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Reviews from October 2020 (23)

Choose Your Masks

The Inugami Curse  (Detective Kosuke Kindaichi, volume 6)

By Seishi Yokomizo  

31 Oct, 2020



The Inugami Curse is the sixth volume in Seishi Yokomizo’s Detective Kosuke Kindaichi series. First published in 19511, the 2020 translation is by Yumiko Yamazaki.

Lawyer Toyoichiro Wakabayashi summons detective Kosuke Kindaichi to the town of Nasu. The lawyer needs the detective’s help to prevent a wave of horrific murders. Alas for Wakabayashi, the detective is momentarily distracted while saving a beautiful woman from drowning in a nearby lake. When the detective returns to his client, the lawyer is dead. Someone poisoned one of the lawyer’s cigarettes. 

Losing one’s client before the case has begun is embarrassing. Kindaichi decides stick around the town to wait for more murders and then solve them after the fact. He won’t have to wait long, thanks to some very bad choices by the late Sahei Inugami.

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Give Me Your Tired, Your Poor

On Fragile Waves

By E. Lily Yu  

30 Oct, 2020

Doing What the WFC Cannot Do


E. Lily Yu’s 2021 On Fragile Waves is an upcoming ghost story, suitable for Halloween (eve).

When parents Atay and Abay decide to flee war-torn Afghanistan for the safety of Australia, they spin tales of the wonderful life to come to their daughter Firuzeh and son Nour. The trip is fantastically expensive and the route frustratingly indirect, but once they wend their way through Pakistan and Indonesia, a new home in Australia will be theirs.

Or, as it turns out, not. 

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They Keep You Out, They Keep You In

Cast Down the Stars

By McClure Jones  

28 Oct, 2020

Special Requests


McClure Jones’ 1978 Cast Down the Stars is a standalone fantasy novel. 

Glory is a skilled astrologer, the Second Starcaster of the Solstice Tower. There’s no doubt that she will eventually be First Starcaster. 

Her career has been complicated by her parentage. Her parents were traitors whose mad scheme got them (and their followers) killed. While society in general does not hold this against Glory, her grandfather Sun in Winter does, and he sits on the ruling Council.

Her parents are long dead but their greed still imperils the land. 

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Big Bad Wolf

The Route of Ice and Salt

By José Luis Zárate  

24 Oct, 2020


1 comment

José Luis Zárate’s 1998 The Route of Ice and Salt is a nautical horror novel. The 2020 English translation is by David Bowles.

The captain of the Demeter is a skilful, experienced mariner, known for his attention to his crew. Not all captains are as humane.

His latest commission seems straightforward enough. The route from Varna to Whitby is well charted. Nothing could be more harmless than a few crates of Transylvanian soil.

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A Bargain with the World

The Space Between Worlds

By Micaiah Johnson  

23 Oct, 2020

Doing What the WFC Cannot Do

1 comment

Micaiah Johnson’s 2020 The Space Between Worlds is a science fiction novel. 

Adam Bosch has invented a machine that gives Wiley City (and to a lesser extent the dystopian hellscape beyond its walls) access to the multiverse. New resources, new information … that’s the good part. But there is a catch. Indeed, a number of catches. 

Adam’s machine will only work to connect timelines that are quite similar. Even though there are an infinity of possible worlds, Wiley City only has access to 380. Travel between timelines is physically challenging. Not only that: living beings who travel to parallel worlds in which they have a living analog will die horrible deaths. 

Privileged people, important people, tend to have analogs in most of the other realities. They’ve led protected lives, as have most of their analogs. Traversing would surely mean death. But there are a lot of people who haven’t led protected lives. Beyond Wiley City’s walls live the poor, doomed to short and dangerous lives. Send such a poor person across the worlds and it’s just possible that the poor person may live. 

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When the World Comes In

The Angel of the Crows

By Katherine Addison  

21 Oct, 2020

Miscellaneous Reviews


Katherine Addison’s 2020 The Angel of the Crows is a standalone gas-lamp fantasy. 

Near-fatally savaged by a fallen angel encountered in Afghanistan, Dr. J. H. Doyle, late of Her Majesty’s Imperial Armed Forces Medical Corps, returns home to England. Doyle’s pension is small; living alone will be impossible. Doyle is forced to look for a flatmate. Doyle is painfully aware that it will be an odd flatmate indeed who will be able to tolerate the doctor’s quirks.

Odd flatmate found: Crow, a consulting detective. Crow is also an angel. 

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Into the Calm and the Quiet

Time Piper  (Tom Humboldt’s Time Machine, volume 1)

By Delia Huddy  

20 Oct, 2020

Special Requests


Delia Huddy’s 1979 Time Piper is the first volume in a duology (Tom Humboldt’s Time Machine). 

Eighteen-year-old Luke Crantock first encounters Hare Bingley as she flees a group of local bullies. This fails to serve as a meet-cute for a couple of reasons. Firstly, because Luke discovers that he is too cowardly to intervene; she has to escape on her own. Secondly, because Hare, on her part, isn’t at all interested in forming personal connections. 

Nevertheless, Luke cannot stop thinking about the beautiful young woman.

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Start Again at Your Beginnings

Star Driver

By G. Harry Stine  

18 Oct, 2020

Because My Tears Are Delicious To You


1980’s Star Driver is a standalone SF novel by G. Harry Stine, writing under the pen name Lee Correy. It ended a twenty-four-year hiatus in Stine’s SF novel writing career. A flurry of novels followed.

Government funding cuts end astronomer Mike Call’s research project and his job. This is a big problem, because Call is qualified (experience counts!) but he is under-credentialled. Many possible jobs are out of his reach.

Call isn’t just a scientist. He is a trained pilot. NEMECO can use a man like him. 

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