James Nicoll Reviews

Home > Reviews > By Date

Reviews from November 2016 (21)

Wisdom like the bitterness of stars

She Walks in Shadows

 Edited by Silvia Moreno-Garcia & Paula R. Stiles 

29 Nov, 2016

Miscellaneous Reviews


2015’s She Walks in Shadows  (published by Prime under the less evocative but also less ambiguous title Cthulhu’s Daughters: Stories of Lovecraftian Horror) was compiled by editors Silvia Moreno-Garcia and Paula R. Stiles. The theme of the collection:

The present volume assembles stories about women, by women. Why an all-woman volume? The first spark was the notion, among some fans oft he Lovecraft Mythos, that women do not like to write in this category, that they can’t write in this category. […] We hope this anthology will help to dispel such notions.

It’s always a mistake to think that the mere existence of an anthology filled with cosmic horror stories will dispel delusions rooted in knuckle-dragging prejudice. Still, despite the generally troglodytic nature of the Lovecraft community, this anthology won a World Fantasy Award in 2015.

Read more ➤

Strange fascination, fascinating me


By Tade Thompson  

26 Nov, 2016

Miscellaneous Reviews


2016’s Rosewater is Tade Thompson’s second novel; it follows 2015’s (unrelated) mystery Making Wolf.

Kaaro was once a talented thief. Now he’s a very reluctant member of Nigeria’s Section Forty-five, an obscure branch of the Ministry of Agriculture. S45 specializes in the odd and weird, the occult phenomena that have become all too real in the world created by the alien incursion of 2015.Nowhere on the world is the strange as present as it is in Kaaro’s hometown of Rosewater, which formed around an alien dome (known as Utopicity) in the 2050s. 

Utopicity seems happy to remain sealed and indifferent to humanity but the lifeforms it released have spread quietly across the world. A lucky few have been transformed. Kaaro is one of those changed ; that’s why he has ESP. Which in turn makes him valuable to S45

Kaaro is a reluctant draftee, but he’s also too lazy to do anything strenuous to escape his bureaucratic servitude. He limits his protest to habitual insubordination. Happily for Kaaro, adventure is coming for him.

Read more ➤

I see the girls walk by dressed in their summer clothes

Disturbed By Her Song  (Esther Gerber, volume 3)

By Tanith Lee  

25 Nov, 2016

A Year of Tanith Lee


2010’s Disturbed By Her Song is the second of Tanith Lee’s Garber collections (the third work including the novel 34.). Unlike Fatal Women, in which Lee adopted the persona of Jewish lesbian Esther Garber, in this Lee plays at being both Esther and Esther’s half-brother, the half-Arab, half Jew, entirely gay Judas. 

Read more ➤

All it is is just my life

The Interior Life

By Dorothy Heydt  

22 Nov, 2016



Dorothy Heydt originally published 1990’s The Interior Life under the pen name Katherine Blake. 

Post-Reagan-era housewife Sue’s life isn’t the stuff of melancholy country music, but it’s not exactly rewarding. Her boisterous kids make housecleaning a Sisyphean struggle. Her husband Fred loves her and she still loves him, but there are days when she can barely stand to look at him. 

Small wonder she escapes to a fantasy world, even one where the stakes are high and defeat apparently certain. 

Read more ➤

Each Charted Course

As I Please, 1943 – 45 Volume Three  (The Collected Essays, Journalism and Letters of George Orwell, volume 3)

By George Orwell  

20 Nov, 2016

Because My Tears Are Delicious To You


Readers may be most familiar with Orwell as the author of that delightful children’s novel Animal Farm … but he was not merely a novelist. He was also a prolific non-fiction writer. 1968’s The Collected Essays, Journalism and Letters of George Orwell: As I Please, 1943 – 45 Volume Three is the third (of course) in a four-volume work collecting the essays, the journalism, and the letters of George Orwell. It was edited posthumously by Sonia Orwell and Ian Angus in lieu of a biography 1 .

Read more ➤

My Brain IBM

Brute Force  (Rachel Peng, volume 4)

By K B Spangler  

19 Nov, 2016

Miscellaneous Reviews


2016’s Brute Force is the fourth instalment in K. B. Spangler’s Rachel Peng series. 

Hope Blackwell can handle herself, but the child with her cannot. Ambushed, Blackwell has no choice but to go peacefully with her kidnappers for the sake of young Avery. 

Taking Blackwell is a bold move for the kidnappers. Not only will Blackwell be a very … uh, challenging prisoner to contain, but by kidnapping her, they’ve made themselves targets for her husband, Patrick Mulcahy, head of the Office of Adaptive and Complementary Enhancement Technologies. Behind OACET’s harmless name is a tight-knit community of cyborgs. 

Read more ➤