Blood Justice by Terry J. Benton-Walker (April 2024)
Ghost Station by S. A. Barnes (April 2024)
Space exploration can be lonely and isolating.
Psychologist Dr. Ophelia Bray has dedicated her life to the study and prevention of ERS — a space-based condition most famous for a case that resulted in the brutal murders of twenty-nine people. When she’s assigned to a small exploration crew, she’s eager to make a difference. But as they begin to establish residency on an abandoned planet, it becomes clear that crew is hiding something.
While Ophelia focuses on her new role, her crewmates are far more interested in investigating the eerie, ancient planet and unraveling the mystery behind the previous colonizer’s hasty departure than opening up to her. That is, until their pilot is discovered gruesomely murdered. Is this Ophelia’s worst nightmare starting — a wave of violence and mental deterioration from ERS? Or is it something more sinister? Terrified that history will repeat itself, Ophelia and the crew must work together to figure out what’s happening. But trust is hard to come by…and the crew isn’t the only one keeping secrets.
Ocean’s Godori by Elaine U. Cho (April 2024)
An ambitious, witty, and big-hearted science fiction debut about a disgraced space pilot struggling to find her place while fighting to protect the people she loves. Ocean Yoon has never felt very Korean, even if she is descended from a long line of haenyeo, Jeju Island’s beloved female divers. She doesn’t like soju, constantly misses cultural references, and despite her love of the game, people still say that she doesn’t play Hwatu like a Korean. Ocean’s also persona non grata at the Alliance, Korea’s solar system-dominating space agency, since a mission went awry and she earned a reputation for being a little too quick with her gun. When her best friend, Teo, second son of the Anand Tech empire, is framed for murdering his family, Ocean and her misfit crewmates are pushed to the forefront of a high-stakes ideological conflict. But dodging bullets and winning space chases may be the easiest part of what comes next. Becky Chambers meets Firefly in this interplanetary adventure that delivers hyperkinetic action sequences and irresistible will-they-won’t-they romance alongside its nuanced exploration of colonialism and capitalism. Ocean’s Godori ultimately asks: What do we owe our past? How do we navigate our present while honoring the complicated facets of our identity? What can our future hold? “The book we wish we had grown up with, that takes on classic characters and tropes we love through a lens that finally sees us and our experiences at the center using a voice and a narrative that captures who we are and what we fight for.
FIYAH No. 28: Belonging published by FIYAH Literary Magazine (October 2023)
September 2023 is over. 21 works reviewed, bringing the annual total to 195. Having noticed the absence of 2023 SF novels last month, five such works were reviewed this month, bringing the annual total to 12. It’s a pity the reviews that get the most comments are either those of older books or those with egregious typos. Or both.
September’s big achievement: I now have every book the late Phyllis Eisenstein published, even the collection. More review fodder. Also, there has been a small revision to my Baen policy, for which see here.
As ever, James Nicoll Reviews owes its ongoing existence to commissions and generous patrons. Details on commissioning reviews are here. If you would like to support my Patreon, please go here. If you have a sudden desire to just send money, perhaps to fund the replacement for my aged Kobo, my Paypal is here.
(apparently it’s possible to set up monthly payments on Paypal but the only time I hear about people trying it, they’re complaining about it not working)
Late breaking: I have added two new levels: $10.00/month and $5.00/month. There is no end to the excitement around here.
21 works reviewed. 11 by women (52%), 9 by men (43%), 0 by a non-binary author (0%), 1 by authors whose gender is unknown (5%), and 9 by POC (42%)
2023 to Date
195 works reviewed. 108 by women (56%), 79 by men (41%), 5 by a non-binary author (2%), 3 by authors whose gender is unknown (1%), and 78 by POC (40%)
Grand Total to Date
2463 works reviewed. 1375 by women (56%), 1028 by men (42%), 39 by non-binary authors (2%), 21 by authors whose gender is unknown (1%), and 745.75 by POC (30%).
Government Types September 2023
Total 21, Not Applicable 4 (19%), Unclear 2 (10%), Anarchy 0 (0%), Pure democracy 0 (0%), Representative democracy 8 (38%), Oligarchy 7 (33%), Autocracy 0 (0%).
Government Type 2023 TD
Total 195, Not Applicable 29 (14%), Unclear 11 (6%), Anarchy 2 (1%), Pure democracy 1 (1%), Representative democracy 67 (34%), Oligarchy 78 (41%), Autocracy 7 (5%).