James Nicoll Reviews

Home > Reviews > By Date

Reviews from January 2022 (21)

Art of War

A Bride’s Story, volume 6

By Kaoru Mori  

31 Jan, 2022


1 comment

2014’s A Bride’s Story, Volume 6, is the 6th tankōbonof Kaoru Mori’s Otoyomegatari 19th century Silk-Road historical-romance manga. 

Having married Amir off to the Karluk clan, Amir’s Halgal clan is experiencing buyer’s remorse. Another ally, the Numaji clan, feels entitled to possession of Amir (to replace Halgal wives abused and killed by their husband). Not having received the replacement bride, the Numaji retaliate by ejecting the Halgal from previously shared pasturage. This could mean the end of the Halgal. 

Halgal leader Belqat has a brilliant plan. 

Read more ➤

Quick as a Cat

Time’s Last Gift

By Philip José Farmer  

30 Jan, 2022

Because My Tears Are Delicious To You


Philip José Farmer’s 1972 Time’s Last Gift is a time-travel novel. Revised in 1977, Time’s Last Gift shares continuity with Farmer’s Opar novels.

With a thunderclap, a time machine (H. G. Wells 1) appears in Stone-Age Europe. Geography having changed more than predicted between the 2070 from which the machine departed and the 12,000 BC when it arrived, the time machine immediately tumbles down a hillside. Thanks to prudent design, all of H. G. Wells’ occupants — beautiful Rachel Silverstein, disappointing Drummond Silverstein, German Robert von Billmann, and mysterious he-man adventurer John not Tarzan” Gribardsun — are unharmed. 

The explorers have four years in which to document Europe’s Stone-Age culture. Due to the way that time travel works (in this novel at least), nobody will ever be able to visit this era again. The scientists plan to make the best of those four years. Gribardsun has his own plans, which he does not care to share at this juncture.

Read more ➤

Quiet Voices

The Annual Migration of Clouds

By Premee Mohamed  

28 Jan, 2022

Doing the WFC's Homework


Premee Mohamed’s 2021 The Annual Migration of Clouds is a stand-alone post-apocalyptic novella. 

Reid Graham is ecstatic to receive a letter of acceptance from Howse University. Howse is not merely a respected centre of learning. It is one of the few places in Canada that retains high technology despite a series of calamities that have reduced the population of the world by two orders of magnitude. 

The catch? Reid has to get to Howse on her own. This is tricky. Howse is hundreds of miles away from Reid’s home; there are few automobiles still functioning. And … there are other problems. 

Read more ➤

A Horse With No Name

All the Horses of Iceland

By Sarah Tolmie  

27 Jan, 2022

Miscellaneous Reviews


Sarah Tolmie’s 2022 All the Horses of Iceland is a historical fantasy.

The nameless horse’s 9th century1journey from Central Asia to Iceland began with religious conversion. More exactly, it began because a conversion was refused. Eyvind of Eyri, an Icelandic pagan and a sailor, finds Christian attempts to covert him unconvincing. When the captain of Eyvind’s ship converts to Christianity while docked in the Volga river trading community of Helmgard (modern Novgorod), only Eyvind refuses to follow the captain’s lead. Feeling out of place on the now Christian ship, Eyvind cashes in his shares and looks for other opportunities.

Read more ➤

Someday In the Mist Of Time

Science Fiction Discoveries

By Carol Pohl & Frederik Pohl  

23 Jan, 2022

Because My Tears Are Delicious To You


Carol Pohl and Frederik Pohl’s 1976 Science Fiction Discoveries is the fourth and final anthology the Pohls edited together1; their editorial collaboration did not survive their 1977 separation and 1983 divorce. It is an anthology of original science fiction. Rather like Orbit, you say? In a way, except there was just the one Science Fiction Discovery anthology. 

Read more ➤

Hope You’re Happy

Kundo Wakes Up  (The Gurkha and the Lord of Tuesday, volume 2)

By Saad Z. Hossain  

21 Jan, 2022

Doing the WFC's Homework


Kundo Wakes Up is the second volume in Saad Z. Hossain’s The Gurkha and the Lord of Tuesday series. 

One year and two hundred and thirty-six days ago, artist Kundo’s wife vanished, leaving a note informing him that she was leaving. Kundo did not handle the news at all well. Now, six hundred and one days later, he wakes from his daze and resolves to look for his wife. 

Read more ➤

Fighting Dragons

Dragons of Autumn Twilight  (Dragonlance Chronicles, volume 1)

By Margaret Weis & Tracy Hickman  

20 Jan, 2022

Big Hair, Big Guns!


1984’s Dragons of Autumn Twilight is the first volume in Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman’s Dragonlance Chronicles. Curiously for a trilogy, the Chronicles comprise but three volumes. 

Tanis Half-Elven (bastard half-elf)1, Sturm Brightblade (a would-be knight), Caramon Majere (fighter), Raistlin Majere (magic user and Caramon’s sickly brother), Flint Fireforge (dwarf grognard), and Tasslehoff Burrfoot (kleptomaniac hobbit kender) reunite in the Inn of the Last Home to regale each other with tales of the adventures each has had in the five years since they last met. 

One Companion is missing. Kitiara Uth Matar, Caramon and Raistlin’s half-sister and future villain, sends a note saying that she will not attend. Flint proclaims this development bad luck. This pessimistic proclamation is too optimistic by half.

Read more ➤

God Save the Village Green

Yomi no Tsugai

By Hiromu Arakawa  

19 Jan, 2022



Hiromu Arakawa’s Yomi no Tsugai (Tsugai of the Underworld) began serialization in late 2021

Unlike certain other Arakawa protagonists, Yuru lives in a peaceful rural village. Deep in the mountains, the community is little troubled by mundane affairs. While some leave to work in the lowlands, as the outside world is called, Yuru wants only to hone his hunting skills so that he will be too useful to the village to send away. In this way, he can remain close to his sister Asa, whose duties keep her confined to the village prison. 

Ah!” you say. No doubt this will be a gentle, life affirming slice of life story like Arakawa’s Silver Spoon!”

Not as such, no.

Read more ➤

Drop Them in a Teacup

Knot of Shadows  (Penric & Desdemona, volume 11)

By Lois McMaster Bujold  

18 Jan, 2022

Miscellaneous Reviews


Knot of Shadows is the eleventh volume in Lois McMaster Bujold’s Penric and Desdemona series, which takes place in her Five Gods secondary fantasy universe. 

Drownings are not rare in Vilnoc, a port. Drowned men who stand up and try to escape the morgue, on the other hand, are unusual. Clearly the ambulatory corpse is a matter for a sorcerer. Physician Tolga asks Penric and his demon Desdemona to help.

Read more ➤