The British Fantasy Society Forum

Fantasy => Promote Your Projects => Topic started by: Djibril on May 09, 2015, 07:19:52 pm

Title: TFF Reviews
Post by: Djibril on May 09, 2015, 07:19:52 pm
Starting a new thread for TFF Reviews, our small- and indie- press SF/F/H/W reviewing organ. Find all our latest reviews and criticism at reviews.futurefire.net (http://reviews.futurefire.net/) (or you can subscribe via email using the form on the right…)

Most recent posts are Redfern Jon Barrett's thoughts on Walter Mosley's Inside a Silver Box (http://reviews.futurefire.net/2015/04/mosley-inside-silver-box.html) (from Tor), and Valeria Vitale's review of Margrét Helgadóttir and Jo Thomas's regional horror anthology European Monsters (http://reviews.futurefire.net/2015/04/helgadottir-thomas-european-monsters.html) (from Fox Spirit).

I'd be interested to hear from anyone else who's read either of these books.
Title: Re: TFF Reviews
Post by: Djibril on May 16, 2015, 09:57:06 pm
New over at TFF Reviews, Wendy Bousfield writes about Dennis O’Flaherty’s King of the Cracksmen (http://reviews.futurefire.net/2015/05/oflaherty-king-of-cracksmen.html), an alternative history, 19th century US steampunk dystopian adventure.

It sounds like there might have been some cliché bordering on the offensive, that Wendy was probably more tolerant of than I would have been, but it would be fair to give it the benefit of the doubt (as she explains in the review).
Title: Re: TFF Reviews
Post by: Djibril on May 19, 2015, 10:05:29 pm
Ashley O’Brien reviews a volume of essays, Black Quantum Futurism (http://reviews.futurefire.net/2015/05/philips-black-quantum-futurism.html), edited by Rasheedah Philips, “a unique collection of essays and ideas that promises … that something very special happens when combining quantum physics, futurist traditions, and Black/African cultural traditions.”

I might have to read this one…
Title: Re: TFF Reviews
Post by: Djibril on May 25, 2015, 10:40:25 pm
New tonight at TFF Reviews, Don Riggs reviews Robert Charles Wilson’s The Affinities (http://reviews.futurefire.net/2015/05/wilson-affinities.html) (from Tor Books), which he compares to Asimov’s Foundation novels, in that, just as Asimov’s “psychohistory” is more important than the humans in his books, “the main character in The Affinities is teleodynamics, the scientific basis for the algorithms used to class people in various Affinities, and we see over the course of the novel that the individual’s importance is reduced in groups who adhere to this science and its implications.”
Title: Re: TFF Reviews
Post by: Djibril on June 02, 2015, 11:14:00 pm
In our latest review, Cait Coker talks about Eva Darrows's The Awesome (http://reviews.futurefire.net/2015/06/darrows-awesome.html), a kick-ass YA paranormal urban fantasy about a teen vampire hunter who doesn't dress glamorously or hang out only with boys, and that is more honest about female friendships and teen sex than most of that genre.
Title: Re: TFF Reviews
Post by: Djibril on June 08, 2015, 10:57:45 pm
I've reviewed Douglas Thompson's rather remarkable The Rhymer: an Heredyssey (http://reviews.futurefire.net/2015/06/thompson-rhymer.html) from Elsewhen Press. If I tell you it's a surreal epic written in semi-rhyming free verse, it'll probably put you off, but it's much more readable than it sounds…
Title: Re: TFF Reviews
Post by: Djibril on June 15, 2015, 11:10:47 pm
John reviews V.E. Wilchcombe's Neob (http://reviews.futurefire.net/2015/06/wilchcombe-neob.html), an Avatar-esque science fantasy set on a lush, savage, distant planet.
Title: Re: TFF Reviews
Post by: Djibril on June 23, 2015, 09:08:52 pm
In today's TFF Reviews, Małgorzata Mika comments on John Howard's Touchstones (http://reviews.futurefire.net/2015/06/howard-touchstones.html): Essays on the Fantastic, a collection of highly readable but serious work, leaning towards an interest in horror and weird. A mini-history of weird fiction in here—or at least an appetizer for such a history…
Title: Re: TFF Reviews
Post by: Djibril on July 18, 2015, 05:11:26 pm
Cait Coker reviews Rachel Kendall's Stranger Days (http://reviews.futurefire.net/2015/07/kendall-stranger-days.html), a literary, existential, and ultimately unreliable novel…
Title: Re: TFF Reviews
Post by: Djibril on July 18, 2015, 05:24:36 pm
Valeria Vitale reviews Tansy Rayner Roberts and Tehani Wessely's Cranky Ladies of History (http://reviews.futurefire.net/2015/07/roberts-wessely-cranky-ladies.html), an anthology of historical and fantasy stories about swashbucking, ass-kicking, and world-shaking women from history. This one looks like fun!
Title: Re: TFF Reviews
Post by: Djibril on September 13, 2015, 03:05:35 pm
Ashley O’Brien reviews Ira Nayman's What the Hell Were You Thinking?: Good Advice for People Who Make Bad Decisions (http://reviews.futurefire.net/2015/09/nayman-what-hell-were-you-thinking.html), a curious and fanciful coffee-table book or toilet reading matter.
Title: Re: TFF Reviews
Post by: Djibril on September 19, 2015, 04:00:55 pm
Kate Onyett reviews Tony Rauch's What if I got down on my knees? (http://reviews.futurefire.net/2015/09/rauch-what-if-i-got-down-on-my-knees.html), a collection of surreal, comic, absurdist, angsty, metaphorical, fantastic and ultimately satisfying short tales.
Title: Re: TFF Reviews
Post by: Djibril on September 21, 2015, 11:38:20 pm
Wendy Bousfield reviews Allen Ashley's anthology Sensorama (http://reviews.futurefire.net/2015/09/ashley-ed-sensorama.html) from Eibonvale Press, twenty-one stories concerning one of our five senses (or other mystical ones), which she describes as "exhilarating" and "rich in subtexts."
Title: Re: TFF Reviews
Post by: Djibril on September 25, 2015, 10:45:49 pm
Margrét Helgadóttir reviews Peter Öberg’s Waiting for the Machines to Fall Asleep (http://reviews.futurefire.net/2015/09/oberg-ed-waiting-for-machines-to-fall.html), an anthology of Swedish SF/F (in translation) from Affront Publishing. The anthology covers “a broad range of themes, plots and subgenres, stretching from steampunk, horror, fantasy, weird, post apocalypse to space colonies and space travel”, but Margrét didn't especially feel that it had a strong Scandinavian feel to it.
Title: Re: TFF Reviews
Post by: Djibril on September 29, 2015, 10:11:52 pm
Djibril reviews Anneliese Poelsma's short story collection, Fly and other stories (http://reviews.futurefire.net/2015/09/poelsma-fly.html), which touches on themes like domestic horror, delusion and mental illness, queer characters, and the unreliable narrator. Sometimes problematic, but always shockingly empathetic and sensitively written, the six stories in this self-published e-book are well-worth reading.
Title: Re: TFF Reviews
Post by: Djibril on October 03, 2015, 02:54:19 pm
Małgorzata Mika reviews Aleksandar Prokopiev, Homunculus: Fairy Tales from the Left Pocket (http://reviews.futurefire.net/2015/10/prokopiev-homunculus.html), a collection of darkly surreal fairy tale retellings translated from the Macedonian and published by Istros Books (who specialize in Balkan imports). Digging below the surface of this complex volume, Małgorzata concludes, "Most of all, it is a tale with a moral that stretches far beyond the borders of countries and ideologies to win the hearts and minds of all readers around the globe."
Title: Re: TFF Reviews
Post by: Djibril on October 07, 2015, 11:07:00 pm
Djibril reviews The Mesmerist’s Daughter by Heidi James (http://reviews.futurefire.net/2015/10/james-mesmerists-daughter.html), a short but weighty magical-surrealist novelette published in chapbook format, about a girl who grows up not daring to speak for fear of accidentally revealing her werewolf mother’s secret…
Title: Re: TFF Reviews
Post by: Djibril on October 24, 2015, 11:43:31 pm
Cait Coker reviews Cecelia Holland's Dragon Heart (http://reviews.futurefire.net/2015/10/holland-dragon-heart.html), a confusing, disjointed, sometimes frustrating, but mostly enjoyable fantasy epic by this acclaimed historical fiction author.
Title: Re: TFF Reviews
Post by: Djibril on October 30, 2015, 10:20:26 pm
Djibril reviews Marguerite Mullaney's Eternal Blue Sky (http://reviews.futurefire.net/2015/10/mullaney-eternal-blue-sky.html), an scifi adventure which is a mix of alternate history and time travel (although more adventure than either), fairly problematic in places, but if you can get past all that, a fairly rollicking story with lots of grimdark violence and personal fortitude…
Title: Re: TFF Reviews
Post by: Djibril on November 08, 2015, 02:31:32 pm
Cait Coker reviews Bascomb James’s Far Orbit Apogee (http://reviews.futurefire.net/2015/11/james-ed-far-orbit-apogee.html) from World Weaver Press, a disconcertingly nostalgic, but nonetheless largely very successful "Grand Tradition" space exploration anthology.
Title: Re: TFF Reviews
Post by: Djibril on November 14, 2015, 03:15:53 pm
Andy Sawyer review Suzanne Burdon's Almost Invincible (http://reviews.futurefire.net/2015/11/burdon-almost-invincible.html), a biographical novel of Mary Shelley, from Criteria Publishing. Not entirely convincing, according to Andy, but the story which Burdon is retelling in Almost Invincible is so strong that it would be almost impossible to throw it away…
Title: Re: TFF Reviews
Post by: Djibril on November 21, 2015, 04:37:37 pm
Wendy Bousfeld reviews Kit Reed's Where (http://reviews.futurefire.net/2015/11/reed-where.html), a contemporary literary fantasy involving the abducted inhabitants of a disappeared Southern town, and a critique of fictional reality involving unsatisfying endings, unsolved mysteries, and messy life.
Title: Re: TFF Reviews
Post by: Djibril on November 27, 2015, 11:07:53 pm
Kate Onyett reviews K.G. Johansson’s Googolplex (http://reviews.futurefire.net/2015/11/johansson-googolplex.html), a book of intellectual beauty, not easy to slide into, but once in, once ‘clicked,’ a deeply satisfying and fascinating read.
Title: Re: TFF Reviews
Post by: Djibril on December 12, 2015, 08:49:54 pm
Cair Coker reviews Kevin J. Anderson and Neil Peart's Clockwork Lives (http://reviews.futurefire.net/2015/12/anderson-peart-clockwork-lives.html), a book of short-stories set in the same steampunk world as Clockwork Angels and evoking the spirit of both Canterbury Tales and Neverending Story; it's a bit old-fashioned, to the point of laziness, but is very readable and works on its own terms.
Title: Re: TFF Reviews
Post by: Djibril on December 23, 2015, 05:06:21 pm
Valeria Vitale reviews Mama Cried by Talia Haven (http://reviews.futurefire.net/2015/12/haven-mama-cried.html), an unusual, well written, short ghost story that builds on folkloric archetypes and presents them to the reader within a different and fascinating narrative.
Title: Re: TFF Reviews
Post by: Djibril on December 26, 2015, 03:21:34 pm
Don Riggs reviews Anna Patrick's Meditations in Wonderland (http://reviews.futurefire.net/2015/12/patrick-meditations-in-wonderland.html) from River Grove Books: of the books brought out in time for the 150th anniversary of the publication of Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland, the most intensely personal and deeply psychological novel that he has seen.
Title: Re: TFF Reviews
Post by: Djibril on January 03, 2016, 01:35:48 am
Tony Erickson reviews Bruce Edward Golden’s Tales of My Ancestors (http://reviews.futurefire.net/2015/12/golden-tales-of-my-ancestors.html), a collection of historical fantasy stories featuring the author’s ancestors. (Apparently.)
Title: Re: TFF Reviews
Post by: Djibril on January 23, 2016, 04:42:48 pm
Kate Onyett reviews Topher Goggin's Not Your Mother’s Goose (http://reviews.futurefire.net/2016/01/goggin-not-your-mothers-goose.html), faity tales retold as a chuffed up cross between talk-show scandal-mongering and stand-up satire for the shorter attention span, which she did find zippy fun, but also alienatingly American-centric humour.
Title: Re: TFF Reviews
Post by: Djibril on March 09, 2016, 08:31:51 pm
Cait Coker reviews Hal Duncan's Testament (http://reviews.futurefire.net/2016/03/duncan-testament.html) from Eibonvale Press, a novel that “rewrites and intersperses the Gospels with commentary from an unnamed author, and if the product is not necessarily new, it is nonetheless absorbing.”

I find it hard to imagine myself reading this one, but if it’s your cup of tea, it comes with a pretty strong endorsement from Cait (who is an excellent and demanding reviewer).
Title: Re: TFF Reviews
Post by: Djibril on March 19, 2016, 01:59:47 pm
Wendy Bousfield reviews Jeff Gardiner's The Law of Chaos: the Multiverse of Michael Moorcock (http://reviews.futurefire.net/2016/03/gardiner-law-of-chaos.html) from Headpress books, a critical reception of the works of Moorcock which argues that the “Multiverse” is the lens through which best to see and understand his writings from the 1950s to today. A completist work that “finds important commonalities in a diverse, extensive body of work” [but] “neither energizes nor engrosses the reader.”
Title: Reviewing opportunity!
Post by: Djibril on March 20, 2016, 05:39:11 pm
Intermezzo:

We've just sent out this month’s listing of titles available for review to the TFF-R (http://reviews.futurefire.net/) reviews team. If there are any reviewers out there who might be interested in taking a look and reviewing something for us, please give me a shout (email nonfiction@futurefire.net, or comment here).
Title: Re: TFF Reviews
Post by: Djibril on March 22, 2016, 11:20:17 pm
Andy Sawyer reviews Nick Wood's Azanian Bridges (http://reviews.futurefire.net/2016/03/wood-azanian-bridges.html) from Newcon Press, an alternative history set in a South Africa in which apartheid never fell. "There is much to enjoy in this perceptive tale," and "the learning process comes from reading and enjoying the story." Highly recommended.
Title: Re: TFF Reviews
Post by: Djibril on April 08, 2016, 02:26:32 pm
Małgorzata Mika reviews Gareth Durasow’s Endless Running Games (http://reviews.futurefire.net/2016/04/durasow-endless-running-games.html),  SF/fantasy poetry collection from Dog Horn Publishing, which invites a reader into a world which Alice would find more daunting than the Queen’s Croquet Ground…
Title: Re: TFF Reviews
Post by: Djibril on April 14, 2016, 09:21:48 pm
Cait Coker reviews Kate Forsyth's The Rebirth of Rapunzel: A Mythic Biography of the Maiden in the Tower (http://reviews.futurefire.net/2016/04/forsyth-rebirth-of-rapunzel.html), a collection of essays from Fablecroft Publishing, that also contains a translation of one of the first written versions of the Rapunzel story: Charlotte-Rose de la Force’s ‘Persinette.’ Cait calls this “a fascinating and readable collection […]. I highly recommend it for anyone interested in fairy tales, genre, or honestly, just writing.”
Title: Re: TFF Reviews
Post by: Djibril on May 11, 2016, 10:50:43 pm
Andy Sawyer reviews Peter Tieryas’s United States of Japan (http://reviews.futurefire.net/2016/05/tieryas-united-states-of-japan.html), from Angry Robot Books, an obvious comparison to PK Dick’s Man in the High Castle in that it tells of an alternate history of the USA where Japan won WW2. Andy examines some weaknesses of the premise as well as strengths of the book in its own terms (Mecha-warfare being high among them!) and concludes that “the novel is both very like Dick and not at all like The Man in the High Castle, and Peter Tieryas has done well in acknowledging influence and remaining determined to be his own man.”
Title: Re: TFF Reviews
Post by: Djibril on May 18, 2016, 11:31:50 pm
Rachel Verkade reviews Joel Lane's posthumous Scar City (http://reviews.futurefire.net/2016/05/lane-scar-city.html), a dark, bleak and pessimistic collection, through which the author's humanity an compassion nevertheless shine, and which she describes as “a fitting epitaph to a man well-acquainted with the sadness and loneliness inherent in the world.”
Title: Re: TFF Reviews
Post by: Djibril on May 26, 2016, 11:03:15 pm
TFF-R’s Małgorzata Mika reviews Ana Matronic’s Robot Universe. Legendary Automatons and Androids from the Ancient World to the Distant Future (http://reviews.futurefire.net/2016/05/matronic-robot-universe.html), a beautiful coffee-table book from the Scissor Sisters-frontwoman, divided more or less equally between science fictional and fantastical robots from cinema and other fiction, and the most advanced robots and automata from experimental and commercial ventures in our own world. Małgorzata found this book not entirely academically rigorous or well-structured, but that is not its point: it is an engaging and entertaining read, provoking the imagination and awakening curiosity…
Title: Re: TFF Reviews
Post by: Djibril on June 08, 2016, 09:56:39 pm
Kate Onyett reviews Kevin McAllion’s Moristoun (http://reviews.futurefire.net/2016/06/mcallion-moristoun.html), from Austin Macauley, the story of an island populated entirely by the afterlife of Scottish suicides. Kate found this less bleak than expected, and concludes that “although the similes may get a little dense in places, the premise is sustained, and charmingly so, with great aplomb.”
Title: Re: TFF Reviews
Post by: Djibril on June 15, 2016, 10:56:53 pm
Wendy Bousfield reviews Lavie Tidhar’s Central Station (http://reviews.futurefire.net/2016/06/tidhar-central-station.html), a fantastically inventive, anarchic, strangely-not-dystopian future novel set at the first space station, among a multi-ethnic and multi-lingual community on the borders of Jaffa and Tel Aviv. Tidhar has not only created a world where humanity is in the process of being transformed, evolved by immersive, telepathic net connection; has not only created not one but two syntactically consistent future languages, but he has also written a literary masterpiece that, Wendy feels, deserves to be read much more widely than the speculative fiction circles in which he is recognized.
Title: Re: TFF Reviews
Post by: Djibril on June 29, 2016, 09:01:28 pm
This week Margrét Helgadóttir reviews Anne Michaud’s Whispered Echoes: An urban fantasy (http://reviews.futurefire.net/2016/06/michaud-whispered-echoes.html), the first volume in a five-part YA epic about a young ghost seer learning that she has a part to play in a fight against supernatural evil and a rogue mental institution. Margrét found it a bit short, but concludes that it is nevertheless “a good start to a series, and if you like paranormal stories, strong girls, mysteries and haunting tales, this is worth your time.”
Title: Re: TFF Reviews
Post by: Djibril on July 05, 2016, 10:46:34 pm
Kate Onyett reviews Bonnie Jo Stufflebeam and Peter Brewer’s Strange Monsters: (http://reviews.futurefire.net/2016/07/stufflebeam-and-brewer-strange-monsters.html) A Music & Words Collaboration. The poems speak of “finding voice, of rising above confusion, of making one’s own way,” and are accompanied by music, “good: with discordant jazz and mood rhythms, it disturbs a placid listening experience, edgifying it and making it an active effort to hold onto ideas.”
Title: Re: TFF Reviews
Post by: Djibril on July 14, 2016, 09:02:38 pm
Kathryn Allan reviews Walidah Imarisha & adrienne maree brown’s Octavia’s Brood: Science Fiction Stories from Social Justice Movements (http://reviews.futurefire.net/2016/07/imarisha-brown-octavias-brood.html) from AK Press. A book that did not start as science fiction that addressed social issues, as we’re familiar with, but that started as social activism and dared to dream with a literary boldness we normally think of as reserved for we SF and fantasy types… As the editor puts it: “Whenever we try to envision a world without war, without violence, without prisons, without capitalism, we are engaging in speculative fiction.” Kathryn concludes that “the stories in Octavia’s Brood are the strongest when read together; they each give definition to the shape of social justice movements today and spin out worlds they hope to make in the future.”
Title: Re: TFF Reviews
Post by: Djibril on July 23, 2016, 02:51:07 pm
Cait Coker reviews Anna Kyle, Omega Rising (http://reviews.futurefire.net/2016/07/kyle-omega-rising.html) from World Weaver Press, a paranormal romance in the blockbuster and popcorn vein, but which labours less over the erotic content and the relationship drama than usual for the genre, and although Cait feels that “if you like the genre you will probably like it,” she also concludes that this slightly more sober approach may also make it a good gateway into the genre if you're not already an aficionado, but willing to give it a try.
Title: Re: TFF Reviews
Post by: Djibril on July 28, 2016, 10:40:28 pm
Valeria Vitale reviews Aliya Whiteley’s Skein Island (http://reviews.futurefire.net/2016/07/whiteley-skein-island.html) from Dog Horn Publishing, a supernatural mystery novel that combines the investigation of uncommon events with the investigation of the characters’ feelings and motivations, but perhaps mostly about the power of stories, and how they shape our lives and our perception of the world…
Title: Re: TFF Reviews
Post by: Djibril on August 03, 2016, 09:41:52 pm
Cait Coker reviews Margrét Helgadóttir and Jo Thomas's edited anthology African Monsters (http://reviews.futurefire.net/2016/08/helgadottir-and-thomas-african-monsters.html) from Fox Spirit books, BFA nominee and a very strong collection told through the dual lenses of horror and dark fantasy. Cait considered this to be “something of an exploratory volume: readers will get the most out of it if they go in wanting something different, rather than just a preconceived idea of genre or of monsters themselves.”
Title: Re: TFF Reviews
Post by: Djibril on August 11, 2016, 03:25:25 pm
Djibril reviews L.S. Johnson’s Vacui Magia: Stories (http://reviews.futurefire.net/2016/08/johnson-vacui-magia.html), self-published in her Traversing Z Press, a high quality collection of mostly horror reprints from great venues such as Crossed Genres Magazine, Strange Horizons and Interzone. I was impressed from the start by the grim, uncompromising, unromantic darkness of these fantasy tales, often pitting a woman protagonist against a cold, ugly, unfair world, in which magic may be a respite or rescue, but more often is just another layer of ugliness and oppression to be survived. Like the best of horror and fantasy writing, the terrors and monsters and atrocities that we suffer teach us about ourselves; they are a form of catharsis, an imagined violent response to injustice that better enables us to stand up and respond forcefully, unflinchingly (if hopefully less viciously) against injustice and suffering. Johnson’s Vacui Magia is a book that never goes quietly, and it is wonderful for it.
Title: Re: TFF Reviews
Post by: Djibril on August 22, 2016, 12:15:02 am
Wendy Bousfield reviews Margrét Helgadóttir’s edited Winter Tales (http://reviews.futurefire.net/2016/08/helgadottir-winter-tales.html), an anthology of cold-themed horror fiction from acclaimed Fox Spirit Books. Wendy had a certain amount of criticism for the anthology as a whole, but had very good things to say about outstanding stories by G. H. Finn and Masimba Musodza, which will stay with her long after reading.
Title: Re: TFF Reviews
Post by: Djibril on August 25, 2016, 12:24:40 am
Cait Coker reviews Brian Hastings’s Song of the Deep (http://reviews.futurefire.net/2016/08/hastings-song-of-deep.html) from Sterling Children’s Books, an illustrated chapter book for younger readers and a tie-in to the video game of the same name (which stands alone, however). A surprisingly deep fairy tale about family, the lingering effects of war, and ecology, which Cait found thoughtful, and much of which will resonate long after the first reading.
Title: Re: TFF Reviews
Post by: Djibril on September 02, 2016, 12:14:49 am
Djibril reviews N.A. Ratnayake’s Red Soil Through Our Fingers (http://reviews.futurefire.net/2016/08/ratnayake-red-soil-through-our-fingers.html), a gripping, powerful and sympathetic novel of Mars colonization and megacorp exploitation, informed by deep understanding of and research into both engineering and geopolitics, and populated with sometimes likeable, usually believable characters. It is a rather short novel, but while I felt that the setting, personae and intrigue would easily have supported a much longer outing, there was no need to pad things any further, and a reader doesn’t feel short-changed. There will be sequels.
Title: Re: TFF Reviews
Post by: Djibril on September 08, 2016, 05:48:29 pm
Cait Coker reviews Vanessa Fogg’s The Lilies of Dawn (http://reviews.futurefire.net/2016/09/fogg-lilies-of-dawn.html), a wonderful fantasy novella that is “exactly the right size for the story that it wants to tell, a deliciously atmospheric tale that blends fairy tale and fantasy.” Cait admires Vanessa’s ability to take a dire dilemma and submit it to the reader “without rendering it utterly bleak, and indeed, leaving something like hope. This is no small feat; far from it. Fogg is an incredible writer,” [we (http://futurefire.net/2015.32/fiction/disconnected.html) agree (http://futurefire.net/2016.37/fiction/wave.html)] “and I look forward to more of her work.”
Title: Re: TFF Reviews
Post by: Djibril on September 15, 2016, 11:11:46 pm
Małgorzata Mika reviews Andrew Hook’s punkPunk! (http://reviews.futurefire.net/2016/09/andrew-hook-punkpunk.html) from Dog Horn Publishing, which came out last year. An anthology that simultaneously eschews nostalgia, and relies on the remembered Zeitgeist of the 1970s, it may not have been entirely to Małgorzata’s taste, but she concludes that “fervent punk devotees will surely find value in the publication” if they use a combination of punk nostalgia and ideology, and the tenacity to cherish the gems in the volume such as Thompson’s and Palmer’s speculative and experimental stories.
Title: Re: TFF Reviews
Post by: Djibril on September 22, 2016, 11:15:40 pm
Cait Coker reviews Karen Vaughn’s A Kiss for a Dead Film Star and Other Stories (http://reviews.futurefire.net/2016/09/vaughn-kiss-for-dead-film-star.html), a short story collection that treats “the seeming inextricability of the forces of love and death, of eros and thanatos.” Cait loved almost every piece, although none of them were easy to read, and her review sums up a collection of stories that is “much heavier than this slight volume should allow, and each of them packs an emotional punch.”

I think I'll track this one down as well…
Title: Re: TFF Reviews
Post by: Djibril on September 29, 2016, 09:38:54 pm
Don Riggs reviews Patrick Hemstreet’s The God Wave (http://reviews.futurefire.net/2016/09/hemstreet-god-wave.html), a new novel from HarperVoyager, in the vein of golden age SF, that reminded Don of Asimov and company “both in positive and negative ways.” Despite some stylistic clunkiness (a lot of tell over show), he concludes by recommending this “rapidly moving, plot-driven novel with an underlying thematic focus on issues that are already significant in our increasingly technologized culture.”
Title: Re: TFF Reviews
Post by: Djibril on October 06, 2016, 02:23:22 pm
Rachel Verkade reviews Rhonda Parrish's Sirens (http://reviews.futurefire.net/2016/10/rhonda-parrish-sirens.html), an anthology published by World Weaver Press that collects stories of the mythical Sirens, who appear in versions that "run the gamut from benign to malicious, monstrous to elegant." Rachel was impressed by the strength of all stories in this anthology, even the weakest of which were "well-written, fun to read, and contained some intriguing ideas." Other monster-themed anthologies to follow.
Title: Re: TFF Reviews
Post by: Djibril on October 24, 2016, 10:38:52 pm
Djibril reviews Cirsova: Heroic Fantasy and Science Fiction Magazine #2 (http://reviews.futurefire.net/2016/10/cirsova-2.html), a rather retro offering of adventure fantasy and raygun romance with stories ranging from entertaining and mainly perfectly competent to a bit shoddy or in the worst case frankly offensive. If this is the sort of thing you like, I'm sure you'll like this; if it isn't, it'll remind you why you don't! Well produced and serious magazine, with some nice variety in length and medium as well (a mini RPG scenario closes out the issue).
Title: Re: TFF Reviews
Post by: Djibril on October 30, 2016, 05:26:43 pm
Andy Sawyer reviews Alvaro Zinos-Amaro, Traveler of Worlds: Conversations With Robert Silverberg (http://reviews.futurefire.net/2016/10/zinos-amaro-silverberg-traveler.html), a collection of interviews, conversations, recollections and musings that reminds Andy that we should all have read more of this prolific author's positively industrial output. “We might all benefit from his observations, and we certainly benefit from his fiction,” Andy concludes. “It’s good of Alvaro Zinos-Amaro to show us why.”
Title: Re: TFF Reviews
Post by: Djibril on November 13, 2016, 08:03:40 pm
Małgorzata Mika reviews Kelly Ann Jacobson’s Dear Robot: An Anthology of Epistolary Science Fiction (http://reviews.futurefire.net/2016/11/jacobson-dear-robot.html), a collection of diverse, sometimes amusing, sometimes transformative stories that “forge a unique bond with readers” through “insightful probing of characters.” Małgorzata recommends these stories whether you want to be entertained, to admire style and form, or to be improved…
Title: Re: TFF Reviews
Post by: Djibril on November 16, 2016, 11:31:03 pm
Rachel Verkade reviews Michael Scott and Melanie Ruth Rose's Mirror Image (http://reviews.futurefire.net/2016/11/scott-rose-mirror-image.html) from Tor, a fairly classic horror novel about a haunted mirror and the greedy antique dealer who unwittingly unleashes it on the world. Rachel had some issues with characterisation (especially of women), but ultimately this was “a good, fun, quick read, but don’t expect anything of real substance.”
Title: Re: TFF Reviews
Post by: Djibril on November 23, 2016, 09:42:03 pm
Cait Coker reviews Cherie Priest’s The Family Plot (http://reviews.futurefire.net/2016/11/priest-family-plot.html) from Tor, a perfectly spooky ghost story, “both for people who love ghost stories and for those who may be more reluctant to try the genre.” Cait observes that Priest is underrated as a prose stylist, and this novel captures the Southern Gothic sensibility beautifully.
Title: Re: TFF Reviews
Post by: Djibril on January 15, 2017, 05:22:24 pm
Rachel Verkade reviews Alison Littlewood’s The Hidden People (http://reviews.futurefire.net/2017/01/littlewood-hidden-people.html) from Jo Fletcher Books, and reports that this is a tightly plotted and crafted horror mystery, written with masterful pastiche of Victorian language and mentality, red herrings and twist ending, combing to a rich and intriguing story.
Title: Re: TFF Reviews
Post by: Djibril on November 05, 2017, 04:54:26 pm
Valeria Vitale reviews Malcolm Devlin’s weird short story collection You Will Grow Into Them (http://reviews.futurefire.net/2017/10/devlin-you-will-grow-into-them.html) from Unsung Stories, and celebrates that the “weirdness” that populates Devlin’s stories is the kind that she enjoys the most: “not necessarily the gory and horrific but more the sinister, the ambiguous, the eerie, the unexplained and the inexplicable.”

Sounds like an excellent collection!
Title: Re: TFF Reviews
Post by: Djibril on January 03, 2018, 08:16:04 pm
Djibril reviews Kristine Ong Muslim’s The Drone Outside (http://reviews.futurefire.net/2017/12/muslim-drone-outside.html), the first in the new line of chapbooks from Eibonvale Press. This volume of nine interrelated flash stories gives us “snippets of life during or after the apocalypse, told from unusual points of view, or with surreal narrative, or or evidencing unexpected scenarios of death, destruction and post-humanity.” An excellent read, great value, and produced to Eibonvale’s usual high editorial standards.
Title: Re: TFF Reviews
Post by: Djibril on January 08, 2018, 06:30:29 pm
Andy Sawyer reviews James W. Greenfield’s The Time Machine (http://reviews.futurefire.net/2017/12/greenfield-time-machine.html), a 90-minute musical version of H.G. Wells's classic (inspired of course by the musical War of the Worlds). Andy gives a detailed and sensitive —and not uncritical—reading of the album, and concludes, “If it sounds snide to Greenfield to say that The Time Machine sounds in places like it is a demo for an unproduced Big Theatre musical show, then can I say that I would really like to see that show.”
Title: Re: TFF Reviews
Post by: Djibril on January 18, 2018, 10:35:41 pm
Cait Coker reviews Margrét Helgadóttir's, Pacific Monsters (http://reviews.futurefire.net/2018/01/helgadottir-pacific-monsters.html), the fourth anthology in Fox Spirit's Books of Monsters series, volumes which “decolonize the monstrous of the popular imagination and pop culture,” and “showcase fiction across the spectrum of speculative fiction genres that feature creatures drawn from the localized myth and folklore of other cultures.” Cait is impressed by this eclectic collection of tales, and we look forward to the next three outings in the series.
Title: Re: TFF Reviews
Post by: Djibril on February 23, 2018, 03:16:32 pm
Valeria Vitale reviews Nate Crowley, 100 Best Video Games (That Never Existed) (http://reviews.futurefire.net/2018/02/crowley-100-best-video-games.html) from Solaris Books, a volume of (as it says on the tin!) video game concepts invented entirely by the author—and illustrated by a series of digital artists and game designers. She points out that the books is "unusual […] whimsical, sometimes borderline stupid […] close to the dad-jokes zone. But […] also entertaining, and truly amusing." We have a soft spot for these kind of satirical, "non"-fiction storytelling motifs here at TFF…
Title: Re: TFF Reviews
Post by: Rolnikov on February 24, 2018, 12:04:15 am
I thought that sounded interesting - Valeria mentions Borges, and I was thinking of Stanislaw Lem's A Perfect Vacuum. When I was writing fake reviews of real books for my Comic Relief project last year, what I found hardest was making it obvious that the reviews were fake.
Title: Re: TFF Reviews
Post by: Djibril on February 28, 2018, 04:47:57 pm
That's a good point. Reviews of fake titles are easier in a way—you can either exaggerate them to the point of grotesqueness to make the satirical nature clear, or you can decide that no harm, no foul: if someone thinks it's real they're not going to be able to buy the book by accident anyway. (or boycott the book, if you've slated it…)

How did you make it clear they were fake? (Without, presumably, saying so overtly.)
Title: Re: TFF Reviews
Post by: Rolnikov on March 01, 2018, 08:17:26 am
I tried to exaggerate, but at least one review had people saying that I must have read the book... There was another that was of a very old non-fiction book that had no information easily accessible on the internet, so with that I felt a responsibility to at least make sure the review contained true facts about it. It was fun, though, and I might do it again next Comic Relief. Might be an easier sell now that there are previous examples to point to.
Title: Re: TFF Reviews
Post by: Djibril on March 30, 2018, 06:20:21 pm
Cait Coker reviews Dracula: Rise of the Beast edited by David Thomas Moore (http://reviews.futurefire.net/2018/03/moore-dracula-rise-of-beast.html) and published by Abaddon Books, an anthology of stories that follow the legendary Transylvanian vampire through history (not in a single ‘mosaic’ novel, however). Cait concludes that “while the authors’ willingness (or not) to push back against established narratives and characterizations varies, they all bring thoughtful engagement to both Stoker and Vlad Tepes.”
Title: Re: TFF Reviews
Post by: Djibril on July 10, 2018, 02:38:37 pm
Lisa Timpf reviews E.J. Swift's Paris Adrift (http://reviews.futurefire.net/2018/04/swift-paris-adrift.html) (from Solaris Books), a time-travel adventure switching between postapocalyptic and dystopian futures to alternative historical Paris. Lisa summarises that: "Engaging and authentic description, a sense of mystery, and even a touch of romance—there’s a lot to like in this well-written, nuanced novel."
Title: Re: TFF Reviews
Post by: Djibril on August 18, 2018, 02:12:57 pm
Djibril reviews ​Scott Gable & C. Dombrowski (edd.), Ride the Star Wind: Cthulhu, Space Opera, and the Cosmic Weird (http://reviews.futurefire.net/2018/07/gable-dombrowski-ride-star-wind-2017.html), from Broken Eye Books. This anthology brings together a nice mix of stories that combine Lovecraftian Weird with far future galaxy-spanning space travel, and while neither is this a particular new concept, nor did I find many of the stories to be outstandingly excellent, the volume as a whole is worth reading and a lot of fun. The best stories manage to subvert HPL's mythology in postcolonial and multicultural flavours…
Title: Re: TFF Reviews
Post by: Djibril on August 18, 2018, 03:13:40 pm
Andy Sawyer reviews Tom Johnstone's How I Learned the Truth About Krampus (http://reviews.futurefire.net/2018/07/johnstone-how-i-learned-truth-about.html), a chapbook from Eibonvale Press. On the surface a simple, Lovecraftian story, its undercurrents last rather longer in the memory, Andy wasn't sure if his (desperately sad) reading of the end of the story was correct, but either way this is a superior folk-horror story.
Title: Re: TFF Reviews
Post by: Djibril on August 18, 2018, 04:39:12 pm
Valeria Vitale reviews William Meikle's The Ghost Club: Newly Found Tales of Victorian Terror (http://reviews.futurefire.net/2018/08/meikle-ghost-club.html) from Crystal Lake Publishing. A fun project, combining fakery and ghosts, and although the selection of authors to pastiche and stories for them to tell leans to the clichéd and sometimes even unimaginative, the execution is exquisite, and it is an impressive achievement overall.