Jan 19
2024

Library Journal on Three Kinds of Lucky

Three Kinds of Lucky by Kim Harrison

“Magic users may be able to manipulate light energy, but dross—the waste left behind—is something few consider or deal with. This is where sweepers, people who can handle dross without its bad luck effects or development into the more dangerous shadow, come in, and Petra Grady is one of the best sweepers in St. Unoc. Working at the university has its perks, but when Doctor Benedict Sexy—er, Strom—wants Petra to help with a research project to render dross harmless, she knows it is the wrong decision. A horrible accident forces Petra and Benedict to go on the run, and Petra may find that her talent goes much farther than as a cleaner. Plus everything she knows about dross and shadow may be wrong. The story pace speeds along, and the twists of discovering who are friends or foes will keep readers guessing. Note that the novel includes the death of a pet.

VERDICT Harrison’s (Demons of Good and Evil) new series has the same delightfully wry heroine her fans expect to see, along with an intriguing new magic system.” — Library Journal

Jan 16
2024

Scientific American on Exordia

Exordia by Seth Dickinson

“In Seth Dickinson’s 2015 debut novel, The Traitor Baru Cormorant, a fiercely willful woman from a colonized island plots her revenge against a brutal empire. This fascination with weighing the value of specific lives against a greater good also powers his new book, a mind-shredding first-contact epic. A spaceship or weapon or something has appeared in Kurdistan, where its mysteries get puzzled over by a sprawling cast. There are nukes, alien brain locks, intergalactic warfare and a scope that keeps expanding long after the stakes seem clear. This thrilling novel grips hardest when Dickinson’s characters must reason through the science of seemingly impossible phenomena.” — Scientific American

Dec 21
2023

Wall Street Journal on System Collapse

System Collapse by Martha Wells

“The world in this current timeline has been a bit bleak lately. Fortunately for readers of alternate futures, the writer Martha Wells has delivered to us a hyperblast of joy: another wonderfully delightful offbeat adventure of the artificial consciousness readers have come to know as Murderbot.

The Murderbot Diaries started in 2017 with “All Systems Red” and reach their seventh installment with “System Collapse.” These compact, delightful stories are set in a downbeat future in which corporations control humankind’s interstellar colonies and keep many in lives of servitude. An even worse fate is life as a SecUnit, a Security Unit cyborg usually tasked with killing troublesome people and controlled by a module that eliminates free will. Our first-person narrator has been crafty enough to hack itself free—but instead of taking revenge on its creators and destroying every terrible human it encounters, this SecUnit (which decides to call itself Murderbot) would rather watch TV.

If you’re expecting a fast-moving android-becomes-human emotional arc, you’re going to be disappointed. Murderbot learns a little more about humans in each book but mostly remains grumpy, bored and uncomfortable when forced to spend time with its all-flesh counterparts.

In “System Collapse,” the Barish-Estranza corporation is offering to help the colonists of a planet whose machines have been contaminated by alien tech. But the company’s proposal to relocate the colonists sounds almost too good to be true. (It is.) Working with a cognitively powerful (and equally testy) spaceship called ART and a few human friends, our cyborg hero must fight off berserk robots, keep the good humans safe from the bad ones, and figure out how to convince the colonists that the corporation is not on their side. Murderbot also suffers frozen moments of human-style post-traumatic stress—all the more mysterious because the episodes seem to have been caused by an incident that never happened.

The SecUnit remains every bit as snarky and funny as it has been in the last six books, the perfectly conceived action as nearly nonstop as ever. (And we finally get to see the benefits of Murderbot’s TV addiction.) If there is anything negative to say about “System Collapse,” it’s that there doesn’t seem to be an actual system collapse. And sometimes the bits with humans emoting over things go on a little long (but that might be the Murderbot in me talking).

Outside of this series, Ms. Wells has written many other excellent books, including “Witch King,” which was reviewed here earlier this year. If you need something light, a little violent and laugh-out-loud hilarious, dive into this series: You may find that you have more in common with Murderbot than you think.” — Wall Street Journal

Dec 18
2023

Alexander Skarsgård to star in Murderbot Diaries series from Apple!

Martha Wells’ bestselling Hugo- and Nebula Award-winning book series The Murderbot Diaries, is being adapted by Chris and Paul Weitz (About a Boy) and Paramount Television Studios.

Apple TV+ has picked up 10 episodes starring and executive produced by Emmy winner Alexander Skarsgård (Succession). The Weitz brothers are writing, directing and producing under their Depth of Field banner. Andrew Miano also executive produces alongside for Depth of Field. David S. Goyer executive produces alongside Keith Levine for Phantom Four. Wells will serve as consulting producer. Wells is represented by Jennifer Jackson at the Donald Maass Literary Agency and WME.

Dec 13
2023

Witch King is a NYT Best Science Fiction and Fantasy of 2023 pick!

Witch King by Martha Wells is on the New York Times Best Science Fiction and Fantasy of 2023 list!

“Martha Wells’s WITCH KING (Tordotcom, 414 pp., $28.99) is an immersive throwback to a beloved species of 1990s fantasy doorstop, full of cataclysmic intrigues between mostly immortal families, rounded out with a list of dramatis personae and a map. The titular Witch King, Kai, wakes from an enchanted sleep to find that he and his best friend, Ziede, have been betrayed and imprisoned, and that Ziede’s wife, Tahren, is missing. They escape and embark on a quest to find Tahren and root out the conspiracy that separated the couple.

Wells is working at the height of her powers here, and it’s relaxing to be carried along for a ride in the company of such a phenomenal storyteller.”

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