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Reviews from April 2019 (20)

Like Dragons in the Dead of Night

Voyage From Yesteryear

By James P. Hogan  

16 Apr, 2019

Big Hair, Big Guns!


James P. Hogan’s 1982 Voyage from Yesteryear is a standalone science fiction novel. 

Faced with seemingly inevitable nuclear war in the near future, the North American Space Development Organization and its Asian partners decided to take the bold step of re-purposing the SP3 interstellar probe. Five years before its 2020 launch, the probe was redesigned to deliver human life to Chiron, the habitable world in the Alpha Centauri system. But there’s a catch. 

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A New Dawn

New Suns: Original Speculative Fiction by People of Color

By Nisi Shawl  

15 Apr, 2019

Doing What the WFC Cannot Do


Nisi Shawl’s 2019 New Suns: Original Speculative Fiction by People of Color is, unsurprisingly, an anthology of original speculative fiction by people of color. It takes its title from an Octavia E. Butler quotation: 

There’s nothing new under the sun, but there are new suns.” 

The anthology includes seventeen stories plus ancillary material. As a whole it is worth tracking down and reading, but the following are of particular note. 

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Trick or Treat


By Eric Frank Russell  

14 Apr, 2019

Because My Tears Are Delicious To You

1 comment

Eric Frank Russell’s 1957 Wasp is a standalone science fiction novel. 

Terra and the Sirian Combine have been at war for a year. Humanity enjoys a significant technological edge, but the Sirians outnumber the Terrans ten-to-one. The solution, as far as Terra’s High Command is concerned, is to adopt tactics in which the weight of numbers cannot come into play. 

James Mowry is given an offer he cannot refuse. He is to become a wasp. 

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Break The Lock If It Don’t Fit

One-Punch Man, volume 3

By Yusuke Murata & One  

12 Apr, 2019



Yes, this is very late. I keep over-scheduling myself. I have only myself to blame.

One-Punch Man Volume Three collects Punches (issues) 16 through 20 (plus some bonus material) of ONE and Yusuke Murata’s ongoing manga. 

Saitama is super-fast, super-strong, and super-invulnerable. He is also super-obscure because neither Saitama nor Saitama’s acolyte Genos have ever bothered to register with the Hero Association. Time to fix that. 

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The Rocky Road

The Wizard Children of Finn  (Finn, volume 1)

By Mary Tannen  

10 Apr, 2019

Special Requests


Mary Tannen’s 1981 time-travel juvenile fantasy The Wizard Children of Finn is the first of her Finn novels. 

Sent off by their actress mother for a summer stay at their uncle Rupert’s estate, eleven-year-old Fiona and eight-year-old Bran McCool foresee a summer of boredom. They’ll miss their mother; their uncle will not be in residence. The children have only the company of two eccentric old women whom they barely know, Lia and Bovmall. 

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I Ran So Far Away

Starfarers  (Starfarers, volume 1)

By Vonda N. McIntyre  

8 Apr, 2019

Big Hair, Big Guns!


1989’s Starfarers is the first volume in Vonda N. McIntyre’s Starfarers Quartet. 

The near approach of a cosmic string1 offers humanity superluminal access to Tau Ceti. A light-sail spaceship can hitchhike on the string to explore the nearest star system. A consortium of nations builds the Starfarer as a traveling university, one that will send back dividends of new knowledge that will more than pay for its creation. 

That is, if it is allowed to do what it is designed to do. Some of its government supporters have other notions of best use. 

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Tell Me Lies

The Cosmic Computer

By H. Beam Piper  

7 Apr, 2019

Because My Tears Are Delicious To You


H. Beam Piper’s 1963 The Cosmic Computer is a standalone science fiction novel. It’s set in Piper’s Terra-Human future history, in the last days of the Federation. 

Conn Maxwell returns from Terra to his backwater homeworld, Poictesme, armed with hard-won knowledge. The family friends who pooled resources to pay for Conn’s education did so in the hope that while on Earth, Conn would uncover the secret location of Merlin, the fabled supercomputer that many believe allowed the Federation to triumph over the secessionist System States Alliance. With Merlin’s help, surely the investors could learn how to kickstart Poictesme’s moribund economy. 

What Conn learned was that Merlin was not just legendary. It was a myth. There would be no all-powerful supercomputer to guide Poictesme to prosperity. 

When Conn returns to his homeworld, he lies to his friends and backers. He claims to know how to find Merlin. This isn’t just an attempt to spare his friends or evade responsibility for the failure. He wants to use the belief in Merlin to inspire his world to take the steps that will rebuild its economy. 

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Strange Magic

The True Queen  (Sorcerer to the Crown, volume 2)

By Zen Cho  

5 Apr, 2019

Doing What the WFC Cannot Do


2019’s The True Queen is the second volume in Zen Cho’s Sorcerer to the Crown series. 

Amnesiacs Sakti and Muna arrive on the island of Janda Baik, preceded by a great storm. They know their own names, but nothing else of their past. They look much like each other, so it is supposed that they are sisters. They are offered a home by the formidable witch Mak Genggang and begin to make new lives for themselves. 

Complications ensue. 

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She’s Got Me So Confused


By Yōji Enokido & Kazuya Tsurumaki  

4 Apr, 2019


1 comment

FLCL is a six-part anime series written by Yōji Enokido, and directed by Kazuya Tsurumaki. It was released in 2000 and 2001

Twelve-year-old Naota Nandaba lives with his father and grandfather in backwater Mabase. He grudgingly tolerates the uninvited attentions of high-schooler Mamimi Samejima. 

It’s a humdrum life. To quote Naota, 

Nothing amazing happens here. Everything is ordinary.”

Enter attractive maniac Haruko Haruhara, who 

  • runs Naota down with her Vespa; 

  • gives him CPR; 

  • wallops him in the head with her guitar. 

It’s not madness, although Haruko is dubiously sane. She has a plan.… 

Soon after finding himself lip-locked with the madcap Haruko, Haoto finds himself struggling with ill-timed protrusions. 

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To Books I Am Beholden

Servant of the Crown  (Tremontane, volume 1)

By Melissa McShane  

2 Apr, 2019

Special Requests


Servant of the Crown is the first volume in Melissa McShane’s Tremontane series. 

Alison Quinn, Countess of Waxwold, distrusts men. Every man she has ever met has wanted her title, her money, and/or her body. She has turned her back on romance to focus on her father’s publishing company. But rank comes with obligations. When Queen Zara North summons Alison to Aurilien to serve as a companion to Zara’s mother, the Dowager Queen, Alison has no choice but to obey. 

The Dowager Queen is friendly, if a bit naïve. Her son Anthony is also friendly. Too friendly. As the heir apparent to the unmarried and childless Zara, he is confident that he is irresistible. 

Alison and Anthony’s first meeting ends in a slap heard around the court. 

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