Archive by Author

Book Review: The Wall of Storms by Ken Liu

11 Aug

The second volume in Ken Liu’s Dandelion Dynasty series just had its paperback release, so this felt like a good moment to review this sequel to 2015’s The Grace of Kings. If you aren’t familiar with that start to the series, you can find my review of it here, and I would not recommend starting with the sequel or reading further in this review. The plot of The Wall of Storms actually does stand rather well on its own. However, the framework of Liu’s Chinese-history inspired archipelago kingdom/culture is built in the first book and could be harder to appreciate or grasp without starting there. Continue reading

Book Review: STEEL VICTORY and STEEL MAGIC by J.L. Gribble

28 Jul

This Sunday I featured Steel Blood for my first offering in the ‘A Book By Its Cover’ series of humorous fake reviews. I haven’t yet read this third volume in J.L. Gribble’s Steel Empires series, but I have read the first two novels, Steel Victory and Steel Magic. Seems the perfect time to write real reviews on them. Continue reading

A Book By Its Cover: Steel Blood by J.L. Gribble

23 Jul

A worthy successor to Steel Victory and Steel Magic, this third volume in Gribble’s Steel Empires series continues the ambitious genre mash-up that has delighted fans of all ages forty-four through sixty-two. The official sequel to the play/film Steel Magnolias from the late ’80s, and a Sega Genesis console game from the early ’90s, the Steel Empires series began by successfully merging a story about a close-knit group of women in a small-town southern community with the plot of a side-scrolling, shoot-’em-up Steampunk videogame. Continue reading

Book Review: Nebula Awards Showcase 2017

14 Jul

Since the Nebula Awards’ inception some combination of its winners and nominees has been annually published together in a collection edited by a major genre figure. Unlike typical anthologies or collections, the content isn’t chosen by the editor, but by the members of the Science Fiction Writers of America. Therefore the responsibilities of the editor (this year Julie E. Czerneda) appear minimal, mainly to write the introduction and decide on which category might have its nominees included. Individual stories also include introductions by the authors providing insight into the creation of their work.

Nebula Awards Showcase 2017 thus offers an ideal and affordable digest for seeing what members of the speculative fiction field view as its current best representations. For readers who somehow manage to keep up with all corners of the genre, the collection provides a nice summation and reminder of the current vibe, views, and insights that have gained notice. For the casual or new reader, it offers an opportunity to discover some talented writers and powerful stories. Continue reading

Book Review: The Rogue Retrieval by Dan Koboldt

30 Jun

As a geneticist, Dan Koboldt has written extensively within his field of research and in nonfiction for the general reader (such as Clarkesworld) on science in speculative fiction and related genres. Expecting and hoping for his fiction to be filled with speculative elements related to genetics, I was caught off guard by his debut novel, a light-hearted portal fantasy titled The Rogue Retrieval. A successful start to a Harper Voyager series called “Gateways to Alissia”, it has been followed by The Island Deception earlier this year, and will continue in a third volume due early 2018. Continue reading

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