The Sound of Useless Wings January 28, 2015 The Sound of Useless Wings Cecil Castellucci Of insect dreams and breaking hearts. Damage January 21, 2015 Damage David D. Levine Concerning a spaceship's conscience. And the Burned Moths Remain January 14, 2015 And the Burned Moths Remain Benjanun Sriduangkaew Treason is a trunk of thorns. A Beautiful Accident January 7, 2015 A Beautiful Accident Peter Orullian A Sheason story.
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Showing posts by: Mahvesh Murad click to see Mahvesh Murad's profile
Dec 16 2014 11:00am

Under the Radar: The Books That Pinged

Under the Radar best of 2014

Throughout the year, we’ve been taking turns with the Under the Radar column—looking at recent works that, despite being awesome, may have gone unnoticed by many readers (including us!). As we’re at the end of the year—and the end of our first year (woohoo!)—this seems the perfect occasion to kick back and think about what we’ve learned.

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Dec 11 2014 10:00am

Under the Radar: Things We Found During the Autopsy

Things We Found During the Autopsy Kuzhali ManickavelSometimes you come across stories that are so beautiful and unsettling and weird and wonderful, stories that defy description and explanation, that you wonder why you’ve never read Kuzhali Manickavel before. A writer of short fiction (so far), who is based in Bangalore, Manickavel seems to excel at balancing strange, bizarre scenarios with turbulent, fraught emotion.

Her most recent collection of shorts, Things We Found During the Autopsy, has been published by Chennai indie press Blaft, and it’s just really, really intriguing in the best possible way.

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Nov 5 2014 2:00pm

Under the Radar: Gulab by Annie Zaidi

Gulab Annie ZaidiWhile genre literature in the subcontinent is now being published more frequently, it isn’t all that often that you come across a ghost story that reminds you (in the best of ways) of those that filled the pages of Urdu digests and magazines from a couple of decades ago. Bombay-based writer Annie Zaidi’s novella Gulab is one such story—clever, funny, and of course, creepy.

Gulab starts with a very unlikely romantic hero—the lead protagonist Nikunj is a sweaty, whiny man packed tight in a formal suit while attempting to say goodbye to the one true love of his life, Saira. Having assumed she had died in an earthquake many years ago when the building she lived in collapsed, Nikunj is shocked when he receives a telegram informing him of her death and burial.

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Oct 28 2014 2:00pm

Holocaust Noir: A Man Lies Dreaming by Lavie Tidhar

A Man Lies Dreaming by Lavie TidharLondon, 1939. A low-rent private eye called Wolf is barely eking out a living on the dirty streets of a city swarming with refugees, mostly “Austrians and Germans displaced by the Fall, rejected by the nations of Europe until they had made their way, in one secret form or another, across the Channel into England…without papers, without hope.” Wolf himself is a refugee, a broken shadow of the man he used to be, with few dreams and aspirations and barely enough work or money to survive the coming winter. When a wealthy Jewish heiress walks into his office and hires him to find her sister, Wolf swallows his hatred for the Jewish people and takes on a job that leads him deep into London’s seedy underground. It’s a perfect noir set up that twists suddenly when you realise that Wolf is a translation of Adolf.

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Oct 17 2014 10:00am

Under the Radar: Sultana’s Dream

Sultana's Dream Rokeya Sekhawat Hossain

There are a few texts that come up again and again in discussions of early feminist utopian fiction—Man’s Rights by Annie Denton Cridge from 1870, Mizora, by Mary E Bradley Lane from 1880-81, Arqtiq by Anna Adolph from 1899 and perhaps most famously, Charlotte Gilman’s Herland from 1905.

But these were all stories from the western world, stories that were part of a surge of utopian fiction written by women leading up to the women’s Suffrage movement of the early twentieth century. But what of the east? What of the countries that were not just weighed down by patriarchy, but colonialism as well? Did any of them create any important feminist narratives?

[As it happens, they did.]

Oct 13 2014 8:00am

The Doubt Factory by Paolo Bacigalupi

The Doubt Factory Paolo Bacigalupi review

Disclaimer: I’ve been a fan of Paolo Bacigalupi’s writing for years, starting with his multi-award winning novel The Windup Girl.

I’ve particularly enjoyed his previous YA novels, Shipbreaker and The Drowned Cities. I’ve laughed and whole-heartedly agreed with the smart, funny middle grade novel he wrote last year, Zombie Baseball Beatdown. I’ve interviewed him a number of times and have previously found him to be a writer of solid prose whose books are always on the ball thematically—whether it’s a sociopolitical comment about child soldiers and war, a bio-punk exploration of climate change or a hilarious comic adventure centred around a meat processing plant.

So I went into his new YA novel The Doubt Factory with excitement. What a great title! ‘You Believe What They Want You To Believe’—what a great tag line! Perhaps I was expecting too much, perhaps I was expecting more of what I was familiar with and perhaps that was wrong, but The Doubt Factory left me disappointed.

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Sep 4 2014 10:00am

Blood Magic: Crafting Kameron Hurley’s The Mirror Empire

Kameron Hurley The Mirror EmpireWorlds are colliding. The fabric of time and space is being torn apart and reknit into a mirror that reflects the very worst. A young girl dreams of finding her mother. A warrior questions her loyalties and her empress. A man has no choice but to take over his sister’s role and be a leader. Thousands of the weakest race are mercilessly slaughtered by those who could offer them protection. The satellites rise and fall in the sky, bringing and taking away the powers of those connected to them. There is magic in blood, danger in plants, threats from wild beasts and fear in every breath.

‘Oma, the dark star, was creeping back into orbit. The worlds were coming together again far sooner than anyone anticipated.’ And that’s just the start of it all.

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Jul 30 2014 2:00pm

Dream a Little Dream: Broken Monsters by Lauren Beukes

Broken Monsters Lauren Beukes review US coverThe urban grit, filth and despair of a city that has come apart at the seams, making it ‘the number-one Death-of-America pilgrimage destination’. Detroit, a city filled with places that are a shadow of what they used to be, a ‘sprawling waste of it. Broken bricks and concrete pillars holding up the sky’ with everything ‘choked with weeds and graffiti.’ The many, many abandoned homes and factories have now become transient spaces, neither living nor dead but just silently waiting in limbo—blighted and lonely.

In Lauren Beukes’ new novel, Broken Monsters, these places are doorways, thresholds between planes; even chalk-drawn outlines of doors on walls are slick membranes between realities and dreams. Amongst the decrepitude of Detroit there remains a desire, a dream trying to break through to the surface though ‘it feels suffocated by the rigidity of the world. And yet…there is evidence of the dreaming everywhere. There is a world beneath the world that is rich and tangled with meaning.’ It is this world that failed sculptor Clayton Boom is trying to bring to life with horrific taxidermy, clay, and murder most foul.

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Jul 24 2014 1:00pm

Under the Radar: Hoshruba: The Land and the Tilism

Imagine a magical realm, an alternate plane called a tilism, with a pre-ordained, limited life span. At its very creation, it is known that one day the land will all be unravelled by one man.

Within the tilism, called Hoshruba, ‘sorcerers exercised powers that defied the laws of God and the physical world. They created illusions, transferred spirits between bodies, transmuted matter, made talismans, and configured and exploited Earth’s inherent physical forces to create extraordinary marvels.’ They did all this knowing it would all come to an end one day. The Emperor Afrasiyab swore to protect the land from its destiny, with all his power.

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Jul 11 2014 10:00am

Under the Radar: The Adventures of Amir Hamza

The Adventures of Amir Hamza Ghalib LakhnaviHere is a story to end all stories, a legendary tale of epic proportions, a fantastic riot of a narrative that even in its English translation retains the idiom and rhythm of its original oral form.

It follows the complicated adventures of one man, a hero to conquer all heroes, a man predestined to be ‘The Quake of Qaf, the Latter-day Sulaiman, the World Conqueror, the Lord of the Auspicious Planetary Conjunction, the Slayer of Sly Ifrit, and a believer in God Almighty—Amir Hamza.’

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