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Reviews from April 2020 (21)

That’s the Way the World Goes Round

The Search for Delicious

By Natalie Babbitt  

30 Apr, 2020

Special Requests

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Natalie Babbitt‘s 1969 The Search for Delicious is a standalone children’s fantasy.

Prime Minister DeCree’s dictionary seemed a harmless hobby, until the day he reached the word delicious.” The King was most displeased with the example DeCree selected. The Queen for her part agreed that DeCree’s example was poorly chosen, but disagreed with the King as to which food was the best choice for delicious.” No agreement was reached.

Further discussion disclosed that each person in the castle had their own favourite food. Nobody was willing to compromise. Not only was this conflict a significant roadblock in dictionary production … government meetings devolved into arguments re the best example for delicious.”

The proposed solution: a national poll.


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For Service and Devotion

Moribito: Guardian of the Spirit  (Moribito, book 1)

By Nahoko Uehashi  

29 Apr, 2020

Translation

2 comments

Nahoko Uehashi’s 1996 novel Moribito: Guardian of the Spirit (Seirei no Moribito ) is the first of twelve Moribito young-adult secondary-world-fantasy volumes.

Wandering bodyguard Balsa has no desire to become entangled in the affairs of royalty. Despite this, when she sees the carriage conveying Second Prince Chagum tumble from Yamakage Bridge, she dives into the raging river and saves the young boy. 

There are consequences.


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Lost at the End of the World

The Steel of Raithskar  (Gandalara, book 1)

By Randall Garrett & Vicki Ann Heydron  

28 Apr, 2020

Special Requests

5 comments

Vicki Ann Heydron and Randall Garrett’s 19811 The Steel of Raithskar is the first volume in their Gandalara sword and sorcery fantasy series2.

Aged Richard Carillo sets out on a cruise expecting to live only a few months before untreatable terminal illness kills him. The incandescent meteor falling from the sky comes as a surprise. 

Waking up after being hit by a bolide is also unexpected. The surprises keep coming.


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Tough Guys

Seetee Alert!  (Cap Kennedy, book 6)

By E. C. Tubb  

26 Apr, 2020

Because My Tears Are Delicious To You

2 comments


E. C. Tubb’s Seetee Alert! is the sixth volume in his Cap Kennedy series, written under the penname Gregory Kern. It is the only Cap Kennedy book I’ve ever read.

At the height of a carnival on poverty-stricken planet Somope, a daring theft leaves a trail of bodies in its wake. The item stolen? A disgraced scientist’s seemingly valueless notebook.

Meanwhile Cap Kennedy and his crew are traveling through deep space in their starship Mordain, testing a cutting-edge force field. The test takes a deadly turn when the craft encounters something far more deadly than expected: a contraterrene (AKA Seetee or antimatter) storm! 


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Waiting for the Revolution

Analog/Virtual: and Other Simulations of Your Future

By Lavanya Lakshminarayan  

24 Apr, 2020

Doing What the WFC Cannot Do

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Lavanya Lakshminarayan’s 2020 Analog/Virtual: and Other Simulations of Your Future is a collection of short pieces that all share the same setting, if not the same characters.

Nation states died in the Population Catastrophe. Happily, for humanity, or at least that fraction of it that matters, the Bell Corporation seized the opportunity presented by global chaos to enforce a new world order, a pure meritocracy with no room for the inefficient, the weak, or the unfashionable. In other words, utopia!


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Invincible

Unconquerable Sun  (Sun Chronicles, book 1)

By Kate Elliott  

23 Apr, 2020

Space Opera That Doesn't Suck

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Kate Elliott’s upcoming space opera, 2020’s Unconquerable Sun, due out July 7th, is the first book in her new series, the Sun Chronicles.

Princess Sun returns to Molossia System having routed the Phene enemy. No official accolades await her. As far as her mother Queen-Marshal Eirene is concerned, Sun was competent, as expected. Nothing worth comment. Sun may be Eirene’s heir but she is held to an impossibly high standard and never loved or praised.

Although she is not fully aware of her danger, Sun’s status as heir is under threat.


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Freeze This Moment a Little Longer

Kokkoku: Moment by Moment, book 1

By Seita Horio  

22 Apr, 2020

Translation

0 comments

Seita Horio’s manga Kokkoku: Moment by Moment (Kokkoku) is a fantasy noir manga series. It was serialized in Kodansha’s Morning Two magazine from August 21, 2009 to October 23, 2014. Volume one contains the first five issues.

Juri Yukawa hopes to find a job, just like her sister Sanae and her mother. After nineteen failed job interviews, it begins to seem that this may not be her destiny. It may be that fortune intends her to join her NEET brother Tsubasa and father Takafumi, who are useless layabouts (but nice ones). 

The Yukawas are by no means wealthy; they’re not an obvious target for criminals. Notwithstanding, gangsters ambush and kidnap Tsubasa and his nephew. The Yukawas are told that they have thirty minutes to deliver a five-million-yen ransom. If they fail, Tsubasa will be murdered. 

The only way the Yukawas could scrape together five million yen is to raid Grandfather’s retirement funds. But there’s no way to do this in the time allotted. Or so it seems. Grandfather has resources of which his family is unaware; for Grandfather, thirty minutes is all the time in the world. 


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Smiling Faces

Growing Light

By Marta Randall  

21 Apr, 2020

Special Requests

5 comments

Marta Randall’s 1993 Growing Light is a murder mystery. It was published under the pen name Martha Conley

Life in a small California town seemed nearly idyllic until a fatal car accident left Anne Munroe a widowed single mother. She needs a job. The small community offers few opportunities for employment. But there is at least one: the local firm Growing Light needs her technical editing skills. 

The job does not come without problems. 


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Take Me to Some Twilight Land

Rendezvous with Rama

By Arthur C. Clarke  

19 Apr, 2020

Because My Tears Are Delicious To You

2 comments

Arthur C. Clarke’s 1973’s Rendezvous with Rama is a first-contact science fiction novel. 

In the early 22nd century the Spaceguard warning system detects an asteroid-sized body passing through the Solar System. Although the object will not come near Earth and thus falls outside Spaceguard’s main mission, the body has a number of unusual characteristics that warrant investigation: the object is of extrasolar origin and will exit the Solar System once it passes the Sun; it appears to have smooth surface and a rotation period measured in minutes. It cannot be a comet. A closer look by a space probe reveals that it is an alien space craft. It is dubbed Rama.”

Only one crewed spacecraft is in the right orbit with enough fuel reserves to match course with Rama: Commander Norton’s Endeavour.

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Pennies from Heaven

Fair’s Point  (Astreiant, book 4)

By Melissa Scott  

18 Apr, 2020

Special Requests

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Melissa Scott’s 2014 Fair’s Point is the fourth volume in her on-going Astreiant series. 

When aristocrat Dandin de Calior went bankrupt, the debacle extended to his creditors. Protagonist Philip Eslingen lost a goodly sum and ended up with … a dog (his share of de Calior’s assets). 

Rather than sell the basket-terrier, Eslingen decides to enter it in the dog races. He hires a well-regarded dog trainer, Besetje Quentier, and hopes to recoup his losses. 


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