James Nicoll Reviews

Home > Reviews > By Date

Reviews from November 2014 (26)

The Whole World is Watching

Ancillary Sword  (Imperial Radch, volume 2)

By Ann Leckie  

6 Nov, 2014

Special Requests


2014’s Ancillary Sword is a sequel to 2013’s Ancillary Justice. Ancillary Justice won the Nebula Award, the Hugo Award, the BSFA Award, the Locus Award, and the Arthur C. Clarke Award. Justice also made the Tiptree Honor List, was shortlisted for the Philip K. Dick award, and was a finalist for the Compton Crook Award for best first science fiction/fantasy/horror novel. When a debut novel sweeps awards like this, the author’s second novel will be ruthlessly examined by legions of reviewers and critics who want to see if the author can catch lightning in bottle a second time. Justice won so many awards that Sword will be subjected to particularly close attention. But no pressure! 

Read more ➤

Such misfortune!”

A Certain Magical Index 1  (A Certain Magical Index, volume 1)

By Kazuma Kamachi  

5 Nov, 2014



Academy City! Home to the reality-redefining espers, able to alter natural law at will and filled with scientific marvels! For student Touma Kamijou, it is merely the setting of the endless series of humiliations, failures, and mishaps that is his life. His school marks are dismal and accidents dog his heels. His esper power, Imagine Breaker, the ability to negate all unnatural powers, is1 dismissed as Level Zero, the very lowest of rating in Academy City.

Read more ➤

Someone whose books I need to obsessively collect. 

Fire Logic  (Elemental Logic, volume 1)

By Laurie J Marks  

4 Nov, 2014



I think Fire Logic is my first Marks novel. It is certainly not my last. Normally my Rediscoveries are books familiar to me but not to others. In this case, I am the beneficiary of someone else’s experience. 

Fire Logic begins rather like Harris’ Seven Citadels quartet (or The Lantern Bearers, or indeed a lot of secondary world series). For the last generation, Shaftal has suffered a continuing invasion from the Sainnites, an aggressive warrior people of unclear origins. Despite the wise guidance of Harald G’Deon, Shaftal has done nothing effective to drive the invaders back into the sea. Two grim bits of news mark the end of Harald’s era: Harald has died without naming an heir and the Sainnites have taken the holy city of Lilterwess, leaving none alive. 

Read more ➤

In the tradition of Dune and Norstrilia, Tiamat: grumpy natives, secret of immortality

The Snow Queen  (Snow Queen Cycle, volume 1)

By Joan D. Vinge  

2 Nov, 2014

Because My Tears Are Delicious To You


Due to injuries and poor health, Joan D. Vinge has not been prolific as of late; her most recent non-tie-in novel was 2000’s Tangled Up in Blue. In the 1970s her body of work was not so large as some but that series of novellas was enough to establish Vinge as an author of note. 1980’s The Snow Queen was only her second novel, after 1978’s Outcasts of Heaven’s Belt and it earned Vinge the 1981 Hugo for Best Novel. For good reason.

Read more ➤

A Boy and His Space Suit

Have Space Suit — Will Travel

By Robert A. Heinlein  

1 Nov, 2014

The Great Heinlein Juveniles (Plus The Other Two) Reread


1958’s Have Space Suit — Will Travel brings us to the end of the Scribner Heinlein juveniles — universally recognized [0] as the only true Heinlein juveniles — and leaves us perched on the abyss that contains the Heinlein juveniles written without the firm hand of editor Alice Dalgliesh to moderate Heinlein’s various quirks (or alternatively, to insist he play to hers). While it isn’t quite up to Citizen of the Galaxy, it’s an interesting example of how much Heinlein could milk out of a very straightforward plot.

Read more ➤