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Reviews from January 2021 (16)

Written in the Book of Life

Starship Through Space

By G. Harry Stine  

24 Jan, 2021

Because My Tears Are Delicious To You

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G. Harry Stine’s 1954 Starship Through Space is a standalone juvenile SF novel. It was published under his pen name, Lee Correy. It shares a setting and a character with 1953’s And a Star to Steer Her By.

Granted a leave of absence from Schiaparelli Space Academy on Mars, Walter Walt” Hansman is summoned back to Earth by his father. He fears that this might be bereavement leave, but Commander Le Farge assures Walt that whatever has happened, or is happening, it is not that Walt’s mother has died. Otherwise, neither the Commander nor the summons provides any hint as to what waits on Earth.

Warning: this review contains spoilers for a book I am pretty sure you will never read.

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Far Away, But Maybe Someday

The Year’s Best Science Fiction: Fifth Annual Collection  (The Year’s Best Science Fiction, book 5)

By Gardner Dozois  

23 Jan, 2021

Special Requests

1 comment

Gardner Dozois’ 1988 The Year’s Best Science Fiction: Fifth Annual Collection is the fifth Dozois anthology of noteworthy science fiction from the previous calendar year. I too am horrified that Dozois used the term collection” when anthology” would have been more appropriate. 

And what did the SF of 1987 — now thirty-four years in the past — look like?


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Where Are You Going, My Little One, Little One

Kiki’s Delivery Service

By Eiko Kadono  (Translated by Emily Balistrieri)

19 Jan, 2021

Translation

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Eiko Kadono 1985 Kiki’s Delivery Service is a coming-of-age fantasy novel, the first of a series featuring the eponymous Kiki. Illustrations are by Yuta Onoda. Translation is by Emily Balistrieri.

Kiki is half-witch: her mother Kokiri is a witch while her father, folklorist Okiro, is human. She has the choice of two heritages but can embrace only one. She chooses witch but … to her mother’s disappointment has mastered but a single witchy talent: flying her broom.

Nevertheless, Kiki is thirteen. For witches that means leaving home to find their destiny out in the world. Accompanied by her cat, Jiji, and her parents’ best wishes, Kiki flies away from her former home and heads off to her new one. 


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In Peace May You Slumber

Children of the Dust

By Louise Lawrence  

18 Jan, 2021

Big Hair, Big Guns!

3 comments

Louise Lawrence’s 1985 Children of the Dust is a standalone young-adult nuclear war novel.

It’s nuclear war time and a full-scale nuclear attack on the UK is imminent. Young Sarah’s school can do little for her and her classmates but to send them home. With Sarah’s father Bill still at work and unlikely to return in time, Sarah helps her stepmother Veronica prepare as best they can for the apocalypse. Then Sarah, Veronica, and Sarah’s siblings William and Catherine wait for the inevitable.


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Born to Run

Beyond Earth’s Gates

By Henry Kuttner & C L Moore  

17 Jan, 2021

Because My Tears Are Delicious To You

3 comments

Henry Kuttner and C. L. Moore’s 1949 Beyond Earth’s Gates is a standalone SF novel1.

Eddie Burton is a rising actor with a promising career ahead of him. Would-be actress Lorna Maxwell would like to have a promising career ahead of her as well. Convinced without proof that Eddie can provide her promising career, Lorna is carrying out a campaign to attach herself to Eddie with all the determination of a school of piranhas surrounding a succulent child. No man of action, Eddie’s countermeasures are limited to hiding in his apartment with the lights off whenever Lorna comes to call. 

When Lorna vanishes, Eddie is the logical suspect.


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Another Day Older

The Salvage Crew

By Yudhanjaya Wijeratne  

15 Jan, 2021

Doing the WFC's Homework

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Yudhanjaya Wijeratne’s 2020 The Salvage Crew is a standalone science fiction novel. 

Centuries in the future, the United Nations (UN) and its rival, the Outer Reaches Colonial Association (ORCA), are busily spreading humanity and its creations across the nearer stars. The distances are formidable, the challenges of alien worlds more so. Truly, shaping human destiny is the work of heroes!

Unfortunately for Overseer AMBER ROSE 348 and its salvage team, the cost-conscious UN opted to go with the lowest bidder. Thus, Planetary Crusade Services got the contract to check an ancient crash site for salvage. Thus, AMBER ROSE finds itself headed to an alien world with a crew the AI would not have selected had it had any say in the matter.


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Fifty Ways

Talentless Nana, book 1

By Looseboy & Iori Furuya  

13 Jan, 2021

Translation

3 comments

Looseboy’s Talentless Nana (Japanese: 無能なナナ, Hepburn: Munō na Nana) is a superhuman manga series. It is illustrated by Iori Furuya. Talentless Nana has been serialized in Square Enix’s shōnen manga magazine Monthly Shōnen Gangansince May 2016. Volume One covers the first four chapters. 

Plagued by the monstrous Enemies of Humanity, humanity elects to send children with special Talents — telekinesis, pyrokinesis, time travel, and more — to an elite teaching facility on an isolated island to prepare them for their role in humanity’s future. Alas, not all of the students are inherently heroic. Some of them are downright bullies, gleeful at the licence granted by their superhuman powers.

[spoilers abound]


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Echoes From the Past I Hear

RuneQuest – Roleplaying in Glorantha

By Greg Stafford, Steve Perrin, Jeff Richard & Jason Durall  

12 Jan, 2021

Roleplaying Games

7 comments

Greg Stafford, Steven Perrin, Jeff Richard, Jason Durall, and friends12018 RuneQuest – Roleplaying in Glorantha (RQG) is the latest2edition of the venerable roleplaying game, RuneQuest (RQ). My review of the 2nd edition can be found here.

And how does this version of the pioneering game stand up, forty years after the first edition saw print?

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From Fortune He Did Sail

Gallagher’s Glacier

By Walt Richmond & Leigh Richmond  

10 Jan, 2021

Because My Tears Are Delicious To You

7 comments

Walt Richmond & Leigh Richmond’s 1970 Gallagher’s Glacier is a standalone science fiction novel.

Humourless, by-the-book Captain Harald Dundee isn’t keen on hiring free-wheeling space engineer N. N. Dublin” Gallagher, but circumstances give Dundee no choice. Their association is short. Gallagher only wants the gig so that he can strong-arm young Dundee into dropping Gallagher and some equipment on an unremarkable ice asteroid. 

His curiosity piqued, Dundee checks in on Gallagher to see what the Space Irishman is doing. It’s straightforward enough: the iceteroid + an obsolete space drive = the first successful non-corporation-owned free trader: Gallagher’s Glacier.


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