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Reviews from June 2023 (22)

Shake, Rattle, and Roll

The Surviving Sky  (Rages, volume 1)

By Kritika H. Rao  

30 Jun, 2023

Doing the WFC's Homework


2023’s The Surviving Sky is the first volume in Kritika H. Rao’s science fantasy Rages series.

Ahilya may be her world’s first archaeologist. As such, she faces many challenges. She has to invent the field from scratch. The Architects who run society see no particular need for anyone to double-check the official histories and are disinclined to provide outsiders with assistance in such an endeavor. Finally, living as she does in a flying city far above the often-violent surface of her world, gaining access to archaeological sites, if such survive the frequent natural calamities, is nearly impossible.

At least she has her disintegrating marriage to Iravan to distract her.

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Taste of Betrayal

A Thousand Recipes for Revenge  (Chefs of the Five Gods, volume 1)

By Beth Cato  

29 Jun, 2023

Special Requests

1 comment

A Thousand Recipes for Revenge is the first volume in Beth Cato’s Chefs of the Five Gods series.

Adamantine Ada” Garland seems to be an unremarkable employee of an unremarkable inn. She is a wanted deserter and a Chef with a god-touched tongue. The recent presence of gendarmes at the inn is a matter of great concern.

Far from Ada, Braiz’s Princess Solenn is preparing for her impending wedding to Verdanian Prince Rupert. Braizian-Verdanian relations, currently strained, depend on the match. Braiz being almost defenseless due to a recent calamity, Solenn bears the future of her nation on her shoulders.

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Believe in Miracles

Delicious in Dungeon, volume 12

By Ryōko Kui  (Translated by Sarah Neufeld & Taylor Engel)

28 Jun, 2023



2022’s Delicious in Dungeon, Volume 12 is the twelfth tankōbon in Ryoko Kui’s secondary-world comedy fantasy manga series. Originally published as Danjon Meshi, Delicious in Dungeon appears in Enterbrain’s Harta. Volume 12 was translated into English in 2023, by Sarah Neufeld and Taylor Engel.

Laios and his dungeon delving companions (half-elf mage Marcille, halfling security expert Chilchuck, dwarf fighter Senshi, and cat-beastkin ninja Izutsumi) triumphed over the Lunatic Magician. They survived a hostile interaction with the Canaries, elves charged with containing the menage of the dungeon. Mistakes were made and now the world faces a threat far greater than the Lunatic Magician: Marcille.

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Dream of Distant Places

Born Under Mars

By John Brunner  

27 Jun, 2023

Shockwave Reader


John Brunner’s 1967 Born Under Mars is a stand-alone science fiction novel of interstellar intrigue.

Mars-born engineer Ray Mallin is an expert in four-space engines, which makes him a useful crewmember on superluminal starships. Mallin is not engaged in any form of espionage, which makes his current circumstances — being tortured for information by people in masks — hard to explain.

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The Paper They Were Signing

Retief of the CDT  (Retief, volume 7)

By Keith Laumer  

25 Jun, 2023

Because My Tears Are Delicious To You

1 comment

1971’s Retief of the CDT is the seventh1 book featuring Keith Laumer’s two-fisted man of interstellar diplomacy, Jaime Retief.

Retief is a mid-ranked member of the Corps Diplomatique Terrestrienne (CDT); he is sufficiently lofty in rank yet expendable enough to be entrusted with important tasks by his immediate superior Ben Magnan. Worst case, Retief dies ignominiously for reasons beyond his control while Magnan heaps all the blame on Retief.

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Dirt and Worm

Buying Time

By Joe Haldeman  

22 Jun, 2023

Big Hair, Big Guns!

1 comment

Joe Haldeman’s 1989 Buying Time (also published as The Long Habit of Living) is a stand-alone science fiction novel.

The Stileman Process delivers immortality on the installment plan. In exchange for a million dollars (or all of a person’s wealth, whichever is more) the Stileman Foundation restores youth and vitality … for about ten years. Without another round of the Process, death swiftly ensues. It’s strong motivation for would-be immortals to keep earning fortunes.

Dallas1 Barr is adept at making money. What he needs now is a talent for running away.

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The Light Surrounding You

To Your Eternity, volume 2

By Yoshitoki Oima  

21 Jun, 2023



2017’s To Your Eternity, Volume 2 is the second tankōbon for Yoshitoki Oima’s fantasy manga. Originally published as Fumetsu no Anata e, the series has run since 2016 in Weekly Shōnen Magazine.

Setting: a fantasy world that looks a bit like Tokugawa Japan (buildings, clothing, food). The geography, however, is not at all Japanese: high cliffs and pinnacles above flatlands. Featured: two cultures: the Yanome, who rule an empire with large cities, and the Ninanna, who live on the edges of empire and are the target of Yanome imperial expansion.

The Ninanna worship a bear god, Oniguma; they practice human sacrifice. In volume one, a young Ninanna girl, Marsh, was to have been the next victim. However, she has been taken under the protection of Fushi, a protean being with an as-yet rudimentary mind, and rescued from death.

A Yanome soldier (Hayase) carries off Marsh, Marsh’s friend Parona, Fushi, and a badly wounded bear said to be Oniguma; she is taking them to Yanome lands as trophies.

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Praise for the Morning

Life Beyond Us: An Original Anthology of SF Stories and Science Essays

 Edited by Julie Nováková, Lucas K. Law & Susan Forest 

20 Jun, 2023

Special Requests


April 2023’s Life Beyond Us: An Original Anthology of SF Stories and Science Essays was edited by Julie Nováková, Lucas K. Law & Susan Forest. This anthology was sponsored by the European Astrobiology Institute, the European Science Foundation (ESF), and the Laksa Media Group. It comprises essays and stories by dozens of named authors, many of them well known as SF authors, and several unnamed authors.

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Every Sparrow Falling


By Algis Budrys  

18 Jun, 2023

Because My Tears Are Delicious To You


Algis Budrys’ 1977 Michaelmas is a stand-alone near-future SF novel.

In the far-off year 2000, Laurent Michaelmas is a respected journalist, the man to whom the world turns to for facts. Laurent is also the secret master of the world, the man who creates the facts on which he reports. Credit is due to Michaelmas’ hard work, diligence, and his access to the nigh-godlike AI, Domino.

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