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Reviews from August 2020 (22)

Tastes So Fine

Delicious in Dungeon, volume 1

By Ryōko Kui  

19 Aug, 2020


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Ryōko Kui’s Delicious in Dungeon (Japanese: ダンジョン飯, Hepburn: Danjon Meshi) is a Japanese fantasy comedy manga series. The series is published in Enterbrain’s Harta magazine. 2015’s Volume One collects the first seven chapters.

Laios’ tired and hungry crew of dungeon-delving adventurers make the mistake of challenging a red dragon living deep in the catacombs of a vast underground complex. Laios’ sister Falin manages to teleport most of the party to safety, at the cost of her own life.

All is not lost. If Laios and his allies can make their way back to where they confronted the dragon and defeat the dragon before it has finished digesting Falin, she can be resurrected. 

There are one or two minor complications.

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Walking Against the Crowd

Axiom’s End: A Novel

By Lindsay Ellis  

17 Aug, 2020

Special Requests

1 comment

Lindsay Ellis’ 2020 Axiom’s End: A Novel is the first book in her projected Noumena series. 

In a 2007 that never was, Cora Sabino is a shiftless twenty-something, forever pissing off her mother by her lackluster work ethic and tendency to let things slide. But Cora is just trying to cope. Not only did her father Nils Ortega abandon his family when he became a world-famous internet pundit and leaker of dark government secrets, this world’s Julian Assange, he is the reason that they have been subjected to unpredictable but intrusive government surveillance. It’s wearing. 

Cora is working a temp job when a meteor crashes into Angeles National Forest. This unlikely event is the second time in recent history that a meteor has impacted near LA. Nils believes the first, the so-called Ampersand Event, was an alien spacecraft. He also believes the US government is in contact with aliens. It’s a wild claim. 

It’s also true, but not quite as Nils imagines it.

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The Mind’s True Liberations

Songs from the Stars

By Norman Spinrad  

16 Aug, 2020

Because My Tears Are Delicious To You


Norman Spinrad’s 1980 Songs from the Stars is a standalone science fiction novel. 

Centuries ago, the black sorcery of the industrial age ended with the Smash. Much of the planet is a poisoned wasteland. West Coast Aquaria may be the sole exception. Relying solely on White Science of muscle, sun, wind and water, the people of Aquaria live karmically pure lives unsullied by the black sciences, living by the Clear Blue Way. 

Or so they tell themselves. It’s a lie.

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Count on Me

A Song Below Water

By Bethany C. Morrow  

14 Aug, 2020

Doing What the WFC Cannot Do


Bethany C. Morrow’s 2020 A Song Below Water: A Novel is a standalone contemporary fantasy novel.

Sisters-by-choice Tavia and Effie are African American teens (in uber-white Portland, Oregon), perpetually aware of the potential for casual abuse or worse from police. As stressful as this is, it could be far worse. Tavia has a secret: she is a siren. 

Sirens are feared for two reasons. Firstly, they can control people with the power of their voice. Secondly, all sirens are African American. Powerful African American women are to be feared and hated. Whatever the strict letter of the law might say about killing sirens, the practice is winked at, even lauded.

Take the case of the late Rhoda Taylor.

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Easy Money

Golden Kamuy, volume 1

By Satoru Noda  

12 Aug, 2020



Satoru Noda’s Golden Kamuy (ゴールデンカムイ, Gōruden Kamui) is an ongoing Japanese manga; it has been serialized in Shueisha’s Weekly Young Jump magazine since 2014. Thus far, there have been twenty-two tankōbon volumes. Volume 1 covers the first seven issues. 

Thousands of Japanese soldiers died assaulting 203 Metre Hill during the Russo-Japanese War. Not Saichi Immortal” Sugimoto, who earned his nickname shrugging off what should have been mortal injuries while carving his way through (very briefly) terrified Russian troops.

The Japanese government rewarded Saichi’s valour by discharging him without a pension. Penniless, and desperate for money, the young soldier tries his hand at gold prospecting in Hokkaido. Gold ore eludes him, until a chance encounter with a prospector offers him a quick pass to easy street. 

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Feel the Way the Breezes Blow

Lilith: A Snake in the Grass  (The Four Lords of the Diamond, volume 1)

By Jack L. Chalker  

11 Aug, 2020

Big Hair, Big Guns!


1981’s1 Lilith: A Snake in the Grass is the first volume of Jack L. Chalker’s The Four Lords of the Diamond quartet.

The human Confederacy utterly dominates its region of the Milky Way. All known alien intelligences have been either subjugated to serve human needs, or where that was not possible, exterminated. Unbeknownst to the Confederacy, there are rivals. The first inkling the Confederacy gets that a new player has entered the game comes in the form of a failed infiltration of a defense facility by a sophisticated android double of a Confederacy functionary. 

The android eludes capture. The Confederacy lets it flee in a stolen starship (at the cost of some expendable red-shirt lives), hoping that the android will lead humans to the alien home world. The mysterious rivals have technology equal to or perhaps superior to that wielded by humanity. The fact they have not fallen on humanity zap-guns blazing suggests that the aliens are not certain they would win, even with surprise on their side. If the Confederacy can find the aliens, they might be able to crush them.

The android does not flee to the alien empire, wherever it may be. Instead it leads the navy to the Warden Diamond, human worlds apparently in league with the aliens. Human worlds from which escape is impossible! 

Dispatching an agent to the Warden Diamond will require a special agent and some extraordinary measures.

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I am Invincible

Amazons!  (Amazons!, volume 1)

 Edited by Jessica Amanda Salmonson 

9 Aug, 2020

Because My Tears Are Delicious To You


Jessica Amanda Salmonson’s 1979 Amazons! is an anthology of fantasy stories. Special ones. Each story features a woman protagonist who is not support staff or arm candy for the hero. Almost but not all of the stories are by women. The anthology won the 1980 World Fantasy Award, as well as nominations for both the Locus and the coveted Balrog.

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Till Eternity Passes Away

Here and Now and Then

By Mike Chen  

7 Aug, 2020

Doing What the WFC Cannot Do

1 comment

Mike Chen’s 2019 Here and Now and Then is a standalone time-travel thriller.

The Temporal Corruption Bureau protects history from malicious tampering. Kin Stewart used to be a TCB field agent but, his beacon disabled in a fight with a perp, he can’t return to 2142. Marooned in the 1990s, he has no choice but to make a new life for himself. 

Eighteen years later in 2014….

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Our Elaborate Plans

Endgame  (Jani Kilian, volume 5)

By Kristine Smith  

5 Aug, 2020

Special Requests


Kristine Smith’s 2007 Endgame is the final book in her Jani Kilian quintet. 

About a year has passed since the last book. The idomeni oligarch, Ceel, determined to put an end to Tsecha’s ongoing heretical activities, decides on a cunning plan. Surely assassinating a charismatic leader will dissuade their followers from pursuing heretical ways! What could possibly go wrong?

[spoilers abound for those who haven’t read the previous books in the series]

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