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Reviews from February 2021 (20)

Mother Mother


By Sydney J. Van Scyoc  

14 Feb, 2021

Because My Tears Are Delicious To You


Sydney J. Van Scyoc’s 1976 Starmother is a standalone science fiction novel.

Cadet Jahna Swiss, of the Peace Service Corps, is astounded when she is pulled from her classes and dispatched to spend two years on Nedling, where she is to tend mutant children. Playing nanny falls well outside the traditional duties of the Peace Service.

Her first impression of Nedling is not promising. 

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Lookin’ For a Way to Become

The Apocalypse Ocean  (Xenowealth, volume 4)

By Tobias S. Buckell  

12 Feb, 2021

Doing the WFC's Homework


2012’s The Apocalypse Ocean is the fourth volume in Tobias S. Buckell’s Xenowealth series1.

Bred by the alien Nesaru to manage other human slaves, Kay survived the slaughter that ensued when humans liberated Nesaru-dominated Okur. As the book opens, Kay has found her way through the wormhole network to backwater Placa del Fuego, where the determined sixteen-year-old set out to conquer the world. Or at least the underworld. 

There is a small sticking point: the Doaq.

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Just Keep Listening

The Blackwing War  (Deep Witches Trilogy, volume 1)

By K B Spangler  

11 Feb, 2021

Space Opera That Doesn't Suck


K.B. Spangler’s 2021 coming-of-age space opera The Blackwing War is the first book in her Deep Witches Trilogy. It is set in the same universe as Spangler’s 2017 Stoneskin.

Tembi Stoneskin was rescued from abject poverty when the Deep, the vast, enigmatic entity that facilitates transgalactic teleportation, took a shine to her. As long as the Deep retains its affection for Tembi, she will be an ageless Witch, stepping from world to world as it pleases her. There is little chance Tembi will alienate the Deep. 

There is, however, every chance she will alienate her superiors in the Witch hierarchy. Youthful Tembi is that most dreaded of beings, an idealist. 

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Feel the Wind Blow

Fruits Basket, volume 1

By Natsuki Takaya  

10 Feb, 2021



Natsuki Takaya’s Fruits Basket (Japanese: フルーツバスケット, Hepburn: Furūtsu Basuketto) is a modern fantasy manga. Serialized in the semi-monthly Japanese shōjo manga magazine Hana to Yume, it ran from 1998 to 2006. Volume One contains the first six issues.

High school student Tohru Honda will not let circumstances get her down. True, her father died a long time ago. True, her mother recently died. True, the girl appears to have no contact with her long-dead father’s relatives, while her mother’s kin mostly despise the girl. But at least Tohru’s grandfather is willing to offer her refuge! 

At least her grandfather was until his home needed renovating. Until the renovations are finished, Tohru will have to fend for herself. Tohru would never dream of inconveniencing a friend. Thus her tent in the woods.

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This Very Hour

The Consuming Fire  (The Interdependency, volume 2)

By John Scalzi  

9 Feb, 2021

Space Opera That Doesn't Suck


2018’s The Consuming Fire is the middle volume in John Scalzi’s Interdependency trilogy. 

Faced with the impeding collapse of the Flow, the phenomena that facilitates the faster-than-light travel on which all the worlds of the Interdependency rely, Cardenia Wu-Patrick AKA Emperox Grayland II is determined to urge her subjects to recognize the impending crisis and consider ways to mitigate it. To this end, she uses her status as church figurehead to begin uttering prophecies of the Doom Which Is to Come. 

This succeeds in convincing a number of powerful people that Grayland II is quite mad.

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Gangsta’s Paradise

Thieves’ World  (Thieves’ World, volume 1)

 Edited by Robert Asprin & Lynn Abbey 

7 Feb, 2021

Because My Tears Are Delicious To You


1979’s Thieves’ World is the first volume in Robert Asprin and Lynn Abbey’s shared-universe anthology series. 

Sanctuary: city of adventure! Or to put it another way, Sanctuary: cash-strapped pest-hole to which refugees, riff-raff, and rogues swarm, hoping that an empire uninterested in backwater cities will overlook them. Once a crucial destination along a challenging trade route, Sanctuary’s economy was kneecapped when trade routes changed. Inexorable decline set in. Tragic for the locals who cannot move away but an opportunity for others. 

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You Kill Me With Your Touch

Swordspoint  (Riverside, volume 1)

By Ellen Kushner  

4 Feb, 2021

Miscellaneous Reviews


1987’s Swordspoint is the first novel in Ellen Kushner’s secondary-universe melodrama-of-manners Riverside series. 

Richard St. Vier ventures out of disreputable Riverside into the fashionable Hill to kill … but only when he has a contract. The aristocrats who call the Hill home have a taste for lethal arguments over points of honour. When they do not feel up to the task of gentlemanly murder, they employ professional duelists like St. Vier to fight in their stead. Everyone wins! Except for the losers, who are too dead to care. 

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Doom Doom Doom

Mörk Borg

By Pelle Nilsson, Johan Nohr & Patrick Stuart  

2 Feb, 2021



2019’s Mörk Borg (Dark Fort) is a dark fantasy tabletop roleplaying game. Original text, ideas and game design are by Pelle Nilsson; graphic design and artwork by Johan Nohr; English writing and creative consultation are by Patrick Stuart. 

The world may have dwindled down to a gloomy island from which escape is impossible, but at least everyone is doomed. Unfortunately for the player characters, they have not died — yet. Although there is every chance they will. So, there is that to look forward to.

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