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Reviews from July 2020 (21)

Footsteps Even Lighter

Forest of Souls  (Shamanborn, volume 1)

By Lori M. Lee  

31 Jul, 2020

Doing What the WFC Cannot Do


2020’s Forest of Souls is the first volume in Lori M. Lee’s Shamanborn series.

Foundling Sirscha Ashwyn seems destined to spend an unremarkable life as servant to her betters. But Sirscha is too ambitious for that. She apprentices herself to Kendara the Shadow, master spy/assassin for the kingdom of Evewyn. 

Part of her training has consisted of service in the army. While there, she makes a friend, fellow soldier Saengo. She is dispatched on an errand by Kendara; Saengo accompanies her. It’s a trap; a shaman attacks with fire. Sirscha survives but Saengo does not. 

What happens next is unexpected and quite disquieting.

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When You’re a Stranger

Contact Imminent  (Jani Kilian, volume 4)

By Kristine Smith  

29 Jul, 2020

Military Speculative Fiction That Doesn't Suck


2003’s Contact Imminent is the fourth volume in Kristine Smith’s Jani Kilian quintet. 

Human-idomeni relations are troubled at the best of times. On the plus side, the idomeni now have an embassy on Earth, near the terrestrial capital Chicago. On the minus side, someone appears to have done a subpar job of ensuring that the property granted for idomeni use was properly prepared. Or so the landmines suggest.

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Run, Boy, Run

The Incal

By Alejandro Jodorowsky & Moebius  

28 Jul, 2020



Alejandro Jodorowsky’s comic The Incal (French: L’Incal) was illustrated by Moebius (AKA Jean Giraud). The Incal was serialized in Métal hurlant from 1981 to 1988. The series comprises six volumes. 

John DiFool is a low-budget private investigator, competent enough for only the most lowly of tasks. When the series opens, DiFool is being thrown by masked assassins to his certain doom in a deadly lake of acid far below.

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A Thing of Shreds and Patches

The Galactic Rejects

By Andrew J. Offutt  

26 Jul, 2020

Because My Tears Are Delicious To You


Andrew J. Offutt’s 1973 The Galactic Rejects is a standalone SF novel.

The starship Brunner, having been ambushed by the alien Azuli, is doomed. The crew of the Brunner, hoping to prevent panic, assure their passengers that there enough spacepods for all. This is a lie, but it doesn’t convince the telepath Rinegar. He commandeers a spacepod and escapes.

The spacepod lands on the nearest world, which just happens to be conveniently habitable. The pod can’t take off again; Rinegar is marooned. With him are two strangers, fellow veterans of the Terran-Azuli war: flighty teen Corisande and twenty-something delinquent Berneson. 

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All the Secrets of the Mountain

Air Logic  (Elemental Logic)

By Laurie J Marks  

23 Jul, 2020

Special Requests


2019’s Air Logic is the fourth volume in Laurie Marks’ Elemental Logic secondary universe fantasy series. 

After years of brutal occupation of Shaftal by the invading Sainnites, Karis — the new G’Deon — has brought Shaftalese and Sainnites to the brink of reconciliation. Alas for long-suffering Shaftal, not every Shaftalese accepts that Karis is the new G’Deon. They see her as the False G’Deon, a poseur fit only for death for misleading the nation.

Thus, the night of the assassins.

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Forests of the Night

The Leopard Mask  (Guin Saga, volume 1)

By Kaoru Kurimoto  (Translated by Alexander O. Smith & Elye J. Alexander)

22 Jul, 2020


1 comment

1979’s The Leopard Mask is the first volume in Kaoru Kurimoto’s one hundred volume plus (!) sword-and-sorcery Guin Saga. The 2003 English translation is by Alexander O. Smith and Elye J. Alexander.

The kingdom of Parros was peaceful and prosperous; its nobility was elegant and pious. It was a jewel of a kingdom. All the neighbouring Archduchy of Mongaul had going for it was a large army. This allowed Mongaul to crush its elegant neighbour.

The invading Mongaul attack managed to kill all but two members of Parros’ royal family. Twins Rinda and Remus — the Pearls of Parros — escape to the Roodwood. It’s a tossup whether Mongaul’s soldiers will capture the two teens before the Roodwood’s monsters eat them.

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All I Want For Christmas

Dark December

By Alfred Coppel  

19 Jul, 2020

Because My Tears Are Delicious To You


Alfred Coppel’s 1960 Dark December is a standalone post-apocalyptic novel.

Major Kenneth Gavin survived World War Three, protected in the Unimak Island Titan missile base. Over the course of the war, he and his fellow missilemen lobbed salvo after salvo of thermonuclear weapons at the Soviet Union. The United States prevailed; the Soviets have capitulated. Major Gavin is free to go home to his wife Sue and daughter Pam.

If they are still alive and if he can reach them.

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