I’m looking forward to joining a read-along of Joyce Chng’s The Tale of Yin duology (Of Oysters, Pearls and Magic and The Path of Kindness) starting later this month. If you fancy a set of linked short stories exploring women, magic, privilege, and compassion in a fantasy setting, you might like to join us.

UK Book Cover: Sorcerer to the Crown - Zen ChoSorcerer to the Crown is a frothy fantasy farce with serious ideas under its lacy skirts; comparing it to Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell (as many people do) feels inappropriate to me as I found that novel dour and slow. Sorcerer to the Crown may also be set in a Regency England with a well-established magical tradition, but it has a gleeful exuberance that makes it a joy from start to finish.

Book Cover: The Apex Book of World SF 4I received this as a LibraryThing Early Reviewer title – it’s the latest in a series of collections of speculative / science fiction shorts from around the world. I took it as a great opportunity to broaden my horizons and get to know the works of non-Anglo/American authors, many of whom I hadn’t previously heard of. And generally, the quality here is very good – even the stories that weren’t to my taste were well-written and accomplished.

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This year has seen a particularly bitter feud in the world of SFF, as one group of authors (and readers) conducted a huge turf war over inclusivity in fiction. I’ve avoided discussion of it for the most part, as I have never been to a Worldcon nor voted in the Hugo Awards (the chosen battleground), so I didn’t feel it was my place. All I can say is that I disagree that something is colour blind or equal opportunities if it’s dominated by white blokes. This has nothing to do with whether I or they think the individuals involved are attached to some -ism or other, and everything to do with representation.

House of Shattered WingsI have thoroughly enjoyed Aliette de Bodard‘s scifi short stories and jumped at the thought of a sort of post-apocalyptic angel urban fantasy.

An alternate twentieth century Paris. The Fallen live amongst mankind, banished for crimes against Heaven. Stripped of their wings and their memories, each must rapidly come to terms with their new earthbound existence and find a home in one of the Houses – or die at the hands of humans who steal the magic from their body parts.

Ok, I’ve taken the hit so you don’t have to. The rumors about this being oh-so dry? They aren’t lying.

Three-Body started well, with a fascinating glimpse into the crimes against science committed during the Cultural Revolution. It continued well, setting up a mysterious ‘why are our top scientists committing suicide?’ thriller set in the modern day. It’s an interesting cross-cultural experience with the seeds of good characters and interesting stories.

Book Cover: Wild Seed by Octavia ButlerThe second of my reviews for Diversiverse 2014, this SF classic deserves every mention it gets (and a few more that it doesn’t. It should get all the mentions). Anyanwu discovers she isn’t the only immortal in the world – but her potential partner through the ages is ruthlessly pursuing a program of eugenics. Is his companionship worth the cost?