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Reviews from November 2023 (22)

Thorn In My Side

The Death I Gave Him

By Em X. Liu  

16 Nov, 2023

Special Requests


Em X. Liu’s 2023 The Death I Gave Him is a vengeance-filled SF novel of revenge.

Hayden Lichfield returns to his father’s laboratory where he finds a corpse and a mystery. In the brief time that Hayden was gone, someone murdered his father Graham and erased the Elsinore Labs security camera footage. While direct evidence is now lost, the list of people with the necessary access is not long.

In fact, it would not even fully populate a hamlet.

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Play With Magic

Roses & Violets  (Rosenholm Trilogy, volume 1)

By Gry Kappel Jensen  (Translated by Sharon E. Rhodes)

15 Nov, 2023


1 comment

2019’s Roses & Violets is the first volume of Gry Kappel Jensen’s Rosenholm Trilogy. The 2023 English translation is by Sharon E. Rhodes. 

Four very different young women receive invitations to the mysterious Rosenholm Academy on Denmark’s Zealand Island. Maternal Chamomile; timid, sheltered Kirstine; grumpy Malou; and rich Victoria are all potential mages. Rosenholm can teach them how to safely use (Norse-flavored) magic.

Another way to look at it is that Rosenholm will provide a killer with potential victims.

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Whatever I’ve Got

Lovecraft Country  (Lovecraft Country, volume 1)

By Matt Ruff  

14 Nov, 2023

Cosmic Horror!


2016’s1 Lovecraft Country is the first volume in Matt Ruff’s Lovecraft Country series.

Atticus Turner heads north from Florida to Chicago, summoned by a concerning letter from his estranged father Montrose. Atticus isn’t unhappy to leave the South behind. Atticus is many things (including an SF fan) but the thing that has the greatest impact on his personal safety is that he is African American.

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Bold Canadians

Ultimatum  (Robert Porter, volume 1)

By Richard Rohmer  

12 Nov, 2023

Because My Tears Are Delicious To You

1 comment

1973’s Ultimatum is the first of two Robert Porter novels by Canadian author Richard Rohmer.

Newly elected Canadian prime minister Robert Porter (party unspecified) receives a phone call from American president Howard. The Texan-born Democrat faces the challenge of reelection in just one month. He has a bold stratagem to achieve a second term, one in which Canada will play a central role.

Whether Canada wants to or not.

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Sweet Revenge

A Fire Born of Exile

By Aliette de Bodard  

10 Nov, 2023

Doing the WFC's Homework

1 comment

Aliette de Bodard’s 2023 A Fire Born of Exile is a stand-alone SF story of revenge and romance that takes place in her Xuya Universe setting.

Half a generation earlier, the Ten Thousand Flags Uprising was suppressed through a combination of miliary and judicial force. Naïve scholars like Dã Lan discovered that unwary words and misplaced trust could lead to the nearest airlock and sudden death. As tragic as the results were for the guilty and innocent alike, Prefect Tinh Đức flourished, building status on the skulls of those who passed through her court. Only General Tuyết rivals the prefect for power in the belt. Currently, the balance of power is tilting from military to civil.

Newcomer Quỳnh is a wealthy but seemingly unremarkable social climber, potentially useful but of no particular significance. Quỳnh is a reinvented Dã Lan, back to exact revenge on the two women — the general and the prefect — who cost the scholar so much.

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Green Grow The Rushes


By Rebecca Campbell  

9 Nov, 2023

Miscellaneous Reviews


Rebecca Campbell’s 2022 Le Guin Prize winner Arboreality is a stand-alone climate fiction novella.

Humanity has triumphed over nature. No more coddling of that stable climate for which our institutions are adapted. Fossil fuels have gone full speed ahead. As a consequence, rapid climate change provides the people of the 21st century with the opportunity to adapt or die.

The novella focuses on the consequences for Vancouver Island.

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No Secrets Left Inside

Kaiju Girl Caramelise, volume 4

By Spica Aoki  

8 Nov, 2023



2020’s Kaiju Girl Caramelise, Volume 4 is the fourth 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. The English translation of Volume 4 was published in 2021.

Public revelation of Kuroe Akaishi’s relationship with handsome fellow student Arata Minami provokes a reaction — although not the one Kuroe expected.

Background: when stressed, Kuroe transforms into the massive kaiju Harugon. It was as Harugon that she kissed Arata. The press is hounding Arata, who has been dubbed the Kaiju Prince.

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Just Soothes My Soul

The 9th Annual of the Year’s Best SF  (The Year’s Best S‑F, volume 9)

 Edited by Judith Merril 

7 Nov, 2023

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


The 9th Annual of the Year’s Best SF is, as one might guess, the ninth volume in Judith Merril’s The Year’s Best S‑F Series. The anthology was also published as 9th Annual Edition: The Year’s Best S‑F, 9th Annual S‑F, and The Best of Science Fiction 9. Merril’s anthology collects outstanding short works of science fiction from the previous year, which in this case stretched from 1959 to 1963.

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Due South

Moon of the Turning Leaves  (Moon of the Crusted Snow, volume 2)

By Waubgeshig Rice  

3 Nov, 2023

Doing the WFC's Homework

1 comment

2023’s Moon of the Turning Leaves is the second volume in Waubgeshig Rice’s post-apocalyptic Moon of the Crusted Snow series.

Twelve years after the power failed, a new crisis confronts the Anishinaabe of Shki-dnakiiwin. A dozen years of hunting and fishing in a fixed location is depleting local resources. The logical response would to reprise the events following the total collapse of electrified civilization and move the community.

There is a logical destination: the community’s old homelands near the Great Lakes. Whether the migration would be safe is unclear.

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