‘Sennen’ More than Meets the Eye

It can be tough to pull off a good “world you thought you knew is actually walled off from the ‘real world’” story, and even tougher to make it feel fresh and new and thought-provoking. Sennen, the debut graphic novel by illustrator Shanti Rai, does all this alongside nailing a strong coming-of-age story in anContinue reading “‘Sennen’ More than Meets the Eye”

‘Dragons’ A Poignant Commentary on Sexism, Self

My day job right now has me looking through lots of records—many primary sources—on the ways heteronormative gender roles were constructed and enforced during the midcentury decades. Looking back at the rigid structure our collective grandmothers were expected to squeeze into, and the lack of rights they had within it, is both sobering and enragingContinue reading “‘Dragons’ A Poignant Commentary on Sexism, Self”

‘Station Eternity’ A Fun, Sometimes Chaotic, Whodunnit

I’m always up for a good murder mystery, especially ones solved by the clever amateurs of the world like Jessica Fletcher and Jane Marple. There’s plenty of room for asking why murder seems to follow those and other lay detectives around, and Mur Lafferty answers it for the heroine of her latest book, Station Eternity. Continue reading “‘Station Eternity’ A Fun, Sometimes Chaotic, Whodunnit”

‘Sea of Tranquility’ Dizzying and Beautiful

I’ve heard raves about Station Eleven for years, as well as, more recently, The Glass Hotel. But my first attempt into Station Eleven didn’t get me far so I just assumed Emily St. John Mandel wasn’t a writer for me. I’m not sure how to quantify how wrong I was. Because within pages of Mandel’sContinue reading “‘Sea of Tranquility’ Dizzying and Beautiful”

‘Iron Widow’ Smashes Expectations and Patriarchy

There are some books that are quiet, meditative pieces on, say, the nature of love. The meaning of life. The depths of loneliness. How hope can soar and crash and rise again. Xiran Jay Zhao’s Iron Widow is none of these things, and it’s proud of it. Zetian has lived to make herself as unattractiveContinue reading “‘Iron Widow’ Smashes Expectations and Patriarchy”

‘Song for the Unraveling of the World’ Strange and Compelling

The first story in Brian Evenson’s collection Song for the Unraveling of the World is less than two pages long. That page and a half, though, is a good litmus test. If you don’t like it, you can confidently move onto some other short story collection. But if you find yourself intrigued and uneased, there’sContinue reading “‘Song for the Unraveling of the World’ Strange and Compelling”

‘Elder Race’ is the Best of Sci-Fi and Fantasy

Little-known fact: Arthur C. Clarke came up with his third law after reading Adrian Tchaikovsky’s Elder Race. Okay, maybe Clarke predated Elder Race by a few decades, but the idea that sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic has never been truer than it is in this slim little story that is at once aContinue reading “‘Elder Race’ is the Best of Sci-Fi and Fantasy”

‘Sisters’ a Novella with ‘Vast’ Thrills

This review is going to be short, because the book I want to talk about is short. Unlike my review, which will be a fine and serviceable discussion about the merits and flaws of the book, Lina Rather’s Sisters of the Vast Black is a lovely and dazzling piece of writing. On an organic spaceship sailingContinue reading “‘Sisters’ a Novella with ‘Vast’ Thrills”

Character Goes Deep in ‘Luminous Dead’

I love the Nathan Pyle comic about reading. The simple four-panel comic really nails the immersive reader experience. Sometimes the immersion is as good as being on a sailing ship exploring new waters. Sometimes it’s tainted with magic and quarreling gods. And sometimes, it thrusts you in a dark, unpredictable cave where sight and soundContinue reading “Character Goes Deep in ‘Luminous Dead’”

Vermilion is just really, really disappointing

I’ve been doing a pretty good job of getting the very oldest titles off my TBR, especially since starting this project. There are a few dusty, more obscure ones I’ve had trouble tracking down and had to wait until the ol’ budget was flush enough to make an order. Vermilion is one of those. IContinue reading “Vermilion is just really, really disappointing”