MixedThe Financial Times (UK)It’s a fairly flimsy pretext for a quest — however much effort King puts into establishing Radar as a loveable character, she is, all said and done, just a dog — but once that plotline has been resolved, the stakes are raised ... The parallels are relentless and, at times, strained ... There are some lovely touches ... That said, by plunging his bucket into the well of folklore so bullishly King has managed to disturb the sediment at the bottom, and the water he has drawn up may seem, even to his legion of thirsty fans, disappointingly muddy.
Bernd Brunner, tr. by Jefferson Chase
PositiveThe Financial Times (UK)Brunner does not skirt around these thorny topics. Likewise he laments the present-day slow destruction of the Arctic through industrial exploitation and climate change. His book is arid and sober-minded, with the occasional witty line ... Translator Jefferson Chase renders Brunner’s prose into English in an appropriately solid and unflashy style. There may not be a great deal of sunniness here, or for that matter warmth, but the book makes up for that with fascinating anecdotes, useful digressions and little nuggets of interest, offering a modern equivalent of Ole Worm’s cabinet of wonders, with something to catch everyone’s eye.
PositiveThe Financial Times...Chambers’s debut is SF for the Tumblr generation, a feel-good tale of non-conformity, gender fluidity, multiculturalism and unorthodox sexual relationships ... There isn’t much plot ... En route to its next job it traverses a troubled galaxy, and those on board — be they human, alien or AI — banter, clash, quip, suffer setbacks, and are There For Each Other. It’s all perfectly pleasant, if somewhat lacking in dramatic tension.
RaveThe Financial Times... written with the swaggering confidence of a master. Usually King’s prose is full of folksy informality and reliant on pop culture references and internal monologue to convey mood and character. Here, he dials down these old tricks ... Nor is the book as self-referential as many of his others. Aside from mentions of ’Salem’s Lot (the fictional town that gives King’s second novel its title) and The Shining (the movie), there are none of the detours into King lore that delight fans but can baffle the uninitiated. The result is a focused and fierce read, the work of someone galvanised by anger ... The message is clear: the underdogs can, by sticking together and taking concerted action, defeat the establishment.
Guy Gavriel Kay
PositiveFinancial Times... not quite historical fiction nor quite fantasy but a piquant amalgam of both ... Chapter sections from different characters’ viewpoints interlock as neatly and tidily as mosaic tiles and the prose flows like a limpid stream. Believably and with great vividness, Kay recreates the past not as it was, but as it might have, perhaps should have, been.
Amal El-Mohtar and Max Gladstone
PanFinancial TimesThe book trades heavily on its poetical prose style, a welter of ripe imagery and whimsical wordplay that now and then throws up a knuckle-gnawingly overblown sentence ... One gets the sense of the two authors thinking more of impressing each other with their fancifulness than entertaining the reader.
MixedThe Financial TimesComparisons between this book and Stephen King’s The Stand are, unfortunately, unavoidable ... Wendig perhaps bites off more than he can chew, even in a book of such length, and the early chapters drag their feet. However, there is mordant humour and real passion and engagement here. This is the way the world ends: a somnambulistic shamble towards oblivion.
RaveThe Financial Times... a breath of fresh air. The nine offerings here, all intricately constructed, range from four-page think pieces to knottily clever novellas, and tackle familiar science-fiction topics — time travel, artificial intelligence, parallel universes, the effects of technological advances on society, the clash between science and religion — but in markedly unfamiliar ways. If there’s an overarching theme, it’s that we should take time to appreciate the miracle of existence and cherish the free will we have to pursue our destinies — while we still can.
PositiveThe Financial Times\"Tade Thompson’s Rosewater was the science fiction debut of last year, and its sequel, the second part of his Wormwood trilogy, continues the good work ... As before, Thompson adopts a multiple-viewpoint narration that hops back and forth in time. This disorientating, kaleidoscopic approach pays dividends as the plot strands come together in a coruscating, propulsive tale of colonisation.\
S M Stirling
PositiveThe Financial TimesStirling crams his story with so much historical detail that it threatens to burst, but alleviates this with plenty of suspense and action to keep readers turning the pages.
PositiveThe Financial TimesThe novel weaves a web of subjective viewpoints studded with wordplay, imagery of fire and rebirth, and elements of traditional detective fiction. A somewhat daunting dystopian, cautionary epic.
RaveThe Financial TimesAndy Weir’s follow-up to his 2014 mega-success The Martian brings the action closer to home — the Moon instead of Mars … Weir excels when it comes to geeky references, snarky humour and scenes of ingenious scientific problem-solving.
PositiveThe Financial TimesMiéville describes the city’s quirks and interstices in typically loving detail. The Ariekei themselves remain more of a mystery, but they have learnt to rub along with the planet’s human population and a handful of other alien races … Embassytown threatens to turn into a didactic parable about how contact with civilisation degrades and corrupts ‘primitive’ cultures. Miéville, though, is smarter than that, and delights in wrongfooting us throughout. This is a novel about language – in particular Miéville’s love of language, evident in his use of neologisms and allusive derivations. His prose bristles with verbal invention and at moments verges on a sort of dense polyglot poetry … At times, Embassytown seems to be a linguistic thought-experiment more than anything, a book-length crossword clue to be decoded, its pleasures solely cerebral. But this is offset by pacey narrative action and sharp characterisation.
RaveThe Financial TimesIn Jon McGregor’s new book, a death is our entrée into the lives of people whose paths have intersected with that of the dead man, Robert. They are the ghosts of society — drinkers and drug-users, the underdogs and their dogs — a sub-class whose members exist from fix to fix … Even the Dogs directs an unblinking and non-judgmental eye on to street people, homeless and hopeless. It’s a novel as chilling and bracing as the ‘wind-cold empty day’ on which it opens, McGregor finding poetry in the profane and nobility in the struggles of lost souls trying to keep their heads above water.
PositiveThe Financial TimesThe pace of the writing is sedate and the drama unveiled incrementally, but it nevertheless makes for a hypnotically absorbing read.
RaveThe Financial Times...it is the common man whom Moore celebrates most. He hoists the underclass on his shoulders and elevates them to heroes, in all their swearing, spitting, bantering, fornicating glory ... Unquestionably Jerusalem is Moore’s most ambitious statement yet — his War and Peace, his Ulysses. The prose scintillates throughout, a traffic jam of hooting dialect and vernacular trundling nose-to-tail with pantechnicons of pop culture allusion. Exploring a single town’s psychogeography with a passionate forensic intensity, Moore makes the parochial universal, the mundane sublime and the temporal never-ending.