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Reviews from July 2023 (21)

Welcome to the Circus

Blind Voices

By Tom Reamy  

16 Jul, 2023

Because My Tears Are Delicious To You


Tom Reamy’s 1978 Blind Voices is a stand-alone period-piece horror novel.

A pleasant summer in Hawley, Kansas. Communal awareness that the current economic downturn might be more than a passing phenomenon is only just beginning to sink in1. Young friends Rose Willet, Evelyn Bradley, and Francine Latham seek distraction from the dilemma faced by all Hawley women: look for happiness elsewhere at the cost of leaving family behind or settle for the best of Hawking’s regrettable assortment of marriageable young men.

Haverstock’s Traveling Curiosus and Wonder Show may be a cure for both ills. Haverstock offers immediate entertainment and a cure for the future.

Encountering Haverstock’s cast of wonders might be the last thing any of the teens will do.

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With Pen or Sword

To Shape a Dragon’s Breath  (Nampeshiweisit, book 1)

By Moniquill Blackgoose  

14 Jul, 2023

Doing the WFC's Homework


Moniquill Blackgoose’s 2023 To Shape a Dragon’s Breath is The First Book of Nampeshiweisit.

The author has imagined a world in which dragon-riding Norse thrived at the expense of other cultures. Every land had its dragons, but so far as the Masquapaug islanders know, their dragons, the Nampeshiwe, died out centuries ago. Anequs’ encounter with a broody Nampeshiwe and her decision to collect the egg it leaves behind transforms the girl’s life and quite possibly dooms her people.

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Make Over

Kaiju Girl Caramelise, volume 3

By Spica Aoki  

12 Jul, 2023


1 comment

Kaiju Girl Caramelise, Volume 3 is the third tankōbon of Spica Aoki’s comedic kaiju romance manga. Titled Otome Kaijū Kyaramerize in the original Japanese, Kaiju Girl Caramelise has been serialized in Monthly Comic Alive since early 2018.

Despite the crippling social anxiety caused by her unique medical condition, occasional kaiju Kuroe Akaishi has won the heart of handsome Arata Minami. The relationship having survived the couple’s first date, Kuroe now focuses on her next worry.

What will happen when students learn Arata is dating one such as Kuroe? Will the mob turn on him? Will they turn on Kuroe?

[beware spoilers]

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Hope Never Dies

Empire of the East

By Fred Saberhagen  

9 Jul, 2023

Because My Tears Are Delicious To You


1979’s Empire of the East is an omnibus edition of Fred Saberhagen’s Empire of the East trilogy1. The individual novels included are The Broken Lands (1968), The Black Mountains (1971), and Ardneh’s World2 (1973).

As was the custom in those days, the 1979 omnibus has glowing introductions from two luminaries of the field, Larry Niven and Roger Zelazny. Niven liked Empire of the East more than Lord of the Rings, although he admits it’s a matter of taste. Zelazny is more detailed in his praise, singling out details of Saberhagen’s writing as particularly worthy of praise.

Thousands of years after the Old World’s fall, the malevolent Empire of the East invades and conquers the West. Only a remnant of free men remains. Is hope dead?

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To the Promised Land

If Found, Return to Hell

By Em X. Liu  

7 Jul, 2023

Doing the WFC's Homework


Em X. Liu’s 2023 If Found, Return to Hell is a stand-alone modern fantasy novella.

One Wizard (a company, not a person) has a passionate commitment to the right of every person to sign binding contracts with One Wizard and for customers to provide One Wizard with subscription fees. The company’s passion for delivering services in exchange for said fees is more muted but in principle, the company is not opposed to the idea, provided the end result is more profit.

Working in One Wizard’s phone center, journeyman Wen Mingyan is sufficiently bored that the journeyman finds a plausible excuse for Wen and close friend Nathaniel Feng to visit a caller in person. This proves an effective cure for boredom.

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Not a Single Tear

The Girl from the Other Side: Siúil, a Rún, volume 1

By Nagabe  

5 Jul, 2023



The Girl from the Other Side: Siúil, a Rún, Volume One (とつくにの少女, Totsukuni no Shōjo)) is the first tankōbon for Nagabe’s fantasy manga series. Serialized in Mag Garden’s shōnen manga magazine Monthly Comic Garden, Girl ran from September 2015 to March 2021 and has now concluded. Volume One was published in 2016. The English translation dates to 2017.

Shiva lives alone with absent-minded Teacher in the forest. Other humans once lived in the area; now only their empty homes and abandoned belongings remain.

Shiva lives in hope that each new day will be the day when her beloved auntie will come to collect her. Teacher knows that Shiva’s auntie is never coming. Teacher cannot bear to tell Shiva this. Not only would Shiva be disappointed, explaining why her aunt is not coming might involve revealing uncomfortable truths, such as the fact that Shiva’s auntie is the one who abandoned her in the forest.

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Not Promised Tomorrow

The Year’s Best S‑F: 5th Annual Edition  (The Year’s Best S‑F, volume 5)

 Edited by Judith Merril 

4 Jul, 2023

Judith Merril’s The Year’s Greatest Science Fiction and Fantasy


1960’s The Year’s Best S‑F: 5th Annual Edition (also published as The 5th Annual of the Year’s Best S‑F and as The Best of Sci-Fi 5) is the fifth volume in Judith Merril’s The Year’s Best SF anthology series. This volume draws on science fiction published in 1959 and 1960.

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