Spellbound by Larry Correia
reviewed by Nathan Brazil
This novel continues on directly from the first in this sequence, Hard Magic, opening with a
suicidal assassination attempt on US President Roosevelt. It's a crime which is set up to look as if it was perpetrated,
not only by a magic user, but also one that was a member of the clandestine Grimnoir Society. Those behind the attempt
are revealed, to the reader, as a kind of steampunk CIA, deliberately stirring up major trouble, with the ultimate aim
of introducing legislation to force all Actives to register as state assets.
When the Blue Shift Comes by Robert Silverberg & Alvaro Zinos-Amaro
reviewed by Steven H Silver
Readers were first introduced to Hanosz Prime of Prime in the short story "Hanosz Prime Goes to Old Earth," published
in Asimov's in 2006.
That story forms a basis for Robert Silverberg's entry in When the Blue Shift Comes, "The Song of Last Things." He
introduces the reader to a universe far in the future of our own where mankind can change their forms as readily as we
change our clothes. An omniscient and chattering narrator explains, or often only hints at, the tremendous difference
between humans during our own time and during the time of Hanosz Prime.
Science Fiction Trails #8
reviewed by Sandra Scholes
The art for this issue's cover is a new look at a character from an old story, the original robot was on the cover of
issue #4 as it was
thought it would be a good idea to bring the artwork and the pesky character back for another airing. The theme this
time around seems to be on alternate worlds. The emphasis is still on science fiction mixed with the westerns, but this
was thrown in at the last minute and gave the whole magazine a new edge they thought readers would enjoy.
Future Media edited by Rick Wilber
reviewed by Seamus Sweeney
In the influential 2010 essay "Reality Hunger: A Manifesto," David Shields argued that the age of fiction is
past; non-fiction in its many variants (some of which borrow the conventions and practices of
fiction) is the key literature of our time. This anthology could almost be Exhibit A in the case against Shields' thesis.
The fiction is almost always not only more entertaining, but conceptually richer.
Rivers of London / Midnight Riot by Ben Aaronovitch
reviewed by Katherine Petersen
Peter Grant, a probationary constable with the London Metropolitan Police, has issues with focus and faces a move
to the Case Progression Unit, a group that does paperwork for the real cops when a conversation with a ghost changes
his destiny. Returning to the scene to recontact the ghost, a detective inspector asks him what he was doing and he
answers with the truth and becomes the first trainee wizard in fifty years under Inspector Thomas Nightingale.
2312 by Kim Stanley Robinson
reviewed by D. Douglas Fratz
The story starts on Mercury with the unexpected death of the influential grandmother of Swan Er Hong, who finds
that she has been left messages for herself and others that she must deliver, including one to a colleague in
near Saturn. This leads her to meet, among others, Fitz Wartham, a Saturnian diplomat, and inspector Jean Genette,
who is investigating mysterious occurrences which he believes could be related to Swan's grandmother's
death. After unexplained incidents on Titan and Mercury, it becomes clear to them that there is some kind of conspiracy at play.
At the Mouth of the River of Bees: Stories by Kij Johnson
reviewed by Paul Kincaid
Something happened in the last decade. Before that, Kij Johnson was a respected if far from exalted short story writer,
who had won the Sturgeon Award for "Fox Magic," which would grow into her first novel, The Fox Woman, but otherwise
hadn't really troubled the award ballots. Since then, it is almost impossible to imagine an award shortlist that hasn't featured
at least one of her stories, often going on to win.
Baba Yaga's Daughter and Other Tales of the Old Races by C.E. Murphy
reviewed by Sandra Scholes
In the original story, a stepmother sent her adopted daughter to her aunts to get a needle and thread for making a garment,
and when the daughter got there she found out her aunt turned out to be a Baba Yaga. The tale reads like a European
dungeons and dragons scenario for a character where other characters help her on her way. It is a cautionary tale for
the Baba Yaga, as it shows what happens when the witch doesn't get what she wants.
a column by Rick Klaw and Mark London Williams
Like children's birthdays, or graduation dates, or even election seasons,
it's time, once again for the Nexus Graphica Top Ten List which
means that a whole year has gone by since Rick Klaw and Mark London Williams did this last time.
And while things change, ebb, flow, fall and rise in the world at large, some things, still, are
immutable. At least, the basic caveats for this list. Which, if you need a reminder, means that neither
Rick nor Mark are claiming these are the "ten best" among all the comics work released last year -- on
paper, in digital form, on web sites, etc. -- but rather, of all the things they've read and reviewed in
this space, these are the ten that have stuck with them by year's end. So without further ado, here's the first half of the list.
Watching the Future
a column by Derek Johnson
At the end of November, io9 released its selection of 19 science fiction movies that
could, in Annalee Newitz's words, "challenge your preconceptions about reality and force you to
rethink your place in the universe." A very bold statement, that, and while Derek disagrees with some
of her choices, he finds little to call it life-changing... He finds many of her other choices, from
Fritz Lang's arresting Metropolis to Andrei Tarkovsky's sublime Stalker, inarguable.
compiled by Neil Walsh
Books this time include the latest from Catherynne M. Valente, John Scalzi, Robert V.S. Redick, Robert Rankin, Terry Pratchett, Karen Marie Moning, Juliet E. McKenna, Robin Hobb, Felix Gilman, Ian Esslemont, Joe Abercrombie, and many others.
Visitants edited by Stephen Jones
reviewed by Mario Guslandi
Angels are generally represented as either God-sent messengers or guardians protecting our souls from evil. And
we must remember that devils and demons are, supposedly, just fallen angels. All in all, angels are supernatural
beings bringing either light or darkness into our life. What better topic, then, for an anthology of fantasy /dark fiction?
Cursed by Benedict Jacka
reviewed by Katherine Petersen
Alex Verus, a diviner who can see multiple futures at once, is minding his own business, working
with his apprentice, Luna, to try to manage her curse when he's pulled into a plot to resurrect an old ritual to
drain the life-force from magical creatures. Verus hates the ritual on principle, but he is also close friends
with a huge spider named Arachne, who weaves exquisite clothing. It all starts when a beautiful enchantress runs
into his magical shop with an assassin on her heels.