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Reviews from July 2019 (20)

Keep Running, Keep Running

Meddling Kids

By Edgar Cantero  

16 Jul, 2019

Special Requests


Edgar Cantero’s 2018 Meddling Kids is the latest book in the Blyton Summer Detective Club Adventure series1.

In 1977, the Blyton Summer Detective Club — Peter, Kerri, Andy, Nate, and their dog Sean — capped off their successful teen detecting careers with the revelation of that the Sleepy Lake Monster was just would-be burglar Thomas Wickley in a rubber mask. 

Wickley was sent off to prison. The four teens got on their lives. Thirteen years later, the surviving members of the Blyton Summer Detective Club are faced with a terrible revelation: they got their final case wrong. 

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The One Where She Has Sex With a Plant

The Pollinators of Eden

By John Boyd  

14 Jul, 2019

Because My Tears Are Delicious To You


John Boyd’s 1969 The Pollinators of Eden is a standalone SF novel. 

Doctor Freda Caron expects that when the starship Botany docks, her fiancé Paul Theaston will be on it. He isn’t; all she gets is a message and a sample of alien life. Paul is doing research on the planet Flora, where he has encountered an intriguing scientific mystery. He wants to stay on-planet for one more duty cycle. Although mildly put out (this means she’s saddled with planning their wedding all by herself, rather than allowing Paul to think he’s helping), Freda also understands why he would stay. She too is a professional botanist; she understands the appeal of this tulip-appearing enigma. 

The tulip has a flower much like flowers found on Earth. There are no known insects on planet Flora. Why produce a flower, and pollen, when there is nothing to spread the pollen. Or is there? Who or what does the pollinating? 

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The Book of Life

The Reader  (Sea of Ink and Gold, volume 1)

By Traci Chee  

12 Jul, 2019

Doing What the WFC Cannot Do

1 comment

Traci Chee’s 2016 The Reader is the first volume in her Sea of Ink and Gold series. 

Sefia and her aunt Nin have been on the run ever since Sefia’s father was brutally murdered. Now, thanks to Sefia’s failed attempt at stealing a bandana, what had been a safe refuge is a refuge no longer. Someone may have recognized Nin and that means the pair have to flee. On their trail: killers seeking to recover a precious item stolen by Sefia’s parents. 

The precious treasure is a book, whatever a book might be. 

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Like I Just Lost The World War

This is How You Lose The Time War

By Amal El-Mohtar & Max Gladstone  

11 Jul, 2019

Miscellaneous Reviews


Amal El-Mohtar and Max Gladstone’s 2019 This is How You Lose the Time War is a standalone SF novel. 

Two great powers, technological Agency and biological Garden, are engaged in a long, brutal war for control of reality itself. Not satisfied with shaping a single universe to suit their tastes, both sides covet control of every history of every universe. 

Red fights for Agency. Red is very good at their job. Good enough to attract the attention of Garden operative Blue. 

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Strange Fascinations Fascinate Me

Making History

By Stephen Fry  

9 Jul, 2019

Special Requests


Stephen Frys 1996 Making History is an alternate history. It won the 1998 Sidewise Award1.

To his biochemist girlfriend Jane Michael, Puppy” Young is a charming, bumbling idiot who cannot be trusted unattended in a laboratory. He’s an amusement, but not a man with whom she could possibly spend her life. To the world at large, Puppy is a feckless graduate student working toward a PhD in history, a field he believes is (like Puppy himself) cruelly unappreciated by the world. His grand ambitions run up against reality when his advisor reveals to Puppy that large swaths of Puppy’s thesis on Hitler are utter crap. 

This academic setback isn’t the only downer; Puppy finds out that Jane is moving to Princeton without him. It’s at this moment of utter personal failure that some misaddressed mail provides Puppy with an introduction to physicist Leo Zuckerman. It is an encounter that will reshape history. 

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The End of Laughter and Soft Lies

Earth’s Last Citadel

By C L Moore & Henry Kuttner  

7 Jul, 2019

Because My Tears Are Delicious To You


1943’s Earth’s Last Citadel is a standalone far-future adventure by C. L. Moore and Henry Kuttner. 

Alan Drake’s desperate bid to get genius Sir Colin out of a North African war-zone is stymied when the two are ambushed by Axis agents Karen Martin and Mike Smith. Karen and Mike catch up to Alan and Sir Colin just after the pair stumble across a mysterious object in the desert. The Nazis barely have time to gloat before they and their prey are bewitched into entering what appears to be an alien spacecraft. 

The four do not emerge from their captor’s craft for a very very very long time. 

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Won’t Shed a Tear

Jade War  (Green Bone Saga, volume 2)

By Fonda Lee  

6 Jul, 2019

Doing What the WFC Cannot Do


Jade War is the second volume in Fonda Lee’s ongoing Green Bone Saga. 

Ayt Mada has a simple dream: unify all of Kekon’s clans under her benevolent rule, the better to protect Kekon’s interests in a world filled with powerful, empires. The No Peak clan refuses to submit to Ayt’s Mountain Clan, so it must be destroyed for the greater good.

No Peak’s Pillar (leader) Kaul Lan had all the skills that might ensure No Peak’s survival in the face of the Mountain Clan’s aggression. Alas for No Peak, Lan was murdered, leaving the clan with Lan’s intemperate brother Hilo as leader. Hilo prefers direct, brutal methods. No Peak’s survival depends on Hilo growing into his unwanted role. 

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Detective De Tu Amor

Point of Knives

By Melissa Scott  

4 Jul, 2019

Special Requests


Melissa Scott’s Point of Knives is set at a time between that of Point of Hopes and that of Point of Dreams, the first and second instalments of the Astreiant series. Since my site does not do fractions or decimals, numbering Point of Knives is a bit tricky. So I will not even try. 

Adjunct Point Nicolas Rathe is called from his bed to attend to a murder. Rathe soon discovers that there were two murders: both Grandad Steen and his son Old Steen were mortally injured, although by someone inept enough that dying Old Steen tried to run to safety. 

The motive for some murders is obscure. In Grandad Steen’s case, the motive seems clear: treasure. 

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The Same Thing If You Please

Bloody Sweet, volume 1

By NaRae Lee  

3 Jul, 2019

Doing What the WFC Cannot Do


Bloody Sweet, Volume One, collects an astounding number of installments of this Lee Narae webtoon. 

Shin Naerim’s mother performs a valuable, if unconventional, public service: she is a moodang, a Korean shaman. Shin Naerim also provides a valuable public service: she is a meek victim whom her classmates can torment without any fear of repercussions. 

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As Sweet As Any Harmony

The Outside

By Ada Hoffmann  

2 Jul, 2019

Miscellaneous Reviews


2019’s The Outside is Ada Hoffmann’s debut SF novel. 

Praise to the Gods of the galaxy, who brought us out of Old Earth. 
Praise to the Gods of the warp drive, who push at the edges of space.
Praise to the Gods of the portal, who open all doors to our bodies.
Praise to the Gods of the ansible, who open all doors to our words.
Praise, praise be to the Gods who know, whose minds are above human minds, whose knowledge has kept us alive.

Once artificial intelligences, now something much more, the gods rule the human-occupied sector of the Milky Way. Having the gods consume their souls after death is a small price to pay for access to the stars. Despite centuries of such benevolent guidance, some humans still persist in trying to develop their own advanced technologies without divine help. 

Yasira Shien is the Shien in the Talirr-Shien Effect, the phenomenon at the heart of the Pride of Jai. If all works to plan, the Talsirr-Shien Reactor will power an orbiting research facility for centuries to come. 

If all does not go according to plan, well … who knows? 

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