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Reviews from October 2021 (22)

The Knights Come Riding Two And Two

Deryni Checkmate  (The Chronicles of the Deryni, volume 2)

By Katherine Kurtz  

31 Oct, 2021

Because My Tears Are Delicious To You


1972’s Deryni Checkmate is the second volume of Katherine Kurtz’s Ruritanian historical fantasy series, The Chronicles of the Deryni.

AD 1121: Having secured his rightful place on the throne of the Kingdom of Gwynedd, one might think that all of young King Kelson Haldane’s problems are over. They are just starting. 

The Eleven Kingdoms (of which Gwynedd is one) have a healthy sense of competition. Neighboring Kingdom of Torenth is preparing to invade Gwynedd. And that’s not the worst problem facing the King and his allies.

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Meet Myself There  (Edge to Center, book 2)

By Brenda W. Clough  

29 Oct, 2021

Doing the WFC's Homework

1 comment

2019’s Meet Myself There is the second volume in Brenda W. Clough’s Edge to Center time-travel series.

President Calla Ang of Jalanesia and her husband Colonel Bencasilat Ben” Ming are enjoying a quiet day at home when a time-travelling assassin — Frances Fanny” Allen-Forstyth née Wragsland — appears and murders their daughter Lilias and her nanny Sala before she is gunned down by a quick-thinking Ben. Very tragic but also in no way the end of the matter. 

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Guess You Need Some Bringing Down

The Gripping Hand  (Moties, volume 2)

By Larry Niven & Jerry Pournelle  

28 Oct, 2021

Special Requests


1993’s The Gripping Hand is the utterly unnecessary sequel to Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle’s 1974 The Mote in God’s Eye. I still consider Mote a classic. As this is not. 

A quarter century after the events of Mote, Horace Hussain Bury is an unpaid servant of the Empire of Man. He fears that humanity will be overwhelmed by the highly intelligent, quick-breeding Moties and has engaged in an unending quest to save his species. 

Untoward events on Maxroy’s Purchase suggest Bury’s vigilance has been for naught.

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Wrapped Up In Books

Apprentice Shrine Maiden, volume 3

By Miya Kazuki  (Translated by Quof)

27 Oct, 2021



2016’s Apprentice Shrine Maiden, Volume 3 is the third instalment in the second arc of Miya Kazuki’s Ascendance of a Bookworm secondary-world fantasy series. Illustrations are by You Shiina. The 2020 English language translation is by Quof.

Myne kept the secret of her past — that she contains the memories of a Japanese bookworm who died when her books collapsed on her — a closely held secret. True, she possesses great knowledge of many topics utterly unfamiliar to her new homeland. She thought that she could conceal this advantage. She couldn’t. Circumstances forced her to confess all to High Priest Lord Ferdinand. Magic has confirmed her story. 

Myne believes that she is now free to return to her avocation of upending society through the introduction of innovations. These innovations may cause side-effects, but she’s not worried about those. All she wants is realize her dream of mass-produced books. 

She’s wrong. Pursuing her dream has become more difficult. 

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Old Trees Just Grow Stronger

Jade Legacy  (Green Bone Saga, volume 3)

By Fonda Lee  

25 Oct, 2021

Doing the WFC's Homework


2021’s Jade Legacy is the third volume in Fonda Lee’s Green Bone Saga. 

Ayt Mada has a grand plan to unify Kekon against external enemies. Unfortunately for the surviving Kaul siblings, Hiloshudon (Hilo) and Shaelinsan (Shae), their No Peak clan is an impediment to Mada’s grand plan. There have been years of bloody conflict between Ayt Mada’s Mountain clan and the Kaul’s No Peak clan. Worse yet, Lan, the Kaul sibling who would have been the best choice to lead No Peak to victory, has been dead since the first volume. This has left poor Hilo to struggle in Lan’s place. 

The larger context: great powers Ygutan and Espenia have intruded into Kekon’s bucolic world of bioenergetic jade-enhanced clan warfare. The clans have returned the favour. Conflict is endemic … and expensive. Both Kekon clans need cash, which overseas ventures might provide. 

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How Life Goes On

Earth Ship and Star Song

By Ethan I. Shedley  

24 Oct, 2021

Because My Tears Are Delicious To You

1 comment

Ethan I. Shedley’s 1979 Earth Ship and Star Song is a stand-alone science fiction novel. It was his debut novel. 

Thanks to concerted efforts by many generations of humans, 21st Century Earth is clearly doomed to horrific death due to runaway greenhouse effect. When closely examined, every proposed mitigating technology has secondary effects that will accelerate the planet’s doom. Of the four possible coping mechanisms, three can be eliminated as impractical.

The best chance for the human race (and a selection of terrestrial lifeforms) is to flee the planet in great arks. The technology needed is in hand … save for one small detail.

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The World Stood Still

A Rage for Revenge  (The War Against The Chtorr, volume 3)

By David Gerrold  

21 Oct, 2021

Special Requests


1989’s A Rage for Revenge is the third volume in David Gerrold’s The War Against the Chtorr series: a multipart tale of the ongoing and highly successful efforts of an alien ecosystem to remake Earth in their image. 

Lieutenant James McCarthy signs up for Mode training, which is a bit like ESTif EST were to involve more verbal abuse and threats of physical violence. It soon becomes clear that McCarthy suffered something even worse than his usual bad luck. Cue lengthy flashback!

Readers triggered by child abuse will want to stop reading right now.

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More Than Madness

A Bride’s Story, volume 4

By Kaoru Mori  

20 Oct, 2021



A Bride’s Story, Volume 4, is the fourth installment of Kaoru Mori’s historical manga series. Originally published as Otoyomegatari, Volume 4, this volume was first published in Japan in 2012. The English translation appeared in 2013

Guide Ali delivers English scholar Henry Smith to Muynak, a small town at the edge of the Aral Sea, at which point Smith rewards Ali’s diligence by falling off his camel into the water. Smith is retrieved from the water by twin sisters Laila and Leily. It is on these two teens the narrative focuses.

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