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Reviews from February 2021 (20)

Out There in the Cold

Symbiosis  (Escaping Exodus, volume 2)

By Nicky Drayden  

26 Feb, 2021

Doing the WFC's Homework

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2021’s Symbiosis is the second volume in Nicky Drayden’s Escaping Exodus series. 

Centuries ago, survivors of wrecked Earth enslaved great space faring beasts — Zenzee — to provide new, living, habitats. Exploiting the Zenzee for human convenience rather than sustainability, humans managed to reduce the Zenzee population to a mere handful. Any evidence that Zenzee were conscious beings was ignored. Faced with the choice between business as usual and extinction OR sustainable practices and survival, the crew of the Parados embraced the unthinkable and opted for change.

Under Doka Kaleigh’s leadership, the people of Parados 1 have reformed their ways. The cost? Many personal inconveniences. Unfortunately for Doka, who has been grudgingly allowed to lead by Parados 1’s matriarchy, the other members of the Senate are unconvinced the new ways are better. They are, in fact, playing a long game.


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Time May Change Me

Mother of Learning

By Nobody103  

25 Feb, 2021

Special Requests

1 comment

nobody103 (Domagoj Kurmaic)’s Mother of Learning is a completed web-serial. The 823,563-word effort was serialized between Oct 17, 2011 and Feb 102020.

Zorian Kazinski is neither as talented as his oldest brother Daimen nor as charming as his second oldest brother, Fortov. That’s fine with him. He doesn’t want to be shown off by his social-climbing parents. But Fortov’s value as a social investment fizzled when he turned to be a likeable freeloader. Zorian is now subjected to unwanted attention from parents who are determined to turn his diligent studiousness to account. He appears to acquiesce but … is looking forward to that wonderful day when he can cut all ties with his family (save, perhaps, for his annoying but adorable younger sister, Kirielle). 

For the moment, he has to settle for the lesser distance provided by his stay as a boarder at Cyoria’s Royal Academy of Magical Arts.

There, Zorian will spend a surprising amount of time in third year. Years and years. Or he will spend a couple of months. It depends on your perspective.


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The Trail We Blaze

Planetes Omnibus Volume 2

By Makoto Yukimura  

24 Feb, 2021

Translation

1 comment

Makoto Yukimura’s Planetes (Japanese: プラネテス, Hepburn: Puranetesu, Ancient Greek: Πλάνητες Planētes) is a Japanese hard SF manga. 2016’s Planetes Omnibus Volume 2 collects all of the Planetes material that was not included in Volume 1 (reviewed here). Some of this is bonus backstory, some of it tells readers what came next for the protagonists. 

In Volume 1, the crew of the DS-12 Toy Box—Hachirota Hachimaki” Hoshino, Fee Carmichael, Ai Tanabe, and Yuri Mihairokov — took a break from scouring the skies for deadly orbital debris in order to save the day from the Space Defence Front1. That adventure over, all that remains is getting on with the rest of their lives. 


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When You Feel Like Hope Is Gone

A Broken Darkness  (Beneath the Rising, volume 2)

By Premee Mohamed  

23 Feb, 2021

Cosmic Horror!

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Premee Mohamed’s 2021 A Broken Darkness is a sequel to Beneath the Rising.

A year and a half ago, wunderkind Johnny Chambers and her bestest friend Nick Prasad saved the world from the Dimensional Anomaly. True, they were a bit late and hundreds of millions of people died. The important thing is that seven billion people didn’t die. 

Nick hasn’t spoken to Johnny in the last year and a half. It’s not just because Johnny was responsible for providing other-dimensional beings with the chance to invade our world. Although that is a large part of it.


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The End of Everthing That Stands

The Last Emperox  (The Interdependency, volume 3)

By John Scalzi  

22 Feb, 2021

Space Opera That Doesn't Suck

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2020’s The Last Emperox is the third and final volume in John Scalzi’s The Interdependency trilogy. Three books to a trilogy is a visionary step other authors would do well to emulate. 

The Interdependency: still doomed by the impending collapse of the Flow, on which all interstellar trade depends! Emperox Grayland II: still determined to save the Interdependency’s people! The entire Nohamapetan family, with the exception of the late Amit Nohamapetan (still dead!): still an enormous pain in the ass. 

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Just a Little Rain

Shadow on the Hearth

By Judith Merril  

21 Feb, 2021

Because My Tears Are Delicious To You

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Judith Merril’s 1950 Shadow on the Hearth is a standalone post-apocalyptic novel. 

When her maid Veda calls in sick, harried Westchester housewife Gladys Mitchell waves goodbye to her commuter husband and tackles the household chores alone. There is so much to do that it is not until well after the fact that she learns that the US has been attacked with atomic bombs. 

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Call Me Home

The Unbroken  (Magic of the Lost, volume 1)

By C. L. Clark  

19 Feb, 2021

Doing the WFC's Homework

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2021’s The Unbrokenis the first volume in C. L. Clark’s Magic of the Lost series.

Touraine might have grown up an uncivilized believer in gods and magic had the Balladairans not taken her from her native Qazāl to educate her in Balladairian ways. She then sent to serve as a Sand, a conscript1 soldier. No other choices offered.

Balladair has enough faith in their training that they do not hesitate to send Touraine and her fellow Sands to El-Wast, in subjugated Qazāl. Back to her home country, to put down a rebellion. 

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Shed No Tears

Space Sweepers

By Jo Sung-Hee  

17 Feb, 2021

Translation

4 comments

Jo Sung-hee’s 2021’s Space Sweepers (Korean: 승리호; Hanja: 勝利號; RR: Seungriho; lit. Spaceship Victory) is a Korean space-opera film. 

The Earth is polluted and surely doomed. At least, that is the case put forth by visionary UTS CEO James Sullivan (Richard Armitage). Sullivan is determined to save a chosen few of his friends, giving them refuge on a terraformed Mars. Vastly wealthy, and with his own private army, he seems sure to get his way. 

The Victory’s crew are not among the chosen. They are just blue-collar non-citizens on whose labour the wealthy’s lavish lifestyles depend. Victory’s crew – humans Kim Tae-ho (Song Joong-ki), Tiger Park (Jin Seon-kyu), and robot Bubs (Yoo Hae-jin), and Captain Jang (Kim Tae-ri) — salvage debris from heavily trafficked space lanes. In other words, garbagemen. 

Not people who could possibly impede someone like the great James Sullivan.


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I’ll Be Your Animal

Monsterhearts 2

By Avery Alder  

15 Feb, 2021

Roleplaying Games

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Just in time Only slightly late for 💖 Valentine’s Day! 💖

Monsterhearts 2 is the second edition of Avery Alder’s1 Monsterheartsroleplaying game. As you might guess from the title, this RPG lives in the intersection of teen romance and horror. Not limited to the usual issues presented by puberty, this game has extra issues galore! The player characters in this storytelling game are (almost all) literal monsters, transformed by circumstance and magic into strange new forms.

Despite which, they are still expected to attend high school. 

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