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Reviews from June 2022 (22)

Sugar And Spice, And All That’s Nice

When Women Were Dragons

By Kelly Barnhill  

16 Jun, 2022

Special Requests

16 comments

Kelly Barnhill’s 2022 When Women Were Dragons is a modern fantasy set in the 1950s. 

On April 25, 1955, 642,987 American women spontaneously became dragons. The new dragons abandoned their homes for destinations that better suited them. Mass dragoning could not be ignored … but it did not take Cold War America very long to collectively agree that dragoning (mass or otherwise, causes, and whether or not dragoning was a one-off or an ongoing phenomenon) were all subjects unfit for polite conversation. Those reluctant to follow this convention were targeted as un-American and blacklisted.

Alex (not the Alexandra adults around her insist on calling her) Green was too young to dragon, but her life would be transformed by the event.

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Under the Midnight Sun

An African in Greenland

By Tété-Michel Kpomassie  (Translated by James Kirkup)

15 Jun, 2022

Translation

4 comments


Tété-Michel Kpomassie’s 1981 An African in Greenland is a memoir. Originally published in French, the 1983 English translation is by James Kirkup. The preface is by Jean Malaurie. 

Born in 1941, Tété-Michel Kpomassie grew up in a traditional household in Togo. Startled by an inexplicably aggressive snake, he suffered a serious fall. Distrusting Western medicine, his father took young Tété-Michel to see a priestess, the price for whose treatment was that Tété-Michel Kpomassie should at a certain age come serve her religious organization in the sacred grove near Be. 

Fate, in the form of Dr. Robert Gessain’s book The Eskimos from Greenland to Alaska, would intervene.


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Real Tough Cookie

Neuromancer  (Sprawl, volume 1)

By William Gibson  

14 Jun, 2022

Terry Carr's Third Ace Science Fiction Specials

5 comments

1984’s Neuromanceris the first volume in William Gibson’s Sprawl Trilogy. It was the third book published in the Terry Carr-edited series, the Third Ace Science Fiction Specials. Neuromancer was Gibson’s novel-length debut, debut novels being the unifying theme of the series.

Master-hacker Case made the mistake so many criminals have made before him. He stole from his bosses. Rather than settle for killing Case, his former employers crippled him with neurotoxins, cutting him off from his beloved matrix (cyberspace). Unable to work, and his stolen wealth rapidly evaporating, Case faces certain poverty and probable murder as soon as he sufficiently inconveniences some fellow Chiba City inhabitant. 

The mysterious Armitage offers salvation… at a price.

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More Than a Little Bit Crazy

Frankenstein, The Man Who Become God

By Alden Nowlan, Walter Learning & Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley  

12 Jun, 2022

Because My Tears Are Delicious To You

2 comments

1975’s Frankenstein, The Man Who Become God was CBC Stage’s staging of Alden Nowlan and Walter Learning’s full-length adaptation of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. It is a restaging of Theatre New Brunswick’s production of the Nowlan/Learning adaptation. Lead actors were David Brown as the Creature, Neil Munro as Baron Frankenstein, Joan Gregson as Frankenstein’s doting fiancée Elizabeth Lavenza, David Renton as Henry Clerval (Frankenstein and Elizabeth’s friend). 

Determined to make 1840 the year man conquers the North Pole, Captain Robert Walton refuses to allow minor setbacks like being locked in ice or the alarm of his increasingly mutinous crew deter him. The giant whose dog-drawn sled races by the trapped ship? Curious but surely of no relevance to Walton. 

Three-quarters dead Baron Victor Frankenstein, on the other hand, is a man with whom Walton shares an important quality: hubris. Whereas Walton thus far is only risking his crew’s life, Frankenstein has left a trail of bodies behind him.


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A Good Time Then

Return of The Trickster  (Trickster, volume 3)

By Eden Robinson  

10 Jun, 2022

Doing the WFC's Homework

0 comments

2021’s Return of The Trickster is the third and final volume in Eden Robinson’s Trickster trilogy. 

Jared Martin aspires to an unremarkable but useful life as a medical technician. Fate (in the form of difficult relatives) propels Jared towards something more dramatic. Jared’s biological father is Wee’git the Trickster, which means Jared is a potential Trickster as well. This means Jared has an enormous metaphoric target on his forehead. Any number of powerful entities would like to prey on a naïve, untrained Trickster. 

Powerful entities such as Jared’s biological aunt Georgina, known centuries ago as Jwasins and now best labelled the ogress.”

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Way Station

The Galaxy, and the Ground Within  (Wayfarers, volume 4)

By Becky Chambers  

9 Jun, 2022

Space Opera That Doesn't Suck

8 comments

2021’s The Galaxy, and the Ground Within is the fourth and final volume in Becky Chambers’ Wayfarers series.

The planet Gora is the galaxy’s Milton, Ontario1; it’s an unremarkable lifeless world save for one thing: convenient location. It’s a well-placed waystation for travellers on their way from one hospitable world to another. 

Ouloo, a Laru, runs the Five-Hop One-Stop on Gora; her small business supplies fuel, housing, food, bathing, and other amenities. She is assisted by her adolescent (by Laru standards) child Tupo. Ouloo’s patrons come and go, their stays brief. At least, their stays are brief until the disaster.

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Food Chain

Delicious in Dungeon, volume 2

By Ryōko Kui  

8 Jun, 2022

Translation

0 comments

2015’s Delicious in Dungeon, Vol. 2 is the second tankōbon of Ryoko Kui’s secondary-universe fantasy comedy manga. Originally published as Danjon Meshi, Delicious in Dungeon appears in Enterbrain’s Harta magazine. Volume 2 was translated into English in 2017

Falin has been eaten by a red dragon — but she can be resurrected if her remains are retrieved before they are digested1. Falin’s brother Laios and his allies Chilchuck and Marcille have headed back into the dungeon to recover the remains. They didn’t wait to properly resupply, which would seem to be suicidal overconfidence. It’s not, because the party includes a new recruit: Senshi, who is a chef. He can butcher and cook defeated monsters. 

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Stand Me Up At The Gates Of Hell

A Half-Built Garden

By Ruthanna Emrys  

7 Jun, 2022

Miscellaneous Reviews

2 comments

Ruthanna Emrys’ 2022 A Half-Built Garden is a first-contact novel.

Judy Wallach-Stevens is alerted to soaring phosphate levels near Bear Island. Judy, wife Carol, and their infant Dori dutifully trundle off to see what is polluting the local watershed. The source could be some pre-Dandelion-Revolution industrial relic or perhaps someone who should know better is dumping chemicals improperly. The real reason? Aliens.

Judy and her family are now hip-wader deep in a first-contact situation.

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Jet Packs and Laser Guns

Space Opera

By Edward E. Simbalist, A. Mark Ratner & Phil McGregor  

5 Jun, 2022

Because My Tears Are Delicious To You

11 comments

Edward E. Simbalist, A. Mark Ratner, and Phil McGregor’s 1980 Space Opera is a venerable science-fiction tabletop roleplaying game. It was published by Fantasy Games Unlimited. The writers’ intent was to provide an all-in-one set of rules that would cover nearly every contingency SF gamemasters might encounter. 

Which it does, but not especially well. 

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