Wen Spencer: A Brother’s Price

A Brother’s Price is a fantasy novel with a nifty feminist twist: it’s set in a world where male children are much rarer than female children. Spencer posits that this leads to a matriarchal society in which men are valuable chattel — or, in other words, occupy a similar role to women in the vaguelyContinue reading “Wen Spencer: A Brother’s Price”

Laurie Viera Rigler: Confessions of a Jane Austen Addict

Even though I don’t think the novel is completely successful, I still find Confessions of a Jane Austen Addict‘s premise enchanting. It’s basically Freaky Friday meets Jane Austen (although the amped-up drama is little more Brontë than Austen). Modern-day Courtney Stone wakes up in the early-19-century body of Jane Mansfield (har har) and has toContinue reading “Laurie Viera Rigler: Confessions of a Jane Austen Addict”

Wen Spencer: Endless Blue

I enjoyed reading Endless Blue, but it requires more than the usual amount of willing suspension-of-belief and tolerance for sloppy editing. The premise is fun: there’s a sort of “Sargasso Sea” of space where ships get marooned when warp jumps go awry, and aliens mingle more freely than in the “normal” universe. Four centuries orContinue reading “Wen Spencer: Endless Blue”

Justine Larbalestier: How to Ditch Your Fairy

How to Ditch Your Fairy is a grass-is-greener fable that uses the device of magical entities to examine the unfairness of innate talents. The fairies of the title give the humans to whom they’re bound powers that drastically exaggerate normal traits. Physical attraction, for example, becomes compelling attention from literally everyone of the opposite sexContinue reading “Justine Larbalestier: How to Ditch Your Fairy”

Margo Lanagan: Red Spikes

Several of Lanagan’s spooky short stories start with deceptively simple, even prosaic, sentences, like “I arrived in moonlight; it wasn’t hard to find the way,” and “‘Well, at least it’s a fine night,’ said Mum.” But these innocuous openings give little away. In what era is the story set? Does it take place in worldContinue reading “Margo Lanagan: Red Spikes”

Doug Dorst: Alive in Necropolis

The book jacket description and a handful of pull quotes (from writers with ties to the McSweeney’s camp, mostly) were enough to get me to read Alive in Necropolis, but the novel exceeded the expectations I had of it. It sounds perhaps a bit silly in capsule form: emotionally fragile rookie cop Michael Mercer rescuesContinue reading “Doug Dorst: Alive in Necropolis”

Jonathan Barnes: The Somnambulist

Barnes’ first novel is promising, if less than entirely satisfying, and certainly not lacking in ambition nor scope. It’s set in a fantastic London peopled by flamboyant, unlikely charactersat the close of the 19th century. Several folk are Not As They At First Seem, including the narrator, who does, it should be noted, remark inContinue reading “Jonathan Barnes: The Somnambulist”

Charles Stross: Missile Gap

Good golly, I love libraries. I was delighted to have a chance to read Stross’s Missile Gap, a novella published in a small print run without coughing up its hefty price tag. I enjoyed Missle Gap, but truth to tell, if I’d paid the asking price, I would have been kinda bummed. Missile Gap sharesContinue reading “Charles Stross: Missile Gap”