A book this fun has no business being so interesting and thought-provoking. Hella is a low gravity world home to massive wildlife ( a.k.a. giant dinosaurs) and even larger weather patterns, a combination that forces the colonists trying to build a home there to adapt to their surroundings in profound ways. Seasonal migrations, strong communal bonds, and strict rules regarding consumption and ownership all contribute to the foundation of the new society, but when a large group of new colonists arrive with news that Earth is no longer safe to return to, the resources and resolve of the whole colony will be tested. As tensions rise and xenophobia starts to divide the Hellans, a neurodivergent boy named Kyle and his loved ones have to embrace new technologies and old connections to save not only their colony, but the ideals that make that colony home. This is science fiction at its most entertaining without sacrificing any of the nuance, inclusivity, and world-building that makes the genre great.
Just like the killers he loves so much, Jones has returned to give us more of the good stuff. His unique brand of genre-bending satire is the perfect fit for Proofrock and its resident hero (and staunch anti-final-girl) Jade, but things are different this time around. Gone is the gleeful slasher-mania that gave the first book its mask, and in its place is the true, much darker face of the town and its residents. Still reeling from the events of five years earlier and the traumas that they exhumed, Jade and the rest of the survivors are forced to once again deal with a killer on the loose, only this time, everyone knows what's coming for them; the only question is whether they can stop it. Chock-full of social commentary that ranges from rural gentrification to indigenous erasure to feminist defiance of the patriarchy, Jones once again exhibits his virtuosity in wrapping the issues we face as a society into a beautifully constructed story that educates the reader without ever breaking the spell cast by his tale. Masterful in its use of metaphor and with its tongue shoved all the way through its cheek, the second installment of this gift to horror fans is guaranteed to satisfy.
This book has been continuously changing the way that I see the world on a fundamental level ever since I read it. Yunkaporta's ability to put complex and challenging ideas onto paper in a way that makes them accessible to anyone is special, and the result is a book that presents new (or old) ways of thinking that are desperately needed in today's world. Ranging in topic from sex to quantum physics to cooking to neurobiology, Yunkaporta yarns with the reader and various experts in a conversational way that allows him to use traditional Aboriginal techniques of conversation to educate the reader as if they were standing next to him as he draws symbols in the sand. I won't try to summarize his teachings/understandings because I am still trying to work through them myself, but trust me when I say that if you are willing to give some effort, this book will help you understand the connectedness of all things and, maybe, your place among them.
If you like delving into the darkest depths of the human psyche, this book is for you. Hoang spins a vivid tale of abuse and generational trauma that ends before it even begins, with the death of our narrator Arlene at the hands of her own mother. From her vantage point in a purgatory-like afterlife, Arlene examines her mother's life, from a horrific childhood filled with bullying and casual mistreatment through the births of her four children and all the way to her imprisonment for the murders of those very children. With her newfound insight, Arlene eviscerates the social and familial cultures that pushed her mother to become the monster that she knew and loved, sparing nobody and nothing from her cold analysis. Brutal, poetic, and unflinching, this is the kind of fictionalized true crime that will forever change the way you see the world and the people who live in it.
Sometimes, you come across a book that fundamentally shifts your perspective. Wake, Siren is one of those books. I have always loved mythology, particularly the Greco-Roman myths that I was raised on, and I always had this nebulous concept of mythology as full of heroism, bravery, and the power of man in the face of impossible odds. It was a foundational part of my childhood, both the myths themselves and the large impact they had on our culture, and I carried many of those ideals with me. Until, that is, I read this collection of stories. McLaughlin exposes those "heroic" ideals for what they truly are: misogynistic, outdated views of the world that are both laughable in their ignorance and terrifying in their reach. The women who tell these tales are powerful, resilient, resourceful, independent, and most importantly of all, absolutely furious. Each story contains enough rage and resistance to light the world on fire, and when combined they truly challenge the old gods (and men) and their insidious influence on our society. Combining the ambient beauty of The Metamorphoses with the contemporary woman's battle for equality, McLaughlin manages to create something both incredibly old and shockingly new. Relatable, ingenious, and unceasingly defiant, this is a turning point in the history of mythology that will turn the past and its stories on their heads.