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  • 13/07/2024 09:02 | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    The Land of Lost Things cover

    The Land of Lost Things by John Connolly

    (Hodder & Stoughton, 2023)

    Reviewed by Ksenia Shcherbino

    “Twice upon a time,” as The Land of Lost Things starts, I fell in love with a book. It has all the elements I enjoy: old libraries in abandoned houses opening entries to parallel worlds, ancient woods populated by stranger, darker creatures, primeval gods from the dawn of history, fairy lords rivalling humans, and a deeply moving and emotional story—but there is something more to the book, a quality both rare and precious: its over-arching humanity that stretches through universal (and thus relatable) mythological tropes.

    Continue reading…

    Review from BSFA Review 23 - Download your copy here.


  • 10/07/2024 16:29 | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    The Double-Edged Sword cover

    The Double-Edged Sword by Ian Whates

    (NewCon Press, 2023)

    Reviewed by Susan Speak

    Ian Whates is active in British science-fiction in almost every way possible. He is a writer—novels, novellas, short stories—an anthologist, a publisher (NewCon Press), and a BSFA director. Possibly the only thing he doesn’t do is SF art. He has a distinctive writing style which, at its best, has a Gaimanesque quality (e.g. ‘Knowing How to Look’ in his short story collection The Gift of Joy). So I found that reviewing his novella, The Double-Edged Sword, seemed like picking a pebble off a beach—but a rewarding and interesting pebble.

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    Review from BSFA Review 23 - Download your copy here.


  • 08/07/2024 16:33 | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    The Judas Blossom cover

    The Judas Blossom by Stephen Aryan

    (Angry Robot Books, 2023)

    Reviewed by Ksenia Shcherbino

    Even without any embellishments thirteenth century Mongol conquest of Persia is as close to fantasy as history can be. Not only this period (and this region) is conspicuously absent from Europocentric historiography and thus allows for certain fantasies and liberties (think Marco Polo), the deeply embedded fear of nomadic invasion seems to run deep in our blood centuries after Genghis Khan’s empire came to end, and Baghdad and Damask are the source of fairy tale ever since A Thousand and One Nights, or the Arabian Nights found its way into European imagination. So, Stephen Aryan has very interesting sources for his historical fantasy, and he uses them well.

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    Review from BSFA Review 23 - Download your copy here.


  • 06/07/2024 09:36 | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Dragonfall cover

    Dragonfall by L.R. Lam

    (Hodderscape, 2023)

    Reviewed by John Dodd

    Everen was the last male dragon, and the chosen one, the one who would right all the wrongs and give back the dragons their place in the world. Except this did not come to pass and he found himself trapped in the form of man, there to wander the world without purpose, hoping for what he had lost.

    Across the gulf of universes, the dragons left behind, including his sister and his mother, try to find a way to get through to him, there to give him the purpose and direction that he needs, which will come from befriending a human, and then using that human as a sacrifice to allow the dragons their rightful place in the world.

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    Review from BSFA Review 23 - Download your copy here.


  • 03/07/2024 19:37 | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    The Glasshouse cover

    The Glasshouse by Emma Coleman

    (Newcon Press, 2024)

    Reviewed by Steven French

    This is a collection of creepy stories spanning a range of time periods but with a strong sense of place, namely rural Northamptonshire. Some, it has to be said, are more effective than others. One of the most disturbing is ‘Unearthed’, in which a pair of detectorists start digging into an old barrow (never a good move) and awaken the undead of a long since vanished local village. The narrative then shifts abruptly into the past and the immediate cause of the burial is revealed but frustratingly it ends there, so we don’t learn what happens to our amateur archaeologists as the villagers claw their way out of the mud. Nevertheless, the elements of body horror combined with a dispassionate delivery generates some disquieting images.

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    Review from BSFA Review 23 - Download your copy here.


  • 01/07/2024 16:30 | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    The Red Scholar’s Wake cover

    The Red Scholar’s Wake by Aliette de Bodard

    (Gollancz, 2022)

    Reviewed by Dev Agarwal

    Aliette de Bodard is one of the biggest and most highly regarded names in the genre. She is almost hyperactive in producing work of any length, from short fiction to novellas and novels. Additionally, de Bodard consistently features on the short lists for major awards in the US and UK, often claiming the top spot.

    Not only busy, she is also a lyricist of noticeable power and range.

    Readers of The Red Scholar’s Wake will find that it combines space opera and future history. Like Heinlein and Haldeman before her, de Bodard has built a body of work around an imagined future. In her case this is based on a parallel universe where Chinese and Vietnamese cultures dominated world history from the fifteenth century onwards (the Xuya universe).

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    Review from BSFA Review 23 - Download your copy here.


  • 29/06/2024 09:18 | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Strange Attractors cover

    Strange Attractors by Jaine Fenn

    (Newcon Press, 2023)

    Reviewed by Steven French

    This is a delightful collection of fifteen short stories, of which all but one has been published previously elsewhere. The last, ‘Sin of Omission’ is one of the best in the collection, depicting on one hand, a shriver who takes on the sins of the dying, thereby denying herself eternal communion with the Empress and, on the other, a golem on a mission. It is how the paths of these two characters come together in a revelation of the true culture in which they operate, that illustrates the care in which these tales have been crafted.

    Not that this should come as much of a surprise to the readers of this magazine. Fenn won the BSFA short fiction award a few years ago with her gay awakening story, ‘Liberty Bird’, set in a world of privileged clan scions racing space-yachts through the ion-streams of a gas giant.

    Continue reading…

    Review from BSFA Review 23 - Download your copy here.


  • 26/06/2024 19:00 | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Black Sci-Fi Short Stories cover

    Black Sci-Fi Short Stories: Anthology of New & Classic Tales (Gothic Fantasy)
    Forward by Temi Oh
    Co-editor Tia Ross
    Introduction by Dr. Sandra M. Grayson

    (Flame Tree Collections, 2021)

    Reviewed by Steven French

    This is a collection of twenty “black sci-fi short stories”, where the term ‘short’ is loosely interpreted. Four of the entries are described as novels, totalling almost 70% of the entire volume. The first, ‘Blake: or the Huts of America’ (Part 1) by Martin R. Delany, from 1859, features the travels and travails of Henry Blake, an escaped slave searching for his wife through the America’s deep south and then up to Canada, before heading to Cuba and organising an insurrection in Part 2 (not included here). Described by Samuel R. Delany (no relation!) as a work of ‘proto-science fiction’, this early slice of alt-history reproduces the colloquial speech of the time and offers a brutal window on the conditions of both freed and enslaved black people.

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    Review from BSFA Review 23 - Download your copy here.


  • 24/06/2024 16:44 | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Languages of Water cover

    Languages of Water edited by Eugen Bacon

    (MyMedia, 2023)

    Reviewed by Harry Slater

    I’m writing this review in a small, converted barn, staring idly out of single-glazed windows at a deluge of mid-October, English rain. My feet are cold. A handful of days ago it was muggy, close, the back-dampening humidity of the bayou, the kind of weather where shadows are the best company. There are blossoms as well as soggy fruit on some of the apple trees. This past month, everything has felt wrong. It seems a fitting setting to be discussing Languages of Water, a book which confronts the wrongness of climate change not just head-on, but from a range of different and intriguing directions. The book has at its core a short story by its editor, Eugen Bacon. It’s called ‘When the Water Stops’ and it runs to only six pages. In it, a small community in a never-specified African country runs out of water and turns to the only other readily available liquid to sustain themselves—blood. Specifically, human blood. This is a tale of utterly believable vampirism, one so close to us in time that only a week may have elapsed between now and then.

    Continue reading…

    Review from BSFA Review 23 - Download your copy here.


  • 21/06/2024 15:35 | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Promise cover

    Promise by Christi Nogle

    (Flame Tree Press, 2023)

    Reviewed by Harry Slater

    There are two themes running through Christi Nogle’s collection of dark tales in Promise—time and unity. Time is bent, warped, broken, it curls back on itself, devouring pasts and futures, while people and creatures and robotic lifeforms create wholes from disparate parts, blending into new, often terrifying singularities. This is SF at the edge of the black mirror, delicate and intricate, layered and literary, shocking and confounding.

    The first two stories are the most complete of the collection, rising and falling in eerie rhythms designed to unsettle. ‘Cocooning’ is a pandemic tale twisted back into itself. It sees a couple and their dogs quarantined, but we slowly begin to question exactly who is being protected from who, or what. The ending is a gloriously bizarre celebration of freedom and togetherness that upends traditional plague tropes for something altogether stranger.

    Continue reading…

    Review from BSFA Review 23 - Download your copy here.


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