Up for Review: The Best of All Possible Worlds

I hadn’t heard of Karen Lord before I spotted this novel on NetGalley, and I’m very happy to have found her. As much as I love sf, it still seems to be dominated by a culturally monochromatic group of authors and their biases can get annoying. Born in Barbados, Lord is one of the few women of colour writing sf and fantasy. Which reminds me – I need to read some Nalo Hopkinson asap…

The Best of All Possible Worlds by Karen LordThe Best of All Possible Worlds by Karen Lord (Del Rey)

NetGalley Blurb:

Karen Lord’s debut novel, the multiple-award-winning Redemption in Indigo, announced the appearance of a major new talent—a strong, brilliantly innovative voice fusing Caribbean storytelling traditions and speculative fiction with subversive wit and incisive intellect. Compared by critics to such heavyweights as Nalo Hopkinson, China Mieville, and Ursula K. Le Guin, Lord does indeed belong in such select company—yet, like them, she boldly blazes her own trail.

Now Lord returns with a second novel that exceeds the promise of her first. The Best of All Possible Worlds is a stunning science fiction epic that is also a beautifully wrought, deeply moving love story.

A proud and reserved alien society finds its homeland destroyed in an unprovoked act of aggression, and the survivors have no choice but to reach out to the indigenous humanoids of their adopted world, to whom they are distantly related. They wish to preserve their cherished way of life but come to discover that in order to preserve their culture, they may have to change it forever.

Now a man and a woman from these two clashing societies must work together to save this vanishing race—and end up uncovering ancient mysteries with far-reaching ramifications. As their mission hangs in the balance, this unlikely team—one cool and cerebral, the other fiery and impulsive—just may find in each other their own destinies… and a force that transcends all.

The Best of All Possible Worlds (US edition) will be published on 5 February 2013 by Del Rey. The UK edition will be published by Jo Fletcher Books.

Buy a copy: Amazon I The Book Depository
Read an excerpt
The title (I’m assuming) comes from a phrase/philosophical idea written by Gottfried Leibniz. You can read more about it here.

About the Author:
Karen Lord has been a physics teacher, a diplomat, a part-time soldier, and an academic at various times and in various countries. She is now a writer and research consultant in Barbados. Her debut novel, Redemption in Indigo, won the Frank Collymore Literary Award, the William L. Crawford Award, and the Mythopoeic Fantasy Award for Adult Literature, and was nominated for the 2011 World Fantasy Award for Best Novel. – NetGalley

Website. Check out the About page for links to interviews and podcasts.

Up for Review: Bad Glass

Hmm, weirdness and horror.

Bad Glass by Richard E. Gropp (Del Rey)

Marketing copy from NetGalley:

One of the most hauntingly original dark fantasy debuts in years-perfect for fans of Lost and Mark Danielewski’s cult classic, House of Leaves.

Something has happened in Spokane. The military has evacuated the city and locked it down. Even so, disturbing rumors and images seep out, finding their way onto the Internet, spreading curiosity, skepticism, and panic. For what they show is-or should be-impossible: strange creatures that cannot exist, sudden disappearances that violate the laws of physics, human bodies fused with inanimate objects, trapped yet still half alive. . . .

Dean Walker, an aspiring photographer, sneaks into the quarantined city in search of fame. What he finds will change him in unimaginable ways. Hooking up with a group of outcasts led by a beautiful young woman named Taylor, Dean embarks on a journey into the heart of a mystery whose philosophical implications are as terrifying as its physical manifestations. Even as he falls in love with Taylor – a woman as damaged and seductive as the city itself – his already tenuous hold on reality starts to come loose. Or perhaps it is Spokane’s grip on the world that is coming undone.

Now, caught up in a web of interlacing secrets and betrayals, Dean, Taylor, and their friends must make their way through this ever-shifting maze of a city, a city that is actively hunting them down, herding them toward a shocking destiny.


Bad Glass will be published on 25 September 2012 by Del Rey, a division of Random House Publishing. The novel was the winner of the Suvudu Writing Contest, beating almost 700 qualifying manuscripts. Author Richard E. Gropp won a full edit of his manuscript by Dely Rey’s Editor in Chief, as well as a selection of Del Rey and Spectra titles. Publication wasn’t part of the prize, but Del Rey liked Bad Glass so much they offered Gropp a book deal too.

Download a 50-page excerpt from Scribd (pdf)
Buy a copy at The Book Depository
Add it on Goodreads

About the author:
Richard E. Gropp lives on a mountain outside of Seattle with his partner of fifteen years. It is a small mountain. He studied literature and psychology at the University of California, Santa Cruz, and has worked as a bookstore clerk, a forklift driver, and an accountant. He has a hard time spelling the word broccoli, and in his spare time he dabbles in photography and cooking. – from Random House