Mar 23
2017

Publishers Weekly starred review for All Systems Red

All Systems Red (The Murderbot Diaries 1) by Martha Wells

“SecUnit, aka Murderbot, is a semiorganic corporate profit center, genderless and constructed of cheap parts to perform contract bodyguard services for clients who mostly don’t want them. SecUnit can choose its attitude because it has hacked its governor (a hat-tip to Susan R. Matthews), blocking the functions that would punish it for anything but robotic obedience. Disgusted by humans and secretly addicted to a video serial called Sanctuary Moon, SecUnit is simply enduring another assignment until something completely outside of its data parameters tries to kill its humans. Nebula finalist Wells (Edge of Worlds) gives depth to a rousing but basically familiar action plot by turning it into the vehicle by which SecUnit engages with its own rigorously denied humanity. The creepy panopticon of SecUnit’s multiple interfaces allows a hybrid first-person/omniscient perspective that contextualizes its experience without ever giving center stage to the humans.” — Publishers Weekly, Starred Review

Apr 25
2016

New York Times Book Review on The Edge of Worlds

The Edge of Worlds by Martha Wells

“The author Martha Wells, who trained as an anthropologist, has previously brought readers to this verdant fantasy realm via a trilogy and a series of shorter stories, but THE EDGE OF WORLDS marks the start of a new saga in the Books of the Raksura.

The venerated pulp spirit in science fiction and fantasy has dwindled since the golden age of the 1920s to ’50s. Yet an atavistic craving for adventure remains, and it is this need that Wells’s books in general and the Raksura books in particular satisfy. The stories are straightforward adventure, but what makes Wells’s “new pulp” feel fresh is its refusal to take the easier storytelling routes of its forebears. Rather than thinly veil an existing human society as alien others, for example, Wells — a master world builder — creates a multicultural world of humanized monsters. Rather than caricature anyone who isn’t white and male, as pulp too often did, Wells casually includes characters like Shade, a pampered princess among his people who looks like a white man but can transform into a huge polyamorous humanoid dragon. This is characteristic of the series.

The result is breathtakingly surprising and fun. So for readers who missed earlier entry points to this delightful series, now is the time to get on board.” — New York Times Book Review

Feb 23
2016

Publishers Weekly on The Edge of Worlds

The Edge of Worlds by Martha Wells

“In the beginning of this new full-length entry in Wells’s Raksura series (following 2012’s The Siren Depths), the entire community of Indigo Cloud, home to a shape-shifting race called the Raksura, has a nightmare of their world being destroyed by their archenemies, the predatory Fell. To prevent that, Jade, Moon (her consort), and other Raksura must join a group of archaeologists from several races to investigate an ancient site that could destroy them all…When the Fell do show up and bring a new wrinkle to their characterization, the dramatic battles, tough decisions, and character dynamics shine through. Filtering the story mostly through the semi-outsider Moon, Wells overcomes pacing flaws to keep this series going strong with an imaginative world of engaging characters.” — Publishers Weekly

Jan 4
2016

Lee and Wells among B&N’s most anticipated SF/F books of 2016

Ninefox Gambit by Yoon Ha Lee and The Edge of Worlds by Martha Wells are on Barnes & Nobles’ list of “SF/F Books We Can’t Wait to Read in 2016.”

Apr 17
2015

Publishers Weekly on Stories of the Raksura, Vol. 2 by Martha Wells

The Dead City and the Dark Earth Below: Stories of the Raksura, Vol. 2 by Martha Wells

“Wells (The Serpent Sea) fleshes out her Books of the Raksura series in this strong short story collection. As readers follow a shape-shifting Raksura called Moon through a series of encounters, plenty of vivid descriptions help newcomers get up to speed. Moon is always at the center of any conflict, whether it’s learning the secrets of a long-buried city (“The Dead City”) or defending his adoptive Raksura community of Indigo Cloud from a foe that can’t be seen (in the longest and best entry, “The Dark Earth Below”). The Raksura world features innovative and alien creatures; Wells thinks far outside the humanoid fantasy box. The line between animal and person is drawn extremely thin, and the power structure among the races resembles nature more than it resembles any human civilization. With a strong sense of adventure, horror, and mystery, this is an enjoyable read for fantasy fans seeking a new series to sample” — Publishers Weekly

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