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Books Received, January 11 — 17

18 Jan, 2020

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The first in the Witchlands series, Truthwitch by Susan Dennard is a brilliantly imagined coming-of-age story perfect for fans of Robin Hobb, Victoria Aveyard and Trudi Canavan. In a continent on the edge of war, two witches hold its fate in their hands. Young witches Safiya and Iseult have a habit of finding trouble. After clashing with a powerful Guildmaster and his ruthless Bloodwitch bodyguard, the friends are forced to flee their home. Safi must avoid capture at all costs as she’s a rare Truthwitch, able to discern truth from lies. Many would kill for her magic, so Safi must keep it hidden — lest she be used in the struggle between empires. And Iseult’s true powers are hidden even from herself. In a chance encounter at Court, Safi meets Prince Merik and makes him a reluctant ally. However, his help may not slow down the Bloodwitch now hot on the girls’ heels. All Safi and Iseult want is their freedom, but danger lies ahead. With war coming, treaties breaking and a magical contagion sweeping the land, the friends will have to fight emperors and mercenaries alike. For some will stop at nothing to get their hands on a Truthwitch. **

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Books Received, January 4 — 10

11 Jan, 2020

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Golden Geek RPG of the Year 2012! Combining high-action dungeon crawling with cutting-edge rules, Dungeon World is a roleplaying game of fantasy adventure. You and your friends will explore a land of magic and danger in the roles of adventurers searching for fame, gold, and glory. 

Dungeon World’s rules are easy to learn and always drive the action forward in unexpected ways. A missed roll is never a dead end- failure introduces new complexities and complications. Life as an adventurer is hard and dangerous but it’s never boring! Designed to be ready for you to hack, remix, and build new content, Dungeon World includes systems for changing everything to suit your group including creating new races, classes, and monsters. To play, you’ll need this rulebook, 3 – 5 players, some polyhedral dice, and 2 – 4 hours. Explore fantasy adventure roleplaying in a whole new way with Dungeon World!

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Annual Hugo Eligibility Post

4 Jan, 2020

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(pictured: the author as a young world-builder)

Hugo nominations are open! More details at the other end of this link.

I know what potentially Hugo-worthy works I created in the last year. I am unsure what pieces qualify for what category. In fact, I am even more baffled than I was in January 2019. Here are my bestguesses.

My Tor essays almost certainly fall under Best Related.

James Nicoll Reviews may also be Best Related but I think last year’s Worldcon counted them towards Best Fan Writer.

My Dreamwidth posts (links to James Nicoll Reviews aside) fall under Best Fan Writer.

Young People site may count as a fanzine. Or, again, best fan writer. 


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Books Received, December 28 — January 3

4 Jan, 2020

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Tankar Holroy, Lieutenant in the Stellar Guard of earth’s Empire, floats in space after his spaceship is sabotaged. Rescued by an enormous, unknown ship, he awakes to discover himself saved by the People of the Stars who are born and live in space with minimal contact with planets and their occupants whom they call, with contempt, planetaries.

The chilly welcome he receives from the ship’s leader, the Teknor, is followed by overt hostility from the other inhabitants of the Tilsin. Only a woman named Orena reaches out to him.

Tankar soon realizes that he was rescued for his knowledge of tracers, the technology that allows Empire ships to track others through hyperspace, a technology the People of the Stars lack. Out of spite, he refuses to deliver the one piece of knowledge that can protect the people who saved but now spurn him — and the consequences will be catastrophic. 

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December 2019 in review and 2019 in review

3 Jan, 2020

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December

20 books read. 12 by women (60%), 8 by men (40%)

Works by POC: 8 (40%)

Year to Date

244 books read. 135.5 by women (56%). 105 by men (43%). 2 by non-binary authors (1%) and 1.5 by an author whose gender is unknown (1%).

Works by POC: 100.75 (41%).

In pretty much every parameter save books by POC, this is pretty disappointing compared to past years, except for the discovery I am eight reviews short of 1500 for this site. 

2018: 259 books read. 144 by women (56%), 105 by men (41%), 3 by NB (1%). 7 by persons whose gender is unknown (3%). Works by POC: 82.5 (32%)

2017: 255 works reviewed. 138.5 by women (54%). 109.5 by men (43%). 5 by non-binary authors (2%). 2 by N/A (1%). Works by POC: 75.5 (30%)

2016: 255 books read. 161.5 by women (0.63), 91.5 by men (0.36), 2 by authors who identifies as neither (0.01). 62.5 by POC (0.25).

2015: 329 books read. 195 by women (59%). 45 by POC (14%)

2014: I don’t seem to have kept my numbers from 2014. I know I reviewed 150 books, though.

And now for the extremely obsolete chart.


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November 2019 in Review

3 Jan, 2020

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November

19 books read. 11 by women (58%), 8 by men (42%)

Works by POC: 9 (47%)

Year to Date

224 books read. 123.5 by women (55%). 97 by men (43%). 2 by non-binary authors (1%) and 1.5 by an author whose gender is unknown (1%).

Works by POC: 92.75 (41%).

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October 2019 in Review

3 Jan, 2020

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October

21 books read. 12 by women (57%), 9 by men (43%)

Works by POC: 9 (43%)

Year to Date

205 books read. 112.5 by women (55%). 89 by men (43%). 2 by non-binary authors (1%) and 1.5 by an author whose gender is unknown (1%).

Works by POC: 83.75 (41%).

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Doing What the WFC Cannot Do, Year Two

3 Jan, 2020

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Last year saw the beginning of the WFC reviews


Doing What the WFC Cannot Do, being an incomplete survey of POC currently active in speculative fiction. I will review 52 recent works by 52 different POC in 52 weeks.

I never thought of a better name for the project. Additionally, every week I spent looking for material appropriate for the WFC reviews in 2019, I generally found two or three or four likely candidates. I ended the year with a considerable backlog. Accordingly, I am extending this project to a second year to try to catch up.

Same rules as last year: each book is authored by a Person of Colour, each author gets at most one book per year in this project, and this is a floor, not a ceiling; if I find a second book by an AOC I’ve reviewed here that I want to review, I won’t set it aside for 2021. I’ll review it under a different project. 

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Books Received, December 21 — 27

28 Dec, 2019

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Seventeen-year-old Lake spends her days searching a strange, post-apocalyptic landscape for people who have forgotten one very important thing: this isn’t reality. Everyone she meets is a passenger aboard a ship that’s been orbiting Earth since a nuclear event. The simulation that was supposed to prepare them all for life after the apocalypse has trapped their minds in a shared virtual reality and their bodies in stasis chambers.

No one can get off the ship until all of the passengers are out of the sim, and no one can get out of the sim unless they believe it’s a simulation. It’s up to Lake to help them remember. 

When Lake reveals the truth to a fellow passenger, seventeen-year-old Taren, he joins her mission to find everyone, persuade them that they’ve forgotten reality, and wake them up. But time’s running out before the simulation completely deconstructs, and soon Taren’s deciding who’s worth saving and who must be sacrificed for the greater good. Now, Lake has no choice but to pit herself against Taren in a race to find the secret heart of the sim, where something waits that will either save them or destroy them all.

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