Thursday, February 25, 2021

Cohen, Nick Bones Underground (2019)

Philip M. Cohen, Nick Bones Underground. Koehler Books, 2019. Pp. 371. ISBN 978-1-63393-920-2. $19.95.

Reviewed by Don Riggs

Nick Bones Underground is a slipstream novel, combining elements of Science Fiction, Urban Fantasy, and the Crime/Detection genre. It is set in a vague time frame, given that at least one of the characters is a Holocaust survivor, albeit a very old one, and computer technology has advanced into the realm of Artificial Intelligence, which impacts the daily life of the narrator-protagonist, Nicholas Friedman, a professor of Comparative Religions at a university in New York City. Life in the city has been inflected by something which is referred to as the “Great Debacle,” which is never completely explained or defined except at one point as having had to do with computers’ developing a degree of free will and acting in unpredictable ways. The most evident example of this cybernetic behavior comes in the form of Maggie, the A.I. in the apartment of the narrator, who, having become a transgender computer, now yearns to become an incarnation of Marlene Dietrich.

Thursday, February 18, 2021

Mythaxis #24 (Dec 2020)

Mythaxis, ed. Andrew Leon Hudson. Issue 24 (Dec 2020). Online at

Reviewed by Gwen C. Katz

Among the token magazines I’ve always been fond of Mythaxis. It’s one of the longest-running token magazines, running since 2008, and its current editor, Andrew Leon Hudson, impresses me with his keen editorial sense and down-to-earth attitude. But the proof is in the proverbial pudding, so let’s make like Paul Hollywood and take a slice. The genres are an enjoyable mix of adventure SFF and mild horror, and the stories themselves… well, it’s a mixed bag. Like most layered desserts, there are bits that I found delicious and bits that weren’t to my taste.

Monday, February 08, 2021

Attlee, Harper & Smith, Gross Ideas (2020)

Edwina Attlee, Phineas Harper & Maria Smith (eds), Gross Ideas: Tales of Tomorrow’s Architecture. The Architecture Foundation, 2020. Pp. 208. ISBN 978-1-9996462-3-3. £12.90.

Reviewed by Valeria Vitale

Gross Ideas is a book unlike many others, for a number of reasons. First of all it is the companion publication of an architecture exhibition, the Oslo Architecture Triennale. But rather than a traditional catalogue it is an anthology of seventeen stories about future cities. The other peculiarity is that only some of the authors of these stories are fiction writers, the others are architects and engineers. So, if you like the challenge of something unusual, this book might be the right one for you.

Monday, February 01, 2021

Willett (ed.), Shapers of Worlds (2020)

Edward Willett (ed.), Shapers of Worlds. Shadowpaw Press, 2020. Pp. 368. ISBN 978-1-989398-06-7. $17.95.

Reviewed by Lisa Timpf

Shapers of Worlds is an anthology of 18 short stories ranging from military science fiction and space opera to fantasy and steampunk, edited by Edward Willett, which offers nine new stories by authors such as Tanya Huff, L.E. Modesitt, Jr., and Seanan McGuire, and an equal number of previously-published tales from John Scalzi, Julie E. Czerneda, Joe Haldeman, and others. Willett, a freelance writer residing in Regina, Saskatchewan, is himself the author of more than 60 books all told, ranging from nonfiction to science fiction and fantasy. He also hosts a podcast titled The Worldshapers, which features interviews with science fiction and fantasy authors. It is involvement in this podcast that provides the link between the offerings, with each of the authors whose work is included having been featured during the first year of The Worldshapers.