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Reviews from June 2021 (22)

FirstOne and Its Kin

The Short Fiction of Alison Tellure

By Alison Tellure  

27 Jun, 2021

Because My Tears Are Delicious To You


Alison Tellure had a brief but memorable career that began in 1977 and ended (at least thus far) in 1984. While her works did not attract awards and do not appear to have been frequently anthologized, they were memorable enough to spark conversation during a discussion of women SF authors of the 1970s. In fact, I’ve occasionally thought it might be good to read her work. Which I have now done 😊

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Welcome to the Jungle

The Legacy of Heorot  (Avalon, volume 1)

By Larry Niven, Jerry Pournelle & Steven Barnes  

24 Jun, 2021

Big Hair, Big Guns!


1987’s The Legacy of Heorot is the first volume in Larry Niven, Jerry Pournelle, and Steven Barnes’ Avalon series.

A century after being meticulously selected to establish Man’s first colony on an extrasolar planet, the settlers aboard the National Geographic Society’s starship Geographic establish a foothold on the Tau Ceti IV planet of Avalon. Prudently selecting an island for their settlement, they begin the task of transforming the island into an ecosystem in which humans can thrive.

Despite the unpleasant surprise that a century of hibernation has a cognitive cost apparently undetectable over shorter timespans, the settlers have thus far been successful in their bid to make Man’s Manifest Destiny IN SPAAACE a reality. Indeed, they’ve been so successful that ex-soldier turned security expert Cadmann Weyland seems superfluous to needs. 

The settlers are overconfident. Cadmann is crucial to the colony’s survival — or he will be if he survives the calamity bearing down on the naïve colony.

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She Gives Them Butterflies

And What Can We Offer You Tonight

By Premee Mohamed  

23 Jun, 2021

Miscellaneous Reviews

1 comment

Premee Mohamed’s 2021 And What Can We Offer You Tonight is a standalone dystopic tale of revenge. 

The world of the distant future is perfectly ordered and just. The wealthy are free to enjoy their wealth; the poor are free to work at ill-paid jobs and die of hunger and disease. All is for the best in the best of all possible worlds. 

Courtesan Winsome Winfield is murdered by a client of her brothel, the House of Bicchieri. That’s OK by the House: a free-spending customer is more important than a mere prostitute. 

The other courtesans of the House give their friend a quiet burial. 

Winsome’s resurrection is utterly unexpected. 

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Filled To the Brim with Girlish Glee

Three Twins at the Crater School  (Crater School, volume 1)

By Chaz Brenchley  

22 Jun, 2021

Special Requests


2021’s Three Twins at the Crater School is the first volume in Chaz Brenchley’s Crater School series. 

Whereas the boys of British Mars are usually sent back to Earth for education, the girls of Mars are sent to local schools. Crater School is one such facility. It boards girls from first form through sixth. There they are to be turned into proper, modest, cultured British ladies. Failing that, they can be penned in an isolated location where their exuberance will not disrupt ordinary life.

The novel covers two crises involving three sets of twins: Tawney and Tasha, Levity and Charm, and Rachel and Vanessa.

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Let Me Be Lighter


By Chelsea Quinn Yarbro  

20 Jun, 2021

Because My Tears Are Delicious To You


Chelsea Quinn Yarbro’s 1980 Ariosto is a standalone mundane alternate history novel (but one which contains within itself a fantasy alternate history novel).

Italy’s warring states have set aside their mutual enmity in the name of common defence. The Italia Federata protects all of its member states from foreign aggression, whereas formerly each principality and republic could rely only on its own strength and that of an ever-shifting network of allies. 

Ludovico Ariosto is but a poet, not the Il Primàrio who expected to keep all of the Federata’s saucers in the air. Il Primàrio Damiano de’ Medici is, however, Ariosto’s patron. Italy’s problems are Damiano’s and by the transitive property, Italy’s problems are Ariosto’s.

Small wonder the poet finds escape in fantasy.

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Tigers Eating People’s Faces

The Chosen and The Beautiful

By Nghi Vo  

18 Jun, 2021

Doing the WFC's Homework

1 comment

Nghi Vo’s 2021 The Chosen and The Beautiful is a standalone fantasy reimagining of The Great Gatsby.

Chic athlete Jordan Baker is one of the Louisville Bakers. She is also Vietnamese (or as Americans of Jazz Age America call it, Tonkinese”); she was saved from certain death by Miss Eliza Baker when Jordan was just a baby. Jordan’s social set see Jordan as delightfully exotic, a perfect China1 doll whom they certainly don’t mean when they discuss the need to expel Asians and other races from the US in a bid to keep America white. 

Despite the background anxiety of the impending Manchester Act2, which will both hinder immigration from unworthy nations and facilitate the return to said nations of persons no longer deemed suitable for the US by its white elites, Jordan’s life is a whirlwind of parties, booze, and casual lovers of both sexes. This giddy existence is going to be greatly complicated by close chum Daisy Buchanan.

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Time To Sleep

Sleep and His Brother  (James Pibble, volume 4)

By Peter Dickinson  

17 Jun, 2021

Special Requests


1971’s Sleep and His Brother is the fourth volume in Peter Dickinson’s series of James Pibble mysteries.

Sacked from the police for reasons unexplained, James Pibble is spending too much time at home, at least in the view of his wife. She decides to give him a reason to leave the house. Having overheard a conversation that hints of unspecified criminality, she orchestrates a meeting between McNair House’s Mrs. Dixon-Jones and Pibble.

The meeting begins oddly. On arriving at McNair, Pibble is greeted by two enigmatic dumpling-like children.

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