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Reviews from February 2024 (16)

In My Dreams I Have a Plan

Nightside City  (Carlisle Hsing, volume 1)

By Lawrence Watt-Evans  

22 Feb, 2024

Big Hair, Big Guns!

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1989’s Nightside City is the first of Lawrence Watt-Evan’s Carlisle Hsing hard-SF mystery novels, which are in turn a subset of Watt-Evan’s Shining Steel Universe.

Down-at-heel private detective Carlisle Hsing cannot be choosy about which cases to accept. Nevertheless, the case offered to her by Zarathustra Pickens is a new low. Not only is the pay laughably small, the case itself makes no sense. Why would someone be buying up doomed real estate?

But first! An infodump about the exoplanet on which the story is set.

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Cares and Troubles


By Sven Holm  (Translated by Sylvia Clayton)

21 Feb, 2024


1 comment

Sven Holm’s 1967 Termush is a post-holocaust novel. Originally published in Danish as Termush, Atlanterhavskysten (Termush, Atlantic Coast), Termush was translated into English by Sylvia Clayton in 1969. This edition includes an introduction by Jeff Vandermeer, copyright 2023.

Although billions perished in the great disaster, there is happy news. Those possessed of prudence and sufficient funds were protected from the calamity by Termush’s shelters. So were the staff required to serve the wealthy hand and foot.

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A Glass or Two

The Best Science Fiction Novellas of The Year 1  (The Best Science Fiction Novellas of The Year, volume 1)

 Edited by Terry Carr 

18 Feb, 2024

Because My Tears Are Delicious To You


Terry Carr’s 1979 The Best Science Fiction Novellas of The Year 1 is the first volume in his The Best Science Fiction Novellas of The Year anthology series.

Frustrated that page count limits precluded including many noteworthy novellas in his Best Science Fiction of the Year anthologies, Carr resolved to provide novellas with their own anthology series.

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Suitcase of Memories

Loving Safoa

By Liza Wemakor  

16 Feb, 2024

Doing the WFC's Homework

1 comment

Liza Wemakor’s 2024 Loving Safoa is a stand-alone social-activist vampire novella.

Observers might expect the impediments to Cynthia and Safoa’s romance to be the age-gap (Safoa is somewhat older) and cultural differences between modern America (Cynthia) and Ghana (Safoa). There’s also the minor detail that Cynthia is alive while Safoa is a vampire.

But it turns out that the problem is Safoa’s tattoo.

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Forever and a Day

The Misenchanted Sword  (Legends of Ethshar, volume 1)

By Lawrence Watt-Evans  

15 Feb, 2024

Big Hair, Big Guns!


Lawrence Watt-Evans’s 1985 The Misenchanted Sword is the first in a series of secondary-universe fantasy novels set in Watt-Evans’ Ethshar.

Cut off from his fellow Ethsharite soldiers by an unexpected northern empire attack, Valder flees enemy soldiers determined to kill him. In his panic, Valder does something that will shape the rest of his quite possibly short life: he annoys a wizard.

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History Book

Magus of the Library, volume 3

By Mitsu Izumi  

14 Feb, 2024



2019’s Magus of the Library, Volume 3 is the third tankōbon in Mitsu Izumi’s secondary-universe fantasy manga series (Toshokan no Daimajutsushi in the original Japanese). Magus has been serialized in Good! Afternoon since November 2017. The English translation appeared in 2020.

Having reached the fabled Aftzaak, City of Books, life as a kafna (librarian) stretches before Theo… provided he can pass the grueling entrance exams.

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Regrets, I’ve Had A Few

They’d Rather Be Right

By Mark Clifton & Frank Riley  

13 Feb, 2024

What's The Worst That Could Happen?


Mark Clifton and Frank Riley’s 1957 They’d Rather Be Right is a science fiction fix-up novel. They’d Rather Be Right was also published as The Forever Machine.

They’d Rather Be Right has the reputation of being the worst novel to win the Hugo. Hyperbole or cold fact? Let’s find out!

In the latter part of the 20th century, kindly academic Dr. Martin realizes that Joey, the troubled boy he is assessing, is a telepath. Joey’s parents are conformist knuckle-draggers. The end result is that rather than being hailed as the next step in human evolution, poor Joey — later Joe — is consigned to a childhood of stupefying conformity.

Thirteen years later, Martin’s associate Dr. Billings, Dean of Psychosomatic Research at Hoxworth University, has desperate need of Joe’s unique talent.

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