James Nicoll Reviews

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Books Received, August 22 — August 28

29 Aug, 2020


A Desolation Called Peace

A Desolation Called Peace is the spectacular space opera sequel to Arkady Martine’s genre-reinventing, Hugo Award-winning debut, A Memory Called Empire.

An alien armada lurks on the edges of Teixcalaanli space. No one can communicate with it, no one can destroy it, and Fleet Captain Nine Hibiscus is running out of options. 

In a desperate attempt at diplomacy with the mysterious invaders, the fleet captain has sent for a diplomatic envoy. Now Mahit Dzmare and Three Seagrass — still reeling from the recent upheaval in the Empire — face the impossible task of trying to communicate with a hostile entity. 

Whether they succeed or fail could change the fate of Teixcalaan forever. 

Sweet Harmony

From the award-winning, bestselling Claire North comes a brand new stand-alone novella — a clever and unnervingly plausible dystopian tale set five minutes into the future … 

Harmony is tired. Tired of working so hard, tired of the way she looks, tired of being average. But all that changes when she decides to splash out and upgrade her nanos. 

And why not? Everyone’s doing it now. With a simple in-app purchase, you can update the tech in your bloodstream to transform yourself — get enhanced brain power, the perfect body or a dazzling smile. 

Suddenly, everything starts going right for Harmony. She’s finally becoming the person she always wanted to be. But when she ends up running too many upgrades on her body all at once, the effects will be more catastrophic than she could have imagined.

With Sweet Harmony , Claire North proves yet again that she is one of the most innovative and original voices in modern fiction.