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The best recent science fiction, fantasy and horror – reviews roundup

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Far From the Light of Heaven by Tade Thompson; The Cabinet by Un-su Kim; Femlandia by Christina Dalcher; When Things Get Dark edited by Ellen Datlow; The Workshop of Filthy Creation by Richard Gadz

Far from the Light of Heaven by Tade Thompson (Orbit, £8.99)
When rookie pilot Michelle is assured on her first trip into outer space that the AI never fails, readers will guess that she’ll wind up in sole charge of the spaceship Ragtime, responsible for the lives of hundreds of passengers on their way from Earth to colony planet Bloodroot. But that’s the only predictable thing in the Rosewater author’s inventive, exciting and compulsively readable new novel. The plot involves a classic locked-room mystery, but the stakes are far higher than they could be for any Earth-bound detective. Campion is constantly on the brink of death, along with everyone else on her ship, unless she can discover and neutralise the murderer. This book is like the Tardis, larger inside than out, with a range of ideas, characters and fascinating future settings making it probably the best science fiction novel of the year.

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smallfrogge
5 days ago
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Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
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PSA: Publishing supply chain shortages

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Quantum of Nightmares (UK link) comes out on January 11th in the USA and January 13th in the UK. It's the second New Management novel, and a direct sequel to Dead Lies Dreaming.

If you want to buy the ebook, you're fine, but if you want a paper edition you really ought to preorder it now.

The publishing industry is being sandbagged by horrible supply chain problems. This is a global problem: shipping costs are through the roof, there's a shortage of paper, a shortage of workers (COVID19 is still happening, after all) and publishers are affected everywhere. If you regularly buy comics, especially ones in four colour print, you'll already have noticed multi-month delays stacking up. Now the printing and logistics backlogs are hitting novels, just in time for the festive season.

Tor are as well-positioned to cope with the supply chain mess as any publisher, and they've already allocated a production run to Quantum of Nightmares. (Same goes for Orbit in the UK.) But if it sells well and demand outstrips their advance estimates, the book will need to go into reprint—and instead of this taking 1-2 weeks (as in normal times) it's likely to be out of stock for much longer.

Of course the ebook edition won't be affected by this. But if you want a paper copy you may want to order it ASAP.

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smallfrogge
5 days ago
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Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
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Grimes - Flesh without Blood/Life in the Vivid Dream

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smallfrogge
6 days ago
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Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
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It's A Good Old Fashioned Mini Bash

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Every year at the Goodwood Revival I look forward to the absolutely bonkers John Whitmore Trophy race, which is a 45-minute sprint for 1250cc Mini race cars with a mandatory driver change. Some of the most talented racers in the world take part in this race, giving everything they’ve got. It’s full-throttle madness…

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smallfrogge
21 days ago
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Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
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LeMadChef
31 days ago
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Classic Minis are awesome.
Denver, CO

Dune review – David Lynch’s intergalactic epic shoots for the moon

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There are moments of dreamlike brilliance in this extravagant fable of imperialism – provided you can stay awake to see them

With Denis Villeneuve’s new adaptation of Dune almost upon us, here is a chance to revisit David Lynch’s ill-starred attempt from 1984: the version of Frank Herbert’s classic sci-fi novel he wrote and directed under the aegis of producer Dino De Laurentiis. At the time, it was greeted with a bored shrug from both press and public, making it a rare failure for Lynch. It would be agreeably contrarian to claim that Lynch’s Dune is an underrated masterpiece – but it isn’t exactly. There are, admittedly, some moments of expressionist panache and dreamlike strangeness; it sometimes feels like a freewheeling sci-fi production of a lost Shakespeare Roman play. There’s a wonderful scene when the mighty sandworm on the planet Arrakis is tamed and mastered, which Villeneuve hasn’t yet offered us.

But there are also a lot of longueurs, a lack of dramatic focus, and simply an attempt to do too much, encompassing and transforming the entire book in just over two hours. (Villeneuve, by contrast, is covering less than half with his version.) The passing of time can be very unforgiving for visual effects, and Lynch’s Dune doesn’t look as good as, say, Kubrick’s 2001, which was made long before. It’s closer in design to Mike Hodges’s intergalactic comic-book comedy Flash Gordon from 1980, which was supposed to be funny, although that also had Max von Sydow in it.

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smallfrogge
21 days ago
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Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
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Konami's Awful, Awful Soccer Game (The Jimquisition)

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Jim Sterling

It is James Stephanie Sterling, an idiot for you to enjoy! Among the longest standing critics of game industry business practices, particularly excessive monetization such as microtransactions and loot boxes. Alongside commentary on the game industry, you can enjoy impressions of brand new games, elite gaming wisdom from Commentocracy, and other assorted pieces of information and entertainment. Crowdfunded on Patreon, and dipped in milk.

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smallfrogge
21 days ago
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Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
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