Daughter of Necessity October 1, 2014 Daughter of Necessity Marie Brennan Tell me, O Muse, of that ingenious heroine... Midway Relics and Dying Breeds September 24, 2014 Midway Relics and Dying Breeds Seanan McGuire Between the roots and the sky. The Golden Apple of Shangri-La September 23, 2014 The Golden Apple of Shangri-La David Barnett A Gideon Smith story. Selfies September 17, 2014 Selfies Lavie Tidhar Smile for the camera.
From The Blog
September 29, 2014
Powerful Words:The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy
Anton Strout
September 29, 2014
Slarom, the Backward Morals of Fairytales
Jack Heckel
September 25, 2014
After Paris: Meta, Irony, Narrative, Frames, and The Princess Bride
Jo Walton
September 23, 2014
It’s All About the Benjamins in Sleepy Hollow: “This is War”
Leah Schnelbach
September 23, 2014
The Death of Adulthood in American Culture: Nerd Culture Edition
Lindsay Ellis
Showing posts by: Michael M Jones click to see Michael M Jones's profile
Fri
Feb 28 2014 5:30pm

Tropical Island Getaway: Nil by Lynne Matson

Nil Lynne Matson review

It all starts when teenager Charley Crowder is snatched out of her ordinary life by a mysterious portal. She’s deposited, naked and confused, in the middle of nowhere on what turns out to be an island not located on any map or chart. Rather than lay down and die, she struggles to survive, and after several weeks, she discovers, much to her surprise, that she’s not alone.

She’s quickly integrated into a community of fellow castaways, other teens stolen from around the world. She’s informed that the island has a name—Nil—and that the only way off is through a portal such as the one that brought her there in the first place. And while Nil, which seems to be at least partially sentient and somewhere between capricious and malevolent, has many rules for survival, the big one is this: if you don’t find your way home within a year, you die. Simple as that. Suddenly, the clock is ticking.

[A Review]

Wed
Feb 26 2014 6:00pm

Smells Like Nirvana: Teen Spirit by Francesa Lia Block

Teen Spirit Francesca Lia Block

In the wake of her beloved grandmother’s death, Julie’s life seems to crumble. Her mother, a staff writer for a television show, is laid off; without the income, they lose their house and move into an apartment, leaving behind the comfortable home Julie had always known. The one bright spot, as she starts at a new high school, is her new friend Clark, whose cheery nature and odd hats stand out against the conformity of the other students.

As Julie attempts to put her life into a semblance of order, her friendship with Clark grows, as does her mother’s attraction to entirely unsuitable guys. With her home life a disappointment, Julie reaches out in another direction: to the spirit world. But when her attempt to contact her grandmother doesn’t get the desired results, Julie figures that’s that. Right? Then she meets Clark’s unpredictable, charming twin brother, Grant.

One problem: Grant’s been dead for a year. And he occasionally possesses Clark.

[A Review]

Tue
Feb 25 2014 5:30pm

Once Upon a Time in the Weird West: Peacemaker by K. A. Stewart

Peacemaker KA Stewart

When federal Peacemaker Caleb Marcus and his whiskey-drinking jackalope familiar ride into the tiny frontier town of Hope on their mechanical horse, they’re looking for a brief stopover on an otherwise boring circuit. What they find is, of course, all manners of trouble.

There’s the constant threat of Native American raids. There’s the mysterious and ominous Abel Warner, whose nearby ranch is almost another settlement in its own right. There’s the ongoing mystery of why local kids are turning up scoured of their innate magical powers. And there’s an odd vibe in the air, like something’s definitely not right. And as a Peacemaker, it’s Caleb’s job to investigate and make right.

[A Review]

Tue
Feb 25 2014 3:00pm

Everybody Must Get Stoned: Half-Off Ragnarok by Seanan McGuire

Half-off Ragnarok Seanan McGuire

Alexander Price is a cryptozoologist, an expert at studying creatures which the real world considers mythological, but which he knows to be all too real. But unlike his sister Verity, who likes urban settings and hangs around with the more humanoid cryptids (as seen in the first two books of the InCryptid series), Alex specializes in reptiles and swamp-dwellers and other such critters.

Under the guise of a visiting researcher, he’s working for the reptile house of the West Columbus Zoo, while secretly masterminding a basilisk breeding program. He’s kinda sorta dating Shelby Tanner, an Australian who specializes in training big cats. You know, the sort who don’t use a litterbox and sleep on your head at night. And the current highlight of his assignment is discovering new breeds of fricken. (Frogs with feathers. No word on how they taste.)

[A review]

Mon
Feb 24 2014 6:00pm

Reach for the Stars: V-S Day by Allen Steele

V-S Day Allen Steele

What if the space race started not in the 1960s, but two decades earlier, during the dawn of World War II? What if America competed, not against the Soviet Union, but against Nazi Germany for that crucial advantage? That’s the underlying difference and premise of Steele’s latest work, a meticulously-researched “novel of alternate history” which diverges based on actual happenings and concepts of the time.

In 1941, the German High Command decides to switch the focus of its research from Werner von Braun’s V-2 rocket program, to Eugen Sanger’s idea for a space-faring plane, the Silbervogel (Silver Bird), which would theoretically be capable of dropping bombs on America from impossibly high up. When the Allies discover the news, they divert their own resources from the Manhattan Project in order to build something capable of intercepting and destroying the Silbervogel. Enter Robert Goddard, whose experience with liquid-fueled rockets provides the backbone of the new project.

[A review]

Mon
Feb 24 2014 3:30pm

The Faerie-Fighting British Buffy: Banished by Liz de Jager

Banished Liz de Jager

As one of the infamous Blackhart family, sixteen-year-old Kit is trained to protect humanity, police the borders between worlds, and fight evil as necessary. While most of the Fae uphold the fragile treaties established, there are always a few bad apples who slip through to make trouble. Kit and the rest of her clan take care of these problems.

She thinks she’s ready for just about anything, especially since she’s the first proper magic-user the family has seen in years. She’s wrong.

[A Review]

Fri
Jan 10 2014 6:00pm

A Kaleidoscope Life: Changers Book One: Drew by T Cooper & Alison Glock

Changers Book One DrewHigh school has a way of changing people and bringing out their essence. But what happens when high school changes you in ways you never even expected? That’s what happens to incoming freshman Ethan, who wakes up on the first day of school to discover that he…has become a she.

Yup. Ethan has transformed overnight into a green-eyed blonde teenage girl, and that’s just the first of many surprises. Her parents give her the quick rundown before sending her off to school. It turns out that she’s part of a race called Changers, and that every year for the next four years, she’ll experience life in a new body, a new identity, and once the cycle is complete, she’ll be able to choose which form to keep permanently. In the meantime…enjoy your new life!

[Read More]

Fri
Jan 10 2014 3:00pm

The Playboy Becomes the Hero: Brazen by Kelley Armstrong

Brazen Kelley Armstrong

What happens when a werewolf better known for his bedroom prowess than his fighting abilities goes after a cunning mastermind? That’s what legendary lothario Nick Sorrentino is about to find out. He’s determined to track down the infamous Malcolm Danvers, a psychotic werewolf with a laundry list of crimes against the Pack and Nick’s friends and family. To that end, he’s enlisted the aid of private investigators and supernatural mercenaries, including a lovely half-demon named Vanessa Callas.

More of an overlong novella than a full book, Brazen is the latest entry in Kelley Armstrong’s popular and long-running Otherworld series (which consists of thirteen novels and numerous short stories). For those already in the know, it comes last in the current chronology, after Thirteen and “From Russia With Love.” Happily, this installment is almost totally accessible for new readers, and actually serves as a suitable and satisfying, if somewhat quick, sample of the overall series. I went into this knowing very little about Armstrong’s work, and had absolutely no trouble picking up the important basics.

[Read More]

Fri
Jan 10 2014 12:00pm

Tomorrow After the End of the World: After edited by Ellen Datlow and Terri Windling

After Ellen Datlow Terri WindlingI wish to open this review of the most recent YA anthology from Ellen Datlow and Terri Windling (lately out in paperback) by quoting from the introduction, as it sums up this book just as well as I could, and far more succinctly.

“We’ve chosen to take a broader road in the creation of this anthology, including both dystopian and post-disaster tales (as well as stories that fall on the spectrum between) in order to reflect the wide range of dyslit beloved by teen readers today...

“Our anthology sprang from a simple idea: to see out writers who share our love for dystopian and post-apocalyptic tales, and to ask them to please write stories for us about what happens after.”

[Read More]

Thu
Jan 9 2014 12:00pm

Missing the Mark: Work Done for Hire by Joe Haldeman

Joe Haldeman Work Done for HireIndustry legend Joe Haldeman, a SFWA Grandmaster who’s won just about every award the field has to offer, multiple times in many cases, goes for something a little bit different in Work Done for Hire, a tense near-future psychological thriller in which a former Army sniper-turned author is drawn into a bizarre game of cat-and-mouse.

Nine years after his injuries earned him an honorable discharge from the military, Jack Daley now ekes out a living as an author. When he’s tapped by a Hollywood hotshot to write a short book as sort of a reverse-novelization for a potential movie, Jack accepts, and not just because of the monumental paycheck involved. Soon, he’s happily penning the story of a P.I. hired to act as bait for a cannibalistic serial killer. Easy money, good times. Until the box shows up on his front porch. Inside is a rifle, a down payment of $10,000 and a note telling him that he must use his sniper talents to kill a man. If Jack doesn’t comply, his girlfriend dies.

[Read More]

Thu
Dec 5 2013 6:00pm

The Triumph of Private Industry: Mars, Inc.: The Billionaire’s Club by Ben Bova

Ben Bova Mars Inc

Arthur “Art” Thrasher, CEO of Thrasher Digital Corporation, has a dream: to take mankind to Mars. But since no single government seems up to the task, with NASA having dropped the ball due to budget cutbacks and so on, and Thrasher doesn’t have the funds necessary to finance his dream himself, he comes up with a new plan. He approaches a number of billionaires—ruthless businessmen and financiers—and hits them up for the 100 billion he estimates it would take. A billion a year for five years for each of them. And Mars would be theirs for the taking.

Even with financing tentatively in place, there’s a million details to be considered over the next five years. Design. Propulsion. Launch capabilities. Orbital mechanics. Crew and personnel. Political hurdles. Industrial sabotage. Economic warfare. Every time Thrasher nails one issue, another pops up. But rest assured, he won’t stop until Mars One has launched on its historical journey.

[Read More]

Fri
Sep 27 2013 4:45pm

Seeking a Boyfriend For the End of the World: Tumble & Fall by Alexandra Coutts

Tumble and Fall Alexandra Coutts

The world is doomed. The asteroid Persephone is on a direct course for Earth, and we’ve run out of options. Mankind has a week left before the end. And yet life goes on…sort of. For several teenagers on a Massachusetts island, that last week will be a time to reflect, to seek out truths and secrets, and to face the fact their lives are over before they’ve even grown up.

Sienna’s father has just announced his remarriage to a woman he recently met, determined to steal a tiny bit of joy while he still can. Sienna, still dealing with medications and therapy in the wake of a stint in rehab, would rather not deal with her father’s new obsession.  When she runs into Owen, a childhood friend, a spark kindles between them and they start a new, fragile romance of their own. But will they be torn apart by familial pressure and obligations?

[Read More]

Thu
Sep 26 2013 2:30pm

Twilight Lite: My Totally Awkward Supernatural Crush by Laura Toffler-Corrie

My Totally Awkward Supernatural Crush

Fourteen-year-old Jenna Bloom is your average ordinary teenage girl. Her family doesn’t understand her, her next door neighbor Jared has an unrequited and unwelcome crush on her, and she’s frequently stuck babysitting the obnoxious David Lipski. All she wants is some fashionable clothes that don’t come from the bulk store, and maybe a boyfriend who appreciates her. Then she meets Luke, a handsome, mysterious young man who first appears as a server at a local restaurant, before popping up in other places, such as school. And then the equally mysterious, yet somehow ominous Adam starts lurking about as well, and suddenly Jenna’s life takes a turn for the weird.

Soon, she learns that Luke is an angel, temporarily assigned to the area for purposes unknown, and Adam is his dark opposite, a being of chaos who wants nothing more than to remain on Earth forever. With a mystic equinox fast approaching, the time for confrontation seems at hand. Only Jenna, who possesses a strange magical medallion passed down through her family for generations, can affect the ultimate outcome. But she’d rather work on costuming for the upcoming production of Fiddler on the Roof, and practice kissing with Luke. What will happen when everything comes together in a messy climax of good versus evil?

[Read More]

Fri
Sep 20 2013 4:00pm

Sliding Into Romance: When the World Was Flat (and We Were in Love) by Ingrid Jonach

When the World Was Flat Ingird JonachApart from her persistent nightmares, in which she repeatedly dreams of her own death in new and horrifying ways at the hands of a hauntingly familiar stranger, high school junior Lillie’s life is fairly normal. She hangs out with her friends—guy-crazy, model-wannabe Sylv and tomboyish, academic-minded Jo—spats with former friend-turned-queen bee Melissa, dabbles in photography, angsts over her less-than-glamorous figure, and worries about the future. In the small town of Green Grove, everyone knows everyone else, and even the smallest bit of change is big news, which is why the arrival of the enigmatic Tom at the start of the school year throws everyone for a loop.

As to be expected, Tom gravitates towards Melissa and her crowd, but something keeps drawing Lillie and Tom together, despite some initial rockiness. It’s not friendship, for he’s continually rude to her. It’s not attraction, for what could he see in a girl like Lillie? It’s not a shared past, for they’ve never met. So why does Tom start featuring in Lillie’s dreams of death and despair? The answers are far stranger than anyone could have expected, and they shatter everything Lillie ever thought she knew about life, love, and the way the universe works.

[Read More]

Wed
Sep 18 2013 5:00pm

Magical Mystery Girl: Conjured by Sarah Beth Durst

Conjured Sarah Beth DurstEve is a girl without a past. All she knows is what she’s been told by the people in charge of keeping her safe. She’s from somewhere else. She’s had multiple surgeries to give her the appearance of a normal teenage girl. She possesses some sort of magic. Every time she uses her powers, she blacks out and is assaulted by horrifying, ominous dreams of a mysterious carnival, a malevolent Magician, and the equally unsettling Storyteller. Every time she blacks out, she loses more of her memory. And someone is after her because she knows something, but she can’t remember what it is. If she follows the rules of witness protection, she’ll be safe...

[Read more]

Wed
Sep 4 2013 5:00pm

Hell is Other People: Happy Hour in Hell by Tad Williams

Tad Williams Happy Hour in Hell Following recent events, the angel Doloriel, also known as Bobby Dollar, is effectively on administrative leave while his inscrutable supervisors in Heaven figure out what to do with him. Now that he doesn’t have to worry about his job of acting as a witness for the newly-deceased, Bobby has plenty of time on his hands. Time spent obsessing over the woman he loves, the demonic Caz, Countess of Cold Hands, last seen being dragged back to Hell by her own boss and ex-lover.

So Bobby decides he’s going to sneak into Hell and rescue Caz. It’s better than sitting around on Earth while a deranged serial killer stalks him, better than worrying about the secret conspiracy hatched between high-ranking angels and demons, better than hiding from one threat or another. Disguised in demon flesh, Bobby finds one of Hell’s lesser-known entries, and infiltrates the single worst place in all of Creation for an AWOL angel to be. No problem.

[Read More]

Fri
Aug 30 2013 2:00pm

The King’s Assassin: Crown of Midnight by Sarah J. Maas

Sarah J Maas Crown of MidnightAfter outfighting, outwitting, and outlasting her competition, teenage assassin Celaena Sardothien has won her place as King’s Champion, serving the paranoid and brutal king of Ardalan. She stalks at night, doing his bidding, killing his enemies without pity or remorse. She serves loyally—and behind her carefully constructed façade is a web of lies.

For in truth, Celaena despises the King of Ardalan and dreams of the day when she’ll be free of his power. Instead of killing his enemies, she helps to fake their deaths. She betrays him at every turn, with no one the wiser. Not Prince Dorian, her patron and sometimes friend, not the visiting Princess Nehemia, one of her few confidantes, and certainly not Guard Captain Chaol Westfall, her “handler” and potential lover.

[Read More]

Wed
Aug 14 2013 2:00pm

Literary Mix-and-Match: Codex Born by Jim C. Hines

Codex Born Jim C Hines Magic Ex Libris

It starts with a body, and things quickly escalate. That’s how libriomancer Isaac Vainio’s life goes from complicated, to messy. Isaac, one of a select few who can use the magic of collective belief to literally pull things from books, is living the life of a researcher in Michigan, when he’s called to examine the body of a wendigo. But when he uses his abilities to peer into the past, he attracts the wrong sort of attention. He’s subsequently attacked by a swarm of mechanical insects which are attracted to, and devour, magic.

From there, it’s a nightmarish, adrenaline-fueled journey into the sort of secrets and dangers even the well-read and battle-hardened Isaac couldn’t have imagined. Vampires. Wendigos. A rogue sect of libriomancers which predates Isaac’s own Gutenberg-founded order. A fiendish plan to use libriomancy to resurrect the long dead and avenge centuries-old grievances. And poor Isaac, caught in the middle as always…

[Read more]

Fri
Aug 2 2013 2:00pm

Strange New World: New Earth by Ben Bova

Ben Bova New Earth With climate change taking its toll on the icecaps and oceans, flooding across the globe has drowned numerous cities, killed millions, and changed the face of the Earth. But mankind persists nonetheless. One desperate gamble for survival: a manned space mission to the planet Sirius C, a miraculously, impossibly, Earthlike world some eighty years away. It’s a long shot, and everyone knows it.

But when the twelve brave men and women of the Gaia reach their destination and are woken from their cryogenic suspension, they learn several upsetting facts. One: The follow-up missions they were promised were never sent, cancelled by a World Council more concerned with matters back home. Two: Sirius C is already inhabited. Three: The inhabitants of Sirius C look exactly like us, and are friendly. They knew we were coming. They’ve been waiting, and they’re ready to answer our questions. But what are they hiding?

[Read more]

Fri
Jul 26 2013 3:00pm

I Think I’m a Clone Now: Replica by Jenna Black

Replica Jenna Black

In the future, corporations have bought out the government, and the United States have become the Corporate States. In this business-driven world, Nadia Lake, daughter of a powerful executive, is a princess. She’s engaged to Nathaniel Hayes, Chairman Heir for Paxco, one of the most powerful corporate entities on the planet. They can’t wed until she turns 18, two years from now, but things seem to be going right on track.

Except Nate’s gay, his secret lover is from the bottom-dwelling Basement class, and Nadia’s one of the very few people who knows the truth. Nate spends his nights slumming in the dangerous streets and clubs of the Basement (what used to be certain parts of New York City) while Nadia covers for him. What are friends for, right? But then Nate is killed.

And then he’s brought back to life as a Replica, a clone produced by Paxco’s proprietary technology, the well-guarded secret which gives them their wealth and power. As the son of the Chairman, Nate’s one of the few covered by what amounts to an exclusive insurance policy. The question remains: who killed Nate, and why?

[Read more]