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Reviews from February 2024 (21)

This Is The Dream

The Owl Cries

By Hye-Young Pyun  (Translated by Sora Kim-Russell)

28 Feb, 2024



Hye-young Pyun’s 2012 The Owl Cries is a horror-tinged thriller. The 2023 English translation is by Sora Kim-Russell.

Lawyer Ha-in Lee has no love for his abusive brother, Gyeong-in. Not only did Gyeong-in make Ha-in’s childhood a misery, as an adult Gyeong-in is a failure who sponges off Ha-in and their mother. Nevertheless, duty is duty. When Gyeong-in vanishes after a distraught, enigmatic phone-call, Ha-in sets out to find his missing brother.

This proves to have been a terrible decision.

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Riddle Me This

Total Eclipse

By John Brunner  

27 Feb, 2024

Shockwave Reader


John Brunner’s 1974 Total Eclipse is a stand-alone hard-SF puzzle story.

After the disappointments at Proxima, Epsilon Eridani, and Tau Ceti, humans might have abandoned interstellar flight altogether. The 2020 discovery of alien ruins on the moon of a life-bearing planet orbiting Sigma Draconis saved the dream of interstellar exploration…

At least for a while. The 2028 expedition may be the final expedition.

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Life Goes On

The Auctioneer

By Joan Samson  

25 Feb, 2024

Because My Tears Are Delicious To You


Joan Samson’s 1975 The Auctioneer is a stand-alone social horror novel.

Although they do not suspect it, John and Mim Moore’s life is doomed as soon as local cop Bob Gore arrives with news and a request. An out-of-towner named Perly Dunsmore has bought the Fawkes farm. A former small-town boy himself, Perly has plans for Harlow, New Hampshire. Step one, an auction of donated goods, over which experienced auctioneer Perly will preside.

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Cunning and Free

Sun of Blood and Ruin

By Mariely Lares  

23 Feb, 2024

Doing the WFC's Homework


Mariely Lares’ 2023 Sun of Blood and Ruin is an alternate historical fantasy.

Decades after Hernán Cortés invaded, Mexico is still divided. In the regions under Spanish rule, the largely indigenous population is subject to inflexible Spanish law and custom. Outside those regions, rebellion is rife.

Lady Leonora de las Casas Tlazohtzin’s position is an uncomfortable one. Her late father was Viceroy of New Spain. Her late mother, to whom the Viceroy was not wed, was indigenous. How to reconcile her two lineages?

By becoming the closest thing to a superhero New Spain has.

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In My Dreams I Have a Plan

Nightside City  (Carlisle Hsing, volume 1)

By Lawrence Watt-Evans  

22 Feb, 2024

Big Hair, Big Guns!


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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