Very Quick Review: THE LEGACY OF MOLLY SOUTHBOURNE by Tade Thompson (Tor.com)

ThompsonT-MS3-LegacyOfMollySouthbourneBringing Molly Southbourne’s story to a bloody end

Whenever Molly Southbourne bled, a murderer was born. Deadly copies, drawn to destroy their creator, bound by a legacy of death. With the original Molly Southbourne gone, her remnants drew together, seeking safety and a chance for peace. The last Molly and her sisters built a home together, and thought they could escape the murder that marked their past.

But secrets squirm in Molly Southbourne’s blood — secrets born in a Soviet lab and carried back across the Iron Curtain to infiltrate the West. What remains of the Cold War spy machine wants those secrets back, and to get them they’re willing to unearth the dead and destroy the fragile peace surrounding the last copies of Molly Southbourne.

The Molly Southbourne novellas were my introduction to Tade Thompson’s writing, and they have cemented him as a must-read author. The series boasts a fascinating premise, one that has been developed over the course of the three novellas. Bringing it all together very nicely, I really enjoyed this satisfying conclusion. Continue reading

Upcoming: JANUARY FIFTEENTH by Rachel Swirsky (Tor.com)

SwirskyR-JanuaryFifteenthThe cover for Nebula Award-winning author Rachel Swirsky‘s upcoming new novella, January Fifteenth was unveiled a little while ago, and it caught my attention. After reading the synopsis, my interest was further piqued:

January Fifteenth — the day all Americans receive their annual Universal Basic Income payment.

For Hannah, a middle-aged mother, today is the anniversary of the day she took her two children and fled her abusive ex-wife.

For Janelle, a young, broke journalist, today is another mind-numbing day interviewing passersby about the very policy she once opposed.

For Olivia, a wealthy college freshman, today is “Waste Day”, when rich kids across the country compete to see who can most obscenely squander the government’s money.

For Sarah, a pregnant teen, today is the day she’ll journey alongside her sister-wives to pick up the payment­­s that undergird their community — and perhaps embark on a new journey altogether.

In this near-future science fiction novella by Nebula Award-winning author Rachel Swirsky, the fifteenth of January is another day of the status quo, and another chance at making lasting change.

Rachel Swirsky’s January Fifteenth is due to be published by Tor.com in North America and in the UK, on June 14th.

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Interview with SCOTTO MOORE

MooreS-AuthorPicLet’s start with an introduction: Who is Scotto Moore?

I’m a playwright-turned-novelist, an amateur house music DJ, and a curator of bizarre and beautiful media, sitting somewhere between absurdist and existentialist on the “why is life even a thing” scale.

Your latest novel, Battle of the Linguist Mages was recently published by Tor.com. It has a really intriguing premise: How would you introduce it to a potential reader?

The book is a near future science fantasy adventure about Isobel Bailie, an extremely talented VR gamer who learns that her skills in the game have uses in the real world. She finds herself caught between a powerful conspiracy and spellcasting anarchists in a struggle to save the world from a vicious threat on its way to Earth from beyond this dimension of reality altogether.

And then, if the potential reader was still paying attention, I’d also mention that the game she excels at is a medieval rave themed game called Sparkle Dungeon. Continue reading

Quick Review: FUGITIVE TELEMETRY by Martha Wells (Tor.com)

WellsM-MBD6-FugitiveTelemetryMurderbot investigates a murder!

No, I didn’t kill the dead human. If I had, I wouldn’t dump the body in the station mall.

When Murderbot discovers a dead body on Preservation Station, it knows it is going to have to assist station security to determine who the body is (was), how they were killed (that should be relatively straightforward, at least), and why (because apparently that matters to a lot of people — who knew?)

Yes, the unthinkable is about to happen: Murderbot must voluntarily speak to humans!

Again!

In this sixth book in the Murderbot Diaries, Wells’s fantastic creation finds itself investigating the suspicious death of a human on Preservation Station. It’s a great new direction for the series and character, and one I hope continues in future instalments. Probably unsurprisingly, I really enjoyed this novella. Continue reading

Upcoming: THESE PRISONING HILLS by Christopher Rowe (Tor.com)

RoweC-PrisoningHillsIt was the cover for These Prisoning Hills that first drew my attention to this upcoming novella by Christopher Rowe. With an intriguing premise, if the story is as moody as that image, I’m definitely in. Here’s the synopsis:

Deallocate all implications,
Fortran harrows all the nations.

In a long-ago war, the all-powerful A.I. ruler of the Voluntary State of Tennessee — Athena Parthenus, Queen of Reason — invaded and decimated the American Southeast. Possessing the ability to infect and corrupt the surrounding environment with nanotechnology, she transformed flora, fauna, and the very ground itself into bio-mechanical weapons of war.

Marcia, a former captain from Kentucky, experienced first-hand the terrifying, mind-twisting capabilities of Athena’s creatures. Now back in the Commonwealth, her retirement is cut short by the arrival of federal troops in her tiny, isolated town. One of Athena’s most powerful weapons may still be buried nearby. And they need Marcia’s help to find it.

Looking forward to giving this a read. These Prisoning Hills is due to be published by Tor.com in North America and in the UK, on May 31st, 2022.

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Upcoming: THE LEGACY OF MOLLY SOUTHBOURNE by Tade Thompson (Tor.com)

ThompsonT-MS3-LegacyOfMollySouthbourneNext year, Molly Southbourne returns! In The Legacy of Molly Southbourne, Tade Thompson brings to a close his excellent series. I very much enjoyed the first two novellas in the series, and I can’t wait to read this finale. Here’s the synopsis:

Whenever Molly Southbourne bled, a murderer was born. Deadly copies, drawn to destroy their creator, bound by a legacy of death. With the original Molly Southbourne gone, her remnants drew together, seeking safety and a chance for peace. The last Molly and her sisters built a home together, and thought they could escape the murder that marked their past.

But secrets squirm in Molly Southbourne’s blood — secrets born in a Soviet lab and carried back across the Iron Curtain to infiltrate the West. What remains of the Cold War spy machine wants those secrets back, and to get them they’re willing to unearth the dead and destroy the fragile peace surrounding the last copies of Molly Southbourne.

The Legacy of Molly Southbourne is due to be published by Tor.com in North America and in the UK, on May 17th, 2022.

Also on CR: Reviews of The Murders of Molly Southbourne and The Survival of Molly Southbourne

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Quick Review: NETWORK EFFECT by Martha Wells (Tor.com)

WellsM-MB5-NetworkEffectMurderbot/SecUnit returns in its first full-length novel

You know that feeling when you’re at work, and you’ve had enough of people, and then the boss walks in with yet another job that needs to be done right this second or the world will end, but all you want to do is go home and binge your favorite shows? And you’re a sentient murder machine programmed for destruction? Congratulations, you’re Murderbot.

Come for the pew-pew space battles, stay for the most relatable A.I. you’ll read this century.

I’m usually alone in my head, and that’s where 90 plus percent of my problems are.

When Murderbot’s human associates (not friends, never friends) are captured and another not-friend from its past requires urgent assistance, Murderbot must choose between inertia and drastic action.

Drastic action it is, then.

It was recently announced that one million copies of Martha Wells’s Murderbot series have been sold. This is an incredible milestone, and one that reminded me that I had fallen behind on the series! So, I decided to dive right back in with this, the first full-length novel in the series. Populated with some great characters (returning and new), and an intriguing plot, I enjoyed this a lot. Which is just what I expected. Continue reading

Upcoming: A PRAYER FOR THE CROWN-SHY by Becky Chambers (Tor.com)

ChambersB-M&R2-PrayerForTheCrownShyNext summer, Tor.com are due to publish the second novella in Becky Chambers‘s Monk & Robot science fiction series: A Prayer For the Crown-Shy. The first book in the series, A Psalm for the Wild-Built, was a great surprise and one of my favourite reads of the year. The cover for book two was unveiled recently, in addition to the synopsis:

A Prayer for the Crown-Shy is a story of kindness and love from one of the foremost practitioners of hopeful SF.

After touring the rural areas of Panga, Sibling Dex (a Tea Monk of some renown) and Mosscap (a robot sent on a quest to determine what humanity really needs) turn their attention to the villages and cities of the little moon they call home.

They hope to find the answers they seek, while making new friends, learning new concepts, and experiencing the entropic nature of the universe.

In a world where people have what they want, does having more even matter?

A Prayer for the Crown-Shy is due to be published by Tor.com in North America and in the UK, on July 22nd, 2022. I’m really looking forward to this one.

Also on CR: Reviews of A Psalm for the Wild-Built and To Be Taught, If Fortunate

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Interview with S. QIOUYI LU

LuSQ-AuthorPicLet’s start with an introduction: Who is S. Qiouyi Lu?

I’m a freelance writer and translator based in Los Angeles, CA. I primarily write speculative fiction, including fantasy, science fiction, and horror. I translate from Chinese to English. The majority of my work has been short fiction. In the Watchful City will be my longest publication to date.

Your debut novella, In the Watchful City, is due out from Tordotcom Publishing in August. It looks really interesting. How would you introduce it to a potential reader?

In the Watchful City is similar to 1,001 Nights — there are a few short stories, each illustrating a particular region in the same secondary world, interspersed between a frame narrative about authority and autonomy. I’ve been describing it as “biocyberpunk,” in that there’s a strong focus on technology, but that technology is rooted in nature rather than in artificial creations like computer chips. I would say the story itself is a cross between Italo Calvino’s Invisible Cities and the short story/movie Minority Report. Continue reading

Upcoming: THE PAST IS RED by Catherynne M. Valente (Tor.com)

ValenteCM-PastIsRedThis summer, Tor.com are due to publish The Past is Red, an intriguing-looking new post-eco-apocalypse sci-fi novella by Catherynne M. Valente. Check out the synopsis:

The enchanting, dark, funny, angry story of a girl who made two terrible mistakes: she told the truth and she dared to love the world.

The future is blue. Endless blue… except for a few small places that float across the hot, drowned world left behind by long-gone fossil fuel-guzzlers. One of those patches is a magical place called Garbagetown.

Tetley Abednego is the most beloved girl in Garbagetown, but she’s the only one who knows it. She’s the only one who knows a lot of things: that Garbagetown is the most wonderful place in the world, that it’s full of hope, that you can love someone and 66% hate them all at the same time.

But Earth is a terrible mess, hope is a fragile thing, and a lot of people are very angry with her. Then Tetley discovers a new friend, a terrible secret, and more to her world than she ever expected.

Catherynne M. Valente’s The Past is Red is due to be published by Tor.com in North America and in the UK, on July 20th, 2021.

Also on CR: Interview with Catherynne Valente (2012); Guest Post on “The Long Orbit of Radiance

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