Courtney Milan : Proof by Seduction

I’m leaving this review up, but noting that I cringed at how patronizing it is when I re-read it, and I wouldn’t write it like this today. I was a little slow to warm to Proof by Seduction, mostly because of a familiar complaint with historical fiction: the characters seemed more like 21st-century people thanContinue reading “Courtney Milan : Proof by Seduction”

M. J. Locke : Up Against It

In Up Against It a 25th-century asteroid-based community is beset by a confluence of disasters: a critical resource hemorrhaging accident, a takeover threat by the Martian mob, a rogue artificial intelligence in the asteroid’s systems — the list goes on. It explores both the fragility of human life in a hostile environment, and life’s pluckContinue reading “M. J. Locke : Up Against It”

Beard, Donihe, Duza, et al: The Bizarro Starter Kit (Orange)

I hoped The Bizarro Starter Kit would help me figure out if I’d like bizarro fiction, a genre self-defined by a loose collective of writers with a shared love of cult/trash cinema. It didn’t. The Bizarro Starter Kit makes the case that there’s too much going on for me to dismiss it, and too muchContinue reading “Beard, Donihe, Duza, et al: The Bizarro Starter Kit (Orange)”

Lauren McLaughlin: (Re)cycler

(Re)cyler is definitely not the book I expected it to be. Cycler ended so abruptly and with so little resolution that I expected (Re)cycler to be basically the second half of a novel too long for one volume. I thought it was going to include an “origin story” for Jill (who turns, physically, into herContinue reading “Lauren McLaughlin: (Re)cycler”

Lauren McLaughlin: Cycler

Cycler has an inventive premise: for most of every month Jill McTeague is a more-or-less normal teenage girl, but for four days she physically turns into a male. (The novel doesn’t explicitly deal with how this came about, although it drops some clues. I suspect McLaughlin will address it directly in a future volume*.) JillContinue reading “Lauren McLaughlin: Cycler”

Lisa McMann: Wake

The good: As supernaturally-themed young adult novels go, the premise of this one is strikingly original: no vampires, werewolves, nor zombies (at least in this first volume of the series…). Instead, Janie finds herself involuntarily drawn into the dreams of anyone dreaming near her. A few SF authors have worked with similar concepts — andContinue reading “Lisa McMann: Wake”

George Mann: The Affinity Bridge

The Affinity Bridge sets some derring-do and a Sherlock Holmes-ish mystery in an alternate history where England had much more sophisticated technology under the Victoria’s reign (some of the tech, in fact, extends Victoria’s lifespan farther into the 20th century). Sometimes it seems like Mann is juggling a few too many plot threads — aContinue reading “George Mann: The Affinity Bridge”

John Cook, Mac McCaughan, Laura Ballance: Our Noise – the Story of Merge Records

Three quick endorsements of Our Noise: I read every word within a 24-hour span I’ve already purchased some Merge recordings I hadn’t previously heard The palpable enthusiasm of Ryan Adam’s (slightly incoherent) intro almost makes me want to hear what he’s been up to lately The structure of Our Noise is pretty genius: there’s aContinue reading “John Cook, Mac McCaughan, Laura Ballance: Our Noise – the Story of Merge Records”

Michael Moorcock: Gloriana

Good God, I hated this book, with an unreasoning, visceral passion. (Had much the same reaction to Nabokov’s Lolita). I made the perhaps-mistake of reading the Moorcock’s afterword first, in which he explains that Andrea Dworkin took him to task for including a graphic rape scene (with a troubling thematic implication) in book she otherwiseContinue reading “Michael Moorcock: Gloriana”