This time I got a unicorn book to review: In Calabria by Peter S. Beagle. Surprisingly (?) this lovely novella is not a secondary-world fantasy, which may imply that the unicorns in the plot are metaphors (or that you or I could come across one too, who knows). In any case it was the nicest read, and it was the first book in ages – and definitely the first book I read for a review – that actually managed to make me cry. You can read my review here.
If you need a book that’s an enjoyable read, that acknowledges and references a lot of international SF, mythology and folklore, and that is first and foremost about culture as change, about diversity, coexistence, acceptance and mutual enrichment, give this one a try.
“Central Station, that vast space port which rises over the twin cityscapes of Arab Jaffa, Jewish Tel Aviv” (p. 6): this is the main setting in Lavie Tidhar’s eponymous novel—or, rather, his interconnected collection of episodic short stories—and it’s big enough to have its own miniature weather system. Built by immigrant workers from all nations, it is described as “a miniature mall-nation, to which neither Tel Aviv nor Jaffa could lay complete claim” (p. 42), working as a sort of buffer zone as well as a cultural melting pot that offers everything from snack food to religion and/or body modification… (read more)
It took me a while to decide whether I liked this book or not. Find out why I think it’s totally worth reading (including some meta-observations about the genre of Weird Fiction and also SFF in general) in my review for Strange Horizons.
Awesome! Strange Horizons are doing a special issue focusing on Nalo Hopkinson’s writing. Her short-story collection Falling in Love with Hominids was among my favourite reads of 2015, so I was super pleased to be asked to contribute a review.
As a fan of Weird fiction, which is a genre that has long been dominated by Old White Men, I can only recommend this book. I picked it up as soon as I saw the cover—an illustration of a dreaming young black woman with awesome hair and also fully dressed, which is still not something you automatically get with your generic SFF anthology or short story collection. I was so smitten with the stories contained therein that I changed the reading list for my upcoming course on Weird short fiction to incorporate “The Easthound” (the first story in the book), which offers a fascinating twist on zombie tropes, a children’s commune, solidarity, oral storytelling games, and world-building based on mondegreens. Like Angela Carter (but more radically so in my view), Hopkinson picks up old myths and fairy tales—in her case mostly Caribbean ones—and revives them using contemporary topics and characters with transcultural, postcolonial, feminist, and/or LGBT backgrounds. Her stories are very much about finding one’s place in the world, about battling hierarchies and systems of oppression, and about empowerment. Female readers need voices like hers, LGBT readers need voices like hers, and so does the genre of Weird fiction. (read more)
“If you’re looking for something that’s different from your everyday zombie gorefest, if you want a zombie novel with actual brains, and a mouth that cannot be silenced, try The Last Weekend. It’s killer.”
Here’s my review of Nick Mamatas new novel The Last Weekend for Strange Horizons.
China Miéville has a new novella out.
“The deceptively simple story is dreamlike and disturbing, and constantly oscillating between literary fiction (albeit with a Borgesian touch), fantasy, and horror. It is also a murder mystery.
And it’s a secret Bas-Lag story.”
…as I’m arguing in my review of This Census-Taker in Strange Horizons.
So I read all of John Scalzi’s Old Man’s War series, and this is the outcome. I really, really wish we had more characters like Zoë.