Category: Speculative Fiction Review

A review of Sourdough and Other Stories by Angela Slatter

These stories are stupendously good and offer many distinct pleasures: a strange yet superbly realised world, compelling characters and, above all, beautiful prose that has the power to move. One of those characters mentions of her lover’s failings that ‘he could not realize how all women are, in one way or another, “her kind” [i.e. a witch], even his dear departed mother.’ And that could be a coda for the book.

A review of Embassytown by China Miéville

Embassytown may start like a fun, inventive good novel, but by the time you reach the 300th or so page, it become clear that this is indeed a great novel. Rich with nuance, meaning, and power that never comprises the overall fictive dream, or even the pure fun of its fictional world, this is a novel to read, re-read, and then re-read again.

A review of The City & The City by China Miéville

China does a terrifically moving job of making the two detectives distrust then come to admire each other, in their own way. Brilliant. Generally, an author has his work cut out to describe one unique city so that the reader believes they are there, but here two cities are created in the same spot. Excellent and original.

A review of Chez Max by Jakob Arjouni

There is an anxious, frenetic, yet absurd quality to this society and to the story which Arjouni so skillfully weaves. It is like being on a ride that is bound for nowhere good, but which cannot be stopped.

A review of Exit, Pursued by a Bee by Geoff Nelder

When time is no longer the backbone of our lives, and everything we perceive about ourselves disappears, those sensations remain. Nelder has created a novel that will both satisfy readers at a deep level, and at the same time raise unsettling questions about the very fabric of who we are.

A review of Lavinia by Ursula K. Le Guin

There is little of misplaced historicism where characters from another age are motivated by ideas and principles that are present to us but had no existence in early times. Le Guin brings forth without fuss the conditions of a time without the conveniences on which we rely and she concentrates on the characters and the perfectly plausible motivations that direct their lives

A review of Escaping Reality by Geoff Nelder

Well written, clever and full of black wit Escaping Reality is a hard to put down, stylish romp. There are laugh outloud moments, in prison, on the run, and back in prison again, plenty of twists, a compelling cast, an evocative setting,…

A Review of The Scar by China Mieville

Much of what makes Mieville’s work so appealing to readers not normally enamoured with fantasy literature is classic literary technique. His settings are very well mapped out, his characters are complex and, strong and very real, even when they are…