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Reviews from February 2022 (20)

Haughty Host

The Last Caesar

By Edward McGhee  

13 Feb, 2022

Because My Tears Are Delicious To You


Edward McGhee’s 1980 The Last Caesar is the second (and as far as I know, final) book in the series that began with The Chinese Ultimatum.

1986: a reunited Germany is still purging disloyal East German officers and assimilating its fraction of conquered Poland. Soviet attention is divided between a nuclear stand-off with Germany and China’s Siberian territorial ambitions. Canada is distracted by its on-going low-grade civil war. The Middle East is safely under Israeli control. Latin America is finally in position to resist US influence1.

The American President believes the US global standing is safe for the moment. Now is the time focus on domestic matters. 

The recent mid-term elections saw massive victories for liberal-leaning politicians over their obstructionist reactionary rivals. Therefore, the President believes there is a window of opportunity to rationalize the US economy, bringing to a dramatic end to the economic and social woes that have plagued it. 

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Hit Me, Baby, One More Time

Velvet Was The Night

By Silvia Moreno-Garcia  

11 Feb, 2022

Doing the WFC's Homework


Silvia Moreno-Garcia’s 2021 Velvet Was the Night is a noir historical novel.

Mexico’s governing Partido Revolucionario Institucional (Institutional Revolutionary Party) has created a covert unit known as Los Halcones (the Hawks). Los Halcones’ mission: beat the shit out of anyone foolish enough to oppose the PRI and the institutions supporting it. 

Despite his distaste for violence, Elvis works for the Hawks. Maite is an apolitical, unremarkable secretary, of no interest to the Hawks. There is no reason for the two to ever cross paths. No reason, that is, except for a hungry cat.

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Each to Each

The Moon and the Sun

By Vonda N. McIntyre  

10 Feb, 2022

Graveyard Orbits


Vonda N. McIntyre’s Nebula-winning 1997 The Moon and the Sun is a stand-alone historical speculative fiction novel. It was McIntyre’s final novel.

Despite having been educated in isolated, cloistered St. Cyr by unworldly nuns, Marie-Josèphe de la Croix is surprisingly naïve. Summoned to be lady-in-waiting to Louis XIV’s niece, Elisabeth Charlotte d’Orléans, Marie-Josèphe is quite unprepared for the Versailles court in which she now must live. 

Her scientific interests will only complicate matters.

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Adopted Daughter of an Archduke, volume 1

By Miya Kazuki  (Translated by Quof)

9 Feb, 2022



2016’s Adopted Daughter of an Archduke, Volume 1 is the first instalment of the third arc in Miya Kazuki’s Ascendance of a Bookworm secondary-universe fantasy series. Illustrations are by You Shiina. The 2020 English translation is by Quof. 

Myne is dead! Long live Rozemyne, recently acknowledged daughter of Karstedt, knight commander. Her very existence has been hidden for years to protect her from the nobility’s incessant squabbles; now Rozemyne will now be formally adopted by Sylvester, Archduke of Ehrenfest.

That’s the official story.

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What a Way to Make a Living

The Employees

By Olga Ravn  

7 Feb, 2022

Special Requests


Olga Ravn’s 2018 The Employees: A Workplace Novel of The Twenty-second Century is (unsurprisingly) a workplace novel of the twenty-second Century. The 2020 translation is by Martin Aitken.

The Six-Thousand Ship has arrived at the planet New Discovery and fallen into orbit around it. This is a commercial venture. The crew, a mix of humans and artificial humanoids, labor endlessly to please their superiors back at the head office. 

How does the crew feel about their experiences? A committee carries out an eighteen-month series of interviews to find out.

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But I Won’t Feel Blue


By Doris Piserchia  

6 Feb, 2022

Because My Tears Are Delicious To You

1 comment

Doris Piserchia’s 1977 Earthchild is a stand-alone science fiction novel.

One day, while Reee — two syllables — and her mother were foraging for food in the strange and hostile ecology of a far future Earth, Reee’s mother fell for an obvious trap and was carried off by Martians. As she was just four years old, Reee should have perished at the teeth and claws of bizarre predators. Fortunately for Reee, Emeroo intervened.

But first! Some necessary background exposition.

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Sisters Are Doin’ It For Themselves

The Legacy of Molly Southbourne  (Molly Southbourne, volume 3)

By Tade Thompson  

4 Feb, 2022

Doing the WFC's Homework


2022’s The Legacy of Molly Southbourne is the third installment in Tade Thompson’s Molly Southbourne series.

Each drop of Molly’s blood had the potential to grow into a new molly, one imbued by a mysterious process with the memories of previous Mollies. Molly Southbourne is long dead but the Mollies live on. Most live in a mutual support group … but one has been overlooked. She has been conditioned against killing the other Mollies, but she’s turned the urge to murder against random victims.

Her murder spree alerts authorities. They react. 

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The Shafts of Strife and War

Freedom’s Rampart: The Russian Invasion of New Zealand

By Katherine Foy  

1 Feb, 2022

Special Requests


Katherine Foy’s 2020 Freedom’s Rampart: The Russian Invasion of New Zealand is a stand-alone alternate history novel about, you guessed it, the Russian invasion of New Zealand.

An altercation north of India leaves Francis Younghusbanddead and exacerbates tensions between the British Empire and the Russian Empire. Still, matters remain well short of war. Or rather, they do until Captain Oskar Victorovich Stark of the Far Eastern Squadron becomes involved.

Stark commands the frigate Vladimir Monomakh and the cruiser Admiral Nakhimov. Although his ships are low on coal, Stark decides to cock a snook at the British Empire by cruising past British emplacements on the shores of New Zealand. Annoying British soldiers is reasonable payback for past British harassment of legitimate Russian interests. 

Although the British forces in New Zealand have no desire for a protracted engagement with the Russian ships, they of course fire a warning shot across the Admiral Nakhimov’s bow. It is at this point matters go very, very wrong.

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