Review: Unexpected Stories by Octavia E. Butler

Here’s where I have to admit something that’s embarrassing as a science fiction blogger and former English major: I had never actually read any Octavia Butler works before now, and I am honestly pretty ashamed of myself. I have known of Butler for years, but for one reason or another, hadn’t ever made time for her books. When I was given an eArc of Subterranean Press’s forthcoming collection, Unexpected Stories, by the one and only Octavia Butler, I knew it was time to finally dig into some of her work.

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Review: Foundryside by Robert Jackson Bennett

My first foray with Robert Jackson Bennett came with my reading of Vigilance, a recent speculative fiction novella of his, which might well pan out to be one of my favorite books of the year. I knew as soon as I finished it that I wanted to read more by him as soon as possible.

While I had heard of Foundryside, I was put off by some misconceptions I had heard from other people’s reviews of the book. Foundryside is usually described by other reviewers as an epic fantasy about a thieving crew. And it is that. And it also isn’t. Foundryside is fantasy, science fiction, and steampunk all wrapped up with a lovely dystopian bow. It’s epic fantasy in that the world is completely new and not at all our world, but that’s about it. There is no “magic” or “magic system” per se; rather, the magic comes from technology and science.

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Girls with Sharp Sticks & Girls with Razor Hearts Review And Discussion

When I read Girls with Sharp Sticks by Suzanne Young earlier this year, I was blown away by how much I actually enjoyed it. As much as I love speculative fiction and Sci Fi, I find few YA titles in the genre to be compelling or successfully-crafted. That is not the case with Suzanne Young’s Girls with Sharp Sticks and, its sequel, Girls with Razor Hearts.

Girls with Sharp Sticks follows Mena and her friends, all of which are students at the exclusive and secretive girls-only boarding school, Innovations Academy. When some girls at the school start acting differently and disappearing, Mena begins questioning everything. Such as, why does she never see her family outside of school? Or, what goes on in all those therapy and “impulse control” sessions? And, what exactly happens to the girls after graduation?

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Sea Change by Nancy Kress

Sea Change, a forthcoming novella by acclaimed writer Nancy Kress, is everything I love about speculative fiction. The story has a compelling near-future setting, is full of smart characters with sharply written dialogue, and is so thematically rich and progressive. It’s character driven, scarily close to reality, and covers topics often overlooked by other media.

Not unlike my previous review of Adrian Tchaikovsky’s upcoming novella, Firewalkers, Kress’s Sea Change also centers on our world following devastation caused, primarily, by climate change. However, whereas Firewalkers is set in a time that feels very distant and in a place that feels far from our present world, Sea Change is set in the 2030s in America and feels very true to a near-future picture of the country.

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