Updraft soars above the clouds without visible supports

Far behind the popular curve on this one, I just finished Updraft by Fran Wilde, which was published in 2015 as the first novel in the Bone Universe series. Cloudbound and Horizon are the subsequent titles. Updraft was an enjoyable read, well worth the investment of time, and deserving of its acclaim, but it was also an example of how young adult (YA) novels sometimes sketch the big picture with the thinnest of brushstrokes, and that may not be enough.

There is plenty to say about the novel’s character development and plot, which you can see in a review on Strange Horizons here, but world-building was its core strength. Survivors of some unnamed historic tragedy live high above the ground, above the clouds even, in towers made of living bone. There were key details, such the living tiers shaped like vertebrae in a spine; mostly invisible, tentacled monsters sail around the towers and eat people on occasion; and the challenges of navigating air currents while flying. All important aspects and engaging, but as a reader I felt the novel wasn’t fully fleshed out. We never learn– Continue reading

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SF Winners of 2014 Goodreads Choice Awards

Deborah Harkness thanks readers who voted for The Book of Life at Goodreads

Deborah Harkness thanks readers who voted for The Book of Life at Goodreads

You will find all the winners of the Goodreads Choice Awards here, but I wanted to get your comments on the winning SF titles by female authors.

Fantasy Winner–The Book of Life by Deborah Harkness (51,462 votes)

Horror Winner–Prince Lestat by Anne Rice (21,909 votes)

Young Adult Fantasy and Science Fiction Winner–City of Heavenly Fire by Cassandra Clare (53,247 votes)