James Nicoll Reviews

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Books Received, Sept 30 to Oct 6

9 Oct, 2017


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Hundreds of miles above Earth, the space station Ciudad de Cielo – The City in the Sky – is a beacon of hope for humanity’s expansion into the stars. But not everyone aboard shares such noble ideals. 
Bootlegging, booze, and prostitution form a lucrative underground economy for rival gangs, which the authorities are happy to turn a blind eye to until a disassembled corpse is found dancing in the micro-gravity. 
In charge of the murder investigation is Nikki Fix” Freeman, who is not thrilled to have Alice Blake, an uptight government goody-two-shoes, riding shotgun. As the bodies pile up, and the partners are forced to question their own memories, Nikki and Alice begin to realize that gang warfare may not be the only cause for the violence.
There is a dark secret that is hiding at the heart of New York City and diminishing the city’s magicians’ power in this fantasy thriller by acclaimed author Kat Howard.
In New York City, magic controls everything. But the power of magic is fading. No one knows what is happening, except for Sydney — a new, rare magician with incredible power that has been unmatched in decades, and she may be the only person who is able to stop the darkness that is weakening the magic. But Sydney doesn’t want to help the system, she wants to destroy it. 
Sydney comes from the House of Shadows, which controls the magic with the help of sacrifices from magicians.
Astrophysicist Reggie Straifer has an idea. He’s discovered an anomalous star that appears to defy the laws of physics, and proposes the creation of a deep-space mission to find out whether the star is a weird natural phenomenon, or something manufactured.
The journey will take eons. In order to maintain the genetic talent of the original crew, humankind’ss greatest ambition — to explore the furthest reaches of the galaxy — is undertaken by clones. But a clone is not a perfect copy, and each new generation has its own quirks, desires, and neu roses. As the centuries fly by, the society living aboard the nine ships (designated Convoy Seven) changes and evolves, but their mission remains the same: to reach Reggie’s mysterious star and explore its origins — and implications.
A mosaic novel of discovery, Noumenon — in a series of vignettes — examines the dedication, adventure, growth, and fear of having your entire world consist of nine ships in the vacuum of space. The men and women, and even the AI, must learn to work and live together in harmony, as their original DNA is continuously replicated and they are born again and again into a thousand new lives. With the stars their home and the unknown their destination, they are on a voyage of many lifetimes — an odyssey to understand what lies beyond the limits of human knowledge and imagination.
Locus is the magazine of the science fiction, fantasy, and horror publishing fields, with book reviews, author interviews, news, and listings.
Locus Issue #681 (October 2017) features interviews with James Patrick Kelly and Annalee Newitz, a column by Kameron Hurley, an obituary and appreciations of Jerry Pournelle, reports and photos from Worldcon 75 in Helsinki, and reviews of short fiction and books by John Crowley, R.S. Belcher, Ann Leckie, Elizabeth Bear, JY Yang, and many others.