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Reviews from November 2021 (21)

The Girl Inside

Passing For Human  (Benaroya Chronicles, volume 1)

By Jody Scott  

14 Nov, 2021

Because My Tears Are Delicious To You


Jody Scott’s 1977 Passing for Human is the first volume in her Benaroya Chronicles. 

Earth is not only located in an unfashionable galactic neighborhood. Its dominant technological species is a swarming mass of easily duped, neurotic flesh-eating monkeys of little interest to the true people of the Milky Way. It is therefore very inconsiderate of Earth to be located near one end of the promising galaxy-spanning Mousehole project. That is not the worst of Earth’s crimes. 

Earth may have a Satan problem. If so, the consequences will be dire. 

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Have You Ever Seen the Rain?

& This Is How to Stay Alive

By Shingai Njeri Kagunda  

12 Nov, 2021

Doing the WFC's Homework


Shingai Njeri Kagunda’s & This Is How to Stay Alive is a standalone fantasy novel. 

When Nyokabi’s brother Baraka commits suicide, Nyokabi sees only way to go forward: become the responsible surviving sibling. She will make sure that her brother’s funeral is done properly, as her grief-stricken mother cannot manage. 

It is not the only option open to her.

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Running With the Shadows of the Night

Bride of the Rat God  (Bride of the Rat God, volume 1)

By Barbara Hambly  

11 Nov, 2021

Special Requests


1994’s Bride of the Rat God is the first book in Barbara Hambly’s Bride of the Rat God series. 

Widowed during the Great War and shunned by her surviving relatives for the unforgivable sin of marrying a Jew, Norah is grateful to her movie-star sister-in-law Chrysanda Flamande for rescuing Norah from impoverished servitude in the UK. Norah’s role is to be the responsible person while her sister-in-law enjoys a flurry of cocaine, booze, wild parties, and super-long work days that would inspire coal miners to go on strike. Not only is Chrysanda nicer than Norah’s old boss, but Hollywood’s climate is nicer than Britain’s.

Shame about the curse.

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Kill Kill Kill

The Village of Eight Graves  (Kosuke Kindaichi, volume 3)

By Seishi Yokomizo  (Translated by Bryan Karetnyk)

10 Nov, 2021


1 comment

1971’s The Village of Eight Graves is the third novel in Seishi Yokomizo’s Kosuke Kindaichi mystery series. The 2021 English translation is by Bryan Karetnyk.

Tatsuya survived unspecified unpleasantness during the conflict of the early to mid-20th century and returned to Japan to discover that he no longer had a family or home. His mother is long since dead, his step-father has died during the war, and his step-family has scattered to parts unknown. Having no other choice, he has built an unremarkable solitary life for himself in the Japan of the 1940s. 

Thanks to his late mother’s unwillingness to speak of her past, Tatsuya has no idea that he was born into a family, and a rural village, scarred by terrible events. Ignorance is no defense. History seeks him out.

The aging matriarchs of the Tajima family summon Tatsuya to their home village. They believe that he is their long-lost nephew. As such, he is the Tajimi family’s only healthy, adult male heir. Such good fortune! Save for the fact that the community to which he is summoned is the ominously named Eight Graves.

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Sunshine on a Cloudy Day

Feast of Souls  (Magister Trilogy, volume 1)

By C. S. Friedman  

9 Nov, 2021

Special Requests


2007’s Feast of Souls is the first volume in C. S. Friedman’s Magister Trilogy.

The reality of magic is this: magic consumes life force. To practice magic means shortening one’s lifespan. Consequently, prudent witches use their magic judiciously, knowing that each spell brings them closer to a premature death. Magisters have what they feel is a better solution: they draw magic from their so-called consorts. Magisters can cast as much magic as they like, confident that while someone is going to die, it won’t be them. Even better, the link between magister and consort is world-spanning and apparently random, so magisters hardly ever know their living batteries. 

Conscious that non-magisters would likely be displeased if they knew how magister magic is fueled, magisters keep the magister-consort phenomenon secret. Instead, they explain away consort deaths as a mysterious wasting disease. 

Andovan’s terminal case of wasting is a problem. Andovan’s father King Danton has the determination, wealth, and power to ask questions about wasting that magisters very much want not to be asked.

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In the Land of the Old A. E. C.

A Specter is Haunting Texas

By Fritz Leiber  

7 Nov, 2021

Because My Tears Are Delicious To You


Fritz Leiber’s 1969 A Specter is Haunting Texas is a standalone near-future satire. No sequels, for which I am grateful. 

Clad in an exoskeleton of advanced design, actor Christopher Crockett La Cruz descends from the Sack — the Moon-orbiting habitat housing most of Circumlunar’s artistic community — to the Earth from which his ancestors came, long ago, before the Atomic War. Armed with information from his unworldly father, La Cruz is looking for lost family wealth that will surely save their theatre from financial calamity! 

Two minor problems present themselves: firstly, that he was not delivered to Yellowknife, the location of the Lost Crazy-Russian Pitchblende Mine that La Cruz plans to regain, but rather Dallas, Texas. Secondly, that his father’s knowledge of modern North America is an event-filled century out of date. 

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Everyday Superhero

Hollywood Heroine  (Heroine, volume 5)

By Sarah Kuhn  

5 Nov, 2021

Doing the WFC's Homework


2021’s Hollywood Heroine is the fifth volume in Sarah Kuhn’s Heroine superhero series.

Bay Area superheroes Aveda Jupiter and Evie Tanaka head off on another field trip, this time to Hollywood. Having sold the TV rights to their adventures, they think it would be fun to watch the filming. 

John Godfrey Saxe once said Laws, like sausages, cease to inspire respect in proportion as we know how they are made.” Much the same could be said of television shows that are based on one’s own experiences.

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Tonight Can We Just Get It Right


By Ken Grimwood  

4 Nov, 2021

Big Hair, Big Guns!


Ken Grimwood’s World Fantasy Award-winning 1986 Replay is a stand-alone temporal recursion novel. 

October 18, 1988: Jeff Winston is stuck in a dead-end radio job and his marriage to Linda is disintegrating. Distraction might be welcome, but what happens is unwelcome. He and his wife are in the middle of a painful discussion of divorce when Jeff has a massive and painful heart attack. Jeff dies, ending the marriage in an unsatisfactory way (from Jeff’s POV). 

But … Jeff suddenly finds himself alive and well again. As a young Jeff, a college student in 1963.

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The Basic Elements

To Your Eternity, volume 1

By Yoshitoki Oima  

3 Nov, 2021


1 comment

2017’s To Your Eternity, Volume 1 is the first volume collecting a run of Yoshitoki Oima’s fantasy manga. Originally published as Fumetsu no Anata e, the series has run since 2016 in Weekly Shōnen Magazine.

A remarkable object — Fushi — falls to Earth. Able to mimic other objects, Fushi becomes a rock and then moss. Since neither rock nor moss are self-aware, it does not learn anything from these transformations. 

One day Fushi encounters a dying wolf. When the wolf dies, it copies the wolf’s form. This new proves far more educational than its previous forms. Chief lesson learned: while Fushi is immortal, the beings he meets have transient lives.

Warning: if kids dying upsets you, this is not the manga for you. It’s slightly less child friendly than Grave of the Fireflies.

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