Whoa, it’s February! That came on quickly and we’re already halfway through it (good news for the many February-haters out there). Time for me to tell you what’s coming out this month that’s earned starred reviews in my sections of PW. There’s quite a list, so I hope you’re all taking notes.
First, a belated January entry: Fly Into Fire by Susan Jane Bigelow, the sequel to last year’s Broken. That review came in late and has just gone up in our online annex.
Now, February proper, in SF/F/H:
I think we already have more starred horror-ish titles than we had all last year, but that might just be my perception.
And in romance:
The popular monthly starred review feature is back! Here are the January SF/F stars:
And for romance:
This year I’m going to do my damnedest to read every book that gets a star in one of my sections. So far I’ve read… one. But it’s a start!
This job ad just came across an editorial mailing list I’m on:
Would like to enhance my online “presence” with good, literate reviews of books, music, art. I’d ask you to do two things. One, write the reviews with my collaboration. Two, help me place them with publications. If that seems a match, email me at [redacted].
Rate: $ 40 – 100 per hour
I mean, I guess there’s a market for ghostwriting in reviews, as in any other kind of writing, though the idea makes me sad; the whole point of a review is to convey the opinion of the person behind the byline. But “books, music, art” is a very broad field, and how does publishing reviews elsewhere help to establish one’s online presence, and what review organizations pay so well that passing on $40 to $100 (!) an hour (!!) is a reasonable business decision? Maybe it’s some sort of scam but I don’t see how that would work. I am very confused.
My SF/F/H write-up is here. An excerpt:
The SF/fantasy/horror category, already a chimera, is budding new subcategories right and left. Many authors and publishers have given up on categorization altogether. Words like “amalgamation” and “blending” and “cross-genre” appear in our reviews with increasing frequency, and readers are eagerly gobbling up these unclassifiable books.
It’s not quite a truism that experimental writers are good writers—as in science, some experiments go boom or simply fizzle out—but many of our top picks for the fall and winter are decidedly idiosyncratic.
Some of you may also be interested in the romance and mystery/thriller assessments and listings, and there’s a surprising amount of skiffy content in the literary fiction listings as well.
A little late this month, but at least you know all these books are out and available right now!
These March fantasy and SF titles received starred reviews in PW:
Each title links to the book’s review, so you can see why we felt these were worthy of special acclaim.
No paranormal romance or horror on this month’s list, but a very varied group nonetheless: sword & sorcery, hard SF, urban fantasy, indie presses, big imprints, series books, standalones, anthologies. Good times.
February’s a short month, so you’ll want to apportion your reading time wisely. Fortunately, Genreville is here to help you pick and choose! Here’s a roundup of the February titles that received starred reviews in PW‘s SF/F/H section:
The Heroes by Joe Abercrombie (Orbit)
Brave New Worlds edited by John Joseph Adams (Night Shade)
Pack of Lies: Paranormal Scene Investigations, Book 2 by Laura Anne Gilman (Luna)
Fire the Sky: Book 2 of Contact: The Battle for America by Kathleen O’Neal Gear and W. Michael Gear (Gallery)
Harbinger of the Storm by Aliette de Bodard (Angry Robot)
And as a bonus, some late January SF/F/H titles that got starred reviews online:
Enchanted No More: Mystic Circle, Book 1 by Robin D. Owens (Luna)
Agatha H and the Starship City by Phil and Kaja Foglio (Night Shade)
The Hammer by K.J. Parker (Orbit)
If you’re broke after buying holiday presents–or just plain broke–you might be trying to decide which new books are worth your money. To help you out, here’s a list of the January titles that got starred reviews in PW‘s SF/F/H section:
Zoo City by Lauren Beukes (Angry Robot)
The Universe of Things by Gwyneth Jones (Aqueduct)
Among Others by Jo Walton (Tor)
The Soul Mirror by Carol Berg (Roc)
Dark Griffin: The Fallen Moon, Book 1 by K.J. Taylor (Ace)
I’ve read Zoo City and Among Others and greatly enjoyed them both.
You may also wish to consider In Too Deep: Book 1 of the Looking Glass Trilogy by Jayne Ann Krentz (Putnam), a romance with fantasy elements that got a starred review in our romance section.
Is this useful to you? Should I make it a monthly Genreville feature?
Charlie Stross complains about unscientific zombies and implausible steampunk, and calls out Cherie Priest.
A Kate Beaton comic from a while ago provides a meta-metaphor about the whole thing.
Complaining that steampunk is insufficiently scientifically correct only matters if we’re to judge literary metaphor by how well the physics works. When Stross confesses to being a fan of Girl Genius, it seems like he’s admitting to some sort of dark shameful secret in context: the sin of liking a work of art that talks about science, but really means what is essentially magic.
It occurs to me that some of our readers might not know that PW puts up online-only reviews every Monday in addition to the ones that appear in the magazine. Don’t think it’s a dumping ground, either: This week’s SF/F/H web exclusives include starred reviews for Lauren Beukes’s Zoo City, Kevin David Anderson and Sam Stall’s Night of the Living Trekkies, Diane Duane’s Omnitopia Dawn, and Bob Fingerman’s Pariah. You can read them all here.