THE FURNACE by Prentis Rollins

A new review over at Tor.com:

[M]y tolerance for stories of straight white men in prestigious careers and how their moral weakness is the defining trauma of their adulthood is at an all-time low. (I’m sure it could get lower yet: I’m only in my early thirties, after all.) And my tolerance for stories in which gay white men are tortured by their fathers for their soi-disant “deviance” and go on to die young of overindulgence in alcohol (“Bury Your Gays” strikes again) is also very low. Especially when that death comes after said gay man has (a) attempted to proposition the straight guy narrator, declaring his unrequited love and attraction, and (b) successfully convinced the straight guy narrator to smother his moral qualms at being part of a government project that’s essentially a giant human rights abuse.

Sleeps With Monsters: Naomi Novik’s Spinning Silver

A new post over at Tor.com:

There’s a strange phenomenon whereby one truly enjoys a novel, admires it for its craft and emotional impact, and still finds one element painfully frustrating.

Naomi Novik’s Spinning Silver is just such a novel, a glittering jewel of a novel influenced by fairytale and by—as far as I can tell—the history of medieval Hungary. Miryem is a moneylender’s daughter, who takes over her father’s business because he’s too soft-hearted to actually demand repayment. She’s so good at it that the Staryk—beings of winter who covet gold—come to believe she can turn silver into gold, and one of them sets her a challenge with her life as the stakes. Victory won’t bring her any joy, either: if she wins, the Staryk king will take her to be his queen, far from home.

DEEP ROOTS by Ruthanna Emrys

A new review over at Tor.com:

Winter Tide, Ruthanna Emrys’s accomplished and astonishing debut novel, was an intense and intimate subversion of the Lovecraftian mythos, told from the point of view of Aphra Marsh, the eldest of two survivors of the United States’ genocide of Innsmouth. In Winter Tide, Aphra made reluctant common cause with FBI agent Ron Spector (though not with his suspicious colleagues) and accidentally accreted a family around her. Winter Tide is a novel about the importance of kindness in the face of an indifferent universe, and I love it beyond reason.

I may love Deep Roots even more.

EUROPEAN TRAVELS FOR THE MONSTROUS GENTLEWOMAN by Theodora Goss

A new review over at Tor.com:

Though European Travel for the Monstrous Gentlewoman is a long book, clocking in at some 700 pages, it’s well-paced and enormously readable. Goss is an accomplished writer, whose characters come across as distinct and engaging individuals…

…This is another fantastic book from an excellent writer. I enjoyed it greatly, and I’ll be looking forward to Goss’s next novel—not least because European Travel for the Monstrous Gentlewoman ends with a cliffhanger.

 

Sleeps With Monsters: Melissa Scott’s THE GAME BEYOND

A new column over at Tor.com:

The Game Beyond shows the promise of Melissa Scott’s writing, and lays the foundation for her John W. Campbell Best New Writer Award in 1986 (after, I think, the first two books in her Silence Leigh trilogy had also been published, though correct me if I have the dates wrong). We can see here some of the elements that have continued to be important in Scott’s work: elaborate worldbuilding, especially in terms of background political complexity and rigid social codes; compelling, self-aware characters; atmospheric prose; and solid pacing.

A THOUSAND BEGINNINGS AND ENDINGS, edited by Ellen Oh and Elsie Chapman

A new review over at Tor.com:

A Thousand Beginnings and Endings is an anthology of stories influenced by South and East Asian folklore and mythology.  Its editors, Ellen Oh and Elsie Chapman, are both board members of We Need Diverse Books, an organisation dedicated to advocating for diversity in literature. (Oh is the organisation’s current president.) The list of contributors includes names like Aliette de Bodard, Alyssa Wong, Roshani Chokshi, and Renée Ahdieh, all people with strong track records in the fiction field.

Sleeps With Monsters: Melissa Scott’s Shadow Man

A new column over at Tor.com:

This is a compelling novel with fascinating worldbuilding. In some ways, it shows its age—the Concord doesn’t really seem to have a place for people whose gender identities don’t fit their bodies, even if it allows a wider range of bodies to be recognised as distinct in gender from each other—but in other ways, it remains fresh and new. Particularly in its approach to social revolution: Warreven fights for change on Hara, but ultimately fails to achieve tangible change in for himself. But he opens up a symbolic space, a naming—as it were—of things and of people, even though the authorities ultimately drive him off-planet. (The end of the novel leaves space open for him to return.)