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Books Received, September 14 — 20

21 Sep, 2019

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Magic has a price — if you’re willing to pay. The lush world building of * Children of Blood and Bone *meets the sweeping scale of * Strange the Dreamer *in this captivating epic YA fantasy debut. Born into a family of powerful witchdoctors, Arrah yearns for magic of her own. But each year she fails to call forth her ancestral powers, while her ambitious mother watches with growing disapproval. There’s only one thing Arrah hasn’t tried, a deadly last resort: trading years of her own life for scraps of magic. Until the Kingdom’s children begin to disappear, and Arrah is desperate to find the culprit. She uncovers something worse. The long-imprisoned Demon King is stirring. And if he rises, his hunger for souls will bring the world to its knees… unless Arrah pays the price for the magic to stop him.

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Books Received, September 7 — 13

14 Sep, 2019

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Sue Burke’s sweeping SF Semiosis epic continues in Interference as the colonists and a team from Earth confront a new and more implacable intelligence. Over two hundred years after the first colonists landed on Pax, a new set of explorers arrives from Earth on what they claim is a temporary scientific mission. But the Earthlings misunderstand the nature of the Pax settlement and its real leader. Even as Stevland attempts to protect his human tools, a more insidious enemy than the Earthlings makes itself known. Stevland is not the apex species on Pax. Semiosis duology
Semiosis
Interference **

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Books Received, August 24 — 30

1 Sep, 2019

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Egypt, 1912. In an alternate Cairo infused with the otherworldly, the Ministry of Alchemy, Enchantments and Supernatural Entities investigate disturbances between the mortal and the (possibly) divine. What starts off as an odd suicide case for Special Investigator Fatma el-Sha’arawi leads her through the city’s underbelly as she encounters rampaging ghouls, saucy assassins, clockwork angels, and plot that could unravel time itself, in P. Djèlí Clark’s Tor.Com Original, A Dead Djinn in Cairo.

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Not To Be Lightly Thrown Aside: Randall Garrett’s The Queen Bee

19 Aug, 2019

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(Not every piece I do for tor fits their needs. Here’s an example.)

Per Theodore Sturgeon, ninety percent of everything is crud (that is, everything published). Most of this crud is of the unmemorable variety, it occupies the brain for a few moments before being forgotten. Some is educationally bad; you might not like the story, but at least understanding why it did not work is illuminating. A very very small fraction is so egregiously wretched that it inspires mockery and disparagement decades after publication, even if out of print. One memorable example: Randall Garrett’s 1958 short story The The Queen Bee.” 

Many of you are mercifully unaware of this story. Let me fix that for you: 

some stories are not just worse than you imagine, they are worse than you can imagine 

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I cannot attend Dublin 2019, the Irish WorldCon

12 Aug, 2019

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University of Waterloo Associate Professor Sarah Tolmie, author of SF works The Little Animals, The Stone Boatmen, Two Travellers, and NoFood, as well as the poetry collection Trio, and chapbook Sonnet in a Blue Dress and Other Poems, is my designated representative.

Tolmie’s Ursula Le Guin in the Underworld” won a 2019 Rhysling Award, and has been nominated for an Aurora. The Art of Dying was shortlisted for the 2019 Griffin Poetry Prize.

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Books Received, August 3 — 9

10 Aug, 2019

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From New York Times bestselling author Joe Abercrombie comes the first book in a new blockbuster fantasy trilogy where the age of the machine dawns, but the age of magic refuses to die.

The chimneys of industry rise over Adua and the world seethes with new opportunities. But old scores run deep as ever. 

On the blood-soaked borders of Angland, Leo dan Brock struggles to win fame on the battlefield, and defeat the marauding armies of Stour Nightfall. He hopes for help from the crown. But King Jezal’s son, the feckless Prince Orso, is a man who specializes in disappointments. 

Savine dan Glokta — socialite, investor, and daughter of the most feared man in the Union — plans to claw her way to the top of the slag-heap of society by any means necessary. But the slums boil over with a rage that all the money in the world cannot control. 

The age of the machine dawns, but the age of magic refuses to die. With the help of the mad hillwoman Isern-i-Phail, Rikke struggles to control the blessing, or the curse, of the Long Eye. Glimpsing the future is one thing, but with the guiding hand of the First of the Magi still pulling the strings, changing it will be quite another… 

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Books Received, July 27 — August 2

3 Aug, 2019

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For generations, the Hundred Isles have built their ships from the bones of ancient dragons to fight an endless war.

The dragons disappeared, but the battles for supremacy persisted. 

Now the first dragon in centuries has been spotted in far-off waters, and both sides see a chance to shift the balance of power in their favour. Because whoever catches it will win not only glory, but the war. 

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Books Received, July 20 — 26

26 Jul, 2019

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Some people are born boring. Some live boring. Some even die boring. Fred managed to do all three, and when he woke up as a vampire, he did so as a boring one. Timid, socially awkward, and plagued by self-esteem issues, Fred has never been the adventurous sort. 

One fateful night – different from the night he died, which was more inconvenient than fateful – Fred reconnects with an old friend at his high school reunion. This rekindled relationship sets off a chain of events thrusting him right into the chaos that is the parahuman world, a world with chipper zombies, truck driver wereponies, maniacal necromancers, ancient dragons, and now one undead accountant trying his best to survive.” Because even after it’s over, life can still be a downright bloody mess. 

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