Holy cow. Home run. Outta the park. A novel clear in its ambitions, absorbed in the moment of its plot(s) in a way that is uniquely entertaining. You’ll want to tell everyone about this book An alternate history of the Korean Provision Government, a covert organization that, in Park's vision, has embedded its membership into popular culture, role-playing games, popular science fiction, slasher films. At the center of it all is a mysterious novel-within-a-novel called, yes, Same Bed, Different Dreams by a Nobel-rumored Korean author who goes by the mononym Echo. Ed Park for the Pulitzer. A novel that is so varied, comical, deliciously clever, and mad fun that it’s hard to believe it was written by a single author.
We all know that getting stuck inside a whale is a coming-of-age rite of passage for young men escaping the weight of a traumatic upbringing. But Whalefall isn't your average been there done that story of getting eaten while deep-sea diving for your father's corpse; the body horror of being digested inside a stomach and the suspense of Jay's oxygen tank running out serve as metaphor for the crushing expectations he felt from his father in life, and still in death.
My favorite part about this book: Daniel Kraus puts the science in science fiction. I've never read 'ocean horror' that did such thoroughly-researched, while also compassionate and loving, work to show us the beauty and horrors of the sea in the most realistic way possible. Claustrophobic and relentless, I highly recommend.
"Most people I know live their lives moving in a constant forward direction, the whole time looking backward." In this book, a time travel machine technician goes between universes saving people from (ab)using time travel in their efforts to fix their disappointing lives. When he's not doing that, he's searching for his missing father, who disappeared after inventing time travel. Within this strange and mind-bending plot, Yu addresses some of life's most philosophical questions. Is time a forward trajectory? Do regret and nostalgia serve us? How do we reconcile with the ache of a parent's lost dream? This book is an unconventional but beautiful tribute from a son to his father, and calls on us to reimagine the way we think about time.
"The first nice thing I ever did to my body was tear it open."
Reading this book wasn't the first nice thing I've ever done for myself, but it may be among the best. Jarboe's writing is queer and unrepentant, gay and unashamed. These stories gnawed on me, and I came away feeling holy--or maybe just full of holes, hard to say.
I loved the emptiness of this book. An aloneness with a touch of loneliness. A slow crawl, a quiet horror that is never fully unleashed. The look at pandemic life before living through an actual pandemic. The 'zombies' that are much creepier than the brain-eating variety. I felt for Candace like I feel for my favorite anti-heroines. Ling Ma handled her characters and this concept very well, as if she were holding broken glass in broken hands.
I adore Janelle Monae's musical career but I didn't know what to expect in her first novel. I enjoyed The Memory Librarian immensely. Her vision is speculative, rooted in science fiction, but it is also hopeful.
The beating heart of The Memory Librarian is an exploration of technology and artificial intelligence as limitations on individual bodies and as liberation from governmental bodies. Co-written with celebrated and emerging black novelists, in the titular story as well as the four other connected tales that follow, Monae challenges the notion of "dirty" and "deviance" and "abnormal". She gives space to the "othered" and offers a vision of found family--places that are built by community and dreams alike, full of artists and creators and healers and humans who need space to be, just as they are.
“You wove a cloak with nettle thread...and built your own dog out of bones, and NOW you are concerned about what is impossible?”
A third-born princess banished to a convent, a dust-wife who can speak to the dead, a disgraced knight far from home, and a godmother with just one ineffectual wish to grant; accompanied by a demonic chicken and a dog constructed of wire and bone, these are the companions tasked with the seemingly impossible quest to infiltrate the palace of the Northern Kingdom and kill the king. Along the way they will learn that not all gifts are grand or obvious until you find the people who will help you discover the hero within yourself.
If 2001: A Space Odyssey was also about chilling, unnameable workplace minutiae... well, here you go. In the far future, a spaceship orbits a planet littered with strange objects, and the ship's crew—janitors, captains, all—become obsessed with these mysterious mementos. A story of dread and survival, both existential and physical, to be read in a morning, quaking over your coffee. You won't forget it.
An alcoholic hermit discovers the truth of power in the world: the flies are actually in control. Bizarre, thrilling, and fast paced, this newly translated novel is worth a read.
Tamsyn Muir has an uncanny ability to write sci-fi / fantasy that is both gut wrenchingly funny and just masterfully, painstakingly plotted. If you're into big picture sci-fi like Dune or Saga but also have an appreciation for eldritch monsters and body horror à la Resident Evil, please treat yourself to this incredible series.