100 word review: The Grace of Kings, by Ken Liu

100 word review: The Grace of Kings, by Ken Liu

This is a debut. It is massive in scope, telling the story of the rise and fall of empires, using classical Chinese storytelling tropes and wuxia heroes. It is breathtaking in its language and ambition. 640 pages of instructive fable and myth and history of a fictional series of countries at war with each other […]

100 word review: Broken Monsters, by Lauren Beukes

100 word review: Broken Monsters, by Lauren Beukes

Detroit, Michigan. A broken city filled with broken people – from the overworked police department through to the underfunded school system, the homeless, and the the transplants trying to make something new out of something broken, or at least having good parties in the city’s apocalypse. What happens when the world starts to break, the […]

100 word review: The Alex Crow, by Andrew Smith

100 word review: The Alex Crow, by Andrew Smith

Welcome to America, kid. Ariel (ah-riel) is adopted into a middle-class American family after he survives the massacre of his entire village during a civil war by dressing as a clown and hiding in a refrigerator. He ends up in summer camp. A very particular type of summer camp. Digital detox camp, filled with all […]

100 word review: Cakes in Space, by Sarah McIntyre and Philip Reeve

100 word review: Cakes in Space, by Sarah McIntyre and Philip Reeve

This book is ridiculous. Let’s get that out of the way. It is the story of a little girl who asks an artificial intelligence robot for “the best cake” before going down into cold sleep on an interstellar spacecraft which is taking her family and hunderds of other colonists on a journey to a new […]

100 word review: Touch, by Claire North

100 word review: Touch, by Claire North

It takes a certain chutzpah to have a first-person narrator with no name, and yet this book does. The premise: there exist beings (no spoilers) who can take over a body; they pass between them by touching flesh. They live out our lives, in moments or decades, and move on before they die. Many of […]

100 word review: Wolves, by Simon Ings

100 word review: Wolves, by Simon Ings

This is a troubling book, a dark imagining of a future five minutes from now, or five minutes ago. It’s a portrait of technology entrepreneurs, recalling the heady late 90s Internet boom “before it was cool”, and the heady and terrifying successes that could come about. It’s a story of augmented reality, something a little […]

100 word review: Cataveiro, by EJ Swift

100 word review: Cataveiro, by EJ Swift

The second in the Osiris trilogy, and this one is a corker – there’s no need to have read the first book at all. In a climate change ravaged world, Ramona Callejas is the only pilot – and mapmaker– of the last aeroplane in the technophobic country of Patagonia, a poor state at the southern […]

100 word review: Europe in Autumn, by Dave Hutchinson

100 word review: Europe in Autumn, by Dave Hutchinson

This book is a slow burn, and most of the time, much like Gibson or Le Carré, you have little idea of what’s really happening, reading along trying to keep up. Rudi is a cook in a future Europe in which the nation-state is a fragmentary being. Rudi is quiet, and stays out of trouble, […]

The People in the Trees, by Hanya Yanagihara (Atlantic Books) (Gold Tentacle)

The People in the Trees, by Hanya Yanagihara (Atlantic Books) (Gold Tentacle)

Yanagihara is a writer for Conde Nast – and has now put out this book. Like unreliable narrators? Disturbing imagery? Georgeous, lush prose? Dive into this book. It’s a confessional narrative, framed as someone trying to set the record straight, about a young doctor in the 1950s who’s gone to the south Pacific to investigate […]