Category Archives: Books

Novel Review: The Light Brigade

War was all about the annihilation of truth. Every good dictator and CEO knows that.
“Good find, Dietz,” Jones said.
It didn’t feel like a good find. It felt like I’d made everything more complicated (255).

Kameron Hurley has developed a considerable following over the last decade. Previously, she has been awarded two Hugos and a Sydney J. Bounds Award, and she has been a finalist for the Nebula Award, the Arthur C. Clarke Award, the British Science Fiction and Fantasy Award, and the Locus Award. Her most recent work, The Light Brigade has landed her a 2020 Hugo nomination for best novel.

The winner of that award will be announced this coming weekend.

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Summer Reading: The Glass Hotel

The horizon flipping once, twice, camera flying from my hand.
It felt like plunging into shards of ice (294).

Emily St. John Mandel skips like a stone across genres. Last Night in Montreal (2009) begins as a detective story, but its mystery takes the tale into something else entirely. The brilliant Station Eleven (2014), a literary SF novel about a pandemic starts in the near future, jumps across twenty years into a tale of post-apocalyptic actors and a meditation on what makes us human. It brought her both SF and literary accolades, international fame, and an HBO mini-series deal.

So, naturally, her next novel, published earlier this year, concerns economics, a luxury hotel, and a Ponzi scheme.

However, it brushes against SF and Fantasy/Fabulism, and even features a couple of minor characters from Station Eleven.

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Shameless Promotion: The Light Between Stars

The Light Between Stars, an anthology released today, showcases a range of SF and Fantasy stories, from adult SF to YA dystopia and sub/urban fantasy.

I don’t know if any other Bureau-cats will review it. I have to recuse myself, as my short story, “The Rapture of Baatoon Hayes” appears in the anthology, alongside such exceptional work as Stephen B. Pearl’s post-apocalyptic adventure, “Tinker’s Toxin” (which led me to immediately order a novel by Pearl set in the same fictional universe), Hugh A.D. Spencer’s cryptic and literary “Nowhere to Nowhere.” and Simon A.G. Spencer’s excellent space-going “Awakening,” among others.

If you’d like to order a copy (paperback or e-book) or read a few reviews from elsewhere, please continue:

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Anthology Review: 20,000 Leagues Remembered

He heard the slap of waves against barnacle-encrusted wood and the rush of the ship’s keel through choppy seas. Around the vessel smaller hollow casings floated, logboats dropped like calves….
–Michael D. Winkle, “Leviathan”.

One-hundred-and-fifty years after the publication of one of the original SF novels, Pole-to-Pole publishing has produced this collection of sixteen stories riffing on the world of Captain Nemo and the Nautilus.

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Book Review – “Becoming Superman: My Journey from Poverty to Hollywood”

I’ve been a fan of J. Michael Straczynski since I was five, though I didn’t know that until I was closer to 25. I grew up on He-Man, written for kids without pandering to kids. Then I moved on to The Real Ghostbusters. From there, I latched on to Captain Power and the Soldiers of the Future, a children’s show set in a dystopian future with serialized storytelling. Let me repeat: it was a children’s show set in a dystopian future with serialized storytelling. Add in a couple of the stronger seasons of Murder, She Wrote, and I had consumed far more of his writing than I realized before I heard the words Babylon 5. By the time I heard enough positive things to give that show a chance, it was in season four, and my emphatic distaste for spoilers kept me away until I had the chance to watch it from the start. That happened on DVD, and those reviews are in the archives of this website. Add in his comic book and movie work, and I thought I knew something of the man through his writing. The picture I had of him wasn’t wrong, per se, but it was astonishingly incomplete. This is an autobiography of a man who lived a truly incredible life.

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Novel Review: The Testaments

Margaret Atwood’s name already had become synonymous with Canadian Literature when, in 1985, she took an unexpected turn and wrote a dystopian satire. It proved an international sensation, encouraged her to write other works that would be considered SF, and birthed a bad movie, a graphic novel, and an initially excellent prestige series.

In 2019, a sequel appeared.

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Novel Review: The Saturday Night Ghost Club

What follow is an account, as I choose to remember it, of my twelfth year on this planet…

Brain matter will squeeze through a keyhole.

We’re a bit behind for a review of this 2018 novel, a sort-of literary/YA Stranger Things set in Niagara Falls, Canada, but it has experienced a surge of popularity this autumn, and so, before we get too far into winter, let’s return to the 1980s and the summer-to-Halloween run of the Saturday Night Ghost Club.

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Novel Review: The Water Dancer

We returned to Lockless with a horse, for that is what he traded Rose for. He had taken my mother from me. But it was not enough. He took my memory of her too, for when we left, my father in more rage than I had ever seen in him, he took the shell necklace from me. And I ran from him. And the next morning I ran down to the stables, where I saw the same horse my mother had been traded for, and there by the trough of water, I felt my first inclination of what I give to you now—- Conduction (397).

Ta-Nehisi Coates gained fame as a journalist and author of non-fiction books– and then as a writer for Marvel’s Black Panther. His first novel, published early this autumn, blends fantasy/magic realism with American history, and it found its way into Oprah’s influential Book Club.

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