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  • 21/03/2022 16:27 | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Birds of Paradise cover

    Birds of Paradise by Oliver K. Langmead

    (Titan Books, 2021)

    Reviewed by Jamie Mollart

    Adam, the first man, still walks the earth, having lived multiple lives and now he resides in a 21st century America that is oblivious to him. He’s a forgotten man, present at key moments in history, but pivotal in none. The animals of Eden have taken human form and Eve is nowhere to be seen. Parts of Eden are cropping up on Earth, and with the help of Magpie, Crow, Owl, Pig and Butterfly, he sets about retrieving them.

    I began reading with a real sense of excitement, this is an awesome concept, which will draw inevitable comparison to Neil Gaiman’s ‘American Gods’. It’s a big comparison to make and one only the very best of books will be able to live up to.

    So, does Birds of Paradise?

    Continue reading…

    Review from BSFA Review 15 - Download your copy here.

  • 21/03/2022 16:17 | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Black Water Sister cover

    Black Water Sister by Zen Cho

    (Pan Macmillan, 2021)

    Reviewed by Anne F. Wilson

    Jessamyn Teoh is a normal Malaysian Chinese American girl. Her parents don’t go on about spirits and ghosts (or “good brothers”). So it comes as a shock to her to find, on the eve of their departure for Penang, that she is being haunted by the ghost of her mother’s mother, Ah Ma.

    Jess is nineteen and has lived for the whole of her life in the United States. A Harvard graduate, after seven months she still doesn’t have a job. Jess’s father is in remission from cancer and their finances are precarious, so they are going home to the relatives in Malaysia, where Jess’s father’s brother-in-law has arranged a job for him. Faute de mieux, Jess is going with them.

    Jess, however, is resilient and she has plans. Her girlfriend, Sharanya, is preparing to study for a PhD in Singapore and all Jess has to do is find a job and follow her there. Unfortunately, Ah Ma also has plans, and they involve Jess.

    Continue reading…

    Review from BSFA Review 15 - Download your copy here.

  • 21/03/2022 16:02 | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Future Crimes: Mysteries and Detection Through Time and Space edited by Mike Ashley

    (British Library Publishing, 2021)

    Reviewed by L.J. Hurst

    Future Crimes is editor Mike Ashley’s tenth collection in the Science Fiction Classics series, following others on Mars, space monsters and catastrophes. Half of the authors here were American, and the rest British, though the British had mostly to find American outlets for their work.

    The volume is subtitled “Mysteries and Detection through Time and Space”, with the paradoxes of time-travel opening and closing the volume. It begins with Anthony Boucher’s “Elsewhen” (1943) and closes with Miriam Allen deFord’s “The Absolutely Perfect Murder” (1965). Both owe a lot to other genres, particularly stories of suspense. We know that a murder is going to take place, even though the probable murderer seems a crackpot with his claim to have invented a time machine, and his consequent obvious attempts at manipulating an alibi based on a known time. Boucher and deFord’s professionalism, of course, comes from their ability to let the biter be bit in very different ways.

    Continue reading…

    Review from BSFA Review 15 - Download your copy here.

  • 20/01/2022 12:56 | Anonymous

    Amalgam cover

    Amalgam by Alessio Zanelli

    (, 2021)

    Reviewed by Allen Ashley

    Prolific poet Alessio Zanelli will be familiar to many of you from the pages of Focus, BFS Horizons, Here Comes Everyone, etc. This new pamphlet collects together pieces from a wide variety of publications and has something of a sunrise to sunset flow. Opener “Kuramathi Dawn” transcends its travelogue feel with its arresting opening line: “The morning comes in shouting like a desert.” If it’s the job of the poet to disrupt or make one reconsider assumptions, that simile certainly does the trick. Equally thought-provoking is Zanelli’s closer “Cosmic Nemesis”, which depicts “a micro black hole” gradually swallowing “all the planets” as well as Sol itself, before proceeding “on its endless path / to where it all began”. Hence: a final sunset. One might quibble with the astrophysics at play here—the orbiting planets would not be neatly lined up like snooker balls—but the poem makes for a memorable if deterministic closer.

    Continue reading…

    Review from BSFA Review 15 - Download your copy here.

  • 28/12/2021 23:49 | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Earlier this year the BSFA jointly organised an online mini-convention, ConSpire, with the Science Fiction Foundation, to coincide with our AGMs. Here are some videos from the event.

  • 31/10/2021 11:43 | Anonymous

    All the Tides of Fate cover

    All the Tides of Fate by Adalyn Grace

    (Titan Books, 2021)

    Reviewed by Estelle Roberts

    All the Tides of Fate is the sequel to the New York Times bestseller All the Stars and Teeth, but can be easily followed even if you haven’t read the previous novel. Visidia is a realm consisting of separate, and reasonably independent islands, which are under the ultimate rule of the monarchs of Arida. Differing types of magic are utilised throughout the land, generally each island specialises in a type, but individuals are prevented by the threat of extreme punishment and societal belief from practising more than one kind.

    As the story begins, the main protagonist, Queen Amora, is on board ship returning to Arida after yet another attempt to break the curse placed on her during a previous climactic battle, which also saw her witness the death of her father. This curse has split her soul, which she now shares with Bastian, a pirate-like ship’s captain and a man to whom she was already attracted, and negated her magic. This is obviously something of a problem when you are the ruler of a magically inclined kingdom.

    Continue reading…

    Review from BSFA Review 14 - Download your copy here.

  • 28/10/2021 13:17 | Anonymous

    Winterkeep cover

    Winterkeep by Kristin Cashore

    (Gollancz, 2021)

    Reviewed by Anne F. Wilson

    Queen Bitterblue of Monsea sets off on a diplomatic voyage to the far country of Winterkeep, where some of her people have disappeared. By the time her ship reaches port, she has vanished. This throws both the Monseans and their hosts into disarray. Does somebody, somewhere, know what has happened? Winterkeep is the fourth in the author’s young adult Graceling series. Each is a stand-alone, but characters recur, and it helps to have read the previous books. I had read these, but so long ago that I didn’t remember a lot about them, and the chapters dealing with the backstory of Monsea are a bit info-dumpy and stuffed with names that I kept having to look up in the character list.

    Continue reading…

    Review from BSFA Review 14 - Download your copy here.

  • 27/10/2021 12:09 | Anonymous

    Purgatory Mount cover

    Purgatory Mount by Adam Roberts

    (Gollancz, 2021)

    Reviewed by Duncan Lawie

    With Purgatory Mount, Adam Roberts has written a rather peculiar novel. This should not surprise anyone paying attention to Roberts’ SF career. Regular readers of his oeuvre may be bemused to discover that he has come up with yet another way to bamboozle and delight.

    The book opens with a post-human space crew arriving at a peculiar alien artefact. The eponymous object extends far above the atmosphere of a planet with no other signs of habitation. The narrator makes a point of the distance in time and culture when the text says that using referents such as Pan, Apollo and Hades to name the crew are inevitably imprecise ‘cultural translations’. They have the delightful capability of changing their perceptions of time, dialling up or down at will. This allows the tedium of an interstellar journey to pass in weeks or months; or to speed up perception for active maintenance as required. Surely there is enough here to unpack into a novel, as the puzzle is investigated. Instead, we switch to the perspective of the pygs, part of the ship’s livestock, on whom four of the five crew feasted to celebrate arrival. Then we discover pyg is short for pygmy and that this is a belittling term describing their incredibly limited lifespan—mere decades. The pygs, hunting and farming, recall the decayed civilisation of Aldiss’s Non-Stop (1958), living out generations on a starship’s journey. Yet they also refer to the system running the ship as “hal” and worship the crew, who barely move in a pyg’s lifetime, as gods.

    Continue reading…

    Review from BSFA Review 14 - Download your copy here.

  • 26/10/2021 07:10 | Anonymous

    My Brother the Messiah cover

    My Brother the Messiah by Martin Vopenka

    (Barbican Press, 2021)

    Reviewed by Matt Colborn

    This subtle, satirical book by Czech author Martin Vopenka examines the consequences of a new Messiah, named Eli, in the twilight era of a failing near-future global civilisation. The story is told through the eyes of Eli’s brother, Marek.

    The narrative moves between ‘New Vinohrady,’ a New Slav colony in Northern Greece in 2168 and early 22nd century Prague-Holesovice. In 2168, Marek the old man contemplates the life of his brother Eli, who was assassinated in Dubrovnik almost forty years previously. He lives with a sect of followers of the dead Messiah.

    Continue reading…

    Review from BSFA Review 14 - Download your copy here.

  • 25/10/2021 13:42 | Anonymous

    The Curie Society cover

    The Curie Society by Heather Einhorn, Adam Staffaroni, Janet Harvey and Sonia Liao

    (The MIT Press, 2021)

    Reviewed by David Lascelles

    ‘Charlie's Angels but more intellectual’ is my initial reaction to this fascinating experiment in female led comics. Three students—Maya, Taj and Simone—start their first year at Edmonds University in Virginia. Simone is a 16-year-old Biology prodigy with a fascination with ant colonies, Maya is an overachieving maths genius with pushy parents who want her to join MENSA and Taj is an engineer and computer scientist. Our three heroes end up together in the same dorm room and, very soon after arriving, a note is delivered to each of them with a puzzle to solve. The puzzle requires them to work together to find the location of the Curie Society headquarters in the grounds of the University where they discover they are the newest recruits.

    Continue reading…

    Review from BSFA Review 14 - Download your copy here.


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