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Turn Robber All on The Salt Sea

The Mermaid, the Witch, and the Sea

By Maggie Tokuda-Hall 

11 Sep, 2020

Doing What the WFC Cannot Do


Maggie Tokuda-Hall’s 2020 The Mermaid, the Witch, and the Sea is a secondary universe fantasy. 

Lady Evelyn Hasegawa’s betrothal to wealthy officer Finn Callum promises financial security to her debt-ridden aristocratic parents. This is an arranged marriage; she’s never met her groom, who lives at a distant imperial outpost in the Floating Islands. Evelyn must take a long sea voyage to join him, a voyage from which she will almost certainly never return. 

⸮But this is a sacrifice her parents are willing to make.⸮ 

Evelyn and a casket full of worldly goods are sent off on the good ship Dove . She’s anxious, of course: a new land, an unknown husband. She would be even more anxious if she knew that Dove is captained by a complete villain and crewed by people who are just as bad.

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And My Eyes Won’t Close

A Primer to Han Song  (Exploring Dark Short Fiction, book 5)

By Han SongEdited by Eric J. Guignard (Translated by Michael A. Arnzen & Nathaniel Isaacson)

9 Sep, 2020



2020’s A Primer to Han Song , illustrations by Michelle Prebich, is a collection edited by Eric J. Guignard. The short collection is the fifth in the Exploring Dark Short Fiction series. In addition to the stories written by Han Song, there is a commentary by Michael Arnzen, Ph.D.

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Not Sure Just What We Have in Store

Galileo, July 1979  (Galileo, book 13)

Edited by Charles C. Ryan 

6 Sep, 2020

Because My Tears Are Delicious To You


Galileo, July 1979 was the thirteenth of sixteen published issues of Charles C. Ryan’s Galileo Magazine.

Galileo is not much mentioned these days, but a mere forty-one years ago it was one of my go-to SF magazines. I would have rated it higher than Bova’s Analog (much higher than Schmidt’s), but not as high as Baen’s Galaxy .

How does it stand up, you ask?

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A War in My Mind

The Bone Shard Daughter  (Drowning Empire, book 1)

By Andrea Stewart 

4 Sep, 2020

Doing What the WFC Cannot Do


2020’s The Bone Shard Daughter is the first volume in Andrea Stewart’s projected Drowning Empire secondary-universe fantasy trilogy. It’s just published!

The Emperor protects his people from the Alanga, godlike beings who once plagued the Empire. All he asks is total obedience and a small token of his subjects’ gratitude. A trifle, really, just a small shard of skull bone, which grants the Emperor access to their life energy. He uses that to power the automatons through which he rules the Empire. Otherwise his subjects are free to pay their taxes and do as they are told until such time as they die from the side-effects of being used as a living battery. 

The Emperor is growing old and it isn’t clear what will happen when he dies.

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Where the Cold Wind Blows

The Honjin Murders  (Kosuke Kindaichi, book 1)

By Seishi Yokomizo (Translated by Louise Heal Kawai)

3 Sep, 2020


1 comment

Seishi Yokomizo’s 19461 The Honjin Murders is the first novel in the seventy-seven volume Kosuke Kindaichi detective series. The 2019 English translation is by Louise Heal Kawai.

Kenzo Ichiyanagi’s wedding will be remembered for decades. Not for the happy marriage that followed (it didn’t). Not for the Ichiyanagi clan’s misgivings about Katsuko, the bride-to-be. It will be remembered for the brutal deaths of groom and bride on their wedding night — that, and the fact that their dead bodies were found in a room from which egress appeared to be impossible. 

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Baby, Let Me Change Your Life

Amberlough  (Amberlough Dossier, book 1)

By Lara Elena Donnelly 

2 Sep, 2020

Special Requests

1 comment

Lara Elena Donnelly’s 2017 Amberlough is the first volume in her Amberlough Dossier secondary-world science fiction dystopia. 

From one perspective, Amberlough City is a cosmopolitan, sophisticated city, home to great art and refined culture. From another point of view — that of the puritanical One State Party — it typifies all that is wrong with the loose four-nation confederation of Gedda, a polity where people are allowed to be unproductively flamboyant and egregiously non-conformist rather than serving their betters in approved ways. This must be stopped!

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When the World Is Breaking My Heart

The Midnight Bargain

By C. L. Polk 

31 Aug, 2020

Miscellaneous Reviews


C. L. Polk’s 2020 The Midnight Bargain is a secondary world fantasy, due out in October.

Beatrice Clayborn could be one of Chasland’s greatest magi — if only she were a man. But she is a woman and the only roles she’s allowed are those of wife and mother. Oh, she can do a little magic once she is too old to bear children, but even that permission is grudgingly given and strictly circumscribed. 

But women will hone their talents, disregarding patriarchal restrictions. There are grimoires intended for women, disguised but recognizable to those with talent. Beatrice, desperate to escape matrimony, has been methodically searching them out. The final volume she needs, the one that will permit her to summon a greater spirit and propose the pact of the great bargain,” thus becoming a mage of unquestionable power, is one quick purchase away. 

And then…

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Where the Clear Winds Blow

Rider  (Rider, book 1)

By Joyce Chng 

28 Aug, 2020

Doing What the WFC Cannot Do


Joyce Chng’s 2013 Rider: A Novel of Jin is the first novel in her Rider trilogy.

Lifang would like to be a Rider, one of the fortunate elites partnered with a Quetz (the enormous pterodactyl-like natives of Jin). Her family, however, believes Lifang can do her bit for the struggling human community on the planet Jin as an agri-seer”. Which is to say, highly educated farmer.

If it were up to her family and her community, Lifang would not get the career she wants. Fate intervenes. 

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