Blog Posts

Twenty Core Space Operas Every True SF Fan Should Have On Their Shelves


As with the first core list, here are twenty space operas chosen entirely on the basis of merit and significance to the field. No implication is intended that these are the only twenty books you should consider.

  • Dust by Elizabeth Bear
  • Shards of Honor by Lois McMaster Bujold
  • Downbelow Station by C.J. Cherryh
  • The Price of the Stars by Debra Doyle and James D. Macdonald
  • Hellflower by Rosemary Edghill
  • City of Diamond by Doris Egan
  • Valor’s Choice by Tanya Huff
  • The Starmen of Llyrdis by Leigh Brackett
  • The Myriad by R. M. Meluch
  • Agent of Change by Sharon Lee and Steve Miller
  • Marque and Reprisal by Elizabeth Moon
  • Judgment Night by C.L. Moore
  • Vast by Linda Nagata
  • Dark Piper by Andre Norton
  • Becoming Alien by Rebecca Ore
  • Minisuka Pairētsu by Yūichi Sasamoto
  • Five-Twelfths of Heaven by Melissa Scott
  • Phoenix in Flight by Sherwood Smith and Dave Trowbridge
  • Up the Walls of the World by James Tiptree, Jr.
  • House of the Wolf by M.K. Wren



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Twenty Core SF Books Every True SF Fan Should Have On Their Shelves

Everyone loves recommendation lists. Judging by how many of them I see, people enjoy making them, too. I love to embrace new experiences so early in March I tried my hand at make a list of core SF books, chosen purely on the basis of merit and without regard for any other parameter. It was fun enough I think I will do one of these core lists, each with a different theme, every second Thursday. Except for this one, which I post out of schedule for reasons.

Note that the entire set of core books is much, much larger than any 20 book list posted on the web.

  • A Door Into Ocean by Joan Slonczewski
  • A Voice Out of Ramah by Lee Killough
  • A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle
  • Ancillary Justice by Ann Leckie
  • China Mountain Zhang by Maureen McHugh
  • Don’t Bite the Sun by Tanith Lee
  • Dreamsnake by Vonda N. McIntyre
  • Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
  • Galactic Derelict by Andre Norton
  • Gate of Ivrel by C.J. Cherryh
  • Golden Witchbreed by Mary Gentle
  • Jirel of Joiry by C.L. Moore
  • Kindred by Octavia E. Butler
  • Ninefox Gambit by Yoon Ha Lee
  • The Dispossessed by Ursula K. Le Guin
  • The Female Man by Joanna Russ
  • The Many Colored Land by Julian May
  • The Next Continent by Issui Ogawa
  • The Snow Queen by Joan D. Vinge
  • Warm Worlds and Otherwise by James Tiptree, Jr.

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Books Received: The Box From Haikasoru

The “golden brat” Reinhard von Lohengramm, a military prodigy and admiral of the Galactic Empire, has ambitions beyond protecting the borders or even defeating the empire’s enemies. He seeks to overthrow the old order and become a truly absolute—yet benevolent—dictator. His rival, the humble Yang Wen-li of the Free Planets Alliance, wishes to preserve democracy even if he must sacrifice his political ideals to defeat the empire. Their political and military battles play out over a galactic chessboard in an epic saga fifteen centuries in the making!

After a coup d’état erupts in the Free Planets Alliance, military strategist Yang Wen-li is ordered to use his tactical wizardry to put down the rebellion, but the ringleader holding the capital is someone he once trusted deeply. Meanwhile, in the Galactic Empire, Reinhard will soon face a new trial, as in the wake of the emperor’s death he stands amidst an intensifying power struggle among the aristocracy. The unbeatable magician and the unstoppable genius: the battles these heroes wage will send shock waves across the galaxy!


A grand scheme for retaking Iserlohn is delivered to Reinhard, who with renewed determination seeks to become ruler of the galaxy and fulfill the oath he made with a dear departed friend. But what are the aims of Phezzan, the third force at work behind the scenes? Meanwhile, no sooner is Yang breathing a sigh of relief at Julian’s safe return from his combat mission than Yang is summoned to an inquest and departs for the capital of the alliance. As if waiting for an opportunity to strike, however, the imperial military sends their secret weapon right to the gates of Iserlohn. The battle begins! Who will endure?


In the year 2020, Kazumi Kimura, proprietor of shooting star forecast website Meteor News, notices some suspicious orbiting space debris. Rumors spread online that the debris is actually an orbital weapon targeting the International Space Station. Halfway across the world, at NORAD, Staff Sergeant Daryl Freeman begins his own investigation of the threat. At the same time, billionaire entrepreneur Ronnie Smark and his journalist daughter prepare to check in to an orbital hotel as part of a stunt promoting private space tourism. Then Kazumi receives highly sensitive, and potentially explosive, information from a genius Iranian scientist. And so begins an unprecedented international battle against space-based terror that will soon involve the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, NORAD, and the CIA.

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Books Received, March 11-17, 2017

What if you could fix the worst parts of yourself by confronting your worst fears?

Dr. Jennifer Webb has invented proprietary virtual reality technology that purports to heal psychological wounds by running clients through scenarios straight out of horror movies and nightmares. In a carefully controlled environment, with a medical cocktail running through their veins, sisters might develop a bond they’ve been missing their whole lives—while running from the bogeyman through a simulated forest. But…can real change come so easily?

Esther Hoffman doubts it. Esther has spent her entire journalism career debunking pseudoscience, after phony regression therapy ruined her father’s life. She’s determined to unearth the truth about Dr. Webb’s budding company. Dr. Webb’s willing to let her, of course, for reasons of her own. What better advertisement could she get than that of a convinced skeptic? But Esther’s not the only one curious about how this technology works. Enter real-world threats just as frightening as those created in the lab. Dr. Webb and Esther are at odds, but they may also be each other’s only hope of survival.

With her new novella Final Girls, bestselling, award-winning author Mira Grant has conjured a heartstopping, gut-wrenching story filled with as many twists as it is versions of reality. Grant offers a chilling exploration of how surviving horrors might define us all.

As the city rebuilds from the onslaught of sorcery that nearly destroyed it, the great Houses of Paris, ruled by Fallen angels, still contest one another for control over the capital.

House Silverspires was once the most powerful, but just as it sought to rise again, an ancient evil brought it low. Phillippe, an immortal who escaped the carnage, has a singular goal—to resurrect someone he lost. But the cost of such magic might be more than he can bear.

In House Hawthorn, Madeleine the alchemist has had her addiction to angel essence savagely broken. Struggling to live on, she is forced on a perilous diplomatic mission to the underwater dragon kingdom—and finds herself in the midst of intrigues that have already caused one previous emissary to mysteriously disappear….

As the Houses seek a peace more devastating than war, those caught between new fears and old hatreds must find strength—or fall prey to a magic that seeks to bind all to its will.

To solve some mysteries, one must embrace the impossible.

Has there ever been a more unlikely pair of consulting detectives than Jesperson and Lane? They certainly make a striking duo: Mr. Jasper Jesperson, with his shock of red hair and seemingly encyclopedic knowledge of all subjects—save common sense—and Miss Lane, whose logical mind is matched only by her fascination with psychic phenomena.

Their talents are rare … as are their customers. So when Jesperson and Lane are hired to track the nocturnal wanderings of a sleepwalking London business owner, they’re simply happy to be working again. The case begins as a window into the séances and other supernatural parlor games that are so popular these days, and takes a sinister turn as the intrepid investigators pull back the curtain on the cutthroat rivalries underpinning polite society.

But after several mediums go missing, it’s clear that Jesperson and Lane are in over their heads. For they’ve uncovered a presence beyond their understanding—an evil force that won’t hesitate to kill in order to achieve its nefarious ends.

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Book Received: March 8, 2017

A young man plagued by the ability to see ghosts races to save the mythological land of Tara from a terrible fate in Erika Lewis’s stunning debut, Game of Shadows.

Thousands of years ago in Ireland, an ancient race fought a world-changing battle—and lost. Their land overrun, the Celtic gods and goddesses fled, while the mythical races and magical druids sailed to an uncharted continent, cloaked so mankind could never find it. This new homeland was named Tara.

In modern day Los Angeles, Ethan Makkai struggles with an overprotective mother who never lets him out of her sight, and a terrifying secret: he can see ghosts. Desperate for a taste of freedom, he leaves his apartment by himself for the first time—only to find his life changed forever. After being attacked by dive-bombing birds, he races home to find the place trashed and his mother gone.

With the help of a captain from Tara who has been secretly watching the Makkais for a long time, Ethan sets out to save his mother; a journey that leads him to the hidden lands, and straight into the arms of a vicious sorcerer who will stop at nothing until he controls Tara.With new-found allies including Christian, the cousin he never knew he had, and Lily, the sword-slinging healer who’d rather fight than mend bones, Ethan travels an arduous road—dodging imprisonment, battling beasts he thought only existed in nightmares, and accepting help from the beings he’s always sought to avoid: ghosts. This L.A. teen must garner strength from his gift and embrace his destiny if he’s going to save his mother, the fearless girl he’s fallen for, and all the people of Tara.

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Book received

Bob Howard’s career in the Laundry, the secret British government agency
dedicated to protecting the world from unspeakable horrors from beyond
spacetime, has entailed high combat, brilliant hacking, ancient magic, and
combat with indescribably repellent creatures of pure evil. It has also
involved a wearying amount of paperwork and office politics, and his
expense reports are *still* a mess.

Now, following the invasion of Yorkshire by the Host of Air and Darkness,
the Laundry’s existence has become public, and Bob is being trotted out on
TV to answer pointed questions about elven asylum seekers. What neither Bob
nor his managers have foreseen is that their organization has earned the
attention of a horror far more terrifying than any demon: a British
government looking for public services to privatize. There’s a lot of
potential shareholder value in the Laundry’s “knowledge assets.”

Inch by inch, Bob Howard and his managers are forced to consider the truly
unthinkable: a coup against the British government itself.


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Book Received: Like Clockwork by Ali Abbas


Commander Raymond Burntwood of the Royal Navy has returned to England where he meets the reclusive heiress Lady Ariana Grayhart. After the scandal of a night spent dancing together, Ariana returns home to Northumberland. Raymond’s superiors—seeking information about Ariana’s father—dispatch the commander under the cover of courting the heiress.

All is not as it seems in the Grayhart household. Captain Grayhart is an invalid, the servants maintain a monkish silence, and secrets are layered upon secrets. Everyone has their own agenda, from Raymond’s friend and confidante Du Bois, to the family lawyer Sir Berwick, and Ariana herself.
In the midst of it all, Raymond must unravel the truth of Captain Grayhart’s decline and save Ariana’s reputation and fortune. In doing so, he learns dark secrets about himself that could tear his world apart.

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Books Received

The luxury cruise ship the Martian Queen was decommissioned years ago, set to drift back and forth between Earth and Mars on the off-chance that reclaiming it ever became profitable for the owners. For Saga and her husband Michel the cruise ship represents a massive payday. Hacking and stealing the ship could earn them enough to settle down, have children, and pay for the treatments to save Saga’s mother’s life.

But the Martian Queen is much more than their employer has told them. In the twenty years since it was abandoned, something strange and dangerous has come to reside in the decadent vessel. Saga feels herself being drawn into a spider’s web, and must navigate the traps and lures of an awakening intelligence if she wants to go home again.

When Hob Ravani’s uncle turns up dead, and her childhood friend gone without a trace, Hob will put everything on the line to find out what happened. With her adoptive father, the leader of the mercenary company the Ghost Wolves, Hob will defy TransRift, the company that owns their entire world.

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February 2017 in Review

February

19 works reviewed. 11 by women (58%). 8 by men (42).

Works by POC: 14.5 (76%).

I wanted to review at least 20 items but heath and technical issues got in the way. 19 is still better than last year. As well, 2017’s attempt to focus on black authors was a lot more successful than 2016: 14.5 works versus 8, with no authors repeated. Still room for improvement but not as much room as last year.

Year to Date

42 works reviewed. 23 by women (55%). 18 by men (43%). 1 by a non-binary author (2%).

Works by POC: 20.5 (49%)

Compared to last year: Up 2 works reviewed, down 1 by woman (My Friday theme this year has a lot more men than the last two themes, which is to say “any at all”.). POC up by 9.5. Non-binary authors down by 1, which is sad because I want to make 2017 the year when I do a better than terrible job at reviewing non-binary authors. The problem is that I tend to focus on one issue to the exclusion of others. Oh well. Ten months to improve my stats, unless the Americans kill us all.

And now for my favourite part: the meaningless table!

Key: WNB stands for “women and non-binary genders”, while POC stands for “person of colour”. R/R stands for “reviews/reviewers”. Figures in brackets are percentages; for R/R the percentage represents the site’s R/R over my 2015 R/R. SFX is actually called SFX; it is not short for anything. Same with io9. F&SF is the Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction. SFS is Science Fiction Studies. LARB is the Los Angeles Review of Books. CSZ is the Cascadia Subduction Zone

Review source

Total

WNB (%)

POC (%)

Reviewers

R/R (%)

Locus

324

163 (50)

22 (7)

17

19 (5.7)

JNR 2016

255

163.5 (64)

62.5 (25)

1

255 (78)

SFX

165

48 (29)

10 (6)

30

5.5 (1.5)

Romantic Times

146

84 (57)

14 (10)

(incorrect)

n/a (n/a)

Tor

141

66 (47)

18 (13)

27

5.2 (1.6)

Strange Horizons

139

66 (48)

30 (22)

80

1.7 (0.5)

Rising Shadows

83

25 (30)

1 (1)

2

41.5 (12.6)

Interzone

67

21 (31)

7 (10)

19

3.5 (1)

F&SF

59

32 (54)

5 (9)

5

11.8 (3.6)

Analog

58

10 (17)

3 (4)

1

58 (17.6)

Io9

56

17 (30)

12 (21)

10

5.6 (1.7)

Asimov’s

53

21 (23)

3 (6)

3

17.7 (5.4)

Vector

52

18 (35)

4 (8)

26

2 (0.6)

SFS

45

48 (21)

2 (4)

38

1.2 (0.3)

James Nicoll Review 2017

42

24 (57)

20.5 (49)

1

42 (13)

NYRSF

42

11 (26)

6 (13)

24

1.8 (0.5)

Foundation

38

9 (24)

1 (3)

27

1.4 (0.4)

LARB

35

11 (31)

7 (20)

28

1.3 (0.4)

Lightspeed

28

16? (57)

14 (50)

3

9.3 (2.8)

CSZ

23

19 (80)

8 (35)

17

1.4 (0.4)

I love this time of year. It’s so easy to bound up the chart, from last place to 6th from last and I can now say I reviewed more works by POC than Analog, Asimov’s, CSZ, F&SF, Foundation, IO9, Interzone, LARB, Lightspeed, NYRSF, Rising Shadows, Romantic Times, SFS, SFX Tor, and Vector did in 2015.

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Book Rescued

I was literally just thinking I should review another Carey.

It’s good that I went out to see what Canada Post had delivered because the squirrel who has taken such an interest in the mail box recently had the package halfway to the sidewalk when I looked out the door.


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Books received

Publishers send me books. Let me know if any of these look interesting.

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January 2017 in review

23 books read. 12 by women (52%). 10 by men (43%). 1 by non-binary authors (4%). Ah, my old foe, rounding error. This month has an atypically high fraction of men because last month I convinced myself that December 31 fell on the Sunday and did a double review of books by men, counting them against December’s stats. There were days I knew December 31 was on the Saturday. Truly, the ability of the brain to believe two mutually exclusive facts is impressive.

POC 6 (26%). It’s just dumb luck it was that high.

I wonder, should I be comparing these to 2016?

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A Year of Waterloo Region Speculative Fiction

The Waterloo region (and neighboring areas) are not generally known as hotbeds of spec-fic writing. If you’ve heard of us at all, it’s most likely thanks to the University of Waterloo or the annual Oktoberfest. Why, Kitchener’s Public Library does not even bother to keep track of which SF authors come from the surrounding region 1.

But I do.

Spec-fic authors who either live in or near Waterloo region or did live here in the past include the following.


R. J. Anderson
Erin Bow
James Bow
Melanie Card
Robert Card
Suzanne Church
Ange Clayfield
Ryan Consell
Julie Czerneda
Karen Dales
James Roy Daley
Kit Daven
A. K. Dewdney
Cory Doctorow
Jon Evans
Pat Forde
Ed Greenwood
Matthew Hughes
Edward Llewellyn
Jen Frankel
J. M. Frey
James Alan Gardner
Sephera Giron
Josh Hoey
Matthew Douglas Ingraham
Dean Italiano
Becka Kinzie
Anna Kreider
Alisse Lee-Goldenberg
Violette Malan
Jane Ann McLachlan
John McMullen
David Morrell
Dave Okum
Neil Randall
Vanessa Ricci-Thode
Stephen B. Pearl
Thomas J. Ryan
Robert J. Sawyer
Emily Schooley
Craig Stewart
Ruth Stuart
Sarah Totton
An Tran
Sarah Tolmie
Non-Fiction Authors

Andrea Austin
Andrew Deman

Over the next year I will be reviewing fifty-two works 2 of speculative fiction by as broad a cross-section of the names above as I can manage. Please join me.

1: Or local authors of any kind.

2: Not necessarily prose works: spec-fic comes in other forms as well.

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December 2016 and 2016 in general in review

December 2016

21 books reviewed. 19.5 by women, 1.5 by men. F/T = 0.93

5 books by POC, or 24%

Year to date

255 books read. 161.5 by women (0.63), 91.5 by men (0.36), 2 by authors who identifies as neither (0.01). 62.5 by POC (0.25).

To put this in context:

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Merry Christmas



My third since I began this site.

A Merry Christmas and thank you to Karen Lofstrom for de-word-salading my prose, Adrienne L. Travis for creating and managing this site, and to all my readers and my patreon supporters, and everyone who has ever commissioned a review. And everyone who suggested an interesting book for me to try.

In honour of the season, please enjoy this audio production of Arthur C.Clarke’s “The Star”.


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November 2016 in Review

November 2016

21 books reviewed. 18 by women, 3 by men. F/T = 0.86

6.5 books by POC, or 31%

Year to date

234 books read. 142 by women (0.61), 90 by men (0.38), 2 by authors who identifies as neither (0.01). 57.5 by POC (0.25).

To put in context:

Key: WNB stands for “women and non-binary genders”, while POC stands for “person of colour”. R/R stands for “reviews/reviewers”. Figures in brackets are percentages; for R/R the percentage represents the site’s R/R over my 2015 R/R. SFX is actually called SFX; it is not short for anything. Same with io9. JNR is James Nicoll Reviews. F&SF is the Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction. SFS is
Science Fiction Studies. LARB is the Los Angeles Review of Books. CSZ is the Cascadia Subduction Zone.

At this point, Locus 2015 is far behind me where reviews of POC are concerned, but slightly ahead of me where books by women are concerned and they have an insurmountable lead for reviews in general. Nothing I can do to match them in the last category but I should be able at least match them for reviews of books by women, as long as no fewer than 19 of the books I review in December are by women. But 20 would be better.



Review source

Total

WNB (%)

POC (%)

Reviewers

R/R (%)

James Nicoll Reviews 2015

329

195 (59)

45 (14)

1

329 (1)

Locus

324

163 (50)

22 (7)

17

19 (5.7)

JNR 2016

234

144 (62)

57.5 (25)

1

234 (71)

SFX

165

48 (29)

10 (6)

30

5.5 (1.5)

Romantic Times

146

84 (57)

14 (10)

(incorrect)

n/a (n/a)

Tor

141

66 (47)

18 (13)

27

5.2 (1.6)

Strange Horizons

139

66 (48)

30 (22)

80

1.7 (0.5)

Rising Shadows

83

25 (30)

1 (1)

2

41.5 (12.6)

Interzone

67

21 (31)

7 (10)

19

3.5 (1)

F&SF

59

32 (54)

5 (9)

5

11.8 (3.6)

Analog

58

10 (17)

3 (4)

1

58 (17.6)

Io9

56

17 (30)

12 (21)

10

5.6 (1.7)

Asimov’s

53

21 (23)

3 (6)

3

17.7 (5.4)

Vector

52

18 (35)

4 (8)

26

2 (0.6)

SFS

45

48 (21)

2 (4)

38

1.2 (0.3)

NYRSF

42

11 (26)

6 (13)

24

1.8 (0.5)

Foundation

38

9 (24)

1 (3)

27

1.4 (0.4)

LARB

35

11 (31)

7 (20)

28

1.3 (0.4)

Lightspeed

28

16? (57)

14 (50)

3

9.3 (2.8)

CSZ

23

19 (80)

8 (35)

17

1.4 (0.4)


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October 2016 in review

October 2016

22 books reviewed. 12 by women, 10 by men. F/T = 0.55

7 books by POC, or 32%.

Year to date

213 books read. 124 by women (0.58), 87 by men (0.41), 2 by authors who identifies as neither (0.01). 51 by POC (0.24).

To put in context:

Key: WNB stands for “women and non-binary genders”, while POC stands for “person of colour”. R/R stands for “reviews/reviewers”. Figures in brackets are percentages; for R/R the percentage represents the site’s R/R over my 2015 R/R. SFX is actually called SFX; it is not short for anything. Same with io9. JNR is James Nicoll Reviews. F&SF is the Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction. SFS is
Science Fiction Studies. LARB is the Los Angeles Review of Books. CSZ is the Cascadia Subduction Zone.

Not going to beat Locus in total numbers but I have thus far read 29 more books by authors of colour than their 17 reviewers did in 2015, and it’s not impossible that I will review at least 38 books by women and non-binary authors between now and the end of the year. Although if I am reading 22 books a month, that means no more than three books by men each month.


Review source

Total

WNB (%)

POC (%)

Reviewers

R/R (%)

James Nicoll Reviews 2015

329

195 (59)

45 (14)

1

329 (100)

Locus

324

163 (50)

22 (7)

17

19 (5.7)

JNR 2016

213

126 (59)

51 (24)

1

213 (65)

SFX

165

48 (29)

10 (6)

30

5.5 (1.5)

Romantic Times

146

84 (57)

14 (10)

(incorrect)

n/a (n/a)

Tor

141

66 (47)

18 (13)

27

5.2 (1.6)

Strange Horizons

139

66 (48)

30 (22)

80

1.7 (0.5)

Rising Shadows

83

25 (30)

1 (1)

2

41.5 (12.6)

Interzone

67

21 (31)

7 (10)

19

3.5 (1)

F&SF

59

32 (54)

5 (9)

5

11.8 (3.6)

Analog

58

10 (17)

3 (4)

1

58 (17.6)

Io9

56

17 (30)

12 (21)

10

5.6 (1.7)

Asimov’s

53

21 (23)

3 (6)

3

17.7 (5.4)

Vector

52

18 (35)

4 (8)

26

2 (0.6)

SFS

45

48 (21)

2 (4)

38

1.2 (0.3)

NYRSF

42

11 (26)

6 (13)

24

1.8 (0.5)

Foundation

38

9 (24)

1 (3)

27

1.4 (0.4)

LARB

35

11 (31)

7 (20)

28

1.3 (0.4)

Lightspeed

28

16? (57)

14 (50)

3

9.3 (2.8)

CSZ

23

19 (80)

8 (35)

17

1.4 (0.4)

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September 2016 in Review

22 books reviewed. 13 by women, 9 by men. F/T = 0.59

5 books by POC, or 23%.

Year to date

191 books read. 112 by women (0.59), 77 by men (0.40), 2 by authors who identifies as neither (0.01). 44 by POC (0.23). To put in context:

Key: WNB stands for “women and non-binary genders”, while POC standsfor “person of colour”. R/R stands for “reviews/reviewers”. Figures inbrackets are percentages; for R/R the percentage represents the site’s R/R over my 2015 R/R. SFX is actually called SFX; it is not short for anything. Same with io9. JNR is James Nicoll Reviews. F&SF is the Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction. SFS = Science Fiction Studies. LARB is the Los Angeles Review of Books. CSZ is the Cascadia Subduction Zone.

Review source

Total

WNB (%)

POC (%)

Reviewers

R/R (%)

James Nicoll Reviews 2015

329

195 (59)

45 (14)

1

329 (1)

Locus

324

163 (50)

22 (7)

17

19 (5.7)

JNR 2016

191

114 (60)

44 (23)

1

191 (58)

SFX

165

48 (29)

10 (6)

30

5.5 (1.5)

Romantic Times

146

84 (57)

14 (10)

23

6.3 (1.9)

Tor

141

66 (47)

18 (13)

27

5.2 (1.7)

Strange Horizons

139

66 (48)

30 (22)

80

1.7 (0.5)

Rising Shadows

83

25 (30)

1 (1)

2

41.5 (12.6)

Interzone

67

21 (31)

7 (10)

19

3.5 (1)

F&SF

59

32 (54)

5 (9)

5

11.8 (3.6)

Analog

58

10 (17)

3 (4)

1

58 (17.6)

Io9

56

17 (30)

12 (21)

10

5.6 (1.7)

Asimov’s

53

21 (23)

3 (6)

3

17.7 (5.4)

Vector

52

18 (35)

4 (8)

26

2 (0.6)

SFS

45

48 (21)

2 (4)

38

1.2 (0.3)

NYRSF

42

11 (26)

6 (13)

24

1.8 (0.5)

Foundation

38

9 (24)

1 (3)

27

1.4 (0.4)

LARB

35

11 (31)

7 (20)

28

1.3 (0.4)

Lightspeed

28

16? (57)

14 (50)

3

9.3 (2.8)

CSZ

23

19 (80)

8 (35)

17

1.4 (0.4)


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August 2016 in Review

22 books reviewed. 12 by women, 10 by men. F/T = 0.55

5 books by POC, or 23%.

Year to date

169 books read. 99 by women (0.59), 68 by men (0.40), 2 by authors who identifies as neither (0.01). 39 by POC (0.23). To put in context:

Key: WNB stands for “women and non-binary genders”, while POC stands for “person of colour”. R/R stands for “reviews/reviewers”. Figures in brackets are percentages; for R/R the percentage represents the site’s R/R over my 2015 R/R. SFX is actually called SFX; it is not short for anything. Same with io9. JNR is James Nicoll Reviews. F&SF is the Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction. SFS = Science Fiction Studies. LARB is the Los Angeles Review of Books. CSZ is the Cascadia Subduction Zone.

Review source

Total

WNB (%)

POC (%)

Reviewers

R/R (%)

James Nicoll Reviews 2015

329

195 (59)

45 (14)

1

329 (1)

Locus

324

163 (50)

22 (7)

17

19 (5.7)

JNR 2016

169

101 (60)

39 (23)

1

169 (51)

SFX

165

48 (29)

10 (6)

30

5.5 (1.5)

Romantic Times

146

84 (57)

14 (10)

23

6.3 (1.9)

Tor

141

66 (47)

18 (13)

27

5.2 (1.7)

Strange Horizons

139

66 (48)

30 (22)

80

1.7 (0.5)

Rising Shadows

83

25 (30)

1 (1)

2

41.5 (12.6)

Interzone

67

21 (31)

7 (10)

19

3.5 (1)

F&SF

59

32 (54)

5 (9)

5

11.8 (3.6)

Analog

58

10 (17)

3 (4)

1

58 (17.6)

Io9

56

17 (30)

12 (21)

10

5.6 (1.7)

Asimov’s

53

21 (23)

3 (6)

3

17.7 (5.4)

Vector

52

18 (35)

4 (8)

26

2 (0.6)

SFS

45

48 (21)

2 (4)

38

1.2 (0.3)

NYRSF

42

11 (26)

6 (13)

24

1.8 (0.5)

Foundation

38

9 (24)

1 (3)

27

1.4 (0.4)

LARB

35

11 (31)

7 (20)

28

1.3 (0.4)

Lightspeed

28

16? (57)

14 (50)

3

9.3 (2.8)

CSZ

23

19 (80)

8 (35)

17

1.4 (0.4)


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July 2016 in Review

22 books reviewed. 14 by women, 8 by men. F/T = 0.64

4 books by POC, or 18%.

Year to date

147 books read. 87 by women (0.59), 58 by men (0.39), 2 by authors who identifies as neither (0.01). 34 by POC (0.23). To put in context:

(I am not getting the same zing from ascending through the chart this year as I did in 2015, in part because I know I won’t be able to outdo Locus’ army of reviewers. Oh, well.)

Key: WNB stands for “women and non-binary genders”, while POC stands for “person of colour”. R/R stands for “reviews/reviewers”. Figures in brackets are percentages; for R/R the percentage represents the site’s R/R over my 2015 R/R.

Review source

Total

WNB (%)

POC (%)

Reviewers

R/R (%)

James Nicoll Reviews 2015

329

195 (59)

45 (14)

1

329 (1)

Locus

324

163 (50)

22 (7)

17

19 (5.7)

SFX

165

48 (29)

10 (6)

30

5.5 (1.5)

JNR 2016

147

89 (61)

34 (23)

1

147 (n/a)

Romantic Times

146

84 (57)

14 (10)

23

6.3 (1.9)

Tor

141

66 (47)

18 (13)

27

5.2 (1.7)

Strange Horizons

139

66 (48)

30 (22)

80

1.7 (0.5)

Rising Shadows

83

25 (30)

1 (1)

2

41.5 (12.6)

Interzone

67

21 (31)

7 (10)

19

3.5 (1)

F&SF

59

32 (54)

5 (9)

5

11.8 (3.6)

Analog

58

10 (17)

3 (4)

1

58 (17.6)

Io9

56

17 (30)

12 (21)

10

5.6 (1.7)

Asimov’s

53

21 (23)

3 (6)

3

17.7 (5.4)

Vector

52

18 (35)

4 (8)

26

2 (0.6)

SFS

45

48 (21)

2 (4)

38

1.2 (0.3)

NYRSF

42

11 (26)

6 (13)

24

1.8 (0.5)

Foundation

38

9 (24)

1 (3)

27

1.4 (0.4)

LARB

35

11 (31)

7 (20)

28

1.3 (0.4)

Lightspeed

28

16? (57)

14 (50)

3

9.3 (2.8)

CSZ

23

19 (80)

8 (35)

17

1.4 (0.4)

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Stephanie Clarkson fundraiser sale



I’ve known Stephanie Clarkson since she was a young teen hanging around my game store. I saw her grow up and find her place as an adult. Recently, she struggled with major health problems. Just as she seemed to have turned the corner on that, she was diagnosed with cancer. Stephanie died on July 19th, 2016.

Patricia Washburn is raising funds for Stephanie’s final expenses. To help her in this, I am running a seventy-two hour sales: commissions are half off ($50 a review) and all funds raised from reviews commissioned between now and 10 AM, July 24rd will be forwarded to Patricia.

Aside from price, the usual terms apply.

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June 2016 in Review

This may seem like it is a day early but tomorrow is the day I set aside for the next Young People Review Old SFF post. I don’t want to dilute people’s attention so no JNR post tomorrow.

20 books reviewed. 10 by women, 10 by men. F/T = 0.5

5 books by POC, or 25%

My second least productive month this year and I am not entirely sure why, although reserving Thursday for YPROSFF is a factor. I didn’t feel like I was letting productive time slip away, like I did in February when I was dealing with the effects of incessant sabotage by FASS committee members I had thought were my friends and allies. May they have long, disappointing lives1. Anyway, doing stuff but not all of it shows up here.

F/T is a bit low while %POC is a bit higher than usual for related reasons: I have been chewing my way through YKK, which is written by a POC who is a guy. I neglected to take into account what devoting one fifth of my reviews to one man’s series would do to F/T while being mindful of how it would affect %POC. Since I made the same oversight regarding F/T back when I was reviewing The Great Heinlein Juveniles (Plus the Other Two), I probably will make the same mistake in the future.

Year to date

125 books read. 73 by women (0.58), 50 by men (0.4), 2 by authors who identifies as neither (0.02). 30 by POC (0.24). To put in context:

Key: WNB stands for “women and non-binary genders”, while POC stands for “person of colour”. R/R stands for “reviews/reviewers”. Figures in brackets are percentages; for R/R the percentage represents the site’s R/R over my 2015 R/R.

Review source

Total

WNB (%)

POC (%)

Reviewers

R/R (%)

James Nicoll Reviews 2015

329

195 (59)

45 (14)

1

329 (100)

Locus

324

163 (50)

22 (7)

17

19 (5.7)

SFX

165

48 (29)

10 (6)

30

5.5 (1,5)

Romantic Times

146

84 (57)

14 (10)

23

6.3 (1.9)

Tor

141

66 (47)

18 (13)

27

5.2 (1.7)

Strange Horizons

139

66 (48)

30 (22)

80

1.7 (0.5)

James Nicoll Reviews 2016

125

75 (60)

30 (24)

1

125 (38)

Rising Shadows

83

25 (30)

1 (1)

2

41.5 (12.6)

Interzone

67

21 (31)

7 (10)

19

3.5 (1)

F&SF

59

32 (54)

5 (9)

5

11.8 (3.6)

Analog

58

10 (17)

3 (4)

1

58 (17.6)

Io9

56

17 (30)

12 (21)

10

5.6 (1.7)

Asimov’s

53

21 (23)

3 (6)

3

17.7 (5.4)

Vector

52

18 (35)

4 (8)

26

2 (0.6)

SFS

45

48 (21)

2 (4)

38

1.2 (0.3)

NYRSF

42

11 (26)

6 (13)

24

1.8 (0.5)

Foundation

38

9 (24)

1 (3)

27

1.4 (0.4)

LARB

35

11 (31)

7 (20)

28

1.3 (0.4)

Lightspeed

28

16? (57)

14 (50)

3

9.3 (2.8)

CSZ

23

19 (80)

8 (35)

17

1.4 (0.4)


As it is, it looks like I will have about 250 reviews this year. One way of looking at it is “much lower than in 2015” but another way of looking at it is “on a reviews per reviewer basis, roughly forty-five times as productive as the median reviewer who Strange Horizons deigns to notice.

Once I read one more book by a POC, I will have read more books by POC than any of the sites that made Strange Horizons annual round up, which once again my site did not. Not that I keep grudges. You ask anyone who knows what’s good for them and they will tell you I am a forgiving person.

1: There was at least the hilarity of the main ringleader and her minion being publicly compared to Hinz’s Paratwa by someone who was not me. Personally, I think the comparison is pretty harsh. The moral here is never accept seemingly complementary comparisons based on books you have not read. Or googled, apparently.

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May 2016 in Review

23 books reviewed. 12 by women, 11 by men. F/T = 0.52

4 books by POC, or 17%

Year to date



105 books read. 63 by women (0.6), 40 by men (0.38), 2 by authors who identifies as neither (0.02). 25 by POC (0.24). To put in context:

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