James Nicoll Reviews

Home > Blog > Post

Books Received, February 4 — February 10

11 Feb, 2023


Flight Anchor

Flight & Anchor by Nicole Kornher-Stace (June 2023)

Young SecOps operatives 06 and 22 were about to be sent out for their first military engagement. Just a few years earlier, they were child refugees of a corporate civil war; Stellaxis modified them into supersoldiers. But 06 and 22 have escaped their prison barracks and entered a city they can barely remember. In the dead of winter, they sleep in an abandoned shipping container and scavenge for resources. 

The Director of the Stellaxis supersoldier program knows that 06 and 22 are gone, where they are, and that she has no easy way of retrieving them. The Director also knows that if she sends anyone after them, there will be a bloodbath — or at least a great deal of bad press. But all operatives’ days are numbered. 06 and 22 must make a terrible choice: their freedom or each other

Translation State

Translation State by Ann Leckie (June 2023)

The mystery of a missing translator sets three lives on a collision course that will have a ripple effect across the stars in this powerful new novel by award-winning author Ann Leckie. ** 

Qven was created to be a Presger translator. The pride of their Clade, they always had a clear path before them: learn human ways, and eventually, make a match and serve as an intermediary between the dangerous alien Presger and the human worlds. The realization that they might want something else isn’t optimal behavior”. I’s the type of behavior that results in elimination. 

But Qven rebels. And in doing so, their path collides with those of two others. Enae, a reluctant diplomat whose dead grandmaman has left hir an impossible task as an inheritance: hunting down a fugitive who has been missing for over 200 years. And Reet, an adopted mechanic who is increasingly desperate to learn about his genetic roots — or anything that might explain why he operates so differently from those around him. 

As a Conclave of the various species approaches — and the long-standing treaty between the humans and the Presger is on the line — the decisions of all three will have ripple effects across the stars. 

Masterfully merging space adventure and mystery, and a poignant exploration about relationships and belonging, Translation State is a triumphant new standalone story set in Leckie’s celebrated Imperial Radch universe.

The Woods of Arcady Book Two of the Sanctuary of the White Friars

The Woods of Arcady: Book Two of the Sanctuary of the White Friars by Michael Moorcock (June 2023)

A wild desert crossing, a secret island paradise, a hidden underground civilization, plus London and Paris. The multiverse expands as pulp adventure mixes with unreal memoir in the second volume in The Sanctuary of the White Friars series.

In the 1970s, Michael Moorcock, a writer of genre fiction, attempts to save his failing marriage by taking his wife and daughters to Paris. One night in a bar he is amazed to find himself drinking with heroes of story and history. The next day he awakens aboard a sailing ship, kidnapped into another reality by a French highwayman and the four Musketeers, who know Moorcock well from adventures in London’s Alsacia…but that was another Moorcock, from another world. 

Soon after they reach Africa, the company are rescued from ambush by Antara, a poet-adventurer who offers to lead them across the desert and through several realities to the estate of Lord and Lady Blackstone. The trip is full of wonders Moorcock has read, dreamed, or written: an underground civilization of nonhuman creatures; a magical oasis where the lion lies down with the lamb; a lush garden inhabited by miniature dinosaurs. 

They are pursued by the notorious Jacob Nixer, who also remembers the Alsacia and is determined to destroy Moorcock and his companions. 

The main narrative of The Woods of Arcady is punctuated by episodes from the story of the Blackstones and by spirited, freewheeling appearances by Captain Buggerly Otherly and his companions from the Second Ether. As readers move deeper into Moorcock’s multiverse, it rises up on all sides, ready to astound. 

Camp Damascus

Camp Damascus by Chuck Tingle (July 2023)

Welcome to Neverton, Montana: home to a God-fearing community with a heart of gold. 

Nestled high up in the mountains is Camp Damascus, the self-proclaimed most effective” gay conversion camp in the country. Here, a life free from sin awaits. But the secret behind that success is anything but holy. 

And they’ll scare you straight to hell.

Jewel Box Stories

Jewel Box Stories by E. Lily Yu (October 2023)

A luminous collection of short fiction by award-winning writer E. Lily Yu, Jewel Box showcases incandescent stories from a master of language that reflect and refract the sharp intimacies of our world, burning brilliant against the dark. 

Angels, monsters, and bees. Birdwatchers, emperors, and prison wardens. These and more populate the twenty-two new and old stories from award-winning author E. Lily Yu, collected for the first time here in her debut short story collection. From her early innovative work that won her the Astounding Award for Best New Writer, such as The Cartographer Wasps and the Anarchist Bees,” to recent short fiction such as Small Monsters,” E. Lily Yu’s writing has continued to garner award nominations and recognition from the literary community for its faceted beauty, cutting edge, and uplifting heart. 

Collecting award-winning stories from across her career alongside brand-new pieces, Jewel Box rings with stories of delight and tales of tremendous weight. At turns bittersweet and boundary-breaking, poignant and profound, this collection of stories sing, as the oldest stories do, of what it means to be alive in this strange, terrible, beautiful world.