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Reviews from October 2017 (22)

Like Moses Before

An Oath of Dogs

By Wendy N. Wagner 

31 Oct, 2017

Miscellaneous Reviews

4 comments

2017’s An Oath of Dogs is a standalone SF novel by Wendy N. Wagner. 

A near-fatal accident has left Kate Standish traumatized, paralyzed by acrophobia. Thanks to her therapeutic dog Hattie, Standish is able to function well enough to work again. Thanks to the selfless benevolence of the Songheuser company, she has a job wherein she can demonstrate her hard-won stability. 

Poor Standish.

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Marching As To War

Four Roads Cross  (Craft Sequence, book 5)

By Max Gladstone 

30 Oct, 2017

Miscellaneous Reviews

0 comments

Four Roads Cross is the fifth book published in Max Gladstone’s Craft sequence. It is the fourth book by internal chronology. 

Many in Alt Coulumb believe that Seril the Moon Goddess betrayed them when she left the city to fight and die in the God Wars. Seril has revived and returned, sans publicity. She helps her people where she can do so without revealing herself. The city’s priests know, but are still considering how best to handle Seril’s reappearance.

When Seril dispatches one of her gargoyles to save a woman from muggers, the victim turns out to be one of Alt Coulumb’s Criers, the local equivalent of a plucky reporter. Being saved from a brutal death is one thing, but a story is a story. The world will learn the goddess walks again.

Journalistic diligence may have doomed a city.

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Ice Cold Hands Takin’ Hold Of Me

A Fond Farewell to Dying

By Syd Logsdon 

29 Oct, 2017

Because My Tears Are Delicious To You

2 comments

1981’s A Fond Farewell to Dying is a novel-length expansion of Syd Logsdon’s 1978 novella To Go Not Gently.

Of all the nations of Earth, India has been least affected by the Cataclysm that ended Euro-American domination of the world. Though even India was changed: sea level rise has cut it off from mainland Asia and the fallout that made it over the Himalayas has forced birth rates below replacement levels. Two centuries after the nuclear conflict, India is a much emptier place. 

Scientist David Singer has abandoned the North America of his birth for India, the most advanced nation on the planet. Now calling himself Ram David Singh, he is researching what he conceives as immortality tech. The odds of an American hick garnering the required resources from the Indian state may seen poor, but geopolitics is his friend. 

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Dreams of You All Through My Head

The Red Ring  (Blood & Magic, book 2)

By Jen Frankel 

27 Oct, 2017

A Year of Waterloo Region Speculative Fiction

0 comments

2014’s The Red Ring is the second volume in Jen Frankel’s Blood & Magic series. My review of book one, The Last Rite, is here.

In the previous volume, in order defeat a vicious warlock, almost-sixteen year old Maggie Stuart gave up her magic and now must live as a muggle. None of her former friends remember that she saved them from the warlock (or even that they had been her friends). Her loathsome mentor is pressuring her for sex. If she had any friends, she might cry on their shoulders … but the last three years has sent her decidedly into social reject territory.

Magic is about to come back into her life in a big way.

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Another Day, Another Destiny

Fullmetal Alchemist, book 8

By Hiromu Arakawa 

26 Oct, 2017

Translation

2 comments

Viz’ Fullmetal Alchemist (3‑in‑1 Edition), Volumes 22 – 24 includes Volumes 22, 23, and 24 of the original Japanese manga1. Story and art are by Hiromu Arakawa; English translation by Akira Watanabe; English adaptation by Jake Forbes; touch-up art and lettering by Wayne Truman. The original manga appeared in 2009

Adults are offered many opportunities to defer gratification, such as spacing out the last few volumes of a limited series instead of hoovering them up all at once. Adults can also say screw delayed gratification; finish the series!” and get away with it. Guess which kind of adult I am. 

Which brings us to the eighth, second-to-last, 3‑in‑1 omnibus of Fullmetal Alchemist. In this volume, plans come together. Sorta kinda. 

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Just Like Fire

Jade City  (Green Bone Saga, book 1)

By Fonda Lee 

25 Oct, 2017

Miscellaneous Reviews

4 comments

2017’s Jade City is the first installment in Fonda Lee’s Green Bone Saga secondary-world kung-fu gangster saga. At 512 pages, it’s significantly longer than either Exos 369 pages or Zeroboxers 351. It’s also significantly more ambitious.

The island of Kekon is the only known source of jade, which in this world is a miraculous substance that can grant enhanced abilities to those few whom it does not drive mad or kill. The minority who can use it safely are known as Green Bones. Custom grants the Green Bones a role as protectors of Kekon and its merchants (whether the merchants want protection or not). Since the Green Bone clans are constantly feuding, the island is far from peaceful.

Ayt Mada plans to transform a divided island into a unified whole. 

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These Seven League Boots

Exo  (Jumper, book 4)

By Steven Gould 

24 Oct, 2017

Special Requests

4 comments

2015’s Exo is the fourth book in Steven Gould’s long-running Jumper series.

Cent is one of just three humans able to teleport; the other two are her mother Millie and her father Davy. The ability allows the family to treat the entire planet as their home. It has also led to decades of persecution (stalking, abduction, imprisonment) by those determined to control and exploit the trio.

So far, they have survived by hiding. Only a handful of people know what the three can do. Thanks to Cent’s current hobby, that’s going to change. 

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When You Hear the Wild Geese Calling

The Exiles Trilogy

By Ben Bova 

22 Oct, 2017

Because My Tears Are Delicious To You

2 comments

1971’s Exiled From Earth, 1972’s Flight of Exiles, and 1975’s End of Exile form Ben Bova’s Exile Trilogy.

Cast out from overcrowded Earth, will our heroes be able to maintain a stable culture for the decades or centuries it will take to find a new Earth … or will they, like pretty much every other generation ship in the genre — last week’s excepted — end up recapitulating Robert Heinlein’s Orphans of the Sky?

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There’s a Light

Ward Against Darkness  (Chronicles of a Reluctant Necromancer, book 2)

By Melanie Card 

21 Oct, 2017

A Year of Waterloo Region Speculative Fiction

3 comments

2013’s Ward Against Darkness is the second volume in Melanie Card’s Chronicles of a Reluctant Necromancer series.

The good news is that Ward De’Ath is spending less time worrying about being outed as a practitioner of the forbidden surgical arts. That’s because he is facing a far more immediate problem: a band of highly motivated assassins want to kill Ward and his dead…ish companion Celia.

Ward and Celia manage to elude their hunters and head for a wilderness that might just be wild enough to hide them. There’s just one catch.

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When The Night Has Come

Fullmetal Alchemist, book 7

By Hiromu Arakawa 

18 Oct, 2017

Translation

0 comments

Viz’ Fullmetal Alchemist (3‑in‑1 Edition), Volumes 19 – 21 includes Volumes 19, 20, and 21 of the original Japanese manga [1]. Story and art are by Hiromu Arakawa; English translation by Akira Watanabe; English adaptation by Jake Forbes; touch-up art and lettering by Wayne Truman. The original manga appeared in 2008

All seems lost! 

  • Roy Mustang’s trusted subordinates have been scattered across Amestris;

  • Major General Olivier Mira Armstrong (formerly of Briggs Fortress) appears to have gone over to Team Evil, leaving her beloved Fortress in the hands of officers very definitely loyal to the malevolent Father;

  • the great transmutation circle needed for the sacrifice of an entire nation is almost finished; 

and worst of all, Alphonse Elric’s soul is beginning to reject the armour that houses it. 

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