What Makes This Book So Great
By Jo Walton
In 2012 Montreal resident Jo Walton won both the Hugo and Nebula Awards for Among Others, a novel about a young girl’s love for classic SF. It was obviously a book close to Walton’s heart, as she is both an indefatigable reader and someone who really enjoys talking about what she reads. Since 2008 she has been writing a reader’s blog for the SF publisher Tor, from which this collection of over 130 short essays is drawn.
As befits their origin, these aren’t so much in-depth critical reviews or even sketches of classics revisited as they are brief, informal appreciations of sometimes obscure favourites that Walton has found herself re-reading. A pair of authors who aren’t household names — Lois McMaster Bujold and Steven Brust — are particularly well represented, while in thematic essays interesting topics such as genre fiction’s use of blue language and what to do when a promising multi-volume series goes to the dogs are addressed. A well-informed and thoroughly engaging companion, especially for fans of contemporary SF.