Blog Archives

Edition 6: Book Review: The Salem Witch Society by K. D. Shields

flag US

 Reviewed by Damien Smith


 

Cover - The Salem Witch Society

The Salem Witch Society is the debut novel from K.D. (Kieran) Shields and it’s a cracker. The book is historical fiction set over several months in 1892 Maine, around the 200th anniversary of the Salem Witch Trials. A brutal murderer is on the loose and appears to be attempting to recreate some arcane ritual.

Read the rest of this entry

Edition 7: Book Review: Unidentified Funny Objects edited by Alex Schvartsman

flag US

 Reviewed by Damien Smith


UFO COver

I came across Unidentified Funny Objects when the open call first went out. It caught my attention because for the life of me I couldn’t remember the last time I’d seen a humourous speculative fiction anthology and, as the editor points out in his foreword, I’m not alone here. So it was with high hopes and a hint of nerves that I submitted a story of my own for scrutiny. Within 24 hours it had been received, read, evaluated and summarily (albeit rather kindly with a couple of encouraging words of advice) rejected.

Read the rest of this entry

Edition 8: Book Review: Bluegrass Symphony by Lisa L. Hannett

flag US

 Reviewed by Damien Smith


 bluegrass-symphony-900-1

 

Bluegrass Symphony is the first collection from South Australian author Lisa L. Hannett. Each story feels carefully crafted to fit in to the same world, though it is never specified where or when exactly this world is. It has the feel of the Deep South in the not-too-distant past. It is also never specified where each story takes place in relation to the others, but they are woven so carefully that there is the constant feeling that characters fleeing one plot will come crashing through the middle of another.

Read the rest of this entry

Edition 9: Book Review: The Long Earth by Terry Pratchett & Stephen Baxter

flag US

 Reviewed by Damien Smith


 

Cover The Long Earth

Parallel worlds and the travelling thereto are nothing new in speculative fiction, however The Long Earth is noteworthy even before you open it as it is the first collaboration between two stalwarts of speculative fiction: Terry Pratchett and Stephen Baxter.

Read the rest of this entry

Edition 10: Book Review: The Daedalus Code by Colin F Barnes

flag US

 Reviewed by Damien Smith


TheDaedalusCode_cover

I’ve not previously had the pleasure of reading anything by Colin F. Barnes before, but I came across him recently on the wonderful medium that is Twitter. A brief conversation later and I decided to take the plunge on an unknown author and take a look at The Daedalus Code—a cyberpunk novella set in an all-too-believable future. I’ve since found out Barnes has another novella, a novel (very soon to be two novels) and a bunch of short stories under his belt. Not to spoil this review before it starts, but more of his work has suddenly made it to my ‘To Read’ list.

Read the rest of this entry

Edition 11: Book Review: Throne of the Crescent Moon by Saladin Ahmed

flag US

 Reviewed by Damien Smith


 

cover - throne of the crescent moon

I’m going to be old and grey by the time I make a dent in my ever-growing “To Read” pile, but occasionally I seek some distraction from my line up because I feel like reading something specific. At the start of the year I had a sudden yearning for some decent sword and sorcery, which had been missing from my line up since I finished rereading The Complete Conan (highly recommended, by the way, but not what this review is about). A friend mentioned a book Throne of the Crescent Something by someone I’d never heard of as a decent yarn, so I thanked them and then promptly forgot the name of both author and book.

Read the rest of this entry

Edition 12: Book Review: Under The Empyrean Sky by Chuck Wendig

flag US

 Reviewed by Damien Smith


under-the-empyrean-sky cover

Those who are familiar with Chuck Wendig’s blog will know he likes to set some bizarre writing challenges from time to time. A little while back, the challenge was set to come up with a thoroughly bizarre something-punk genre, on the premise that the ‘something’ is what essentially runs that world. For example steampunk and dieselpunk worlds essentially run on steam and diesel respectively.

Read the rest of this entry

Edition 13: Book Review: Unidentified Funny Objects 2 edited by Alex Schvartsman

flag US

 Reviewed by Damien Smith


UFO2cover

For anyone carefully reading the heading up there it will come as no surprise that this is the second in a series of planned annual humorous speculative fiction anthologies. I would not normally review a subsequent anthology in a series; however, there is such a dearth of similar offerings around that I had to put it through its paces.

Read the rest of this entry