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Reviews from August 2022 (13)

Breathe Deep The Gathering Gloom

X‑Men: Days of Future Past

By Chris Claremont & John Byrne  

18 Aug, 2022

Big Hair, Big Guns!

2 comments

1981’s X‑Men: Days of Future Past was a two-part story that first appeared in the comics X‑Men 141 and X‑Men 142. Chris Claremont was credited as writer, John Byrne as artist; the pair shared plotting credit. 

In the unimaginably distant year of 2013, New York’s Park Avenue is a vast slum, as is New York itself. Indeed, New York’s condition reflects the dismal state of America as a whole: an economically declining dictatorship whose population is regimented by the giant robot Sentinels along eugenic lines. Put simply, it’s mutant versus human!

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The Champions of the World

Delicious in Dungeon, volume 4

By Ryōko Kui  

17 Aug, 2022

Translation

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2017’s Delicious in Dungeon, Volume 4 is the fourth tankōbon collecting Ryoko Kui’s secondary-world comic ecological fantasy manga. Originally published as Danjon Meshi, Delicious in Dungeon appears in Enterbrain’s Hartamagazine. Volume 4 was translated into English in 2018.

Our heroes — human fighter Laios, halfling lock expert Chilchuck, half-elf mage Marcille, and dwarven warrior gourmand Shenshi — return to the orc community they visited earlier, only to find the orcs gone. Vanished. There’s evidence that suggests the orcs left in a hurry. Whatever scared the orcs off must be formidable. Good news for our heroes!

Provided that whatever scared off the orcs is the monster for which the party is searching. 

Provided they survive encountering it.

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Now Touch Me, Babe

Unto Zeor, Forever  (Sime/Gen, book 6 Sime/Gen, volume 2)

By Jacqueline Lichtenberg  

16 Aug, 2022

Special Requests

1 comment

Jacqueline Lichtenberg’s 1978 Unto Zeor, Forever is either the 6th Sime/Gen novel or the 2nd, depending on whether one goes by internal chronology or by order of publication.

Digen Farris heads off to a medical residency. This conventional tale of a well-meaning would-be surgeon is complicated by the fact that Digen belongs to what some might deem a genetic aristocracy and others a terrifying lineage of soul-eating vampires.

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Who Was It Everybody

Behold the Man  (Karl Glogauer, volume 1)

By Michael Moorcock  

14 Aug, 2022

Because My Tears Are Delicious To You

3 comments

1969’s Behold the Man is an expanded version of Michael Moorcock’s 1966 novella of the same title. In novella form1, this black humor time-travel tale won a Nebula. At novel length, it did not — but then most novels don’t.

Karl Glogauer’s time machine arrives in a desolate region. The machine is wrecked on arrival, but Karl survives. His intention had been to search for the historical Jesus. Although it is not immediately clear if he has reached the correct time and place, he will ultimately survive beyond his wildest dreams.

But first! Backstory!

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Exactly Like You

The Silence of the Wilting Skin

By Tlotlo Tsamaase  

12 Aug, 2022

Doing the WFC's Homework

3 comments

Tlotlo Tsamaase’s 2020 The Silence of the Wilting Skin is a stand-alone work of speculative fiction.

The narrator is visited by a dreamskin, the eidolon of her grandmother. Normally, dreamskins are reflections of the living, harbingers that manifest to inform their living original of impending death. The narrator has been chosen for something else. If only her circumstances did not make it nearly impossible for the narrator to understand what, or to act.

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Ghost Story

Down a Dark Hall

By Lois Duncan  

11 Aug, 2022

Special Requests

0 comments

Lois Duncan’s 1974 Down a Dark Hall is a young-adult gothic novel. 

Kit Gordy’s widowed mother has found new love and Kit has become a temporary inconvenience. There is no place for a teenage daughter on the newly married Mr. and Mrs. Rolland’s European honeymoon, nor are the Hollands inclined to leave Kit on her own. Madame Duret’s upstate New York Blackwood School for Girls seems to offer a sensible alternative. While her mother and stepfather explore their new marriage together, Kit will enjoy a transformative education.

Perhaps enjoy is the wrong word. 


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Tears of Rage

Gachiakuta, volume 1

By Kei Urana  

10 Aug, 2022

Translation

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Kei Urana’s Gachiakuta is an ongoing dark-fantasy manga series. It has been serialized in Weekly Shonen Magazinesince February 162022

Known to some (but probably not those who live there) as Heaven, the town idealizes order. Possessions are treasured as long as they are pristine. Flawed objects are sequestered until they can be discarded into the Abyss. The town treats its tribals” much the same way. Tribals are the descendants of criminals; they are segregated in slums, apart from the good people of the town, until such time as cause is found to throw a tribal or two into the Abyss. 

Rudo’s father was a murderer, cast down ages ago. Rudo is a notorious trash scavenger, an egregious refuse recycler. With the exception of his beloved stepfather Regto and potential love interest Chiwa, everyone in the slums expects Rudo to follow in his father’s footsteps. Blood will always tell. 

When Rudo is found standing over Regto’s body, covered in Regto’s blood, Rudo is immediately arrested.

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Your Heart Will Glow

In the Drift

By Michael Swanwick  

9 Aug, 2022

Terry Carr's Third Ace Science Fiction Specials

2 comments

Michael Swanwick’s 1985 In the Drift is a stand-alone near-future alternate-history novel. In the Drift was the sixth1 novel in the Third Ace Science Fiction Specials series, edited by Terry Carr.

1979: in a spectacular exhibition of American nuclear industry know-how, Three Mile Island suffered a catastrophic melt-down. A vast swath of land downwind of the reactor was contaminated with radioactive debris. This is the so-called Drift. Millions fled, only to be violently murdered by their fearful fellow Americans. The USA splintered.

Almost a century later, the east coast is still a shambles but only some of it glows in the dark.

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The Little Things

Witch Hat Atelier, volume 4

By Kamome Shirahama  

8 Aug, 2022

Translation

1 comment

Witch Hat Atelier, Volume Four is the fourth tankōbon in author/artist Kamome Shirahama’s Witch Hat Atelier fantasy manga series. Witch Hat Atelier (Tongari Bōshi no Atorie in the original Japanese) has been serialized in Kodansha’s Monthly Morning Two magazine since July 2016. The English translation of Volume Four appeared in 2019

This volume offers readers that for which they read fantasy manga: pop quizzes!

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Come All You Brave Canadians

In High Places

By Arthur Hailey  

7 Aug, 2022

Because My Tears Are Delicious To You

10 comments

Arthur Hailey’s 1962 In High Places is a near-future Canadian political thriller. Or it was near-future when it was published, long ago.

Canadian Prime Minister James McCallum Howden’s shaky majority will not allow for dramatic political innovations. Yet crises will arise with no regard for political convenience. Now, Howden must somehow convince his cabinet, his party, and the Canadian electorate to swallow the unpalatable if any part of Canada is to be saved.

In a secret communique, American President Tyler has informed Howden that nuclear war with the East is no more than a year away.


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