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Books Received, May 1 — May 6

7 May, 2022

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Ymir by Rich Larson

A gripping, far-future retelling of Beowulf from an award-winning author, perfect for fans of Richard K. Morgan. Yorick never wanted to see his homeworld again. Thirty years later, he finds himself sent back to the icy mining colony as a company man — and he can’t leave this frozen rock in the dust until he neutralizes the threat. A vicious, long-forgotten machine has newly thawed from the ice, and it seems to have a mind of its own. But as Yorick plumbs the depths of of the mines and his own past, he finds a tangled conspiracy that’s much more than he bargained for — and its source is closer to home than he ever could have guessed. 

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April 2022 in Review

30 Apr, 2022

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April 2022

21 works reviewed. 11.5 by women (55%), 7.5 by men (36%), 2 by a non-binary author (10%), 0 by authors whose genders are unknown (0%), and 7 by POC (33%).

Year to Date

85 works reviewed. 47.5 by women (56% ), 34.5 by men (41%), 3 by a non-binary author (4%), 0 by authors whose genders are unknown (0%), and 31 by POC (36%).

Grand Total to Date

2093 works reviewed. 1171.5 by women (56%), 874.5 by men (42%), 29 by non-binary authors (1%), 18 by authors whose gender is unknown (1%), 605.75 by POC (29%).

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Books Received, April 23 — April 30

30 Apr, 2022

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Half a Soul by Olivia Atwater

Whimsical, witty, and brimming over with charm” (India Holton), Olivia Atwater’s delightful debut will transport you to a magical version of Regency England, where the only thing more meddlesome than a fairy is a marriage-minded mother! 

It’s difficult to find a husband in Regency England when you’re a young lady with only half a soul. 

Ever since she was cursed by a faerie, Theodora Ettings has had no sense of fear or embarrassment — an unfortunate condition that leaves her prone to accidental scandal. Dora hopes to be a quiet, sensible wallflower during the London Season — but when Elias Wilder, the strange, handsome, and utterly ill-mannered Lord Sorcier, discovers her condition, she is instead drawn into peculiar and dangerous faerie affairs.

If her reputation can survive both her curse and her sudden connection with the least-liked man in all high society, then she and her family may yet reclaim their normal place in the world. But the longer Dora spends with Elias, the more she begins to suspect that one may indeed fall in love even with only half a soul. 

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Books Received, April 9 — April 15

16 Apr, 2022

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Leech by Hiron Ennes

A wonderful new entry to Gothic science fiction, impeccably clever and atmospheric. Think Wuthering Heights … with worms!’ – Tamsyn Muir, author of Gideon the Ninth‘Highly recommended. I’ll be reading anything Hiron Ennes writes from now on’ – Tade Thompson, author of RosewaterIn an isolated chateau, as far north as north goes, the baron’s doctor has died. The Interprovincial Medical Institute sends out a replacement. But when the new physician investigates the cause of death, which appears to be suicide, there’s a mystery to solve. It seems the good doctor was hosting a parasite. Yet this should have been impossible, as the man was already possessed. For hundreds of years, the Institute has grown by taking root in young minds and shaping them into doctors, replacing every human practitioner of medicine.The Institute is here to help humanity, to cure and to cut, to cradle and protect the species. Now it seems they have competition. For in the baron’s icebound castle, already a pit of secrets and lies, the parasite is spreading … These two enemies will make war within the battlefield of the body. Whichever wins, humanity will lose again.Leech by Hiron Ennes is an atmospheric Gothic triumph, perfect for fans of Jeff VanderMeer and Silvia Moreno-Garcia

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Terry Carr’s Third Ace Special Series

12 Apr, 2022

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As previously established over on tor dot com, I have in my possession all twelve volumes in the Third Ace Specials series. Editor Terry Carr selected an interesting unifying theme for his twelve selection. Each one was its author’s debut at novel length. How keen was Carr’s insight? How well have the books aged? Did the authors enjoy the lengthy careers inclusion in the series suggested might result? To find the answer to those questions, join me as I reread and review nearly all1 of the Specials.


1: The singular exception being Howard Waldrop’s Them Bones, which I reviewed almost eight years ago,

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Books Received, April 2 — April 8

9 Apr, 2022

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The Luminaries by Susan Dennard

From Susan Dennard, the New York Times bestselling author of the Witchlands series, comes a haunting and high-octane contemporary fantasy, about the magic it takes to face your fears in a nightmare-filled forest, and the mettle required to face the secrets hiding in the dark corners of your own family.Hemlock Falls isn’t like other towns. You won’t find it on a map, your phone won’t work here, and the forest outside town might just kill you. Only the Luminaries, a society of ancient guardians, stand between humanity and the nightmares of the forest that rise each night.Winnie Wednesday, an exile from the Luminaries, is determined to restore her family’s good name by taking the deadly hunter trials on her sixteenth birthday. And there’s only one person who can help her train: Jay Friday, resident bad boy and Winnie’s ex-best friend. While Jay might be the most promising new hunter in Hemlock Falls, he also seems to know more about the nightmares of the forest than he should. Together, he and Winnie will discover a danger lurking in the forest no one in Hemlock Falls is prepared for.Not all monsters can be slain, and not all nightmares are confined to the dark.

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March 2022 in Review

1 Apr, 2022

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March 2022

23 works reviewed. 13 by women (57%), 9 by men (39), 1 by a non-binary author (4%), 0 by authors whose genders are unknown (0%), and 9 by POC (39%).

Year to Date

64 works reviewed. 36 by women (56% ), 27 by men (42%), 1 by a non-binary author (2%), 0 by authors whose genders are unknown (0%), and by 24 POC (37%).

Grand Total to Date

2072 works reviewed. 1160 by women (56%), 867 by men (42%), 27 by non-binary authors (1%), 18 by authors whose gender is unknown (1%), 598.75 by POC (29%).

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Five Swift Answers to The Problem of Baby-Eating Authors

1 Apr, 2022

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Imagine for the moment you have invested mucho bucks in a treasured speculative fiction series. Imagine further than one morning you peruse Twitter and discover that the author of said series eats babies. On the one hand, baby-eating is probably bad and certainly unpopular1. On the other, nobody likes to walk away from something in which one has invested time and money. Is there some way to somehow justify to one’s judgmental peers continuing with the series2?

In fact, there are at least five. In no particular order…

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Books Received, March 19 — March 25

26 Mar, 2022

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Ion Curtain by Anya Ow

A bold new space opera from Aurealis Awards shortlisted author of The Firebird’s Tale and Cradle and Grave.

The AI is brutal, vicious and efficient and humanity has to fight to survive.“Citizens of the Federation. Greetings from the Core.”Lieutenant Kalina Sokolova is aid to Counter-Admiral Kasparov the major strategist for the Russian navy.

Kalina is also an agent of the Jinyiwei, an elite spy working for the UN. She is tasked with watching the Counter-Admiral, and assassination is not out of the question.

For decades the UN and the Russian military have navigated a tense interstellar Cold War. Peace is on the knife’s edge and events are coming ever closer to open conflict.

Solitaire Yeung is a corsair, a scavenger, a pirate, In the heart of a destroyed Russian battleship, his salvage crew discovers a mysterious device they shouldn’t have, the brain of the ship’s top secret artificial intelligence. And against all better sense they take it and run.The UN wants it and the Russians want it back. Solitaire and his crew are on the run from the most powerful forces in the system, but they are not the only ones hunting the AI brain. An even more powerful foe grows in the darkness of space. Now all of humanity has to fight to survive… 

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