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Reviews from February 2017 (19)

Where The Road is Dark and the Seed is Sowed

Parable of the Sower  (Parable of the Sower, book 1)

By Octavia E. Butler

28 Feb, 2017

Miscellaneous Reviews

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1993’s Parable of the Sower is the first volume in Octavia E. Butler’s Parable of the Sower duology. Here Butler explores a very American theme. From Huck Finn to the Joads from the Mormon pioneers to the Donners, from On the Road to The Road, nothing expresses the boundless possibilities of America like the road trip.

Lauren Olamina’s 2020s America is one that makes road trips challenging and eventful. 

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You’re My Obsession

Nova

By Samuel R. Delany

26 Feb, 2017

Because My Tears Are Delicious To You

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Samuel R. Delany’s 1968 Nova is a standalone science fiction novel. 

Draco, an Earth-led alliance, and its youthful rival, the Pleiades Federation, dominate the human portion of the galaxy. Both powers dabble in the affairs of the recently settled Outer Colonies. Those hostile young planets harbor traces of the ultra-heavy element illyrion, an element essential to tech as diverse as faster-than-light drives and terraforming. 

Until the Outer Colonies were settled, no natural sources of illyrion were known. Illyrion could only be produced by an expensive transmutation process. Cheaper illyrion has shifted the balance of power. 

Lorq Von Ray has a bold scheme to alter the galactic political landscape yet again. He will double the aggregate stores of Illyrion in one daring voyage! All he and his crew need do is race into the heart of a star. An exploding star.

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Left Of West And Coming In A Hurry

The Chaos

By Nalo Hopkinson

25 Feb, 2017

Miscellaneous Reviews

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2012’s The Chaos is a standalone young adult urban fantasy novel by Nalo Hopkinson. 

Sixteen-year-old Sojourner Smith leads a far – from- perfect life; she knows it and she knows why. She’s too white to be black, too black to be white, and subject to her parents’ draconian discipline (the same inflexible standards that consigned her older brother to prison). School is something of a refuge: there, she is nicknamed Scotch and admired because she is pretty, flirtatious, and a star performer of the Raw Gyals dance troupe. 

Of course, nothing is perfect, and there are a few problems even there. She’s fallen out with Raw Gyals troupe leader and former best friend Gloria. Scotch is convinced that Gloria has her eye on Scotch’s ex-boyfriend Tafari. Not what a real BFF would do. 

Oh, and there’s Scotch’s new skin condition and the fact that she’s been seeing floating heads lately.… 

A night out with her older brother Rich sounds like a welcome respite from parents and school. Pity the Smith siblings picked the night all hell broke loose in Toronto 1 Welcome to the Chaos! 

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I’d Just Want Your Heart

Ward Against Death  (Chronicles of a Reluctant Necromancer, book 1)

By Melanie Card

24 Feb, 2017

A Year of Waterloo Region Speculative Fiction

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2011’s Ward Against Death is the first volume in Melanie Card’s Chronicles of a Reluctant Necromancer. 

The meet-cute between Ward De’Ath and Celia Carlyle is an unpromising one. He is a branded criminal (thanks to his interest in the unsavoury surgical arts1); she is the daughter of a lord. Not only that, but when they first meet, Celia is quite dead. 

Still, love will find a way. And if love doesn’t, necromancy definitely can.

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The Things I Do in Rage

Devil’s Wake  (Devil’s Wake, book 1)

By Tananarive Due

23 Feb, 2017

Miscellaneous Reviews

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2012’s Devil’s Wake is the first volume in Steven Barnes and Tananarive Due’s Devil’s Wake series. 

It didn’t take long for the plague of angry ghouls to sweep across America, because to be bitten by one of the infected is to become one of the infected. There is no cure and there is no vaccine. The only reliable prophylaxis is preparedness or simple dumb luck.

Given enough time, even the prepared run into something unexpected. Given time, the best luck in the world runs out.

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See All The Colours In Disguise

The Broken Kingdoms  (The Inheritance Trilogy, book 2)

By N. K. Jemisin

22 Feb, 2017

Miscellaneous Reviews

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2010’s The Broken Kingdoms is the second volume in N. K. Jemisin’s The Inheritance Trilogy. 

Ten years after the world changed, blind artist Oree makes a living in the city of Shadow, once called Sky. Although enforcement of the god Intempas’ laws is far laxer for reasons those in charge decline to explain in detail, it would be very bad for Oree Shoth if she were to come to the attention of the Order-Keepers.

Bad enough she found a murdered godling. Much worse that the Order-Keepers know she found Role’s corpse.

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Darkness! No Parents!

Batman: Blink

By Dwayne McDuffie

20 Feb, 2017

Miscellaneous Reviews

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Dwayne McDuffie’s 2015 volume, Batman: Blink, collects Legends of the Dark Knight issues #156 – 158 and #164 – 167, which were first published in 2002 – 2003. To put it another way, he has put together two related story lines: Blink and its sequel, Don’t Blink.

Blink

Women are being killed in horrific ways. But aside from the ugly nature of their deaths, there seems to be nothing that explains why these women were targeted or who has been targeting them. At least nothing that the police or Batman can see. Lee Hyland is the only surviving witness and the cops don’t expect he will be a useful one. Not because Lee is a career criminal — he has been careful to keep that a secret — but because Lee is blind.

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Every Diamond Dream

Leo and Diane Dillon’s art

By Diane Dillon

19 Feb, 2017

Because My Tears Are Delicious To You

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I would love to review the complete collection of book covers illustrated by Leo and Diane Dillon” but as far as I can tell, such a volume does not exist. What do exist: The Art of Leo & Diane Dillon (1981) and To Every Thing There Is a Season: Verses from Ecclesiastes (1998). Collections I cannot review because 1) I don’t own either and 2) I’ve never seen either. I do not mind all that much, because the first collection does not seem to have been well-received and the second looks too, um, religious for my taste.

But the Dillons do have a special place in my heart and I would love to direct some attention their way. So I am going to talk about my favourite Dillon covers. 

My enjoyment of their work began with this specific set of covers.

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Inch By Inch, Row By Row

In the Company of Others

By Julia E. Czerneda

17 Feb, 2017

A Year of Waterloo Region Speculative Fiction

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To quote Julie E. Czerneda’s online bio:

Julie Czerneda is a Canadian author and editor whose first novel, A Thousand Words for Stranger, was published in 1997 by DAW Books. Since then, Julie has produced over a dozen more novels, edited fifteen anthologies, and written numerous short stories. Her work has won awards, consistently made bestseller lists, and garnered praise from readers and reviewers around the world. 

As noted that same bio, Czerneda was a student at the University of Waterloo and thus she is fodder for A Year of Waterloo Region Speculative Fiction.

Czerneda’s 2001 Aurora Award-winner In the Company of Others is a stand-alone science fiction novel.

Interstellar exploration turned up dozens of worlds suitable for human occupation, given some well-thought-out terraforming. All that stands between humanity and endless frontiers is a bit of time, some ingenuity, will, and applied technology.

And the Quill. But the Quill on their own are enough to bring the space colonization effort to a sudden halt.

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