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Books Received, October 22 — October 28

29 Oct, 2022


The Last Beekeeper Julie Carrick Dalton (March 2023)

It’s been more than a decade since the world has come undone, and Sasha Severn has returned to her childhood home with one goal in mind―find the mythic research her father, the infamous Last Beekeeper, hid before he was incarcerated. 

There, Sasha is confronted with a group of squatters who have claimed the quiet, idyllic farm as a way to escape the horrific conditions of state housing. While she feels threatened by their presence at first, the friends soon become her newfound family, offering what she hasn’t felt since her father was imprisoned: security and hope. Maybe it’s time to forget the family secrets buried on the farm and focus on her future. 

But just as she settles into her new life, Sasha witnesses the impossible. She sees a honeybee, presumed extinct. People who claim to see bees are ridiculed and silenced for reasons Sasha doesn’t understand, but she can’t shake the feeling that this impossible bee is connected to her father’s missing research. Fighting to uncover the truth could shatter Sasha’s fragile security and threaten the lives of her new-found family―or it could save them all. 

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The End of History

27 Oct, 2022


Although perhaps not quite as near to my heart as the 1970s (when I explored science fiction as an enthusiastic if not very discerning teen) or the 1980s (when I first encountered science fiction as an adult), the 1990s were nevertheless an interesting period in science fiction, one whose examples deserve better than to be consigned to miscellaneous.”

Welcome to The End of History, which takes its title from Francis Fukuyamas visionary 1992 text, The End of History and the Last Man. Just as Fukuyama’s book celebrated the complete, eternal triumph of liberal democracy over other forms of government, so too will The End of History celebrate the science fiction of the 1990s. 

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Books Received, October 15 — October 21

22 Oct, 2022


Empire of the Feast by Bendi Barrett (October 2022)

In Empire of the Feast, we awaken with Riverson, 32nd ruler of the Stag Empire, as he attempts to govern without the memories of his previous lives. To survive the ever-sharpening gears of war, he will need to mend the political schisms threatening to tear his empire apart while maintaining the erotic rituals holding off the eldritch horror known only as the Rapacious. 

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Books Received, October 8 — October 14

15 Oct, 2022


The Cuckoo by Leo Carew (December 2022)

Two fierce armies collide in the finale of the Under the Northern Sky trilogy, a thrilling and savagely visceral epic fantasy from Leo Carew, an author who will remind readers of George R. R. Martin, David Gemmell, or … Joe Abercrombie. 

” (Booklist)Albion continues to be divided by revolt and bloodshed, as alliances collapse and are made anew. 

Driven obsessively for glory, the upstart Bellamus and his exiled queen Aramilla are marshalling resistance and building a powerful army. 

Returning to the Hindrunn, Keturah is forced to fend for herself, battling enemies on all sides just when she is most in need of a place of safety. 

And all the while, the young Black Lord must deal not only with the aftermath of a great betrayal, but the cold shadow of the Kryptea, threatening to destroy everything he has fought for…For more from Leo Carew, check out:The WolfThe SpiderThe Cuckoo 

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Books Received, October 1 — October 7

8 Oct, 2022


The Iron Gate: A Twenty Palaces Novel by Harry Connolly (September 2022)

Stormy Bay is a dying town nestled against an eerily placid ocean, and Ray Lilly is trapped in it. He can barely remember his name let alone his mission for the Twenty Palace society. Worse, he realizes that for some time now he’s been living as a puppet, his body and mind under the complete domination of an unknown power, and the townsfolk think this puppet is his real identity. 

And that power can still seize control of Ray’s body at any time, forcing him and the people around him to playact in nonsense stories that center around a mysterious boy and his monster dog. The town and its people shift and change, but only Ray seems to notice. He has no idea what sort of magic has imprisoned all these ordinary folks in Stormy Bay, but he does know he needs to get them, and himself, out. But that might mean crossing a line he has never crossed before. While Ray has certainly taken lives in his work for the society, it was always in self-defense or in the desperate moments before impending calamity. Can he bring himself to commit cold-blooded murder, even to save dozens of lives? 

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Monthly Patreon Plug

3 Oct, 2022


James Nicoll Reviews – 2204 reviews and counting! – is brought to you by my Patreon, the funds for which permit me to survive while tracking down works whose reviews to surprise and delight you. Supporters are provided with a variety of benefits, not least of which is the impetus to add to their strategic to be read reserves sufficiently to test the load-bearing abilities of their residential floors. If you’re enjoying James Nicoll Reviews, please consider supporting my Patreon.

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September 2022 in Review

1 Oct, 2022


September 2022

22 works reviewed. 12 by women (55%), 9 by men (41%), 1 by a non-binary author (5%), 0 by authors whose gender is unknown (0%), and 9 by POC (41%)

Year to Date

195 works reviewed. 107.5 by women (55%), 80.5 by men (41%), 7 by a non-binary author (4%), 0 by authors whose genders are unknown (0%), and 75 by POC (38%).

Grand Total to Date

2203 works reviewed. 1231.5 by women (56%), 920.5 by men (42%), 33 by non-binary authors (1%), 18 by authors whose gender is unknown (1%), and 649.75 by POC (29%).

Government Types September

Total 22, Not Applicable 4 (18%), Unclear 3 (14%), Anarchy 0 (0%), Pure democracy 0 (0%), Representative democracy 6 (27%), Oligarchy 8 (36%), Autocracy 1 (5%)

Government Type 2022 TD

Total 195, Not Applicable 33 (17%), Unclear 15 (8%), Anarchy 5 (3%), Pure democracy 1 (1%), Representative democracy 53 (27%), Oligarchy 68 (35%), Autocracy 20 (10%)

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Books Received, September 24 — September 30

1 Oct, 2022


It Walks in Beauty: Selected Prose of Chandler Davis Chandler Davis (September 2010)

It Walks in Beauty: Selected prose of Chandler Davis, edited and with an introduction by Josh Lukin, collects several of Daviss science fiction stories, which probe deeply into such social and political issues as nuclear escalation, gender roles, and eugenics, as well as a selection of his essays, originally published in venues ranging from The New York Review of Books to the Waging Peace Series of the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation. The volume also includes a lengthy interview of Davis by Lukin, a speech Davis made at the February 1995 meeting of AAAS, as well as three essays by Lukin, taking a long view of Daviss work.

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Books Received, September 10 — September 16

17 Sep, 2022


Rubicon by J. S. Dewes (March 2023)

J. S. Dewes, author of The Last Watch and The Exiled Fleet, returns with another science fiction space opera, Rubicon, that melds elements of Scalzi’s Old Man’s War with Edge of Tomorrow. 

Sergeant Adrienne Valero wants to die. 

She can’t.

After enduring a traumatic resurrection for the ninety-sixth time, Valero is reassigned to a special forces unit and outfitted with a cutting-edge virtual intelligence aid. They could turn the tide in the war against intelligent machines dedicated to the assimilation, or destruction, of humanity. 

When her VI suddenly achieves sentience, Valero is drawn into the machinations of an enigmatic major who’s hell-bent on ending the war―by any means necessary. 

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