This is one of those books where an alien tries to understand humanity by walking a mile in our shoes, figuratively speaking. It’s not a bad book, but nor would I consider it a great book.
I have to say, this one’s given me a lot to think about. It’s a small book, physically speaking, but it has some pretty big things to say about where African F/SF has come from, where it currently stands, and maybe even where it’s going. The book itself is a collection of academic papers on aspects of F/SF created in Africa or by African authors and makes for some interesting and eye-opening reading.
This was an interesting read, albeit one which requires a fair bit of work from the reader. It’s a weird mix of cyberpunk meets colonial sci-fi meets social commentary, held together by some fantastic prose. Right from the first paragraph the writing comes across as a strongly jazz-influenced melange of images and ideas and perfectly sets the stage for what quickly becomes a confusing journey through an alien ecosphere, as seen through the eyes of our protagonist, Kalypso Deed.
Generally speaking, most people think of fantasy as being some analogue of western history with the occasional decidedly anthropocentric non-human races and some variation on a theme of dragons. At least, that’s how it used to be, up until a few years ago. These days, fantasy is a much broader and much more diverse playground, and Tasha Suri’s marvellous debut novel does more than its fair share to add to that diversity.
We’re almost at the end of another year, and I have to say, 2018 has been a fantastic year for genre books. there have been some cracking good follow-ups to some of last year’s best debuts, along with some seriously well written shorter works. Talking to other readers at EdgeLit and SledgeLit, and picking up on reviews online, there’s definitely a sense that genre publishing, in all respects, has gotten better, broader, and more diverse this year, and next year is looking even more so. With that in mind, I thought now would be a good time to look at the books which have stood out most for me in 2018.
Following last year’s Court of Broken Knives I had high expectations for this book, and I have to say I was not disappointed. As with the first book in the series, The Tower of Living and Dying may not be everybody’s cup of tea, but if you enjoyed the first you’re going to love the second.