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Reviews from September 2023 (21)

In Your Head

The Deep Sky

By Yume Kitasei  

29 Sep, 2023

Doing the WFC's Homework


Yume Kitasei’s 2023 The Deep Sky is a stand-alone science fiction novel.

More than a decade into the Phoenixs journey to another star, Asuka and Kat suit up to examine a mysterious object on the ship’s hull. What should have been a routine exo-vehicular excursion ends in disaster. A bomb detonates. Kat is killed instantly. Inside the ship, Captain McMahon and Communications Specialist Winnie are killed as well. The ship itself is knocked off course.

Asuka survives. Perhaps she can solve the mystery of who planted the bomb.… If only there were not so many suspects. If only Asuka were not the least qualified person in the crew.

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Our Mission

Daemons of the Shadow Realm, volume 2

By Hiromu Arakawa  

27 Sep, 2023



2022’s Daemons of the Shadow Realm, Volume 2 is the second tankōbon in Hiromu Arakawa’s ongoing modern fantasy manga series. Yomi no Tsugai in the original Japanese, it has been serialized in Monthly Shōnen Gangan magazine since December 2021. Volume 2 in English translation was released in 2023.

Following an attack that killed most of the adults in the rustic mountain village of Hagashimura, young Yuru, his guardians Dera and Hana, and his two demons, Right and Left, fled to Japan’s lowlands. Although he is utterly unfamiliar with modern society or its technology, Yuru is determined to find the woman who led the attack, a woman who claims to be his twin sister Asa.

Yuru’s quest was completely successful except for two details. He did not find Asa. He was captured by members of the Kagemori household.

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Our Separate Ways

Bedlam Planet

By John Brunner  

26 Sep, 2023

Shockwave Reader


John Brunner’s 1968 Bedlam Planet is a stand-alone science fiction novel.

Most of the nearby solar systems visited by humanity’s first faster-than-light probes contained only dead worlds. Sigma Draconis was the notable exception. Asgard is in many ways Earth’s twin, a world on which humans can survive unprotected. Or so the initial scouting mission suggested. The colonists planned to test Asgard’s habitability for themselves, assisted by two of the original scouts, Pyotr Tang-Lin and Dennis Malone. Starflight being fearfully expensive, the settlers will be left to succeed or fail without help from Earth1.

The settlement begins badly, with a tragic mishap.

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Witness of Change

Where Peace Is Lost

By Valerie Valdes  

22 Sep, 2023

Doing the WFC's Homework


Valerie Valdes’s 2023 Where Peace Is Lost is a science fantasy novel. While it could serve as volume one of an ongoing series, it works as a stand-alone novel.

Facing a war whose costs would be unbearable even should her side win, Kelana Gardavros helped broker a peace with the rapacious Prixori Anocracy, also known as the Pale. Following the cessation of overt hostilities, Kel went into exile. For five years, she has lived quietly on Loth.

Loth is a backwater planet too distant and poor for the Pale to bother conquering it. This will not prevent the Pale from presenting a clear and present danger to Loth. It will not save Kel from being forced to choose between maintaining her low profile or trying to save her neighbors.

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Something To Be

Warped State  (Gifted of Brennex)

By Jo Miles  

21 Sep, 2023

Miscellaneous Reviews

1 comment

2023’s Warped State is the first book in Jo Miles’ The Gifted of Brennex series.

Ravel Corporation is the very model of a modern major corporation. It maximizes shareholder value and CEO compensation, while paying the minimum possible to its employees (who are expected to be grateful for having a job at all). Only a wild-eyed political extremist would see this arrangement as anything other than just … even nigh-utopian.

But Brennex is a planet inhabited by wild-eyed political extremists who have driven Ravel off their world. Few are as wild-eyed or politically extreme as Jasper Wilder, field agent for the Cooperative, that cabal of willful labor organizers.

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Ogami-san Can’t Keep It In, volume 1

By Yu Yoshidamaru  (Translated by Max Greenway)

20 Sep, 2023


1 comment

The 2017 Ogami-san Can’t Keep It In, Volume 1, is the first tankōbon for Yu Yoshidamaru’s paranormal-romance comedy manga Oogami-san, Dadamore desu. It was serialized in Kodansha’s seinen manga magazine Monthly Afternoon from October 2016 to November 2019. The English translation is by Max Greenway.

Schoolgirl Ogami keeps her distance from her classmates, terrified that a slip of the tongue could reveal her dreadful secret. Ogami’s every waking moment is filled with intrusive, unwanted thoughts about es see ex. Surely, her classmates will loath and shun her if they knew what a giant pervert she was. Therefore she isolates herself.

Fellow student Yaginuma is also careful to keep his distance from his classmates. This is to protect them from his embarrassing gift. To touch Yaginuma’s bare skin is to uncontrollably blurt out one’s darkest secrets.

Of course, Ogami and Yaginuma’s paths cross.

[Obligatory this is not the ecchi manga you may be expecting” notice]

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Til That Morning

Ghost Story

By Peter Straub  

17 Sep, 2023

Because My Tears Are Delicious To You


Peter Straub’s 1979 Ghost Story is a stand-alone horror novel.

Dr. John Jaffrey, businessman Lewis Benedikt, and lawyers Sears James and Ricky Hawthorne are members of Milburn, NY’s so-called Clam Chowder Society. For half a century, they have met to share outrageous stories. Of late, their tales have inclined to the macabre. This is because until one year ago, there were five members of the Society, not four.

Last year’s party was intended as a celebration of Ann-Veronica Moore, the latest inappropriately young actress on whom Dr. Jaffrey’s wandering eye had fallen. The results were anything but celebratory.

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