The Wasp Factory by Iain Banks

The Wasp Factory by Iain Banks My rating: 2 of 5 stars From 5 stars, to 2 stars: a great concept, enjoyably written, that nonetheless lacked payoff (either emotional or plot-based). The ending hinged on a very unbelievable revelation that I couldn't buy into and which didn't wrap up all of the interesting elements that... Continue Reading →

Planetfall by Emma Newman

Planetfall by Emma Newman My rating: 4 of 5 stars Planetfall came to me well-recommended from a number of sources (two CPs, and my agent) so I was keen to give it a try. Overall a very enjoyable book, and one I read at a fast pace. The mix of nuanced interiority, bizarre setting, and... Continue Reading →

The Outcast Hours by Mahvesh Murad

The Outcast Hours by Mahvesh Murad My rating: 4 of 5 stars Nota bene: I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review, via Netgalley. All my opinions are my own 🙂 How does one review a short story collection? Specifically, a large anthology with a wide selection of authors... Continue Reading →

String City, by Graham Edwards

String City by Graham Edwards My rating: 4 of 5 stars I received a free copy of this book via Netgalley, in exchange for an unbiased review. Straight off the bat: I LOVE the world-building for this book. As a writer myself, world-building is an area of weakness for me, and I always get a... Continue Reading →

What I’m Currently Reading

Here is a list of books I am currently reading, or which are in my 'short' queue. I also keep track of them on my Goodreads page. Netgalley TBR: DAYS BY MOONLIGHT - Andre AlexisTHE OUTCAST HOURS - story anthology Personal TBR: QUIETUS by Tristan Palmgren (REREAD)TERMINUS by Tristan PalmgrenSOME DISTANT SUNRISE by Elliott DowningTHE FIRST... Continue Reading →

Wolfwater by Alia Hess

Wolfwater by Alia Hess My rating: 5 of 5 stars Disclaimer: I read an Advance copy of this novel, although I think it is now for sale. I've been following Alia's work for awhile, quietly amazed to watch as an already-strong writer has continued to grow from strength to strength. I enjoyed Travelers (book 1)... Continue Reading →

Too Like the Lightning by Ada Palmer

Yet There Are Statues

Too Like the Lightning coverWhen Strange Horizons asked me to contribute to their 2016 Best of the Year wrap-up, I immediately knew my entry would have to discuss Too Like the Lightning, my favorite novel not only of 2016 but of the last decade. The natural question to ask me, then, one I certainly asked myself, is if it’s so great, why haven’t I actually written a review of it? Well, for a variety of reasons I haven’t reviewed much of anything in a while, so with the sequel arriving today it seemed like a great time to both reread Too Like the Lightning and actually write about it this time.

The novel takes place in a future where humanity has flying cars, a moon base, and robots that make full time jobs strictly optional. Humanity is also enjoying lasting world peace, having given up geographic nation states, organized religion, and even gendered…

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Metronome, by Olive Langmead

Metronome by Oliver Langmead My rating: 4 of 5 stars Relative to the wider population of fantasy books available, literary fantasy is in short supply. Partly this is down to readership; most readers prefer a touch of literary at most, but many more don't seek that sort of discussion within their novels (which is, of... Continue Reading →

Too Like the Lightning – Ada Palmer

Too Like the Lightning by Ada Palmer My rating: 5 of 5 stars If I could define Too Like the Lightning in a word, it would probably be "overwhelming". That perhaps seems at odds given my rating, but it is fully immersive, carefully thought out and planned, densely written, complex, layered, intelligent, powerful. There aren't... Continue Reading →

The Philosopher Kings by Jo Walton

The Philosopher Kings by Jo Walton My rating: 4 of 5 stars Clever and detailed, not to mention elegantly written, but ultimately the narrative is constrained by the very strictures it sets out to explore and (I felt) a little lacking in emotional depth, despite being in first person. I have a pretty high tolerance... Continue Reading →

Children of Time by Adrian Tchaikovsky

Children of Time by Adrian Tchaikovsky My rating: 4 of 5 stars I found this surprisingly good. Surprising because I tend towards the soft and literary end of SFF, and also because I bloody hate spiders. So much hate. I looked up the author and was not at all surprised to see his roleplay interests.... Continue Reading →

Assassin’s Fate by Robin Hobb

Assassin's Fate by Robin Hobb My rating: 2 of 5 stars Some good dialogue between the characters, but seriously poor overall. The narrative was feebly constructed, and events seemed to occur mostly as a vehicle for fitting in as many series cameos as possible even though it made little sense for those people to be... Continue Reading →

The Etched City by K J Bishop

The Etched City by K.J. Bishop My rating: 5 of 5 stars Simply brilliant. It does require a lot of patience, this novel, since around 60% of it is setup for a series of events which, at the beginning, seem to bear no relation to anything else that is going on. My advice is to... Continue Reading →

On Blue’s Waters – Gene Wolfe

On Blue's Waters by Gene Wolfe My rating: 5 of 5 stars Retro Thursday, you cry? Well, I've studiously avoided anything to do with Blue/Green/Whorl for years, out of a deep-seated but legitimate terror that I'd discover Patera Silk had actually died, either at the end of Long Sun or in the intervening time. He... Continue Reading →

The Name of The Wind review

Everytime I think about deconstructing why I dislike Name of the Wind so much, I end up just coming back to re-read this post. It says everything better than I could do, anyway.

Doing In The Wizard

The Ballad of Dirk Oxenhammer: An Origin Story in Three Parts

Dirk Oxenhammer, veteran literary editor, sat back in his zebra-skin armchair and surveyed the pile of manila envelopes on his desk, each one adorned with a large red REJECTED! stamp.  The exclamation mark wasn’t strictly necessary, but Dirk though it made the job a bit more fun. Sometimes he liked to imagine a loud buzzer went off every time he sentenced a manuscript to the trash pile. He’d have to see about getting one installed.

But for now, it was bourbon time.

Dirk opened the bottom drawer of his desk and selected a 92′ New Jersey Amber. He poured it into one of those round glasses with the flat bottoms that he’d seen on Mad Men and lit a cigar, letting the smoke curl around the glass in a way that seemed particularly gritty and hard-boiled. It was at…

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