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Reviews from November 2020 (22)

Our Darkest Deeds

Engaging the Enemy  (Vatta’s War, volume 3)

By Elizabeth Moon  

17 Nov, 2020

Military Speculative Fiction That Doesn't Suck

1 comment

2006’s Engaging the Enemy is the third (and middle) volume in Elizabeth Moon’s Vatta’s War quintology. 

The book begins where the previous one left off. Ky Vatta is rebuilding her family business, which was laid waste in the previous book. She has managed to acquire her father’s implant, which gives her intimate knowledge of the company (as well as of her father’s final moments before his death). She has defeated her evil relative Osman and has seized his heavily armed ship as spoils of war.

Her troubles are not over, not least because many governments do not accept as legitimate the murder hobo creed I killed him and then took his stuff.”

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Smiles Awake You When You Rise

The Tenth Planet

By Edmund Cooper  

15 Nov, 2020

Because My Tears Are Delicious To You


Edmund Cooper’s 1973 The Tenth Planet is a standalone SF novel. 

Having challenged the Earth’s capacity to accommodate overpopulation and pollution (and lost), the bulk of humanity faces an inevitable demise due to rapid-onset climate change and the chaos that follows. Everyone on Earth, even the large-breasted women, will die. Only the colonies on the Moon and on Mars might survive what is to come. 

Under Idris Hamilton’s command, the Dag Hammarskjold sets off from Woomera, intent on delivering one last cargo of children slumbering away in cold sleep. Scarcely has the spacecraft set out than three explosive devices set by saboteurs, disgruntled at being left behind, blow the Dag Hammarskjoldapart, killing all aboard. 

Five thousand years later…

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What a Wonderful Feeling


By Ahmed Khaled Towfik  

11 Nov, 2020



Ahmed Khaled Towfik’s 2012 Utopia is a standalone dystopic novel. The English translation is by Chip Rossetti.

When synthetics replaced oil, Egypt’s wealthy took their riches and retreated to the walled city of Utopia. The vast majority of Egyptians — the Others — were consigned to short, unpleasant lives of poverty. They lived outside the walls, where no Utopian need ever think of them.

The young unnamed Utopian protagonist, bored to tears, thinks of the Others all the time. 

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Of Fairest Faces

No Flying in the House

By Betty Brock  

10 Nov, 2020

Special Requests

1 comment

Betty Brock’s 1970 No Flying in the House is a standalone children’s fantasy. Illustrations are by Wallace Tripp. 

As son as Mrs. Vancourt sees the tiny white dog named Gloria, she covets it. Her resolve is only increased when she discovers that Gloria has mastered many many tricks … why, Gloria can even speak 😊 How her friends would envy Mrs. Vancourt if she were to own such a marvelous dog! 

Gloria is willing to move into Mrs. Vancourt’s house. There is, however, a catch. Mrs. Vancourt must also provide three-year-old Annabel Tippens with a home.

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Strange Things Did Happen Here

Swamp Thing, Issues 1 — 10

By Len Wein & Bernie Wrightson  

8 Nov, 2020

Because My Tears Are Delicious To You


Swamp Thing issues 1 to 10 were published between 1972 and 1973; they were written by Len Wein and drawn by horror artist Bernie Wrightson. Swamp Thing is a horror comic that takes place in the DC Universe. 

The American government is determined to protect scientists Alec and Linda Holland from malevolent forces. The government sequesters the couple in an isolated, poorly guarded refurbished barn. But hey, it’s secret!

Security by obscurity has failed by the time the Hollands arrive at their new lab. The consequences are dire.

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Be My Little Secret

Seven of Infinities

By Aliette de Bodard  

5 Nov, 2020

Space Opera That Doesn't Suck


2020’s Seven of Infinities is a short (138 pages) science fiction novel set in Alliette de Bodard’s Xuya universe. 

Scholar Vân ekes out a meagre living as a tutor. She is therefore alarmed to learn from her acquaintance, the shipmind Sunless Woods, that the poetry club to which both scholar and AI belong wants to eject Vân for being too commonplace. This could trigger an economic catastrophe for Vân, as her clients might take ejection as a signal to dump Vân and hire someone else. Nevertheless, Vân cannot fight, because to fight would attract scrutiny she cannot afford. 

A suspicious death comes almost as a welcome distraction.

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