the Little Red Reviewer

Archive for the ‘Jamie Lackey’ Category

2014 has been a pretty good year for me.  Personally, I’m damn impressed with how many of these books were actually published in 2014. As a bonus, there’s even a few novellas and short stories in here. In no particular order, here are my favorite reads of 2014!

Favorite Novels:


City of Stairs by Robert Jackson Bennett (2014) – that this book is on my list should surprise no one. And if you haven’t read it yet, seriously, get with the program. This is one of those amazing books that defies genre categorization, it just *is*.  To give you a big picture without spoiling anything, it’s about watching your worldview dissolve before your eyes, and understanding that games can be played with many sets of rules. Also? it’s simply fucking amazing.


Gemsigns by Stephanie Saulter (2014) – This is probably the most important book I read in 2014. Remember when Cory Doctorow’s Little Brother took high school government classes by storm? I wish the same for this book.  Gemsigns touches on enforced marginalization, building (and breaking down) cultures of racism and classism and fear, and religiously and politically promoted hatred, and handles it in a blunt and emotional way. Also? fucking awesome. And for what it’s worth, I cried at the end.

vandermeer annihilation

Annihilation by Jeff Vandermeer  (2014) –  I’ve been a Vandermeer fan for a long, long time (yet somehow I can still eat mushrooms). Annihilation was strange, surreal, and seemed to be magnetically attuned to me. The words in the tunnel rang for me like a tuning fork. And there was just something about characters who don’t have names. I am a jerk, however, because I own but haven’t yet read the third book in the series.

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Bastion Magazine is a new monthly science fiction magazine. They’ve recently put out their second issue, and I was lucky enough to get a review copy.  To be honest, I wasn’t sure what to expect. Would this be like one of those runs hot ‘n cold anthologies that gets returned to the library half read,  forcing me to mumble excuses while avoiding the editor? Would the quality of the stories be sub-par? New magazine, editor I don’t know a thing about…. you never know with these things.


Well, now I do know.  I should never have worried in the first place. The May issue of Bastion Magazine contains nine short stories (holy crap, nine? that’s practically an anthology right there!), most in the eight to ten page range, which fit my attention span perfectly.  Check out Bastion Magazine on their website, where you can read excerpts from both the inaugural  April issue and the current May issue. And stay tuned, because in a few days I’ll be publishing an interview with the Editor in Chief of the magazine, R. Leigh Hennig.  Oh, and the stories? Damn good for the most part. The further I read, the more impressed I was by the quality of the writing.

Bastion May_cover

Confession: did I love every single story? Nope. But take that with a grain of sand because I don’t love every story in every issue of Asimov’s either.  I’m still bowled over by the sheer quantity of stories in here.  As I usually do with magazine issues and short story collections, here are a few words on some of my favorites (and when I say favorites, I mean more than half the magazine).


Moving Past Legs by Jamie Lackey – Editor R. Leigh Hennig chose one helluva an opener, that’s for sure. Humanity has figured out how octopi think, we’ve built neural nets so people can “plug into” them. You can walk into any pet store, buy the set up and the young octopus, go home, plug in, and get a high off the experience. It’s completely legal, and employers aren’t supposed to fire people just for being octo owners, but they still do. The ethics of the entire situation are incredibly fuzzy. Jeremy loves his octopus, Legs, so he lets her go.  He even helps a movement that is working to stop pet stores from selling and breeding intelligent animals alongside kittens.   What happens in this story will burn a hole right through you.  Who are we to decide what Octopi and other intelligent creatures want? They aren’t going to want the same things we want, and they may never thank us for being uplifted, for lack of a better term.

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FTC Stuff

some of the books reviewed here were free ARCs supplied by publishers/authors/other groups. Some of the books here I got from the library. the rest I *gasp!* actually paid for. I'll do my best to let you know what's what.