This isn’t a book that I would have picked up on my own, but I’m glad that I did.
Since this is the first of a series, the second novel is due out in May. The fact that this is a fantasy world may be more obvious in later novels, but in this one, the only indication that it is a fantasy is that the areas discussed haven’t existed in human history.
The plot follows a group of people associated with the Bumble Bee Caberet in the city of Amberlough. The plot is a spy story set in an environment much like that of pre-WWII Germany. Or maybe today. Before the election that brings the radical, homophobic One State Party, the city is accepting of, and reveling in, diverse lifestyles and identies.
Once the OSP is elected, through an election many believe to have been tampered with, the main characters, and the city as a whole, must deal with the fact that the new regime will crack down on many who were believed to be good citizens before.
Although many of the characters are unlikable, at least I found them so, Donnelly makes them engaging and compelling. There are no good guys, and even the bad guys have shades to them. It’s an interesting book; I look forward to the sequel.
Amberlough by Lara Elena Donnelly. Tor Books (Kindle Edition, February 7, 2017). Amazon
On February 20, 2018, the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA) released the finalists for the Nebula awards for 2017 works. The awards will be announced at this year’s Nebula conference on May 20, 2018. On March 31, 2018, the World Science Fiction Society (WSFS) released the finalists for the 2018 Hugo Awards. The awards will be presented at WorldCon 76 on August 19, 2018. I greeted this information with delight and have been gleefully reading through the works since then.
I’ve listed the works below, with links so that you can read them. The short stories and novelettes have links to read them online, the novellas and novels have links to where you can buy them from Amazon.
In addition, I will be posting my comments on these works. I’m calling them reviews; however, I don’t claim that they will read like a review found in a paid magazine, newspaper or online. I will give the basic information expected in a review, but it will be distinctly from my point of view. I don’t claim to be able to determine the “quality” or “worthiness” of a piece; I’ll be giving my purely personal comments. Actually, any honest reviewer will admit that they do the same.
Once everything is posted, I’ll put up a separate post to link all the reviews together. Finally, I’ll post the winners of the two sets of awards once I know them.
Enjoy your reading!
Best Short Story
- Carnival Nine by Caroline M. Yoachim (Beneath Ceaseless Skies, May 11, 2017). Both
- Clearly Lettered in a Mostly Steady Hand by Fran Wilde (Uncanny September/October 2017). Both
- Fandom for Robots by Vina Jie-Min Prasad (Uncanny September/October 2017). Both
- The Last Novelist (or A Dead Lizard in the Yard) by Matthew Kressel (Tor.com, March 15, 2017). Nebula
- The Martian Obelisk by Linda Nagata (Tor.com, July 19, 2017). Hugo
- Sun, Moon, Dust by Ursula Vernon, (Uncanny, May/June 2017). Hugo
- Utopia, LOL?, Jamie Wahls (Strange Horizons, June 5, 2017). Nebula
- Welcome to Your Authentic Indian Experience TM by Rebecca Roanhorse (Apex August 2017). Both