Category: Speculative Fiction Review

A review of Beasts by John Crowley

One can detect a definite indebtedness to T.H. WhIte (The Once and Future KingThe Goshawk) in Crowley’s early novel (1976 was the original year of publication) but it’s an entertaining read and full of memorable characters.  Indeed, I didn’t think I would ever find myself feeling for or empathising with a dog called Sweets, but that’s just what happened here. 

A review of The Book of Strange New Things by Michel Faber

The Book of Strange New Things is like no other book I’ve read. It’s exquisite, sad, uplifting and doomed all at the same time. I wish that the ending was different, and know, somehow, that nothing else that would do. This is a book that will remain with me, working its way under my skin like the Oasan atmosphere.

A review of The End my Friend by Kirby Wright

The first two or three chapters have a distinctively “real” feel. But then, the author does something with his characters which some readers may not like. The story, which had felt like a mainstream novel suddenly becomes a bit stylized. Not entirely, but a bit. The characters speak and do things that characters in a noir novel might do. Think Mad Max meets Sin City. It’s not a bad thing, and it certainly will not mar the book for those who like hip larger-than-life characters.

A review of Desert Swarm by William Manches

Manchee sets down underpinnings for his tale, peoples it with believable characters, fills in holes with credible dialogue and moves the narrative forward in an acceptable manner. Muddying the water is an overzealous deputy who is searching for a conspiracy, and wants to implicate Jack.

A review of The Future Happens Twice: The Perennial Project by Matt Browne

Browne, a talented writer of fiction, developed his main characters in considerable depth. Parts of his book read like a detective mystery with many twists and turns as his main characters try to unravel some inexplicable events in their lives. The plot starts with one of the sixty-year-old clones seeing a young man that looked exactly like the sixty-year-old when he was that age, and the plot really gets interesting when the main characters discover that the government is behind this mystery in their lives.

A review of A Pride of Lions by Mark Iles

A Pride of Lions is a fast paced sci-fi action story full of futuristic scenerios, great spacy fights, good guys vs bad guys, pirates, and even a touch of romance. This is a book that will appeal to any reluctant reader or staunch television watcher looking for for a fast, easy and satisfying plot driven story. Readers looking for more than light relief won’t be disappointed either. Selena is well-drawn, with a strong character arc, and enough tragic back story so that the reader instantly likes and sympathsises with her.

A review of Daimones by Massimo Marino

There are touches of I Am Legend in here with leaving announcements they’d be in a certain place for an hour each day and there is ample tension and reasoning to appeal to any aficionado of apocalyptic novels. Maybe the pace is slowed too much in the exposition in the last section of the book but it would be too much a spoiler for me to discuss that now.

A review of Shadow Of Night By Deborah Harkness

Shadow of Night is densely packed—with characters, including some directly from history, like Sir Walter Raleigh, Christopher Marlowe, and Queen Elizabeth I (who is as demanding, straightforward, and liberal as she is portrayed in history books), as well as an ample cast of mystical and mythical creatures, and action sequences, all of which work together to create a complicated, multi-layered plot. At times it does become difficult to keep track of the various characters, but a helpful “Dramatis Personae” in the back of the book makes it a bit easier (as long as you don’t mind flipping back and forth).

A review of A Miracle of Rare Design: A Tragedy of Transcendence by Mike Resnick

Despite the above quibbles, I wouldn’t hesitate in recommending A Miracle of Rare Design because it really is an imaginative adventure that demonstrates beautifully how gods are made. It’s a story that highlights all that it means to be human. It’s a story of hunger, and need and hope—and it’s a story of one man’s obsessive quest to have it all.

A review of Cog by K Ceres Wright

We are all simply cogs in a global machine, and nowhere is this more apparent than in Cog. At first glimpse it is a somewhat ordinary story of revenge, greed and power set against a futuristic backdrop. And yes, at its core, Cog is a classic story of family dysfunction with some James Bond-esque thrills and rather groovy technology thrown in.