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Sleeping With Monsters: Readings and Reactions in Science Fiction and Fantasy (Aqueduct Press, 2017), a collection of my reviews and nonfiction, is a finalist for the 2018 Hugo Award for Best Related Work.

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.

Read a long sample here.

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AMNESTY by Lara Elena Donnelly

A new review over at Tor.com:

Lara Elena Donnelly’s Amberlough series, which began in 2017’s Amberlough, continued with last year’s Armistice, and concludes (it seems) in this latest volume, Amnesty, has always focused on complicated people whose ethics are at best extremely flexible and at worst practically non-existent. None of these characters are good people: most of them are fundamentally selfish, frequently ambitious, and guided primarily by what they want, rather than any idea of their responsibility to other people. (Even their love affairs are, at root, fundamentally selfish.)

So it’s quite a triumph of craft that, nonetheless, Donnelly is able to make many of her characters understandable, relatable, and even sympathetic.

Sleeps With Monsters: Two Uneven SF Sequels

A new column over at Tor.com:

This week I’m going to talk about two sequels, one of which I liked a lot better than the other. Part of this is down to my enjoyment of the characters, but part of it, too, is that one of the novels is advertised as the second part of a duology, but it closes on a note that raises as many questions as it answers. The other novel makes no claims to completing its series arc, but it finishes in an emotionally satisfying place, even if it does leave a wide-open door for “further adventures”—and terrible threats.

THE LUMINOUS DEAD by Caitlin Starling

A new review over at Tor.com:

[The] setup looks, in a nutshell, like survival horror: Gyre striving to survive in an inimical environment and fighting to maintain her autonomy against a handler who should be on her side.

Fortunately for us, Starling has written a deeper, richer, and more complicated story. The Luminous Dead is a story of two isolated people who have been defined (and who have defined themselves) by traumatic losses in their childhoods as they open up to each other in the darkness of a cave whose depths may prove unsurvivable.

Sleeps With Monsters: Brief and Complementary Tales

A new column over at Tor.com:

I’m sitting here, friends, trying to think of how to frame this week’s column. Because sometimes you read two books that seem complementary, but you’re not sure if you can put the reasons behind that feeling into words. For all its variety and flexibility, language occasionally falls short when it comes to articulating intangibles.

Rude of it.

Hugo Nominations

Hugo nominations for Dublin 2019 are closed now. Despite being rather swamped by… well, everything… I still managed to nominate a few works and people.

 

Novel:

  • In the Vanishers’ Palace; Aliette de Bodard
  • Swordheart; Ursula Vernon
  • The Phoenix Empress; K. Arsenault Rivera
  • The Wild Dead; Carrie Vaughn
  • Deep Roots; Ruthanna Emrys

Novella:

  • The Tea Master and the Detective; Aliette de Bodard; Subterranean

Press/US

  • The Black God’s Drums; P. Djeli Clark; Tor.com
  • The Barrow Will Send What It May; Margaret Killjoy; Tor.com
  • The Descent of Monsters; JY Yang; Tor.com
  • A Glimmer of Silver; Juliet Kemp; The Book Smugglers

Short Story:

  • She Still Loves The Dragon; Elizabeth Bear; Uncanny
  • The Rose McGregor Drinking and Admiration Society; T Kingfisher; Uncanny

Related Work:

Dramatic Long:

  • Black Panther

Editor Long:

  • Gillian Redfearn, Gollancz
  • Devi Pillai, Tor

Semiprozine:

  • Uncanny
  • Strange Horizons
  • Lightspeed

Fanzine:

  • LadyBusiness

Fan Artist:

John W. Campbell (Not-A-Hugo) New Writer:

  • Rivers Solomon
  • K. Arsenault Rivera
  • Vivian Shaw

Lodestar:

  • GIRLS OF PAPER AND FIRE; Natasha Ngan

Round-up of published things

My ability to stay on top of everything has slid significantly lately. (Planning a wedding is stressful, guys! Everyone wants to sell you shit and you have a budget here!) I’m doing my best with that on top of the usual strains, but my best is significantly less great than I’d like.

 

But! Here are my three most recent posts on Tor.com:

 

Sleeps With Monsters: Intimate Space Operas

An Explosive Debut: The Perfect Assassin by K.A. Doore

A Shaky Resolution: Luna: Moon Rising by Ian McDonald

THE VELA by Yoon Ha Lee, Rivers Solomon, S.L. Huang, and Becky Chambers

A new review over at Tor.com:

The Vela is the latest in Serial Box’s slate of speculative fiction offerings. This one’s space opera, with an approach to politics ever so slightly reminiscent of James S.A. Corey’s Expanse. Its concept is credited to Lydia Shamah, Serial Box’s director of original content, but its execution is down to an award-class writing team: Becky Chambers, Yoon Ha Lee, Rivers Solomon, and S.L. Huang. All of their individual talents combine to make The Vela a potent brew.

ALICE PAYNE RIDES by Kate Heartfield

The latest review over at Tor.com:

I’m coming to the conclusion that Kate Heartfield may be the author whose work proves the exception to my “time travel stories never satisfy me” rule. Time travel is messy, and in a story where time travel is the focus, a classic linear narrative never quite works out. But in Heartfield’s Alice Payne novellas—first in last year’s Alice Payne Arrives, and now in its sequel, Alice Payne Rides—the mess is part of the point. The false starts, the paradoxes, the putative dead ends: these are part of the time war that the characters are either fighting or have got themselves caught up in.

CHRONIN VOLUME 1: THE KNIFE AT YOUR BACK by Alison Wilgus

I managed to miss when this went live over at Tor.com, but hey! I’m linking now!

When I heard of Chronin: The Knife At Your Back, the first in a time-travel graphic novel duology, I was intrigued. A comic set in 1864 Japan, featuring a time-travelling female college student from our future, disguised as a male samurai and stuck in the past? Sounds interesting!

Sleeps With Monsters: Intrigue, Espionage, and Capers

I’m behindhand in crossposting. Here’s the latest column over at Tor.com:

I’ve been waiting for a follow-up to Amanda Downum’s Kingdom of Dust for years. Downum’s first three novels, The Drowning City, The Bone Palace, and Kingdom of Dust were rich, detailed works involving plenty of magic and even more intrigue. Now she’s published The Poison Court, an excellent novel of murder and palace intrigue, and it’s every bit as good as I’d been hoping for.

THE PRIORY OF THE ORANGE TREE by Samantha Shannon

A new review over at Tor.com:

The last standalone epic fantasy of significant length I read was Jacqueline Carey’s magisterial Starless (2018), a novel told from the perspective of its sole narrator, and one so deftly paced that it seems precisely as long as it needs to be, and no longer. Samantha Shannon is a younger and less experienced writer than Carey, and The Priory of the Orange Tree is her first published epic fantasy and her first published standalone novel. It may be unfair of me to judge them by the same standards, but while The Priory of the Orange Tree does eventually get its legs underneath it for a satisfying endgame, it remains something of an unbalanced, unwieldy beast.

THE AFTERWARD by E.K. Johnston

A new review over at Tor.com:

Every so often, a book comes along that I fall in love with entirely. A book that hooks its fingers into my heart and soul and nests there. Last year the novel that did that to the most precise, complete point was Aliette de Bodard’s In the Vanishers’ Palace. Although they’re very different books, this year it looks like E.K. Johnston’s The Afterward is a strong contender.

THE RAVEN TOWER by Ann Leckie

A new post over at Tor.com:

If there’s one thing one can say for sure about Ann Leckie, it’s that so far in her career she shows no signs of settling into a rut. All her novels have been ambitious in their own separate ways, and they’ve played with gender, language and identity to fruitful, thought-provoking ends. (Let’s be honest, I’m a fan.) That ambition continues to show in The Raven Tower, her first novel-length published fantasy—and shows itself in some interesting, unconventional narrative choices.

Sleeps With Monsters: Engaging Fantasy Thrillers

A new column at Tor.com:

How’s 2019 treating you so far, friends? I’m personally finding the onslaught of new and excellent books a little overwhelming.

Into that overwhelming (but excellent) category fall the two novels I want to talk about this week, Michelle Sagara’s Cast in Oblivion and Claire O’Dell’s The Hound of Justice.

Sleeps With Monsters: A Coincidence of Prisoners

A new column over at Tor.com:

An odd coincidence saw me read two books back-to-back—both with the word “prisoner” in the title—by authors who began their novel-publishing career in the 1980s. Both Barbara Hambly and Lois McMaster Bujold have definitely grown as writers in the last four decades, and their recent works can be relied on to provide deep, thought-provoking reads—and deeply entertaining ones, too.

 

 

DARK OF THE WEST by Joanna Hathaway

A new review over at Tor.com:

Joanna Hathaway’s debut novel, Dark of the West, can classify itself as fantasy by virtue of its setting: a secondary world whose technology seems to fit an equivalent of our 1930s. With its radios and tanks and machine guns, it perhaps bears comparison with Lara Elena Donnelly’s Amberlough, another magicless fantasy novel with a 1920s/1930s feel. But Amberlough and its sequels foreground the complexities of politics, understanding that while the personal is political, social movements can be bigger (more complicated, more long-lasting) than any single person. For Dark of the West, there appears to be no such thing as competing political interests. Everything, it seems, comes down to personal animus or personal loyalty.

Sleeps With Monsters: She-Ra and the Princesses of Power

A new column over at Tor.com:

She-Ra and the Princesses of Power showcases a variety of powerful women, making a variety of different choices about what to do with their power. This is a show with an argument to make about community and responsibility, and being honest about (and responsible for) one’s choices.

Sleeps With Monsters: Epic Fantasy and Feminism in THE WOMEN’S WAR and THE RUIN OF KINGS

A new post over at Tor.com:

Who doesn’t like epic fantasy? And feminist epic fantasy, at that?

The Women’s War by Jenna Glass and The Ruin of Kings by Jenn Lyons are both opening volumes in new epic fantasy series. I read them one after the other, and can’t help comparing their approaches to feminism—because both of them set themselves within oppressive societies. And yet, though The Women’s War spends more of its time with female main characters and sets itself amid a violent struggle for the liberation of (some) women in a rigidly patriarchal society, I found The Ruin of Kings more inclusive and more persuasive—more liberatory—in its approach to a patriarchal society.