Monday, August 17, 2020

Reviewing the Mail: Week of 8/15/20

Two books this time, which have been sitting around for longer than I want to say, given that I supposedly do this thing weekly.

But I'm here now, and these two swell books are both coming from Tachyon Publications for your reading pleasure.

The Four Profound Weaves is the first book by R.B. Lemberg and, of course, the first in a series called the Birdverse. (Everything is a series now.) Lemberg has published short fiction before, but it's not clear if any of those stories took place in the Birdverse. Lemberg is queer and bigender, and it looks like the Birdverse draws heavily on those elements: both major characters (Uiziya and a person described as "after many years of performing the life of a woman a nameless man struggles to embody masculinity" -- if you want a writing challenge, choose a character with no name and shifting pronouns) are transgender. The magic system here involves weaving, and there's also references to a personified Death, what may be a cult or guild of assassins, and an evil ruler who may be separate from both of those. So something specific, complicated, and rich, I think. The Four Profound Weaves publishes on September 1st in trade paperback and electronic formats.

Driftwood is also the first in a fantasy series -- I told you; it's required -- this one from Marie Brennan, author of The Memoirs of Lady Trent. The description calls it "a post-apocalyptic realm where the apocalypse has not ended," which sounds both unpleasant and betraying a shaky understanding of what "post" means. Driftwood, the place, seems to be something like Grimjack's Cynosure -- a place where worlds come together and bounce off each other -- only with a black-hole-ish spin, since those worlds are being crushed down ("continents eventually crumble into mere neighborhoods," it says here), which probably does really unpleasant things to the real estate market. In this place, someone named Last has finally died -- though he also may be immortal, which is difficult to square normally with the being-dead thing -- and a group gathers together to remember him. This book starts there. Driftwood the book was officially published last week, and is available now in paper and digital formats.