Cherie Priest: Boneshaker

The phrase that kept coming to my mind to describe Boneshaker while I was reading it was “purely awesome.” The back cover copy gives away a little too much of the setup for my taste, but I will say that it shifts between being a steampunk adventure story and a gritty, claustrophobic zombie novel soContinue reading “Cherie Priest: Boneshaker”

Audrey Niffenegger: The Time Traveler’s Wife

I loved this book almost unreservedly — it’s easily one of the 5 or 6 best novels I’ve read so far this year. The title is very literally descriptive: it’s the chronicle of Henry and Clare’s relationship. Henry jumps around in time (involuntarily, sometimes forward, mostly backward, mostly within his own lifespan); Clare moves linearlyContinue reading “Audrey Niffenegger: The Time Traveler’s Wife”

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”

Scott Westerfeld, Leviathan

A week after visiting three bookstores to score a copy of Larbalestier’s Liar on its release day, I was preparing a multi-book store itinerary to buy her husband’s new novel, Leviathan on its first day of sale. I’ve been awaiting this book since at least June of 2006, when Westerfeld first started mentioning an in-progressContinue reading “Scott Westerfeld, Leviathan”

Sean Stewart: The Night Watch

I’ve never read anything quite like The Night Watch. It shares a background with Stewart’s earlier novel Resurrection Man, but it’s not a direct sequel; it takes place roughly a century later. Stewart’s novel is set after the cataclysmic return of magic to the world — the Dream — ended civilization as we know it.Continue reading “Sean Stewart: The Night Watch”

Carrie Ryan: The Forest of Hands and Teeth

The Forest of Hands and Teeth is the weirdest zombie story I’ve ever read. And it’s not just because the book never once uses the word “zombie.” It’s not even because the novel is set generations after the zombie’s victory over humanity. The Forest of Hands and Teeth opens in a small village of humansContinue reading “Carrie Ryan: The Forest of Hands and Teeth”

Paolo Bacigalupi: Pump Six and Other Stories

At its best, Pump Six reminds me of George Saunders and Lucius Shepard: Saunders for the wry yet disturbing cautionary near-future dystopias, Shepard for the core of outrage that runs deep through these stories — except where the anger of Shepard’s breakthrough fiction was directed at U.S. imperialism, Bacigalupi seems driven by environmental issues. “TheContinue reading “Paolo Bacigalupi: Pump Six and Other Stories”

Mike Brotherton: Spider Star

At the library the other week, the slightly goofy title and cover tease (“A dark-matter world holds the key to a weapon from the heart of the sun”) caught my eye. There was exuberant praise for Brotherton’s previous novel and lots of info on his real science cred, and I thought to myself, “I haven’tContinue reading “Mike Brotherton: Spider Star”

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”

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”