Archive by Author

Book Review: Children of the Different by S.C. Flynn

12 May

Stories dealing with those often-painful transitions of adolescence dominate mainstream young adult fiction. On the genre side of the fiction divide, post-apocalyptic settings contain characters constantly beset by external dangers, characters that simultaneously must struggle to adapt themselves to their civilization’s collapse. In both cases these tales combine peripheral threats with internal struggles, shaping varying degrees of character growth and/or plot development.

Thus, it’s fitting that S.C. Flynn combined aspects from both sides of young adult fiction’s spectrum in his debut novel Children of the Different. Though comprised of many familiar elements, the novel is aptly named. Flynn’s story feels fresh and intriguingly different. With inspirations from analytical philosophy and biological metamorphosis, Children of the Different explores the transformation of his young characters into adulthood within post-apocalyptic settings that merge science fiction and mythical fantasy. Continue reading

Book Review: CONGRESS OF SECRETS by Stephanie Burgis

5 Apr

Known for her Regency-era fantasy series for middle-grade readers that began with A Most Improper Magick (published as Kat, Incorrigible in the US), Stephanie Burgis’ debut novel for adults, Masks and Shadows, similarly combined romanticism with the fantastic. Her sophomore novel, released at the end of 2016 by Pyr, continues this formula. Well paced and passionately infused with historical details and characters, Congress of Secrets will appeal to readers who enjoy a touch of magical darkness balancing Austenesque romance and historical intrigue. Continue reading

Book Review: Defying Doomsday, Edited by Tsana Dolichva & Holly Kench

9 Aug

“People with disability already live in a post-apocalyptic world.” – Robert Hoge

This crowd-funded anthology of post-apocalyptic fiction showcases the theme of disabled or chronically-ill protagonists. Edited by Tsana Dolichva and Holly Kench, the collection features many Aussie female writers (though not exclusively) and names likely both familiar and new to speculative fiction readers. With all of its diversity in characters, apocalyptic setting, and featured disability/illness, Defying Doomday is remarkably consistent in tone and quality. Continue reading

Book Review: STORIES FOR CHIP: A TRIBUTE TO SAMUEL R. DELANY, Edited by Nisi Shawl & Bill Campbell

19 Jul

Publishing since the age of twenty, Samuel R. Delany is a highly respected novelist and literary critic alike. Familiarly known as “Chip”, Delany has written science fiction and fantasy (SFF) known for pushing boundaries, for challenging the notions of speculative genres, and experimenting with approaches to literature in general. Delany’s writing both subverts conventions and transcends fiction to explore social realities, most notably the existence of the Other. Indeed, as a man who could be described with terms such as academic, homosexual, polymath, African-American, and intelligent, Delany writes from the point of view of the Other, a spectrum of under-represented perspectives within SFF.

Both Delany’s fiction and nonfiction have been hugely influential, inspiring, and appreciated, partly due to this unique vision. However, his works have also resonated so strongly because Delany’s vision is not just unique, but uniquely brilliant, honest, and perceptive. With all of its challenges and transgressions against comfortable familiarity, Delany’s work strikes universal human chords, conveying both beauty and progressive encouragement. Continue reading

Book Review: Alice by Christina Henry

28 Jun

Alice by Christina Henry

(Ace Books, Paperback, 291 Pages, ISBN: 9780425266793)

“Her voice trailed off, her throat full of love and loss and pain. [He] said nothing, but she heard his breath go deep and even, and she let her eyes fall shut. She matched her breath to his, and it was almost like holding his hand as the night closed in.

Alice dreamed of blood. Blood on her hands and under her feet, blood in her mouth and pouring from her eyes. The room was filled with it. Outside the door [he] stood hand in hand with something dark and hideous, a thing crafted of shadow with flashing silver teeth…”

I haven’t read Lewis Carroll before. I’ve never even watched any of the Alice in Wonderland adaptations that have been animated or filmed. But the continual presence of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass in the popular zeitgeist is sufficient familiarity for anyone to pick up Alice, an arresting novel by Christina Henry published last summer. More inspired by Carroll’s twisted characters and their world as opposed to being a point-by-point ‘retelling’, Christina Henry tweaks Carroll’s work into her own distinct plot and themes, with a marked shift to darkness. Continue reading

%d bloggers like this: