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Showing posts from July, 2011

Strange Horizons Reviews, July 25-29

Rounding out July's reviews are: Erin Horáková, who finds Catherynne M. Valente's Deathless delightful on the micro level, but somewhat shapeless in the macro; Nathaniel Katz and Marie Velazquez, who take two looks at the first volume in Daniel Abraham's new epic fantasy series, The Dragon's Path, Nathaniel wondering when the payoff to the book's buildup will come, and Maria whether Abraham plans to complicate the somewhat simplistic treatment of race in the book; and Alvaro Zinos-Amaro, who looks atTimes Three, an omnibus edition of three time travel novels by Robert Silverberg, with his usual care and erudition.

Also, Strange Horizons is looking for volunteers to help us prepare for the website redesign by checking the existing content for errors.  The details are here.

Shoutout to Erin Hodges.

Recent Reading Roundup 30

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After a couple of dry months, reading-wise, I've gotten back on the horse in a big way and with some very fine books.  Here are my thoughts.
Kraken by China Miéville - It's taken me a while to get to this book, and having finally read it the question foremost in my mind is: why?  It's strange enough that Miéville is going back to the template of a Londoner who discovers that there's a magical underworld to the city, is forced into that world, and becomes proffiicient at navigating it and affecting it--a barrel whose bottom he had already rather thoroughly scraped with King Rat and Un Lun Dun, both of which were themselves heavily derivative of Neil Gaiman's Neverwhere, and which, in the intervening years, so many other writers have dipped their spoons into.  But to write this sort of story as the follow-up to the breathtakingly original The City and The City, a book that seemed to herald a new stage in Miéville's already genre-changing career, is just baffling.…

Strange Horizons Reviews, July 18-22

We have two new reviewers this week.  First, Lila Garrott looks atBetrayer, the latest installment in C.J. Cherryh's long-running series, and concludes that though it might lay the seeds for interesting stories later on, as a work in its own right it is a disappointment.  In today's review, Guria King is more pleased by Kate Griffin's The Neon Court, the third Matthew Swift novel, which, though it disappoints Guria in its handling of its main character, pleases her in its interpretation of the term "urban fantasy."  Between the two debuts, Niall Alexander reviews Kaaron Warren's third novel Mistification, a story about and containing stories which Niall finds somewhat less than the sum of its parts--the individual stories are engaging, but the story framing them is less so.

Shoutout to Erin Hodges.

Recent Movie Roundup 14

It's been rather quiet around here, I know, and will probably remain that way for a while yet.  In the meantime, some of the movies I've seen recently.
Hanna (2010) - What a strange film this is.  The premise makes it sound like The Bourne Identity starring a waifish teenage girl, and that's not an inaccurate description, but what it leaves out is how little the film seems to care about any of the plot or character beats suggested by this description, and how much emphasis it places on its visuals.  Joe Wright--an unlikely choice for an action director--directs Hanna half as an art-house movie, with long wordless shots that take in the film's frequent changes in scenery (the frozen tundra where Hanna grows up, the Moroccan desert to which she escapes from a CIA rendition facility, the grey gloom of downtown Berlin), and half as a music video, composing the many fight sequences as if they were dances (the Chemical Brothers's fine but often too-present soundtrack does…

Strange Horizons Reviews, July 11-15

Paul Graham Raven kicks off this week's reviews with a long, thoughtful look at Gwyneth Jones's collection The Universe of Things, which not only makes the collection seem like essential reading, but doubles as a detailed examination of the themes of Jones's writing.  Raz Greenberg is less pleased with another collection, Stephen King's Full Dark, No Stars, whose four novellas Raz finds disappointingly uninterested in delving very deep into the psyches of their murderer protagonists.  Phoebe North makes her Strange Horizons debut with a review of Seed Seeker, the conclusion of Pamela Sargent's Seed Trilogy which, Phoebe argues, makes a compelling argument for reading the entire trilogy as the character arc of an AI.

Strange Horizons Reviews, July 4-8

Richard Larson kicks off this week's reviews with a rave for the fourth volume in Jonathan Strahan's anthology series, Eclipse.  Though several of the stories strike him as particularly strong, Richard finds the entire anthology well worth a read.  We also have two new reviewers making their debut this week.  Tori Truslow is intrigued by S.L. Grey's The Mall, which has been championed by Lauren Beukes, but ultimately concludes that its strong parts don't make up an equally strong whole.  Sarah Frost, on the other hand, is very pleased with Elizabeth Moon's Kings of the North, which she finds an improvement over the previous book in its series, Oaths of Fealty.

Shoutout to Erin Hodges.

A Long-Awaited Announcement

I think I've mentioned that I've been writing entries on television series for the third edition of The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction, edited by John Clute, David Langford and Graham Sleight.  It's been a lot of fun and I'm pleased with what I've come up with, so I was thrilled, several weeks ago, to hear from Graham the news that he's made public today: in association with British SF publisher Gollancz, the third edition of the encyclopedia is going to be made available online, free of charge.

The official website is here, though right now it's just a placeholder where you can read the press release (PDF), follow the SFE on Twitter and Facebook, and subscribe to receive announcements.  A beta version of the encyclopedia will go online later this summer to coincide with Gollancz's 50th anniversary celebrations, and the plan is for the text to be completed by the end of 2012.

Strange Horizons Reviews, June 27-July 1

Lisa Goldstein kicks off the week's reviews with her take on Patrick Rothfuss The Wise Man's Fear, the sequel to The Name of the Wind, with which Lisa is pleasantly surprised.  Maureen Kincaid Speller is less enamored of Holly Black's White Cat, wondering if this novel about con men doesn't constitute a con on its readers.  Christy Tidwell makes her Strange Horizons debut with a review of Kevin Brockmeier's The Illumination, a literary fiction novel about a world in which pain becomes visible as light.

Shoutout to Erin Hodges.