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Reviews from October 2022 (21)

Got One-Eighty Degrees

The Devil Wives of Li Fong

By E. Hoffman Price  

30 Oct, 2022

Because My Tears Are Delicious To You


E. Hoffman Price’s 1979 The Devil Wives of Li Fong is a fantasy set in the China of long and long ago, before the foreign devils came.”

Devout Buddhist monk Shih Sheng Kang’s efforts to attend to the spiritual needs of the forgotten departed have an unintended effect: two great serpent women, Mei Ling and Meilan, who were lurking unseen nearby, transform into human women. The effect of this alteration works its own transformation on the terrified monk, who promptly drops dead.

It is a tragic beginning for what Mei Ling and Meilan hope will be long, happy lives as human women. The monk is beyond saving, so the women bury their benefactor and set out in search of a husband.

Impoverished apprentice Li Fong’s life is fated to take a very unexpected turn.

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On Golden Sands


By S. B. Divya  

28 Oct, 2022

Doing the WFC's Homework


S. B. Divya’s 2023 Meru is a stand-alone science fiction novel whose publication date I only just noticed. ARCs (Advanced Review Copies) — the perks of being a reviewer.

The Constructed Democracy of Sol provides stratified equality to all in accordance with their capacity, with constructs and human-derived cyborgs (Alloys) at the top and bumbling humans somewhat lower down the scale. For the last five centuries, humans have been assisted by their superior cousins to embrace appropriate roles — Earth-bound, limited in numbers, and unambitious — but now a new discovery may change that.

Exo-planets are hardly rare but until now, all of the known worlds have been such that a baseline human would perish without significant technological assistance. Meru may be an exception, a world where humans could survive, even prosper. Should they be allowed to do so? Human history suggests not.

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Down Came the Rain

Red Spider White Web

By Misha  

27 Oct, 2022

The End of History


Misha’s 1990 Red Spider White Web is a stand-alone cyberpunk novel.

Mickey-San provides its pampered inhabitants with every luxury that they could desire: a sealed environment, desperate employees to tend to their every need, even immersive virtual reality so that they need never sully their eyeballs by gazing on the real world. For the lucky few who can call Mickey-San home, it is as close to paradise as possible at this time.

Kumo does not live in Mickey-San. She lives outside, in the slums. Her life is quite different from that of a denizen of Mickey-San.

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Got Lost in the Game

Delicious in Dungeon, volume 6

By Ryōko Kui  

26 Oct, 2022



2018’s Delicious in Dungeon, Volume 6 is the sixth tankōbon of Ryoko Kui’s secondary-universe comedic ecological fantasy manga. Originally published as Danjon Meshi, Delicious in Dungeon appears in Enterbrain’s Harta. Volume 6 was translated into English in 2018.

In this volume, Laios and his companions (half-elf mage Marcille, halfling security expert Chilchuck, and dwarf fighter Senshi) reunite with an old friend and meet brand-new friends as well.

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That’s What I Want


By Pat Cadigan  

25 Oct, 2022

Special Requests

1 comment

Pat Cadigan’s 1991 Synners is a stand-alone cyberpunk novel.

The world after the Big One is a wired world, where services of all kinds, especially porn, are a click away. While there are the usual idealists chasing pointless dreams like art and creativity, the corporations run the world. To exist is to be forced to purchase and to feed one’s privacy to the corporate maw.

Having mastered the legal and political systems and thus removed the regulatory guardrails, an ambitious corporation is about to discover it is not immune to consequences.

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Holy Klono’s Tungsten Teeth And Curving Carballoy Claws!

Galactic Patrol  (Lensman, volume 3 Lensman, volume 2)

By E. E. "Doc" Smith  

23 Oct, 2022

Because My Tears Are Delicious To You


1950’s1 Galactic Patrol is either the third (if you count Triplanetary) volume in E. E. Doc” Smith’s Lensman series, or the second (if you don’t count Triplanetary).

Inertialess flight made interstellar travel as convenient as a trip down the road to the chemist’s. The result is a golden age of exploration, contact, and trade. It’s also a golden age of criminality, as space criminals can flee out of jurisdiction as easily as a 20thcentury American gangster could flee across state lines. For Civilization to prevail, lawlessness must be punished. To that end, the Patrol was founded!

Kimball Kinnison is not merely among the one in ten thousand who made it through the grueling Patrol training course. He is his class’s top graduate. He will need all of his ability to deal with … Boskone!

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Just That The Time Was Wrong

Serpentine  (Serpentine, volume 1)

By Cindy Pon  

21 Oct, 2022

Doing the WFC's Homework

1 comment

2015’s Serpentine is the first of two books in Cindy Pon’s Serpentine historical fantasy duology.

While young, both Zhen Ni and Skybright know full well the path their lives must take. Aristocratic Zhen Ni will be married off to the suitable highborn man her parents choose for her. When Zhen Ni leaves her parent’s household, her handmaid Skybright will accompany her. Married life will follow, as might children, and eventually death. Zhen Ni and Skybright’s happiness is irrelevant.

Their lives will take a different turn.

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Sitting There in Your Head

The Best of John Brunner

By John Brunner  

20 Oct, 2022

Shockwave Reader


1988’s The Best of John Brunner is a late entry (possibly the final entry) in Ballantine’s Classic Library of Science Fiction. It is exactly what one would expect from the title: a selection of short works the editor deemed Brunner’s best. The Best of John Brunner is the first of what I hope will be my long-running monthly survey of Brunner’s fiction. 

Sure hope I come up with a name for the series by Thursday.

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Like Falling Sand

TITAN: A Novel

By Mado Nozaki  (Translated by Evan Ward)

19 Oct, 2022



Mado Nozaki’s 2020’s TITAN: A Novel is a tale of epic-scale post-human psychotherapy. Evan Ward’s translation appeared in 2022.

A century and a half ago, Titan transformed the world. The great thinking mechanisms that constitute Titan manage all the onerous tasks needed to satisfy humanity’s every need. Necessary, burdensome human work has been relegated to the past. The species has (for the most part) become a race of hobbyists.

Too bad for the human race that their comfortable arrangement may be about to fall apart.

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So This is Oregon

The Secret Skin

By Wendy N. Wagner  

18 Oct, 2022

Miscellaneous Reviews


Wendy N. Wagner’s 2021 The Secret Skin is a stand-alone horror novella.

June Vogel of the Oregon Vogels escaped wealth (and exacting, impossible expectations) for the austere but rewarding life of a spinster artist. Escape proves temporary; her brother Frederick asks for her help. Having found a suitable replacement for his late wife Blanche, Frederick intends to enjoy a honeymoon with his new bride, Lillian.

That leaves the matter of Abigail. Who is to care for Frederick’s daughter while he is having fun? Not a nanny, for those tend to flee the family estate as soon as they can.

Duty overrides preference and prudence. June packs her things and journeys to the Vogel Estate, Storm Break.

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