Alix E. Harrow – The Ten Thousand Doors of January

Absolutely stunning. “Ten Thousand Doors of January” uses the familiar trope of hidden doorways to another worlds to tell a story about the power of creativity to disrupt oppressive power structures (like white supremacy). Although it has some serious things to say, it’s also terrifically entertaining, and emotionally involving, with some twists I foresaw, andContinue reading “Alix E. Harrow – The Ten Thousand Doors of January”

Grady Hendrix: Horrorstör

The physical design of this book is fantastic. The faux-Ikea descriptions and illustrations are pitch-perfect, right up to the point they turn sinister and twisted. I enjoyed the earlier, funnier, half more than the second, but a lot of that is due to my personal preferences. I wanted the protagonists’ economic stresses to play intoContinue reading “Grady Hendrix: Horrorstör”

Shannon Hale: Austenland

The titular Austenland is like Channel 4’s Regency House Party historical/reality TV re-imagined as an upscale vacation experience: a handful of wealthy women hie themselves to “Pembrook Park,” a country house where they indulge in a properly reserved and G-rated flirtation with actors playing the part of Regency gentlemen. Hale makes a lot of extremelyContinue reading “Shannon Hale: Austenland”

Andrea Hairston: Redwood and Wildfire

I finished Hairston’s harrowing and beautiful Redwood and Wildfire about a week ago, and I’ve been struggling to write about it in a way that does it justice. But it’s today that I learned about the acquittal of one George Zimmerman in the murder trial of one Trayvon Martin, and that — and what itContinue reading “Andrea Hairston: Redwood and Wildfire”

Dirk Hayhurst: The Bullpen Gospels

I had somewhat ambivalent reactions to The Bullpen Gospels, but on the whole I was entertained. Hayhurst looks at baseball from the unusual perspective of a perennial minor leaguer. He’s someone (this is my judgment, not his) without enough potential to get promoted rapidly to MLB status, but too potentially useful as a sort ofContinue reading “Dirk Hayhurst: The Bullpen Gospels”

Jim C. Hines: The Stepsister Scheme

I first heard of Jim C. Hines via his project of challenging the objectification of women on “urban fantasy/paranormal romance” book covers by painstakingly (literally) re-creating the poses with himself in the starring role. Like much of my favorite activism, it’s funny and serious at the same time. (He even tackles a book where IContinue reading “Jim C. Hines: The Stepsister Scheme”

Johan Harstad: 172 Hours on the Moon

I think I stumbled on Johan Harstad’s 172 Hours on the Moon when I was looking for John Barnes’ Losers in Space; both novels share the plot element of young people trying to get off of Earth to boost their social standing. Aside from that, they could scarcely be more different. In the alternate historyContinue reading “Johan Harstad: 172 Hours on the Moon”

Jonathan L. Howard: Katya’s World

Katya’s World is Russalka, a Russian-settled colony still reeling from a pyrrhic conflict with Mother Earth. Russalka has no land masses, and part of the novel’s fun derives from the relative novelty of incorporating the claustrophobia and blindfoldedness of Das Boot or The Hunt for Red October-style submarine hide-and-seek games into a far-future/alien planet setting.Continue reading “Jonathan L. Howard: Katya’s World”

Justin Halpern: I Suck at Girls

Halpern, if you don’t recognize the name, is that guy who parlayed a twitter feed about the stuff his dad says into a career/TV deal/etc.. I’m not a fan of the twitter; I tried it and found it a bit too much of a not-so-good thing. But it was sometimes amusing, and I was curiousContinue reading “Justin Halpern: I Suck at Girls”