When fine writer and expert editor Dozois beckons, authors deliver—and this surely will be one of the year’s essential...



Dozois, an indefatigable editor (The Year's Best Science Fiction: Thirty-Fourth Annual Collection, 2017, etc.), introduces an all-new compendium of 16 original stories, many set in their authors’ established fantasy universes.

In his extensive and knowledgeable introduction, Dozois explains that the term “sword & sorcery” was coined by fantasy great Fritz Leiber (the Fafhrd/Gray Mouser yarns) and ranges from its birth in the old pre–WWII pulps through Tolkien up to today’s doorstoppers and blockbusters. Many of the entries group themselves naturally. K.J. Parker and, less successfully, Cecelia Holland take up the theme of revenge. Other authors expose the moral ambiguities implicit in much of the subgenre’s culture (Ken Liu, Ellen Kushner), and a Rich Larson standout features a pair of curiously principled rogues. Of those set in established worlds, Robin Hobb writes of FitzChivalry Farseer and the Red Ship raiders; Matthew Hughes draws inspiration from Jack Vance’s renowned Dying Earth scenario; Walter Jon Williams offers a promising sampler of a forthcoming series; Garth Nix’s tales of Sir Hereward and the sorcerously animated ventriloquist’s dummy, Master Fitz, are justly famous; Elizabeth Bear writes enthrallingly about the Dead Man, formerly an emperor’s guard, and his companion mercenary, the Gage, a brass automaton with a human soul, the stars of her latest novel and series; Lavie Tidhar weighs in with one of his guns-and-sorcery tales about Gorel of Goliris; and, disappointingly, George R.R. Martin offers an undramatic, ultraviolent chronicle set in an era well before the current Game of Thrones books. The remainder defy classification. Kate Elliott’s fine effort portrays a mysterious exile from the spirit world who challenges the emperor of Rome; Daniel Abraham captivates with his fine knotty tale of a thief, a prince, and a mysterious magic tower; C.J. Cherryh wonders what happened after Beowulf slew the monster Grendel; and a thrill-a-minute yarn from Scott Lynch somewhat resembles a sorcerous Raiders of the Lost Ark.

When fine writer and expert editor Dozois beckons, authors deliver—and this surely will be one of the year’s essential anthologies.

Pub Date: Oct. 11, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-399-59376-5

Page Count: 544

Publisher: Bantam

Review Posted Online: Aug. 6, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2017

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A thrilling and satisfying sequel to the 1969 classic.


Over 50 years after an extraterrestrial microbe wiped out a small Arizona town, something very strange has appeared in the Amazon jungle in Wilson’s follow-up to Crichton’s The Andromeda Strain.

The microparticle's introduction to Earth in 1967 was the disastrous result of an American weapons research program. Before it could be contained, Andromeda killed all but two people in tiny Piedmont, Arizona; during testing after the disaster, AS-1 evolved and escaped into the atmosphere. Project Eternal Vigilance was quickly set up to scan for any possible new outbreaks of Andromeda. Now, an anomaly with “signature peaks” closely resembling the original Andromeda Strain has been spotted in the heart of the Amazon, and a Wildfire Alert is issued. A diverse team is assembled: Nidhi Vedala, an MIT nanotechnology expert born in a Mumbai slum; Harold Odhiambo, a Kenyan xenogeologist; Peng Wu, a Chinese doctor and taikonaut; Sophie Kline, a paraplegic astronaut and nanorobotics expert based on the International Space Station; and, a last-minute addition, roboticist James Stone, son of Dr. Jeremy Stone from The Andromeda Strain. They must journey into the deepest part of the jungle to study and hopefully contain the dire threat that the anomaly seemingly poses to humanity. But the jungle has its own dangers, and it’s not long before distrust and suspicion grip the team. They’ll need to come together to take on what waits for them inside a mysterious structure that may not be of this world. Setting the story over the course of five days, Wilson (Robopocalypse, 2011, etc.) combines the best elements of hard SF novels and techno-thrillers, using recovered video, audio, and interview transcripts to shape the narrative, with his own robotics expertise adding flavor and heft. Despite a bit of acronym overload, this is an atmospheric and often terrifying roller-coaster ride with (literally) sky-high stakes that pays plenty of homage to The Andromeda Strain while also echoing the spirit and mood of Crichton’s other works, such as Jurassic Park and Congo. Add more than a few twists and exciting set pieces (especially in the finale) to the mix, and you’ve got a winner.

A thrilling and satisfying sequel to the 1969 classic.

Pub Date: Nov. 12, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-06-247327-1

Page Count: 384

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Nov. 25, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2019

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A kicky, kinky, wildly inventive 21st-century mashup with franker language and a higher body count than Hamlet.

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Manic parodist Moore, fresh off a season in 1947 San Francisco (Noir, 2018), returns with a rare gift for Shakespeare fans who think A Midsummer Night’s Dream would be perfect if only it were a little more madcap.

Cast adrift by pirates together with his apprentice, halfwit giant Drool, and Jeff, his barely less intelligent monkey, Pocket of Dog Snogging upon Ouze, jester to the late King Lear, washes ashore in Shakespeare’s Athens, where Cobweb, a squirrel by day and fairy by night, takes him under her wing and other parts. Soon after he encounters Robin Goodfellow (the Puck), jester to shadow king Oberon, and Nick Bottom and the other clueless mechanicals rehearsing Pyramus and Thisby in a nearby forest before they present it in celebration of the wedding of Theseus, Duke of Athens, to Hippolyta, the captive Amazon queen who’s captured his heart, Pocket (The Serpent of Venice, 2014, etc.) finds Robin fatally shot by an arrow. Suspected briefly of the murder himself, he’s commissioned, first by Hippolyta, then by the unwitting Theseus, to identify the Puck’s killer. Oh, and Egeus, the Duke’s steward, wants him to find and execute Lysander, who’s run off with Egeus’ daughter, Hermia, instead of marrying Helena, who’s in love with Demetrius. As English majors can attest, a remarkable amount of this madness can already be found in Shakespeare’s play. Moore’s contribution is to amp up the couplings, bawdy language, violence, and metatextual analogies between the royals, the fairies, the mechanicals, his own interloping hero, and any number of other plays by the Bard.

A kicky, kinky, wildly inventive 21st-century mashup with franker language and a higher body count than Hamlet.

Pub Date: May 12, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-06-243402-9

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Morrow/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Feb. 9, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2020

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