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Reviews from March 2022 (23)


A Desolation Called Peace  (Teixcalaan, volume 2)

By Arkady Martine  

31 Mar, 2022

Space Opera That Doesn't Suck

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2021’s A Desolation Called Peace is the second volume in Arkady Martine’s Teixcalaan space opera series. 

Alerted by neighbouring Lsel Station that an unknown alien menace is impinging on human space, the Teixcalaanli investigate. First contact between a force headed by Fleet Captain Nine Hibiscus and the aliens establishes five facts: 

  • There are aliens.
  • They are of an unknown type.
  • They appear bent on conquering human worlds.
  • Communication appears to be impossible.
  • They are merciless.

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The Only Light We’ll See


By Ichigo Takano  

30 Mar, 2022



Ichigo Takano’s time-travel manga series orange was first serialized in 2012 in Bessatsu Margaret manga magazine; it later appeared in Monthly Action. US editions were published in 2016.

Uncharacteristically late for school, Naho Takamiya defers reading the letter she received that morning. When she does read it, the contents are astonishing. The writer predicts that Naho will have slept in. They go on to inform Naho that there will be a new transfer student and that despite Naho’s comradely instincts, she and her friends (Takako Chino, Saku Hagita, Azusa Murasaka, and Hiroto Suwa) should not invite the stranger to accompany them that day. 

Most astonishingly, the writer claims to be Naho herself, writing ten years in the future.

As many people might, Naho ignores the advice. Tragedy ensues.

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In the Middle of Fifth Avenue

X‑Men: God Loves, Man Kills

By Chris Claremont & Brent Eric Anderson  

29 Mar, 2022

Big Hair, Big Guns!


1982’s X‑Men: God Loves, Man Kills is a graphic novel (sort of an American tankōbon) by Chris Claremont, with illustrations by Brent Eric Anderson. God Loves, Man Kills was in its day considered something of a classic.

Two African-American children flee — but not quickly enough. Their pursuers corner and murder both of them. The pursuers leave the bodies on display and add signs explaining their motivation for the lynching: both were mutants.

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The Cyberiad: Fables for the Cybernetic Age

By Stanislaw Lem  (Translated by Michael Kandel)

27 Mar, 2022

Because My Tears Are Delicious To You


Stanislaw Lem’s 1965 The Cyberiad: Fables for the Cybernetic Age is a collection of humorous science fiction stories. The 1974 English translation is by Michael Kandel. My 1976 Avon paperback has illustrations by Daniel Mróz; I cannot tell if this is true of other editions. 

Friends Trurl and Klapaucius are rival constructors,” always seeking to outdo each other with their marvelous inventions. Their ingenuity is only rivaled by their indifference to unforeseen outcomes.

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Ocean Deep

The Girl Who Fell Beneath the Sea

By Axie Oh  

25 Mar, 2022

Doing the WFC's Homework

1 comment

Axie Oh’s 2022 The Girl Who Fell Beneath the Sea is a stand-alone fantasy novel. 

Each year, a different beauty is chosen as the Sea God’s bride. Perhaps the chosen ones enjoy lives of unparalleled luxury under the sea; perhaps their bones are moldering on the sea floor. What is clear is that the sacrifices are in vain. No matter how many brides set out in their lonely boats, annual storms still batter the kingdom. The Sea God has turned his back on his people.

Shim Cheong is the latest bride. Joon, who is in love with Shim, is determined to save her from whatever fate waits in the sea. Joon’s sister Mina is determined to save both. Thus, when the Sea King’s dragon appears to collect its living tribute, it finds a boat with three passengers, not one. Quick-thinking Mina volunteers first and is carried off. 

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You Get What You Bring

The Servant’s Story  (Tales of the Wild, volume 2)

By Peter Thomson  

24 Mar, 2022

Special Requests


2019’s The Servant’s Story is the second book in Peter Thomson’s Tales of the Wild series. 

Jayas is a ruthless scallywag. Izuli is a functionary determined to settle for more than boring mediocrity. The pair have nothing in common and at first glance seem unlikely to meet. Nevertheless, an encounter between the pair has interesting consequences.

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The Show Must Go On

Beastars, volume 1

By Paru Itagaki  

23 Mar, 2022



Paru Itagaki’s anthropomorphic manga Beastars was serialized in Akita Shoten’s Weekly Shōnen Champion from September 2016 to October 2020. Volume One, collecting issues 1 to 7 in tankōbon format, was published in 2017. The English translation was published in 2019.

Herbivores and carnivores attend Cherryton Academy together, secure in the knowledge that the carnivores have forever set aside their impulses to kill and eat the humanoid herbivores. Alpaca Tem’s brutal murder casts doubt on school safety. At least one carnivore is still willing to consume their frail herbivore schoolmates. 

Faced with this shocking disruption to normalcy, the students do the only thing they can do. 

Put on a play1!

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Such a Timeless Flight

Universe: The Roleplaying Game of the Future

By John H. Butterfield & Redmond A. Simonsen  

20 Mar, 2022


Having surpassed — they hoped—Dungeons and Dragons with their Dragonquest roleplaying game, Simulations Publications, Inc set out to challenge the dominance of GDW’s Traveller with their own science fiction roleplaying game. Heading the SPI team: John H. Butterfield and Redmond A. Simonsen1.

SPI released Universe: The Roleplaying Game of the Future in March 19812. What wonders were concealed within the deluxe box?

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Happiness is a Warm Gun

Rio Adopts a Puppy & Ladies’ Day Out

By S L Huang  

18 Mar, 2022

Doing the WFC's Homework

1 comment

A Neurological Study on the Effects of Canine Appeal on Psychopathy, or Rio Adopts a Puppy” and An Examination of Collegial Dynamics as Expressed Through Marksmanship, or Ladies’ Day Out” are stories set in the universe of S. L. Huang’s Cas Russell novels. 

This is a world in which semi-plausible superpowers exist. Superheroes? Supervillains? This world is grey rather than white and black. Neither Cas Russell nor her mentor Rio are heroic. Terrifying monsters” may be closer to the mark. 

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