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THE SURVIVING SKY by Kritika H. Rao

Sunday January 14, 2024

Review by Abe Ziesing

"Trippy" is the word that comes to mind to describe this botanical space-opera that's as far-out as the psychedelic sixties.

Shuffling between the viewpoints of a married couple whose relationship is sometimes toxic, sometimes complementary and passionate, we are thrown full-force into a world that might be far-future post-apocalyptic Earth, but it's almost unrecognizable.

Some of the population have the ability to rapidly shape and grow plant life with a mysterious mental ability that seems to have been a product of evolution. Those without this ability find themselves on a lower rung of the social and...

SYSTEM COLLAPSE by Martha Wells

Wednesday January 10, 2024

Review by Abe Ziesing

This seventh instalment of our favorite cyborg's exploits is every bit as good as the rest of the series. It's impressive that Martha Wells manages to maintain such a high bar, combining the customary elements of the series' success - cyberpunk, suspense/thriller, humor - and injecting fresh ideas and plotlines that allow this stand-alone episode to shine.

In this latest adventure, murderbot finds himself planet-side in a world going through its third attempt at being terraformed. Ancient aliens have left behind some foundations of habitat that come with some deadly surprises. Can he rescue all of...

HE WHO DROWNED THE WORLD by Shelley Parker-Chan

Friday January 5, 2024

Right on par with the first half of this duology, so if you enjoyed SHE WHO BECAME THE SUN then I'd definitely recommend this book.

I loved the pacing - despite being longer than the first half, it's an easy breeze of a read, with awesome fight/battle passages, intriguing and intense drama, and twists that you may not see coming.  Each of the three parts that this book is broken into has its own intense climaxes.

The settings and descriptive passages in HE WHO DROWNED THE WORLD are just as amazing as in book 1.  I don't read a lot...

BOOKSHOPS & BONEDUST by Travis Baldree

Tuesday January 2, 2024

Review by Abe Ziesing

If you enjoyed LEGENDS & LATTES, you're sure to have fun with this book as well.  This is actually the prequel to L & L despite being listed as book 2 at the time that I'm writing this.  The books can be read independently or in either order without missing much.  There are a couple of tie-ins that you'll recognize regardless of the reading order.  

It pains me to use the phrase "cozy read", but in this case it cannot be avoided because... well, because it makes you feel all cozy inside as you read it...

Favorite Reads of 2023

Monday January 1, 2024

by Abe Ziesing

Of the 50 novels that I read in 2023, I came up with a top 10 list that includes some books old, some books new, some borrowed and, well, there weren't any blue books but you get the idea.  I had to cheat a little on number ten, which is actually two novels.  Let us know what your favorite reads of 2023 were!

1) NETTLE & BONE - T. Kingfisher
2) SYSTEM COLLAPSE - Martha Wells
3) COLD MOON OVER BABYLON - Michael McDowell
4) SPEAR - Nicola Griffith
5) IN THE NIGHT WOOD - Dale Bailey
6) THE EXTRACTIONIST - Kimberly Unger
7) THE MOUNTAIN IN THE SEA -...

OGRES by Adrian Tchaikovsky

Wednesday August 23, 2023

Review by Abe Ziesing

This wonderfully paced, steampunk-ish novella, written in the second-person singular point-of-view, places you, a human, directly into the driver’s seat, on a collision course against the oppressive rulers of this dystopian world - the ogres.

I’ve heard it said about some of Adrian Tchaikovsky’s lengthier works, that pacing can be a drawback, such as in the second and third volumes of the CHILDREN OF TIME series.  Mundane world-building and long narrative backstories that st in which heep away from the action, seem to be common criticisms.  With this book, Tchaikovsky scarcely gives you an opportunity to take a....

SILVER NITRATE by Silvia Garcia-Moreno

Tuesday August 22, 2023

Review by Abe Ziesing

Part suspense/thriller and part supernatural horror, with a cinematic theme and a Mexico City twist.

Montserrat and Tristan are lifelong codependent friends working on the fringes of the early 1990's Mexican movie scene, doing small-time sound editing, acting and voice-overs. As their working hours and opportunities dwindle, they become more and more desperate. When a once prominent, now obscure, horror film director's mail accidentally gets delivered to Tristan's address, they have an idea of how they can use this to their advantage and decide to make an attempt at creating a documentary about this enigmatic man...

WITCH KING by Martha Wells

Friday August 18, 2023

Review by Abe Ziesing

Demons, angels and witches make up the cast of characters in this high-fantasy adventure novel. It’s quite the departure from the Murderbot Diaries SF of Martha Wells and her other recent works. A plethora of unusual names of people and places would be overwhelming if it weren’t for the convenient inclusion of a map and dramatis personae at the front of this novel. Instead, the originality and richness of the naming conventions enhances the world building significantly. The magic systems (plural) are wildly varied, with each race having specialties and specific rules that aren’t explained in...

IN THE NIGHT WOOD by Dale Bailey

Thursday August 17, 2023

Review by Abe Ziesing

This is like Arturo Pérez-Reverte meets Algernon Blackwood - classic gothic horror with a contemporary mystery makeover.

While attending his grandfather's wake, young Charles Hayden happened upon a curious leather-bound volume, nearly 150 years old, and with the most extraordinary woodcut illustrations. He was so captivated by it that he kept it for himself. Stole it. Many years later it would haunt him and lead to him living out a most extraordinary story of his own, or perhaps reliving the dark fairy tale encapsulated within the mysterious book. Will he be able to unravel this deadly conundrum...

THE TERRAFORMERS by Annalee Newitz

Saturday August 12, 2023

Review by Abe Ziesing

When a novel is literally about building a new world, you'd expect the world-building to be the principal literary element of concern, for both writer and reader; and indeed, THE TERRAFORMERS is a stone-cold tour de force when it comes to world-building, but for me, it's much more.

Tens of thousands of years into the future, terraforming planets is big business, and Sask-E is the latest offering for investors, entrepreneurs and rich tourists to enjoy, exploit and ravage. The only problem is that this soon-to-be privately owned planet already has an 'indigenous' population consisting of the...