The author interview in this issue of the SFF magazine is with Hannu Rajaniemi, author of the Jean de Flambeur trilogy: The Quantum Thief, The Fractal Prince and The Causal Angel. I'd not heard of this author before but the stories, set in a post-singularity universe, sound like an intriguing mixture of space opera, people with god-like powers, and virtual reality. I am hesitant about buying too many books from new (to me) authors these days since I already have such a vast reading pile that I wonder if I'll ever have time to get through it, let alone re-read my many old favourites, but this series might be worth trying.
There's another interesting review of The Ghost in the Electric Blue Suit by Graham Joyce, another author new to me despite being a multi-award winner, probably because he specialised in fantasy and horror. Sadly he recently died at the age of only 60, his obituary featuring elsewhere in the magazine. The Peripheral, a new book by William Gibson, is also favourably reviewed.
The screen reviews include a couple of adaptations of stories by famous authors: Predestination (Robert Heinlein) and Radio Free Albemuth (P. K. Dick – again!) to which the film-makers have apparently been unusually faithful, at least in spirit.
The atmospheric SF scene on the cover is Sky Burial ♯3 by Wayne Haag.
Must Supply Own Work Boots by Malcolm Devlin, illustrated by Richard Wagner. A future in which construction work is carried out by mechanically-enhanced workmen with their physiology and nervous systems altered accordingly. But as each new technical generation of enhancement makes the previous workers obsolete, what happens to them?
Bullman and the Wiredling Mutha by R M Graves. A post-apocalyptic London in which gang warfare involves some strangely altered individuals. A brief story told by one of them, the Bullman, as he prepares to fight a battle against a mysterious, deadly Wiredling, but much more is going on than he is aware of.
The Calling of Night's Ocean by Thana Niveau, illustrated by Martin Hanford. A human researcher and a dolphin attempt to communicate with each other, a story told from alternating viewpoints. Success brings unforeseen consequences.
Finding Waltzer-Three by Tim Major, illustrated by Wayne Haag. An expedition finds a long-lost spacecraft, but the fate of the crew causes consternation.
Oubliette by E. Catherine Tobler, illustrated by Wayne Haag. Aphelion - a vast, partially ruined but still inhabited space station; Imogen, a visitor on an undefined mission; Zo, a long-dead religious hermit but still somehow a presence; Louis, a streetwise boy. These all interact in an atmosphere of mystery which obscures what is happening.
Mind the Gap by Jennifer Dornan-Fish. The development of an artificial intelligence as seen from the viewpoint of the AI trying to extend its understanding of humanity – but it already knows too much.
Monoculture by Tom Greene, illustrated by Richard Wagner. Another post-apocalyptic future in which the few survivors of natural humanity – ferals – coexist with a community of clones who make some curious demands, as seen from different viewpoints.
A varied collection this time, in setting, plot and style, with my favourites being the atmospheric Oubliette and the intriguing Monoculture. It would be nice from time to time to read something optimistic or amusing, but SFF writers seem to be a dour lot these days.