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Reviews from March 2018 (21)

Eye For Eye

Abaddon’s Gate  (The Expanse, book 3)

By James S. A. Corey 

30 Mar, 2018

An Expanse of Coreys

3 comments

2013’s Abaddon’s Gate is the third volume in James S. A. Corey’s Expanse series1.

Perennial pain-in-the-ass James Holden, the man whose steadfast embrace of principle helped kick off an interplanetary war, is confronted with the consequences of his actions in the form of a lawsuit. While Holden claims ownership of the spacecraft Rocinante, the means by which he obtained it were somewhat irregular. Now the space navy from whom he commandeered the vessel would like their spacecraft back.

When opportunity offers Holden a convenient escape from the lawsuit in the form of an assignment in the outer solar system, where the vast, enigmatic alien Ring orbits, he accepts it. The timing is not as coincidental as it appears and Holden should have been far more cautious.

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Don’t Stand So Close to Me

The Heroic Legend of Arslan, book 4

By Yoshiki Tanaka 

28 Mar, 2018

Translation

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The Heroic Legend of Arslan, book 4 is the fourth collection of Hiromu Arakawa’s adaptation of Yoshiki Tanaka’s light novel series of the same name1. It contains issues 20 to 29.

Hundreds of thousands of Lusitanian soldiers are occupying Pars. Prince Arslan’s handful of companions will not be enough to free his land from foreign religious fanatics. Arslan needs an ally who commands an army.

Hodir commands Kashan Fortress’ troops and Hodir is eager to support Arslan. There are, however, two impediments.

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Looking Nice With A Ribbon In My Hair

Murder on the Titania and Other Steam-Powered Adventures

By Alex Acks 

27 Mar, 2018

Miscellaneous Reviews

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Alex Acks’ 2018 Murder on the Titania and Other Steam-Powered Adventures is a collection of short stories set in an America run, not by oligarchs and tech-bros, but by a collection of titled aristocrats. Each noble is eager to expand their pocket kingdom at the expense of their rival dukes. All stories feature Captain Marta Ramos (engineer and thief) and her steadfast subordinate, Meriwether Octavian Simms.

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Moonight Up My Sleeve

The Descent of Monsters  (Tensorate, book 3)

By Jy Yang 

26 Mar, 2018

Miscellaneous Reviews

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The Descent of Monsters is the third volume in JY Yang’s Tensorate silkpunk series.

An isolated research facility falls silent. When concerned Protectorate officials send subordinates to find out why, all that investigators find are fragments of brutally murdered researchers and animals, a dead monster, and two still living Machinist rebels. Investigator Chuwan Sariman is tasked with solving the puzzle. 

Or rather, the task of arriving at an explanation that is acceptable to her bosses, bosses who are in no way tolerant of failure or excessive independent thought. 

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A Starman Waiting in the Sky

The Luck of Brin’s Five  (Torin, book 1)

By Cherry Wilder 

24 Mar, 2018

Because My Tears Are Delicious To You

1 comment

1977’s The Luck of Brin’s Five is the first volume in Cherry Wilder’s hard-SF Torin trilogy.

Hard times have come to the family of weavers known as Brin’s Five. Death by starvation is a distinct possibility. Salvation comes in the form of a flaming object that crashes down into a nearby lake. Or rather, it comes in the form of the alien from deepest space who escapes from the plummeting space-plane. 

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A Light Inside My Darkest Shadow

Kitty and the Silver Bullet  (Kitty Norville, book 4)

By Carrie Vaughn 

23 Mar, 2018

A Variety of Vaughns

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2008’s Kitty and the Silver Bullet is the fourth volume in Carrie Vaughn’s Kitty Norville series1.

Werewolf DJ Kitty Norville fled Denver (or rather her abusive, Denver-based werewolf pack) in Kitty and the Midnight Hour. She never intended to return. Now she has no choice. Her family lives in Denver and her mother is deathly ill. 

It’s a safe bet that her former alpha Carl and his mate Meg will not react well to news that Kitty is back in town. How Carl will react is a serious concern … but not the most serious issue Kitty will have to face.

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A Challenge Before The Whole Human Race

Mobilization  (Legend of the Galactic Heroes, book 5)

By Yoshiki Tanaka 

21 Mar, 2018

Translation

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First published under the title Ginga Eiyu Densetsu volume 5, 1984’s Mobilization is the fifth volume in Yoshiki Tanaka’s Legend of the Galactic Heroes1. Tyran Grillo’s translation was published by Haikasoru in 2017

Reinhard von Lohengramm has conquered the Phezzan Dominion for the Galactic Empire, which puts him one step closer to unifying all of humanity’s worlds under one Emperor. Currently, that Emperor is an Empress: young Katharin Katchen I. As soon as it suits his purposes, von Lohengramm will replace her with von Lohengramm.

There’s only one catch. 

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Something That Can Wash Out The Pain

Pursuit of the Screamer  (Strange and Fantastic History of the King of Kantmorie, book 1)

By Ansen Dibell 

20 Mar, 2018

Special Requests

3 comments

Ansen Dibell’s 1978 Pursuit of the Screamer is the first volume in her Strange and Fantastic History of the King of Kantmorie planetary adventure series. It is also the very first Dibell I’ve ever read.

Jannus encounters Lur, a Screamer, so named because they telepathically broadcast confusion and fear. The empathic Valde, a guild of female warriors and guards, kill Screamers whenever discovered. But telepathically deaf Jannus sees only a small, frail fellow human. Rather than hand the Screamer to the Valde to be killed, Jannus helps the Screamer escape. It’s a decision that will shape the boy’s life. 

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Dreams and Bones

Summer in Orcus

By T. Kingfisher 

19 Mar, 2018

Miscellaneous Reviews

4 comments

T. Kingfisher’s 2017’s Summer in Orcus is a standalone young-adult portal fantasy.

Determined to keep Summer safe, Summer’s mother has spent years protecting the girl from every possible danger, no matter how small. No matter how ludicrous. The weight of her mother’s love is a heavy burden. 

Perhaps another girl would have turned down the Baba Yaga’s offer to give her her heart’s desire. Summer accepts and is immediately dispatched to a new, unfamiliar world. One that comes with a quest.

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Shadows of the World Appear

DragonQuest

By Redmond A. Simonsen 

18 Mar, 2018

Because My Tears Are Delicious To You

4 comments

Simulation Publications, Inc.’s 1980 roleplaying game DragonQuest (DQ for short) is the third game in the trifecta of RPGs on which I imprinted some thirty-eight years ago. Principle designers were Eric Goldberg, Gerard C. Klug, David James Ritchie, Edward J. Woods, and Redmond A. Simonsen.

Nota bene: I am cheating a bit because I’ve long since lost my original box with its three stapled booklets. Instead I wrote this review based on my second edition hardcover, which I acquired after I turned twenty. 

My other RPG faves were Runequest and Traveller. DragonQuest was a fantasy RPG, as was Runequest. Traveller was SF. But RQ and Traveller were alike in that they both had extensively developed campaign settings1. DQ, on the other hand, assumed a bog-standard medieval fantasy Europe but failed to flesh it out. This is because DQ was published by a company that was doomed. Doomed, I tell you, doomed. 

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