Featured Review: The Revolutions by Felix Gilman

The Revolutions by Felix Gilman“Gilman’s descriptive powers are as economical as they are vivid, beautifully capturing the spirit of fin de siècle society and literature without grinding it into pastiche….And each item in Gilman’s grab-bag of wonder comes with symbolic resonance; even the book’s title can be read in multiple ways: Philosophical revolutions, astronomical revolutions, and the obvious political kind all overlap as the book’s intricate assembly of elements click together like clockwork.”

Felix Gilman’s The Revolutions got a featured review in NPR!

Here’s an excerpt from NPR’s post on April 3:

In his previous novels, Felix Gilman presented fantastic, mind-expanding visions of other worlds. His fifth, The Revolutions, sticks a little closer to home — at least at first. For a change, he’s set a book in the real world, albeit a skewed version of it. Gilman reimagines late-19th-century London as a dark and dangerous place; along with all the political, technological, and cultural upheavals of the age, he’s added an insidious dimension to the fashionable occultism that gripped the end of the Victorian Era. Spiritual seekers are determined to explore outer space as well as inner space — only without their bodies leaving their parlors. Call it séance fiction.

For all its heady concepts, The Revolutions launches on a humble note. In London in 1893, a recently unemployed journalist named Arthur Shaw tries his hand at writing detective stories, attempting to pick up where Sir Arthur Conan Doyle is about to leave off. It’s one of many allusions to real-world figures that Gilman weaves into the story, including nods to Jack the Ripper, early computer pioneer Charles Babbage, and author Edgar Rice Burroughs, creator of Tarzan and John Carter of Mars. But in The Revolutions, the subtle differences between our world and Gilman’s alternate history eventually become striking. The mystical secret societies of London are about to go to war with each other, and Arthur — along with his fiancée Josephine Bradman, a stenographer who records the minutes of one of those societies’ meetings — is drawn into an increasingly dizzying scheme that involves astral projection to other planets. When Josephine participates in a magic ritual to that end, her astral consciousness not only travels beyond Earth, but gets marooned there. Arthur, in no way a magician himself, must find a way to conjure her home — even if it means collaborating with the terrifying occult forces that sent her there.

Click here for the full review.
The Revolutions went on sale on April 1.

NPR Reviews The Time Traveler’s Almanac edited by Ann and Jeff Vandermeer

The Time Traveler's Almanac edited by Ann and Jeff VanderMeer

Ann and Jeff VanderMeer’s The Time Traveler’s Almanac has received a glowing review from NPR!

Here’s an excerpt, published on March 19th:

“The lineup in this book is like the guest list for the greatest cocktail party of all time — writers modern and not so, alive and dead, known tinkerers with the time stream and those who just got it in their heads one day to go back in time and kiss their great-grandmothers or whatever. Seriously, check out the 60-plus writers in the table of contents and if you don’t find at least one name that makes you say ‘What kind of parents would name their child Cordwainer?’ you can come over to my house and punch me right in the face.

And yes, I know it’s a pseudonym. I was making a joke.

Other good stuff: Team VanderMeer broke the whole thing up into sections: ‘Experiments,’ ‘Communiques,’ ‘Mazes and Traps’ (about paradoxes, of course) and ‘Reactionaries and Revolutionaries.’ This is handy when you’re looking for a certain kind of time travel story but aren’t sure who might’ve written one. And they’ve bookended their sections with what they call ‘Non-fiction, educational palate-cleansers,’ of which Charles Yu’s aforementioned list of tips is one.”

You can read the full review here on NPR.

The Time Traveler’s Almanac was published on March 18th.

The Week in Review

Welcome to the week in review! Every Friday, we comb through the links and images we found and shared this week, and pull the very best for this post. Consider it concentrated genre goodness from all around the web.

The Wall

  • The Lands of Ice and Fire publishes next week, and as a teaser, they’ve released some beautiful, official maps from Martin’s Song of Ice and Fire series.
  • October’s almost over, which means January’s almost here. For those Wheel of Time fans having trouble waiting for the January 8 publication of A Memory of Light, Tor.com has you covered: you can now listen to the audio version of Chapter Two, “The Choice of an Ajah.”
  • Great news from NPR: the Facebook generation is reading. Not only that, but they’re using libraries in huge numbers!
  • Have you seen the award-winning short film Afghan? Inspired by a real life racist act post-9/11, it tells the story of a victim of a hate crime forced to look for humor in a terrible situation. Well worth the time.

And, just to make Friday that much sweeter, here’s a list of sweepstakes and sales we have going on!

The Week in Review

Welcome to the week in review! Every Friday, we comb through the links and images we found and shared this week, and pull the very best for this post. Consider it concentrated genre goodness from all around the web.

And, just to make Friday that much sweeter, here’s a list of sweepstakes and sales we have going on!

Arctic Rising on NPR

Tobias Buckell’s new novel Arctic Rising received a great review from Alan Cheuse on NPR’s All Things Considered. He says, “If you count on good thrillers to be told in clear, engaging prose and made up of interesting psychology, state-of-the-art research and swiftly moving plots, you couldn’t be in a better place.”

Listen to the full review on NPR’s website.

About Arctic Rising: Global warming has transformed the Earth, and it’s about to get even hotter. The Arctic Ice Cap has all but melted, and the international community is racing desperately to claim the massive amounts of oil beneath the newly accessible ocean.

Enter the Gaia Corporation. Its two founders have come up with a plan to roll back global warming. They plan to terraform Earth to save it from itself—but in doing so, they have created a superweapon the likes of which the world has never seen.

Anika Duncan is an airship pilot for the underfunded United Nations Polar Guard. She’s intent on capturing a smuggled nuclear weapon that has made it into the Polar Circle and bringing the smugglers to justice.

Anika finds herself caught up in a plot by a cabal of military agencies and corporations who want Gaia Corporation stopped. But when Gaia Corp loses control of their superweapon, it will be Anika who has to decide the future of the world. The nuclear weapon she has risked her life to find is the only thing that can stop Gaia Corp’s weapon after it falls into the wrong hands.

Don’t forget to check out one of Buckell’s recent stops on his blog tour!