Mechanique: A Tale of the Circus Tresaulti, by Genevieve Valentine

Mechanique, A Tale of the Circus Tresaulti, by Genevieve Valentine, cover image

This novel, which received a Nebula nomination for Best Novel, takes place in a post-war landscape. The particulars are left vague: we know that there were bombs and radiation, followed by smaller wars for control, and the creation of city-states. Outside of these, borders have become fluid, and life brutal. To stay out of trouble, […] Read more »

The Sirens of Titan, by Kurt Vonnegut Jr.

The Sirens of Titan book cover

An Alien Anthropologist Visits Planet Earth I’ve read quite a few of Vonnegut’s novels now, and I’ve decided he is, in fact, an alien observer of a strange and dangerous race: humans. Vonnegut’s stories show us our every shortcoming without rancor. Like a good anthropologist, he’s neither angry nor particularly compassionate. He doesn’t make excuses […] Read more »

Review of Illyria, by Elizabeth Hand

Cover of Illyria, by Elizabeth Hand

An Elegant Explosion of Repressed Creativity and Desire This is beautifully written, Romantic (in the 18th century sense, not the Danielle Steele sense) novella about soul mates, forbidden love, and being a magical child in a family that’s lost its mojo. It’s also about talent, both the kind that emerges full-blown and the kind that […] Read more »

Review of Osama, by Lavie Tidhar

Cover of Osama, by Lavie Tidhar

Wishing Terrorism Was Only Fiction Many people have compared the novel Osama by Lavie Tidhar to books by Phillip K. Dick. It is similar in that the main characters come to realize that reality is not at all what it seems, and that there are those who would stop them from learning the truth. However, […] Read more »

A Review of Zoo City, by Lauren Beukes

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A Noir Detective Pagan Cyberpunk Novel Zoo City is a ghetto in Johannesburg, populated by outcasts. Each person there is marked by the wild animal that appears just after they kill someone (intentionally or not). Animal and human become extensions of one another, and any “Zoo” unfortunate enough to lose her animal gets a visit […] Read more »

Briar Rose by Robert Coover, a Review

Cover of Briar Rose by Robert Coover

A Postmodern Fairy Tale with a Wicked Sense of Humor  “He is surprised to discover how easy it is. The branches part like thighs, the silky petals caress his cheeks. His drawn sword is stained, not with blood, but with dew and pollen. Yet another inflated legend. He has undertaken this great adventure, not for […] Read more »

Among Others by Jo Walton, a Review

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This very readable book (which won the Nebula Award for Best Novel this year) is part coming of age, part fantasy and part uber-geek love-letter to the classics of science fiction. Much of the drama has already happened before the novel starts. We learn that Morwenna and her twin sister Morganna spent their childhoods playing […] Read more »

Midnight’s Children by Salman Rushdie, a Review

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An epic magical realist saga of family and country, connecting far-flung dots into a revealing portrait of the first thirty years of India’s independence from Britain. The narrator is Saleem Sinai, the first of 1000 “Midnight’s Children,” born the first hour of August 15, 1947, when India officially became independent of Britain. Saleem is the […] Read more »

Review of Little, Big by John Crowley

Little, Big

Little, Big is a modern classic of fantastic literature, a book that is praised far and wide, and with good reason. It’s a beautifully written, deep meditation on complex and arcane philosophies of magic and metaphysics (from Plato to Rosicrucian and Theosophist) and the challenges of living an ethical life in light of such considerations. […] Read more »