Blog Posts

Books Received, May 12 - 17

Escaping Exodus

The Compton Crook award–winning author of The Prey of Gods and Temper returns with a dazzling stand-alone novel, set in deep space, in which the fate of humanity rests on the slender shoulders of an idealistic and untested young woman—a blend of science fiction, dark humor, and magical realism that will appeal to fans of Lauren Beukes, Ian McDonald, and Nnedi Okorafor.

Earth is a distant memory. Habitable extrasolar planets are still out of reach. For generations, humanity has been clinging to survival by establishing colonies within enormous vacuum-breathing space beasts and mining their resources to the point of depletion. Rash, dreamy, and unconventional, Seske Kaleigh should be preparing for her future role as clan leader, but her people have just culled their latest beast, and she’s eager to find the cause of the violent tremors plaguing their new home. Defying social barriers, Seske teams up with her best friend, a beast worker, and ventures into restricted areas for answers to end the mounting fear and rumors. Instead, they discover grim truths about the price of life in the void. Then, Seske is unexpectedly thrust into the role of clan matriarch, responsible for thousands of lives in a harsh universe where a single mistake can be fatal. Her claim to the throne is challenged by a rival determined to overthrow her and take control—her intelligent, cunning, and confident sister. Seske may not be a born leader like her sister, yet her unorthodox outlook and incorruptible idealism may be what the clan needs to save themselves and their world. **


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April 2019 in Review

Lady

I keep procrastinating these.

April

20 books read. 11 by women (55%), 9 by men (45%)

Works by POC: 8 (40%)

Year to Date

82 books read. 45.25 by women (55%). 34.75 by men (42%). 2 by an author whose gender is unknown (3%).

Works by POC: 33.75 (41%)

And now the meaningless chart.

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Books Received, May 5 - 11

Two Handed Engine

These two authors - in their 18-year marriage - turned out a great many stories, collaborating seamlessly on most of them and producing some of the finest of the 20th century.


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Books Received, April 27 to May 3

Five Unicorn Flush

Only one woman with a magical parasite can unite the galaxy, in the mind-blowing SF sequel to Space Unicorn Blues****

The Bala, magical creatures, have hidden themselves from cruel and destructive humanity, leaving the galaxy in shambles. Without unicorn-powered faster-than-light travel, mankind is scattered, starving and isolated across the stars. Cowboy Jim has the sole surviving FTL drive, and he and his Reason soldiers are determined to track down and re-enslave the Bala. But on their new planet, the Bala are on the brink of civil war: should they accept Unicorn rule, or follow necromancer Bao Zhi and exact revenge on their human oppressors? Only Captain Jenny, with her new elfin parasite, can return peace to the galaxy.


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Books Received, April 20 - 26

Velveteen Vs The Junior Super Patriots1

Velveteen: How dare you? I never asked for you to hunt me down! No, Velma Martinez hadn't. But when you had once been Velveteen, child super-heroine and one of The Junior Super Patriots, West Coast Division, you were never going to be free, even if your only power was to bring toys to life. The Marketing Department would be sure of that. So it all came down to this. One young woman and an army of misfit toys vs. the assembled might of the nine members of The Junior Super Patriots, West Coast Division who had come to take her down. They never had a chance. Velveteen lives in a world of super-heroes and magic, where men can fly and where young girls can be abducted to the Autumn Land to save Halloween. Velma lives from paycheck to paycheck and copes with her broken-down car as she tries to escape from her old life. It's all the same world. It's all real. And figuring out how to be both Velveteen and Velma is the biggest challenge of her life, because being super-human means you re still human in the end. Join us as award-winning author Seanan McGuire takes us through the first volume of Velveteen's and Velma's adventure.


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Books Received, April 13 - 19

Aurora Beyond Equality

Enter into the world of the future where human potential is fulfilled to hitherto unexpected and unexplored dimensions.

Here are nine fantastic stories that run the gamut of ultimate imagination: A young woman whose mental condition makes her think the world is all wonderful; a time when space travelers from Earth are all female and cloned; the decision to destroy Ana; a fairy tale of tomorrow, of the Sidhe, beyond death under the waters of the lake.

Also included are marvelous tales of the dynamic directions that "thought experiments" have taken; the discovery of a new home for the human race--after the holocaust, a time when electronic secrets must be traded for food; the search for the beginning of the world; and a society where test-tube babies have three mothers who can be female or male.

Contributors include Raccoona Sheldon, James Tiptree, Jr., Dave Skal, Mildred Downey Broxon, Ursule K. Le Guin, Joanna Russ, P. J. Plauger, Craig Strete, and Marge Piercy.


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March 2019 in Review

Lady

This is just a tad late.

21 books read. 11.5 by women (55%), 8.5 by men (40%), 1 by unknown (5%)

Works by POC: 8 (38%)

Year to Date

62 books read. 34.25 by women (55%). 25.75 by men (42%). 2 by an author whose gender is unknown (3%).

Works by POC: 25.75 (42%)

And now the meaningless chart.

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Books Received, March 30 - April 5

The True Queen

In the follow-up to the "delightful" Regency fantasy novel (NPR.org) Sorcerer to the Crown, a young woman with no memories of her past finds herself embroiled in dangerous politics in England and the land of the fae.

**When sisters Muna and Sakti wake up on the peaceful beach of the island of Janda Baik, they can’t remember anything, except that they are bound as only sisters can be. They have been cursed by an unknown enchanter, and slowly Sakti starts to fade away. The only hope of saving her is to go to distant Britain, where the Sorceress Royal has established an academy to train women in magic. If Muna is to save her sister, she must learn to navigate high society, and trick the English magicians into believing she is a magical prodigy. As she's drawn into their intrigues, she must uncover the secrets of her past, and journey into a world with more magic than she had ever dreamed.


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Books Received, March 9 - 15

Semiosis

Colonists from Earth wanted the perfect home, but they’ll have to survive on the one they found. They don’t realize another life form watches...and waits...

Only mutual communication can forge an alliance with the planet's sentient species and prove that humans are more than tools.


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Books Received, March 2 to March 8

Murder On The Titania And Other Steam Powered Adventures

Captain Marta Ramos, the most notorious pirate in the Duchy of Denver, has her hands full between fascinating murder mysteries, the delectable and devious Deliah Nimowitz, Colonel Geoffrey Douglas (the Duke of Denver’s new head of security), a spot of airship engineering and her usual activities: piracy, banditry and burglary. Not to mention the horror of high society tea parties. In contrast, Simms, her second in command, longs only for a quiet life, filled with tasty sausages and fewer explosions. Or does he? Join Captain Ramos, Simms and their crew as they negotiate the perils of air, land and drawing room in a series of fast-paced adventures in a North America that never was.

Murder on the Titania and Other Steam-Powered Adventures includes 4 novellas and a short story about piracy, banditry, burglary, jail-breaking, several brilliant bits of detective work and all manner of otherwise lawless hijinks performed by the valiant Captain Ramos and her crew.

Murder on the Titania: Colonel Geoffrey Douglas, the Duke of Denver’s new head of security, is drawn into a high society murder mystery on the Airship Titania. None of the passengers are quite what they seem, including the mysterious young woman who always turns up where she is least expected.

The Curious Case of Clementine Nimowitz (and Her Exceedingly Tiny Dog): A simple burglary goes horribly awry when Captain Ramos and Simms stumble across a dead body, a small dog and the deceased’s heirs, the noisome Morris and the rather too interesting Deliah.

The Jade Tiger: a mysterious woman enlists Captain Ramos’s aid in getting her revenge on her former employer and Captain Ramos finds herself doing an unintentional good deed.

The Ugly Tin Orrery: Captain Ramos and her crew embark on what appears to be a perfectly ordinary train robbery, only to be drawn into the Duke of Denver’s political machinations via a strange metal artifact. Throw in a spot of jail breaking and an encounter with the lovely Deliah, and it’s all in a day’s work for Captain Ramos and Simms.

The Flying Turk: The Airship Titania is entering a new era and welcoming its first automaton pilot. Or, perhaps not. Captain Ramos and Simms are back aboard the Titania for a heady mix of murder, robbery, peeved scientists and oblivious peers, with a spot of engineering thrown in.


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Books Received, February 23 - March 1

The Sword And The Dagger

During the time of the Crusades, an unlikely trio—a Christian princess, her affianced prince, and a Muslim assassin—embarks on a quest to the court of the most fearsome warrior the world has ever known, Genghis Khan.

A rousing tale of adventure and romance about three young people who must grapple with fundamental issues of loyalty, friendship, faith, honor, and courage against the backdrop of conflicts that still resonate today.


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February 2019 in review

John William Waterhouse  I Am Half Sick Of Shadows Said The Lady Of Shalott

February

21 books read. 12 by women (57%), 8 by men (38%), 1 by unknown (5%)

Works by POC: 8 (38%)

Year to Date

41 books read. 22.75 by women (55%). 17.25 by men (42%). 1 by an author whose gender is unknown (2%).

Works by POC: 17.75 (23%)

And installment two of my year long slog up the meaningless table.


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It's good to stay on top of tasks


Books Received, February 16 - 22

The Haunting Of Tram Car 015

Cairo, 1912: The case started as a simple one for the Ministry of Alchemy, Enchantments and Supernatural Entities — handling a possessed tram car.

Soon, however, Agent Hamed Nasr and his new partner Agent Onsi Youssef are exposed to a new side of Cairo stirring with suffragettes, secret societies, and sentient automatons in a race against time to protect the city from an encroaching danger that crosses the line between the magical and the mundane.


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Books Received, February 9 - 15

The Unbound Empire

While winter snows keep the Witch Lord Ruven's invading armies at bay, Lady Amalia Cornaro and the fire warlock Zaira attempt to change the fate of mages in the Raverran Empire forever, earning the enmity of those in power who will do anything to keep all magic under tight imperial control. But in the season of the Serene City's great masquerade, Ruven executes a devastating surprise strike at the heart of the Empire - and at everything Amalia holds most dear.

To stand a chance of defeating Ruven, Amalia and Zaira must face their worst nightmares, expose their deepest secrets, and unleash Zaira's most devastating fire.


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Books Received, February 2 - 8

The Ingenious

Thousands of years ago, the city of Athanor was set adrift in time and space by alchemists, called "the Curious Men". Ever since, it has accumulated cultures, citizens and species into a vast, unmappable metropolis.

Isten and her gang of half-starved political exiles live off petty crime and gangland warfare in Athanor's seediest alleys. Though they dream of returning home to lead a glorious revolution, Isten's downward spiral drags them into a mire of addiction and violence. Isten must find a way to save the exiles and herself if they are ever to build a better, fairer world for the people of their distant homeland.


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January 2019 in review

John William Waterhouse  I Am Half Sick Of Shadows Said The Lady Of Shalott

January

20 books read. 10.75 by women (54%), 9.25 by men (46%).

Works by POC: 9.75 (49%)

Year to Date

See above. And now, the beginning of my long slog up the meaningless table.

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Seen in email

Speaking of Amazon, an interesting phenomenon (and kudos to you): for several of the books on your “100 books to read in 2019” list, the Amazon listings of what “Customers Also Viewed” are largely or entirely made up of *other* books from your list. You singlehandedly transformed Amazon viewing data for a number of them. (Including, at least, The Fortunate Fall, A Voice out of Ramah, and Sibyl Sue Blue. Probably many others, too.)

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Books Received, January 13 - 18

The Turning Tide

Some dreams become nightmares . . .

An invasion is headed for Crosspointe, but three friends will find themselves at war long before the first enemy touches the shore.

One man will betray her.

Fairlie, a master metalsmith, is discovered to have a rare magical talent that could save Crosspointe from destruction. Against her will, she is forced to make a monstrous sacrifice. What happens next could tear the world apart.

One man will risk everything to save her

The future hangs in the balance. Everything depends on Fairlie. Driven to the edge of sanity and endurance, she must choose who will live and who will die.

One man will come face to face with his worst nightmare.

The enemy is coming to Crosspointe, but a worse one lurks within. As secrets get ripped open and truths are revealed, Crosspointe’s future looks ever bleaker.


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Books Received, January 5 - 11

Edges

Deception Well is a world on the edge, home to an isolated remnant surviving at the farthest reach of human expansion. All across the frontier, other worlds have succumbed to the relentless attacks of robotic alien warships, while hundreds of light years away, the core of human civilization—those star systems closest to Earth, known as the Hallowed Vasties—have all fallen to ruins. Powerful telescopes can see only dust and debris where once there were orbital mega-structures so huge they eclipsed the light of their parent stars.

No one knows for sure what caused the Hallowed Vasties to fail, but a hardened adventurer named Urban intends to find out. He has the resources to do it. He commands a captive alien starship fully capable of facing the dangers that lie beyond Deception Well.

With a ship’s company of explorers and scientists, Urban is embarking on a voyage of re-discovery. They will be the first in centuries to confront the hazards of an inverted frontier as they venture back along the path of human migration. Their goal: to unravel the mystery of the Hallowed Vasties and to discover what monstrous life might have grown up among the ruins.

Edges is a new entry point into the classic story world of Linda Nagata’s The Nanotech Succession.


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Annual Hugo Nomination Self-Promotion

Crab Neb

It is time to nominate works for the Hugo.

I know what I have done that last year but as to what categories they fall into? You guess is as good as mine. I think my grasp of the boundaries is worse than it was last year.

James Nicoll Reviews and my pieces for Tor might be best related? Or fan, perhaps? My Dreamwidth account might be Best Fan Writer eligible. And the various projects on the Young People site may count as a fanzine. Or, again, best fan writing.

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Big Hair, Big Guns!


From time to time I consider reviewing an old favourite for my Because My Tears Are Delicious To You series, only to discover that the book in question was published after March 1981, too recent for Tears1. Pity, because there were a great many books published in the 1980s that were almost as formative for me as the ones I read as a teen. If only I had my own review site, I muse, I could indulge my whims.

It turns out I do have a review site that is completely under my control! Bwahahaha!

Welcome, therefore, to Big Hair, Big Guns, intermittent reviews of the best (or at least most notable) SF works of the 1980s.

1: Tears covers those books I read as a teen. Thanks to math and the Julian calendar, I was only a teen from 1974 to 1981.

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Books Received, December 29, 2018 to January 4, 2019

Bedlam

HEAVEN IS A PRISON. HELL IS A PLAYGROUND.Ross Baker is an overworked scientist developing medical technology for corporate giant Neurosphere, but he'd rather be playing computer games than dealing with his nightmare boss or slacker co-workers.He volunteers as a test candidate for the new tech - anything to get out of the office for a few hours. But when he emerges from the scanner he discovers he's not only escaped the office, but possibly escaped real life for good. He's trapped in Starfire - a video game he played as a child - with no explanation, no backup and, most terrifyingly, no way out.


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