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  • 29/10/2022 09:11 | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Certain Dark Things cover

    Certain Dark Things by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

    (Jo Fletcher Books, 2021)

    Reviewed by John Dodd

    Vampires are real.

    They’ve been around for a very long time, but the humans of the world only came to realise they were there in the latter half of the twentieth century. Unlike the classic vampires, these get older with time, instead of being frozen perfectly in the state they were when they were turned, and depending on the type of vampire they are, they can’t actually turn humans into more vampires themselves.

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    Review from BSFA Review 17 - Download your copy here.

  • 25/10/2022 19:36 | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Mage of Fools cover

    Mage of Fools by Eugen Bacon

    (Meercat Press, 2022)

    Reviewed by Jamie Mollart

    Firstly, I’m ashamed to admit that before picking up this novel I didn’t really know much about Afrofuturism. Wikipedia defines it as “a cultural aesthetic, philosophy of science and philosophy of history that explores the developing intersection of African diaspora culture with technology.

    The term was first defined by American critic, Mark Dery, in his 1993 essay ‘Black to the future’ and (according to Barnes and Noble) includes novels such as The Fifth Season by N.K. Jemisin, Binti by Nnedi Okorafor, and The Intuitionist by Colson Whitehead.

    Mage of Fools has made me want to delve further into the genre, because put simply, it’s a brilliant book.

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    Review from BSFA Review 17 - Download your copy here.

  • 22/10/2022 15:41 | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Something More Than Night cover

    Something More Than Night by Kim Newman

    (Titan Books, 2021)

    Reviewed by Estelle Roberts

    Set in a gloriously insane late 1930’s Los Angeles, this latest addition to the Newmanverse is an extremely entertaining horror/noir piece of fiction. No vampires here, and only a very oblique reference to Drearcliff Grange, his Malory Towers for unusually gifted young women. There are monsters, though, fictional, human and real.

    The two main protagonists are hard drinking writer of detective fiction, Raymond Chandler and William Pratt, better known as Boris Karloff. Drawn together because of, among other reasons, their British connections, the pair begin investigating strange occurrences in the city. Chandler actually has a private detective’s licence. They are eventually hired by Joh Devlin, an investigator for the DA’s office, to work on a case that appears to go to the sleazy heart of Hollywood.

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    Review from BSFA Review 17 - Download your copy here.

  • 18/10/2022 19:17 | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Velvet Was The Night cover

    Velvet Was The Night by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

    (Jo Fletcher Books, 2021)

    Reviewed by Anne F. Wilson

    This novel is set in Mexico City during the early 70s, in the aftermath of the Corpus Christi Massacre of June 1971, seen through the eyes of two bit-players. The CIA-supported government is being challenged by left-wing students. Elvis is a member of the Hawks, a group of thugs whose aim is to harass and hinder journalists reporting on the protests. Maite is a secretary, asked to cat-sit by a neighbour who has disappeared. The narrative teases us as the two almost meet several times but are whirled apart by events.

    Maite is turning 30, bored by her job, unconfident in her appearance, and easily bullied by her co-workers. She makes up stories about her love-life to avoid their pity. Dumped by her last serious boyfriend, she finds solace in romance comics, and practises a small-scale kleptomania whereby she steals trivial items from acquaintances that she admires, hoping magically to absorb the owners’ capabilities.

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    Review from BSFA Review 17 - Download your copy here.

  • 15/10/2022 14:50 | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    A World of Women cover

    A World of Women by J.D. Beresford

    (MIT, 2022)

    Reviewed by Dan Hartland

    There is something odd about reading this new edition of J.D. Beresford’s 1913 novel, A World of Women (originally published in Great Britain as Goslings). In it, a zoonotic virus travels the world from an apparent source in China, is met at first with denial and then incredulity, wrecks economies in the process, until finally techno futurists announce its potency is waning and the survivors look queasily towards an uncertain future. This is an experience described in Astra Taylor’s introduction to this MIT Press volume: she has read the novel twice, once while sheltering-in-place during Hurricane Sandy and once during the lockdowns of the COVID-19 era. This shapes her experience of the novel.

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    Review from BSFA Review 17 - Download your copy here.

  • 11/10/2022 19:23 | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    The Postapocalyptic Black Female Imagination cover

    The Postapocalyptic Black Female Imagination by Maxine Lavon Montgomery

    (Bloomsbury Academic, 2020)

    Reviewed by Arike Oke

    This slim volume is the latest in Professor Maxine Montgomery’s decades-long and seminal investigation into Black women’s apocalyptic writing. Here Montgomery addresses the scope of the imagined post-apocalyptic world, from the Burn that destroys Toronto in Nalo Hopkinson’s Brown Girl in The Ring, to the layers of visioning forwards and backwards in Beyonce’s Lemonade.

    The apocalypse is conceptually ever in front of us, but speculative and near-future apocalyptic and post-apocalyptic fiction operates at a level of understanding that the apocalypse has already happened, multiple times. For people of the African diaspora one of the most significant real history apocalyptic events was the Transatlantic trade in enslaved Africans. For many of the adults and children trafficked in this trade, history stopped. Society stopped. Family stopped. Language stopped, and the world was made anew for them in a hellscape of abuse, dislocation and enslavement. Just as in the mainstream, white-cultured, fictional visions of a post-apocalyptic world elements of the culture pre-Fall persist (see A Canticle for Leibowitz, Planet of the Apes’ denouement, the longing towards the half-forgotten in the Mad Max series), so too the Black female post-apocalyptic vision features a yearning towards the pre-apocalypse society from which the post Slave Trade African diaspora were forced onto a new stony future.

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    Review from BSFA Review 17 - Download your copy here.

  • 08/10/2022 09:36 | Anonymous member (Administrator)


    Back to the Future—the Musical directed by John Rando

    (Adelphi, 2021)

    Reviewed by Roy Gray

    ‘Back to the Future—the Musical’ played to packed houses and cheering crowds, or did when I saw it, in November 2021 at the Adelphi in The Strand. There’s almost no need to worry about spoilers here as the audience know exactly what to expect and cheer when it happens. There is a big potential audience in those who have seen the movie and so, to a great extent, this seems to be aimed directly at them.

    To achieve this aim the actors look like their movie counterparts (the clothes, the wigs) so no one needs to be introduced, though of course the dialogue does ensure we know Marty McFly and Doc Brown. It remains set in 1985 and there is a DeLorean and plenty of special effects to make its jaunts realistic.

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    Review from BSFA Review 17 - Download your copy here.

  • 04/10/2022 19:06 | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Exposure cover

    Exposure by Louis Greenberg

    (Titan Books, 2021)

    Reviewed by Jamie Mollart

    In 2019, I visited the ‘Beyond The Road’ exhibition at the Saatchi Gallery. A collaboration between musician James Lavelle, and a number of artists, the exhibition remixed his albums, The Road Part I and II, into an immersive experience of sound, smell, film, visuals and sculpture. It was designed to create a multi-disciplinary experience you were free to explore, interact and lose yourself in. I wandered around it for 2 hours and left feeling as if I had been rewired. It took me the rest of the day to get back to myself and I still think about it regularly.

    The reason I bring this up is because this is the world in which Exposure plays. It is set in a parallel England, similar to ours in many ways, but in which the corporations have control of healthcare and everyday life to an even greater degree than they do in our version.

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    Review from BSFA Review 17 - Download your copy here.

  • 01/10/2022 09:44 | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Echogenesis cover

    Echogenesis by Gary Gibson

    (Brain in a Jar Book, 2021)

    Reviewed by Phil Nicholls

    Echogenesis is a fascinating science fiction mystery featuring fifteen people who awake inside small stasis pods. They are puzzled to find themselves in a strange jungle beside a crashed spaceship. The unfamiliar plants suggest they are on an unknown planet, as does the wreckage of the planetary landing craft. Robots work on repairing the crashed landing craft but will not interact with the stranded.

    The opening chapters deal with the initial debates between the stranded about their location and the reason why they all have holes in their memories. These gaps are more challenging for the elder members of the team who recall being old, yet now find themselves in bodies with a physical age of about twenty.

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    Review from BSFA Review 17 - Download your copy here.

  • 27/09/2022 20:09 | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    A Visit to Venus cover

    A Visit to Venus by George E. Hobbs

    (Hobnob Press, 2021)

    Reviewed by Andy Sawyer

    It would probably be fair to say George E. Hobbs is unknown to sf fans. He is certainly not featured in the Encyclopedia of Science Fiction, nor Brian Stableford’s Scientific Romance in Britain 1890-1950. Hobnob Press have masterminded a revival of this Swindon based author, a railway engineer most of whose works were produced for the local newspaper. A prolific writer of fiction and non-fiction (often on religious topics), Hobbs turned to sf on a number of occasions. This, the third book of his work published by Hobnob, is a long short story in which three young men journey to Venus and find a spiritually advanced race there. It was serialised in the Swindon Advertiser in 1927 and seems to have remained unknown since.

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    Review from BSFA Review 17 - Download your copy here.


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