The world might be different but there will always be London, or at least there are four of them, spanning from Georgian England to a lifeless world scoured by magic. A few special mages ferry messages between the worlds, but not all messages are created equal…
Sequel to Ninefox Gambit/Book 2 of the Machineries of Empire Trilogy
I thought Ninefox Gambit was brilliant and strange, if a little obtuse. With all the strange technology and bizarre calendar tricks out of the way, Raven Stratagem feels like a chance for Yoon Ha Lee to cut loose and have fun.
A young woman in private practice after being cast out of the academy in disgrace, is hired by a partner in a major firm to assist in a post bankruptcy restructuring of a global entity, but a range of opponents both old and new are arrayed against her. Oh and the practice is wizardry, the academy was above the clouds, and the entity being restructured is a god.
A loyal commander teams up with a traitorous general to crush a rebellion through a combination of super advanced weapons and manipulation of the calender.
Weird is easy. Believably, coherently and off-puttingly weird is much harder…
A member of the filth finds his calling as the police’s newest, and nearly only, wizard.
Peter Grant is not your typical urban fantasy protagonist. For starters he’s a cop, and an extremely junior one at that. More importantly, at the beginning of the series, not a very good cop: better than a hanger, but lacking in the instincts and discipline that would make him stand out. He’s also black, which matter less then it might have in the past, but certainly carries varying degrees of baggage in the Police, London, and England respectively.
Now we get to the category where I can actually seem vaguely competent because I’ve read most of them before. As you would hope, this is an extremely strong category, and my only regret is that I didn’t have time to read more books in these series.
As mentioned before this is not strictly a Hugo category, it just uses the same voting system with the same electorate and is given out at the same time. It’s also an odd duck, as novels duke it out with short stories and mixtures of both. Still, the Campbell Award often ends up being my favourite slate – in previous years I have preferred the novels represented here to those in the novel category.
I loved Old Man’s War, became increasingly disillusioned as the series went on, then jumped off the Scalzi train with Redshirts, which was a great idea of a book that I just hated. Still, my residual goodwill for that first book was enough to get me to try his new space opera, and while not an instant classic like Old Man’s War, this was a thoroughly enjoyable book.
This should have been a slam dunk: an intergalactic agent fights terrorists and negotiates with aliens while accompanied by a pet shuriken at the behest of an immortal Japanese administrator working for a superintellegent AI. Furthermore it comes with an impressive pedigree, as the first of over a dozen polity novels by Neal Asher. Unfortunately it’s just kind of there, not bad, but inferior to similar books such as Altered Carbon or most of the Culture novels.