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Blog Posts from January 2021 (7)

January 2021 in Review

31 Jan, 2021


The maniacal laughter you hear is because I have finally switched my month end stat templates for each month over to the new format I adopted back in February 2020. From now on, all I have to do is add a new column to the existing templates.

I understand that this probably does not seem like a big deal to normal people but it is for me. 

I’ve added a grand total paragraph, which reveals that I am just 4.5 books by women from having reviewed an even thousand books by women. I should put more thought into which book will be book one thousand than I probably will. 

January 2021

22 works reviewed. 12 by women (55%), 9 by men (41%), one by an author whose gender is unknown (5%) and 9 works by POC (41%)

Year to Date

22 works reviewed. 12 by women (55%), 9 by men (41%), one by an author whose gender is unknown (5%) and 9 works by POC (41%)

Grand Total to Date
1770 works reviewed. 994.5 by women (56%), 739.5 by men (42%), 21 by non-binary authors (1%), 15 by gender unknown (1%), 488.75 by POC (28%)

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Books Received, January 23 — January 29

30 Jan, 2021


The year is 1278 B.C. and the Mediterranean Sea is shared among the most powerful civilizations of ancient times. Greeks, Egyptians, and Phoenicians sail from port to port, ready to fight to protect their trade from the Sea People,” marauders who loot and disappear like ghosts. Among them are the fierce Shardan, who come from the Island of Towers,” from fortresses of basalt stone called nuraghes. These rise up all over the Shardan’s land and, since the dawn of time, hide a curse feared by the people of the Mediterranean: the Island is the gateway to the netherworld. The Shardan live as hell-keepers, offering their loot to the Gods who protect their position. Now they are in Egypt, ready to wage war against the pharaohs when a messenger arrives from the netherworld with a warning: the Mamuthone demons have awakened. 

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Hugo Nominations are Open

26 Jan, 2021


Nominations for the 2021 Hugo Awards are now open!

As is traditional here at James Nicoll Reviews, I know what potentially Hugo-worthy works I created in the last year but I am not entirely certain into which categories those works fit. Here are my best guesses:

My Tor essays almost certainly fall under Best Related.

James Nicoll Reviews may also be Best Related but I think previous Worldcons 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, January 16 — January 22

23 Jan, 2021


For fans of Black Mirror and The Handmaid’s Tale, a mother desperately tries to keep her family together in a society where parenting standards are strictly monitored. The world is suffering an infertility crisis, the last natural birth was over twenty years ago and now the only way to conceive is through a painful fertility treatment. Any children born are strictly monitored, and if you are deemed an unfit parent then your child is extracted. After witnessing so many struggling to conceive – and then keep – their babies, Kit thought she didn’t want children. But then she meets Thomas and they have a baby girl, Mimi. Soon the small mistakes build up and suddenly Kit is faced with the possibility of losing her daughter, and she is forced to ask herself how far she will go to keep her family together. 

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Books Received, January 9 — January 15

16 Jan, 2021


Unwise deals. Blaster fights. High adventure among the stars.
Welcome to the world of Scum and Villainy.

Scum and Villainy is a Forged in the Dark game about a spaceship crew trying to make ends meet under the iron-fisted rule of the Galactic Hegemony.

Work with the members of your crew to thrive despite powerful criminal syndicates, warring noble families, dangerous aliens, and strange mystics. Explore the ruins of lost civilizations for fun and profit. Can your motley crew hold it together long enough to strike it big and insure your fame across the sector?

Scum and Villainy is a stand-alone RPG based on the Forged in the Dark game engine. In this book, you’ll find:

  • A clear gameplay structure that puts the focus on the criminal undertakings of the crew. A session of play consists of a job followed by recovery, downtime projects, and advancement.
  • Ship character sheets” that allow for XP spends, upgrades, and leveling up alongside your characters.
  • Crew advancement opportunities to reflect the change from a ragtag group barely flying in the black to a reputed crew that has built a name across the sector.
  • Forged in the Dark tools to help keep the focus on the action of the job rather than the extensive planning needed to make it happen.
  • Character and ship types to help create a unique and interesting crew at light speed.

May your ship fly true, and may your blasters never jam.

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Books Received, January 2 — January 8

9 Jan, 2021


At the sudden death of her grandfather, Ona’s pain drives her to mystical Luenah — a place of infinite possibilities. There, she discovers she is an Eri, chosen to accomplish a special purpose on earth, and is handed a box in exchange for what she desires the most.

Burdened by her quest, Ona learns that dreams carry a hefty price, and no one is who they seem. As evil looms, she must unmask the villain and save the one she loves, even at the risk of losing everything she holds dear.

Set against the backdrop of two warring towns, The Place Beyond Her Dreams delivers life lessons using a powerful fable. This coming-of-age fantasy takes the reader on the path to self-discovery and demonstrates the transformation one must go through to realize and eventually occupy their purpose. 

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