Review: In Real Life by Cory Doctorow and Jen Wang

InRealLifeIn a nutshell, In Real Life is a graphic novel that tackles some of the same themes and concepts as Doctorow’s earlier YA novel For the Win, most notably: gold-farming in online games, from an economic and social perspective; the concept of having a separate online identity, specifically for teenagers who may still be forming a “real life” identity; and feminism and the myriad ways it ties into those first two items.

Anda is a teenager who gets recruited into a girls-only guild in the online game Coarsegold. Before she knows it, a more experienced player co-opts her into hunting down gold farmers, explaining that it’s a good thing to do because gold farming ruins the game. Eventually, Anda learns more about the plight of the gold farmers (in this case, poor kids in China working in sweatshop-like conditions) and, well, basically rides in on a shiny sparkling unicorn, saves everyone, and solves world poverty.

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Guest post by SL Huang: I Self-Published So I Could Let People Pirate My Book


SL Huang

For today’s guest post, I’m thrilled to welcome SL Huang, author of SF novel Zero Sum Gamewhich I really should get around to reviewing one of these days. (For now, just trust me and read it – it’s great!)

Also, the most excellent Book Smugglers blog recently published SL Huang’s story “Hunting Monsters” as the very first story in their brand new Book Smugglers Publishing venture. (And while you’re there, check out their great review of Zero Sum Game.)

About SL Huang:

SL Huang justifies her MIT degree by using it to write eccentric mathematical superhero fiction. In real life, you can usually find her hanging upside down from the ceiling or stabbing people with swords.  She is unhealthily opinionated at and on Twitter as @sl_huang.  Her first novel, Zero Sum Game, was released under a Creative Commons license.  The sequel, Half Life, will also be CC-licensed and is scheduled for release in January 2015.

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Mini-review: Ancillary Sword by Ann Leckie

AncillarySwordAnn Leckie’s stunning debut novel Ancillary Justice (my review) deservedly swept the major awards this year. To say that expectations for the sequel were high is an understatement, but, happily, Ancillary Sword meets those high expectations and then some. This is a novel that’s as good as, if not better than, its predecessor.

It is, however, a very different novel in a number of ways. For one, the narrative is no longer split between two time lines: Ancillary Justice moved back and forth in time for most of its length, going from the story of Breq-as-Justice-of-Toren to the story of post-Justice-of-Toren-destruction Breq and back, thereby explaining how one led to the other and setting the scene for one of the most fascinating space operas I’ve read in years.

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Mini-review: Hurricane Fever by Tobias Buckell

HurricaneFeverI very much enjoyed Tobias Buckell’s 2012 SF novel Arctic Rising (my review), which was set on a near-future Earth dramatically affected by global warming. As much as I loved that novel’s main character Anika, I mentioned in my review that I wouldn’t mind reading a novel set in the same world but featuring one of its two excellent supporting characters, Vy or Roo.

Lo and behold, just about two years later, Buckell delivers Hurricane Fever, starring former Caribbean Intelligence Group operative Prudence “Roo” Jones, who made a brief but memorable appearance in the first novel. I’m happy to report that Hurricane Fever is another excellent near-future cli-fi/spy-fi/techno-thriller novel — whatever you want to call it, it’s more than worth checking out.

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Guest post by Kameron Hurley: Why I Stopped Writing About White People

Kameron Hurley

Kameron Hurley

For today’s guest post, I’m proud to welcome Kameron Hurley, whose new epic fantasy novel The Mirror Empire is (deservedly) making all kinds of waves.

Aside from The Mirror Empire, she is also the author of the award- winning God’s War Trilogy, comprising the books God’s War, Infidel, and Rapture. She has won the Hugo Award, Kitschy Award, and Sydney J. Bounds Award for Best Newcomer. Hurley has also been a finalist for the Arthur C. Clarke Award, Nebula Award, the Locus Award, BFS Award, and the BSFA Award for Best Novel. Her short fiction has appeared in Lightspeed Magazine, Year’s Best SF, EscapePod, The Lowest Heaven, and the upcoming Mammoth Book of SF Stories by Women.

Please enjoy this thought-provoking guest post from one of today’s most talented and hard-working authors.

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Giveaway Winner! (The Midnight Queen giveaway)

TheMidnightQueenAnd the winner of last week’s giveaway is…

*drum roll*

*tears open the envelope*

Patti S. of Winchester, TN

Congratulations, Patti! Your copy of The Midnight Queen by Sylvia Izzo Hunter will be mailed to you by the kind folks at Ace Books.

For those of you who didn’t win, stay tuned as I hope to have several other great giveaways coming up soon, as well as the usual slew of reviews and SF/F-related ramblings!

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Lookin’ Good: Upgraded by Neil Clarke (Ed.)

UpgradedI’m just going to list a few names here, and then you can tell me whether you want this anthology or not, okay? Here we go. Elizabeth Bear. Benjanun Sriduangkaew. Yoon Ha Lee. Need more? Okay. Ken Liu. Peter Watts. E. Lily Yu. I can keep going for a while, you know.

Alright, fine, I’ll wait while you go order Upgraded, the new, Kickstarter-funded anthology edited by Clarkesworld mastermind Neil Clarke.

Upgraded is billed as “an anthology of original cyborg stories edited by a cyborg. Stronger. Better. Faster. We will rebuild you.” With a stunning cover by Hugo Award-winning artist Julie Dillon, this looks like a must-read for anyone interested in SF short stories in general and cyborgs in particular.

Here’s the full Table of Contents:

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