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An Introduction to Stanislaw Lem, the Great Polish Sci-Fi Writer, by Jonathan Lethem

Who was Stanislaw Lem? The Polish science fiction writer, novelist, essayist, and polymath may best be known for his 1961 novel Solaris (adapted for the screen by Andrei Tarkosvky in 1972 and again by Steven Soderbergh in 2014). Lem’s science fiction appealed broadly outside of SF fandom, attracting the likes of John Updike, who called his stories “marvelous” and Lem a poet of “scientific terminology” for readers “whose hearts beat faster when the Scientific American arrives each month.” Updike’s characterization is but one version of Lem. There are several more, writes Jonathan Lethem in an essay for the London Review of Books, penned for Lem’s 100th anniversary – at least five different Lems with five different literary personalities. Read more

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The Paradox Hotel by Rob Hart

Done right, the combination of two archetypal genre stories into something new can work brilliantly … The Paradox Hotel offers a memorable case study in how to bridge two genres in a way that satisfies readers of both … Throughout The Paradox Hotel Hart creates a sense of a place on the cusp of being irrevocably changed—and of a style of living that may have exceeded its viability … In the end, The Paradox Hotel succeeds as both a mystery and as a story involving time travel. Read more

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Laura Jean McKay wins the Arthur C Clarke award

Twenty years before Margaret Atwood won the inaugural Arthur C Clarke award for her seminal novel The Handmaid’s Tale, she published a poem entitled The animals in that country. Now Laura Jean McKay, who borrowed the title of Atwood’s poem for her debut novel, has gone on to win the prestigious prize, with judges praising her story of a pandemic that enables humans to understand the language of animals for “reposition[ing] the boundaries of science fiction once again”. Read more

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The Body Scout by Lincoln Michel

The plot moves fast and features well-wrought if expected worldbuilding details, including floating billboards, advanced drug and gene therapies, cybernetic rebuilds, obnoxious and über-wealthy CEOs, and ecological collapse. Readers won’t need to be baseball fans to enjoy this gripping ride. Read more

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