Blog Posts, March 2018

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.

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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.

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A Belated Announcement


Books Received, March 10 — March 16


Captain Marta Ramos, the most notorious pirate in the Duchy of Denver, has her hands full, what between fascinating murder mysteries, the delectable and devious Delilah Nimowitz, Colonel Geoffrey Douglas (the Duke of Denver’s new head of security) and her usual activities: piracy, banditry and burglary. Not to mention the horrors 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.

Not all patients can be cured — or want to be.
Psychologist Carolyn Fern’s newest patient suffers from nightmares that leave glyph-shaped wounds across her skin. The case is odd, even for an institution like Arkham Sanatorium, where the unusual becomes the everyday. Things become even more complicated after the young woman claims to have met Malachi — Carolyn’s former patient whose treatment was cut short when he was brutally murdered — in her dreams. What is the link between the two, and how can Carolyn help a patient who, it seems, does not wish to be cured?
The captains of two famous steamboats fight to win a race on the Mississippi River from New Orleans to St. Louis.
Rising SFF star P. Djèlí Clark brings an alternate New Orleans of orisha, airships, and adventure to life in his immersive debut novella The Black God’s DrumsIn an alternate New Orleans caught in the tangle of the American Civil War, the wall-scaling girl named Creeper yearns to escape the streets for the air – in particular, by earning a spot on-board the airship Midnight Robber. Creeper plans to earn Captain Ann-Marie’s trust with information she discovers about a Haitian scientist and a mysterious weapon he calls The Black God’s Drums.But Creeper also has a secret herself: Oya, the African orisha of the wind and storms, speaks inside her head, and may have her own ulterior motivations.Soon, Creeper, Oya, and the crew of the Midnight Robber are pulled into a perilous mission aimed to stop the Black God’s Drums from being unleashed and wiping out the entirety of New Orleans.
An anthology of authors eligible for the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer.

Huge.


From #1 bestselling author of A Game of Thrones: Nightflyers, coming to television on SyFy, is an epic story of space exploration and cosmic horror, plus five George R. R. Martin classic science fiction tales.On a voyage toward the boundaries of the known universe, nine misfit academics seek out first contact with a shadowy alien race.But another enigma is the Nightflyer itself, a cybernetic wonder with an elusive captain no one has ever seen in the flesh. Soon, however, the crew discovers that their greatest mystery – and most dangerous threat – is an unexpected force wielding a thirst for blood and terror….Also included are five additional classic George R. R. Martin tales of science fiction that explore the breadth of technology and the dark corners of the human mind.
For fans of Pierce Brown and Rhoda Belleza, here is epic space adventure full of action, heart and two kick-butt heroines.Aisha Un-Haad would do anything for her family. When her brother contracts a plague, she knows her janitor’s salary isn’t enough to fund his treatment. So she volunteers to become a Scela, a mechanically enhanced soldier sworn to protect and serve the governing body of the Fleet, the collective of starships they call home. If Aisha can survive the harrowing modifications and earn an elite place in the Scela ranks, she may be able to save her brother.Key Tanaka awakens in a Scela body with only hazy memories of her life before. She knows she’s from the privileged end of the Fleet, but she has no recollection of why she chose to give up a life of luxury to become a hulking cyborg soldier. If she can make it through the training, she might have a shot at recovering her missing past.In a unit of new recruits vying for top placement, Aisha’s and Key’s paths collide, and the two must learn to work together — a tall order for girls from opposite ends of the Fleet. But a rebellion is stirring, pitting those who yearn for independence from the Fleet against a government struggling to maintian unity.With violence brewing and dark secrets surfacing, Aisha and Key find themselves questioning their loyalties. They will have to put aside their differences, though, if they want to keep humanity from tearing itself apart.

JY Yang continues to redefine the limits of silkpunk fantasy with their Tensorate novellas, which the New York Times lauded as “joyously wild.” In this third volume, an investigation into atrocities committed at a classified research facility threaten to expose secrets that the Protectorate will do anything to keep hiddenYou are reading this because I am dead.Something terrible happened at the Rewar Teng Institute of Experimental Methods. When the Tensorate’s investigators arrived, they found a sea of blood and bones as far as the eye could see. One of the institute’s experiments got loose, and its rage left no survivors. The investigators returned to the capital with few clues and two prisoners: the terrorist leader Sanao Akeha and a companion known only as Rider.Investigator Chuwan faces a puzzle. What really happened at the institute? What drew the Machinists there? What are her superiors trying to cover up? And why does she feel as if her strange dreams are forcing her down a narrowing path she cannot escape?

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Books Received, March 3 to March 9

Science-based wonder is the core of science fiction. Yet the genre mostly casts science as either triumphalism or hubris. In To Shape the Dark, editor Athena Andreadis offers readers women heroes doing science not-as-usual. Scientists are astrogators who never sleep; To Shape the Dark is part of that vigil.

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Books Received, Feb 24 to March 2


When Peter Smith’s classmate snaps a picture of him during a late night run at the track, Peter thinks he might be in trouble. When she posts that photo―along with the caption, “See the Pretty Boy Run,”―Peter knows he’s in trouble. But when hostiles drop through the ceiling of his 6th period Chem Class, Peter’s pretty sure his trouble just became a national emergency.
Because he’s not really Peter Smith. He’s Jake Morrow, former foster-kid turned CIA operative. After a massive screw-up on his first mission, he’s on a pity assignment, a dozen hit lists and now, social media, apparently. As #Prettyboy, of all freaking things.
His cover’s blown, his school’s under siege, and if he screws up now, #Prettyboy will become #Deadboy faster than you can say, ‘fifteen minutes of fame.’ Trapped in a high school with rabid killers and rabid fans, he’ll need all his training and then some to save his job, his school and, oh yeah, his life.
I have no idea where to find descriptive text for Locus.



In an epic fantasy kingdom inspired by African legends, a young assassin finds himself hunted by the brothers and sisters he has trained alongside since birth Neythan is one of five young warriors trained and raised together by a mysterious brotherhood of assassins known as the Shedaím. When Neythan is framed for the murder of his closest friend, he pursues his betrayer – and in so doing learns there’s far more to the Brotherhood, and the machinations of the rulers of the warring kingdoms, than he’d ever thought possible.

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