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Liz Bourke Reviews The Memory of Souls by Jenn Lyons

The Memory of Souls, Jenn Lyons (Tor 978-1-250-17557-1, $27.99, 640pp, hc) August 2020. Like The Obsidian Tower, Jenn Lyons’s The Memory of Souls (the third volume in her Chorus of Dragons quartet) focuses as much on individual characters and relationships as it does on the great events in which they are caught up. At the heart of this series is a strong suspicion towards power (either embodied in ...Read More

2020 Elgin Awards Winners

The Science Fiction & Fantasy Poetry Association (SFPA) has announced the winners of the 2020 Elgin Awards, presented for the best poetry chapbook and the best full-length poetry book in the speculative genre. The Elgin Awards are named after the founder of SFPA, Suzette Haden Elgin. Best Full-Length Collection First Place: Soft Science, Franny Choi (Alice James) Second Place: Elemental Haiku, Mary Soon Lee (Ten Speed) Third Place ...Read More

Paul Di Filippo Reviews Hench by Natalie Zina Walschots

Hench, by Natalie Zina Walschots (William Morrow 978-0062978578, 416pp, $27.99, hardcover) September 2020 Have we reached Peak Deconstruction of Superheroes yet? One could reasonably argue that the trend harks back at least as far as Mad magazine’s “Superduperman” and “Batboy and Rubin” parodies from 1953. Marvel and DC both poked fun at the conventions of the genre during the Sixties, with titles like The Inferior Five and Not Brand ...Read More

The Old Drift Wins Clarke Award

The Old Drift by Namwali Serpell (Hogarth US & UK) won the 34th Arthur C. Clarke Award, announced online. Serpell receives a check for £2,020 and an engraved bookend. Other finalists were: The City in the Middle of the Night, Charlie Jane Anders (Tor; Titan) The Light Brigade, Kameron Hurley (Saga; Angry Robot UK) A Memory Called Empire, Arkady Martine (Tor) Cage of Souls, Adrian Tchaikovsky ...Read More

New & Notable Books, September 2020

Kate Elliott, Unconquerable Sun (Tor 7/20) This buzzed-about novel, first in the Sun Chronicles series, is described by the author as “gender-swapped Alexander the Great in spaaaace.” Princess Sun has come of age, but palace and political intrigues threaten to end her life before it properly begins, unless she can rally allies – and rivals – to her side.   Stephen Graham Jones, The Only Good Indians (Saga 7/20) A ...Read More

Russell Letson Reviews Divergence by C.J. Cherryh

Divergence, C.J. Cherryh (DAW 978-0-756-41430-6, $26.00, 339pp, hc) September 2020. Cover by Todd Lockwood. C.J. Cherryh’s Divergence is not a minor book, but after 20 previous entries in this long-running series, your faithful reviewer is reduced to recommending the entire Foreigner sequence yet again and assuring those already familiar with its pleasures that even after so many books, Cherryh’s hand has not lost its cunning and that there are ...Read More

Dead Astronauts by Jeff VanderMeer

What should be a happy ending still feels grim and foreboding.