Blog Posts, September 2017

Twenty Core SF Works About Psionics and Awesome Mind Powers Every True SF Fan Should Have On Their Shelves

As with the previous core lists, here are twenty Speculative Fiction Works about psionics and other mental gifts chosen entirely on the basis of merit and significance to the field1. No implication is intended that these are the only twenty works you should consider2.

Persons unfamiliar with one or two of the works, congratulations! You’re one of today’s Ten Thousand!


1: There are two filtering rules:

  • Only one work per author per list

  • Any given work by a particular author can appear on only one list. A given author may, however, have works on various lists but each instance of their work will be unique.

2: NO IMPLICATION IS INTENDED THAT THESE ARE THE ONLY TWENTY BOOKS YOU SHOULD CONSIDER.

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Books Received, Sept 9 - 15

In a world where any act of magic could open a portal to hell, the Order insures that no wizard will live to summon devils, and will kill as many innocent people as they must to prevent that greater horror. After witnessing a horrendous slaughter, the village girl Heloise opposes the Order, and risks bringing their wrath down on herself, her family, and her village.

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A very tentative schedule for Fridays in 2018

This is a work in progress. Open to suggestions. In 2015 and 2016, I devoted Fridays to Norton and Lee, respectively. That led to a certain level of fatigue towards the end of the projects. In 2017, I focused on authors from Waterloo Region, which side-stepped the fatigue issue at the cost of causing problems with the gender ratio of authors reviewed1. In 2018, my idea is to

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Books Received, Sept 2 - 8

Three thousand years from now, galactic transportation relies on the
sentient energy field known as the Deep. Its immortal human emissaries call
themselves Witches, and they control how the Deep is used. When
eight-year-old Tembi Moon wakes on an unfamiliar world, she knows the Deep
has to be involved, but to leave her home planet and become a Witch
herself? No, that life isn’t for her.
Or so she thought.
At sixteen, Tembi takes her rightful place with the other Witches. They
believe the Deep is a tool; Tembi knows it’s a person with its own hopes
and dreams, and a *wicked* sense of humor! With a war coming that could
cost the lives of millions, Tembi has to find a way to convince the Witches
that the Deep wants them to join the fight.
Because something worse than war is coming, and the Deep needs its Witches
to be ready.
STONESKIN is a prelude to the DEEP WITCH TRILOGY, coming soon.


An odd Eritrean coin travels from lovers to thieves, gathering stories before meeting its match. Google becomes sentient and proceeds toward an existential crisis. An idealistic dancer on a generation ship makes an impassioned plea for creativity alongside survival. Three Irish siblings embark on an unlikely quest, stealing enchanted items via bad poetry, trickery, and an assist from the Queen of Cats. 
In her first collection, multi-award-winning novelist Jo Walton (Among Others, Farthing, NecessityThe King’s Peace) delivers subtle myths and wholly reinvented realities. She soars with eclectic stories, subtle vignettes, inspired poetry, and more — rising from the everyday into the universe itself.

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Twenty Core Cyberpunk Works Every True SF Fan Should Have on Their Shelves

As with the previous core lists, here are twenty Cyberpunk Speculative Fiction Works chosen entirely on the basis of merit and significance to the field1. No implication is intended that these are the only twenty books you should consider2.

Persons unfamiliar with one or two of the works, congratulations! You’re one of today’s Ten Thousand!

1: There are two filtering rules:

  • Only one work per author per list

  • Any given work by a particular author can appear on only one list. A given author may, however, have works on various lists but each instance of their work will be unique.

2: NO IMPLICATION IS INTENDED THAT THESE ARE THE ONLY TWENTY BOOKS YOU SHOULD CONSIDER.

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Books Received, August 26 - Sept 1

The Only Harmless Great Thing is a heart-wrenching alternative history by Brooke Bolander that imagines an intersection between the Radium Girls and noble, sentient elephants.

In the early years of the 20th century, a group of female factory workers in Newark, New Jersey slowly died of radiation poisoning. Around the same time, an Indian elephant was deliberately put to death by electricity in Coney Island. 

These are the facts.

Now these two tragedies are intertwined in a dark alternate history of rage, radioactivity, and injustice crying out to be righted. Prepare yourself for a wrenching journey that crosses eras, chronicling histories of cruelty both grand and petty in search of meaning and justice.


Vada’s To-Do List:

- Turn 18 (check!)
- Register super name
- Order supersuit
- Attend superhero indoctrination
- Graduate high school
- Start kicking criminal tail

Vada Lawson can’t wait to be a superhero. Born into a family with special powers, she’s been training to fight criminals and villains her whole life. But her indoctrination into the underground super community is derailed when normals start breaking out in superpowers themselves.

Not trained to control their new abilities, the normals are frightened and vulnerable. Then their mutilated corpses begin turning up all over town. What the heck?

Somehow, with the help — and hindrance — of an annoying newly-minted super named Orion, Vada has to stop the chaos before it destroys her and everything she holds dear…and ruins her superhero debut.

The September issue features interviews with Matt Ruff and Karin Tidbeck, a column by Cory Doctorow, an obituary and appreciations of Brian Aldiss, lists of forthcoming books through June 2018, and reviews of short fiction and books by Annalee Newitz, Josh Malerman, Kat Howard, Linda Nagata, and many others.

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