Two thumbs up for The Jinn-Bot of Shantiport by Samit Basu. Science fiction.
“Aladdin” meets Snow Crash, with a brother and sister as the leads—a cyborg monkey and a beautiful human travel guide—narrated by a friendly piece of alien intelligence who is trying so very hard. Among all the books I read this year, this one brought me the most pure joy.… >> Read more
Neither thumbs up nor thumbs down for Immortal Longings by Chloe Gong. Science fiction.
A Hunger Games knockoff with a 90’s cyberpunk movie vibe. An ambitious failure of a book. I had fun reading it only because I kept reminding myself not to think about anything. So I don’t regret the time I spent reading it, but I’ll also say: you can do better.… >> Read more
Two thumbs up for The City Inside by Samit Basu. Science fiction.
A very-near-future science fiction novella set in Delhi, in which a Reality Manager (read: celebrity social media producer) and a rich family’s black sheep get pulled into multiple conspiracies. Reading this reminded me of Snow Crash more than any other book: it is dense with invention, utterly plausible in its view of the future, and bleakly hilarious due to that very plausibility.… >> Read more
Thumbs up for Translation State by Ann Leckie. Science fiction.
If you’ve read Ann Leckie’s Imperial Raadch trilogy, don’t miss this. (If you like science fiction and haven’t read the Imperial Raadch trilogy, what is wrong with you? Go read it!) This is a weird but excellent standalone in the same universe. I say weird because there are flesh-eating aliens, yet the feeling I had when I walked away was “that was so wholesome”?… >> Read more
Thumbs down for A Psalm for the Wild-Built by Becky Chambers. Science fiction.
My coworker sold this one to me with the description “it’s about a monk who serves tea and a robot” and that sounded delightful. But…what a frustrating book. I do love cozy books. But I like books that are cozy because the characters are competent and kind, not because nothing bad happens.… >> Read more
Thumbs up for Poster Girl by Veronica Roth. Science fiction.
I subscribed to the FairyLoot Adult Fantasy box out of curiosity, but when I saw that the theme for November was “Dystopian” I sighed. The last dystopian story I read and enjoyed was Veronica Roth’s Divergent trilogy when I was in my twenties. I’m over it. And then I opened the box, and saw Roth’s name, and I liked the premise: the literal poster girl for the last, defunct dystopia is given a chance to get out of prison by solving a missing person case.… >> Read more
Two thumbs up for Stations of the Tide by Michael Swanwick. Science fiction.
After I finished Dune I picked up Stations of the Tide, which was an unintentionally funny back-to-back read, as Dune is about desert ecology and Stations of the Tide is a very, very wet book. It takes place on a planet being evacuated in preparation for its bicentennial inundation: an ice cap is melting and soon the planet will be an ocean.… >> Read more