Asaro plants herself firmly into that grand SF tradition of future history franchises favored by luminaries like Heinlein, Asimov, Herbert, Anderson, Dickson, Niven, Cherryh, and Baxter. It really seems to me that any future mention of this stefnal lineage must include her name as a worthy exemplar.
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The main reason The Three-Body Problem is noteworthy is that it’s for the most part a compelling piece of work, brilliantly translated by Ken Liu, whose astonishing control of tone lets us experience the novel as a speculative thriller without losing the sense of Chinese language and culture that makes it uniquely different from the familiar rhythms of Western SF.
If Carol Emshwiller oblique and delicate had collaborated with Samuel Delany straightforward and blunt then the result might resemble Jennifer Brissett’s impressive debut novel, Elysium, a kind of fantasia on identity and character, what is superficial and what is central to both.
Ann Leckie’s debut novel, Ancillary Justice, created instant buzz in the field and then took a thoroughly deserved fistful of big awards. To my delight, Ancillary Sword is an even stronger book, though it takes an interestingly different path than the one that made Justice a bit of a magical mystery tour de force.
They have produced a very amiable, engaging, small-scale fantasy, praiseworthy both for its entertaining qualities and its “done in one” remit. Although not technically a YA, the book has an overall texture and tone akin to the best of Andre Norton, a writer whom many adult readers certainly and justifiably esteem.
No one can accuse Lavie Tidhar of being risk-averse. Tidhar’s latest variation on 20th-century history takes us into an alternate 1939 in which Adolf Hitler, having lost the 1933 German election to the Communists, is scraping by as a down-at-the-heels private eye in London.
The seeds of an idea were planted and the result is a book full of YA SF/F shorter fiction that better resembles the actual world you know, one that has more than straight, white people in it. A crowd-funding campaign was launched and the resulting book is now alive.