A Wizard of Earthsea by Ursula K. LeGuin

How does one sit down and review Ursula K. LeGuin? Honestly, I'm skeptical that I can do it, but I'll try. You don't sit down after reading one of her books for the first time and think about all the ways it could have been better. You even have a hard time sorting out the things you love, because it was all just so good.

Read More

Autonomous by Annalee Newitz

I loved every single idea in this book, and want more novels by Annalee Newitz immediately. The many different ways that she looks at autonomy and ownership; the terrifying world that she's built where anything can be owned, and where pharmaceuticals are magically effective but kept from the masses behind intellectual property rights and high prices--all of it is fascinating and strange while also being entirely applicable to issues in tech right now. That, and the fact that our cast of main characters are all beautifully broken and widely diverse, is the genius of the book.

Read More

Taste of Marrow by Sarah Gailey

Sarah Gailey has done it again. Just goddamn gave me everything that I've ever wanted out of a book, and done it while all the characters are riding hippos. You heard me. They're riding hippos. In the Mississippi river. Hippos on the Mississippi, both being ridden by people, and running feral and killing and eating everything that moves.

Read More

Wild Seed by Octavia Butler

Like everything else by Octavia Butler that I've ever read, this book is simultaneously masterful, eye-opening, and disturbing. On one hand we have Anyanwu, an immortal, black, female protagonist who places strong values on family--both found and blood--community, and humanity. On the other hand we have Doro, the male immortal who lives by killing, who brings communities of different people together to breed both prey and companions for him, and his domination over Anyanwu through threats to her children. It's uncomfortable, but real, to see a strong, competent, powerful woman have to submit to a monstrous man to stay alive and protect her family.

Read More

The Book of the Unnamed Midwife by Meg Elison

This book. THIS BOOK. This book, you guys. It kept me up for three nights in a row, vacation days where I had other things I needed to be doing during the day, old friends that I had promised to meet with, family that I wanted to spend time with. But every night, back at my hotel, I would pick up this book and read until I realized that it was way too late, much, much later than I had planned on staying up.

Read More

Borne by Jeff Vandermeer

Like Annihilation before it, Borne is a slow book, a rich book. It's intense, it demands that you take your time with it, because every word has been painstakingly chosen and put together to create not only meaning, but feeling that runs deep, and an intuitive understanding that runs even deeper. Every instant that you spend reading it is worth it and more, though.

Read More

Sourdough by Robin Sloan

Hey, did you guys know that I really like weird fiction? Like, really really like it. Give me your straight fantasy, yes. Give me your hard sci-fi, your space opera, your military sci-fi. But also, also-the weird ideas. The strange worlds. Your trucks powered by bugs, your aliens that can only speak the truth and only through two mouths, your strange creeping invasion, your hippo plantations in the Mississippi; I want them all. I make the grabby hands at them.

Read More

The Steerswoman by Rosemary Kirstein

I've learned not to skip over books in my to-read queue because the books that don't draw my attention, the books that I'm tempted to skip, that I put off because they're not well known and no one I know personally is talking about them, are often the books that take me by surprise and present me with something unique and wonderful that I never knew that I wanted until I opened the book. The Steerswoman is one of those books.

Read More

The Obelisk Gate by N. K. Jemisin

There are some series where I worry whether or not the second book will measure up to the wonder and majesty of the first book. *The Obelisk Gate* was never one of those books. *The Fifth Season* was so good, so interesting, and so engrossing, and Jemisin's mastery of her craft was so obvious that it never crossed my mind to worry about whether or not Jemisin could keep it up. I'm glad to say that she did not let me down in any way.

Read More

Other Minds: The Octopus, the Sea, and the Deep Origins of Consciousness by Peter Godfrey-Smith

This book turned me into an cephalopod nerd in the course of a single week. These creatures are so amazingly fascinating, and this book really does them justice. And, of course, as the title suggests, this book isn't just about cephalopods; it's about how they evolved, the intelligence that they've evolved, and how the differences between them and us can teach us about consciousness, both in ourselves, and in species very different from us.

Read More

Seven Surrenders by Ada Palmer

Warning: this review contains spoilers.

Oh man does this book have a lot going on. Seven Surrenders by Ada Palmer is the second book in her Terra Ignota series. It is beautifully written, and imagines a futuristic world that is as close to a realistic utopia as I have seen so far, a world that I would choose to live in in a heartbeat--and then shows us it's rotten core, the ways in which we didn't really outgrow our issues with religion, gender, sex, power, and war, lets it tear itself apart in front of our eyes. 

Read More

All Systems Red by Martha Wells

All Systems Red by Martha wells is a short, snappy read with great characters, plenty of action, and an entirely compelling main character. Now let me get to the important part: I love Murderbot. Murderbot is a security robot/biological hybrid rented out by a crappy company to a scientific research expedition as part of the terms of insuring the expedition. It calls itself Murderbot.

Read More