I always feel apologetic about collections. And anthologies, for that matter: I’m far less well read with regard to short fiction in the genres of the fantastic than I am with regard to novels and novellas. I know, as always, what I like. How that fits into wider trends… that often puzzles me.
R.E. Stearns’ debut novel, Barbary Station, exploded its way close to my heart with its narrative of lesbian space engineers, pirates, and murderous AI. A measured, tensely claustrophobic narrative, it hinted that Stearns might be a voice to watch. Now in Mutiny at Vesta, Barbary Station‘s sequel, Stearns has written a worthy successor, one that makes me feel that tensely claustrophobicis the corner of slower-than-light space opera that Stearns has staked out as her playing field.
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.
This is a fine, measured novel, deeply interested in the social conditions and conventions of its setting, and deeply interested, too, in human nature and human frailty.
It’s not nearly as fun as Theodora Goss’s The Strange Case of the Alchemist’s Daughter (Saga, 2017), which is working with some of the same influences—revisioning 19th-century popular fiction from a point of view that emphasises women’s choices and agency, and which interrogates the assumptions of the original texts.
At the Table of Wolves is the first novel by Kay Kenyon that I’ve ever read, though I understand her backlist numbers above a dozen. Published by Saga Press, At the Table of Wolves begins—or so I’m given to understand—a new series, one set in England in the late 1930s and involving superhuman/paranormal powers.
So I wrote an email chasing some of these (because I am supposed to review some of them for deadlines) only to find them arriving the next day. EMBARRASS ME POST WHY DON’T YOU.
That’s Cassandra Rose Clarke’s OUR LADY OF THE ICE (Saga Press), Laura Anne Gilman’s SILVER ON THE ROAD (Saga Press), Kai Ashante Wilson’s SORCERER OF THE WILDEEPS (Tor.com Publishing), and Carrie Vaughn’s KITTY SAVES THE WORLD (Tor Books).
And this is Stephanie Saulter’s REGENERATION (Jo Fletcher Books) and Jay Posey’s DAWNBREAKER (Angry Robot). Although I don’t know why anyone would send me the third book in a trilogy where I haven’t ever seen the first two… still, it has a pretty cover?
So my brain is broken right now, right, on account of me finishing a PhD thesis. For the last several weeks, I have barely been able to make myself read: for the last fortnight, I really haven’t.
Except for PERSONA. I looked at the first few pages of PERSONA and found I could not stop. This is an excellent book. It is, so far, the only book I have been able to read since my brain broke. It is the book that signifies to me my brain might not be permanently broken, and the malaise that afflicts my every thought of reading will pass, because once I started reading it I just kept going.
Good book. Excellent book. Very different to Valentine’s The Girls at the Kingfisher Club but just as easy to read. Recommend highly.
Most likely these are the last copies to arrive this year, and that’s a good note to end on: from Saga Press, an ARC of Genevieve Valentine’s PERSONA and a bound galley of Ken Liu’s THE GRACE OF KINGS.