Karen Lord, The Best of All Possible Worlds

The summer issue of Ideomancer is up, in which I have a review of Karen Lord’s The Best of All Possible Worlds:

The Best of All Possible Worlds is not a domestic work. It doesn’t centre around a domicile, around social interiors. But it is concerned with emotional interiority in a manner not often see in the wider SF field, a novel immensely – one might even say intensely – personal in scope and concerned with small-scale actions, despite the world-destroying tragedy lurking in the story’s near past and looming over its shoulder. This concern with the personal combines with a gentle nod at SF’s mythic furniture to create a thematic, tonal continuity with Lord’s first novel, Redemption in Indigo, although the two books are otherwise very different animals.

Linky will sing to you about starships

Except maybe not today. You don’t want me to sing.

Niall Harrison at Strange Horizons releases the 2012 SF Count:

VIDA started it. In 2010, they published the first iteration of “The Count”, a straightforward analysis of how literary coverage is affected by gender. For a range of notable publications, VIDA calculated the proportion of books reviewed that were by women, and the proportion of reviewers that were women, and published pie charts illustrating their findings. They published similar analyses for 2011 and, most recently, for 2012. Each year, a consistent imbalance has been observed: more books by men are reviewed, and more book reviewers are men.

Following VIDA’s lead, for the past two years Strange Horizons has published “SF counts”, looking at the same parameters as VIDA for speculative fiction review venues.

…This article presents the results of the SF count for 2012.

Cécile Christofari, “Tourism, From Inside and Out”:

[I]it’s always very surprising to hear that the place where you live is not authentic enough. I don’t know what that makes of its inhabitants—am I supposed to be a paid extra, or something?

Nalo Hopkinson in the Los Angeles Review of Books, with a review of Karen Lord’s The Best of All Possible Worlds:

KAREN LORD’S NOVEL The Best of All Possible Worlds put me in mind of Junot Díaz’s brilliant novel The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao. Not stylistically: while Oscar Wao is an experimental pelau of modes served up in Díaz’s distinctly Dominicano and in-your-face voice, The Best of All Possible Worlds is a beautiful shape-shifter. It reads like smooth jazz comfort food, deceptively familiar and easy going down, but subtly subversive.

Books in brief: Martha Wells, Karen Lord, Seanan McGuire, Ankaret Wells, Andrea K. Höst, Barbara Ann Wright

Martha Wells, Emilie and the Hollow World. Angry Robot/Strange Chemistry, 2013. Copy courtesy of the publishers.

A delightful YA novel from one of my favourite authors. Further details should follow at Tor.com.

Karen Lord, The Best of All Possible Worlds. Ballantine/Del Rey (US), Jo Fletcher (UK), 2013.

A novel interesting on multiple levels, combining literary and SFnal approaches to worldbuilding and relationships. Perhaps not entirely successful, but interesting. Review forthcoming in summer Ideomancer.

Martha Wells, City of Bones. Republished by the author.

An excellent book, with excellent world-building and characterisation, which I really enjoyed. Right up until the very last page, which had to go all emotionally-complicated and very true to character but was not what I wanted to read just then.

Barbara Ann Wright, For Want of a Fiend. Bold Strokes Books, 2013. Epub. Copy courtesy of the publisher.

Lesbian relationships as normative within a fantasy novel that, while a little rough around the edges, is not noticeably rougher than most of the midlist. I recommend this, and expect to be talking more about it on the Tor.com column.

Ankaret Wells, The Maker’s Mask and The Hawkwood War. Self-published; second book epub copy courtesy of the author.

A bit rocky getting started, but in general a delightful, well-characterised romp through weird and wacky tech and politics. It has a sense of humour. Oh, god, do you know how many stories don’t? Or substitute bitter snark and snappy one-liners? I will be speaking of this more later.

Andrea K. Höst, And All The Stars. Self-published. Epub.

A strongly enjoyable alien-invasion story, focused on a group of teenagers in Sydney. Well recommended.

Seanan McGuire, Midnight Blue-Light Special. DAW, 2013.

Another novel with a sense of humour. A lot of fun.

Seanan McGuire, An Artificial Knight, Late Eclipses, and One Salt Sea. DAW, various dates. Copies courtesy of the publishers.

McGuire’s Toby Daye novels make a lot more sense – and are a lot more fun – when you read them as second-world fantasies that just happen to take place in the same general area as a modern US city, and not as urban fantasy. I bounced off the second a while back, but the third is like popcorn. And so are the next two.

Popcorn. With hot butter and salt. I will be speaking more on them later, probably elseweb.