Surgical abortions have slowed, but pills and chemicals are reaching more homes—and killing more babies
In this hilarious and charming sci-fi romantic comedy, Hugo and Nebula awards–winning author Connie Willis warns of the insipid superficiality of our hyperconnected, self-involved, and frantic social-media-driven culture. Tech-giant employee Briddey is thrilled when her fiancé suggests they undergo elective brain surgery to become empathically connected. A deeper mind-to-mind emotional bond will only improve their relationship, right? But when Briddey wakes up, instead of feeling her partner’s emotions she hears a voice inside her head—and it isn’t her fiancé. She soon discovers that instantaneous connection can be more curse than blessing.
Unable to speak and carrying a crying baby in his arms and a sword at his side, the Vagrant searches for the Shining City. His mission: to deliver the only weapon that can defeat the monstrous body-stealing Usurper, under whose domination men become physical and moral grotesques. Only the Vagrant’s endless trudge, built on faith, hope, love, and friendship, lights the darkness. Newman’s tale of a man’s struggles through a dark world is an apocalyptic Pilgrim’s Progress that recognizes the need for a Savior to remake the sin-tainted morass wrought by Adam’s fall. (Cautions: grotesque imagery and significant violence.)
A Shadow All of Light
Written in a florid, almost Elizabethan prose style, World Fantasy Award–winner Fred Chappell’s novel takes a little getting used to, but the payoff is worth the effort. Chappell sets this series of interconnected stories in a world modeled on the Italian Renaissance. As Maestro Astolfo trains his apprentice Falco in the rarified art of shadow-stealing, the two exchange witty banter and encounter wonderfully mysterious adventures involving aging beauties seeking lost glories, devious competitors, rich eccentrics, voice-stealing cats, and dread pirates. The book offers sword and sorcery escapades with Shakespearean panache.
Age of Myth
Michael J. Sullivan
For centuries, humans lived in fear of the immortal Fhrey. When young warrior Raithe accidentally slays one of the Fhrey, he earns the name God Killer. He, the wild seer Suri, and the villager Persephone must defend their home against a vastly superior race, a task complicated by the presence of rebellious Fhrey living within the walls. Fast-paced action, compelling characters, and surprising plot twists make this epic fantasy series irresistibly fun. Sullivan’s knack for exciting action and portrayal of hesitant heroism make commendable reading for adults and teens seeking tales extolling the virtues of friendship and self-sacrifice.
Over Labor Day weekend, the Southeast’s largest science fiction convention, Dragon Con, gave out the first Dragon Awards. John C. Wright’s Somewhither: A Tale of the Unwithering Realm (Castalia House, 2015) won for Best Science Fiction Novel. Larry Correia’s Son of the Black Sword (Baen, 2015) won for Best Fantasy Novel. The winners are notable because both Wright and Correia are outspoken conservatives—and conservatives have long complained that the prestigious Hugo and Nebula awards are rigged against conservatives (see “Notable Books,” July 11, 2015).
The Dragon Awards also recognized subgenres within science fiction and fantasy and gave awards for best movies (The Martian), TV shows (Game of Thrones), video games (Fallout 4), and board games (Pandemic Legacy)—allowing enthusiasts to see what the majority of sci-fi fans enjoy. —J.O.