The Torture of the Shadower, part 4: The first round of reviews!

This week’s torture is brought to you by the end of Spring Break. (Yes, it happens before spring even begins. That’s how we do things here in Arrakis.) Goodbye, beautiful afternoons of jogging around the neighborhood. Hello, A/C blasting office that forces me to wear sweaters in the summer.

The first round of reviews by the Clarke shadow jury are up. Here are the links, in case you missed them:

The Destructives by Matthew de Abaitua, reviewed by Nina Allan

Arrival of Missives by Aliya Whiteley, reviewed by Jonathan McCalmont

The Fifth Season by NK Jemisin, reviewed by Victoria Hoyle

The Core of the Sun by Johanna Sinisalo, reviewed by me

Central Station by Lavie Tidhar, reviewed by Maureen Kincaid Speller

A Field Guide to Reality by Joanna Kavenna, reviewed by Nina Allan

The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead, reviewed by Paul Kincaid

The Gradual by Christopher Priest, reviewed by David Hebblethwaite

Azanian Bridges by Nick Wood, reviewed by Paul Kincaid

 

(By the way, you are allowed to comment on the shadow jury site. It’s encouraged!)

 

This barely scratches the surface of the number of reviews we have set out to do, so stay tuned!

 

The Torture of the Shadower, part 3: The Shadow Not-a-Shortlist, plus my personal longlist!

The torture this week comes from sticking to my own personal shortlist while experiencing major shortlist envy of my fellow shadowers. Vajra and Maureen selected books I passed on for reasons of “probably not sci-fi enough” and I’m full of regret. The six book limit is torture enough.

The lists are up and it’s time for the reviews, but first, here is a look at the first incarnation of the Shadow Clarke Not-a-Shortlist: the books with the most appearances on the shadow jury shortlists. More than six books! We are such rule-breakers and we didn’t even do it on purpose!

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This is a good-looking list. But is it the best list?

Is this a realistic Clarke list? Is this a realistic SF list? Do these questions even matter? More important: Will the books on this list survive the grueling review process we are about to put them through?

What’s most interesting about this selection of books– which is really just a list of momentary cumulative consensus (that will likely change as we move forward) rather than a bonafide shortlist– is that, although we did talk and discuss books as a jury, many of us kept some or all of our cards to our chests. Many of the other jurors’ shortlist picks were genuine surprises to me.

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Summer 2016 Reading Review

August is always a difficult and hectic time for me, but this month in particular has been extra difficult and hectic, no thanks to my particular sick anthill of work being extra sick and chaoticky, which I can usually forgive when I see it simply as the flaws of capitalism manifesting in the public sector, but this year, I can actually attribute our problems to some real concrete things that nobody can do anything about anyway. So I’ve been busy. I hope it wasn’t too apparent in my posts.

Since my last reading review post, I ditched the States, saw some sights, picked up a Peruvian parasite, and then returned home in order to burn out on stupid SF book awards. 70757 Continue reading

The 2016 Clarke Award Shortlist: Surface, Contrivance, & Salience

Perhaps most indicative of the mood surrounding the 2016 Clarke Award shortlist is that most of the discussion is about the Clarke Award itself, rather than the mostly baffling list of novels the jury selected this year. It’s a fairly cut-and-dry list that doesn’t garner much debate or consideration; each book seems to inspire unequivocal feels from most readers, but they do make a odd collection when taken together. After much thinking, and some discussion with Jonah Sutton-Morse and Maureen K. Speller on the Cabbages & Kings podcast, it seems some themes of kinship have emerged from what is an otherwise unfocused and random-looking award list.

There is more than one way to slice this, but I think the following pairings seem to suit: Surface. Contrivance. Salience.

 

Surface: The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet and Way Down Dark Continue reading

2014 Arthur C. Clarke Nominees Announced!

How timely that I just read Childhood’s EndThe 2014 Arthur C. Clarke Award shortlist was announced today and it contains a mix of familiar and not-so-familiar names:

Nexus by Ramez Naam (Angry Robot)
God’s War by Kameron Hurley (Del Rey)
The Machine by James Smythe (Blue Door)
Ancillary Justice by Anne Leckie (Orbit)
The Disestablishment of Paradise by Phillip Mann (Gollancz)
The Adjacent by Christopher Priest (Gollancz)

Seriously, why do people watch sports when there’s this going on? Click here to see the rest of the 2014 SF shortlists.