Sleeping With Monsters: Readings and Reactions in Science Fiction and Fantasy, a collection of my reviews and nonfiction, is out now from Aqueduct Press.

It’s available in paperback from Blackwell’s, Amazon.com, Amazon.co.uk, Barnes & Noble, and The Book Depository, as well as directly from Aqueduct Press. The ebook version is available directly from Aqueduct Press, as well as from  Barnes & Noble, Amazon.com, and Amazon.co.uk.

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STONE MAD by Elizabeth Bear

A new review over at Tor.com:

In 2015’s Karen Memory, Elizabeth Bear introduced us to Karen and her compelling, colloquial storyteller’s voice. Stone Mad follows on from that story, with Karen recovered from her injuries and enjoying a nice dinner out at a fancy hotel with her lover and partner Priya before they move into the farmhouse they’ve bought together. But events, in the form of a pair of travelling Spiritualist sisters, rather intervene…

Sleeps With Monsters: Feeling and Faith in The Wonder Engine by T. Kingfisher

A new column over at Tor.com:

I’ve only ever read a handful of books that treat the question of religion in fantasy with any serious weight. The presence or absence of gods and their powers, the (un)knowability of divine things, the question of whether or not one can get, or understand, an answer from a god—the question of whether, if you’ve given your fealty to a god, it matters if you understand the use said god makes of you—is not a question that fantasy in general deals with in great detail, even—or perhaps especially—in those works that take the existence of gods for granted.

Sleeps With Monsters: Awards Season (or, Some Things I’m Nominating for the Hugos in the Fiction Categories)

A new post over at Tor.com:

I thought I’d share with you some of the things I intend to nominate in the fiction categories, just in case anyone feels like they want to discuss literary merits vs. popularity in non-juried awards. I’m not going to share more than two or three things in a category: these are as much ideas for discussion as they are recommendations. There’s so much out there that’s good that even a much longer list will exclude some amazing work.


A new review over at Tor.com:

On a backwater planet whose inhabitants live parochial lives surrounded by the artefacts and wreckage of a long-vanished civilisation, a somewhat-disinterested religious autocracy dispenses subsistence wages and food for devotion and prayer—or salvaged artefacts—at their technological Temples. The head of each Temple is called the Muljaddy, and they’re all part of one single family, and the Temples—which are sometimes moved—are strung out along the length of a Road through a wasteland landscape, around which towns grow and falter, and along which people occasionally move.

Sleeps With Monsters: Fighting For Better Futures

A new post over at Tor.com:

I’m also looking forward to seeing more work by Karen Healey and Robyn Fleming, who recently funded their first co-written novel The Empress of Timbra through Kickstarter. (It’s now widely available as an epub.) Healey has form: her previous solo novels (like Guardians of the Dead and While We Run) were well-received SFF YA. This first offering from the Healey-Fleming team, though, while certainly YA-friendly, feels a lot more like epic fantasy: the epic fantasy of yesteryear, where young people go out into the world and learn complicated lessons.

STARFIRE: MEMORY’S BLADE by Spencer Ellsworth

A new review over at Tor.com:

Memory’s Blade is a fast, punchy story that packs an awful lot of boom into a relatively small space. It wraps up the whole Starfire storyline in a series of surprising revelations, startling choices, and complicated emotions.

But like its predecessors in this trilogy, I can’t help feeling that Memory’s Blade takes a bit too much of a breakneck approach to pacing.


Sleeps With Monsters: Looking (Queerly) Back On Season One of Star Trek: Discovery

A new post over at Tor.com:

I’m still not sure how I feel about Star Trek: Discovery at the close of this first season. I’m not alone in that: in a season filled with excellent performances, rushed narrative arcs, peculiar (and sometimes predictable) choices, and a criminal neglect of the Klingon politics that the first two episodes primed us to look for, it’s hard to know which side of the scales is more heavily weighted.

Sleeps With Monsters: Old Influences and New Impressions

A new column over at Tor.com (two this week!):

I may be a sucker for a good Dr. Watson, or maybe Claire O’Dell (an open pseudonym for Beth Bernobich) has just written a hell of a good novel, because A Study in Honor (Harper Voyager, forthcoming July 2018) turns out to be one of those books I find impossible to put down. I want the sequel immediately.

Sleeps With Monsters: The Women of Black Panther Are Amazing

A new column (on a Monday! extra column this week) over at Tor.com:

[Black Panther]’s also a film that, while it centres on a man—and on questions of kingship, legitimacy, and responsibility—is the first superhero film I’ve ever seen to surround its main male character with women who are in many ways equally powerful, and who don’t depend on him for purpose or characterisation. No, seriously: this is the first superhero film I’ve ever seen—maybe the first SFF film I’ve ever seen—where pretty much the hero’s entire back-up team, his entire support network, were women. Women who teased him and challenged him and demanded he do better.


A new review over at Tor.com:

This is a fine, measured novel, deeply interested in the social conditions and conventions of its setting, and deeply interested, too, in human nature and human frailty.

It’s not nearly as fun as Theodora Goss’s The Strange Case of the Alchemist’s Daughter (Saga, 2017), which is working with some of the same influences—revisioning 19th-century popular fiction from a point of view that emphasises women’s choices and agency, and which interrogates the assumptions of the original texts.


Sleeps With Monsters: Where Are the SFF Stories About Pregnancy and Child-rearing?

A new column over at Tor.com:

The literature of the fantastic is a fruitful place in which to examine gendered questions of power. People have been using it to talk about women’s place in society (and the place of gender in society) pretty much for as long as science fiction has been a recognisable genre. Joanna Russ and Ursula Le Guin are only two of the most instantly recognisable names whose work directly engaged these themes. But for all that, science fiction and fantasy—especially the pulpishly fun kind—is strangely reluctant to acknowledge a challenge to participation in demanding public life (or a physically ass-kicking one) faced primarily (though not only) by women.

Pretty sure you’ve already guessed what it is. But just to be sure—

Pregnancy. And the frequent result, parenting small children.

SEMIOSIS by Sue Burke

A new review over at Tor.com:

Semiosis is Sue Burke’s first novel. It’s a braided narrative, taking place over several human generations, and involves questions of community, communication, power, civilisation, memory, history, and compromise. For all its ambition, Semiosis is a fairly slender volume. It’s also an easy read, and a pretty compelling one.


Sleeps With Monsters: The Adventures of Murderbot

A new column over at Tor.com:

Martha Wells is an amazing writer, whose work I’ve generally loved since first encountering The Element of Fire. When her novella All Systems Red came out last year from Tor.com Publishing, it was a delight to see Wells turn her considerable talents to original science fiction—space operatic science fiction with a sense of humour and a deep well of kindness. This year will see two sequels published, Artificial Condition (May) and Rogue Protocol (August), and—not a word of a lie—they’re both really good.


MARKSWOMAN by Rati Mehrotra

A new review over at Tor.com. I did not greatly enjoy this book. I rather disliked it, unfortunately.

Markswoman is Rati Mehrotra’s debut novel. It’s also a book I really wish I’d enjoyed, because its big idea—sword-wielding telepathic lady assassins enforce the law while having internal politics that might involve murder!—is the kind of thing that feels like it should be tailor-made to appeal to me. And yet, reading Markswoman felt like a chore, a book that could only be read a couple of pages at a time, because its voice was about as compelling as old cardboard.


Sleeps With Monsters: Time Travel and Living Ships

A new column over at Tor.com:

The difference between a really good novella and an excellent one lies partly in the ability of the author to make the ending feel right, inevitable, and a satisfactory conclusion to all that has come before. There are other differences (and some of these are also differences between a good novella and a bad one, depending on how they arise), and this statement is also true for a lot of novellas. But if there’s a difference between Kelly Robson’s really good Gods, Monsters, and the Lucky Peach (Tor.com Publishing) and Aliette de Bodard’s excellent The Tea Master and the Detective (Subterranean Press), it’s that Robson’s ending feels right and inevitable, but not satisfactory, while de Bodard’s ticks all three boxes.


A new review over at Tor.com:

I’ve been hearing about Brooke Bolander’s The Only Harmless Great Thing for a while. Often with superlative adjectives attached, usually from people whose taste I trust. It’s hard to believe this much advance hype, so I approached the novella with an attitude of dubious caution, much as one might approach a strange cat that one would dearly like to pet.

Especially since I’d also heard it was both angry and tragic.

Well. Well.


Sleeps With Monsters: Demons On A Mission

A new column over at Tor.com:

There’s nothing quite so disappointing as not being able to get your hands on a book you really want to read. Due to a peculiar combination of factors, including Barnes & Noble’s approach to (not) selling ebooks outside North America, my personal intense dislike of the .mobi format, and an unaccountable gap in Kobo availability, I’ve had to wait for the Subterranean Press editions of all of Lois McMaster Bujold’s Penric novellas. The third and latest to reach the shelves is Penric’s Mission, and it is utterly fantastic.