RaveGizmodoBecky Chamber’s debut novel, The Long Way To A Small Angry Planet is probably the most fun that you’ll have with a space opera novel this year. It’s exciting, adventurous, and the cozy sort of space opera that seems to be in short supply lately ... As a novel, this is a book that’s less interested in putting together an enormously structured story than it is in examining the lives of the characters ... Chambers is doing something ambitious here - the focus is on the mix of characters that have all come together to form the crew of the Wayfarer ... As we follow these characters, we learn an incredible amount about the world that surrounds them and it stacks up against the best space opera universes ... it’s a novel with a lot of love and affection thrown into its characters, world and story, and it’s easily the most fun that I’ve had with a novel in a long, long time.
N K Jemisin
PositiveThe Verge...perspective shifts effectively place the reader into Essun’s shoes, conveying her grief, anger, and triumph firsthand, rather than observing from the sidelines in a third-person perspective, or having the character tell you events in the first person. It’s a monumentally difficult task (and the shifts in perspective do mean that the The Fifth Season takes some getting used to), but it’s an incredibly effective tactic, allowing Jemisin not only to tell you the dangers of marginalization, enslavement, or oppression, but to let the reader experience it all through through the eyes of her characters.
RaveThe VergeThe setup is the start to a stunning story that impressively blends together Martine’s fantastic and immersive world, a combination political thriller, cyberpunk yarn, and epic space opera that together make up a gripping read ... Martine threads a delicate needle...as the plot unfurls, showing off the complex facets where politics and identity mix ... it’s an excellent, gripping novel with a brisk plot, outstanding characters, and plenty to think about long after it’s over.
PositiveThe Verge\"There’s no grand, overarching plan to try to fix Hel’s world with the help of an intrepid group of scientists or to go before the UN and convince the world that they’re not all that bad. And it’s a more effective story as a result. Famous Men Who Never Lived tells a powerful story of accepting one’s fate by putting one foot in front of the other, day by day ... Chess puts the reader in the shoes of those refugees, using science fiction in its best possible form: telling an allegorical story that provides insight into the world around us right now.\
PositiveThe VergeWhile it’s short, this book packs a nice punch, and nicely sets up a great playground for countless other adventures ... a pretty basic story, but it’s a fun read that feels a bit like a throwback to the science fiction stories of the 1960s and ‘70s ... While it’s a fun read, what’s most promising about this novella is that it feels like a tiny step into a much larger universe. There’s elements of hard science fiction in its world-building, cool robots, space corporation intrigue, and an ending that signals that there’s more to come.
PositiveThe VergeFrom beginning to end, it’s a fun ride ... what each installment does, beyond just introducing a new adventure for the robot, is get into Murderbot’s head and watch as it changes into more of a person ... It forms meaningful connections and risks its \'life\' for the people that it comes to protect and care about, rather than just follow its programming and leaving them to die. Murderbot’s journey is far more compelling as a result. It’s a non-human seeking to operate in a human environment, working to deal with the variety of signals and cues that it gets from the people—and TV programs—around it. And like humans, it’s just trying to get by in the world, making it up as it goes along.
RaveThe Verge\"Tremblay spins out another terrifying story, turning the standard home invasion horror plot on its head ... The Cabin at the End of the World would be scary enough as a supernatural story about four people proclaiming to be the messengers of the apocalypse. But seeing four well-intentioned people led astray by a collective, warped worldview is even more frightening in 2018. It’s frightening because it’s so plausible ... Good horror stories look at the world around us to draw inspiration as to what could go wrong, and with this book, Tremblay has penned a story that’s not only a nightmare as it plays out on the page, but one that’s grimly reflective of the times that we live in.\
PositiveThe VergeAll too often, science fiction and fantasy novels feature a world created entirely for and by white authors and readers. But in recent years, there’s been a push for greater visibility for authors of color, like Rebecca Roanhorse ... Trail of Lightning delivers a fast-paced urban fantasy adventure with an exciting set of characters and an enticing world that begs for further exploration.
PositiveThe VergeThe novel is a fast-paced, compelling mystery not unlike Isaac Asimov’s robot novels. Scalzi takes readers through the logical investigative steps regarding Chapman’s death, assembling a larger conspiracy that’s built on organized crime, money laundering, and more. While the book is a fun diversion, it’s also an intriguing addition to the world that Scalzi set up in Lock In, and it serves as a good parable for how the world deals with — and takes advantage of — marginalized communities.
Catherynne M. Valente
RaveThe Verge\"...one of the funniest books that I’ve ever read ... Where Douglas Adams projected the comedic incompetence of impersonal bureaucracies into outer space, Valente introduces whimsical weirdness like a multidimensional panda bear called a Quantum-Tufted Domesticated Wormhole, which is the only feasible means of interstellar travel ... But the real selling point is Valente’s elaborate prose, dense with description and metaphors. I’ve bounced off this style in some of her books, but here it works beautifully ... I enjoyed every minute I spent reading Space Opera — first for the story of Decibel Jones and the Absolute Zeros and their performance to save Earth, and then for the fantastic worlds that Valente put to paper.\
MixedThe VergeBurke doesn’t answer all the questions that she raises: when we meet the Glassmakers, they abandoned their city and etched out a harsh, nomadic existence. While there are hints that they might have rejected the domestication that Stevland sought, it’s never fully answered, even as that question would have made a valuable addition to the argument that the humans seem to be grappling with. Moreover, while the book runs for just over a century, we only see the beginnings of a tenuous existence for humanity. Hopefully, Burke will return with another book to check in on the development of this fascinating world.