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Reviews from July 2016 (22)

Blood and Souls

Elric of Melniboné  (Elric Saga, book 1)

By Michael Moorcock

31 Jul, 2016

Because My Tears Are Delicious To You

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As a teen, I was shallow enough that a silly surname like “Moorcock” was enough to steer me away from reading any Michael Moorcock novels. Pity, because whoever stocked the University of Waterloo's bookstore's F&SF section in the 1970s really loved Moorcock. My chronic search for reading material would have been greatly aided had I taken advantage of the opportunity. Ah well.

I did read some Moorcock. Some of those I read were Moorcock's tales about that pallid emo wally, Elric of Melniboné. And where best to start with Elric but at the beginning of his reign, as portrayed in 1972's Elric of Melniboné?

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Thief King

King of Attolia  (Queen’s Thief, book 3)

By Megan Whalen Turner

30 Jul, 2016

Special Requests

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2006’s The King of Attolia is the third novel in Megan Whalen Turner’s Queen’s Thief series.

Marry the queen, become king! Sounds like a great career path. Except it turns out that kings have responsibilities and that their subjects have Expectations with a capital E. And there are enemies eager to take advantage of the King’s failure to perform as expected. 

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Forge a Perfect World

Gold Unicorn  (Unicorn, book 2)

By Tanith Lee

29 Jul, 2016

A Year of Tanith Lee

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1994’s Gold Unicorn is the second novel in Tanith Lee’s Unicorn trilogy. 

Some time has gone by since the events in Black Unicorn . Enough time for Tanaquil to find a new identity for herself (after turning her back on her mother and, reluctantly, on her half-sister Lizra). This has also been enough time for Lizra to metamorphose into the Empress Variam, the so-called Child-Eater. 

Lizra is determined to save the world. 

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Before She Was Kate Elliott

A Passage of Stars  (Highroad Trilogy, book 1)

By Alis A. Rasmussen

27 Jul, 2016

Special Requests

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1990’s A Passage of Stars  is the first volume in Alis A. Rasmussen’s Highroad Trilogy. A Passage of Stars was her second published work after The Labyrinth Gate . It is therefore a very early work in a career that has thus far spanned four decades and at least twenty-five novels. Many of you may be familiar with Rasmussen’s work under the pen name Kate Elliott. 

Lilyaka Hae Ransome is one of the Reft’s lucky few, born into comparative wealth rather than poverty. She doesn’t see it that way. From her perspective, she’s very hard done by indeed. People of her class are expected to put their personal interests aside in the interests of the family and there will be no exception for Lily. So, no more martial arts from a teacher her family is convinced is not the right sort. Instead, she can look forward to an unrewarding career. 

That’s the plan, anyway. The plan gets tossed out the window when Lily sees her martial arts teacher kidnapped by aliens. 

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Worldbreakers

The Obelisk Gate  (The Broken Earth, book 2)

By N. K. Jemisin

26 Jul, 2016

Miscellaneous Reviews

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2016’s The Obelisk Gate  is a direct sequel to 2015’s The Fifth Season and is the middle volume in N. K. Jemisin’s Broken Earth trilogy. The Fifth Season  was nominated for the Hugo, the Nebula, and the World Fantasy Award. It was also listed on the 2015 Tiptree Long List 1. Any sequel is certain to face some high expectations. This book lived up to mine; whether or not it will live up to yours is unclear. 

It’s some months after the end of the world. 

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all are of the dust, and all turn to dust again.

Cities in Flight

By James Blish

24 Jul, 2016

Because My Tears Are Delicious To You

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1970’s Cities in Flight collects revised editions of James Blish’s four Cities in Flight  novels, They Shall Have Stars (1956), A Life for the Stars  (1962), Earthman, Come Home  (1955), and The Triumph of Time (1958), along with Richard D. Mullen’s essay, The Earthmanist Culture. The four novels document the Decline of the West, followed by the eventual rise and inevitable fall of its successor, the Earthmanists. 

It all begins on Jupiter in the far-off year 2013

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Won’t you let me in, won’t you open up the door/ Surely there must be some room inside for just one more

Black Unicorn  (Unicorn, book 1)

By Tanith Lee

22 Jul, 2016

A Year of Tanith Lee

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1991’s Black Unicorn is the first volume in Tanith Lee’s Unicorn trilogy. Like last week’s Shon the Taken , Black Unicorn is a juvenile. 

Young Tanaquil does not have a jot of magical talent (unlike her sorceress mother Jaive), not does she have much patience with a life constricted by her mother’s rules and whims. Life in a magical palace in the desert is tedious and annoying by turns. 

At least until the day Tanaquil’s pet (a peeve) finds a bone. A very special bone: 

Long and slender, unhuman, not at once identifiable, the material from which it was made glowed like polished milk-crystal. And in the crystal were tiny blazing specks and glints, like diamond — no, like the stars out of the sky. 

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For the love of God, SF, embrace the Enlightenment

Behind the Throne  (Indranan War Series, book 1)

By K. B. Wagers

21 Jul, 2016

Miscellaneous Reviews

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K. B. Wagers’ Behind the Throne, first in the Indranan War Series, is the story of a plucky gunrunner who rises to become the heir to the throne using only her wits, courage, and the fact that she is the sole surviving child of the reigning empress. It’s a rags-to-riches story that makes me wonder why is so much SF inherently reactionary?” 

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Girl in a Cell

The Far Side of Evil  (Elana, book 2)

By Sylvia Louise Engdahl

20 Jul, 2016

Special Requests

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Sylvia Louise Engdahl’s 1971 The Far Side of Evil is a sequel to 1970’s Enchantress from the Stars . It is set in the same Anthropology Service Universe as Engdahl’s Star trilogy: This Star Shall Abide  (1972), Beyond the Tomorrow Mountains (1973), and The Doors of the Universe  (1981).

The Academy Director was afraid that Elana would find her first post-graduation assignment an anticlimax after the events of Enchantress from the Stars . Their fears could not have been more misplaced. For Elana, there’s nothing anticlimactic about waiting in a tiny cell for an interrogator determined to break her. 

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