Karen Russell's Imaginary Nonprofit Saves The World But Costs Your Soul

There's been a wave of fiction about an insomnia epidemic, as if some collective anxiety is bubbling up. Most recently, Kenneth Calhoun's Black Moon freaked us out. But Karen Russell's new novella "Sleep Donation" is still something pretty unique: a look at people in the nonprofit sector, struggling with insoluble… » 4/18/14 4:37pm Yesterday 4:37pm

First Fifteen Lives Of Harry August Is A Masterful Literary Thriller

It's pretty rare to find a book likeThe First Fifteen Lives of Harry August by Claire North — a page-turning thriller that packs a ton of clever plot twists and world-building that you just want to lose yourself in, but also immerses you deeply in questions of what it means to be alive, and the nature of time and… » 4/11/14 12:14pm 4/11/14 12:14pm

Black Moon's Insomnia Epidemic Is The Most Unsettling Apocalypse Of All

We're living in a golden age of apocalyptic books right now, with everybody from Margaret Atwood to Cormac McCarthy to Colson Whitehead telling apocalyptic tales. We've had a plague apocalypse, and an apocalypse where children's voices are toxic. But the insomnia plague in Kenneth Calhoun's Black Moon is still uniquely … » 3/31/14 4:30pm 3/31/14 4:30pm

Daniel Suarez's Influx Shows The Paranoid Side of Techno-Optimism

I was prepared to be annoyed by Daniel Suarez's novel Influx. This techno-thriller, which has already been optioned as a movie, has the feel (and logic) of a blockbuster movie on paper. But then I realized: Influx is science fiction as Hugo Gernsback would have written it if he lived today, a thriller packed with… » 3/20/14 1:01pm 3/20/14 1:01pm

The Golem and the Jinni is a powerful masterpiece of historical fantasy

Helene Wecker's debut, The Golem and the Jinni, is a phenomenal tale set during a transformative time in the United States. Opening at the turn of the century in 1899, it follows a dazzling array of characters and history, turning New York City into a fantasy world where they all come together in the melting-pot that… » 3/12/14 3:52pm 3/12/14 3:52pm

Meet the One Guy You Want to Be Stuck on Mars With

Very soon, in the never ending debate about whether or not info dumps can be compelling, someone will point out that Andy Weir made some 300 or more pages of info dumps nail-bitingly thrilling in The Martian. To which someone else will reply, 'Well yeah, but that's only because Mark Watney's life hung in the balance in … » 2/28/14 7:00am 2/28/14 7:00am

Finally, a novel about weird science that's genuinely weird

Jeff VanderMeer's new novel Annihilation lures you in with a seriously intriguing mystery, then leaves you filled with incredible, delicious dread. It's the tale of an ill-fated scientific expedition to piece of coastline that has developed strange new physical properties that defy explanation. And it will make you… » 2/24/14 1:35pm 2/24/14 1:35pm

Marcel Theroux' Strange Bodies is the most tragic vision of immortality

You think you know how terrible immortality could be? Forget your sad vampires and your lonely gods — the new book Strange Bodies by Marcel Theroux has the saddest version of living forever. And the most saddening part? It's a distortion of the writer's greatest dream: to live on through your words. » 2/10/14 4:40pm 2/10/14 4:40pm

Myke Cole's Breach Zone is like The Dark Knight Rises with sorcery

The final volume of Myke Cole's Shadow Ops trilogy, Breach Zone, has a distinct Dark Knight Rises vibe to it — appropriate, given that Cole worked on the film as an fighting extra in one of the film's battle scenes. It's all about a city in chaos, and what happens when people are pushed to breaking point. » 2/07/14 10:30am 2/07/14 10:30am

Cryptozoologicon Could Revolutionize the Field of Monster Studies

What happens when a well-respected paleontologist and two science artists create a book about monsters? You get Cryptozoologicon, a brilliant, funny book that conjures up the magic of your favorite cryptids, from chupacabra to the yeti, while also subjecting them to scientific scrutiny. This is perhaps the greatest,… » 2/06/14 12:47pm 2/06/14 12:47pm

This cyborg mystery novel is what Intelligence could have been

One of the reasons Intelligence has fizzled is that it took a solid premise—a government agent with a chip in brain—and failed to do anything interesting with it. K.B. Spangler's novel Digital Divide, on the other hand, takes the idea of cyborg agents and runs with it in a tale of murder and anti-cyborg prejudice. » 2/06/14 12:20pm 2/06/14 12:20pm

Craving a new military science fiction thrillride? Pick up these books

Terms of Enlistment and Lines of Departure by Marko Kloos are entertaining military SF fare, hitting all the same chords as John Scalzi's Old Man's War. Author Marko Kloos introduces a stagnant human population on Earth, a powerful military apparatus and a formidable alien threat that pushes his central protagonist,… » 1/31/14 10:49am 1/31/14 10:49am