Every week on Twitter, Shimmer Magazine asks people what they’ve been reading. It’s a great way to find new novels and stories that people are excited about–or figure out what might not suit your tastes.
Here, then, are a few things I’ve read this week!
“Hare’s Breath” by Maria Haskins (Shimmer, September 2017)- A beautiful, heart-aching story of loss, love, and midsummer magic of a very Swedish sort. (Note: depictions of abuse.)
“The Lies I’ve Told to Keep You Safe” by Matt Dovey (Daily Science Fiction, October 19th, 2017) – This very short story about an alien takeover of Earth packs a punch that goes far beyond its wordcount.
Acadie by Dave Hutchinson (Tor.com, September 5, 2017) – An unwilling president, an illicit space colony, and genetic alteration–what’s not to love? Mostly: the ending, which read to me like the author just stopped writing the novel he’d started and put on a twist ending a quarter of the way through, and called the result a novella. I was particularly disappointed because the twist (which appeared more or less entirely unforeshadowed on the last two pages of the novella!) seemed to me to rub in my face everything I’d enjoyed about the story to that point. And, okay, I should have figured something was up since the thing’s called Acadie and Arcadia is supposed to be an unattainable paradise that can never be regained. But ugggggh. Very disappointed in this one–if you pick it up, you’ll probably be happier if you just stop when the Bureau ship appears in-system and make up your own ending. (Although the twist ending seems to have worked really well for some people, so what do I know?)
Amberlough by Lara Elena Donnoly (Tor, February 2017) – The elevator pitch for this book is “A double-agent sacrifices all his ideals in order to save his smuggler lover before a government coup takes over their decadent city,” which sounds fantastic to me. I really wanted to love this one, but just couldn’t stick with it past the second chapter. I enjoyed the character interactions in the sections of it I did read, but the style just was not my cup of tea, and it was all a little too lushly written for me to get into. (The slang of the world, in particular, felt too self-consciously faux-1920s for my taste.) Give this one a try if “lushly written” 1920s-style intrigue is your thing, though!
Winter Tide by Ruthanna Emrys (Tor.com, April 2017) – Fantastically clever Lovecraft subversion. Aphra Marsh is a Deep One and a woman–and it’s not always clear which of those things the powerful men who want to stop her find the most distasteful. I enjoyed every word of this one! (And, as a bonus, you can read the first few chapters, as well as a novelette that takes place before the events of the novel, for free online at Tor.com.)