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27

Jul

More than anything, Tom Raines wants to be important, though his shadowy life is anything but that. For years, Tom’s drifted from casino to casino with his unlucky gambler of a dad, gaming for their survival. Keeping a roof over their heads depends on a careful combination of skill, luck, con artistry, and staying invisible.
Then one day, Tom stops being invisible. Someone’s been watching his virtual-reality prowess, and he’s offered the incredible—a place at the Pentagonal Spire, an elite military academy. There, Tom’s instincts for combat will be put to the test, and if he passes, he’ll become a member of the Intrasolar Forces, helping to lead his country to victory in World War Three. Finally, he’ll be someone important: a superhuman war machine with the tech skills that every virtual-reality warrior dreams of. Life at the Spire holds everything that Tom’s always wanted—friends, the possibility of a girlfriend, and a life where his every action matters—but what will it cost him?
Gripping and provocative, S. J. Kincaid’s futuristic thrill ride of a debut crackles with memorable characters, tremendous wit, and a vision of the future that asks startling, timely questions about the melding of humanity and technology.

More than anything, Tom Raines wants to be important, though his shadowy life is anything but that. For years, Tom’s drifted from casino to casino with his unlucky gambler of a dad, gaming for their survival. Keeping a roof over their heads depends on a careful combination of skill, luck, con artistry, and staying invisible.

Then one day, Tom stops being invisible. Someone’s been watching his virtual-reality prowess, and he’s offered the incredible—a place at the Pentagonal Spire, an elite military academy. There, Tom’s instincts for combat will be put to the test, and if he passes, he’ll become a member of the Intrasolar Forces, helping to lead his country to victory in World War Three. Finally, he’ll be someone important: a superhuman war machine with the tech skills that every virtual-reality warrior dreams of. Life at the Spire holds everything that Tom’s always wanted—friends, the possibility of a girlfriend, and a life where his every action matters—but what will it cost him?

Gripping and provocative, S. J. Kincaid’s futuristic thrill ride of a debut crackles with memorable characters, tremendous wit, and a vision of the future that asks startling, timely questions about the melding of humanity and technology.

13

Apr

New find! Crewel by Gennifer Albin

Incapable. Awkward. Artless.

That’s what the other girls whisper behind her back. But sixteen year-old Adelice Lewys has a secret: she wants to fail.

Gifted with the ability to weave time with matter, she’s exactly what the Guild is looking for, and in the world of Arras, being chosen as a Spinster is everything a girl could want. It means privilege, eternal beauty, and being something other than a secretary. It also means the power to embroider the very fabric of life. But if controlling what people eat, where they live and how many children they have is the price of having it all, Adelice isn’t interested.

Not that her feelings matter, because she slipped and wove a moment at testing, and they’re coming for her—tonight.

Now she has one hour to eat her mom’s overcooked pot roast. One hour to listen to her sister’s academy gossip and laugh at her Dad’s stupid jokes. One hour to pretend everything’s okay. And one hour to escape.

Because once you become a Spinster, there’s no turning back.

10

Apr

Defining Genre: The Problem with “Dystopian Romance”

Very interesting article about how defining books as “dystopia” can be troublesome, and why romance and scifi are still at odds with adult readers.

Defining Genre

What’s more, I also despise the publishing practice of labeling any young adult science fiction work “dystopian.” One of my first articles here at the Academy was one delineating the differences between dystopic and post-apocalyptic literature. I know that my standards for definition of these terms are a bit higher than they are for some readers–a “pear-shaped” society filled with corruption isn’t enough for me. I prefer that the term only be used for fictional worlds that are outwardly utopic (either through scientific or political means) but whose perfection hides a sinister interior. In my eyes, futuristic worlds that simply suck are just part and parcel of the broader category of “science fiction.” I’ve seen many YA works mislabeled in this way–Anna Sheehan’s A Long Long Sleep was one that wholly lacked any dystopian worldbuilding but was still saddled with that label by its publishers.

What’s more, I’m not keen on giving a pass to books with bad worldbuilding. If one complaint about these so-called “dystopian romances” came up over and over again, it was that their worldbuilding was weak or underdeveloped, a facet which these readers took as evidence that the authors simply intended the dystopian society to be a contrivance meant to keep young lovers apart. I’m distracted by poor worldbuilding–that’s why Sean and I decided to include a “viability rating” on all of our reviews. However, I don’t think that a science fiction novel with bad worldbuilding is “not science fiction.” Instead, it’s simply “a sci-fi novel with bad worldbuilding.”