Artificial Condition continues my internal war with how I feel about The Murderbot Diaries. Despite it being more technobabble than almost anything else, the story remains intriguing and engaging off the back of the main conceit: what if a rogue AI designed to kill wanted to be left alone to watch television?
It was difficult limiting this to only ten favorite articles. Ultimately, it boiled down to a quirk of memory. Which ones, upon looking through the year, evoked the strongest memories, the most potent feelings.
Last year, I took a look at some of my favorite and least favorite pieces of media I reviewed for 2022.
The Trees Grew Because I Bled There is horrific and evocative. A well-earned compliment that applies not only to the title but to every story in this horror anthology. Though, I almost hesitate to use the word “horror” to describe this work.
The Murderbot Diaries is one of those series that is super popular and well-regarded, but it was not really on my radar until I went into this review for its first book, All Systems Red.
Tantalus Depths is the kind of book that the right audience will love. It’s a solid combination of cosmic horror, somewhat-hard science fiction, and has sprinkles of space epic. And perhaps its biggest triumph is how it balances those three things in an organic, unfolding way that never feels like a hard genre shift.
I’d not read anything by T. Kingfisher before this novel, but given the grace of the prose, The Hollow Places will not be the last. She’s shown her sureness within both this subgenre and in the art of simply telling a good story.
Starting worst and going toward best, this is a shorter but much more spoiler-heavy breakdown of these six spooky tales.
I Found a Circus Tent in the Woods Behind My House is a stark contrast to the first book in the “I Found Horror” series. It’s technically the second book, but was published first. I’m unsure of why it’s set up that way, except perhaps to give a better starting impression.
“Big Bad” made for an interesting end to the Creature Feature collection. It’s the only story in it that fits within any of my preconceived expectations. It’s about a werewolf. The werewolf follows normal horror werewolf rules (as opposed to paranormal werewolf rules), and the story has a lot of gore and tense moments in it.
“Best of Luck” is pulling as my favorite story in the collection. Although “Ankle Snatcher” is the only one that scared me, this one was the most fun to read. I actively wish there were more pages, that the story didn’t have to be over so soon.
“In Bloom” just kept missing. Each time the horror felt like it was going to build to something, each time I thought the concept was going to hit harder, it just failed to work.
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