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Reviews from October 2023 (22)

Play The Wild Mutation

More Things in Heaven

By John Brunner  

31 Oct, 2023

Shockwave Reader


1973’s More Things in Heaven is an expanded version of John Brunner’s The Astronauts Must Not Land.

David Drummond is astonished to see his brother Leon on the Calle Gagarin in Quito. Leon is on board humanity’s first faster-than-light starship, Starventure. As far as David knows, Starventure has not returned from Alpha Centauri. How then can Leon be in Quito?

As it happens, Starventure is back in the Solar System, orbiting near Jupiter. What follows raises more questions rather than answering them.

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A Warm Sky Where I’ll Wander

The Last Dragoners of Bowbazar

By Indra Das  

27 Oct, 2023

Doing the WFC's Homework


Indra Das’s 2023 The Last Dragoners of Bowbazar is a stand-alone modern fantasy novella.

Ru St. George has an English surname but his face does not say English” to his Calcutta1 neighbors. Perhaps the St. Georges are Chinese … or Naga or Mizo. The people of Calcutta are determined to know how each person and their families fit into the grand scheme of things. Lacking solid information from the St. Georges, they spin pleasing fantasies that appear to explain the facts on hand.

Nobody in Calcutta has the smallest inkling of how far the St. Georges travelled to reach India.

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Big Girls Don’t Cry

Locklands  (Founders, volume 3)

By Robert Jackson Bennett  

26 Oct, 2023

Special Requests


2022’s Locklands is the third and final volume in Robert Jackson Bennett’s Founders Trilogy.

Thief turned revolutionary Sancia Grado, girlfriend Berenice, and her friend Clef have triumphed over the merchant house of Tevanne!

Also their actions facilitated the rise to power of something predatory, inhuman, inhumane, and expansionist, compared to which the merchants were but a minor threat. Having doomed the world to worse than slavery, Sancia and company search for a way to undo their new foe.

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The Big Parade

Witch Hat Atelier, volume 11

By Kamome Shirahama  

25 Oct, 2023



2022’s Witch Hat Atelier, Volume 11 is the eleventh tankōbon of Kamome Shirahama’s Witch Hat Atelier fantasy manga series. Witch Hat Atelier (Tongari Bōshi no Atelier in the original Japanese) has been serialized in Kodansha’s Monthly Morning Two magazine since July 2016. The English translation of Volume 11 first appeared in 2023.

Having been convinced to demonstrate some wonderous new spell in an upcoming procession, Coco encounters a foe too formidable even for her: spellcaster’s block.

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Fool’s Mate

Second Game

By Charles V. De Vet & Katherine MacLean  

24 Oct, 2023

Big Hair, Big Guns!


Charles V. De Vet and Katherine MacLean’s 1981 Second Game is a stand-alone interstellar espionage novel.

Having discovered to their astonishment that they share the galaxy with another starfaring race, the Ten Thousand World Federation1 attempted to open diplomatic relations with the Veldqans. Rebuffed by the aliens, the Federation dispatched a fleet to underline the benefits of friendly relations. That fleet having been annihilated through mysterious means, Master Spy Leonard Stromberg is dispatched to the alien home world to take a closer look.

Key to his efforts: a board game.

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Dread and Envy

The Frangipani Tree Mystery  (Crown Colony, volume 1)

By Ovidia Yu  

20 Oct, 2023

Doing the WFC's Homework


2017’s The Frangipani Tree Mystery is the first volume1 in Ovidia Yu’s Crown Colony mystery series.

1936: Singapore still languishes under the boot of the British Empire. Were imperial domination alone not bad enough, the Depression lingers.

Su Lin is considered unlucky, possibly cursed, by her family. Not only is she an orphan, but polio left her with a noticeable limp. Her uncle Chen has a solution: arranged marriage to a man Chen will make sure has suitable prospects (if the uncle has to provide them himself). Vanessa Miss Nessa” Palin, the spinster sister of Sir Henry Palin, acting governor of Singapore, has a different solution: Su Lin will become Chief Inspector Le Froy’s housekeeper.

Fate provides a third alternative.

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Sweet Liberty

The Weigher

By Eric Vinicoff & Marcia Martin  

19 Oct, 2023

The End of History


Marcia Martin and Eric Vinicoff’s 1992 The Weigher is a stand-alone first-contact xenoanthropology science fiction novel.

Slasher’s people are touchy apex predators, inclined to see each other as threats and competitors. Nevertheless, the Kodiak-bear-sized beings have a civilization of sorts, facilitated in large part by the tireless efforts of Weighers like Slasher, who work to find equitable, non-violent solutions to conflicts.

Slasher’s successful career is doomed as soon as the demons appear.

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Survivors  (The Deer King, volume 1)

By Nahoko Uehashi  (Translated by Cathy Hirano)

18 Oct, 2023



2014’s Survivors is the first book in Nahoko Uehashi’s The Deer King series. The 2023 English-language edition was translated by Cathy Hirano.

The sole survivor of the Lone Antler Warriors1, Van was captured by the Empire of Zol and consigned to the Aquafa salt mine. His life as a slave would have been unpleasant and short, were it not for the black dogs.

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