Rebekah Bergman’s THE MUSEUM OF HUMAN HISTORY is a spellbinding study of how people reckon with the most powerful force in our lives: time. Through touching and inventive vignettes spotlighting a handful of households inhabiting the same town, Bergman asks what any of us might risk or leverage to stop time, and the roles of our bodies, our memories, and life’s artifacts in the attempt.
THE SEEP by Chana Porter is quiet and strange, a new utopia for a new era with new discomforts and new questions. Porter’s questing, soft narrative explores the burdens and the wisdom of resistance to easy solutions. Humor, otherworldliness, fantastic worldbuilding, and open-ended possibilities abound.
Science fiction at its absolute finest, the first book in the Murderbot Diaries series ALL SYSTEMS RED is downright delightful. A solid adventure-rescue story in its own right is enhanced into something really special with the narration of its genderless, socially anxious, reluctant hero–a robot designed to kill stuff who really just wants to binge watch a show called Sanctuary Moon.
Pierce Brown is at it again, rewarding his loyal legion of Howlers for their ability to keep track of a million different characters/loyalties/feuds/family ties with another powerful ride. Perhaps the most introspective book of the Red Rising series while approaching the grandest scale, Light Bringer feels like coming home. Hearts will break. Mayhem will ensue. Last page will leave you frantically looking up the expected release date of the final book.
Disclaimer: If you don’t want spoilers, do NOT read the acknowledgements in advance. I’m probably the only weirdo with that habit, but just in case.
A memorable collection from a dynamic new press thematically unified around that most primal of fears: deep, murky water occupied by things unknown. The grotesque swims parallel to the lyrical in Fish Gather to Listen. There is much here to disturb and delight, often simultaneously.
I absolutely adore Jeff VanderMeer’s work. This is the eighth book of his that I’ve read, and the first I’ve ever disliked. Still love Jeff, he remains one of my favorite authors, but this was a slog. I wish I had more to say, but that is that.
Ok. So, I have learned that every book Andy Weir writes seems to be narrated by more or less the same character with Andy Weir’s personality. This feature of his writing is tiresome to me, as is the constant need to meticulously explain why the science of x, y, or z would totally work in real life. For these reasons, I almost DNF’ed this book and launched it into proverbial space to find a more appreciative reader.
However, once Rocky appeared, I became so smitten that I overwhelmingly enjoyed the second half. It’s a great book. Fine, I admit it. Thank goodness Rocky came along–he’s my hero.
Reading any speculative pandemic novel after living during an actual global pandemic hits differently than I’m sure could even have been imagined by a writer publishing her book in 2014. But, strangely enough, that’s kind of what this book is about: the unexpected weight that art can carry due to the way time changes us, the serendipity of personal reactions and importance, the way old lines read anew in previously unthinkable contexts. This novel is incredible–beautifully crafted, poignant but unforgiving, and very aware about what aspects of our world are at turns precious, cheap, rare, or remarkable. Just gorgeous.
Few authors have the guts to write something that is wildly, fantastically strange and dead serious at the same time. Peng Shepherd has the guts, and her novel The Book of M is a stunner. Technically audacious, plotted with clear eyes, and emotionally searing, this sci-fi epic is a new classic. From an emotional standpoint, this one was personally difficult for me to get through. (If you’ve ever been close to someone who has suffered from debilitating memory loss, there are many tough moments to swallow.) But that doesn’t make the book any less brilliant.