Quick Review: DOWNFALL OF THE GODS by K.J. Parker (Subterranean Press)

ParkerKJ-DownfallOfTheGodsAn entertaining tale of gods behaving badly

If you visit the Temple and ask nicely for forgiveness, you might get it — assuming you aren’t Lord Archias and you haven’t killed the Goddess’s favorite musician, Lysippus. But even goddesses are expected to follow certain rules, and as much as she wants to punish Lord Archias it seems her troublesome, all-powerful father forbids it. So the Goddess will just have to get around that by forgiving Lord Archias if he can manage some simple — or, rather, seemingly impossible — tasks. A Goddess has to do what a goddess has to do.

And in World Fantasy Award winner K.J. Parker’s sharply inventive new novella Downfall of the Gods that means everything from soothing supernatural egos to accompanying the argumentative Lord Archias on an epic quest to save his soul… and get her own way. As the Goddess and her mortal charge make their way across the world to the Land of the Dead, a host of divine surprises await them. Could what they find at the end be the downfall of the gods themselves? Only time will tell.

“The generally accepted form of communication in my family is melodrama,” says the divine narrator of Downfall of the Gods. Fans of Greek and Roman mythology will certainly be familiar with this notion. In this novella, K.J. Parker turns his playful pen to dissecting humanity’s relationship with its gods, and how pernicious and frustrating the gods can be. A quickly-paced, well-written and amusing novella. I really enjoyed this. Continue reading

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Upcoming: TIME WAS by Ian McDonald (Tor.com)

McDonald-TimeWasYesterday, Tor.com unveiled the cover for Ian McDonald‘s upcoming novella, Time Was. I think it sounds really interesting. Here’s the synopsis:

A love story stitched across time and war, shaped by the power of books, and ultimately destroyed by it.

In the heart of World War II, Tom and Ben became lovers. Brought together by a secret project designed to hide British targets from German radar, the two founded a love that could not be revealed. When the project went wrong, Tom and Ben vanished into nothingness, presumed dead. Their bodies were never found.

Now the two are lost in time, hunting each other across decades, leaving clues in books of poetry and trying to make their desperate timelines overlap.

Time Was is due to be published by Tor.com in April 2018, in North America and in the UK. McDonald’s latest series is the Luna series: New Moon and Wolf Moon (published by Tor Books in the US, and Gollancz in the UK).

Follow the Author: Website, Goodreads, Twitter

Upcoming: THE BARROW WILL SEND WHAT IT MAY by Margaret Killjoy (Tor.com)

KilljoyM-DC2-BarrowWillSendWhatItMaySo, yesterday I published my review of Margaret Killjoy’s first Danielle Cain novella, The Lamb Will Slaughter the Lion. I ended that review by saying that I “am very much looking forward to the author’s next book”. Well, as it happens, Tor.com are due to publish the author’s next novella in April 2018: The Barrow Will Send What it May. Here’s the synopsis:

Now a nascent demon-hunting crew on the lam, Danielle and her friends arrive in a small town that contains a secret occult library run by anarchists and residents who claim to have come back from the dead. When Danielle and her crew investigate, they are put directly in the crosshairs of a necromancer’s wrath — whose actions threaten to trigger the apocalypse itself.

I’m really looking forward to this.

Also on CR: Interview with Margaret Killjoy

Follow the Author: Website, Goodreads, Twitter

Quick Review: THE LAMB WILL SLAUGHTER THE LION by Margaret Killjoy (Tor.com)

KilljoyM-DC1-LambWillSlaughterTheLionAn excellent novella, and excellent intro to the author’s work

Searching for clues about her best friend’s mysterious suicide, Danielle ventures to the squatter, utopian town of Freedom, Iowa, and witnesses a protector spirit — in the form of a blood-red, three-antlered deer — begin to turn on its summoners. She and her new friends have to act fast if they’re going to save the town — or get out alive.

This is the first thing by Killjoy that I’ve read, and it will not be the last. A slim, perfectly formed novella, Killjoy’s prose is excellent. It’s been quite some time since an author’s writing jumped out from the get-go. If you’re looking for a quick, excellent read with a supernatural twist, then I would definitely recommend The Lamb Will Slaughter the Lion. Continue reading

Review: ACADIE by Dave Hutchinson (Tor.com)

HutchinsonD-AcadieA very cool sci-fi mystery

The first humans still hunt their children across the stars…

The Colony left Earth to find their utopia–a home on a new planet where their leader could fully explore the colonists’ genetic potential, unfettered by their homeworld’s restrictions. They settled a new paradise, and have been evolving and adapting for centuries.

Earth has other plans.

The original humans have been tracking their descendants across the stars, bent on their annihilation. They won’t stop until the new humans have been destroyed, their experimentation wiped out of the human gene pool.

Can’t anyone let go of a grudge anymore?

I wasn’t sure what to expect from Acadie. I’ve only heard great things about Hutchinson’s Fractured Europe trilogy, so I had pretty high hopes for this stand-alone novella. I’m happy to report that it exceeded my expectations, and was a lot of fun. I think a lot of people are going to love this. Continue reading

Quick Review: THE GHOST LINE by (Tor.com)

grayherbison-ghostlineAn interesting mystery of sci-fi exploration

The Martian Queen was the Titanic of the stars before it was decommissioned, set to drift back and forth between Earth and Mars on the off-chance that reclaiming it ever became profitable for the owners. For Saga and her husband Michel the cruise ship represents a massive payday. Hacking and stealing the ship could earn them enough to settle down, have children, and pay for the treatments to save Saga’s mother’s life.

But the Martian Queen is much more than their employer has told them. In the twenty years since it was abandoned, something strange and dangerous has come to reside in the decadent vessel. Saga feels herself being drawn into a spider’s web, and must navigate the traps and lures of an awakening intelligence if she wants to go home again.

This was a pretty interesting tale. The characters have ventured out into space to hijack and divert a moth-balled luxury space-liner. Sounds like it might be pretty straightforward? Nope. Continue reading

Quick Review: EVERYTHING BELONGS TO THE FUTURE by Laurie Penny (Tor.com)

PennyL-EverythingBelongsToTheFutureAn interesting novella of future politics and society

Time is a weapon wielded by the rich, who have excess of it, against the rest, who must trade every breath of it against the promise of another day’s food and shelter. What kind of world have we made, where human beings can live centuries if only they can afford the fix? What kind of creatures have we become? The same as we always were, but keener.

In the ancient heart of Oxford University, the ultra-rich celebrate their vastly extended lifespans. But a few surprises are in store for them. From Nina and Alex, Margo and Fidget, scruffy anarchists sharing living space with an ever-shifting cast of crusty punks and lost kids. And also from the scientist who invented the longevity treatment in the first place.

I quite enjoyed this novella. Set some distance in the future, but still recognizable and relatable. Inequality has worsened, the wealthy able to extend their lives considerably. Readers are introduced to a bohemian group of anarchists, who do what they can in their quest to make life even a little bit more fair. Introduced to someone with links to the rejuvenation formula, though, they plan a much larger, more audacious plan to address this future society’s inequality. Unfortunately for the group, there are forces already maneuvering to bring them down… Continue reading