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Reviews from January 2024 (22)

Gimme The News

The Apothecary Diaries, volume 9

By Natsu Hyuuga  

17 Jan, 2024



2020’s The Apothecary Diaries: Volume 9 is the ninth light novel in Natsu Hyuuga’s secondary-universe quasi-historical Apothecary Diaries mystery series. The illustrations are by Touko Shino. The 2023 English language edition was translated by Kevin Steinbach.

Series love-interest Jinshi removed himself from Li’s imperial succession by branding himself. Luckily for the badly burned Jinshi, he has Maomao on hand to treat the burn. Less luckily, Maomao is an apothecary, not an actual physician.

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Can You See

Fallen  (Firstborn, Lastborn, volume 2)

By Melissa Scott  

16 Jan, 2024

Special Requests


Melissa Scott’s 2023 Fallen is the second book in her Firstborn, Lastborn space opera series. It shares no characters with the first book, Finders, and is set in a different period. More on that second detail later.

The invention of nigh-godlike AIs provided the Ancestors with everything they could have wanted… until they found themselves at war with the AIs. Civilization collapsed. Centuries later, civilization has recovered, although at a lower tech level than the Ancestors enjoyed.

Luckily for the revived civilization, space is littered with Ancestor relics. A few of these relics aren’t existential threats.

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Adventure Calls

Exiles at the Well of Souls  (Saga of the Well World, volume 2)

By Jack L. Chalker  

14 Jan, 2024

Because My Tears Are Delicious To You


1978’s Exiles at the Well of Souls is the second volume in Jack L. Chalker’s Well World Saga.

The ancient Markovians’ technology gave them the power of gods, able to reshape reality according to their whims. While humans might not be able to duplicate that achievement on their own, access to abandoned Markovian relics allowed brilliant scientist Gilgram Zinder to reverse-engineer Markovian technology. Now he too can alter reality as he sees fit. Too bad Zinder is as naïve as he is smart.

Councillor Antor Trelig has a simple dream: become unquestioned ruler of the three hundred and seventy-four human-colonized worlds belonging to the Council of Worlds. At present, his talent for conniving and skillful use of drug-based blackmail has provided him with de-facto control of one hundred seventy-five worlds. Zinder’s discovery can provide Trelig with the rest.

Zinder has no interest in helping Trelig conquer humanity but Trelig did not get where he is today by caring what other people want.

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This Lovely Creature

The Betel Nut Tree Mystery  (Crown Colony, volume 2)

By Ovidia Yu  

12 Jan, 2024

Doing the WFC's Homework


The Betel Nut Tree Mystery is the second volume in Ovidia Yu’s Crown Colony cozy1 mystery series.

Su Lin has settled in at the Detective Shack as an employee of Singapore’s Detective and Intelligence Unit. The detectives have been directed to take a close interest in the impending Glossop-Covington wedding. It would look bad for Singapore if anything were to disrupt the marriage of a wealthy British man to a wealthy American widow.

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Really Can’t Stay

Fallen Angels

By Larry Niven, Jerry Pournelle & Michael F. Flynn  

11 Jan, 2024

Special Requests


Larry Niven, Jerry Pournelle, and Michael F. Flynn’s 1991 Fallen Angels is a near-future science fiction novel.

The future! A cabal of feminists, greens, Evangelicals, Luddites, mystics, and Wisconsin dairy farmers has taken control of America, enforcing stringent environmental laws. Without the protective layer of air pollution, Earth rapidly cools. A new ice age dooms most of Canada and the northern US.

The only surviving remnant of American technological prowess is Space Station Freedom. Together with the Russian space station, the stations have declared independence. The habitats cling to life thanks to a small lunar facility and precious nitrogen skimmed from the upper atmosphere.

Having pestered his way into piloting one final skimming mission, Alex MacLeod repays the trust that the community has placed in him by getting himself, the irreplaceable scoopship Piranha, and fellow astronaut Gordon Tanne shot down. Alex manages to land Piranha safely … but the ship will never fly again. What is to become of the two castaways?

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Be Amazing

To Your Eternity, volume 4

By Yoshitoki Oima  

10 Jan, 2024



2017’s To Your Eternity, Volume 41 is the fourth 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 4 appeared in 2018.

Fushi, a protean entity created by the mysterious Beholder for reasons poorly explained2, has been a member of Gugu’s household for four years. This has permitted Fushi, an immortal shapeshifter, an opportunity to master looking human.

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Ancient Songs

Stranger From the Depths

By Gerry Turner  

7 Jan, 2024

Because My Tears Are Delicious To You


Gerry Turner’s 1967 Stranger From the Depths is a stand-alone science fiction novel.

Desperate to keep the family newspaper afloat, college student/editor Gary and highschooler Jordan Howard perch on a promontory in the hope of photographing an incoming tsunami. Their effort costs them their vehicle, but the resulting images earn them a healthy $1200 (about $11,000 in 2024 currency). The Bellbrook Times can survive for a little while longer.

In the aftermath left by the wave, the two orphans make a very curious find, a statue of curious design and even more astonishing age, embedded in an ancient cliff.

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Will Be

Her Little Reapers  (The Night Eaters, volume 2)

By Marjorie Liu & Sana Takeda  

5 Jan, 2024

Doing the WFC's Homework


2023’s Her Little Reapers is the second graphic novel in Marjorie Liu and Sana Takeda’s The Night Eaters horror series.

Four months ago, a home-renovation project revealed to twins Milly and Billy Ting that their mother is a demon, their father is a demon, and thus … the Ting twins are also demons.

Dealing with their new-found status would ordinarily demand intensive training. Too bad for the Tings that their terrifying mother Ipo belongs to the sink or swim school of parenting. Laid-back dad Keon disagrees but is unwilling to cross Ipo. The Wonder Tings are on their own.

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Want To See


By Lucy Kissick  

4 Jan, 2024

Miscellaneous Reviews


Lucy Kissick’s 2022 Clarke Award finalist Plutoshine is a stand-alone science fiction novel.

The public debate about terraforming is over, at least as far as the pro-terraforming faction is concerned. No longer will humanity be dependent on fragile habitats to survive in space. Uninhabitable worlds will be transformed to accommodate human needs.

Next up on the terraforming agenda: Pluto!

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