In the story collection Guardian Angels and Other Monsters (Vintage), best-selling author Daniel H. Wilson (“Robopocalypse,” “Robogenesis”) explores the relationships between humans and machines. Robots are parents and companions; people who otherwise would be disabled are aided by robotic exoskeletons. Men and robots struggle to convey their depth of care for children, siblings and women. In “Helmet,” a boy is forced into a suit of armor that controls him, but he longs to reach his brother and connect with an armored woman marching alongside him. “God Mode” blurs the lines of memory and reality as the world crumbles around a video game designer and the stunning gamine he meets in Australia. The highlight is “The Blue Afternoon That Lasted Forever,” where a scientist, who is also a robot, muses over his love and relationship with his daughter as they face a catastrophic astronomical event. The voices here ring with a melancholia that lingers past the book’s final pages. “Guardian Angels” is a book about emotionally stunted creatures that may make you cry.
Daughters of the Storm (Del Rey) by Kim Wilkins is a twisty high fantasy that follows five sisters as they join forces to save their father and kingdom — while keeping secrets from one another. Each sister has a particular skill or personality trait: a fierce warrior; an impulsive young mother; a religious and possibly depressed teen; a nymphomaniac; and a burgeoning magician. The use of magic is just a small part of an otherwise Norse-inspired fantasy. The author makes room, instead, for exploring political machinations and the relationships between sisters; betrayal lurks at every turn. The cliffhanger is a bit frustrating, but if you are a fan of palace intrigue and family drama, you will be thrilled to hear this is the first installment of a planned trilogy.
Everdeen Mason reviews science fiction and fantasy every month for The Washington Post.
Science fiction and fantasy