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Blog Posts from November 2023 (7)

Books Received, November 18 — November 24

26 Nov, 2023


Fathomfolk by Eliza Chan (February 2024)

Welcome to Tiankawi — shining pearl of human civilization and a safe haven for those fleeing civil unrest. Or at least, that’s how it first appears. But in the semi-flooded city, humans are, quite literally, on top: peering down from shining towers and aerial walkways on the fathomfolk — sirens, seawitches, kelpies and kappas — who live in the polluted waters below. For half-siren Mira, promotion to captain of the border guard means an opportunity to help her downtrodden people. But if earning the trust and respect of her human colleagues wasn’t hard enough, everything Mira has worked towards is put in jeopardy when Nami, a know-it-all water dragon — fathomfolk royalty — is exiled to the city. When extremists sabotage the annual boat race, violence erupts, as does the clampdown on fathomfolk rights. Both Nami and Mira must decide if the cost of change is worth it, or, if Tiankawi should be left to drown. 

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Books Received, November 11 — November 17

18 Nov, 2023


The Year’s Best African Speculative Fiction (2022) edited by Oghenechovwe Donald Ekpeki, Eugen Bacon, and Milton Davis (December 2023)

This is the follow up to the highly acclaimed 2021 anthology described as containing some of the most exciting voices, old and new, from Africa and the diaspora, published in the 2020 year.”

The first won the World Fantasy Award for best anthology and was met with widespread critical acclaim from across the world, with the science fiction trade magazine, Locus, calling it a must read.”

Oghenechovwe Donald Ekpeki, who created the first anthology now joins forces with Eugen Bacon, a 2022 World Fantasy Award finalist and Milton Davis, an award-winning Black Speculative fiction writer and editor to introduce readers to an ever more diverse set of writers associated with Africa.

Timely and relevant to today’s world, the set of stories in this book will astonish, shock and amaze the reader while introducing them to a whole new world. 

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Books Received, November 4 — November 10

11 Nov, 2023


The Dead Cat Tail Assassins by P. Djèlí Clark (April 2024)

The Dead Cat Tail Assassins are not cats. 

Nor do they have tails. 

But they are most assuredly dead. 

Nebula and Alex Award winner P. Djèlí Clark introduces a brand-new world and a fantastical city full of gods and assassins. 

Eveen the Eviscerator is skilled, discreet, professional, and here for your most pressing needs in the ancient city of Tal Abisi. Her guild is strong, her blades are sharp, and her rules are simple. Those sworn to the Matron of Assassins — resurrected, deadly, wiped of their memories — have only three unbreakable vows. 

First, the contract must be just. That’s above Eveen’s pay grade. 

Second, even the most powerful assassin may only kill the contracted. Eveen’s a professional. She’s never missed her mark. 

The third and the simplest: once you accept a job, you must carry it out. And if you stray? A final death would be a mercy. When the Festival of the Clockwork King turns the city upside down, Eveen’s newest mission brings her face-to-face with a past she isn’t supposed to remember and a vow she can’t forget. 

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Glorious Apolitical SF

4 Nov, 2023


(Another piece that was declined by tor dot com)

As previously established, SFF (science fiction and fantasy) has long been a studiously apolitical genre. No finer example of this can be found than in a minor kerfuffle over US involvement in Vietnam. Rather than embarrass itself by expressing opinions on matters far beyond their station, the SFF community prudently kept opinions to themselves, their closest friends, and the entire readership of the June 1968 Galaxy Magazine.

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November 2023 Patreon Boost!

1 Nov, 2023


Another month, another 22 reviews up on the site. Aside from that, it was an uneventful month, although I see now I only added 1 2023 science fiction novel to my 2023 count. Something to address in November. Suggestions welcome!

As ever, James Nicoll Reviews owes its ongoing existence to commissions and generous patrons. Details on commissioning reviews are here. If you would like to support my Patreon, please go here. If you have a sudden desire to just send money, my Paypal is here. 

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October 2023 in Review

1 Nov, 2023


October 2023

22 works reviewed. 12 by women (55%), 10 by men (45%), 0 by a non-binary author (0%), 0 by authors whose gender is unknown (0%), and 8 by POC (36%).

2023 to Date

217 works reviewed. 120 by women (55%), 89 by men (41%), 5 by a non-binary author (2%), 3 by authors whose gender is unknown (1%), and 86 by POC (40%).

Grand Total to Date

2485 works reviewed. 1387 by women (56%), 1038 by men (42%), 39 by non-binary authors (2%), 21 by authors whose gender is unknown (1%), and 753.75 by POC (30%).

Government Types October 2023

Total 22, Not Applicable 3 (14%), Unclear 0 (0%), Anarchy 0 (0%), Pure democracy 1 (5%), Representative democracy 9 (46%), Oligarchy 8 (33%), Autocracy 0 (0%).

Government Type 2023 TD

Total 217, Not Applicable 32 (14%), Unclear 11 (5%), Anarchy 3 (1%), Pure democracy 2 (1%), Representative democracy 76 (35%), Oligarchy 85 (39%), Autocracy 7 (3%).

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