Sep 25

Kirkus on Machine

Machine: A White Space Novel by Elizabeth Bear

“The second novel set in Bear’s sprawling White Space universe—after Ancestral Night (2018)—is an intricately plotted fusion of science-fiction adventure and conspiratorial mystery that revolves around a space station that begins to experience critical mishaps after a rescue mission returns with humans who have been in cryogenic suspension for centuries.

When rescue specialist Dr. Brookllyn Jens—who has dedicated her life to saving and treating any and all species of beings—finds more than 10,000 humans in cryo-containers onboard a derelict generation ship that has been in space for 600 years, she is faced with numerous unanswered questions. How did the ship get to its current location? Why were the passengers turned into “corpsicles”? Why was an android named Helen Alloy left to protect them? Why is a modern vessel docked on the generation ship, and where is the methane-breathing crew? What is the purpose of the crablike machine in the vessel? With these mysteries, and more, unsolved, Jens returns as many rescued passengers as she can to Core General, a state-of-the-art hospital and largest constructed biosphere in the galaxy. Once there, however, Jens begins uncovering some chilling revelations about the purpose of the frozen passengers, the strange craboid walker, and a mysterious virus impacting shipmind AIs. While there are a few sequences in which the momentum flags, Bear’s ability to keep the reader immersed in the various characters’ individual stories and the dynamism among the human and alien characters of the Synarche (the interstellar government that joins together multiple alien races for a collective good) more than compensates. The character arc of Jens—who has a debilitating pain syndrome and is struggling to come to grips with her lack of connection with her daughter—is done with insight and sensitivity.

A page-turning fusion of science fiction and mystery—hopefully Bear will revisit her White Space universe soon.” — Kirkus

Aug 6

Publishers Weekly starred review for Machine

Machine: A White Space Novel by Elizabeth Bear

“Hugo Award winner Bear’s spectacularly smart space opera, set in the same universe as 2018’s Ancestral Night, begins with the dispatch of an ambulance ship from the immense medical habitat Core General to respond to a distress signal. The signal originates from a vessel docked aboard a lost generation ship that was launched from Earth centuries earlier, before humans overcame their self-destructive impulses and joined a multi-race, interstellar civilization called the Synarche. When rescue specialist Dr. Brookllyn Jens arrives on the scene, she finds the crew of the generation ship sealed in cryogenic containers, with only Helen, an anxious and rather threatening android, conscious. Meanwhile, the crew of the docked ship that sent out the distress signal in the first place are all comatose and the huge machine they have on board looks suspiciously like a combat walker. In addition to untangling the history of these ships, Jens is deputized to investigate increasingly destructive incidents of sabotage at Core General, leading her to question her faith in the hospital’s ideals. Bear’s vivid tale, narrated by the wry, almost painfully self-aware Jens, bristles with inventive science and riveting action scenes. With this outstanding work, Bear proves her mastery of the space opera genre yet again.” — Publisher Weekly, Starred Review

Jun 3

2020 Locus Awards finalists includes Bear, Lee, and Muir!

The 2020 Locus Awards Finalists include Elizabeth Bear, Yoon Ha Lee, and Tamsyn Muir!

Ancestral Night, Elizabeth Bear (Saga; Gollancz)

Dragon Pearl, Yoon Ha Lee (Disney Hyperion)

Gideon the Ninth, Tamsyn Muir ( Publishing)

“A Time to Reap”, Elizabeth Bear (Uncanny 12/19)

“Erase, Erase, Erase”, Elizabeth Bear (F&SF 9-10/19)

“Lest We Forget”, Elizabeth Bear (Uncanny 5-6/19)

Hexarchate Stories, Yoon Ha Lee (Solaris US & UK)

Feb 4

2019 Locus Recommended Reading List

The 2019 Locus Recommended Reading List includes Elizabeth Bear, Nicky Drayden, Yoon Ha Lee, and Tamsyn Muir!


Ancestral Night, Elizabeth Bear (Saga; Gollancz)
Escaping Exodus, Nicky Drayden (Harper Voyager US)


The Red-Stained Wings, Elizabeth Bear (Tor)


Dragon Pearl, Yoon Ha Lee (Disney Hyperion)


Gideon the Ninth, Tamsyn Muir ( Publishing)


Hexarchate Stories, Yoon Ha Lee (Solaris US & UK)


“A Time to Reap“, Elizabeth Bear (Uncanny 12/19)
“Glass Cannon”, Yoon Ha Lee (Hexarchate Stories)


“Erase, Erase, Erase”, Elizabeth Bear (F&SF 9-10/19)


“Lest We Forget“, Elizabeth Bear (Uncanny 5-6/19)

Jan 23

Kirkus on The Best of Elizabeth Bear

The Best of Elizabeth Bear by Elizabeth Bear

“A collection with 27 excellent stories showcasing the talent of one of the genre’s most versatile writers. ‘Covenant,’ for example, is a suspenseful story about a serial killer who becomes a victim. The science fiction twist is that he undergoes a voluntary procedure called ‘rightminding,’ which rewires his brain to reduce his psychopathic tendencies. He also becomes a woman in the process—and thus the target of another psychopath. Because the memories of her time as a serial killer remain, she can speculate on what her male abductor might do next, making for a tense story. ‘In the House of Aryaman, a Lonely Signal Burns’ reads like a police procedural locked-room murder mystery in which the victim’s corpse appears to have been turned inside out. But other components in the story elevate it above standard fare, such as the investigator’s tense relationship with her VR-addicted mother, an engineered cat who might be a witness to the crime, a company developing fourth-dimension technology, and the strange behavior of a star in the Andromeda system. Asimovian robots—albeit racier ones than any Asimov ever created—are featured in ‘Dolly,’ a mystery in which a sex robot has been used to kill her owner. Is she the murder weapon or the murderer? Ethical issues are raised in this engaging story, one of the many to be found in this must-have collection” — Kirkus

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