Review of Who Fears Death, by Nnedi Okorafor

Who Fears Death by Nnedi Okorafor is a complex coming of age, hero’s journey: a blend of science fiction and magic that offers a realistic depiction of a culture at war. In this future African country, the (white) Nurus believe that they have been given the divine right to enslave or even exterminate the (dark […] Read more »

Review of Brown Girl in the Ring, by Nalo Hopkinson

bgr1

Serving the Spirits In this near future, post-apocalyptic Toronto, the wealthy live in the suburbs. In the inner city, government and social structures have disintegrated after a series of riots. “The ones who couldn’t or wouldn’t get out,” use a system of barter, and live under the shadow of crime-lord Rudy and his posse. Ti-Jeanne, […] Read more »

Waking the Moon, by Elizabeth Hand

Cover art of Waking the Moon, a novel by Elizabeth Hand, reviewed by Melanie Lamaga, The Metaphysical Circus

The Moon with a Knife-Sharp Edge Three unwitting college students stand between the reawakening of a dark goddess and the Benandanti, a secret society of magicians who have been running the world for thousands of years. Waking the Moon, which won a Mythopoeic Award and a James Tiptree, Jr. Award, is part horror, part coming […] Read more »

Review of Silently and Very Fast by Catherynne M. Valente

Silently and Very Fast, novel by Catherynne M. Valente, Cover art

A Beautiful View of The Singularity Imagine if you could go anywhere, do anything, and never be alone. Would it bother you if your closest companion and co-creator was a machine? You might think so, but then again you might change your mind after reading this gorgeous, evocative novel, narrated by Elefsis, the machine in […] Read more »

Freaks’ Amour, by Tom De Haven

Cover of Freaks' Amour, a novel by Tom De Haven

Mutants on the Outside, Looking In Hardcore. That’s the word that comes to mind. But not just because Freaks’ Amour refers to a XXX rated show where Normals go to watch mutant men rape their wives and girlfriends (and for a finale the Normals pelt them with rotten fruit). The sex scenes are not particularly […] Read more »

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 What I Didn’t See and Other Stories, by Karen Joy Fowler

What-I-Didnt-See-and-Other-Stories-by-Karen-Joy-Fowler

Exploring the Historical Fantastic Karen Joy Fowler is one of the writers who, to me, exemplify the literary fantastic. Her stories crack the shell of history, looking for strange and beautiful pearls. The fantastical elements always seem entirely probable, if mysterious, and serve to deepen our understanding of the human condition. Her writing style is […] 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 »