The Mechanical Is One Of The Coolest Books About Free Will Ever Written

On its surface, The Mechanical by Ian Tregillis is a fun alt-history about a world where the Dutch conquered everyone with the help of alchemy and clockwork robots. But a lot of the most mind-blowing stuff in this book is actually about the nature, and theology, of free will. Spoilers ahead... » 4/24/15 2:40pm 4/24/15 2:40pm

Castle Hangnail Is A Perfectly Wicked Bedtime Story For Kids Of All Ages

Ursula Vernon’s latest book, Castle Hangnail, may be aimed at middle-schoolers, but it’s a delightful story for anyone who has wondered about the practicalities of running an evil castle. In this case, a young wicked witch must protect her new home from real estate developers, magical bureaucracy, and a truly evil… » 4/23/15 11:45am 4/23/15 11:45am

Ken Liu's Grace Of Kings Is The Bold Epic Fantasy We've Been Waiting For

Ken Liu has plenty of awards for his short stories, and with his debut novel, he's likely to earn acclaim as a novelist as well. The Grace of Kings is an ambitious, astonishing, and sublime work, one that both exemplifies and diverges from what one might think of when it comes to epic fantasy. It should rank… » 4/14/15 4:00pm 4/14/15 4:00pm

An Eye-Opening Look At The Sudden Rise Of Private Armies

When you hear the name Blackwater, you think of gung-ho, well paid, trigger-happy military contractors who cause international incidents. This isn't entirely inaccurate, but it's not the full story, which is told through a new book by Sean McFate: The Modern Mercenary: Private Armies and What They Mean for World Order. » 4/01/15 4:16pm 4/01/15 4:16pm

You've Never Read A Book About Magic And Loss Like Signal To Noise

Plenty of books use magic to talk about coming-of-age stories and the secrets that people bury... but few of them are as sad, or as evocative, as Silvia Moreno-Garcia's new novel Signal to Noise. Her story of three friends in Mexico City and their musical obsessions feels true, as well as truly sad. » 3/30/15 7:00pm 3/30/15 7:00pm

Kazuo Ishiguro's New Novel Is A Weird Mess, But It Still Moved Me

Kazuo Ishiguro's brand new novel, The Buried Giant, is a puzzling departure. It's not just that the author of The Remains of the Day is writing an epic fantasy about ogres and a dragon. It's also that it's written in a weird, pseudo-fancy style, and it's hard to love. But I did end up kind of haunted by this book,… » 3/10/15 4:33pm 3/10/15 4:33pm

Gemini Cell Is A Great Love Story That Deals With The True Cost Of War

Myke Cole's "military fantasy" Shadow Ops series has been unpredictable all along. In Control Point, he told the origin story. In Fortress Frontier, he narrated a quest, while in Breach Zone, he zoomed in on a single battle. With his latest installment, Gemini Cell, he does something really unexpected: a romance. » 3/06/15 4:40pm 3/06/15 4:40pm

If You Want To Rant More Eloquently About Television, Read This Book

We all obsess endlessly about television, but we don't really understand how those wavy images appear on our screens. The more we try to demystify the process of making TV, the more mysterious it seems. That's why it's great that veteran TV writer Javier Grillo-Marxuach has written an ultimate book of knowledge. » 3/06/15 4:00pm 3/06/15 4:00pm

Yay, This Fantasy Novel Actually Lives Up To Its Superb World-Building

As a genre, fantasy tends to live or die on its world-building. But great world-building, by itself, doesn't make a novel great. And sometimes, a fantasy book can spend so much time establishing its backstory, the story never seems to take off. That's why A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Scwhab is such a treat.… » 3/03/15 4:00pm 3/03/15 4:00pm

If You Love Computers, This Novel Should Be on Your Must-Read List

Liu Cixin's science fiction novel The Three Body Problem was a smash hit bestseller in China, and has finally been translated into English by Ken Liu. It's a mind-bending tale of politics, aliens and gaming — and it also contains the most awe-inspiring description of computers I've ever read. » 2/18/15 8:21pm 2/18/15 8:21pm

Kelly Link's New Book Is The Funniest And Darkest She's Ever Been

It's been an eternity since we had a book of Kelly Link stories for adults. And Get in Trouble is somewhat different than I was expecting. Less dreamlike and strange than I remember her work being, more snarky and comedic, with lots of pop culture humor. But it's also some of her darkest, most indelible stories. » 2/18/15 5:12pm 2/18/15 5:12pm

Providence of Fire Is The Perfect Blend of Politics, Magic and Action

Last year, we really dug Brian Staveley's debut fantasy epic, The Emperor's Blades. The trilogy's second volume picks up from the first, and Staveley delivers a solid and suitably epic adventure that ratchets up the action and muddies the waters, all while completely throwing all expectations out the window. » 2/13/15 4:00pm 2/13/15 4:00pm

The Truth About What Went Wrong With The Third Season Of Star Trek

The original Star Trek was a revolutionary television show... that came to an ignominious end. The classic space opera saw a huge drop in quality in its final season, and then was cancelled. Legend has it the ratings were terrible, and the new producer, Fred Freiberger, ruined it. But the truth is a bit more… » 2/05/15 1:34pm 2/05/15 1:34pm

An Urban Fantasy Novel That Shows Cities In A Way You've Never Seen

The urban fantasy genre isn't just set in cities — it's one of the main places that genre fiction engages with our urbanized existence, picking up the baton dropped by cyberpunk. But you don't often see cities depicted the way Daniel José Older does in his new novel Half-Resurrection Blues. » 1/16/15 4:02pm 1/16/15 4:02pm

Everybody Needs To Read PW Singer's Book On Cybersecurity And Cyberwar

The recent Sony hacking scandal just proved what's already been clear to a lot of people for years: cyberattacks are an ever-increasing threat, and we're not ready. Luckily, a book released last year provides an excellent primer on this sort of situation: P.W. Singer and Allan Friedman's Cybersecurity and Cyberwar:… » 1/14/15 4:00pm 1/14/15 4:00pm

With War Dogs, Greg Bear Takes Military SF To Some Very Strange Places

Military science fiction has a long tradition of speculating about the nature of warfare. Greg Bear, fresh off of a tour in Microsoft's Halo universe, seemed like the next Big Thing when it came to combat SF with his latest, War Dogs. And, he delivers an interesting story, but it's not quite the one you expect. » 1/07/15 4:00pm 1/07/15 4:00pm

The Book Of Strange New Things Will Blow You Away

Michael Faber's new novel The Book of Strange New Things pulls a neat trick. At first, you think it's going to be about a human trying to explain our culture — and specifically Christianity — to aliens on the planet Oasis. But at some point, you realize it's about the fate of humanity, instead. And that's when it gets… » 12/25/14 12:29pm 12/25/14 12:29pm