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Entries from Nov 2013

Rachel Lynn Brody (ed.): Hot Mess – Speculative Fiction About Climate Change

10 Nov 2013 · 1 Comment

The handful of stories in Brody’s collection clearly have an agenda of raising consciousness of and concern about the implications of climate change. Socially or politically motivated art is tricky: it can succeed in communicating its objectives without necessarily exhibiting the general hallmarks of literary merit. In literary terms, I found Hot Mess a mixed [...]

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Tags: b-author · fantasy · fiction · h-title · satire · science fiction

Robin Sloan: Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore

10 Nov 2013 · No Comments

Overall I really liked Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore. Precisely observed details of the sort of tech culture I’m well-qualified to comment on the realism of are juxtaposed with a surreal shadow conspiracy, a dash of derring-do, and a hefty, but not overbearing, dose of the metaphysical. The novel explicitly acknowledges the influence of the likes [...]

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Tags: fiction · m-title · s-author

S. S. Taylor: The Expeditioners and the Treasure of Drowned Man’s Canyon

10 Nov 2013 · No Comments

I wanted to love this book, and perhaps I didn’t because my expectations were too high. It’s published by an arm of McSweeney’s, and it features steampunk trappings, secret societies, cloak and dagger intrigue, a wide subversive streak, strong female characters, and subtle, but deliberate, I think, allusions to Twain’s Tom Sawyer and Becky, and [...]

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Tags: children's · e-title · fantasy · t-author

Alexandra Potter: Me and Mr. Darcy

10 Nov 2013 · No Comments

My parents, a scientist and a career academic, both have a fondness for Regency (i.e., historical and relatively chaste) romance novels that might seem at odds with their characters. If I remember right, on separate occasions, both described a fascination with the combinatorial aspect of the genre: all the allowed variations of the genre playing [...]

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Tags: m-title · p-author · romance

Karen Joy Fowler: We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves

10 Nov 2013 · No Comments

Several folks whose judgment I respect urged all and sundry to read We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves without reading any of the jacket copy or other reviews. If the combined weight of multiple recommendations wasn’t enough to convince me, my previous experience with Fowler’s short fiction and The Jane Austen Book Club was. [...]

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Tags: f-author · fiction · w-title

Gillian Flynn: Gone Girl

10 Nov 2013 · No Comments

I had a very mixed response to Gone Girl, and a decidedly see-saw reading experience. It features two strong and very distinct authorial voices, both rendered with considerable verve, and these initially drew me in. But I quickly grew impatient with long lags between broad hints (not nearly subtle enough to be called foreshadows) and [...]

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Tags: f-author · g-title · mystery · suspense

Laura Resnick: Disappearing Nightly

09 Nov 2013 · No Comments

I liked Disappearing Nightly, but I have a bit of trouble explaining why. It’s a light contemporary fantasy with a whodunnit flavor and a dash of romance. It partakes of several genres, and I didn’t think it succeeded particularly well at any one of them. A mystery novel, for instance, needs a bit more misdirection [...]

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Tags: d-title · fantasy · mystery · r-author · romance