Reviews and Analysis


Bones of the Earth by Aaron Bergman
"Swanwick's answers to the questions of life and humanity won't come as a surprise to any reader, but his skill lies in how he answers them through the recognizably human actions of the characters rather than through the pages of philosophical verbiage that seems so common in SF."

Bones of the Earth by Richard Horton
"It combines several well-integrated (and rather original) SFnal ideas with some neat scientific speculation, interesting characters, a compelling plot, and a powerfully argued theme about the nature of science and the human urge to do science."

Bones of the Earth by David Kennedy
"I think I just read a classic. [...] This reviewer (living in the Cenozoic era, Quaternary period, Holocene epoch, Modern age) suggests that this novel is a significant addition to the SF literature on time travel, and recommends it very highly."

A Geography of Unknown Lands by Nick Gevers
"Michael Swanwick's second collection, A Geography of Unknown Lands, is like a master class in literary alchemy."

Gravity's Angels by James Nicoll (caution - spoilers)
"If my comments seem sparse, it is because I find it a lot harder to talk usefully about stories which are generally flawless."

Griffin's Egg by Peter D. Tillman (caution - mild spoilers)
"This is Swanwick at his hard-SF best, in a setting that's a prequel to «Trojan Horse» and Vacuum Flowers."

The Iron Dragon's Daughter by Roz Kaveney (caution - spoilers)
"Anyone picking up Swanwick's first fantasy novel expecting comfort will soon find their fingers seared; there are many themes in this expertly complex book, but one of them is that of refusal, a refusal embodied not least in the attitude to cliched handling of generic tropes."

Jack Faust by Nick Gevers
"Having deconstructed, inverted, and reinvented various subgenres of SF and Fantasy in his previous works, Swanwick now goes straight for SF's jugular."

Moon Dogs by Nick Gevers
"That Moon Dogs is in a real sense a clean-up collection of work that failed to fit in elsewhere, and yet is of such a high standard anyway, is a tribute to Swanwick’s consistently great skill at shorter lengths ..."

Informal Remarks on Stations of the Tide by Michael Andre-Driussi (caution - heavy spoilers)
"... there is a recurrence of the theme that planet-based data systems are bad [...] and orbital-based data systems are good ..."

Tales of Old Earth by Nick Gevers
"The nineteen stories gathered here ... are restless, cogent, sardonic, precise, superb examples of narrative craftsmanship in miniature ..."

Swanwick on The Iron Dragon's Daughter - Analysis (caution - spoilers)
The Elf Lord, the triune Goddess, and Jane's dilemma

Swanwick on The Iron Dragon's Daughter - Analysis (caution - spoilers)
Nested metaphors, dog's tails, needle-boys, and more!

Swanwick on The Iron Dragon's Daughter - Analysis (caution - spoilers)
Philip Pullman and the Spiral Castle

Swanwick on The Iron Dragon's Daughter - Analysis
Is The Iron Dragon's Daughter elfpunk?


Being Gardner Dozois by Paul Di Filippo at
"What could have all too easily under lesser hands become a tedious vanity project has instead blossomed into an essential, captivating, authentically human text, one that will appeal to a large audience."

Being Gardner Dozois by Nick Gevers at Locus Online
"What Being Gardner Dozois does present is a complete picture of Dozois the Writer, by means of a blow-by-blow, text-by-text discussion of his each and every work of fiction, short and long, major and minor. This is very effective criticism, personal, systematic, candid."

Bones of the Earth by John Clute at Infinite Matrix
"Here is another slippery fish from Michael Swanwick [...] just when you finally work out what kind of SF or fantasy novel you're reading, just when you begin to understand why what's happening how to whom, the floor caves in and your mind falls through."

Cigar Box Faust by John Toon at infinity plus
"What unites these various pieces is a lively sense of humour, to say nothing of the fertile imagination needed to produce so much material..."

Cigar Box Faust by Eileen Gunn at Fantastic Metropolis
"In each story, the author seems to be completely at your disposal, with no goal other than your amusement... -- there's no sugar here, rather, an intoxicating, slightly tart, effervescence."

Cigar Box Faust by Greg L. Johnson
"What sets Cigar-Box Faust and Other Miniatures apart is how often Swanwick is able to transcend that tendency and create little stories that are complete and whole in themselves, and not just a set-up for the final sentence."

Field Guide to the Mesozoic Fauna by Marianne Plumridge at infinity plus
"Mesozoic Megafauna is a delightful collection of dinosaur stories exposing these reptiles to a myriad of entertaining, if highly improbable, situations."

Gravity's Angels by David Kennedy (caution - spoilers)
"Gravity's Angels presents a Baker's Dozen of Swanwick's short stories from the 1980s. They're good. They're very, very good."

Gravity's Angels by James Schellenberg (caution - spoilers)
"In Gravity's Angels, I can see some of the ideas that Swanwick developed more fully later; some of the stories are rough and interesting, others not polished enough... a way to trace the development of the career of a major writer in the genre."

In the Drift by Michael Rawdon
"The final effect of [In the Drift] is to produce a sort of dark side of The Lord of the Rings, as characters struggle to save what they can in a land which cannot be saved ..."

Iron Dragon's Daughter by David Langford (caution - spoilers)
"... let's say that, like Little, Big yet far removed from it, The Iron Dragon's Daughter gives one hell of a jolt to received ideas of what is possible in fantasy."

Iron Dragon's Daughter by James Schellenberg
"The experience of reading this book is a shock of the first order, and I was left feeling uneasy [...] Swanwick has no signposts to reassure the reader ..."

Iron Dragon's Daughter by Jeff Topham at Fantastic Metropolis (caution - spoilers)
"Swanwick's vision is relentlessly innovative, and much of the excitement of the novel comes from the synergy created from the juxtaposition of the fantastic and the contemporary."

Jack Faust by Keith Brooke at infinity plus
"No-one can accuse Michael Swanwick of lack of ambition: [Jack Faust] compresses the history of the last five centuries into only a decade or so of the sixteenth century."

Jack Faust by John Clute at Science Fiction Weekly
(includes a short review of A Geography of Unknown Lands)

"[Jack Faust is] all about the cost of getting what you want. 'Do anything, take anything,' the old saying has it: 'Take anything. And pay for it.'"

Jack Faust by Steven Silver
"On a personal front, the [...] Faust at the beginning of the novel is much more interesting and sympathetic than the Faust shown at the end ..."

Periodic Table of Science Fiction by RM Harman at Strange Horizons
"...speculative fiction is, at its roots, a literature of ideas, of daring what-ifs. These shorts draw on the rich imagination of one author, and distill his ideas into their most elemental forms."

Stations of the Tide by Eric Raymond
"This is a spectacularly good SF novel which plays all the approved literary games with a sure and controlled hand [...] There's more resonance and idea content in the 252 pages of this book than in most Hugo-winning meganovels."

Tales of Old Earth by Lisa Dumond
"The surprising thing, really, is that some of the stories in this collection have not been nominated [for major awards]."

Vacuum Flowers by Peter D. Tillman at infinity plus
"Vacuum Flowers remains an exemplary modern space-opera, one of the best in the extraordinary reinvention of my favorite subgenre during the past two decades."

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