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Reviews from July 2019 (20)

Another Day in Paradise

Deep Roots  (Innsmouth Legacy, book 2)

By Ruthanna Emrys

31 Jul, 2019

Miscellaneous Reviews

2 comments

2018’s Deep Roots is the second volume in Ruthanna Emrys’ Innsmouth Legacy series. 

Aphra Marsh survived an American concentration camp. She is one of very few land-dwelling Deep Ones still alive. Despite their much reduced numbers, she hopes to rebuild her shattered community. To do this, she needs the US government’s cooperation — or at least an end to active attempts to exterminate the Deep Ones. 

But nuclear war threatens. Were it to happen, it would render her efforts pointless. Toleration of land-dwelling Deep Ones would mean nothing if the humans were to make the land temporarily uninhabitable. The ocean-dwelling Deep Ones would live on, but once their land-kin vanished, there would be no way to re-establish them. 

The Deep Ones are not the only beings worried about humanity’s future. 


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Voices in My Head

Children of Ruin  (Children of Time, book 2)

By Adrian Tchaikovsky

30 Jul, 2019

Space Opera That Doesn't Suck

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2019’s Children of Ruin is the second book in Adrian Tchaikovsky’s Children of Time series. 

Before it annihilated itself, Earth’s first great technological civilization dispatched starships to nearby star systems, there to terraform promising worlds. Millennia later, Earth’s second great technological civilization also dispatched starships. The purpose was not to reshape worlds according to humanity’s whim, but to escape the deadly trap Earth had become. 

Nobody expected to find a planet full of portiids, genetically engineered intelligent spiders, but humans were convinced… compelled, really, to come to terms with the unintended products of Avrana Kern’s bold uplifting efforts. The starship Voyager is the product of the unexpected partnership, crewed by humans, portiids, and an emulation of the long-dead Kern, dispatched to explore a neighbouring star system. Who knows what wonders await them? 


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Terrible Things

The Starlost

By Cordwainer Bird

28 Jul, 2019

Because My Tears Are Delicious To You

6 comments

The TV series The Starlost ran from late September 1973 to early January 1974, about three and a half months and sixteen episodes too long. Originally created by Harlan Ellison, the writers were Harlan Ellison (as Cordwainer Bird), George Ghent, Norman Klenman, and Martin Lager, while the episodes were directed by Harvey Hart, Martin Lager, George McCowan, Leo Orenstein, Ed Richardson, and Joseph L. Scanlan. The series starred Keir Dullea, Gay Rowan, and Robin Ward. 

The series is a credit to none of them. 

Devon (Keir Dullea) is blindly in love with Rachel (Gay Rowan), whom the elders of Cyprus Corners have decreed must marry surly blacksmith Garth (Robin Ward). The elders do not tolerate dissent. Devon is forced to flee the only world he has ever known through a door on other side of which may lie certain doom. 

To Devon’s enormous surprise, Cyprus Corners is not the whole of the world. It is merely one of a great number of habitats. The revelations do not stop there. 


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Let the Sun Fade Out to a Dark Sky

Escaping Exodus

By Nicky Drayden

24 Jul, 2019

Space Opera That Doesn't Suck

6 comments

Nicky Drayden’s 2019 Escaping Exodus is a standalone SF novel. 

Seske Kaleigh was born to become the leader of her spacefaring community. Becoming a leader involves onerous education and personal sacrifice. Seske would far rather spend her time having adventures with her lower-class crush, Adalla. 

Seske’s culture is trapped on the edge of survival. Allowing Seske to follow her heart is not in the cards. 


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Inciting and Inviting Me

Medusa Uploaded  (Medusa Cycle, book 1)

By Emily Devenport

23 Jul, 2019

Space Opera That Doesn't Suck

5 comments

Emily Devenport’s Medusa Uploaded is the first volume in her generation ship series, the Medusa Cycle. 

Olympia and Titania are two vast generation ships, dispatched on a long, slow journey to another star system. This was lifetimes ago. Olympia is still functioning, but poor Titania is lifeless wreckage tumbling across the stars, the victim of an act of sabotage. Oichi was born on Titania but was fortunate enough to emigrate to Olympia before Titanias destruction. The rest of her family was not so lucky. 

Oichi isn’t one of the ruling Executives; she’s a so-called worm. Her lot is to work hard for her whole life, hoping that no Executive will order her tossed out an airlock. Oichi’s fortune turns sour. Suspected as a potential dissident, she is cast out into the interstellar cold. 

This is not the end of her story. 


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A Defector of a Kind

Rite of Passage

By Alexei Panshin

21 Jul, 2019

Because My Tears Are Delicious To You

3 comments


Alexei Panshin’s 1968 Rite of Passage is a standalone SF novel. It won a Nebula Award and was nominated for a Hugo. 

Mia Havero grew up on a great Ship, an asteroid-sized vessel that wanders from star to star. It’s all she’s ever known. Mia’s Trial, a mandatory test that winnows the unfit from the fit, is approaching. If she passes, she will live out her life on her Ship. If she fails, she might be exiled. Or dead. 

Mia Havero is twelve, going on thirteen. 


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Under Your Skin

Get Out

By Jordan Peele

19 Jul, 2019

Doing What the WFC Cannot Do

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2017’s Get Out was Jordan Peele’s directorial debut. The cast includes Daniel Kaluuya, Allison Williams, Lil Rel Howery, Bradley Whitford, Caleb Landry Jones, Stephen Root, and Catherine Keener.

Photographer Chris Washington (Kaluuya) reluctantly faces a romantic rite of passage: accompanying his girlfriend Rose Armitage (Williams) to a family get-together. What would be stressful in any circumstances is even more so in this case, because Chris is African-American while Rose is white. 

Rose assures Chris that her family is not racist but still, any number of unpleasant surprises may await Chris. And do. 


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Hunting Tonight

The Hound of Justice  (Janet Watson, book 2)

By Claire O’Dell

18 Jul, 2019

Miscellaneous Reviews

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2019’s The Hound of Justice is the second volume in Claire O’Dell’s Janet Watson Chronicles. 

Doctor Janet Watson has a new prosthetic arm and a new position at Georgetown University Hospital. The new arm is a vast improvement over the previous arm, but Janet is finding it hard to master. She needs to be capable of fine, disciplined movements if she is to return to being a surgeon. 

America has a new President, Donovan, a Democratic Progressive. Like her new arm, the new President isn’t all Janet could wish him to be, but he is better than the alternative (reactionary Jeb Foley). Years into its second civil war, even a second-rate President and the hope of a disappointing peace is an improvement, at least from the perspective of the sane people of America. 

Richard Speiker’s Brotherhood of Redemption is threatened by the prospect of peace. Inauguration day is marred by a terrorist bomb attack that fails to kill its intended target thanks to what appears to be simple incompetence. 


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Dinner Bell

The Promised Neverland, book 1

By Posuka Demizu

17 Jul, 2019

Translation

2 comments

The Promised Neverland, Volume 1 collects the first seven issues of author Kaiu Shira and illustrator Posuka Demizu’s manga. 

Emma, Norman, and Ray grew up in Grace Field House, an orphanage run by kindly Isabella. Life at Grace Field House is almost luxurious. It is that rare orphanage whose inhabitants would remember it fondly. In later years. If there were later years. To be explained. 

Sometime between the ages of six and twelve, the orphans will be fostered out. Emma, Norman, and Ray are the oldest orphans still remaining at the House. Their twelfth birthdays are looming, so they expect that they will soon be sent on their way to new homes. 

When fellow orphan Connie forgets her stuffed animal in her haste to leave the House for her new home, Emma and Norman hurry after the six-year-old to return the beloved toy. They find Connie, but not in time. 

It seems there is the orphans haven’t been told the truth about their new homes: they have been raised as food for demons. 


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