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Books Received, August 6 — August 12

13 Aug, 2022

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Empire of Exiles by Erin M. Evans (November 2022)

Twenty-seven years ago, a Duke with a grudge led a ruthless coup against the empire of Semilla, killing thousands. He failed. The Duke was executed, a terrifyingly powerful sorcerer was imprisoned, and an unwilling princess disappeared. The empire moved on. Now, when Quill, an apprentice scribe, arrives in the capital city, he believes he’s on a simple errand for another pompous noble: fetch ancient artifacts from the magical Imperial Archives. He’s always found his apprenticeship to a lawman to be dull work. But these aren’t just any artifacts — these are the instruments of revolution, the banners under which the Duke lead his coup. Just as the artifacts are unearthed, the city is shaken by a brutal murder that seems to have been caused by a weapon not seen since the days of rebellion. With Quill being the main witness to the murder, and no one in power believing his story, he must join the Archivists — a young mage, a seasoned archivist, and a disillusioned detective — to solve the truth of the attack. And what they uncover will be the key to saving the empire — or destroying it again. 

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Books Received, July 30 — August 5

6 Aug, 2022

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The Scourge Between Stars by Ness Brown (April 2023)

Ness Brown’s The Scourge Between Stars is a tense, claustrophobic sci-fi/horror blend in the vein of Alien and Event Horizon. 

As acting captain of the starship Calypso, Jacklyn Albright is responsible for keeping the last of humanity alive as they limp back to Earth from their forebears’ failed colony on a distant planet. 

Faced with constant threats of starvation and destruction in the treacherous minefield of interstellar space, Jacklyn’s crew has reached their breaking point. As unrest begins to spread throughout the ship’s Wards, a new threat emerges, picking off crew members in grim, bloody fashion. 

Jacklyn and her team must hunt down the ship’s unknown intruder if they have any hope of making it back to their solar system alive. 

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July 2022 in Review

1 Aug, 2022

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July 2022

22 works reviewed. 12.5 by women (57%), 9.5 by men (43%), 0 by a non-binary author (0%), 0 by authors whose gender is unknown (0%), and 9 by POC (41%)

Year to Date

151 works reviewed. 84.5 by women (56% ), 61.5 by men (41%), 5 by a non-binary author (3%), 0 by authors whose genders are unknown (0%), and 57 by POC (38%).

Grand Total to Date

2159 works reviewed. 1208.5 by women (56%), 901.5 by men (42%), 31 by non-binary authors (1%), 18 by authors whose gender is unknown (1%), and 631.75 by POC (29%).

Government Types July

Total 22, Not Applicable 5 (23%), Unclear 2 (9%), Anarchy 0 (0%), Pure democracy 0 (0%), Representative democracy 7 (32%), Oligarchy 8 (36%), Autocracy 0 (0%)

Government Type 2022 TD

Total 151, Not Applicable 26 (17%), Unclear 10 (7%), Anarchy 4 (3%), Pure democracy 1 (1%), Representative democracy 44 (29%), Oligarchy 50 (33%), Autocracy 16 (11%)

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Books Received, July 23 — July 29

30 Jul, 2022

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Into the Windwracked Wilds by A. Deborah Baker

Adventurous readers of Kelly Barnhill and Cat Valente’s Fairyland books will be sure to soar among the dark marvels that can be found in Into the Windwracked Wilds, by Seanan McGuire’s latest open pseudonym, A. Deborah Baker. 

When the improbable road leaves Avery and Zib in the land of Air and at the mercy of the Queen of Swords, escape without becoming monsters may be impossible. But with the aid of the Queen’s son, the unpredictable Jack Daw, they may emerge with enough of their humanity to someday make it home. Their journey is not yet over; the dangers are no less great. 

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Books Received, July 16 — July 22

23 Jul, 2022

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Longshadow by Olivia Atwater

Proper Regency ladies are not supposed to become magicians — but Miss Abigail Wilder is far from proper. 

The marriageable young ladies of London are dying mysteriously, and Abigail Wilder intends to discover why. Abigail’s father, the Lord Sorcier of England, believes that a dark lord of faerie is involved. But while Abigail is willing to match her magic against Lord Longshadow, neither her father nor high society believes that she is capable of doing so. 

Thankfully, Abigail is not the only one investigating the terrible events. Mercy, a street rat and self-taught magician, insists on joining Abigail in unraveling the mystery. Mercy is unpredictable, and her magic is strange and foreboding — but the greatest danger she poses may well be to Abigail’s heart. 

A queer romantic faerie tale of defiant hope and love against all odds, set in Olivia Atwater’s enchanting version of Regency England. 

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Books Received, July 9 — July 15

16 Jul, 2022

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Desert Creatures by Kay Chronister

In a world grown desiccated and treacherous, one young woman will find salvation or become just another rot-lonely skull in the sand. 

Nine-year-old Magdala and her father have been exiled from their home; they flee through the harsh landscape of the American West, searching for refuge. As violence pursues them, they join a handful of survivors on a pilgrimage to the holy city of Las Vegas, where it is said that vigilante saints reside, bright with neon power. Magdala, born with a clubfoot, is going to be healed. But when faced with the strange horrors of the Sonoran Desert, one by one the pilgrims fall victim to a hideous sickness — leaving Magdala to fend for herself. After surviving for seven years on her own, Magdala is tired of waiting for her miracle. Magdala turns her gaze to Las Vegas once more, and this time, nothing will stop her. She recruits an exiled Vegas priest at gunpoint to serve as her guide, and the pair form a fragile alliance as they navigate the darkest and strangest reaches of the desert, on a journey that takes her further from salvation even as she nears the holy city. With ferocious imagination and poetic precision, Desert Creatures is a story of endurance at the expense of redemption. What compromise does survival require of a woman — and can she ever unlearn the instincts that have kept her alive? 

Combining the subversive inventiveness of Inland by Téa Obreht with the eco-surrealism of Jeff Vandermeer’s Dead Astronauts and the themes of survival and morality in Cormac McCarthy’s The Road, award-winning short fiction writer Kay Chronister transfigures genre and the myth of the West in this stylish and original debut novel. 

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Books Received, June 25 — July 1

2 Jul, 2022

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MegaTraveller (DGP) Adventure: Manhunt by Philip Athans

Manhunt is an adventure module for MegaTraveller which takes your players on a quest for the legendary Victory Belt, an asteroid belt consisting entirely of the rare and expensive element onnesium-118. Only the basic three-volume MegaTraveller rules set is required to play Manhunt, and the referee should familiarize herself with both those rules and this module before play begins. Other MegaTraveller supplements and sourcebooks are available that will, though not essential, provide a wealth of further background information. Particularly useful is the Rebellion Sourcebook from GDW. Both of these provide the rich detail that made Traveller famous.

Manhunt was projected for publication in 1990, but its publisher DGP closed their doors before Manhunt saw print. Now, the original manuscript, recovered from a 3.5 inch floppy, has been rehabilitated and polished for publication.

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June 2022 in Review

1 Jul, 2022

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June 2022

22 works reviewed. 11.5 by women (50%), 9.5 by men (43%), 1 by a non-binary author (5%), 0 by authors whose gender is unknown (0%), and 9 by POC (41%)

Year to Date

129 works reviewed. 72 by women (56% ), 52 by men (40%), 5 by a non-binary author (4%), 0 by authors whose genders are unknown (0%), and 48 by POC (37%).

Grand Total to Date

2137 works reviewed. 1196 by women (56%), 892 by men (42%), 31 by non-binary authors (1%), 18 by authors whose gender is unknown (1%), and 622.75 by POC (29%).

Government Types June

Total 22, Not Applicable 4 (18%), Unclear 4 (18%), Anarchy 0 (0%), Pure democracy 0 (0%), Representative democracy 6 (27%), Oligarchy 7 (32%), Autocracy 1 (5%)

Government Type 2022 TD

Total 129, Not Applicable 21 (16%), Unclear 8 (6%), Anarchy 4 (3%), Pure democracy 1 (1%), Representative democracy 37 (29%), Oligarchy 42 (33%), Autocracy 16 (12%)

Definitions of government types here.

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Books Received, June 18 — June 24

25 Jun, 2022

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Legends & Lattes by Travis Baldree

High fantasy, low stakes – with a double-shot of coffee. 

After decades of raising hell, Viv the orc barbarian is finally hanging up her sword for good. Now she sets her sights on a new dream – one that involves pulling more shots than punches. Armed with hope and a hard-earned secret, she plans to open the first coffee shop in Thune. 

To build something that will last, Viv needs a new crew. She enlists a gruff hob builder shunned by humans, and a shy baker whose cinnamon rolls are to die for. Then there’s Tandri, a charming succubus who’s determined not to let anyone assume anything about her. 

But Thune has a shady underbelly that keeps goading Viv to take up her sword once more. New enemies threaten her beloved coffee shop and rag-tag team. And Viv’s adventuring past isn’t so eager to leave her behind – or the fabled piece of loot she took with her. 

Legends & Lattes by Travis Baldree is a cosy, heartwarming slice-of-life fantasy about found families and fresh starts – perfect for fans of TJ Klune, Katherine Addison and T. Kingfisher.

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Books Received, June 11 — June 17

18 Jun, 2022

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The Spare Man by Mary Robinette Kowal

Hugo, Locus, and Nebula-Award winner Mary Robinette Kowal blends her no-nonsense approach to life in space with her talent for creating glittering high-society in this stylish SF mystery, The Spare Man.Tesla Crane, a brilliant inventor and an heiress, is on her honeymoon on an interplanetary space liner, cruising between the Moon and Mars. She’s traveling incognito and is reveling in her anonymity. Then someone is murdered and the festering chowderheads who run security have the audacity to arrest her spouse. Armed with banter, martinis and her small service dog, Tesla is determined to solve the crime so that the newlyweds can get back to canoodling — And keep the real killer from striking again. 

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