May 222020

Booklist: Everyone’s favorite Murderbot is now working as a security consultant for Preservation Station. While accompanying several members of Dr. Mensah’s family on a research outing, they’re attacked by a ship that looks a lot like their old friend, the transport ship ART. Murderbot and Amena, Mensah’s daughter, are kidnapped and taken aboard, where they uncover a plot that leads back to a strange planet, corporate machinations, and a possible alien contagion. The Murderbot novellas were perfectly paced to fit a ton of action into a short form. Network Effect is just as action-packed, but the pace is now calibrated to fill a full novel, which gives it more breathing room and opportunities to explore the characters and the setting in greater depth. Relationships between all the characters are richer and more nuanced. Wells reveals more about Dr. Mensah’s family and some surprises about ART and establishes more details about how the Corporations function, the contrasts between the Corporate Rim and Preservation Station, the politics at play, and some of the history of pre-Corporate planetary colonization attempts. It’s a welcome expansion of this universe and lays the groundwork for more stories to come in a series that continues to grow and impress.

May 202020

Kirkus: Aside from the fact that she owns a ghost dog named Kirby, Ellie is like any other comic book–loving, ice cream–eating Lipan Apache teenager. Her non-Native friends include her childhood buddy Jay, who is white, and her cousin Trevor’s Latinx wife, Lenore. Yet Ellie does have traits that set her apart: She has inherited the talents of Six-Great-Grandmother, her powerful Lipan Apache forebear, and plans to skip college to work as a paranormal investigator. When Trevor dies in what appears to be a car accident, his ghost appears to her briefly, begging that she protect his wife and child. Ellie must call upon her strong lineage to rid her ancestral land of an ancient curse. Even as she discovers some of her own tribal relatives have been complicit in historic wrongdoing, she must save her family, animals, and community from destructive forces and restore balance to the world. A fast-paced whodunit set in a contemporary world like our own, this is a creative fusion of Indigenous cultural influences and supernatural fantasy. A brilliant, engaging debut written by a talented author, it seamlessly blends cyberstalking with Vampire Citizen Centers and Lipan Apache stories. This groundbreaking introduction to the fantasy genre remains relevant to Native histories even as it imaginatively looks to the future.

May 182020

Publishers Weekly: The enjoyable 15th installment to Harrison’s the Hollows series picks up shortly after the events of 2014’s The Witch with No Name as witch-born demon Rachel Mariana Morgan again confronts supernatural threats to her beloved Cincinnati. An unknown and terrifying creature is stalking both Rachel and her former enemy, elven Trent Kalamack, in their dreams, while in the waking world, Hodin, a mysterious new demon in town, offers Rachel an opportunity to fine-tune her magical abilities. Afraid to sleep, Rachel places her trust in Hodin to help her find a way to defeat a nightmarish foe she can’t even touch. Harrison makes a skillful return to her urban fantasy world, recapturing her signature blend of magical mayhem and soap operatics, though the dwindling presence of Rachel’s vampire partner, Ivy, suggests a shift in focus as the series evolves. Narrative momentum is disrupted by several lengthy scenes of Rachel exploring her magic with Hodin through elaborately described rituals and slogging metaphysical discussion, but the expansion of magic’s possibilities in this universe could spell good things to come. Despite a detailed introductory preface, new readers will likely be lost in the sea of returning faces, but existing fans will be pleased by this promising continuation of the series.

May 142020

Publishers Weekly: Hieber’s momentous third Spectral City fantasy (after A Sanctuary of Spirits) sees tensions in the spirit world come to an explosive head…It is extremely satisfying to witness the scrappy heroes rise up…Eve and Jacob’s growing attraction, meanwhile, provides a welcome romantic respite from the fast-paced action. Hieber’s latest fires on all cylinders.

May 132020

Author of BENEATH THE RISING Premee Mohamed’s THE ANNUAL MIGRATION OF CLOUDS, a novella set in post-climate disaster Alberta, where a teen infected with a mysterious parasite must choose whether to pursue a rare opportunity far from home or stay and help rebuild her community, to Jennifer Albert at ECW Press, for publication in spring 2021, by Michael Curry.

May 122020

Publishers Weekly: Replete with snappy dialogue and convincing technobabble, Santos’s debut cyber-thriller offers a vision of a 22nd-century Earth where the only force more powerful than technology is magic. Prickly combat mage Cloke leads a chimera unit—a military group possessing a deadly combination of technological, combat, and magic skills. Cloke’s newest recruit is Zee, an infamous coder with shadowy origins and plenty of baggage. Alongside a colorful cast of cyborgs and sword masters, Cloke and Zee, who was grown in a lab and has no gender, must track down and destroy a trio of illegal clones of a powerful mage. The worldbuilding is well done, as Santos digs deep into the full implications of the supernatural interacting with advanced technology. Readers may find the treatment of Zee’s gender and pronouns (xie/hir) to be clumsy, but will be gratified by Zee’s depth, complexity, and fully realized arc. Santos’s enthusiasm for his subject is clear and his rigorous plotting delivers some genuine surprises. This is fun, fresh cyberpunk.

May 112020

Photo of Elizabeth BearSpyglass Media has acquired dramatic rights to “Covenant”, a short story by Elizabeth Bear, via Sylvie Rabineau at WME in association with Jennifer Jackson.

Set to be adapted by screenwriters Josh Campbell and Matt Suecken, who wrote the screenplay for 10 Cloverfield Lane, the project will be produced by Arts District Entertainment and Spyglass VP Productions. Bear’s story first appeared in Ed Finn and Kathryn Cramer’s 2014 anthology Hieroglyph: Stories and Visions for a Better Future.