James Nicoll Reviews

Home > Reviews > By Date

Reviews from June 2019 (21)

Way Down on Old Chestnut Street

The Borribles  (Borribles, volume 1)

By Michael de Larrabeiti  

30 Jun, 2019

Because My Tears Are Delicious To You


1976’s The Borribles is the first volume in Michael de Larrabeiti’s Borribles trilogy.

Their pointy ears betray Borribles as having become something more than hard-faced street children. They keep the ears hidden and avoid the attention of the police who would crop their ears and steal their independence. Each Borrible must earn their transformation from runaway child into Borrible by means of sharpness of wit and strength of will. They win their names with thrilling adventures. 

Eight Borribles will be offered the chance to become legends. 

Read more ➤

Mr. Lonely

The Quiet Earth

By Geoff Murphy, Bill Baer, Bruno Lawrence & Sam Pillsbury  

29 Jun, 2019

Big Hair, Big Guns!


1985’s The Quiet Earth was written by Bill Baer, Bruno Lawrence, and Sam Pillsbury; it was directed by Geoff Murphy. It is (loosely) based on the novel of the same name by Craig Harrison. It stars Bruno Lawrence, Alison Routledge, and Peter Smith. 

Zac Hobson (Bruno Lawrence), a scientist working on Project Flashlight, isn’t there at the New Zealand Flashlight facility on the morning of July 5th. That’s when the project will be tested. The effects of the test are obvious. To quote Zac: 

[quote] Zac Hobson, July 5th. One: there has been a malfunction in Project Flashlight with devastating results. Two: it seems I am the only person left on Earth.” [quote]

Read more ➤

Once Was Lost

Not Your Sidekick  (Sidekick Squad, volume 1)

By C. B. Lee  

28 Jun, 2019

Doing What the WFC Cannot Do

1 comment

2016’s Not Your Sidekick is the first of C. B. Lee’s Sidekick Squad series. 

A superflare activated the metagene possessed by a minute fraction of humanity, granting them superhuman powers. 

World War III nearly made that development irrelevant. Nearly. Despite humanity’s best efforts at removing itself from the board, humans and civilization survived. Life in the North American Collective may all be a bit regimented, but for Jessica Tran it is the only life she knows. 

Her hometown Andover may be in backwater Nevada, but it is one of the lucky few to have resident superheroes, Smasher and Shockwave (who just happen to be Jessica’s parents). Too bad that the town also has resident supervillains, Master and Mistress Mischief. 

Read more ➤

When They Look at Me

Kaiju Girl Caramelise, volume 1

By Spica Aoki  

27 Jun, 2019



Kaiju Girl Caramelise, Vol. 1 is the first collection of Spica Aoki’s eponymous Shoujo manga. 

Kuroe Akaishi suffers from a rare (probably unique) medical condition so embarrassing that she hides it from her schoolmates. The condition is exacerbated by strong emotion, so she tries to avoid drama. She’s aloof and detached … or at least as detached as she can be given that her schoolmates mock and torment her. 

Read more ➤

Written on the Wind

Sandwriter  (Sandwriter, volume 1)

By Monica Hughes  

26 Jun, 2019

Special Requests

1 comment

Monica Hughes’ 1985 Sandwriter is the first entry in her Sandwriter duology. 

Princess Antia of Kamalant has led a pampered life. Her parents are dead (of an accident, it is said) but she has been carefully raised by King Rangor (her uncle) and Queen Sankath (her aunt). Her immediate retinue includes doting nurse Nan and tutor Eskoril (whom Antia finds most attractive). Her childhood has been pleasant. 

Now the bill for that childhood has come due. 

Read more ➤

And No-one’s Quite Certain Whose Play It Is

The Illuminatus Trilogy

By Robert Shea & Robert Anton Wilson  

23 Jun, 2019

Because My Tears Are Delicious To You


Three 1975 novels (The Eye in the Pyramid, The Golden Apple, and Leviathan) together comprise Robert Shea and Robert Anton Wilson’s Illuminatus Trilogy.

New York Detectives Saul Goodman and Barney Muldoon are assigned to investigate a bombing. Someone has attacked the office of a left-wing magazine, Confrontation. The detectives soon discover that their case may broaden to include tracing a missing person: editor Joe Malik. 

Malik left notes that greatly confuse the two detectives. Malik’s paranoid ramblings document a world secretly run by a cabal known as the Illuminati. The ramblings are self-contradictory. More importantly, they give no hint as to Malik’s current location. 

Meanwhile, in an entirely different part of the world.… 

Read more ➤

Born With the Gift of a Golden Voice

Unsung Heroine

By Sarah Kuhn  

21 Jun, 2019

Doing What the WFC Cannot Do


2019’s Unsung Heroine is a side-story in Sarah Kuhn’s Heroine series. 

Lucy Valdez is a multi-competent person. She’s adept at hand-to-hand fighting; she’s a karaoke queen at a local hot-spot, the Gutter. She’s been a sweetheart to half of the city’s lesbian community. Yet one challenge eludes her: how to win the heart of Rose Rorick (which includes keeping said heart once Rose learns what the real Lucy is like). 

Lucy’s cunning gambits to present Rose with an acceptable version of Lucy have left Lucy firmly friend-zoned. Happily, Lucy has a zany scheme to solve the problem: fix up her unattainable crush with someone else. Once Rose is partnered, perhaps Lucy’s obsession will fade. 

Read more ➤

Take Some Tea With Me


By Peter Spierig & Michael Spierig  

20 Jun, 2019

Special Requests


Michael and Peter Spierig’s 2014 Predestination is an SF film based on Robert A. Heinlein’s short story “ — All You Zombies — .” Predestination stars Ethan Hawke, and Sarah Snook. Bizarrely enough, it is not a terrible film inspiring lamentations from all who see it. 

Maimed trying to disarm a bomb planted by the notorious Fizzle bomber, an agent is given a new face and a new assignment in Disco-era New York. His assignment begins with an orchestrated meeting in a bar. 

Read more ➤

Wind Beneath My Wings

Sailor Moon, volume 1

By Naoko Takeuchi  

19 Jun, 2019



1992’s Sailor Moon, Volume One collects the stories that kicked off Naoko Takeuchis insanely popular Sailor Moon franchise. 

Fourteen-year-old Usagi Tsukino is a seemingly unremarkable student without any obvious talent. As far as the world can tell, she is a clumsy, spoiled crybaby whose grades make her mother despair. She does have good points: she’s pretty and she’s friendly. 

Then Usagi accidentally steps on a cat named Luna 

Read more ➤

They Will Not Control Us

Renegades  (Renegades, volume 1)

By Marissa Meyer  

18 Jun, 2019

Special Requests


2017’s Renegades is the first volume in Marissa Meyer’s novel series, also known as Renegades. 

Once prodigies (people with superpowers) were feared and oppressed. Thanks to the efforts of paramount prodigy Ace Artino (AKA Ace Anarchy) prodigies were feared but no longer oppressed, albeit at the cost of the temporary collapse of civilization during the Age of Anarchy. 

The super-powered Renegades ended the Age of Anarchy by crushing every rival group. Based in Gatlon City, the Renegades have replaced the vanished civilian government with their own (well-intended) rule. This new arrangement is short on democratic niceties but it’s better than the never-ending gang war it replaced. Most people are willing to live with rule by Renegade. 

But not Nova Nightmare” Artino. 

Read more ➤