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Reviews from December 2019 (20)


Alice Payne Arrives  (Alice Payne, volume 1)

By Kate Heartfield  

31 Dec, 2019

Miscellaneous Reviews


2018’s Alice Payne Arrives is the first installment in Kate Heartfield’s Alice Payne series. 

Alice father Colonel Payne served for England in the American Revolutionary War; he returned home changed for the worse. Life at home is increasingly difficult for Alice. She could escape by marriage, if some well-heeled man were to overlook her mixed race heritage (which is not all that likely). But a staid, conventional, boring marriage has no appeal to Alice. She prefers to make a living as a dashing highwayman known as the Holy Ghost. She has a minion, an automaton named Laverna. (So, steampunk.)

Alice’s scheme to rob the odious Lord Ludderworth goes awry when Ludderworth, almost all of his servants, and his carriage vanish after the robbery. Highway robbery is common enough that it doesn’t draw a lot of attention, but a vanished aristocrat draws far more intense scrutiny. Alice may be hunted down and hanged. 

That’s bad enough, but, as Alice will discover, time travel makes everything worse.

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Upon This Happy Day

Worlds of the Imperium  (Imperium, volume 1)

By Keith Laumer  

29 Dec, 2019

Because My Tears Are Delicious To You


1962’s Worlds of the Imperium is the first of Keith Laumer’s Imperium novels.

American diplomat Brion Bayard is stalked through the streets of Stockholm. Brion’s efforts to elude his pursuers are energetic but unsuccessful. He is overpowered and carried off. Nobody on Earth will ever see him again.

Nobody on his Earth, that is….

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Raise the Sails

Do You Dream of Terra-Two?

By Temi Oh  

28 Dec, 2019

Doing What the WFC Cannot Do


Temi Oh’s Do You Dream of Terra-Two? is a standalone science fiction novel.

By 2012, breakneck technological development may not have solved problems like global warming, but it has given humans access to the Solar System and beyond. The United Kingdom’s Space Agency has the means to reach the nearest habitable exoplanet, Terra-Two. However, the trip will take more than twenty years. 

The solution? Send kids.

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Why Such a Lonely Beach

A Christmas Carol

By Charles Dickens  

26 Dec, 2019

Miscellaneous Reviews

1 comment

Charles Dickens 1843’s A Christmas Carol. In Prose. Being a Ghost Story of Christmas is a standalone ghost story. Although the author failed to prosper in the science fiction and fantasy genres (in large part because they would not be codified until the following century), he enjoyed great success as a popular author.

Ebenezer Scrooge is living the dream: he has amassed an impressive fortune from which he derives a cold pleasure. He seems to have won at the game of life.

He discovers he has miscalculated the night that his long-dead business partner Jacob Marley visits him.

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Comfortably Numb

Shimeji Simulation

By Tsukumizu  

24 Dec, 2019


1 comment

Tsukumizu’s 2019 Shimeji Simulation is an on-going surrealist slice-of-life manga.

Orphan Shimeji Tsukishima was unhappy at middle school and to avoid it, locked herself away in a small closet for two years. As high school approached, she reluctantly left her refuge. To her surprise, she discovers two small mushrooms — shimeji — sprouting from her head.

Shimeji has come to believe that effort is futile and hope is doomed to disappointment, She intends to pass through high school like a ghost, eschewing social contact and accepting whatever dismal fate life has in store for her. But her visualization of the all proves… inadequate.

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Fools Rush In

Wicked Fox  (Gumiho, volume 1)

By Kat Cho  

23 Dec, 2019

Doing What the WFC Cannot Do

1 comment

Kat Cho’s 2019 debut novel Wicked Fox is the first volume in her Gumiho series.

Thanks to his irresistible charm, slacker Jihoon slides past the strict discipline enforced on other Korean teens. But charm will only take him so far. It won’t get him into a prestigious college and it certainly won’t protect him from the goblin he encounters one night.

Miyoung intervenes, killing the goblin. This may be a temporary reprieve. Miyoung isn’t the attractive young woman she seems to be. She is a gumiho, a nine-tailed fox. She survives by draining the life force from humans like Jihoon.

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Mr. Peabody’s Coal Train


By Stephen Robinett  

22 Dec, 2019

Because My Tears Are Delicious To You


Stephen Robinett’s 1976 Stargate is a standalone SF novel set in the same universe as his short piece Jenson’s Folly.” It was originally serialized in Analog under Robinett’s pen-name Tak Hallus. It is one of three SF novels Robinett wrote.

Downsized engineer Robert Collins needs a job. Co-worker Bernie Mitchel, also downsized, has found a senior engineering spot at Merriweather Enterprize [sic], but cannot accept it due to a heart condition. He cedes the opportunity to Robert. 

The job turns out to involve cutting edge technology, corporate espionage, murder, and quite possibly the destruction of the entire Solar System.

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Twenty Questions

Magic For Liars

By Sarah Gailey  

21 Dec, 2019

Special Requests


Sarah Gailey’s debut novel Magic for Liars is a standalone modern-fantasy-private-investigator story.

The Osborne Academy for Young Mages has a problem. Health and Wellness teacher Sylvia Capley has been found bisected and quite dead in the library. Headmaster Marion Torres does not believe the official explanation, magical mishap. She believes it was murder. 

Torres turns to Ivy Gamble for help. Unlike her sister Tabitha, who teaches at Osborne, Ivy has no magical talent whatsoever. What she does have is a PI license and a long experience of uncovering secrets.

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I Ran All Night and Day

Ancestral Night  (White Space, volume 1)

By Elizabeth Bear  

19 Dec, 2019

Space Opera That Doesn't Suck


2019’s Ancestral Night is the first volume in Elizabeth Bear’s White Space series. It shares a universe with her earlier Jacob’s Ladder sequence1.

Halmey Dz and her partners (the starship Singer and Connla Kurucz) make a precarious living searching out lost starships. They’ve had a run of bad luck; one more failure and they may lose their government subsidy. 

On the other hand, the wrong lost starship could kill them. 

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Icy Hands Taking Hold of Me

The Apple-Tree Throne

By Premee Mohamed  

18 Dec, 2019

Doing What the WFC Cannot Do

1 comment

Premee Mohamed’s 2018 novella, The Apple-Tree Throne, is an alternate-history fantasy.

Having served overseas in the army of the Greater Republic of Britannia, Lieutenant Braddock returns home with a debilitating leg injury. His commanding officer, Major-General Theodore Wickersley, returns in a coffin. Having been promoted far beyond his competence: the Major-General made egregious mistakes that led to his death. 

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