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Reviews from December 2016 (21)

Victim of the Great Compromise

The Easy Expedition  (The Aldench Team, book 1)

By Moira J Moore 

31 Dec, 2016

Special Requests

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2016’s The Easy Expedition is the first volume in Moira J. Moore’s The Aldench Team series. 

The kingdom of Amnisa — so far from the gods, so close to the mighty empire of Aldance — is uncultured, weak, undisciplined, beneath contempt. Just ask anyone from Aldance. Amnisan provocation has earned a firm response from Aldance. Given the imbalance in power, the war of just retribution should have lasted weeks.

Three years later, the war is still dragging on. Not to worry; Aldance’s High Grade Fourteen Bevlo has a cunning plan. 

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Lost in a Roman wilderness of pain 

Cruel Pink  (Colouring Book, book 6)

By Tanith Lee 

30 Dec, 2016

A Year of Tanith Lee

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2013’s Cruel Pink was not Tanith Lee’s last novel (I believe last week’s Zircons May Be Mistaken was her final book) but it is the last Tanith Lee novel I will review in the series A Year of Tanith Lee. I hope the series has been an enjoyable diversion in what has been otherwise a festering bubo of a year.

Five people. One house in old London.

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Have a Cup of Cheer

Warm Worlds and Otherwise

By James Tiptree 

25 Dec, 2016

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U Waterloo’s Dana Porter Arts Library is home to the B. P. Nichol Library of Science Fiction; that’s something I have known for years and something I keep meaning to exploit. The Nichol library is part of their rare book collection; in order to use it I would have to spend a day reading and writing in the rare book room (which I knew well when I worked there). OK, but which book to sample first? 

James Tiptree, Jr.’s 1975 Warm Worlds and Otherwise collects some of Tiptree’s earlier works (although not as many as another collection, Ten Thousand Light Years from Home, which is also discussed in this collection’s extraordinary introduction). My copy of Warm Worlds vanished decades ago, but I remember it fondly. 

I also remember its introduction, one that should be a lesson to us all.

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The Ghost of Me

Zircons May Be Mistaken  (Ghosteria, book 2)

By Tanith Lee 

23 Dec, 2016

A Year of Tanith Lee

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[Due to a technical issue, this is unedited]

2014’s short novel Ghosteria II: Zircons May Be Mistaken is the second and final volume in Tanith Lee’s Ghosteria duology. 

The decaying stately home has stood for centuries. No living person has entered it in years, not since the Terror of 2020 dragged civilization down into the dark. Living people may never walk the corridors again. Indeed, it is not at all clear humans survived the Terror.

The absence of living people does not mean the mansion is unoccupied. There are still the ghosts.

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Mistreated, misplaced, misunderstood

The Mystic Marriage  (Alpennia, book 2)

By Heather Rose Jones 

20 Dec, 2016

Miscellaneous Reviews

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2015’s The Mystic Marriage is the second volume in Heather Rose Jones’ Alpennia series.

Antuniet Chazillen has lost everything: her foolish brother has been executed for treason and her mother is dead by her own hand. Antuniet has been stripped of her aristocratic rank. Determined to restore the family honour, Antuniet flees Alpennia for Austria, there to use her alchemical skills to win back for her family the respect and position her brother cost it. 

In Austria she finds a treasure of rare value, a treasure others are determined to wrest from her. She escapes from Vienna to Heidelberg, but her enemies are still close on her heels. She sees no choice but to trade her virtue for transportation to safety.

Which means returning to Alpennia…

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Wild Love

Bear

By Marian Engel 

18 Dec, 2016

Because My Tears Are Delicious To You

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When I was a high school student (back in the 1970s) high schoolers were not known for keeping up on the latest Governor General’s Literary Award winners. There was one notable exception, a winner that got an enthusiastic reception from teens. I speak of Marian Engel’s CanLit classic Bear, or as it was better known to kids in the Disco Era, that one where the lady fucks a bear. 

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To Some Uncharted Shore

Scout’s Progress  (Liaden, book 6)

By Steve Miller 

17 Dec, 2016

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2001’s Scout’s Progress is the sixth book in Sharon Lee and Steve Miller’s Liaden science fiction adventure series. 

Aelliana Caylon has endured a short but miserable arranged marriage. Now single again, she is promised by her clan head, the Delm, that she will not be forced into another such marriage. Unfortunately, the Delm’s word is binding only while she remains in power. Her successor can ignore the promise. And it seems that Aelliana’s malevolent brother Ran Eld, will ensure this happens. The Liaden social structure is such that Aelliana has little hope of escape. 

But little is not none. Aelliana wields a weapon her corrupt, spiteful brother cannot match: applied mathematics! 

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