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Books Received, January 15 — January 21

22 Jan, 2022


What Moves the Dead by T. Kingfisher

From T. Kingfisher, the award-winning author of The Twisted Ones, comes What Moves the Dead, a gripping and atmospheric retelling of Edgar Allan Poe’s classic The Fall of the House of Usher.“When Alex Easton, a retired soldier, receives word that their childhood friend Madeline Usher is dying, they race to the ancestral home of the Ushers in the remote countryside of Ruritania.What they find there is a nightmare of fungal growths and possessed wildlife, surrounding a dark, pulsing lake. Madeline sleepwalks and speaks in strange voices at night, and her brother Roderick is consumed with a mysterious malady of the nerves.Aided by a redoubtable British mycologist and a baffled American doctor, Alex must unravel the secret of the House of Usher before it consumes them all. 

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Nominations Open for Hugo Award, Astounding Award, and Lodestar Award!

17 Jan, 2022


To reprise my previous post on the matter: 

James Nicoll Reviews falls under Best Fan Writer, as do my Dreamwidth and USENET posts. 2021’s Hugo Award data revealed that I was just five votes away from being a finalist again. So close! I hope my 2021 reviews were slightly more appealing than 2020’s. 

My 90 or so 2021 Tor essays fall under Best Related. 

Young People Read Old SFF (now in its 5th year and busily working its way through old Hugo finalists) is a fanzine. 

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Books Received, January 8 — January 14

15 Jan, 2022


The Bladed Faith by David Dalglish

A usurped prince prepares to take up the mantel of a deadly assassin and reclaim his kingdom, his people, and his slain gods in this epic fantasy from a USA Today bestselling author.Cyrus was only twelve years old when his gods were slain, his country invaded, and his parents — the king and queen — beheaded in front of him. Held prisoner in the invader’s court for years, Cyrus is suddenly given a chance to escape and claim his revenge when a mysterious group of revolutionaries comes looking for a figurehead. They need a hero to strike fear into the hearts of the imperial and to inspire and unite the people. They need someone to take up the skull mask and swords and to become the legendary Vagrant” — an unparalleled hero and assassin of otherworldly skill. But all is not as it seems. Creating the illusion of a hero is the work of many, and Cyrus will soon discover the true price of his vengeance. 

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Books Received, January 1 — January 7

8 Jan, 2022


Sweep of Stars by Maurice Broaddus

Maurice Broaddus’s Sweep of Stars is the first in a trilogy that explores the end of an empire. Epic in scope and intimate in voice, it follows members of the Muungano empire – a far-reaching coalition of city-states that stretches from O.E. (original earth) to Titan – as it faces an escalating series of threats.“The past, the present, and the future often collide with each other.” —Stacia Chikeke, research captain of the star vessel CipherWhat happens when a peaceful utopia has to gear up for war? New leaders rise up vying to be the voice of the people. Scientists discover truths that could rock the foundations of the empire. Soldiers uncover a terrible secret and an alien plot against their alliance. Everyone must sacrifice for the love of their dream. 

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December 2021 and 2021 in Review

31 Dec, 2021


December 2021

23 works reviewed. 13 by women (57% ), 10 by men (43 %), 0 by a non-binary author (0%), 0 by authors whose genders are unknown (0%), and by 8 POC (35%)

Year to Date

260 works reviewed. 141.5 by women (54%), 110.5 by men (43%), 5 by non-binary authors (2%), 3 by authors whose gender is unknown (1%), and 103 by POC (40%)

Grand Total to Date

2008 works reviewed. 1,124 by women (56%), 840 by men (42%), 26 by non-binary authors (1%), 18 by authors whose gender is unknown (1%), 574.75 by POC (29%).

Chart after cut. Short version, total numbers up slightly over previous years (save for 2015, which is an outlier), hit most of my goals for this year (in particular, reaching Review 2000), but I am a little disappointed I didn’t find time for more works by non-binary authors. That can be a goal for 2022.

I also didn’t quite get enough votes to be a Hugo finalist, falling short by five. That too can be a goal for 2022

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Merry Christmas 2021!

25 Dec, 2021


Thanks to my editor Karen Lofstrom for turning my word-salad into sentences and paragraphs and to my web person Adrienne L. Travis for giving me a place to post my reviews. All 2000 plus of them. 

Thank you to my audience of seven plus years! Thank you to all my patrons, on Patreon and here. And a big thank you to the creators everywhere who give me something to review..

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Book Received, Jólabókaflóðið 2021!

24 Dec, 2021

1 comment

(What is Jólabókaflóðið?)

The Wizard and the Prophet: Two Remarkable Scientists and Their Dueling Visions to Shape Tomorrow’s World by Charles C. Mann (2019)

In forty years, Earth’s population will reach ten billion. Can our world support that? What kind of world will it be? Those answering these questions generally fall into two deeply divided groups – Wizards and Prophets, as Charles Mann calls them in this balanced, authoritative,
nonpolemical new book. The Prophets, he explains, follow William Vogt, a founding environmentalist who believed that in using more than our planet has to give, our prosperity will lead us to ruin. Cut back! was his mantra. Otherwise everyone will lose! The Wizards are the heirs of Norman Borlaug, whose research, in effect, wrangled the world in service to our species to produce modern high-yield crops that then saved millions from starvation. Innovate! was Borlaug’s cry. Only in that way can everyone win!

Mann delves into these diverging viewpoints to assess the four great challenges humanity faces – food, water, energy, climate change – grounding each in historical context and weighing the options for the future. With our civilization on the line, the author’s insightful analysis is an essential addition to the urgent conversation about how our children will fare on an increasingly crowded Earth. 

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Hugo nomination season is nearly upon us

21 Dec, 2021


Time for the annual round of Hugo categories for which I am eligible. 

James Nicoll Reviews fall under Best Fan Writer, as do my Dreamwidth posts. 2021’s Hugo Award data was just released — it turned out I was just five votes away from being a finalist again. So close!

Still, I was rather low energy in 2020. 2021 was different. Today marks my 2000threview on James Nicoll Reviews. The journey is its own reward. That said, Hugo nominations are also a reward and one for which I would be quite grateful.

My 90 or so 2021 Tor essays fall under Best Related. 

Young People Read Old SFF (now in its 5th year) is a fanzine. Last year, it was nominated for an Aurora. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if it was deemed worthy of a Hugo nomination in the year in which my Young People were reading their way through old Hugo Award finalists? 

Another way in which to encourage my reviews is to join my Patreon or directly commission reviews. With omicron sweeping the world (and our Provincial premier having apparently vanished to his cottage to wait the crisis out), it seems likely the theatres will close again. This means I will once again be dependent on writing income. Ah, well. At least I got to stand in a theatre again.

Onward to Review 3000

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Books Received, December 11 — December 17

18 Dec, 2021


Weapons & Equipment: Wondrous Items and Useful Goods for Runequest by Richard August, Jason Durall, Martin Helsdon, Erin Mcguire, Diana Probst, Jude Reid, Jeff Richard, Jared Twing, and Dom Twist (December 2021)

What’s Inside?

RuneQuest: Weapons & Equipment is an essential guide to a wide range of items, goods, services, training, magical items, and beasts for both players and Game Masters. 

Expand your Armory

Armor Components

A plethora of new adventuring equipment, as well as new close combat weapons, melee weapons and armor. Every type of hammer, spear, sword, and much more is detailed. Diversify your adventuring party with no character wielding the same statistics and rules.

Armor Examples

Beasts of Glorantha

Mounted Dragonewt

New and compiled rules for beasts of burden, mounts, and awakened animals. Prices and rules for warbeasts, exotic animals, and pack animals accompany stats for riding equipment and even mobile dwellings!

Exotic War Beasts

Lands & Holdings


New rules for land ownership allows your adventurers to expand their foothold in Glorantha. The book contains rules for the quality of land, prices of different dwellings, unique land features, fortifications, as well as developing and improving your land over time.


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Books Received, December 4 to December 10

11 Dec, 2021


Changer of Days by Alma Alexander (November 2021)

The child Anghara Kir Hama was forced to flee the kingdom she rightfully ruled, escaping the murderous wrath of her brother, the usurper, who would see her dead to secure the throne. But her years spent in a strange desert land — honing the miraculous power called Sight — have forever changed the young queen. And now it is time to claim what is hers. But treachery greets Anghara upon her return to a realm suffering under the cruelty of the bloodthirsty tyrant Sif. In the dungeons of her enemy, she awaits an inevitable death, robbed of the gift that set her apart from all others. Yet those who have sworn to defend her will not rest until their cherished queen is safe, including one whose noble heart belongs to her alone. For young Anghara’s remarkable destiny is greater than crowns and countries — greater even than the fearsome Old Gods who must stand down to make way for the Changer of Days. 

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