Ridley Scott’s The Martian is the best film I’ve seen in a long, long time, and it can be enthusiastically recommended as involving and uplifting entertainment. … Still, even while sincerely enjoying the film, I also felt a certain sense of ambivalence. For it was clearly and regularly trying to persuade me to believe something that is not true.
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Harrison Squared, Daryl Gregory (Tor 9780765376954, $25.99, 320pp, hc) March 2015. Since I’ve already mentioned Daryl Gregory as a writer of unannounced left turns, it’s very helpful of him to provide me with evidence. In last year’s We Are All Completely Fine, Gregory introduced us to a therapy group of trauma survivors, one of whom […]
It’s truly satisfying, as a reader and critic, to be in on the ground floor of a career that eventually blossoms into full magnificence. I feel that way about the oeuvre of Chris Beckett. All throughout the 1990s and Noughties, I kept enjoying his stories in various genre magazines. In 2005, I reviewed his first […]
It’s probably easier to explain what The Intergalactic Nemesis: Book One: Target Earth isn’t. It isn’t a standard Broadway spectacular, with glam costumes and nubile dancers. It isn’t a fraught family drama that is instant Tony bait. And it definitely isn’t an angst-filled monologue about coming of age. What I can unequivocally state is that […]
Some more of the 2011 ‘zines that I dug belatedly out of the mailbox, one belated 2011 anthology, and some current monthly ezines as well as a first look at one: Something Wicked, which I find less wicked than its name. Publications Reviewed Lightspeed, January 2012 Strange Horizons, January 2012 Shimmer, December 2011 On Spec, […]
With Earthbound, Joe Haldeman completes a sequence begun with Marsbound and Starbound. Last year, I called Starbound ‘‘a complete there-and-back-again narrative,’’ and in Earthbound the ‘‘back’’ part kicks in with, if not a vengeance, then at least a very stern warning. The warning is not the first, though explaining that requires a ‘‘Previously in the […]
Sensation by Nick Mamatas is a political satire and a meditation on the nature of reality reminiscent of Philip K. Dick, exploring the secret history of an age-old war between a hive-mind of hyperintelligent spiders and their implacable mindless enemies, a species of parasitic wasp. (The entirety of human history is either driven by that […]
Kris Saknussemm’s first novel Zanesville, (billed as ‘‘the first book in the Lodemania Testament series’’), was a kind of phantasmagoric Krazy Kat dystopia published by Villard in an apparent effort to position it in the balls-out postmodern fabulist tradition that stretches from Vonnegut and Barth to David Foster Wallace and Jonathan Safran Foer – or at […]
compiled by Jeff VanderMeer Although my year’s best selections included some international fiction, I thought it would be of use to compile a few “core samples” of work, mostly in other languages, that my contacts found of particular interest in 2010. This year I decided to exclude Australia and New Zealand because writers from those […]