Allen and Unwin (2011)
Shatter Me is an impressive debut novel from Tahereh Mafi, employing an unusual structural style to tell a not-quite-linear narrative following characters you come to love and loathe. While not marketed as such, it is apparently book one of a trilogy, but don’t let that deter you – this book stands alone quite well, and comes to a satisfying conclusion while leaving you wanting more. Continue reading
A Newsflesh collection
Rise is billed as a collection of short fiction, one that brings together every Newsflesh story published so far, along with two brand new, never-before-seen novellas in the world. To me, if seems like more than a collection; the pieces are so deeply connected, enmeshed in the broader universe that Grant (aka Seanan McGuire) has created, with characters crossing from piece to piece, their backstories ever expanding, that it really deserves the moniker of mosaic fiction. Every piece is a building block in the greater whole, and the length of the stories also helps it feel more like a long-form work; the reader is immersed from beginning to end.
I am a massive fan of the Newsflesh world. I had, I believed, hunted down and devoured every related work already, so I was delighted (if somewhat chagrinned) to realise that two of the previously published stories were also new to me, so I got FOUR new Newsflesh pieces, which was very exciting. Each story has a short introduction by the author, offering a little back story to the circumstances surrounding its birth. While these tidbits are little pearls for the rabid fan, and sometimes offer acknowledgement to supporters of the author through the writing process, there were a couple that were a bit spoilery. They perhaps would have worked better as postscripts rather than intros, and it might be worth a new reader skipping them on the first time around. But the stories…oh, the stories…
If you have not read Feed, Deadline and Blackout, you cannot, MUST NOT, read this book. Go away and read the Newsflesh trilogy. All of it. Go on, I’ll wait. You won’t regret it. Okay, you’re back? You didn’t stop at the end of Feed, did you? You read ALL of them? Right, good. Now we can continue.
SPOILERS FOR THE NEWSFLESH TRILOGY (but hopefully not the Rise stories) UNDER THE CUT…
Marianne de Pierres
Angry Robot (2014)
I first encountered Peacemaker protagonist Virgin Jackson in de Pierres’ story “Gin Jackson: Neophyte Ranger” (first published in the Agog! Smashing Stories anthology in 2004, and I liked it so much I reprinted in FableCroft’s Australis Imaginarium in 2010). I was delighted to read Peacemaker in graphic version in 2011, and was a bit sad when that format was unable to continue, so it was with huge anticipation I started on the novel version! And I have not been disappointed. Continue reading
Book 1, Newsflesh
In 2014, humanity cured cancer and beat the common cold. The scientists responsible for these marvels could never have imagined the consequences of their actions.
Twenty-five years after two wondrous cures combined to create a scourge on civilization, the world is a different place to that we know now but still retains similar political and business regimes. The press, as today, plays a major role in this new world, but the format of journalism has evolved to place bloggers squarely on the frontline. Adopted siblings Georgia and Shaun Mason are two of these bloggers, taking the lead in the presidential race of candidate Senator Ryman, a first for the blog-o-sphere. Smart, savvy and prepared to take on zombies and politicians head to head for an exclusive, the Masons soon find themselves embroiled in a far bigger story than even they imagined. Continue reading
Marianne de Pierres
Sentients of Orion, book 1
Reading a Marianne de Pierres novel is almost like immersing yourself in a brilliantly detailed film – you find yourself engrossed in not only the plot and characterisation, but in the highly visual nature of the story. It is very easy to believe in the far distant (temporally and spatially) locale delineated in Dark Space because de Pierres embeds the physical surroundings so integrally to the plot that you find the world she has created is drawn implicitly for you, without being intrusive to the movement of the story. Continue reading