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Reviews from September 2018 (22)

The Company of Strangers

The Ginger Star  (Skaith, book 1)

By Leigh Brackett 

30 Sep, 2018

Because My Tears Are Delicious To You

1 comment

1974’s The Ginger Star is the first volume in Leigh Brackett’s extra-solar planetary adventure series set on the planet Skaith. 

Eric John Stark was raised by savages on Mercury. Unforgiving Mars honed him into a man of action. A grim loner by nature and circumstance, he is fiercely loyal to a select few. Among those chosen few is Stark’s human foster father, Simon Ashton. 

When Ashton is reported to have been kidnapped on the dying world Skaith, Stark does not hesitate to race to Ashton’s rescue. 

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Let’s Go to San Francisco

Kitty’s Big Trouble  (Kitty Norville, book 9)

By Carrie Vaughn 

28 Sep, 2018

A Variety of Vaughns

1 comment

2011’s Kitty’s Big Trouble is the ninth volume in Carrie Vaughn’s Kitty Norville series. 

Kitty has a new hobby: finding the werewolves, vampires, and other fantastic beings hidden in plain sight in human history. But no sooner does she find proof that Wyatt Earp dabbled in vampire slayage than she is asked to go on another road trip. A treasure hunt. 

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Hearts as Black as Coal

The Trove

By Tobias Buckell 

27 Sep, 2018

Space Opera That Doesn't Suck

2 comments

Tobias S. Buckell’s 2018 The Trove is a standalone SF adventure novel. 

Interstellar travel has not eliminated social stratification. Earth is home to oligarchs whose wealth is hard to measure. In contrast, the wealth of Jane Hawkins and her two mothers, Sadayya and Tia, is very easy to measure: it is the Nelson Inn, located in the unfashionable part of Sargasso Port. Customers are few, the inn is struggling, and Tia is slowly dying of an incurable disease. 

A more prosperous inn would have turned away rigger Villem Osteonidus. Not only does the cyborg lacks any personal charm, he’s a drug addict. But the Hawkins Inn needs every customer it can get. Villem gets a room, one his hosts expect him to occupy for only as long as it takes for the drugs to kill him. 

Villem has far worse problems than his addiction. 

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A Kiss With A Fist

Ranma 12, book 1

By Rumiko Takahashi 

26 Sep, 2018

Translation

3 comments

Ranma 12, Volume One collects the first fourteen chapters of Rumiko Takahashi’s best-selling manga. This volume was first published in Japan in 1988, Gerard Jones and Matt Thorn’s English adaptation of Volume One was published in 1993

Soun Tendo surprises his three daughters with the news that long ago he agreed to marry one of them to Ranma, the son of his good friend (and complete stranger to the girls) Genma Saotome. This marriage will secure the future of the Tendo family dojo and the indiscriminate grappling school of martial arts. 

Soun and Genma’s contract did not specify which daughter would marry Gemma’s’ son, Ranma. Soun is happy to leave that detail to his daughters. Oldest daughter Kasumi and second oldest daughter Nabiki graciously agree between them that they should grant the youngest daughter, Akane, this precious opportunity. Akane is shockingly ungrateful. 

As soon as Genma and son arrive at the dojo, the sisters notice previously unmentioned details that could well complicate the betrothal. Genma is a large panda. Ranma is human … but also a girl. 

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A Parcel of Rogues

Quillifer

By Walter Jon Williams 

25 Sep, 2018

Special Requests

1 comment

Walter Jon Williams’ 2017 Quillifer is a standalone secondary-world fantasy. 

Amiable womanizer Quillifer is dispatched to serve a summons on river-stealing aristocrat Sir Stanley. Quillifer is enthusiastic about the mission; it lets him skip boring apprentice-lawyer duties. He is less enthusiastic about the prospect of a confrontation with a notoriously violent land-owner. 

The mission has an unexpected benefit. Quillifer returns home to Ethlebight to find the seaport town in flames. A vast pirate fleet has invested the town and is in the process of carrying off much of its population for ransom or slavery. Quillifer is safe, albeit bereaved. His entire family chose to die rather than submit to the pirates. His master, Lawyer Dacket, is also lost. 

Quillifer could choose to stay in Ethlebight and help rebuild. He chooses otherwise. 

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Static Connection

A For Andromeda  (Andromeda, book 1)

By John Eliot 

23 Sep, 2018

Because My Tears Are Delicious To You

3 comments

Sir Fred Hoyle and John Elliot’s 1962 A For Andromeda is the first of two Andromeda novels. It is a novelization of Hoyle and Elliot’s 1961 television SF serial drama of the same name. 

In the distant future of 1970, Britain is increasingly under the sway of an America on whom the British are dependent for defense against the Warsaw Pact nations. Once a mighty imperial power, now it enjoys also-ran status. It does have one accomplishment of which it can be proud: the Bouldershaw Fell Radio Telescope, the most powerful radio telescope on Earth. 

Almost immediately following Bouldershaw’s activation, the grand device detects a signal coming from a star in the direction of the constellation Andromeda. 

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And Call It a Weasel

A Civil Campaign  (Miles Vorkosigan, book 10)

By Lois McMaster Bujold 

21 Sep, 2018

A Bunch of Bujolds

7 comments

A Civil Campaign is almost certainly the 10th volume in the Miles Vorkosigan series, unless you’re one of those people who think that the Cordelia Naismith books are part of the series, in which case this book is the 12th. As far as I am concerned it’s the 10th. It’s reasonable to consider Cordelia’s adventures as prequel, right? Like Ethan of Athos, related but independent? 

I don’t know why I get requests at work not to overthink things. 

The affair of the Komarran mirror successfully concluded, Imperial Auditor Miles Vorkosigan is back on Barrayar. With no immediate Imperial business demanding his attention, Miles is free to invest all of his intellect and energy on one goal: winning the heart of the recently widowed Ekaterin Vorsoisson. 

He has a cunning plan. 

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Have No Fear of the Baying Hounds

The Disappeared  (Retrieval Artist, book 1)

By Kristine Kathryn Rusch 

20 Sep, 2018

Special Requests

2 comments

2002’s The Disappeared is the first volume in Kristine Kathryn Rusch’s Retrieval Artist series. 

Faster-than-light travel gave humans the stars and contact with other intelligent species. Each alien civilization has its own set of laws. The question of whose laws apply when and to whom is the subject of carefully negotiated treaties. Those treaties complicate the lives of hard-working space cops. 

Miles Flint and Noelle DeRicci enforce the law in the Moon’s Armstrong Dome. Armstrong has a starport, which means that alien entanglements are always a possibility. Still, treaty complications aren’t exactly common, which is why it is so odd when Flint and DeRicci are faced with three such cases at the same time. 

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Life Line

Made in Abyss, book 2

By Akihito Tsukushi 

19 Sep, 2018

Translation

0 comments

Made in Abyss Book 2 includes issues 9 to 16 of Akihito Tsukushi’s archaeology adventure manga Meido in Abisu.

Riko is determined to find her long-lost mother Lyza, who disappeared into the kilometres-deep Abyss. Riko and her robot boyfriend Reg have sneaked out of the orphanage and headed into the Abyss. Foolish kids. There are many dangers in the depths; if they do manage to reach the bottom of the Abyss, they cannot return. Or so it is said. 

Their journey has hardly begun when they realize that someone is pursuing them. 

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The Bright and Shiny Book

The Invisible Library  (The Invisible Library, book 1)

By Genevieve Cogman 

18 Sep, 2018

Special Requests

0 comments

2014’s The Invisible Library is the first volume in Genevieve Cogman’s Invisible Library series. 

The Invisible Library exists outside time itself. It is a repository of books gathered from many timestreams: worlds where science, reason, and logic reign supreme, worlds of fantasy, worlds tainted by chaos. Irene, child of two Librarians, was born to her role. She is a book scrounger supreme, adept at infiltrating alternate worlds, locating specific rare books, and stealing them for the Library. 

Ideally, she does this without leaving any trace of her involvement. As the opening scene of the novel establishes, sometimes she has to settle for legging it with the goods while pursued by gargoyles. It’s a living. 

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