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Reviews from December 2022 (22)

The Same In The Rain Or Sun

Sister Mine

By Nalo Hopkinson  

30 Dec, 2022

Doing the WFC's Homework


Nalo Hopkinson’s 2013 Sister Mine is a stand-alone modern fantasy novel.

The product of a marriage between a mortal human and a demi-god, former conjoined twin Makeda has little to show for her father’s semi-divine status. Alone of her family, she has no discernable magic, a trait that has earned her the no-so-friendly nickname donkey.”

After one argument too many with her twin sister Abby, Makeda decides the time has come to leave the house she co-owns with Abby and strike out on her own. Step one: talking her way past a deplorable credit rating and lamentable job history into a dicey rental in the Cheerful Rest.

Step one is the only step that goes according to plan.

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Wait and See

The Keeper’s Six

By Kate Elliott  

29 Dec, 2022

Miscellaneous Reviews


Kate Elliott’s 2023’s The Keeper’s Six is an upcoming (in only one month!) fantasy novel. 

Although few on Earth are aware of this, Earth is but one minor realm among many. Venture through the alien and deadly Beyond and any number of other worlds may be accessed. Although Earth is a primitive backwater, it is the source of a few goods that are available only on Earth. Thus, it has its own Keeps, through which Earth may be accessed and trade items acquired. The Keeps allow intermittent contact with the other worlds scattered through the Beyond.

Esther and the other members of her magical Hex used to wander the Beyond. Forbidden to do so in punishment for her transgressions, Esther is stuck on Earth. Crisis will force her to break the terms of her sentence.

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Go, Cat, Go

When a Cat Faces West, volume 1

By Yuki Urushibara  

28 Dec, 2022



Yuki Urushibara’s When a Cat Faces West (Japanese: 猫が西向きゃ, Hepburn: Neko ga Nishi Mukya) is a Japanese urban fantasy manga series. It was serialized in Kodansha’s seinen manga magazine Monthly Afternoon from April 2018 to December 2020. Volume One appeared in 2019. The English translation appeared in 2022.

Flow is a mysterious phenomenon that from time to time transforms the world in peculiar, often disturbing, and sometimes (but rarely) dangerous ways. If the people of Japan are to pursue their mundane goals, someone must deal with Flow. Hirota is a Flow Disposal expert.

One might think mitigating reality-warps would require advanced technology or perhaps magic. As Hirota’s brand new assistant Chima Kondo discovers, more often than not it involves Hirota’s cat, Shacho.

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How I Wonder What You Are

Catch a Falling Star

By John Brunner  

27 Dec, 2022

Shockwave Reader


John Brunner’s 1968 Catch a Falling Star is a substantial rewrite of his 1959 The 100th Millennium, which in turn is an expanded version of the 1958 novella Earth Is But a Star.

One hundred thousand years from now, a community of humans lives in what past eras would call utopia. Each person has their own living house that provides them with life’s necessities and each is free to pursue whatever pastime amuses them. Creohan, for example, is an astronomer, devoting his life to studying the stars.

As a consequence of a hundred thousand years of history, novelty is rare. Whatever a person might consider doing has been done a thousand times before. But … thanks to historical data provided to him by a Historicker friend, Creohan succeeds connecting dots no other person has connected:

A rogue star is headed directly for the Solar System. Earth and everything on it are doomed.

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Where the Mermaids Sing

The Salt Grows Heavy

By Cassandra Khaw  

23 Dec, 2022

Doing the WFC's Homework


Cassandra Khaw’s 2023 The Salt Grows Heavy is an upcoming secondary-universe horror fantasy novella.

A nameless ruler had a simple dream: capture and enslave what some might call a mermaid after murdering all of her sisters. The plan worked well enough, until the mermaid gave birth to her ravenous children.

Localized apocalypse ensues. The mermaid joins forces with a plague doctor, one of the few survivors of the domain. The two set out to find new lands to explore. 

Note to readers: author Khaw frequently uses descriptors rather than names. Thus mermaid and doctor.

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The Past Is Just A Goodbye

The Path of Thorns

By A. G. Slatter  

22 Dec, 2022

Special Requests

1 comment

A.G. Slatter’s 2022 The Path of Thorns is a stand-alone secondary-universe gothic horror novel.

Asher Todd is the latest Morwood family governess. She has been hired on the strength of credentials as glowing as they are fraudulent. It’s true that Asher has many skills, but they aren’t the ones for which the Morwoods hired her. She has her own reasons for taking the position, reasons that would horrify the Morwoods if they knew.

The Morwoods wanted a faithful governess. What they got is a witch wearing another woman’s face.

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A Million Dead-End Streets

Delicious in Dungeon, volume 8

By Ryōko Kui  

21 Dec, 2022



2019’s Delicious in Dungeon, Vol. 8 is the 8th tankōbon in Ryoko Kui’s secondary-world fantasy manga series. Originally published as Danjon Meshi, Delicious in Dungeon appears in Enterbrain’s Harta. Volume 8 was translated into English in 2020.

This volume follows two plotlines that will presumably be further developed in a future installment. Laios and his companions (half-elf mage Marcille, halfling security expert Chilchuck, dwarf fighter Senshi, and new party member cat-beastkin ninja Izutsumi) explore even deeper into the dungeon. Closer to the surface, the elven special-ops Canariesbegin to tackle the dungeon (which they believe poses a danger to everything around it). How this will affect the adventurers way down in the dungeon is not clear.

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Some Dance to Forget

Vermilion Sands

By J. G. Ballard  

20 Dec, 2022

Special Requests

1 comment

1971’s Vermilion Sands is a collection of short stories by J. G. Ballard. All share the same setting: vacation resort Vermilion Sands.

Vermilion Sands’ precise location is unclear. Perhaps it is somewhere in the American desert or perhaps it is not too far from Mediterranean. Equally unclear is when the action takes place, except that it is a time that features mutant women and flying stingrays. Wherever and whenever it is, the idle rich flock to Vermilion Sands. Close on their heels come those who would profit off the rich.

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Never Split the Party

Wizard  (Gaea, volume 2)

By John Varley  

18 Dec, 2022

Because My Tears Are Delicious To You


Wizard is the middle volume in John Varley’s near-future Gaea Trilogy. In stark contrast to industry practice, the trilogy consists of exactly three novels.

Chris Minor and Robin the Nine-Fingered both have genetic diseases that, while quite different, may have the same cure. All the Earthman and spacewoman need do is appeal to God and pray for mercy. Or rather, appeal to god: Gaea, a 1,300-km diameter living, intelligent torus orbiting Saturn. Having complete command of matters biological — at least within the torus — altering genes is a trivial task for the ancient being.

Convincing Gaea to perform a cure will be trickier.

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