Some books are just a fail with me. In general, I hesitate to give a book a low review just because I did not enjoy it, I mean 80% of a review is in the reader’s perspective. We have all reread a book we once loved and on a second read couldn’t help but wonder what kind of crack we were smoking to have enjoyed the book so much the first time, and visa-versa. But in the case of She Who Watches, by Anthony Pryor I really do not feel much guilt for this review.
The characters were one dimensional. The female characters were particularly offensive to me. There were only two female leads, the first Trish, is apparently the group pump. Her main and only characteristic is sleeping with all the members of the group, well most of them anyways. She is possessed by the demon before she gets through all of them. Her one main scene in the book is the obligatory sex scene with the main character. I’m not sure why the author felt he needed to cut and paste a scene from Fifty Shades of Grey into his book, but he did. Trish boils down to little more than a trampoline for the main character.
The other female lead Kay, was mousy and weak. When she steps up to fight the demon, the main character is surprised, even though in the previous two paragraphs the author goes into details about how one of the male main characters, and even the dog have become more powerful and more committed to destroying the demon after having an experience of seeing a goddess. My only thought while reading this description was, why would he be shocked that she was moved, he wasn’t surprised when the rest of the group was moved and motivated by meeting a goddess!
The rest of the characters were equally one dimensional. I felt no vested interest in their wellbeing and by the end of the book was counting how many pages I had left before I could read something else.
But because of who I am, I am going to leave this review on a positive note. At least the author didn’t kill the dog.
I would like to thank Permuted Press, for providing this book for an honest review.
The finalists for the 2016 Locus Awards have been announced. Here they are for the novel categories:
- The Water Knife by Paolo Bacigalupi (Borzoi; Orbit UK)
- Ancillary Mercy by Ann Leckie (Orbit US; Orbit UK)
- Aurora by Kim Stanley Robinson (Orbit US; Orbit UK)
- Seveneves by Neal Stephenson (Morrow)
- A Borrowed Man by Gene Wolfe (Tor)
- Karen Memory by Elizabeth Bear (Tor)
- The House of Shattered Wings by Aliette de Bodard (Roc; Gollancz)
- Wylding Hall by Elizabeth Hand (PS; Open Road)
- The Fifth Season by N.K. Jemisin (Orbit US; Orbit UK)
- Uprooted by Naomi Novik (Del Rey)
- Sorcerer to the Crown by Zen Cho (Ace; Macmillan UK)
- The Grace of Kings by Ken Liu (Saga)
- Signal to Noise by Silvia Moreno-Garcia (Solaris)
- The Watchmaker of Filigree Street by Natasha Pulley (Bloomsbury US; Bloomsbury UK)
- The Sorcerer of the Wildeeps by Kai Ashante Wilson (Tor.com)
- Half a War by Joe Abercrombie (Del Rey; Harper Voyager UK)
- Half the World by Joe Abercrombie (Del Rey)
- Harrison Squared by Daryl Gregory (Tor)
- Shadowshaper by Daniel José Older (Levine)
- The Shepherd’s Crown by Terry Pratchett (Harper; Doubleday UK)
For the complete list of noms in all categories check out the official press release from Locus. Winners will be announced during the Locus Awards Weekend in Seattle WA, June 24-26, 2016; Connie Willis will MC the awards ceremony. Our congratulations to all the nominees!
What do you think of these lists? Any surprises? Any favorites?
The nominees for the 2015 Shirley Jackson Award have been announced. The noms in the novel category are:
- Eileen by Ottessa Moshfegh (Penguin Press)
- Experimental Film by Gemma Files (ChiZine Publications)
- The Glittering World by Robert Levy (Gallery)
- Lord Byron’s Prophecy by Sean Eads (Lethe Press)
- When We Were Animals by Joshua Gaylord (Mulholland Books)
The Shirley Jackson Awards are voted upon by a jury of professional writers, editors, critics, and academics, with input from a Board of Advisors. The awards are given for the best work published in the preceding calendar year in the following categories: Novel, Novella, Novelette, Short Story, Single-Author Collection, and Edited Anthology. You can see the complete list of noms in all categories in the official press release.
Our congrats to all the nominees! What do you like from this list? Any surprise inclusions?
The shortlist for the Arthur C. Clarke Award for best science fiction novel for 2016 have been announced. They are:
- The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet by Becky Chambers (Hodder & Stoughton)
- Europe at Midnight by Dave Hutchinson (Solaris)
- The Book of Phoenix by Nnedi Okorafor (Hodder & Stoughton)
- Arcadia by Iain Pears (Faber & Faber)
- Way Down Dark by J.P. Smythe (Hodder & Stoughton)
- Children of Time by Adrian Tchaikovsky (Tor)
The winner will be announced in August and will be presented with a check for £2016.00 and the award itself, a commemorative engraved bookend.
So what do you think of this list? Any surprises for you? Which is your pick to win?
The 2016 Hugo Award finalists have been announced. The noms in the Best Novel category are:
- Ancillary Mercy by Ann Leckie (Orbit)
- The Aeronaut’s Windlass by Jim Butcher (Roc)
- The Fifth Season by N.K. Jemisin (Orbit)
- Seveneves: A Novel by Neal Stephenson (William Morrow)
- Uprooted by Naomi Novik (Del Rey)
See the full list of noms in all categories on the MidAmeriCon II website.
Our congrats to all the finalists. As most everyone expected Ann Leckie’s third Imperial Radch book got a nod and Jim Butcher has made the list again this year but with a book from his new Steampunk series The Cinder Spires. What do you think of this crop of books? Any favorites in the list?
Horror books come in two basic types, there is the “grab-you-by-your-throat” and the “slow burn.” Done well, both novels can be terrifying, and if a novel is able to give the reader both in the same book, that author should be dubbed a master of their field. Well I say hat’s off to “Master” Thomas Olde Heuvelt for the American debut of his novel HEX. I was hooked by this glorious piece of work from the very start. I finished it in 4 days, and probably would have finished it sooner if pesky things like work, food, and sleep had not gotten in my way!
This novel brings to mind Stephen King. Not so much in writing style but in his ability to strip away the picturesque façade of Small-Town “America.” Black Springs is a typical Up-State New York town. If you read the book jacket you go into this novel knowing that the town is hiding a secret from the rest of the world. Katherine, The Black Rock Witch, has been haunting the village for over 300 years. She appears randomly anywhere in the town, and when I say anywhere I mean in the townspeople’s living room while enjoying a movie, or in their bedroom while making love. The residents of the town have learned to cope with her appearances. There is an entire quasi-military organization called “HEX” to deal with her, and deal with her they do.
HEX grabbed my attention for the very beginning. The best way to describe this novel is like frying food. I know, bear with me. When a cook first puts the oil on the heat, there really is not much to see. I mean, they know the oil is heating up, but there is no real action. Then the cook will start to see the occasional bubble lift to the surface or a wisp of smoke, but add the food and all that energy and force that has been hiding below the surface flares up in a riot of bubbles and foam. The reader knows there is a terrible problem forming in Black Springs, heck the characters know it also, but like the reader, they are powerless to stop it.
What drew me to this story was the dichotomy of small town life and modern technology. HEX had established a high-speed internet service for the entire town and all residents were issued a smartphone so they could have access to an app, documenting the location of the witch. The entire town is complicit in keeping the secret of the witch from the larger world. Because this novel is set in present day, the reader is able to watch the members of the community, and HEX specifically, deal with the possibility of the witch’s discovery through technology.
Why is it so important to keep this witch secret? Because the curse is more than the witch. People who are born in the town and people who move into the town can never leave. If they try to leave, even for an extended vacation, they become suicidal until they return to the town. At some point in the history of the town, the elders managed to sew-up the witches’ eyes and mouth, and bind her hands in chains. This was because listening to her causes the residents to also become suicidal. The couple of times residents tried to remove the bindings, there were deaths in the town.
In the end it is technology and misunderstandings that is the downfall of this community. As a reader, I spent most of this novel alternating between horror and sadness for the residents of Black Springs, all the residents, the living and the dead.
Now this is a translation of the 2013 Dutch original, and the author chose to “Americanize” it as opposed to a direct translation. This version of the novel is set in an American village. I don’t speak Dutch, so I have no way of telling how close this comes to the original, but this was a version of the novel written by the author himself, so I am going to go out on a limb and say that the spirit of the original is going to be included in this translation.
The English translation of this novel is being released on April 26, 2016. Run — do not walk — to get this book. I promise you will not be sorry.
Thank you, Tor Books, for providing this book for an honest review.
“Reckless, aggressive and undisciplined.” Pretty much sums up the last movie’s production mantra. I’m glad to see the Death Star yet again because it’s not a Star Wars movie with a giant planet killing machine of some sort. All kidding aside, this look pretty cool. What’s with Mark Hamill in the bit at the end?
The 2015 James Tiptree, Jr. Award, for works of speculative fiction which explore and expand gender, has been announced.
- “The New Mother” by Eugene Fischer (Asimovs Science Fiction, April/May 2015)
- Lizard Radio by Pat Schmatz (Candlewick, 2015)
- “Sarah’s Child” by Susan Jane Bigelow (Strange Horizons 5/19/14)
- “The Shape of My Name” by Nino Cipri (Tor.com 3/4/15)
- The Only Ones by Carola Dibbell (Two Dollar Radio)
- ODY-C: Volume 1: Off to Far Ithicaa by Matt Fraction & Christian Ward (Image)
- A Crown for Cold Silver by Alex Marshall (Orbit)
- “Each to Each” by Seanan McGuire (Lightspeed 6/14)
- “How to Become a Robot in 12 Easy Steps” by A. Merc Rustad (Scigentasy 3/14)
- All That Outer Space Allows by Ian Sales (Whippleshield)
- Beyond: The Queer Sci-Fi and Fantasy Comic Anthology by Taneka Stotts and Sfé Monster, eds. (Beyond)
- Steven Universe created and executive produced by Rebecca Sugar (Cartoon Network 2013-15)
- Radiance by Catherynne M. Valente (Tor)
Our congrats to Eugene Fischer and Pat Schmatz and all the Honor List members. You can read more details about each selection on the official Tiptree website.
What do you think of this list? Any favorites in there?