Most of China Miéville’s fiction describes a spectrum between the almost formal precision of novels like The City & The City and Embassytown and the more exuberant textual irruptions of Kraken or Railsea, and his style can range from a kind of ornate dialectical Mervyn Peake to the hardboiled irony of the post-Raymond Chandler school. His new novella, This Census-Taker, approaches neither extreme.
Archive for January, 2016
It is gratifying to see science fiction from around the world getting a little more traction. Hartmann should be commended for giving voice to authors who haven’t gotten much genre attention, and for providing us with a wide sampling of what African authors have to offer.
What strikes me about this volume 21 stories from more than three decades of production is how Kress’s sensibility remains intact across the range of science-fictional subtypes she employs. She remains always an observational writer who manages to get inside her characters’ skins working stiffs or middle-class moms or heiresses or narcissistic nobles.
I really didn’t enjoy watching The 5th Wave, though it is hard to explain why, for by any conventional evaluation, it qualifies as a well-crafted diversion, not unlike many successful films of the recent past. Perhaps the problem is that the film is artfully following an overly familiar, even an exhausted pattern…
Charlie Jane Anders takes a number of fascinating genre risks in All the Birds in the Sky, her first SF/F novel, and one of the most prominent is implied by that slashmark between SF and F: the basic concept of the story revisits the aging but indomitable trope of science versus magic, centered around the two best-friend main characters, one of whom is a powerful witch and the other a brilliant, cutting-edge scientist.
My title describes how one imagines writer-director Matt Osterman might have pitched the idea of 400 Days, in a stereotypically succinct fashion, to skeptical Hollywood executives. Like many pitches, no doubt, it is not entirely accurate, for there are few if any specific plot similarities between this film and the referenced classics. Yet the pitch would be broadly defensible, inasmuch as 400 Days begins like a realistic depiction of near-future astronauts and devolves into a standard-issue horror film.
The Red: First Light, Linda Nagata (Saga 978-1-4814-4657-0, $27.99, 405pp, hc) June 2015. Cover by Larry Rostant. The Trials, Linda Nagata (Saga 978-1-4814-4658-7, $27.99, 447pp, hc) August 2015. Cover by Larry Rostant. Going Dark, Linda Nagata (Saga 978-1-4814-4659-4, $27.99, 454 pp, pb) November 2015. Cover by Larry Rostant. As I was saying last month, all […]
Like most Americans, I came late to The Pilo Family Circus, since Will Elliott’s unnerving deep-black comedy, a first novel, appeared in Australia in 2006… By now, Elliott is a multiple award-winner author of a trilogy and two further unrelated novels and with The Pilo Traveling Show he returns to the Circus on his own time.