Chameleon Moon by RoAnna Sylver. ★★★★
I loved Chameleon Moon so much, and I think it would hold a strong appeal for fans of Welcome to Night Vale.
Patrol is a true dystopian – a city where the sky is chocked with smoke and ash and the ground is just one step away from crumbling into the fires below. And above everything the helicopters of Eye in the Sky survey the super powered citizens, making sure no one can escape. But within this hellhole, the citizens of Patrol have found love, families, and the will to resist. Among them is Evelyn Calliope, a singer with a sonic voice who is the heroine that Patrol needs.
Love Beyond Body, Space and Time: An Indigenous LGBT Sci-Fi Anthology edited by Hope Nicholson. ★★★
If you can’t tell from the title, Love Beyond Body, Space and Time is a short story collection focused on LGBT and two-spirit science fiction and fantasy and written by all indigenous authors. I always have an eye out for queer SFF, and I also haven’t read much by Native American authors. I want to correct this flaw in my reading, and this anthology looked like it would introduce me to a number of relevant authors.
The only author in the anthology I’d heard of before was Daniel Heath Justice, although this was my first chance to read his work. As I’d hoped, I enjoyed several short stories in this collection and will seek out more of those author’s work.
The Stars Are Legion by Kameron Hurley. ★★★★
The Stars Are Legion is quintessentially Kameron Hurley: violent and feminist. This stand alone science fiction novel is as dark as I’ve come to expect from Hurley, but it has an optimistic heart.
Zan wakes with no memory of who she is. She’s told that she’s a great general and the only person capable of boarding the Mokshi, the mysterious world ship that’s capable of leaving the legion of artificial planets. She knows there’s a lot she’s not being told, especially by Jyn, a woman who claims to be her sister.
Upside Down: Inverted Tropes in Storytelling edited by Jaym Gates and Monica Valentinelli. ★★★
Upside Down is a collection of short stories intended to subvert common tropes in storytelling and essays discussing trope usage. The vast majority of the collection is short stories, and wow are there a lot of stories. Like in any collection, there were stories that impressed me and stories that didn’t. However, on the whole I found the collection to be on the weaker side.
Going into the collection, I wasn’t aware of most of the contributing authors. I picked it up mainly for Delilah S. Dawson, Alyssa Wong, and Nisi Shawl. I found Shawl’s story to be all right if not exceptional, but I did love both Wong and Dawson’s work. Alyssa Wong took on Yellow Peril in her short story “The White Dragon,” about a girl with the ability to see curses. I loved how magic was described here! Alyssa Wong never disappoints. Dawson twisted First Period Panic in her story “The First Blood of Poppy Dupree,” creating an intriguing mix of Southern Gothic and Greek mythology.
Rosewater by Tade Thompson. ★★★★
Rosewater is one of the most inventive science fiction novels I’ve read in a long time, and I dearly hope it gets more attention.
Nigeria, 2066. Kaaro lives in the city of Rosewater, a settlement that grew up around an alien biodome. He spends his days providing psychic protection for a bank, but secretly, he’s the most powerful psychic of Section 35, a secret agency within the Nigerian government. As other psychics begin dying one by one, Kaaro will defy the agency to find an answer. Continue reading
Ida by Alison Evans. ★★★1/2
Ida has a secret – she can travel in time. She can close her eyes and go back to the moment before she makes a decision, moving herself into an alternate reality. She starts time traveling more and more until one day, it starts getting out of her control. Now she’s at risk of becoming lost in the multitude of her own lives.
Ida was a quick read – I finished it in about twenty four hours. The prose is plain and the story moves at a fast clip. While a lot of science fiction stories are focused on big pictures, Ida looks at the small. It contains aspects of a psychological thriller, the frightening sensation of Ida’s life unraveling.
Dark Beyond the Stars edited by David Gatwood. ★★★1/2
Dark Beyond the Stars is an anthology of space opera short stories written by authors who were all new to me. The only one I’d heard of was Annie Bellet, who I believe writes urban fantasy. The collection came to my attention when there was some kerfuffle over the collection’s line up of all female authors, which some people were apparently upset about. However, sexist reviews tend to encourage me to read something more than dissuade me. Plus, look at that cover art by Julie Dillon! Isn’t it gorgeous?
While Dark Beyond the Stars was the mixed bag typical of anthologies, there were a number of stories I quite enjoyed.