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Reviews from October 2019 (21)

Saturday Night Dark Masquerade

The Taking of Satcon Station  (Asher Bockhorn, volume 1)

By Jim Baen & Barney Cohen  

31 Oct, 2019

Big Hair, Big Guns!


Barney Cohen and Jim Baen’s The Taking of Satcon Station is an SF mystery. It is also the sole Jim Baen novel of which I am aware. This is not entirely a bad thing. 

Despite the best efforts of UN red tape to impede space enterprise, a century of development has seen the building of space facilities spanning Earth orbit to the Asteroid Belt. Once the US Space Command enforced the rules. Now that is the domain of Fleet Agents like Bockhorn, working for space concerns like MexAmerican & Pacific. 

As the book opens, Bockhorn is stubbing out his cigarette before disembarking at Satcon Station. In its day, Satcon was a hotbed of cutting-edge research. Most people would say those days are long behind the eighty-eight-year-old station. Most people would be wrong: there’s a very bold project underway on Satcon. Bockhorn is going to find himself up to his … let’s say eyebrows… in it.

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The Beast in Me

Samurai Deeper Kyo, volume 1

By Akimine Kamijyo  

30 Oct, 2019



Akimine Kamijyo’s Samurai Deeper Kyo (Samurai Dīpā Kyō) was serialized in Kodansha’s Weekly Shōnen Magazine from October 15, 1999 to May 10, 2006. Volume one includes the first five issues. It’s the first volume of thirty-eight.

The Battle of Sekigahara ended with a decisive victory for Tokugawa Ieyasu’s army. Good news for Tokugawa Ieyasu and the Shogunate. Bad news for the losing side under Ishida Mitsunari. The survivors are all wanted criminals.

None are more wanted than the crimson-eyed Demon Eyes Kyo, a samurai of unparalleled ferocity who single-handedly killed a thousand opponents at Sekigahara alone. The bounty on Demon Eyes could buy a prefecture.

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Lead Me Onward

The Firebird

By Nerine Dorman  

29 Oct, 2019

Doing What the WFC Cannot Do


Nerine Dorman’s The Firebird is a standalone fantasy novella. It won a Nommo award from the African Speculative Fiction Society.

Devout Unia, aghast that her brother Ailas was dabbling in forbidden magic and that her parents did nothing to stop him, saw no alternative but to alert the Fennarin, the order whose task it is to enforce righteousness. The results were not what Unia anticipated: Ailas fled, and having nobody else to punish, the Fennarin burned Ailas and Unia’s parents alive for their failure to denounce their son. Unia survived but only because she hid.

Ten years pass.

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To Get Those Souvenirs

High Justice

By Jerry Pournelle  

27 Oct, 2019

Because My Tears Are Delicious To You


Jerry Pournelle’s 1977’s High Justice is a collection of short stories set in the Laurie Jo Hansen continuity (which is also featured in Exiles to Glory).

Scandal-plagued America turned to messianic figure Greg Tolland to rescue it from corruption. Alas, Tolland’s People’s Alliance proved just as corrupt as its predecessors. If America and the lesser parts of the world have a future, it is in the hands of visionary capitalists like Laura Jo Hansen.

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A Plan As Big As The Sky

Interference  (Semiosis, volume 2)

By Sue Burke  

24 Oct, 2019

Special Requests

1 comment

Sue Burke’s 2019 Interference is the second instalment in her Semiosis Duology. 

Over two centuries have passed since the original human settlers first arrived at Pax, a habitable terrestrial planet over fifty light-years from Earth. During that time Earth was focused on internal matters. Now it is finally interested enough to send a follow-up mission to Pax. 

Karola is very, very determined to be on that ship.

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Every Smile You Fake

Telepath  (Hive Mind, volume 1)

By Janet Edwards  

23 Oct, 2019

Special Requests


2016’s Telepath is the first volume of Janet Edwards’ Hive Mind series. 

In the Hive cities of the future, everyone is tested at eighteen, then assigned a niche, some useful role for which they are well suited and in which they will be content. An unlucky few are assigned a role with which they may not be content. But it’s a necessary role, so must be filled.

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This Old and Empty House

The Twisted Ones

By T. Kingfisher  

19 Oct, 2019

Special Requests


T. Kingfisher’s 2019 The Twisted Ones is a standalone horror novel. 

Rather than saddle her elderly father with the job, Melissa — Mouse to most folks — accepts the task of sorting through her late grandmother’s North Carolina home. In life, the old lady was malicious and cruel. Nobody much misses her. Even in death, Mouse’s grandmother gets one last joke at her relatives’ expense: she was a hoarder. The house is full of detritus and poor Mouse must sort through it. 

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Burn Brighter Than The Sun

War Girls

By Tochi Onyebuchi  

18 Oct, 2019

Doing What the WFC Cannot Do


Tochi Onyebuchi’s 2019 War Girls is a MilSF novel. 

The Western powers — the oyinbo — gave the world the gifts of climate change and nuclear war. In the aftermath of the war, nations like America and Britain established glittering space colonies. Many nations succumbed to fallout. Nigeria, on the border of the uninhabitable zone, home to mineral riches, fell back on the familiar habits of civil war: Biafra’s Igbo against everyone else. 

Young Onyii is already a seasoned veteran; the loss of an arm has only strengthened her desire to see Biafra free of Nigerian and oyinbo interference. Her only distraction from patriotic fervour is her adopted sister Ify, whom Onyii rescued after Ify was orphaned as an infant. The two sisters live in a camp hidden from Nigerian sensors. 

But not hidden well enough. 

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