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Blog Posts from August 2020 (9)

August 2020 in Review

31 Aug, 2020


August 2020

22 books read. 13 by women (59%), 9 by men (41%), 0 by a non-binary author (0%), and 8.5 works by POC (39%)

Year to Date

169 books read. 91.5 by women (54%), 68 by men (40%), 6 by non-binary authors (4%), 3.5 by unknown (2%), 65.5 works by POC (39%)

Charts below cut

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Books Received, August 22 — August 28

29 Aug, 2020


A Desolation Called Peace is the spectacular space opera sequel to Arkady Martine’s genre-reinventing, Hugo Award-winning debut, A Memory Called Empire.

An alien armada lurks on the edges of Teixcalaanli space. No one can communicate with it, no one can destroy it, and Fleet Captain Nine Hibiscus is running out of options. 

In a desperate attempt at diplomacy with the mysterious invaders, the fleet captain has sent for a diplomatic envoy. Now Mahit Dzmare and Three Seagrass — still reeling from the recent upheaval in the Empire — face the impossible task of trying to communicate with a hostile entity. 

Whether they succeed or fail could change the fate of Teixcalaan forever. 

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Books Received, August 15 — August 21

22 Aug, 2020


A fragile peace gives way to conspiracy, betrayal, and rebellion in this sequel to the New York Times bestselling A Little Hatred from epic fantasy master Joe Abercrombie.
Peace is just another kind of battlefield …
Savine dan Glokta, once Adua’s most powerful investor, finds her judgement, fortune and reputation in tatters. But she still has all her ambitions, and no scruple will be permitted to stand in her way.
For heroes like Leo dan Brock and Stour Nightfall, only happy with swords drawn, peace is an ordeal to end as soon as possible. But grievances must be nursed, power seized, and allies gathered first, while Rikke must master the power of the Long Eye … before it kills her.
Unrest worms into every layer of society. The Breakers still lurk in the shadows, plotting to free the common man from his shackles, while noblemen bicker for their own advantage. Orso struggles to find a safe path through the maze of knives that is politics, only for his enemies, and his debts, to multiply.
The old ways are swept aside, and the old leaders with them, but those who would seize the reins of power will find no alliance, no friendship, and no peace lasts forever.

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Books Received, August 8 — August 14

15 Aug, 2020


This debut collection of darkly humorous, feminist speculative fiction from the Balkans contains sly, uncommon stories — a rare mix of the witty and the visceral, with no small hint of the decadent and trasngressive. A major talent” (Jeff VanderMeer, author of Borne). Mars showcases a series of unique and twisted universes, where every character is tasked with making sense of their strange reality. One woman will be freed from purgatory once she writes the perfect book; another abides in a world devoid of physical contact. With wry prose and skewed humor, an emerging feminist writer explores twenty-first century promises of knowledge, freedom, and power. Bakić’s stories are a dark delight — a treasury of forbidden pleasures, moments of resistance and resilience, and terrifying possibilities.” —Strange Horizons At turns funny, surreal, and grounded in simple language but flung through twisted realities, the stories in this collection are provocative and utterly readable.” —The Brooklyn Rail Skillfully disorienting.” —BUST

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Books Received, August 1 — August 7

8 Aug, 2020


Last time she investigated the saints of the Solme Complex. This time it’s the sinners of the Sensation… Presenting the second Salvi Brentt novel from award-winning author, Amanda Bridgeman. 

** A series of brutal murders has the homicide division of San Francisco’s Hub 9 working overtime. But as the bodies mount, they begin to question whether the attacks are random or somehow connected. 

When one of their own falls victim, Detective Salvi Brentt and the Hub 9 homicide team join forces with the narcotics and cyber divisions to track down those responsible. They soon discover a volatile new drug-tech experience, involving black market neural implants, has hit the streets, causing the epidemic of violence and missing persons. 

With the clock ticking and the bodies piling up, Salvi must go deep undercover in the seedy Sensation club scene to found out who is behind it. But in the secretive playgrounds of the rich and powerful, some will stop at nothing to protect their empire… 

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Alas, Poor Jenkins

7 Aug, 2020


Update: Funds Acquired!

My faithful laptop has subtly hinted that I need to prioritize replacing it, first by closing every Word File within a few minutes of opening them, then by presenting me with this

for the better part of an hour, before springing this delight surprise


Thus the James Needs a New Laptop or He Will Composing and Posting Reviews on His Phone Fundraiser! I did that for about six months in 2015 and it was not fun. 

The laptop I am considering is about a thousand dollars, Canadian. If people would like to commission reviews or even just donate via the PayPal button, it would be enormously appreciated. 

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July 2020 in Review

2 Aug, 2020


July 2020

21 books read. 11.5 by women (55%), 8.5 by men (40%), 1 by a non-binary author (5%), and 9 works by POC (43%)

Year to Date

147 books read. 78.5 by women (53%), 59 by men (40%), 6 by non-binary authors (4%), 3.5 by unknown (2%), 57 works by POC (39%)

Charts below cut

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Books Received, July 25 — July 31

1 Aug, 2020



Tell new intriguing science fiction stories with M‑SPACE Companion. 

Create sidekick droids and AI villains with rules for robots and artificial intelligence. Or play as a robot. 

Make powerful characters with the latest cybernetic implants. And try the cutting-edge Q Tech implants, bordering on magic. 

Learn about your characters’ former lives in the Origins chapter, or breach security with the new rules for hacking. 

A failed cybernetic experiment hides behind the blast doors at the bottom of a mineshaft. Find out more in the scenario Escape on Mosek Uhn.

Escape from Mosek Uhn

This is what you get:

  • Rules for modular robots, both humanoid and simple droids. 

  • Cybernetics, with implants and body part replacements. 

  • The almost magical Q Tech implants. 

  • Rules for detailed character backgrounds. 

  • Computers and hacking. 

  • Scenario: Escape From Mosek-Uhn. 

  • Updated character sheet.

And, if you haven’t already, don’t forget to download the seven additional Origins tables in the free Companion Addendum. Available from FrostByte Books’ webpage.

Along with the Companion, Circles of Steel contains 13 organisations for robots and cyborgs. Tailored for the Companion, Alex Greene has crafted a versatile set of Circles, easy to use in any campaign. The PDF is a Pay What You Want title.

M‑SPACE is needed to make full use of the Companion, but it is compatible with most d100 games.

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