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Reviews from May 2018 (22)

Black Stars And Endless Seas

Planetes Omnibus, book 1

By Makoto Yukimura (Translated by Yuki Johnson)

30 May, 2018

Translation

5 comments

2015’s Planetes Omnibus Volume 1 collects the Yuki Johnson translation of Phases 1 to 12 of Makoto Yukimura’s near-future hard-SF manga, Planetes. The Japanese original first saw print between 1999 and 2003

By the last quarter of the 21st century, humanity’s glorious space ventures include crewed facilities in orbit, the Moon, and beyond. Gone, the energy concerns of the old days. Lunar helium three1 provides all the cheap energy humanity needs, at least for the moment. It’s a wonderful shiny future in which humans can engage in all manner of exotic occupations.

Hachirota Hachimaki” Hoshino is a garbage collector. 

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Workin’ On The Chain Gang

The Nearest Fire  (Torin, book 2)

By Cherry Wilder 

29 May, 2018

Miscellaneous Reviews

5 comments

1980’s The Nearest Fire is the second volume in Cherry Wilder’s Torin series.

Yolo Harn is principled and inflexible. Her righteous fury leads to an angry assault, a crime Yolo will regret for the rest of her life. Regardless of her motivation, assault is assault. Nothing for it but to send her off to prison.

Offered a poisoned amnesty, one that would trade a jail term for lifelong vassalage, Yolo sticks to her principles and declines the offer. Affronted, officials send Yolo away, to serve out her term in distant Itsik, the worst prison colony on Torin. 

That act of spite places Torin’s destiny in Yolo’s hands.

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Faces of a Stranger

Daughter of the Lilies

By Jessica Weaver 

28 May, 2018

Special Requests

4 comments

Daughter of the Lilies is an ongoing webcomic. Meg Syverud writes and draws the comic, assisted by colourist Jessica Yoko” Weaver (aka Nytrinhia).

Given her druthers, masked mage Thistle prefers to perform beneficial magic: healing, plant growth, and entertaining illusions. As one of the members of Orc mercenary Orrig’s little troupe, she is valued for her lethal spells. Not the life she’d prefer, but one that circumstances have forced on her.

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A Thousand Yesterdays

Galaxy Magazine, April 1977

Edited by Jim Baen 

27 May, 2018

Because My Tears Are Delicious To You

8 comments

When I first encountered Galaxy Magazine (I had picked up the April 1977 issue on a whim1) it was only three years away from its final issue2. Of course I had no idea that it was doomed, nor that the issue I selected was the product of something of a renaissance for the magazine, thanks to editor Jim Baen. That first encounter was satisfying enough that I bought newsstand copies until the demise of the magazine made that impossible.

How does the issue stand up two generations later?

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Girl On Fire

Kitty Raises Hell  (Kitty Norville, book 6)

By Carrie Vaughn 

25 May, 2018

A Variety of Vaughns

0 comments

2009’s Kitty Raises Hell is the sixth book in Carrie Vaughn’s Kitty Norville series.

Werewolves Kitty and Ben not only survived a Las Vegas’ infestation of cultists (as recounted in the previous volume in the series), they even managed to find a minister to marry them. Having succeeded in their main goal, the newlyweds return to Denver, determined to put Las Vegas and its monsters behind them. 

Las Vegas’ monsters are unwilling to return the favour.

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Everybody Knows

Revenant Gun  (Machineries of Empires, book 3)

By Yoon Ha Lee 

23 May, 2018

Space Opera That Doesn't Suck

0 comments

2018’s Revenant Gun is the third volume in Yoon Ha Lee’s Machineries of Empire trilogy.

Seventeen-year-old Shuos Jedao wakes to discover he is actually over four centuries old. Most of his memories have been stolen by the enemy. Despite having few conscious memories of military experience, he is expected to command a vast military in a war over the fundamental rules of existence. 

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Strange Phenomena

Skeen’s Leap  (Skeen, book 1)

By Jo Clayton 

22 May, 2018

Special Requests

2 comments

1986’s Skeen’s Leap is the first volume in Jo Clayton’s Skeen trilogy.

Skeen is her own creation, from her name to her career as a star-faring grave robber, looting the relics of ancient civilizations for her own enrichment. It’s a heartwarming tale of personal re-invention.

Or it was, until Skeen’s lover Tibo stole her starship and marooned Skeen on Kildun Aalda. Although the authorities do not know who Skeen really is, it’s only a matter of time before she ends up in prison or dead. 

Happily, there is a third option.

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You May Say I’m A Dreamer

Winter Tide  (Innsmouth Legacy, book 1)

By Ruthanna Emrys 

21 May, 2018

Miscellaneous Reviews

1 comment

2017’s Winter Tide is the first volume in Ruthanna Emrys’s Innsmouth Legacy series.

The American government’s ample experience at rounding up and exterminating unwanted indigenous populations was evident in 1928, in the campaign against the Deep Ones. The government swept up the entire population of Innsmouth, consigning the unlucky inhabitants to incarceration and eventual execution in a desert concentration camp. By the time Japanese internees began to arrive in the 1940s, just two Deep Ones were left: Aphra and Caleb March.

Inadvertently freed with the Japanese internees at the end of the war, Aphra and Caleb prefer to avoid contact with the authorities who targeted their race for extermination. How unexpected, therefore, for the former génocidaires to reach out to Aphra for help.

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Never Venture Out Among The Asteroids

Star Wars: From the Adventures of Luke Skywalker

By George Lucas 

20 May, 2018

Because My Tears Are Delicious To You

2 comments

1976’s Star Wars: From the Adventures of Luke Skywalker is Alan Dean Foster’s (uncredited) novelization of the initial script for George Lucas’ Star Wars: A New Hope. (Not called that at the time of first release, as y’all no doubt know.)

Former Senator Palpatine’s quest to make the galaxy great again has transformed a troubled republic into a brutal autocracy. Here and there, out-numbered rebels are trying to resist oppression. All very sad, but what does it have to do with farmboy Luke Skywalker, stuck on backward desert world Tatooine?

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A Life of Danger

Ethan of Athos

By Lois McMaster Bujold 

18 May, 2018

A Bunch of Bujolds

14 comments

1986’s Ethan of Athos is a standalone SF novel, set in the same universe and time as the Cordelia and Miles Vorkosigan novels. Ethan shares one character with the Miles books, but is otherwise independent. 

Settled by misogynist religious fanatics centuries earlier, Athos is an isolationist world populated entirely by men. Happily for the he-man woman-haters of Athos, reproductive technology in the form of uterine replicators has allowed Athosians to perpetuate themselves. 

Permitted, past-tense. 

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