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Reviews from August 2023 (23)

Spin On To Yesterday

Anubis Gates  (Anubis Gates, volume 1)

By Tim Powers  

17 Aug, 2023

Big Hair, Big Guns!

1 comment

1983’s The Anubis Gates is the first of Tim Powers’ Anubis Gates series1.

1801: Determined to make Egypt great again, magicians Doctor Romany and Amenophis Fikee travel to England to conduct a ceremony which, if successful, will sweep the British Empire and its loathsome peers from the face of the Earth, then restore the old Egyptian gods in their full glory. The result is a catastrophe whose effects are felt across time.

Having failed again to sabotage the British Empire, the surviving schemers turn to other plots.

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Years Go By

To Your Eternity, volume 3

By Yoshitoki Oima  

16 Aug, 2023



2017’s To Your Eternity, Volume 3 is the third tankōbon for Yoshitoki Oima’s fantasy manga. Originally published as Fumetsu no Anata e, the series has run since 2016 in Weekly Shōnen Magazine. The English translation of Volume 3 appeared in 2018.

Volume one was reviewed here. Volume two was reviewed here.

Having successfully fled the Yanome empire and escaped Hayase’s pursuit, the protean Fushi and elderly Pioran make their way to a distant community. Here, Fushi will continue its efforts to learn to be a person.

Key to the process: a boy named Gugu.

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Pearls from a Summer Sea

The Hieros Gamos of Sam and an Smith

By Josephine Saxton  

15 Aug, 2023

Cordwainer Smith Rediscovery Award Winners


Josephine Saxton’s 1969 The Hieros Gamos of Sam and An Smith is a stand-alone post-apocalyptic novel.

The boy has wandered the world for a decade. It is a world well-supplied with fully-stocked stores and yet very nearly empty of animals and other people. Sensing that other people are dangerous, he seeks solitude.

This changes the day he finds a still-living newborn baby girl next to her mother’s corpse.

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The Road to Gardar

The Sword and the Satchel  (World of Alfar)

By Elizabeth H. Boyer  

13 Aug, 2023

Because My Tears Are Delicious To You


1980’sThe Sword and the Satchel is the first volume in Elizabeth H. Boyer’s World of Alfar trilogy.

The ice creeps ever southward but attempts to bribe the troll thought to be responsible fail. The envoy dispatched by Valsidur of Shieldbroad fails to find the troll or any evidence it existed. While the nonexistence of the troll comes as no surprise to the relentlessly skeptical ruler, it suggests that whatever the cause of the Blight, it is beyond the ability of mortals to slow.

One day, a sword appears, driven through the ancient Brandstok oak that stands in Shieldbroad. A written note proclaims:

Whoso pulls Kildurin from the tree shall rule over all the minions of Surt, to the confusion of the wicked and the confounding of their Power.”

Chaos ensues.

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Can’t You Hear Me?

Octavia E. Butler: The Last Interview: and Other Conversations

By Octavia E. Butler  

11 Aug, 2023

Doing the WFC's Homework


2023’s Octavia E. Butler: The Last Interview: and Other Conversations is a collection of interviews by various interviewers with the late author Octavia E. Butler (June 22, 1947 – February 24, 2006). Octavia E. Butler: The Last Interview is part of Melville House’s Last Interview series. The collection includes an introduction by Samuel R. Delany.

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Mirth and Mayhem

Dragonbane: Mirth and Mayhem Roleplaying

By Tomas Härenstam  

10 Aug, 2023

Roleplaying Games


Tomas Härenstam’s1 2023’s Dragonbane: Mirth and Mayhem Roleplaying is the English language edition of the most recent edition of the venerable Swedish tabletop fantasy roleplaying game, Drakar och Demoner (DoD).

Dragonbane began as the Swedish translation of Chaosium’s Basic Roleplaying and the Magic World supplement from Worlds of Wonder. It has evolved greatly over the decades and I am not sure how many editions it has had (have fun working out which versions were true new editions and which were merely variants!).

What waits the modern player inside the hefty, sturdy shipping box?

WARNING: Excessively Long Review Follows

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Real Big Mistakes

Usotoki Rhetoric, volume 2

By Ritsu Miyako  

9 Aug, 2023



Usotoki Rhetoric Volume 2 is the second tankōbon in Ritsu Miyako’s historical mystery manga series. Usotoki Rhetoric was published in Bessatsu Hana to Yume from June 26, 2012 to March 26, 2018. I reviewed the first volume here.

The same knack that made Urabe Kanoko a pariah in her home town gives her a job in Tsukumoya. Urabe has an infallible ability to tell when someone is consciously lying. This makes her of great use to struggling detective Iwai Soma.

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When the Night is Cold

Lords of the Starship  (The Wars, volume 1)

By Mark S. Geston  

6 Aug, 2023

Because My Tears Are Delicious To You


1967’s Lords of the Starship is the first volume in Mark S. Geston’s darkly cynical The Wars trilogy.

Having blighted the Earth with apocalyptic wars against darkest evil, the remnants of civilization are trapped in a long, slow decline. The pitiful nations of this future squander their resources on pointless petty wars. Recovery seems impossible. The only open question appears to be how long it will take for humans to vanish from wounded Earth.

General Toriman approaches Sir Henry Limpkin with a bold plan to redeem humanity’s collective soul.

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Wish You Happiness

Shubeik Lubeik

By Deena Mohamed  

4 Aug, 2023

Doing the WFC's Homework


Deena Mohamed’s 2022 Shubeik Lubeik is a stand-alone modern-fantasy graphic novel.

Cairo kiosk-owner Shokry sells papers and cigarettes to passers-by. Recently, Shokry has added some new offerings: three first-class wishes.

First-class wishes are expensive, not something one would expect to purchase from a news agent. Surely, this is some sort of confidence game. However, Shokry is as honest as he is pious. The wishes are very much real. Of course, there is a catch. Several catches.

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