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Reviews from January 2018 (23)

Lady Bug, Lady Bug, Fly Away Home

The Citadel of Weeping Pearls

By Aliette de Bodard  

16 Jan, 2018

Space Opera That Doesn't Suck


Aliette de Bodard’s 2015 space-opera The Citadel of Weeping Pearls is an instalment in her Universe of Xuya, an alternate history/future in which the West never dominated the world. The galaxy is ruled by Confucian powers.

Suu Nuoc is woken from a sound sleep by his alarmed shipmind, The Turtle’s Golden Claw. The artificial intelligence reports that Grand Master of Design Harmony Bach Cuc has seemingly vanished, in a manner the shipmind cannot comprehend. As far as The Turtle’s Golden Claw is concerned, it is up to Suu Nuoc — an Official of the First Order despite his low birth — to work out what happened to the missing scientist.

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And Rain Keeps Falling Like Helpless Tears

Winterlong  (Winterlong Trilogy, volume 1)

By Elizabeth Hand  

15 Jan, 2018

Special Requests


Elizabeth Hand’s 1990 debut novel Winterlong is the first volume in her Winterlong Trilogy.

Nuclear war and germ warfare have left Washington a shadow of its once glorious past. A handful of administrators, descended from self-appointed curators, control the relics of America’s lost past, defending the remnants from the diseased, mutated, and simply unlucky inhabitants of the surrounding sea of ruins.

A desperate woman appealed to House Miramar for refuge. Too damaged to be of use to Miramar, the woman was cast out to die at the hands of the lazars. But Miramar did keep her two beautiful children, as new Paphians for Miramar’s bordellos. Only Raphael proved suitable. Autistic Wendy Wanders was consigned to HEL.

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And What Have You Got At The End Of The Day?

Shadow of a Broken Man  (Mongo, volume 1)

By George C. Chesbro  

14 Jan, 2018

Because My Tears Are Delicious To You


1977’s Shadow of a Broken Man is the first volume in George C. Chesbro’s long-running Mongo series. The Mongo series lives in the intersection of mundane detective fiction and outright science fiction. Or at least I think it does.

Former circus tumbler turned black belt martial artist turned academic, criminology professor Dr. Robert Mongo the Magnificent” Fredrickson has a minor side-line as a private detective. His cases are often peculiar, as if people with normal cases don’t seek out New York’s only dwarf detective. Lookism, I suppose. 

His new case seems pretty straightforward: find out how a dead man managed to design a new building.

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Sorry Cassandra I Didn’t Believe

Empire in Black and Gold  (Shadows of the Apt, volume 1)

By Adrian Tchaikovsky  

12 Jan, 2018

A Dozen by Tchaikovsky


2008’s Empire in Black and Gold is the first volume in Adrian Tchaikovsky’s Shadows of the Apt decalogy. I should note that he completed the whole ten-book series in eight years. Completed, I say, completed. This may be of interest to certain other authors whom I will not name.

In the seventeen years since the Empire of the Wasps conquered the Commonweal city of Myna, Stenwald has been unable to convince his fellow citizens that Collegium (as well as the other city-states of the Lowlands) are on the Wasps’ to-conquer list. Most Lowlanders find it comforting to believe that the Wasps are sated with conquest. Stenwald knows that the Empire was merely taking its time to recover from its long war with the Commonweal.

Now there are hints that the Empire has recovered. 

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I Hear You Knocking

The Heroic Legend of Arslan, volume 2

By Hiromu Arakawa & Yoshiki Tanaka  

10 Jan, 2018


1 comment

TheHeroic Legend of Arslan, Volume 2is the second collection of Hiromu Arakawa’s manga adaptation ofYoshiki Tanaka’s light novel series.

Involume one, overconfidence and arrogance led King Andragoras and hisvast Parsian army into ambush and defeat at the hands of theLusitanian invaders. The King’s fate is unknown. Prince Arslanescaped, but it is unclear how long he can remain free.

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Secret Harmonies

A Darker Shade of Magic  (Shades of Magic, volume 1)

By V. E. Schwab  

9 Jan, 2018

Special Requests

1 comment

A Darker Shade of Magic is the first volume in V. E. Schwab’s Shades of Magic series. 

Kell is an Antari, one of two known world-walkers, able to travel between the four known alternate Londons, White, Red, Gray, and forbidden Black. His is a gift rare enough to make him a treasured possession of Red London’s Royal Family. 

Officially, Kell uses his gift to serve as an ambassador between the three Londons — White, Red, and Gray — that are still in limited contact with each other. On his own time Kell likes to collect souvenirs. That’s forbidden. But moving minor trinkets from one world to another seems a harmless hobby. 

It isn’t.

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The Bright Blessed Day

Another Look at Atlantis and Fifteen Other Essays

By Willy Ley  

7 Jan, 2018

Because My Tears Are Delicious To You


Willy Ley’s 1969 Another Look at Atlantis and Fifteen Other Essays is a collection of non-fiction pieces. From 1952 to his death in 1969, Ley had a regular science column in Galaxy Magazine, For Your Information. As far as I can tell, none of these essays were drawn from that source.

This was my first exposure to Ley. If I am reading the bibliographic information correctly, it was the final Ley book published while Ley was alive.

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Cut You Like The Tiny Slivers Of Glass

Howl’s Moving Castle  (Howl, volume 1)

By Diana Wynne Jones  

5 Jan, 2018

Twelve by Diana Wynne Jones


1986’s Howl’s Moving Castle is the first book in Diana Wynne Jones’ Howl series. 

Life in Ingary is a faerie tale affair, as its inhabitants well know. How wonderful for Martha Hatter! As the youngest of three sisters, she is surely destined for fame, wealth, and a perfect marriage. 

It is considerably less wonderful for Sophie Hatter, the oldest of the three sisters. Everyone knows the oldest child will have at best an unremarkable life — if they are lucky. The oldest might be more likely to suffer a grim fate, which will serve to cast the youngest’s destiny in a brighter light. They might even, as Sophie does, find themselves the target of a curse that by rights should have been cast on a younger sister.

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