Triton by Samuel R. Delany

Triton, also published under Trouble on Triton: An Ambiguous Heterotopia, by Samuel R. Delany is one hell of a trip and surprisingly relevant to modern day discourse on gender and sex. Originally written as a response to Le Guin’s The Dispossessed: An Ambiguous Utopia, Delany explores what it might be like to experience a progressive, open society as a very traditional, masculine male with conservative ideas about the roles and capabilities of men and women. Where Le Guin explored life as someone who is LGBT+ in a predominantly straight “utopia,” Delany explores the inverse. … More Triton by Samuel R. Delany

The Gutter Prayer by Gareth Hanrahan

The Gutter Prayer is a somewhat challenging review for me. On one hand, there were tons of things about this book that I adored. The city of Guerdon has been lovingly, hauntingly crafted. Ghouls roam the streets and rule the crypts, slowly growing fat on the souls of the dead, guarding the gates that hold back a tide of shapeless horrors. The Crawling Ones create strange half-lifes for those who choose to give themselves over to the worms. The Stone Men battle against their plague every day, fighting calcification and seeking one more – just one more! – shot of alkahest to keep the stone at bay. And yet, despite all this… it didn’t quite click. I struggled to connect to the characters, rendering major climaxes and gut punches emotionless.  … More The Gutter Prayer by Gareth Hanrahan

Ancestral Night by Elizabeth Bear

My first introduction to Elizabeth Bear was on the fantasy side with The Stone in the Skull, which I loved. I came in with high expectations for both prose and character development, and I’m pleased to say that Ancestral Night lived up to all my hopes on both counts! Where The Stone in the Skull had multiple points of view and broad-spanning political themes, Ancestral Night keeps things closer to home by following only one character: a traumatized young engineer named Haimey, who is part of the crew on a space salvage rig with a shipmind AI called Singer, a rather unfairly good-looking pilot, and two absolutely delightful cats named Mephistopheles and Bushyasta.  … More Ancestral Night by Elizabeth Bear

My Beautiful Life by KJ Parker

My Beautiful Life plays with structure and characters in a way that seems to be slightly divorced from its intended audience. When taken as a writing study, it’s actually quite interesting – how might an author bring about a story wherein the end is revealed at the beginning? Unfortunately, writing studies typically aren’t being published en masse. They’re just studies, meant to hone writing skills. Although this novella nails the tone and characters it seeks to portray, it was very difficult to connect with the story as a reader.  … More My Beautiful Life by KJ Parker

Our Bloody Pearl by D. N. Bryn

This book was super cute and super fun. Our Bloody Pearl sits on the cusp between YA and adult fantasy, somewhat similar in this regard to authors like Mercedes Lackey or Brandon Sanderson – albeit completely different in terms of themes and style. If you want an easy weekend read featuring murder mermaids (!!!), a kind and caring found family (!!!!),  and an adorable ace romance (!!!!!), then this is absolutely the book for you! All of these things are completely my catnip, and I’m so, so happy that the author reached out to me offering a review copy since it might not have made it onto my radar otherwise. There’s even wonderful representation of disability and disability accommodations! … More Our Bloody Pearl by D. N. Bryn

The Deep by Rivers Solomon, Daveed Diggs, William Hutson, and Jonathan Snipes

The Deep is a compelling tale focused on the importance of history as a part of identity, specifically within black culture. This short novella is focused, coherent, and was written with a clear message in mind: no matter how painful, our past leaves an indelible print on our present and on our identity as individuals and as a culture.  … More The Deep by Rivers Solomon, Daveed Diggs, William Hutson, and Jonathan Snipes

Escaping Exodus by Nicky Drayden

I love weird, squishy, biological scifi, and I was impressed by how perfectly Escaping Exodus delivered on this front. When I originally read the premise on Goodreads – “a city-size starship carved up from the insides of a space-faring beast” – I knew I had to get my hands on this book. I’ll admit that I came in feeling a hint of trepidation: what if the beast is relegated to being in the background? What if it’s a normal spaceship that’s only “alive” when it’s plot convenient? Etc., etc. Fortunately, we were wading through ichor and entrails from the very first page. My worries were utterly baseless. Nicky Drayden embraced every bit of icky organic goodness right from the start. … More Escaping Exodus by Nicky Drayden

Turning Darkness Into Light by Marie Brennan

Marie Brennan is back once more in the world of Lady Trent with her newest novel, Turning Darkness Into Light. While TDiL follows the granddaughter of the famous Lady Trent, this is not merely a rehash of the same themes we saw in the first series. Audrey is her own person with her own goals… and a heavy familial legacy to live up to. I was impressed not only by Audrey, but also the side characters: Kudshayn and Cora. Told in the form of letters and journal entries, this book has drawn me in from the first page – Brennan has not only met the standard her original series set, but surpassed it. … More Turning Darkness Into Light by Marie Brennan