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Reviews from April 2018 (22)

Hand Full of Stars

FutureWorld  (Worlds of Wonder, volume 3)

By Steve Perrin & Gordon Momson  

30 Apr, 2018



Steve Perrin and Gordon Monson’s FutureWorld was included in Chaosium’s 1982 Worlds of Wonder box set. The set also included the 1980 Basic Roleplaying Game rules, SuperWorld (an early superhero RPG), and MagicWorld (rules for fantasy roleplaying, not tied to any specific setting). Here I am reviewing only FutureWorld. The other parts of the box set fall outside the purview of the BRP review series. 

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Earth Air Water Tree

The City Under Ground

By Suzanne Martel  

29 Apr, 2018

Because My Tears Are Delicious To You


Suzanne Martel’s 1963 The City Under Ground is the Anglophone version of Quatre Montréalais en l’an 3000, also published as Surréal 3000.

The underground city of Surréal1 was founded by survivors of the Great Destruction, survivors who had escaped the disaster by taking refuge in a geothermally powered facility under Montreal’s Mount Royal. As far as the founders knew they were the only humans left on Earth. By the year 3000, no visitor from outside Surréal has appeared to contradict this belief. Indeed, so convinced are the inhabitants that the surface of Earth is still uninhabitable that nobody has checked conditions outside for centuries.

A small earthquake changes everything. 

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Viva Las Vegas!

Kitty and the Dead Man’s Hand  (Kitty Norville, volume 5)

By Carrie Vaughn  

27 Apr, 2018

A Variety of Vaughns

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2009’s Kitty and the Dead Man’s Hand is the fifth volume in Carrie Vaughn’s Kitty Norville series.

Faced with conflicting family-and-friend expectations for their impending nuptials, werewolves Kitty Norville and Ben O’Farrell decide to evade the whole brouhaha by fleeing to Las Vegas for a small, private wedding. What could possibly go wrong? 

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Dream My Own Dreams

Good Witch of the West, volume 1

By Noriko Ogiwara & Haruhiko Momokawa  (Translated by Barbara Randall Kessell)

25 Apr, 2018


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The Good Witch of the West, Volume 1, is the first installment of a manga adaptation of Noriko Ogiwara’s eponymous light novel series. Art is by Haruhiko Momokawa. Translation is by Barbara Randall Kessell.

Firiel Dee was raised in rustic isolation by her widower father and his elderly retainers, with surly apprentice Rune as her main companion.Accompanied by a more outgoing friend, Firiel decides to attend a ball given by a local count. Just like Cinderella in the fairy tale. Matters develop in a non-Cinderella direction.

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Like a Restless Wind


By Carolyn Ives Gilman  

24 Apr, 2018

Special Requests


Carolyn Ives Gilman’s 2008 Arkfall takes place in her Twenty Planets setting.

An ice-covered ocean world like a scaled-up Europa, Ben has no known native life. Centuries ago, humans settled inside the ice-enclosed Saltese Sea and began their long effort to transform Ben’s oceans into living seas. The Saltese Sea, which is surrounded by mountains high enough to reach the icy surface of the world, is small enough that \their Great Work will have a measurable effect within a few generations. The volcanic Cleft of Golconda =provides the energy that will maintain the new ecosystem.

It’s a hard and demanding life for the human settlers. They cope by cooperating. Courtesy and non-confrontation are the rule. Loud and self-centred people are judged very harshly by their neighbours.

Osaji’s sister Kitani married, leaving Osaji to care for their grandmother Mota. Frail and struggling with dementia, Mota is unable to care for herself. Osaji finds herself resenting Mota (much to her dismay, but there it is) and briefly considers leaving Ben for some other world. But a momentary encounter with a brash off-worlder named Scrappin’ Jack brings Osaji back to her senses. Imagine living with a whole world of such rude barbarians!

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Last and Final Moment

Lamb Will Slaughter the Lion  (Danielle Cain, volume 1)

By Margaret Killjoy  

22 Apr, 2018

Miscellaneous Reviews


2017’s The Lamb Will Slaughter the Lion is the first story in Margaret Killjoy’s Danielle Cain series.

Determined to find out why her friend Clay killed himself, Danielle Cain travels to Freedom City. Once a ghost town, the community has been commandeered by idealistic anarchists determined to create a living utopia. Aside from one small detail, they appear to have succeeded.

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A Way Out of the Cage

Hour of the Horde

By Gordon R. Dickson  

22 Apr, 2018

Because My Tears Are Delicious To You


1969’s Hour of the Horde is a standalone science fiction novel by Gordon R. Dickson.

Polio cost Miles Vander the use of an arm but did not dent his determination. He insists on recreating himself as an artist. So far, his efforts have come to naught. His doting girlfriend suspects that his surly isolation is to blame. Miles disagrees.

The looming alien invasion may make these differences of opinion moot.

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Just Another Manic Monday

The Vor Game  (Miles Vorkosigan, volume 2)

By Lois McMaster Bujold  

19 Apr, 2018

A Bunch of Bujolds


1990’s The Vor Game is the second of Lois McMaster Bujold’s Miles Vorkosigan novels.

Four years after the events of The Warrior’s Apprentice, Miles graduates from the Academy. Given his personal history and family connections, one might expect him to be given some cushy assignment. Instead he is dispatched to serve as weatherman on Kyril Island, whose isolation is matched only by the region’s unfitness for human habitation. 

Still, how much trouble could one fresh graduate get into a place so sparsely peopled as Kyril Island?

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Nothing Up His Sleeve

Moon You

By Cho Seok  

18 Apr, 2018

Miscellaneous Reviews


Cho Seok’s Moon You is a post-apocalyptic webtoon.

An optimist would say the mission to save the Earth was 10/11th successful. A cynic would say that 1/11th failure was enough to doom civilization as we know it. Moon Yoo would say that he got left behind when the other stalwarts returned from the Moon to the Earth and so the whole end of the world thing is pretty academic from his perspective. 

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A Strain of Song in the Forest

Feather Bound

By Sarah Raughley  

17 Apr, 2018

Miscellaneous Reviews

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Sarah Raughley’s 2014 debut novel, Feather Bound, is a standalone young-adult urban fantasy.

The Davis sisters have survived a difficult childhood (no thanks to their alcoholic father). Each sister has reacted in different fashion. Ericka marries for money; Adriana works to earn enough money that she need not depend on her dad; Deanna is left behind, stuck with the responsibility for the feckless father. 

It’s Deanna who attends the funeral of their father’s estranged best friend, magazine magnate Ralph Hedley. She is present when Swan-activist Shannon Dalhousey accuses Hedley of being a feather-stealer. She is also there to witness the surprising appearance of Hyde Hedley, Ralph’s son (he was believed to be dead).

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