Jul 092018

Cover of The Calculating Stars: A Lady Astronaut Novel by Mary Robinette Kowal.Library Journal: In 1952, Elma York and her husband are celebrating their marriage in the Poconos when a meteor strikes, destroying Washington, DC, and most of the eastern seaboard.

As a mathematician and WASP pilot, Elma knows the need for space exploration, but now that Earth is poised to fall owing to a climate change of apocalyptic proportions, that timetable has been pushed into the fast lane. Elma wants to be one of those to enter space, and when a program invites women to take the same astronaut training as men, she won’t let anything – not family, history, or the attitudes of men regarding the proper place for women – stand in her way.

VERDICT: A fast-forward thrill ride, Hugo Award­winner Kowal’s (“Glamourist Histories”) exciting alternate history, the first in a duology, highlights the space race and the sexism of the time. SF and space history buffs will enjoy this entertaining tale.

Jul 062018

Cover of Temper by Nicky Drayden.Booklist: Drayden’s latest is a dark, riveting tale about two brothers at odds that explores what it truly means to possess virtues, what it truly means to possess vices, and what it truly means to be brothers.

Auben Mutze is a twin. His lesser status as the inferior twin is marked by six brands down his arm, and each brand symbolizes a vice he possesses. In contrast, Auben’s twin brother, Kasim, possesses only one vice. The single vice marks Kasim as the supposedly superior twin. The twins’ different stations in life and Auben’s jealousy morph their brotherly relationship into one steeped in rivalry. Their brotherly bond is threatened to the point of breaking when Auben begins to hear dangerous voices that whisper of evil, heinous deeds, encouraging him to walk a dark path. If Auben doesn’t rid himself of the voices, he could completely lose himself to them.

Drayden (The Prey of Gods, 2017) excels at making every twist and turn of the plot meaningful to the story. Moreover, the world-building is deliciously lush and complex; any possible initial confusion becomes part of the thrill of puzzling this world out.

Jul 022018

Cover of The Calculating Stars: A Lady Astronaut Novel by Mary Robinette Kowal.Locus: So much about how Kowal structures Elma’s journey works, from her early days as a math whiz and the effect it had on her psyche, through her growth as a competent and confident professional. Equally lovely is the supportive and charming relationship between Nathaniel and Elma. You can’t help but root them both on.

The back third of The Calculating Stars is both intellectually and emotionally satisfying – and nicely sets up The Fated Sky, which is the second half of Elma’s story. Just one month after The Calculating Stars’ release, we’ll finally learn exactly how Elma got herself to Mars.

Jun 302018

a pair of black ear budsAudio rights to Molly Tanzer’s CREATURES OF CHARM AND HUNGER, to Brian Sweany at Recorded Books, by Katie Shea Boutillier on behalf of Cameron McClure.

Audio rights to Nalo Hopkinson’s THE SALT ROADS, to Kim Budnick at Tantor Media, by Katie Shea Boutillier on behalf of Donald Maass.

Jun 302018

Spanish rights to the first two books in Martha Wells’ Nebula Award-winning The Murderbot Diaries series, ALL SYSTEMS RED and ARTIFICIAL CONDITION, to Alethé, by Maru de Montserrat at International Editors’ Co. in association with Jennifer Jackson and Michael Curry.

French rights to Yoon Ha Lee’s RAVEN STRATAGEM, the second book in the Hugo- and Nebula-nominated Machineries of Empire series, to Denoël, by Robin Batet at Anna Jarota Agency in association with Jennifer Jackson and Michael Curry.

Turkish rights to Hugo, John W. Campbell Award and Compton Crook Award Winner Ada Palmer’s TOO LIKE THE LIGHTNING, to Eksik Parca, by Merve Ongen at ONK Agency in association with Katie Shea Boutillier on behalf of Cameron McClure.

Omnibus Italian rights to World Fantasy, Nebula and Hugo Award-winning author, Nnedi Okorafor’s BINTI novella series, to  Mandadori,  by Stefania Fietta at Donzelli Fietta Agency in association with Katie Shea Boutillier on behalf of Donald Maass.

French rights to Jo Walton’s LIFELODE, to Denoël, by Robin Batet at Anna Jarota Agency in association with Katie Shea Boutillier on behalf of Cameron McClure.

Korean rights to Yoon Ha Lee’s REVENANT GUN, the third book in the Hugo- and Nebula-nominated Machineries of Empire series, to East-Asia Publishing Co., by Henry Shin at Eric Yang Agency in association with Jennifer Jackson and Michael Curry.

Russian rights to Yoon Ha Lee’s RAVEN STRATAGEM and REVENANT GUN, the second and third books in the Hugo- and Nebula-nominated Machineries of Empire series, to Eksmo, by Igor Korzhenevski at Alexander Korzhenevski Agency in association with Jennifer Jackson and Michael Curry.

French rights to New York Times best-selling author Kim Harrison’s PERfunctory afFECTION, to MxM Bookmark, by Robin Batet at Anna Jarota Agency in association with Jennifer Jackson and Michael Curry.

Jun 292018

Cover of Akata Warrior by Nnedi Okorafor.Cover of All Systems Red by Martha Wells.Congratulations to the DMLA authors who won a 2018 Locus Award!

Akata Warrior, Nnedi Okorafor (Viking)

All Systems Red, Martha Wells, (Tor.com Publishing)

Jun 272018

Cover of Temper by Nicky Drayden.Library Journal: In a richly constructed world that resembles South Africa, everyone is born as a set of twins with seven vices and virtues divided unevenly between them. Those possessing more vices are considered to be the inferior twin, poorer, less respected and successful than their more virtuous sibling. One such twin, Auben Mutze, fights against this destiny—but when a demon possesses him, it may prove he is nothing more than the sum of his vices.

VERDICT: Drayden is an amazing writer and deft plotter. The twists are unexpected and never feel contrived, just as the novel explores real-world issues without sounding preachy.

Jun 262018

Cover of Foundryside by Robert Jackson Bennett.Publishers Weekly: Bennett’s stunning fantasy, the first in a series, is set in Tevanne, a city-state run by four merchant houses, funded by pillaging nearby lands and powered by scrivers who use sigils to make devices that defy reality.

When talented thief Sancia Grado steals a sentient golden key named Clef, she’s pursued by paladin-like police captain Gregor Dandolo, scion of the Dandolo merchant house. Clef and Sancia are both shocked when they find they can communicate telepathically. This and Sancia’s other abilities—linked to a painful scar on her skull—hint at strange, terrible things in her past.

The endlessly inventive Bennett (the Divine Cities trilogy) brings humor and empathy to his portrayal of Sancia, a dark-skinned woman who bears substantial physical and psychological scars from being enslaved and experimented on, and who deeply resents her unwanted talents. Sancia and Clef’s friendship is poignant, and her journey of self-realization serves as a backbone for nearly nonstop, cleverly choreographed action sequences.

This is a crackling, wonderfully weird blend of science fiction, fantasy, heist adventure, and a pointed commentary on what it means to be human in a culture obsessed with technology, money, and power.

Jun 252018

Cover of Brief Cases by Jim Butcher.BRIEF CASES stays on the USA Today bestseller list for a second week, this time at #95!

The world of Harry Dresden, Chicago’s only professional wizard, is rife with intrigue–and creatures of all supernatural stripes. And you’ll make their intimate acquaintance as Harry delves into the dark side of truth, justice, and the American way in this must-have short story collection.

From the Wild West to the bleachers at Wrigley Field, humans, zombies, incubi, and even fey royalty appear, ready to blur the line between friend and foe. In the never-before-published “Zoo Day,” Harry treads new ground as a dad, while fan-favorite characters Molly Carpenter, his onetime apprentice, White Council Warden Anastasia Luccio, and even Bigfoot stalk through the pages of more classic tales.

With twelve stories in all, Brief Cases offers both longtime fans and first-time readers tantalizing glimpses into Harry’s funny, gritty, and unforgettable realm, whetting their appetites for more to come from the wizard with a heart of gold.

Jun 222018

Cover of Artificial Condition by Martha Wells.B&N SFF Blog: Like the first book, this novella’s chief strength is Murderbot’s narration. Snarky, independent, and keen to be left alone, Murderbot is an AI like no other.

Wells has also shown skill writing from an alien point-of-view in her celebrated Raksura fantasy novels (nominated for a Best Series Hugo this year), and she has turned it to good effect with her title character here.

Wells’ has always excelled in creating character relationships with depth.

ARTIFICIAL CONDITION answers key questions about the characters and the world and sets up mysteries to be unpacked in future installments, and how lovely that personal autonomy gives us the freedom to follow Murderbot wherever they go next.