[In this feature, we highlight a handful of the best book reviews appearing over the weekend in major newspapers.]


Theft of Swords, by Michael J. SullivanReviewed by Liz Bourke (Strange Horizons).

Here’s an Irish student systematically savaging a terrible sounding fantasy book. She does a few things here I really like: 1. Offer the author a pass since it was originally a self-published title, but criticize the publisher and editors who picked it up for not doing anything to fix it. 2. Dissect Sullivan’s ignorance of Early Modern grammar. 3. Summarize the book in a lengthy write up that is undoubtedly more entertaining than the book itself. It might be a little mean, but sometimes it’s really fun to read someone just lay in to a bad book (or movie), and besides team Sullivan comes out looking like chumps more than anything. Good stuff.


Blueprints of the Afterlife, by Ryan Boudinot. Reviewed by Paul Di Fillippo (Barnes and Noble Review).

This review is comprehensive to say the least. Read it if you want the skinny on Boudinot’s career and an overview on slipstream fiction in addition to a review of this book. It’s actually a pretty informative overview, so the review is worth the read just for that. Also, this book sounds pretty cool, and Di Filippo reviews it aptly. I like lines like this in reviews:

Boudinot takes this finely wrought but perhaps thematically underpowered mimetic-absurdist vehicle and drops in a rocket-powered speculative engine.

I’m pretty sure I saw Nico with this book not too long ago, so I’ll leave the C4 judgment to him. Look for his review sometime soon.


Aim for the Head, by various authors. Reviewed by William Grimes (New York Times).

A collection of “work [from] more than 50 zombie poets” might be a fun read. Who knew there were any “zombie poets,” let alone fifty? I’m not very well-versed (sorry) in modern poets, so I’ve never heard of any of those Grimes mentions or quotes, but poetry readers sould give it a gander and see if there’s anyone they recognize. And for those who still like zombie books like I do, the review’s a short but interesting read in its own right.


Quickly: Speaking of zombies, Cory Doctorow has a write up on the latest Walking Dead collection–which I just read and is very good. Helpful tips on how to write (in just 3 pudding cups). And, spending $50,000 on Das Kapital seems contradictory.


Bonus Book Trailer: This one is done by fifth graders, and is far, far better than most of the trailers I share on these posts.