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Reviews from April 2021 (21)

Cut Me Loose

Pimp My Airship

By Maurice Broaddus  

30 Apr, 2021

Doing the WFC's Homework


Maurice Broaddus’ 2019 Pimp My Airship: A Naptown by Airship Novel is a steampunk novel. Presumably it is an expanded version of the 2009 short story of the same name. It shares a setting with Buffalo Soldiersas well as with other Broaddus works. A setting in which the American Revolution failed and all of North America is still part of the British Empire. 

Sleepy has it all: a small Indianapolis apartment, an unrewarding, onerous job, and a desolate personal life. Despite all this prosperity, he feels the need to express his inner life through poetry. (Poetry doesn’t enrich the upper classes, but as long as it’s kept private …) This idyllic life ends when Sleepy makes a terrible mistake: existing while black.

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Everything’s Broken

Defekt  (LitenVerse, volume 2)

By Nino Cipri  

29 Apr, 2021

Miscellaneous Reviews


Nino Cipri’s 2021 Defekt is the second volume in their LitenVerse series.

Derek lives for work. What could be grander than waking up each morning in his repurposed shipping container, lavishly furnished with damaged-and-returned LitenVärld products, at the back of the LitenVärld parking lot, knowing that he will spend the whole day attending to customers’ needs? Unfortunately, his fellow employees do not share Derek’s sense of purpose. More work for Derek! 

All good things come to an end. 

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Take Me Home

Yokohama Station SF

By Yuba Isukari  (Translated by Stephen Paul)

28 Apr, 2021


1 comment

Yuba Isukari’s 2016 Yokohama Station SF was originally published as Yokohama Eki SF, with illustrations by Tatsuyuki Tanaka. The 2021 translation is by Stephen Paul.

Replicating endlessly, Yokohama Station has spread across Honshu. Life for Insiders — children under six and people over six who have implanted Suika chips — is tolerable. Necessities of life are provided as long as the Insiders do not violate the automated turnstile’s inflexible rules. It’s no utopia but life could be much worse. 

Just ask anyone from the Ninety-Nine Steps.

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Earth Below Us

Shuttle Down

By G. Harry Stine  

25 Apr, 2021

Because My Tears Are Delicious To You


G. Harry Stine’s Shuttle Down is a standalone near-future science fiction novel, published under his Lee Correy pen name. First serialized in Analog from December 1980 to March 19811, it saw print in mass market paperback form in 19812.

Dateline: Tomorrow AD! The space shuttle Atlantis launches from Vandenberg AFB to deliver a Landsat satellite to orbit. A premature main-engine cut-off leaves the shuttle with insufficient velocity to reach orbit. The shuttle must manage to return to the Earth’s surface, using only the limited propulsion provided by its orbital maneuvering system.

Inconveniently for the shuttle and its crew — Frank King, Jacqueline Hart, Lew Clay, and George Hap” Hazzard — Landsats live in sun-synchronous polar orbits. Rather than the abundance of potential emergency landing strips an equatorial orbit offers, most of the Earth’s surface under the shuttle’s path is ocean. 

With one very small exception: Rapa Nui, also known as Isla de Pascua or Easter Island. Providentially, the island’s runway is long enough that a shuttle can make an emergency landing. Once the Atlantis is down, however, significant logistical challenges present themselves.

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O Lucky Me

Black Water Sister

By Zen Cho  

23 Apr, 2021

Doing the WFC's Homework


Zen Cho’s 2021 Black Water Sister is a standalone modern fantasy. 

In a bid to rebuild their lives and escape massive medical debts in the US, Jessamyn Teoh’s parents return to Penang. Jessamyn accompanies them to Malaysia, a nation she has not seen since she was a toddler. This means parting from her girlfriend Sharanya, at least for a time. Not that her parents are aware of the sacrifice. Being gay is just one of a number of subjects Jessamyn hesitates to mention to her conservative parents. 

Not can she even hint at her troubled relationship with her estranged grandmother. Her dead grandmother. 

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Whispering Winds

The Snow Chanter  (The Wild, volume 1)

By Linda Nagata  

22 Apr, 2021

Miscellaneous Reviews


2020’sThe Snow Chanter is the first volume in Linda Nagata’s new trilogy, The Wild.

Humans were a novelty in the Wild, where they began replacing the once-pristine forests and fields with farms, villages, and cities. Many Inyomere, the nature spirits of the Wild, hated the changes but were unsure how best to deal with the humans. One Inyomere, Siddél, embodiment of storm, was more decisive. It was clear that humans must be exterminated. To this end, he created the monstrous arowl, monsters who run in packs and (he hopes) will rid the Wild of humans.

Thus the start of the Long War, which has been going on for centuries. Many humans have died, but they haven’t been exterminated. There are still humans in the Wild. Not exactly prospering, but surviving. 

One day, Bennek, a young Samokean man, is summoned to a quest.

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Sweet as Cherry Wine

Don’t Toy with Me, Miss Nagatoro

By Nanashi  

21 Apr, 2021



Don’t Toy with Me, Miss Nagatoro (Japanese: イジらないで、長瀞さん, Hepburn: Ijiranaide, Nagatoro-san) is a Japanese web manga series written and illustrated by Nanashi. It has been serialized online since 2017. Some translations of the title replace toy” with bully,” for good reason. 

Although it is in many ways a slice-of-life manga, there is a definite direction to the plot. 

Painfully introverted second-year high schooler Nao-kun avoids social interaction whenever possible, burying himself in art, preferably alone in the art club’s clubroom. Given that he has a metaphoric brightly lit easily bullied victim” sign floating over him, this is for the best. To interact with other people is to court abuse. 

Unfortunately for Nao-kun’s equanimity, first year high-school student Hayase ““Hayacchi” Nagatoro has noticed Nao-kun. She has a use for her Senpai,” as she calls him.

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Birds in the Sky

Saffron Alley  (Sword Dance, volume 2)

By A. J. Demas  

20 Apr, 2021

Special Requests


2021’s Saffron Alley is the second novel in A. J. Demas’ Sword Dance secondary universe series.

Having survived an incompetent foray into terrorism mounted by students of Eurydemos, ex-soldier Damiskos returned, at least for the moment, to bureaucratic duties in the city-state of Pheme. His new lover Varazda returned to his household in Boukos. Now it is time for what may be Damiskos’ most dangerous mission ever: venturing to Boukos to meet Varazda’s family.

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Dream, When You’re Feeling Blue

The Lathe of Heaven

By Ursula K. Le Guin  

18 Apr, 2021

Because My Tears Are Delicious To You


Ursula Le Guin’s 1971 The Lathe of Heaven is a standalone science fiction novel.

Despite the distractions of a polluted, overpopulated world forever on the brink of final war, Dr. William Haber does his best to diligently perform his duties. The task at hand: to assist seemingly unremarkable drug abuser George Orr deal with his crippling fear of dreams, Haber plans to use hypnotherapy and his own invention, the marvellous dream-inducing Augmenter. 

Haber soon learns that Orr is anything but unremarkable. Orr is a living wish machine, a genie in a bottle that Haber is uniquely qualified to open.

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