characters in Omega Rising, Anna Kyle’s debut novel and the first of a series called Wolf King; though this book was released just this past June, the second volume, Skye Falling, is already slated for publication in August. That’s quick turnaround, and I imagine her growing fan-base will be pleased. Omega Rising didn’t feel like the first of a series to me, as Kyle’s worldbuilding is incredibly advanced and a lot was happening; the quick pace, especially in the second half of the volume, made it feel like it should be the third or fourth in a series, not the first. But let me back up, and tell you about the story itself.
Tuesday, July 12, 2016
Walidah Imarisha & adrienne maree brown (ed.), Octavia’s Brood: Science Fiction Stories from Social Justice Movements. AK Press, 2015. Pp. 304. ISBN 978-1-84935-209-3. $18.00.Reviewed by Kathryn Allan
Walidah Imarisha and adrienne maree brown’s Octavia’s Brood: Science Fiction Stories from Social Justice Movements is important. I received my review copy of this short story collection a year ago—although life intervened every time I sat down to write my review, it also gave me the opportunity to think deeply about Octavia’s Brood and the legacy of Octavia Butler’s work. To be honest, I don’t think I could have written this review right after reading the anthology. I needed that extra time to let the vision of Imarisha and brown’s project become clearer to me.
Tuesday, July 05, 2016
Bonnie Jo Stufflebeam and Peter Brewer, Strange Monsters: A Music & Words Collaboration. Easy Brew Studio, 2016. 57 min. $9.99.Reviewed by Kate Onyett
Tuesday, June 28, 2016
Anne Michaud, Whispered Echoes: An urban fantasy. Book One. Sad Ghost Press, 2015. Pp. 195. ISBN 978-1-51726-784-1. £6.55 pb/£0.99 e.Reviewed by Margrét Helgadóttir
Whispered Echoes by Canadian author Anne Michaud was published in the United States by Sad Ghost Press in late 2015. It’s the first in a YA-series of five books (all published) about ghost seer Alyx. The first book is a dark and thrilling story about Alyx’s escape from the mental institution that has kept her captive for nine years and her way to discover and learn her ghost seer abilities. A fast paced action story, the book is good entertainment and is well worth reading if you like horror, the paranormal genres and young adult stories.
Wednesday, June 15, 2016
Lavie Tidhar, Central Station. Tachyon Publications, 2016. Pp. 240. ISBN 978-1-61696-214-2. $16.95 pb/$9.99 e.Reviewed by Wendy Bousfield
Lavie Tidhar’s moving, lyrical, insightful work of speculative fiction, Central Station, extrapolates a future in which humanity is entering a new evolutionary stage, triggered by growing immersion in the Internet. In Tidhar’s world, “nodes,” implanted at conception in “birthing clinics” (there are no natural births), provide direct access to the “Conversation”: “a hundred thousand… voices, channels, music, languages, the high-bandwidth indecipherable toktok of Others, weather reports, confessionals, off-world broadcasts time-lagged from Lunar Port and Tong Yun and the Belt…” (23). Akin to Arthur C. Clarke’s Childhood’s End, Central Station traces the emergence of children psychically linked to one another and to other minds, both human and mechanical.
Tuesday, June 07, 2016
Kevin McAllion, Moristoun. Austin Macauley, 2016. Pp. 360. ISBN 978-1-7845-5284-8. £7.99.Reviewed by Kate Onyett
This book is a first for two reasons. It is a first novel by a chap previously most involved in sports journalism, and, as far as I know, the first novel dealing with the afterlife of Scottish suicides. Bear with me, it’s not as dour as it sounds! The titular island, set in an interminable sea and reachable only by a portal from the mainland (unless you arrive by the more conventional and terminal method), is a place where suicides have to learn to move beyond their personal demons and spiritually better themselves before they can leave and ‘move on.’ That is not entirely the end, either, as McAllion adds a little Eastern detail to this purgatorial narrative with hints of what lies afterwards; a cycle of rebirths and lives lived as both animals and humans. Woe betide the unrighteous, though. Should further grave offences be added to one’s CV whilst on the island, then a soul is hell-bound for a more directly punishing purification.
Tuesday, May 24, 2016
Ana Matronic, Robot Universe. Legendary Automatons and Androids from the Ancient World to the Distant Future. Sterling Publishing, 2015. Pp. 224. ISBN 978-1-4549-1821-9. $19.95.Reviewed by Małgorzata Mika
Tuesday, May 17, 2016
Joel Lane, Scar City. Eibonvale Books, 2016. Pp. 230. ISBN 978-1-9081-2539-2. £8.50.Reviewed by Rachel Verkade
Tuesday, May 10, 2016
Peter Tieryas, United States of Japan. Angry Robot Books, 2016. Pp. 377. ISBN 978-0-85766-532-4. £8.99.Reviewed by Andy Sawyer
Tuesday, April 12, 2016
Kate Forsyth, The Rebirth of Rapunzel: A Mythic Biography of the Maiden in the Tower. Fablecroft Publishing, 2016. Pp 272. ISBN 978-0-9925534-9-4. $29.95.Reviewed by Cait Coker
Thursday, April 07, 2016
Gareth Durasow, Endless Running Games. Dog Horn Publishing, 2015. Pp. 72. ISBN 978-1-907133-90-9. £8.99.Reviewed by Małgorzata Mika
Clandestine clusters of texts, casting shadows of the avaricious past between the verses—the future can be transfixing and dark as countless SF/dystopian hybrids have pictured it. As the history of the fantastic reveals, a simple ‘SF’ acronym can stretch its meaning far beyond the burgeoning landscapes of prose-oriented fiction. To a large extent ‘SF’ proves to be more ‘speculative’ in choosing a vehicle for containing its variegated content. Thus, extrapolating into poetry, the vibe of secure sentences is replaced by a much more challenging (for writers and readers alike) and alienated world of figures of speech. Despite changing tides of opinions regarding its quality, the so-called ‘speculative poetry’ has established its own, slightly estranged, niche that acts as a portal to a new Wonderland. Its creation has been aided by such famous writers as Craig Raine, Bruce Boston, Steve Sneyd and Mike Ashley; among them emerges Gareth Durasow with Endless Running Games, his newest collection of poems which invites a reader into a world which Alice would find more daunting than the Queen’s Croquet Ground.