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Blog Posts from December 2018 (6)

December 2018 in Review

31 Dec, 2018


Short version: I produced about as many reviews as the median reviewer on the Strange Horizons count might over about half a century, about as many reviews of books by women and non-binary authors as the median reviewer on the Strange Horizons list might over the course of about a century and about as many reviews of books by POC as as the median reviewer on the Strange Horizons count might over about one hundred and seventy-five years. Let’s see if I cannot at least make that last number a fifth of a millennium next year.


21 books read. 12 by women (57%), 8 by men (38%). 1 by an author whose gender is unknown (5%).

Works by POC: 5 (24%)

Year to Date 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%) And now, the meaningless table.

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Denominationally Appropriate Seasonal Felicitations!

25 Dec, 2018


There’s nothing like a celebratory meal shared with friends and family! May you all enjoy!

Thanks to my editor Karen Lofstrom and my web person Adrienne L. Travis. Thank you all of my readers for sticking around for four and a bit years! Especially everyone who has commissioned a review or been part of my Patreon. And a big thanks to all of you authors, without whom writing book reviews would be very challenging.

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Jólabókaflóð Swag!

24 Dec, 2018


One of the most important and blazingly original writers of his generation, George Saunders is an undisputed master of the short story, and Tenth of December is his most honest, accessible, and moving collection yet.

In the taut opener, Victory Lap,” a boy witnesses the attempted abduction of the girl next door and is faced with a harrowing choice: Does he ignore what he sees, or override years of smothering advice from his parents and act? In Home,” a combat-damaged soldier moves back in with his mother and struggles to reconcile the world he left with the one to which he has returned. And in the title story, a stunning meditation on imagination, memory, and loss, a middle-aged cancer patient walks into the woods to commit suicide, only to encounter a troubled young boy who, over the course of a fateful morning, gives the dying man a final chance to recall who he really is. A hapless, deluded owner of an antiques store; two mothers struggling to do the right thing; a teenage girl whose idealism is challenged by a brutal brush with reality; a man tormented by a series of pharmaceutical experiments that force him to lust, to love, to kill — the unforgettable characters that populate the pages of Tenth of December are vividly and lovingly infused with Saunders’s signature blend of exuberant prose, deep humanity, and stylistic innovation.

Writing brilliantly and profoundly about class, sex, love, loss, work, despair, and war, Saunders cuts to the core of the contemporary experience. These stories take on the big questions and explore the fault lines of our own morality, delving into the questions of what makes us good and what makes us human.

Unsettling, insightful, and hilarious, the stories in Tenth of December—through their manic energy, their focus on what is redeemable in human beings, and their generosity of spirit — not only entertain and delight; they fulfill Chekhov’s dictum that art should prepare us for tenderness.”

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Books Received, December 15 — 21

22 Dec, 2018


Five hundred years ago, magi created a weapon they couldn’t control. An infestation that ate magic — and anything else it came into contact with. Enemies and allies were equally filling. 

Only an elite team of non-magical humans, known as sweepers, can defuse and dispose of infestations before they spread. Most die before they finish training. 

Laura, a new team member, has stayed alive longer than most. Now, she’s the last — and only — sweeper standing between the city and a massive infestation. 

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November 2018 in Review

1 Dec, 2018



21 books read. 12 by women (57%), 8 by men (38%). 1 by NB (5%).

Works by POC: 5 (24%)

Year to Date

238 books read. 132 by women (55%), 97 by men (41%), 3 by NB (1%). 6 by persons whose gender is unknown (3%). Works by POC: 77.5 (33%) And now, the meaningless table. Numbers drawn from the most recent Strange Horizons Count, which isn’t all that recent anymore. 

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