Jul 182018

Cover of Brief Cases by Jim Butcher.The audio edition of BRIEF CASES by Jim Butcher is #5 on the New York Times Bestseller list!

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.

Jul 162018

Cover of Temper by Nicky Drayden.Library Journal: Auben Mutze is an intelligent, extroverted youth with a bit of a wild side. This makes him one of the more popular kids at his impoverished high school, even as he knows that he has few chances to escape the world in which he lives. He is a twin, with vices – six, to be exact – branded on his arm. This also marks him as a lesser twin to his brother Kasim, whose quieter nature and single vice brand means he has a shot of escaping to the other side of the wall and a better life. Already at odds with his brother, Auben begins to hear voices that tell him to follow his vices as far as possible. If he can’t ignore the voices, he will be caught in the hands of a demon.

VERDICT: With its South African setting and supernatural action, Drayden’s twisty, fast paced sophomore effort (after The Prey of Gods) keeps readers on the edge of their seats.

Jul 132018

Cover of The Calculating Stars: A Lady Astronaut Novel by Mary Robinette Kowal.Booklist: The first half of Kowal’s two-book tale—The Fated Sky will follow—begins in 1952 when a meteorite strikes Earth, causing a global cataclysm.

The eastern coast of the U.S. crumbles, and the rest of the world faces a climate shift. A former WASP pilot and a brilliant mathematician, Elma York works for the International Aerospace Coalition, along with her engineer husband, expediting efforts to colonize other planets. Recognizing that she and her female colleagues are just as qualified as the men, Elma fights for their right to become astronauts. She builds momentum for their cause by hosting a women-only air demonstration, speaking on a Bill Nye–type kids show, and passing tests with ridiculous rules her male counterparts would never be asked to endure.

Although Kowal’s latest is a definite deviation from her popular Glamour Histories series, she once again strikes a fine balance of integrating historical accuracy—including mid-twentieth-century sexism, racism, and technology—with speculative storytelling. Readers will root for Elma as she breaks barriers and calculates lifesaving equations, all while dealing with sometimes-crippling anxiety. Recommend to fans of realistic sf.

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 032018

Cover of The Calculating Stars: A Lady Astronaut Novel by Mary Robinette Kowal.Mary Robinette Kowal’s science fiction debut, The Calculating Stars, explores the premise behind her award-winning “The Lady Astronaut of Mars.”

On a cold spring night in 1952, a huge meteorite fell to earth and obliterated much of the east coast of the United States, including Washington D.C. The ensuing climate cataclysm will soon render the earth inhospitable for humanity, as the last such meteorite did for the dinosaurs. This looming threat calls for a radically accelerated effort to colonize space, and requires a much larger share of humanity to take part in the process.

Elma York’s experience as a WASP pilot and mathematician earns her a place in the International Aerospace Coalition’s attempts to put man on the moon, as a calculator. But with so many skilled and experienced women pilots and scientists involved with the program, it doesn’t take long before Elma begins to wonder why they can’t go into space, too.

Elma’s drive to become the first Lady Astronaut is so strong that even the most dearly held conventions of society may not stand a chance against her.

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

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.