James Nicoll Reviews

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An updated guide to my review categories

24 May, 2017


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Each category header is a link. 

Sponsored Reviews

You can buy a review for a book for $100. Various guidelines pertain, which can be found at the other end of the link. 

Reds Under the Bed

Subversives! They lurk everywhere! They could be anyone, from the kindly couple next door to the innocent seeming nuclear researcher mailing thick bundles to Moscow every week, from your child’s teacher to the President himself! Even you could be an unsuspecting brainwashed puppet of the enemy!

There have been many noteworthy works about the hidden enemy. Some were even readable. Many will be reviewed.

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. Kitchener’s Public Library does not even bother to keep track of which SF authors come from the surrounding region.

But I do.

In 2017 I will be reviewing fifty-two works of speculative fiction by as broad a cross-section of the names above as I can manage. Please join me.

Military Speculative Fiction That Doesn’t Suck

There are lots of books that fall under either military science fiction or military fantasy; the first is generally shortened to MilSF and the second runs into very similar nannyware issues as the original series title. Most published MilSF and MilF embodies Sturgeon’s Law: 90% of everything is crud (1). I will be reviewing military speculative fiction I believe falls into that last 10%, MilSpecFic that isn’t an egregious insult to the reader’s sensibilities.

Space Opera That Doesn’t Suck

Similar to the MilSF series but specifically for Space Opera.

James Tiptree, Jr. Award Reviews

The James Tiptree, Jr. Award is an annual literary prize for science fiction or fantasy that expands or explores our understanding of gender.” Details on its history and why it has the name it does, as well as a list of winners, the honor lists and other notable works can be found here.I had the privilege to be a jurist in 2011. For that and other reasons, this is an award for which I have a personal interest, as should you all. Accordingly, over the next year or so, I will be reviewing the Tiptree winners in the chronological order in which they won, more or less, as copies fall into my hand.

Graveyard Orbits

Graveyard Orbits is a very irregular series of reviews of noteworthy books that were also their author’s final books due to Author Existence Failure.

Because My Tears Are Delicious to You

In which I revisit books that I loved when I was a teenager, back in the 1970s. Some of these have aged well. Others .… not so well. Come for my delighted surprise at discovering new depths in old friends, stay for my writhing agony as old favourites betray me.

The Rediscovery series

Success for authors is often a matter of luck and there are many exemplary books that were overlooked when they were first published. The rise of ebooks allows authors to reissue their own books when traditional publishers have dropped them. I select the best of the re-issued books to bring to your attention.

The Translation series

The world of science fiction extends far outside the borders of l’anglosphere. In this series I review translated works of speculative fiction.

KW Science Fiction and Fantasy

F & SF by authors from Kitchener-Waterloo, the region in Ontario in which I live, which I began because I was MCing a night of readings by local authors.

Completed Series

The Great Heinlein Juveniles (Plus The Other Two) Reread

In which I reread all of Heinlein’s classic juveniles plus Starship Troopers and Podkayne of Mars because I was curious to see how they stood up and also someone paid me.

Fifty Nortons in Fifty Weeks

Andre Norton was an important and prolific SF author and many of the Ace MMPK editions of the Heinlein Juveniles had an ad for 50 of her titles. I decided it would be fun to track down and read (or reread) all fifty.

Women of Wonder

The Women of Wonder anthology series was an important part of my reading experience as a teen and rather than lump it in with the Because My Tears Are Delicious to You series, I decided to give Women of Wonder its own series.

Leigh Brackett’s Solar System

Brackett was one of the few women who were high-profile science fiction writers back in the 1940s. She started writing for the detective pulps before turning to the sort of planetary romance seen in Planet Stories. In this series, I looked at her planetary romances.

A Year of Tanith Lee

Tanith Lee died in 2015. She was extraordinarily prolific, writing more than ninety novels in a career that spanned six decades. Too many of her books to list here were nominated for awards but her wins include Death’s Master (BFA), The Gorgon (WFA), Elle Est Trois, and (La Mort) (WFA); in 2013, she was presented by a Life Achievement WFA. Clearly she was a writer of significance but in recent years she had not received the attention her talent deserved.

When I heard the news of her death, I decided to commemorate her career in this very small way, by reviewing a wide selection of her published works.

The 2017 Prometheus Award Finalists

The Libertarian Futurist Society awards the Prometheus Award to the best libertarian novel of the year. They take a very broad view of what qualifies, which is why some years conventional American libertarian works win and other years books by Scottish socialists win. I thought it would be interesting to review the 2017 nominees.