Blog Posts

Books Received, July 7 - 13

Hidden Sun

An eccentric noblewoman scientist's journey into a hostile environment will change her world forever, in this enthralling fantasy novel.Rhia Harlyn is a noble in Shen, one of the dozens of shadowlands which separate the bright, alien skyland. She has a missing brother, an unwanted marriage proposal and an interest in science considered unbecoming in her gender. Her brother's disappearance coincided with a violent unsolved murder, and Rhia impulsively joins the search party headed into the skyland - a place whose dangers and wonders have long fascinated her. The dangerous journey brings her into conflict with a young rebel stuck between the worlds of shadow and light, and a charismatic cult leader who believes he can defeat death itself.


Read post


June 2018 in Review

June

21 books read. 11 by women (52%), 9 by men (43%). One by a person whose gender is unknown (5%)

Works by POC: 6.5 (31%)

Year to Date

129 books read. 69.5 by women (54%), 52.5 by men (41%), 2 by NB (2%). 5 by persons whose gender is unknown (4%).

Works by POC: 48 (37%)

And now, the meaningless table.

Read post


Books Received, June 23 - 29

Before The Golden Age

Asimov combines many of his science fiction favorites from the thirties with his personal reflections on his early years, interests, and influences


Read post


Books Received, June 16 to 22

Dive Smack

Theo Mackey only remembers one thing for certain about the fire that destroyed his home: he lit the match.

Sure, it was an accident. But the blaze killed his mom and set his dad on a path to self-destruction. Everything else about that fateful night is full of gaping holes in Theo’s mind, for good reason. Maybe it’s better that way. As captain of the Ellis Hollow Diving Team, with straight A's and solid friends, he's only one semester away from securing a scholarship, and leaving his past behind.

But when a family history project gets assigned at school, new memories come rushing to the surface, memories that make Theo question what he really knows about his family, the night of the fire, and if he can trust anyone―including himself.


Read post


Books Received, June 9 to 15

King Of Assassins

THE KING IS DEAD, LONG LIVE THE KING . . .Many years of peace have passed in Maniyadoc, years of relative calm for the assassin Girton Club-Foot. Even the Forgetting Plague, which ravaged the rest of the kingdoms, seemed to pass them by. But now Rufra ap Vthyr eyes the vacant High-King's throne and will take his court to the capital, a rat's nest of intrigue and murder, where every enemy he has ever made will gather and the endgame of twenty years of politics and murder will be played out in his bid to become the King of all Kings.Friends become enemies, enemies become friends and the god of death, Xus the Unseen, stands closer than ever - casting his shadow over everything most dear to Girton.


Read post


Books Received, June 2 to 8

Rqg

RuneQuest: Roleplaying in Glorantha is an all-new edition of one of the world’s most influential and acclaimed fantasy roleplaying games. First appearing almost 40 years ago, RuneQuest is as dynamic and vital as ever. This all-new, deluxe edition introduces RuneQuest and its setting of Glorantha to new players everywhere.


Read post


Books Received, May 26 - June 1

Empress Of Timbra

My father's eyes were steady on my face as I blew out the last bubbles of my breath. I pressed my knife into his hand but he could not make his fingers close around the hilt. I screamed for help with my first lungful of air, and dove again with my second. I was too late.

Fourteen-year-old Taver didn't know he was a nobleman's bastard until his real father died. Eleven-year-old Elaku has always known she was the bastard daughter of the same nobleman. When the two siblings meet in the Empress of Timbra's palace, they become fast friends.

Around them, intrigue and rumour swirl. Not everybody is happy with the rule of the Empress of Timbra. Some have plans for Taver and Elaku. And when treachery and war threaten their home, Taver and Elaku must rely on their magic, their wits, and each other to have any chance of preventing disaster.


Read post


May 2018 in Review

May

22 books read. 12.5 by women (57%), 9.5 by men (43%).

Works by POC: 5 (23%)

Year to Date

108 books read. 58.5 by women (54%), 43.5 by men (40%), 2 by NB (2%). 4 by persons whose gender is unknown (4%).

Works by POC: 41.5 (38%)

And now, the meaningless table.

Read post


Books Received, May 19 - 25

Shades Within

Journey with twenty-one speculative fiction authors through the fractured borders of human migration to examine assumptions and catch a glimpse of the dreams, struggles, and triumphs of those who choose--or are forced--to leave home and familiar places. Who straddle borders within our worlds--and within us.

Migration. A transformation of time, place, and being . . .

We are called drifters, nomads. We are expatriates, evacuees, and pilgrims. We are colonists, aliens, explorers; strangers, visitors--intruders, conquerors--exiles, asylum seekers, and . . . outsiders.

An American father shields his son from Irish discrimination. A Chinese foreign student wrestles to safeguard her family at the expense of her soul. A college graduate is displaced by technology. A Nigerian high school student chooses between revenge and redemption. A bureaucrat parses the mystery of Taiwanese time travellers. A defeated alien struggles to assimilate into human culture. A Czechoslovakian actress confronts the German WWII invasion. A child crosses an invisible border wall. And many more.

Stories that transcend borders, generations, and cultures. Each is a glimpse into our human need in face of change: to hold fast to home, to tradition, to family; and yet to reach out, to strive for a better life.

Featuring Original Stories by Vanessa Cardui, Elsie Chapman, Kate Heartfield, S.L. Huang, Tyler Keevil, Matthew Kressel, Rich Larson, Tonya Liburd, Karin Lowachee, Seanan McGuire, Brent Nichols, Julie NovÁkovÁ, Heather Osborne, Sarah Raughley, Alex Shvartsman, Amanda Sun, Jeremy Szal, Hayden Trenholm, Liz Westbrook-Trenholm, Christie Yant & Alvaro Zinos-Amaro

With An Introduction by Eric Choi & Gillian Clinton

Edited by Susan Forest & Lucas K. Law


Read post


Books Received, May 12 - 18

Oxygen Barons

Man brought life to the Moon...

And Man has the power to render the Moon barren again. As warring factions struggle for domination through control of essential resources—water, minerals, oxygen—the young Lunar republic becomes a political pawn. Just as Earth exerts its pull on the tidal waters of the Moon, it also commands the tide of events. And only two people can prevent the total destruction of the Moon's atmosphere—Galvanix, a man of science... and Taggart, a woman of war.


Read post


Books Received, May 5 - 11

Debris

Tanyana is among the highest ranking in her far-future society – a skilled pionner, able to use a mixture of ritual and innate talent to manipulate the particles that hold all matter together. But an accident brings her life crashing down around her ears. She is cast down amongst the lowest of the low, little more than a garbage collector. But who did this to her, and for what sinister purpose? Her quest to find out will take her to parts of the city she never knew existed, and open the door to a world she could never have imagined.


Read post


Books Received, April 28 - May 4

Into The Dark

The Solar System turned out to be a lot less friendly than we expected. Dreams of Martian canals and Venusian jungles died in the harsh light shone by Mariners and Veneras and Voyagers. But what we did get was an array of worlds of awesome majesty, one that's enough to scare off 99% percent of would-be explorers—but not you. Using the Cepheus Engine core rules or other similar game systems, the Into the Dark setting book lets you play OSR SF adventures in the near-future of the Solar System as we understand it now. Europa. Titan. Pluto, points beyond? They all will kill you if you make one mistake, and they won't even register that you're there when they do it. You're going to go anyway.

Look for more World Building Consortium products soon! Pre-made settings "with a difference" for OSR games of all types.


Read post


Announcing BRP Reviews Presents

  AKA BRP:

Because I so very much need another ongoing review series.

As previously established a year ago today, Runequest was an important part of my early roleplaying experience. Parent company Chaosium distilled the essential details of the game engine into a system they called Basic Roleplaying. Both under Chaosium and the game companies who licensed the BRP engine, the BRP rules have been at the heart of many roleplaying games over the decades.


I own many of them. Too many to review in a reasonable amount of time. What I can do is focus on a specific subset: science fiction roleplaying games that use the BRP game engine. Once a month or so, I will review one of those SF RPGs. It should only take me two or three years to work through the lot!

My current list of candidates is as follows:

  • BRP Mecha

  • Chronicles of Future Earth

  • Cthulhu Rising

  •  Elfquest

  • End Time

  • Fractured Hopes

  • Future World

  •  Hawkmoon

  • High Colonies

  •  Laundry

  • Luther Arkwright

  •  M-Space

  • Mission to Epsilon

  •  Mutant

  • Once Men

  • Operation Ulysses

  • Outpost 19

  • Other Suns

  • Ringworld (Already reviewed)

  • River of Heaven

  • Rubble and Ruin

  • Star Wars (RQ6)

  • Swords of Cydoria

  • Worlds Beyond

Read post


April 2018 in Review

April

22 books read. 12 by women (55%), 10 by men (45%).

Works by POC: 6 (27%)

Year to Date

86 books read. 46 by women (53%), 34 by men (40%), 2 by NB (2%). 4 by persons whose gender is unknown (5%). 

Works by POC: 36.5 (42%)

And now, the meaningless table.

Read post


Books Received, April 21 - 27

Adrift

At Sigma Station, a remote mining facility and luxury hotel in deep space, a group of tourists boards a small vessel to take in the stunning views of the Horsehead Nebula.

But while they're out there, a mysterious ship with devastating advanced technology attacks the station. Their pilot's quick thinking means that the tourists escape with their lives - but as the dust settles, they realise they may be the only survivors . . .

Adrift in outer space on a vastly under-equipped ship, they've got no experience, no weapons, no contact with civilisation. They are way out of their depth, and if they can't figure out how to work together, they're never getting home alive.

Because the ship that destroyed the station is still out there. And it's looking for them...


Read post


Books Received, Humble Bundle

Robot Visions

From the writer whose name is synonymous with the science of robotics comes five decades of robot visions-36 landmark stories and essays, plus three rare tales-gathered together in one volume. A collection of 18 of Asimov's ( Foundation ) robot stories. The earliest tales here, written from 1940 to 1960, remain among the most-loved in the field, the best being “Little Lost Robot,” about a robot who obeys an order to “get lost.” “The Bicentennial Man” (1976) about one robot's desires and efforts to be first free, then equal, is the quintessential robot-as-man’s-mirror story. The book concludes with brief essays offering companionable commentary on the history of robots in fiction, the Frankenstein complex, the origin of Asimov's famous Three Laws and the author’s own surprise at the emergence of robots during his lifetime.

Review
“This collection offers 18 stories about robots as well as brief essays in which Asimov comments on robots in fiction, the Frankenstein complex, his famous Three Laws and the development of actual robots. “The earliest tales here, written from 1940 to 1960, remain among the most-loved in the field.” —Publishers Weekly

“Classic stories with new material, both fiction and fact, that puts the whole theme together in a larger context.” —Poul Andersen

About the Author

Isaac Asimov authored over 400 books in a career that lasted nearly 50 years. As a leading scientific writer, historian, and futurist, he covered a variety of subjects ranging from mathematics to humor, and won numerous awards for his work.


Read post


Books Received, April 14 - 20

Thousand Year

In a posthuman virtual world sealed off from the ruins of Earth, the idyll is shattered by an arachnid invasion.

Designed in imitation of a harbor town in southern Europe, the Realm of Summer is just one of the zones within the virtual resort known as the Costa del Número. It has been more than a thousand years since human guests stopped coming to the Realm, leaving the AIs alone in their endless summer. But now all that has come to a sudden end, as an army of mysterious Spiders begin reducing the town to nothing. As night falls, the few remaining AIs prepare for their final, hopeless battle… War between the virtual and the real begins in book one of the Angel of the Ruins series.


Read post


Books Received, April 7 - 13

61O A Hd Eed L

A dark and twisted Victorian melodrama, like Alice in Wonderland goes to Hell, from the author of The Singular & Extraordinary Tale of Mirror & Goliath.

Two orphans, Pedrock and Boo Boo, are sent to live in the sinister village of Darkwound. There they meet and befriend the magical and dangerous Mr Loveheart and his neighbour, Professor Hummingbird, a recluse who collects rare butterflies. Little do they know that Professor Hummingbird has attracted the wrath of a demon named Mr Angelcakes.

One night, Mr Angelcakes visits Boo Boo and carves a butterfly onto her back. Boo Boo starts to metamorphose into a butterfly/human hybrid, and is kidnapped by Professor Hummingbird. When Mr Loveheart attempts to rescue her with the aid of Detective White and Constable Walnut, they too are turned into butterflies.

Caught between Professor Hummingbird and the demon Angelcakes, Loveheart finds himself entangled in a web much wider and darker than he could have imagined, and a plot that leads him right to the Prime Minister and even Queen Victoria herself …


Read post


Books Received, March 31 - April 6

War tears the galaxy apart, power tests the limits of family, and violence gives way to freedom in this exhilarating sequel to Empress of a Thousand Stars.

Empress Rhee, also known as Crown Princess Rhiannon Ta’an, is the sole surviving heir to a powerful dynasty. She’ll stop at nothing to avenge her family and claim her throne. Fugitive Aly has risen above his war refugee origins to find fame as the dashing star of a DroneVision show. But when he’s falsely accused of killing Rhee, he’s forced to prove his innocence to save his reputation – and his life. Madman With planets on the brink of war, Rhee and Aly must confront a ruthless evil that threatens the fate of the entire galaxy.

Rhoda Belleza crafts a powerful saga of vengeance, warfare, and the true meaning of legacy in this exhilarating debut, perfect for readers of Marissa Meyer’s Lunar Chronicles and Jay Kristoff and Amie Kaufman’s Illuminae Files.

The Snail on the Slope takes place in two worlds. One is the Administration, an institution run by a surreal, Kafkaesque bureaucracy whose aim is to govern the forest below. The other is the Forest, a place of fear, weird creatures, primitive people and violence. Peretz, who works at the Administration, wants to visit the Forest. Candide crashed in the Forest years ago and wants to return to the Administration. Their journeys are surprising and strange, and readers are left to puzzle out the mysteries of these foreign environments. The Strugatskys themselves called The Snail on the Slope “the most perfect and the most valuable of our works.”

A ragtag crew of humans and posthumans discover alien technology that could change the fate of humanity… or awaken an ancient evil and destroy all life in the galaxy.


The shady crew of the White Raven run freight and salvage at the fringes of our solar system. They discover the wreck of a centuries-old exploration vessel floating light years away from its intended destination and revive its sole occupant, who wakes with news of First Alien Contact. When the crew break it to her that humanity has alien allies already, she reveals that these are very different extra-terrestrials… and the gifts they bestowed on her could kill all humanity, or take it out to the most distant stars.

The Magazine of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Field.

Read post


March 2018 in Review

March

21 books read. 10.5 by women (50%), 7.5 by men (36%). 2 by NB (10%) 1 by an author whose gender is unknown (5%).  Note: there is a round off error.

Works by POC: 7.5 (36%)

Year to Date

64 books read. 34 by women (53%), 24 by men (38%), 2 by NB (3%). 4 by persons whose gender is unknown (6%). 

Works by POC: 30.5 (48%)

And now, the meaningless table.

Read post


Books Received, March 17 - 23

Ruthanna Emrys’ Innsmouth Legacy, which began with Winter Tide and continues with Deep Roots, confronts H. P. Lovecraft’s Cthulhu Mythos head-on, boldly upturning his fear of the unknown with a heart-warming story of found family, acceptance, and perseverance in the face of human cruelty and the cosmic apathy of the universe. Emrys brings together a family of outsiders, bridging the gaps between the many people marginalized by the homogenizing pressure of 1940s America.Aphra Marsh, descendant of the People of the Water, has survived Deep One internment camps and made a grudging peace with the government that destroyed her home and exterminated her people on land. Deep Rootscontinues Aphra’s journey to rebuild her life and family on land, as she tracks down long-lost relatives. She must repopulate Innsmouth or risk seeing it torn down by greedy developers, but as she searches she discovers that people have been going missing. She will have to unravel the mystery, or risk seeing her way of life slip away.

This isn’t a Commonweal story.  This is something Past Me wrote, and refered to as The Doorstop.It’s been said that everyone of a certain age who winds up writing fantasy in English has a response to The Lord of the Rings in them.This book is mine.It’s about grief, duty, and royalty as responses to violation of the natural order.  Also adversity, social change, terrible sartorial choices, and an obscure literary revenge on Thomas Hardy.The acts of vengeance taking place in the text aren’t obscure at all.  Some people make Adversity very, very sorry it ever said anything.  Gruesome and terrible things happen.There were giants in the earth in those days.
Futurist Karl Schroeder imagines infiltrating the elite of a marginal society in The MillionEvery thirty years, ten billion visitors overrun Earth during one month of madness: partying, polluting, and brawling. In between, the world is ruled by the Million; the inheritors and custodians of all of humanity’s wealth and history, they lead unimaginable lives of privilege and wealth, and they see it as their due.Gavin Penn-of-Chaffee is an illegal child — a visitor hidden among the Million. When the family that raised him in secret is torn apart, Gavin must impersonate a dead boy to survive. What he doesn’t know is that his new identity is expected at the School of Auditors — the Million’s feared police force, sworn to find and capture outcasts like him to keep the peace. In order to solve the murder of his adoptive father, Gavin must keep his disguise and his wits intact within the stronghold of those threatened by his very existence.
Winner of the Hugo, Nebula and World Fantasy Life Achievement Awards “One of the masters of modern science fiction.” — The Washington Post Book World Eight-year-old Horty Bluett has never known love. His adoptive parents are violent; his classmates are cruel. So he runs away from home and joins a carnival. Performing alongside the fireaters, snakemen and “little people,” Horty is accepted. But he is not safe. For when he loses three fingers in an accident and they grow back, it becomes clear that Horty is not like other boys. And it is a difference some people might want to use. But his difference risks not only his own life but the lives of the outcasts who provided for him, for so many years, with a place to call home. In The Dreaming Jewels, Theodore Sturgeon renders the multiple wounds of loneliness, fear, and persecution with uncanny precision. Vividly drawn, expertly plotted, The Dreaming Jewels is a Sturgeon masterpiece.
Winner of the Hugo, Nebula and World Fantasy Life Achievement Awards “One of the masters of modern science fiction.” — The Washington Post Book World Eight-year-old Horty Bluett has never known love. His adoptive parents are violent; his classmates are cruel. So he runs away from home and joins a carnival. Performing alongside the fireaters, snakemen and “little people,” Horty is accepted. But he is not safe. For when he loses three fingers in an accident and they grow back, it becomes clear that Horty is not like other boys. And it is a difference some people might want to use. But his difference risks not only his own life but the lives of the outcasts who provided for him, for so many years, with a place to call home. In The Dreaming Jewels, Theodore Sturgeon renders the multiple wounds of loneliness, fear, and persecution with uncanny precision. Vividly drawn, expertly plotted, The Dreaming Jewels is a Sturgeon masterpiece.
Six misfits, one powerful entity. A novel about belonging by “one of the greatest writers of science fiction and fantasy who ever lived” (Stephen King). Individually, they are a seemingly simpleminded young man living in the woods who can read the thoughts of others, a runaway girl with telekinetic powers, twin girls who can barely speak but can teleport across great distances, and an infant with a mind like a supercomputer. Together, they are the Gestalt — a single extraordinary being comprised of remarkable parts — although an essential piece may be missing . . .   But are they the next stage in human development or harbingers of the end of civilization? The answer may come when they are joined by Gerry. Powerfully telepathic, he lacks a moral compass — and his hatred of the world that has rejected him could prove catastrophic.    Winner of the International Fantasy Award and considered Theodore Sturgeon’s masterpiece, More Than Human is a genre-bending wonder that explores themes of responsibility and morality, individuality, and belonging. Moving and suspenseful, lyrical and provocative, the novel was one of the first to elevate science fiction into the realm of literature, and inspired musicians and artists, including the Grateful Dead and Crosby, Stills and Nash.   From the Nebula Award–winning author of Godbody, The Dreaming Jewels, and other great works of science fiction, this is an unforgettable reading experience and a must for anyone who enjoys Ramsey Campbell, Robert Silverberg, or Philip José Farmer.
A Nebula Award–winning author reinvents the alien invasion novel with this story of a malevolent, galaxy-consuming hive mind — and its surprising human hosts.  Drunk, angry, abusive, and pathetic, Dan Gurlick exists at the very lowest level of human civilization, sleeping in junkyard cars and scrounging through garbage cans for his dinner. But his last rotting meal contains something unexpected: a spore that originated from a galaxy many light-years away. First, Dan eats the spore, then, the spore eats Dan; and the homeless alcoholic becomes a host for the Medusa. An insatiable alien hive mind, the Medusa has already consumed the life forms of a billion planets. Now, it hungers for the dominant species of Earth. But to do so, it must somehow unite the planet’s intelligent creatures into a single shared consciousness: an assignment the miserable wretch Dan may prove surprisingly capable of carrying out. To Marry Medusa is suspenseful, inventive, and surprisingly compassionate; a vibrant and unforgettable exploration of what it means to be more — or less — than human. This ebook features an illustrated biography of Theodore Sturgeon including rare images and never-before-seen documents from the University of Kansas’s Kenneth Spencer Research Library and the author’s estate, among other sources.
Theodore Sturgeon’s visionary tale sends a man into a utopian future, where perfection has been achieved at a shocking cost — especially for our ideas about genderNothing about Charlie Johns’s life is particularly unusual until the day he wakes up in the future. Suddenly surrounded by impossible architecture and technology, Charlie finds himself warmly welcomed by the citizens of Ledom, a fantastic, futuristic Eden with no poverty, no pollution, no wars, no strife, and only one gender. Everything Charlie has always believed about men, women, and sexual identity has been proven wrong, and now he is being asked by his eager hosts to judge their perfect society before he returns to his own time. But something isn’t quite right about Ledom’s ideal existence — and when cracks begin to appear in its flawless façade, Charlie must unearth the city’s hidden secrets … before it’s too late. Sturgeon’s Venus Plus X is literary science fiction at its most brazen and inventive. A scathing critique of American puritanism that unabashedly explores questions of sexuality and gender, it remains as relevant, insightful, provocative, and troubling as when it first appeared in print. This ebook features an illustrated biography of Theodore Sturgeon including rare images and never-before-seen documents from the University of Kansas’s Kenneth Spencer Research Library and the author’s estate, among other sources.

Read post


 
  

Support me with a Patreon monthly subscription!

Review Categories

By Author/Editor

Blog Posts by Date