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Thomas M. Wagner
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SFF180 — New YouTube Series

I am proud to present SFF180, the companion YouTube channel of In March 2015 it passed its first 1000 subscribers. The majority of new-release titles I review will now receive both written and video reviews. Classic and retro titles will mostly continue to recieve only written reviews.

MAILBAG MONDAY: Showcasing all new review copies received for each week.



  • New Walk on Earth a Stranger / Rae Carson Three and a half stars (added 10/6/15)
    In 1849, a young girl with the magical ability to detect gold heads west to California to escape the clutches of her parents' killer in this sweeping if uneven Wagons West epic that employs its fantasy elements sparingly.
  • New The Sorcerer of the Wildeeps / Kai Ashante Wilson Two stars (added 9/12/15)
    A launch title for Publishing's novella line, this highly anticipated sword-and-sorcery mini-epic by Nebula/WFA nominee Wilson is a dismayingly murky, pretentious mess about a demigod protecting a merchant caravan. Not so much subversive as substandard.
  • New The Slow Regard of Silent Things / Patrick Rothfuss One and a half stars (added 9/8/15)
    Young Auri, living in an abandoned underground city, spends 150 pages doing nothing in particular. Patrick Rothfuss gives epic fantasy the Manic Pixie Dream Girl story it wasn’t asking for in this aimless, meandering novella even he admits should have been a trunk story.
  • New Half a King / Joe Abercrombie Three and a half stars (added 9/8/15)
    Yarvi never wanted to be king — but when he finds kingship thrust upon him and treachery all around, he will do anything to regain his throne. Abercrombie's first ostensibly-YA novel has a lot of entertainment value, but still feels like Abercrombie Lite compared to his earlier work.
  • The Traitor Baru Cormorant / Seth Dickinson Five stars (added 8/13/15)
    Shattering debut novel in which a vengeful young woman plans to rise to a position of trust and authority in the empire that conquered her homeland, all part of a plan to bring it down from within. But how far is she willing to go to see it through, and at what cost?
  • The Book of Phoenix / Nnedi Okorafor four stars (added 7/27/15)
    A genetically engineered superwoman breaks free from the lab that created her and launches a violent rebellion against her former masters in this passionate and angry prequel to Okorafor's WFA-winning Who Fears Death.
  • Seveneves / Neal Stephenson four stars (added 6/9/15)
    The sudden and unexplained destruction of the moon leaves the remnants of humanity in scattered orbital habitats, with the future of the species in the hands of seven women. It's only two-thirds of a great novel, but those two-thirds are great indeed.
  • The Vorrh / B. Catling four and a half stars (added 5/11/15)
    A sinister, uncharted forest deep within colonial Africa draws adventurers into its haunted depths in this immersive, dreamlike epic that entangles history and New Weird fiction. A must for the Miéville set.
  • The Three-Body Problem / Liu Cixin Three and a half stars (added 4/19/15)
    A virtual-reality game and a mysterious message from deep space herald an alien invasion in this Hugo-and-Nebula nominated hard SF mind-bender from Chinese bestseller Liu Cixin, gracefully translated by award-winning author Ken Liu.

This site is dedicated to the memory of Johnny M. Lee, who passed away tragically in 1991. Johnny was something of a mentor figure to me when I got into SF fandom as a teenager in the 80's, and he is still missed.

"In the arts, the critic is the only independent source of information. The rest is advertising." —Pauline Kael
"If you are in difficulties with a book, try the element of surprise: attack it at an hour when it isn't expecting it."
—H.G. Wells