PositiveBookPageWhat does hope look like in an increasingly dystopian reality? ... a collection of well-crafted, frequently terrifying and sometimes beautiful visions of America’s future.
PositiveBookPage\"Receptor’s sole failing is that its plot can move a touch too quickly, rushing through relationships and romances in ways that limit their credibility. But Glynn’s dramatic instinct is maintained throughout ... Glynn unfailing obeys the rule of showing rather than telling, and does so with memorable elegance. Perhaps his chief accomplishment in Receptor is his ability to shift the language of his dialogue ... All told, for anybody who... wants a fast-paced thriller that still has time to question the morality of medical enhancement, Receptor would make an excellent choice.\
MixedBookpageIn An Easy Death, Charlaine Harris’s fictionalized mid-century North America is enticingly familiar. Although she will win no prizes for eloquence, her blunt prose serves the first-person narration, as it matches Lizbeth’s personality and language. Seen through the gunnie’s eyes, what used to be the American Southwest is brutal and remorseless, but draped in a kind of honesty the reader is forced to respect ... The plot is predictable, sure, but it’s honestly refreshing to read an alternate history that doesn’t try to score any philosophical points and focuses on telling a complete story.
Cixin Liu, Trans. by Joel Martinsen
RaveBookPageBall Lightning is, in fact, a genuine mystery in contemporary physics and atmospheric science. However, none of the myriad theories proposed to explain it go quite as far as Liu’s speculation, which breaks the tenets of particle physics ... Ball Lightning establishes Liu as a dominant force in so-called \'hard\' science fiction ... Liu populates Ball Lightning with logical, well-crafted individuals and manages to conjure a compelling conflict out of a cast of characters who are all trying to do the right thing ... At its core, Ball Lightning is an emotionally compelling and well-written story hiding within a shell of detailed and thoroughly researched quantum mechanics.
RaveBookPageMuch of City of Lies’ appeal lies in Hawke’s writing style, and the depth and narrative potential of its world and characters. But the most interesting aspect is its approach to conflict. Unlike most typical fantasy works, Hawke presents both sides of a religious war as sympathetic. This is a plot that seems to be full of antagonists, but is actually populated with basically decent people who cannot communicate with each other, either because they do not understand each other’s concerns or because their complaints are too deeply held to be negotiable. Even the real masterminds are merely selfish rather than evil. As a result, City of Lies is a story that resonates beyond its pages without overtly moralizing, which is a rare achievement in any genre. All told, Sam Hawke’s debut is an engaging, tense and deeply relevant story within an intriguing world that lends itself well to further exploration.
PositiveBookPageSylvain Neuvel is an engaging and atypical writer. Like the rest of the series, Only Human is told entirely in transcripts of conversations, interviews and news reports, and Neuvel handles this challenging storytelling medium extremely well. The story he tells is interesting and compelling, in large part due to the complexity of the supporting cast ... The familiarity of that plot at times makes Only Human the literary equivalent of a cover band of a cover band composed of better musicians than the groups they mimic ... Its plot may cover previously trodden ground, but its narrative technique and character depth make it worth the reader’s time.
Catherynne M. Valente
RaveBookPage\"Although Catherynne M. Valente’s delightful sense of humor is the most constant aspect of her prose, it is not the most memorable. Although her comedic talents are reminiscent of Douglas Adams at his best, Valente’s palette is far larger. Her prose is always quick and engrossing, but the content ranges from a glitzy, sometimes profane satirization of the music industry and its larger-than-life characters, to dead-serious flashbacks and a genuinely moving finale. That ability to fluidly tie real-world tragedy together with psychedelic hilarity is perhaps Space Opera’s most impressive attribute. Valente’s writing here is as strong as anything taught as \'good prose,\' although the rock and whimsy will keep it from finding its way into the traditional literary canon anytime soon. And that’s a shame. It takes confidence, skill and talent to craft a tragic disco ball metaphor, and Valente has all three in spades. At the end of the day, Valente’s fiction of a high-stakes, sequined Intergalactic Idol ably addresses what it means to be human and what it means to love someone, while being ever-entertaining and, crucially, being the kind of book that makes you want to dance. It’s got soul, after all.\