Doug Merrill

Writer, editor, translator, project manager, reformed bookseller. Currently based in Berlin, following stints in Moscow, Tbilisi, Munich, Washington, Warsaw, Budapest and Atlanta. Also blogs at A Fistful of Euros, though less frequently than here these days.

Most commented posts

  1. The Goblin Emperor by Katherine Addison — 9 comments
  2. Every Heart a Doorway by Seanan McGuire — 6 comments
  3. The Stone Sky by N.K. Jemisin — 6 comments
  4. Mort by Terry Pratchett — 5 comments
  5. Midnight at the Pera Palace by Charles King — 5 comments

Author's posts

Across the Green Grass Fields by Seanan McGuire

Across the Green Grass Fields by Seanan McGuire

Across the Green Grass Fields is the first of Seanan McGuire‘s Wayward Children series that I have read that’s entirely waywardness, and I liked it that way. There’s no mention of Eleanor West’s Home, nor do any of the characters from the previous five novellas in the series appear. I didn’t miss them at all, …

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2022/06/21/across-the-green-grass-fields-by-seanan-mcguire/

Elder Race by Adrian Tchaikovsky

Kazbegi mountain in the High Caucasus

Elder Race offers an extended meditation on Clarke’s Third Law, some thoughts on cultural contamination that are not new but are important to Adrian Tchaikovsky’s characters, all wrapped up in a fast-paced adventure of swords and sufficiently advanced technology. The novella is set on Sophos 4, a planet colonized by humans during the first interstellar …

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2022/06/12/elder-race-by-adrian-tchaikovsky/

Fireheart Tiger by Aliette de Bodard

Fireheart Tiger by Aliette de Bodard

Forbidden love between two princesses. Forbidden not because they are both women, but because they are princesses, and relations between their two states are tense and unequal. Thanh is a princess of Bình Hải, in the south, nominally superior to its northern neighbor but falling back in relative power because of the neighbor’s greater access …

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2022/06/11/fireheart-tiger-by-aliette-de-bodard/

Hugo Awards 2022: Best Novelette

Bots of the Lost Ark by Suzanne Palmer, magazine cover

Myth, starfaring bots, near-future Nigeria, fell fae, artistic immortals and the magic of the mind all feature in the 2022 Hugo finalists in the category of Best Novelette. “Bots of the Lost Ark” by Suzanne Palmer sets its story on a large interstellar ship that just barely survived an encounter with hostile aliens and is …

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2022/06/09/hugo-awards-2022-best-novelette/

Hugo Awards 2022: Best Short Story

Apex Magazine, Issue 121

In my fourth time as a Hugo voter, I can see that while I like formal experiments in fiction and am glad to find them as finalists on the ballot, they don’t rise to the very top of my preference list. I’m not sure if that’s because the attention needed — both author’s and mine …

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2022/06/04/hugo-awards-2022-best-short-story/

Black & White by Lewis Shiner

Black and White by Lewis Shiner

I went and checked, and Lewis Shiner never did reconcile with his father. Terrible fathers feature so prominently in several of his novels — Glimpses (1993), Outside the Gates of Eden (2019) and Black & White (2008); maybe also the other three that I’ve read, but it’s been so long that I do not remember for …

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2022/05/29/black-white-by-lewis-shiner/

When the Tiger Came Down the Mountain by Nghi Vo

When the Tiger Came Down the Mountain by Nghi Vo

It isn’t true that the full title for When the Tiger Came Down the Mountain was originally meant to be When the Tiger Came Down the Mountain With Her Two Tiger Sisters and Considered Eating Cleric Chih but it could have been. Except that at that point it would have been politic to mention the …

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2022/05/28/when-the-tiger-came-down-the-mountain-by-nghi-vo/

Softcore by Tirdad Zolghadr

Softcore by Tordad Zolghadr

In Softcore a first-person narrator, annoyingly also named Tirday Zolghadr, relates the weeks and days before the opening of a new and arty nightclub in contemporary Tehran, interspersed with his remembrances of earlier times in and around Iran’s capital city. The book has some funny bits, such as a running gag about the splittist tendencies …

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2022/05/27/softcore-by-tirdad-zolghadr/

The Invention of Russia by Arkady Ostrovsky

Invention of Russia by Arkady Ostrovsky

The subtitle to The Invention of Russia — From Gorbachev’s Freedom to Putin’s War — unfortunately now has to be followed with a question: which one? Even when the book was published in 2015, his wars were already plural (Chechnya and Georgia) but the author clearly means Russia’s seizure of the Crimean peninsula and its proxy war …

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2022/05/22/the-invention-of-russia-by-arkady-ostrovsky/

Die Leiden des jungen Werthers by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Die Leiden des jungen Werthers by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Finally reading The Sorrows of Young Werther closes a gap in my education as a German major, a mere thirty years or so after I earned my degree. Because my institution only had two professors of German, an upper-level course in Goethe was only offered periodically. And the one time it was offered when I …

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2022/05/15/die-leiden-des-jungen-werthers-by-johann-wolfgang-von-goethe/