James Nicoll Reviews

Home > Reviews > By Date

Reviews from October 2016 (22)

No father, no mother, she’s just like the other

The Ophiuchi Hotline

By John Varley

30 Oct, 2016

Because My Tears Are Delicious To You

0 comments

1977’s The Ophiuchi Hotline was John Varley’s first novel. 

Convicted of crimes against humanity, Lilo’s fate is set. She will be executed as thoroughly as the state can arrange: her genetic samples will be destroyed, her brain records erased, and her body will be dropped into one of the small black holes 1 that power the Eight Worlds. 

All this will come to pass, but it won’t be the end of Lilo’s story. 

Read more ➤

Long lost words whisper slowly to me

The Tree of Souls

By Katrina Archer

29 Oct, 2016

Special Requests

0 comments

Katrina Archer’s standalone dark fantasy The Tree of Souls is the author’s second novel to date 1.

The naked woman has no idea who or even what she is, but the brand on her skin marks her as significant. Adopting the name Umbra, she is offered refuge by a local lord. Umbra may have no memories but she certainly has an enemy, in the form of the necromancer Iril. Her quest to find out why he seeks to harm her draws Umbra into a story centuries old. 

Read more ➤

You’re my possession, a sweet obsession of mine

Mortal Suns

By Tanith Lee

28 Oct, 2016

A Year of Tanith Lee

0 comments

Tanith Lee’s 2003 novel Mortal Suns is a standalone secondary world fantasy. 

Born deformed, Cemira is consigned by her mother, Queen Hesta of Akhemony, to Death’s Temple to live or die as the god Thon decrees. Cemira apparently attracts Thon’s favour, for she survives the wilful neglect and the abuse that follow. 

Cemira is spared a long life of onerous labour in Thon’s temple by the Sun Consort Urdombis. Urdombis, the senior wife, has her co-wife’s child brought back to the royal compound as soon as she learns the child exists. Renamed Callistra, Cemira will be, if not a treasured member of the family, at least acknowledged. 

Thon is not done with the girl. Death will transform Akhemony and the lands surrounding it. 

Read more ➤

Secret Agent Man*

Waypoint Kangaroo

By Curtis C. Chen

25 Oct, 2016

Miscellaneous Reviews

0 comments

2016’s Waypoint Kangaroo is Curtis C. Chen’s debut SF adventure novel. 

The agent code-named Kangaroo may not be the most skilled agent in the agency, but he is their only super-powered agent. Too useful to fire, too hard to explain, a looming audit convinces Kangaroo’s bosses that this is the perfect time to send Kangaroo off Earth on an all expenses paid holiday to Mars. Independent Mars may be the player on the other side of the cold war gripping the Solar System, but it is also safely distant from the prying eyes of unsympathetic federal bureaucrats. 

The bosses should have known: when you send an agent off on holiday, you can expect unforeseen complications.

Read more ➤

What have they done to the rain?

The Prometheus Crisis

By Frank M. Robinson

23 Oct, 2016

Because My Tears Are Delicious To You

0 comments

Chemist Thomas N. Scortia (1926 – 1986) published science fiction from the 1950s to his death from leukemia; he was nominated for the Nebula in 1966. His frequent writing partner, Frank M. Robinson (1926 – 2014), was active in SF from the 1950s to his death. His awards and nominations range from the Hugo to the BFA, from the Lambda to the Locus. Robinson was also a well known activist. 

Together the pair were masters of the disaster thriller. Their 1975 standalone The Prometheus Crisis is a fine example of their work in this genre. 

Read more ➤

Exorcising Leopold’s Ghost

Everfair

By Nisi Shawl

22 Oct, 2016

Miscellaneous Reviews

0 comments

Although Nisi Shawl has been publishing short-form spec fic and related non-fiction since 1989, 2016’s steampunk novel Everfair is her debut novel. 

Confronted with ultimatums from Leopold’s heavily armed Force Publique , King Mwenda’s least bad choice is to buy time with apparent concessions. He and his Queen Josina hope to use this respite to out-think the Europeans while searching for new weapons in the struggle against the invaders. 

Enter the idealist colonists of Everfair. 

Read more ➤

Last night I heard the screaming

White as Snow  (Fairy Tales, book 7)

By Tanith Lee

21 Oct, 2016

A Year of Tanith Lee

0 comments

Tanith Lee’s 2000 stand-alone White as Snow  was the eighth and second-to-last entry in Terri Wildling’s Fairy Tales series. Published by Ace and then Tor, Windling’s Fairy Tales was 

a series of novels that (retold) and (reinterpreted) traditional fairy tales 

In White as Snow , Lee sets aside modern interpretations of the Snow White story, framed to offer Depression Era Americans some solace in poverty, to draw from the original source material. The result? 

Unrelentingly grim” may be too upbeat a description. 

Read more ➤