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Reviews from January 2021 (22)

In Peace May You Slumber

Children of the Dust

By Louise Lawrence  

18 Jan, 2021

Big Hair, Big Guns!


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


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


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, volume 1

By Looseboy & Iori Furuya  

13 Jan, 2021



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


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


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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End This World of Slavery

Soulstar  (Kingston Cycle, volume 3)

By C. L. Polk  

8 Jan, 2021

Doing the WFC's Homework


2021’s Soulstar is the third book in C. L. Polk’s Kingston Cycle.

Newly crowned King Severin of Aeland inaugurates his ambitious reign by abolishing the misleadingly named Witchcraft Protection Act. Witches will no longer be dragged off to asylums for brutal (often lethal) exploitation and those in asylums will be permitted to leave. All across Aeland, people are reunited with loved ones they had had no hope of ever seeing again. It’s a happy end to a tragic era.

As Robin Thorpe, recently reunited with her witch spouse Zelind, could tell Severin, the situation cannot be resolved with a quick decree.

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Like a Mighty Stream


By Natalie Zina Walschots  

7 Jan, 2021


1 comment

Natalie Zina Walschots’ 2020 Hench is a standalone superhero novel. Well, superhuman novel. 

Professional henchperson Anna Tromedlov office temps for supervillains. It’s a living of sorts. At least she’s not working for someone like Jeff Bezos. 

It’s a job of the sort that passes for normal in our times: meager pay and kvetching with coworkers re inept bosses. It’s normal until Electric Eel, Anna’s latest employer, drags her along to the scene of his latest zany crime. Which places Anna in the same room as superhero Supercollider. 

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All Go Together

The Collapsing Empire  (The Interdependency, volume 1)

By John Scalzi  

5 Jan, 2021

Space Opera That Doesn't Suck


2017’s The Collapsing Empire is the first volume in John Scalzi’s The Interdependency.

Thanks to the Flow, a poorly understood phenomenon that permits faster-than-light travel, the forty-seven systems of the Interdependency have enjoyed a thousand years of mutual dependence and trade. The Interdependency is completely dependent on the stability of the Flow. Therefore, the Flow is stable. To think otherwise would be … unthinkable. 

Polite people do not mention or remember that there used to be forty-eight systems (Dalasýsla, like Earth1 before it, lost its connection to the Flow). 

End has two characteristics of note: it is the only naturally habitable world in the Interdependency, and its home system is farthest from the crown world, Hub. Make that three characteristics of note: as a consequence of being the oubliette of choice for the Independency’s undesirables (political and otherwise), the population of End are a bother. Just ask Lady Kiva Lagos, captain of the good ship Yes, Sir, That’s My Baby.

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