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Reviews from December 2018 (21)

Someone Out There

Shakespeare’s Planet

By Clifford D. Simak  

16 Dec, 2018

Because My Tears Are Delicious To You

1 comment

Clifford D. Simak’s 1976 Shakespeare’s Planet is a standalone SF novel. 

Carter Horton wakes from hibernation to the news that his starship’s long voyage in search of an Earthlike world has finally succeeded. Unfortunately, this quest took a thousand years in the ship’s frame of reference and even more in Earth’s frame of reference. All of his human companions died in a mishap centuries ago. His only remaining companions are his Ship’s mind and an obsequious robot named Nicodemus. 

Oh, and Ship refuses to head back to Earth on the grounds that enough time has passed to make their quest utterly pointless. 

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One, Two, Make It Fun


By Adrian Tchaikovsky  

14 Dec, 2018

A Dozen by Tchaikovsky

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Adrian Tchaikovsky’s 2016 Spiderlight is a secondary-world fantasy. 

Dark Lord Darvezian’s legions of darkness threaten to overwhelm the forces of light. He is but the latest in a long line of Dark Lords. So far, each of them has been brought down thanks to instructions provided by confusingly worded prophecies of unknown provenance. 

Nth expected to spend his life with the rest of the brood serving the great spider Mother in a forest few dare to enter and fewer live to exit. Then one day, a party of ambitious murder hobos comes calling. 

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Twilight Zone

Rat’s Maze  (Avalon City Vice, volume 1)

By M. E. S. Gibson  

13 Dec, 2018

Special Requests


2018’s Rat’s Maze is the first volume in M. E. S. Gibson’s Avalon City Vice fantasy-noir series. 

Humans come to Avalon City in search of magical wonders. They bring with them human vices like drugs. Confronted with unfamiliar challenges, the ferals native to Avalon City have responded by copying human solutions. Thus the Avalon City Police Department. Thus ACPD Vice, charged with containing the city’s drug trade. 

Detective Reis Rat” Attalus is a vice cop. His partner just died and the week looks like it is only going to get worse. 

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The Dreams You Dare to Dream

Over the Horizon

By Lee Yeongdo  

12 Dec, 2018



Lee Yeongdo’s Over the Horizon is a fantasy novella. It is also the sole translated example of Yeongdo’s work that I could find. 

Sheriff Yiphari may only be a small town sheriff, but when he learns of Professor Mataphi’s uncharacteristically pugilistic behavior, the orc instantly realizes there can only be one correct course of action: send his assistant Tyr out into the raging winter storm. Tyr is to walk twelve miles to the professor’s home and there demand an explanation. 

Mataphi spins a tale of woe and violins. 

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Whisper in the Night

Stand Still, Stay Silent

By Minna Sundberg  

11 Dec, 2018

Special Requests


Minna Sundberg’s Stand Still, Stay Silent is an on-going fantasy webcomic. 

Ninety years ago, a mysterious contagion known as the Rash swept across the Earth, infecting almost every mammalian species. Those not lucky enough to die were transformed into hideous monsters. Inside the Known World — Iceland, Norway, Denmark, Finland and Sweden — a quarter of a million humans survive. The rest of the planet is deemed the Silent World and sensible humans, particularly those without inborn immunity to the Rash, avoid it. 

The Nordic Council of History and Rediscovery approves a bold proposal to explore some of the nearer regions of the Silent World. (A mistake, really; at least one of the Council members didn’t understand what they were approving.) 

The Council-provided budget is smaller than the backers of the proposal had hoped. The backers set out to recruit affordably priced volunteers from the ranks of the foolish, the desperate, the poorly informed, and the expendable. 

Enter Tuuri Hotakainen (driver/mechanic), Lalli Hotakainen (scout/mage), Emil Västerström (cleanser/pyromaniac), Sigrun Eide (commander), and Mikkel Madsen (medic/cook/voice of reason). 

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Spare Me Over

A Princess of Mars  (Barsoom, volume 1)

By Edgar Rice Burroughs  

9 Dec, 2018

Because My Tears Are Delicious To You


1912’s A Princess of Mars is the first book in Edgar Rice Burroughs’ interminable Barsoom series. 

Having fought on the losing side of the Slavers’ Uprising, Captain John Carter heads west to see what he can steal from North America’s indigenous population. Cornered by a Native American warband, death seems inevitable … but as is the way of portal series, Carter finds himself transported to an entirely unfamiliar world. 

Carter is on dying Mars, or as its inhabitants call it, Barsoom. 

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Of Everything That Stands

The Islands of Chaldea

By Diana Wynne Jones  

8 Dec, 2018

Twelve by Diana Wynne Jones


2014’s The Islands of Chaldea was Diana Wynne Jones’ final novel. Unfinished at the time of Jones’ death in 2011, it was completed by Diana Wynne Jones’ sister, Ursula Jones. 

The women of Aileen’s family all undergo a rite of passage, one which they hope will lead to a vision and special powers. Aileen is sure that she failed her vision quest. No vision, no evident power or talent. So she is puzzled when her Aunt Beck insists on bringing her to a consultation with King Kenig of the island of Skarr. 

This, as you might expect, is the start of her adventures. 

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Cat’s in the Cradle

Noragami, volume 8

By Adachitoka  

5 Dec, 2018



Adachitoka’s Noragami Volume 8 collects issues 28 to 31 of the adventures of the stray god Yato. The manga was first published in 2013; the English translation was published in 2015. Included in the volume are 

  • 28. God of Calamity” (禍津神 Magatsukami”)

  • 29. The Three Affairs of Three Realms” (三つの国の諸事情 Mittsu no Kuni no Sho Jijō) 

  • 30. The Sound of Thread Snapping” (糸の切れる音 Ito no Kireru Oto”) 

  • 31. Like Parent, Like Child” (親なり、子なり Oya Nari, Konari”) 

Yato, newly minted god, vanishes. 

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I Get Knocked Down

If at First You Don’t Succeed, Try, Try Again

By Zen Cho  

3 Dec, 2018

Miscellaneous Reviews

1 comment

Zen Cho’s 2018 If at First You Don’t Succeed, Try, Try Again is a standalone novelette. 

Nothing is finer than being an enlightened dragon, armed with the wisdom of the ages and a cintamani, a matchless pearl that confers godly power on the possessor. Or so believes Byam, a lowly imugi (worm). Searching for the secret of enlightenment, it is visiting terrified monks, asking them to teach it the Way. Right now!1 It is also contriving various schemes to trick heaven into granting it entry to the celestial ranks. 

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Just a Link in Your Chain

Babylon’s Ashes  (Expanse, volume 6)

By James S. A. Corey  

3 Dec, 2018

An Expanse of Coreys

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2016’s Babylon’s Ashes is the sixth book in James S. A. Corey’s Expanse series. 

Earth is in ruins; half the population is dead thanks to the Welter Free Navy’s asteroid attack. Neither the UN or Martian space navies are powerful enough to crush the Free Navy, which is supported by close to half of the population in the Outer Planets Alliance. The Free Navy controls the gates to humanity’s extra-solar colonies. 

Marco Inaros is the mastermind behind the Free Navy. Everything is going Marco’s way. Just ask Marco. 

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