Karen Lord, The Blue, Beautiful World
The Middle Shelf
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5M ago
Karen Lord, The Blue, Beautiful World, Del Rey, 2023. Audiobook available. The Blue, Beautiful World is a fascinating science-fiction stand-alone novel about first contact. Owen is a global music star. The crowds flock to his concerts, commune in his music which celebrates the countries where he tours. Beyond his fame and talent, he's also investing in virtual reality, and in a particular corporation he supports. He's surrounded by loyal aides and managers. But there's more to Owen than meets the eye. Lord wrote a polyphonic novel and although the first part is very much focused on Owen, he ..read more
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Juliet McKenna, The Green Man's Quarry
The Middle Shelf
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5M ago
Juliet McKenna, The Green Man's Quarry, Wizard's Press Tower, 2023. Welcome to your yearly review of the latest instalment in the Green Man series by Juliet McKenna! My previous reviews: The Green Man's Heir, The Green Man's Foe, The Green Man's Challenge, The Green Man's Gift. A big cat is killing bad people. Except it's not just a big cat. It's a big supernatural cat. Dan and his friends must intervene quickly before the mundane police gets involved and the secrets of the supernatural world are revealed. Meeting the characters again is a bit like meeting old friends. Since The Green Man ..read more
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E. G. Condé, Sordidez
The Middle Shelf
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6M ago
E. G. Condé, Sordidez, Stelliform Press, 2023. Sordidez is a near-future novel, tangling the fate of three indigenous characters of Central America and the Caribbean, as they are confronted to climate catastrophes and colonisation. Vero is a young man from Puerto Rico. After a devastating storm, he heads into the jungle with his friends and siblings, in the hope of building a network of indigenous communities. But Puerto Rico is sold to the Chinese who crush the indigenous community. Vero leaves to fight differently. In Central America, he'll meet Doña Margarita, a woman who holds together a ..read more
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Ned Beauman, Venomous Lumpsucker
The Middle Shelf
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6M ago
Ned Beauman, Venomous Lumpsucker, 2022, Sceptre. Audiobook available. Venomous Lumpsucker is the winner of the 2023 Clarke Award. This scifi novel will make you both laugh and scream in rage as it paints the painfully hilarious reality of mass extinctions driven by capitalism. Karin Resaint is a scientist. As she releases into the wild a dozen of endangered venomous lumpsuckers, a species of fish, little does she know that she sends them to their death. A mining drone has, by error, destroyed their habitat. Mark Halyard wouldn't give a care about the venomous lumpsucker. In fact, he's in the ..read more
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Micaiah Johnson, The Space Between Worlds
The Middle Shelf
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7M ago
Micaiah Johnson, The Space Between Worlds, Hodderscape, 2020. Audiobook available. If, like me, you missed The Space Between Worlds back in 2020, now is the time to catch up on this brilliant scifi take on the multiverse and class struggles. You can travel to one of the 380 alternate realities that have been found provided you work for Adam Bosch, the genius who invented the device, and that there isn't a version of you who is alive there. This is why Cara works for Bosch. She comes from a poor family and only 8 versions of her exist. The others have died due to neglect, abuse or violence. E ..read more
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Vajra Chandrasekera, The Saint of Bright Doors
The Middle Shelf
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7M ago
Vajra Chandrasekera, The Saint of Bright Doors, Tordotcom, 2023. Audio version available. The Saint of Bright Doors is a fascinating fantasy novel dealing with cults and revolutions, the fragility of time, space and truth, and the sometimes abusive relationship between a child and his parents. Fetter has been raised by his mother to kill his father, the leader of a cult, and she tore his shadow from him at birth. Now adult, he has fled her and his home region to live in Luriat. He becomes a fixture of the community of refugees who end up in his area of the city and finds some peace for himse ..read more
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Neil Williamson, Queen of Clouds
The Middle Shelf
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7M ago
Neil Williamson, Queen of Clouds, NewCon Press, 2022. Queen of Clouds is a chonky fantasy stand-alone novel which, under the guise of very familiar tropes, tackles topical themes. Billy is sent by his master to the celebrated city of Karpentine to deliver a sylvan, a sentient humanoid figure made of wood. But Karpentine is a city dominated by its guilds and politics machinations lead to the destruction of the sylvan while Billy is sent to jail. Indentured to the family ruling the weather he soon realises, with the help of Paraphernalia, the heiress of the Weathermakers family, that something ..read more
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Ann Leckie, Translation State
The Middle Shelf
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9M ago
Ann Leckie, Translation State, Orbit, 2023. Audiobook available. Translation State is a very enjoyable stand-alone coming-of-age scifi novel, set in the same universe as Leckie's previous scifi novels. Enae has spent hir life taking care of hir grandmother until she dies and leaves hir nothing but the right to remain in the house with the now rightful owner. But said now rightful owner has a proposal for Enae: that sie becomes a diplomat and goes to search for a missing Presger Translator. Enae accepts, after all it's a routine mission and no-one expects hir to succeed. Just an occasion to t ..read more
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Indra Das, The Last Dragoners of Bowbazar
The Middle Shelf
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9M ago
Indra Das, The Last Dragoners of Bowbazar, Subterranean Press, 2023. Indra Das is too rare an author. This new fantasy novella offers us glimpses of dragons and of another world in exile, through dream-like memories. Ru is a child in Calcutta* in the 90s. An only child, he stands apart from his school mates, looking Indian but not Bengali, with a family that evades all his questions about where they come from. Sometimes, he remembers strange rituals, or dragons growing up in the tree in the backyard. As a teenager, he finally finds his first friend, a Chinese girl his age whose parents own a ..read more
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N. K. Jemisin, The City We Became / The World We Make
The Middle Shelf
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10M ago
N. K. Jemisin, The City We Became, Orbit, 2020. The World We Make, Orbit, 2022. With this fantasy duology, Jemisin confirms once more what a fantastic writer she is, this time tackling cities in an epic and fun story. A young homeless graffiti artist wanders in New York. When the city comes alive, he becomes its avatar. But an enemy threatens it, coming from another dimension, full of tentacles and white fronds, bent on destroying it. The young artist wins the first fight, then falls exhausted in an enchanted slumber. At this moment, five more people awaken, each of them an av ..read more
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