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We are the lantern bearers, my friend; for us to keep something burning, to carry what light we can forward into the darkness and the wind.”

The Lantern Bearers  (Eagle of the Ninth, volume 4)

By Rosemary Sutcliff 

12 Oct, 2014

Because My Tears Are Delicious To You

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While I know I read this when I was a teen, I was actually only ten when I first encountered it and while I didn’t like it much at the time – because I was ten and this isn’t really a book for a ten-year-old – I reread it several times that year. In part that is because even though I didn’t like it I did find it fascinating but the real reason was we were living in Brazil, we had gone three months without any books in English1 to read and this was in the big case of school books that finally caught up with us around Christmas. It was actually my brother’s allotment of course books for grade nine but I didn’t care. I read all the books in that box over and over, except maybe the math books.

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If you are considering reading the Raksura books, start with this one

The Cloud Roads

By Martha Wells 

11 Oct, 2014

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Moon thinks of himself as a shifter”, but why he can change from a wingless to a winged form is a mystery to him, along with why those are the only two forms in his repertory. There are lots of different intelligent species in the Three Worlds, enough that not every variety is known to every person, and since his family died when he was young, Moon never learned what kind of person he is.

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Like a kinder, gentler Battle Royale… IN SPACE!

Tunnel in the Sky

By Robert A. Heinlein 

10 Oct, 2014

The Great Heinlein Juveniles (Plus The Other Two) Reread

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1955’s Tunnel in the Sky takes us to a future Earth jam-packed with people but rescued from an ongoing Malthusian crisis by the timely invention of interstellar gates. With access to the hundred thousand Earth-like worlds1 scattered through the Milky Way, there is enough room for everyone to spread out while breeding like mice, at least for a time – I make it about 600 years before all one hundred thousand worlds are as crammed with people as the Earth is.

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I hated this book

The Soul of the Robot

By Barrington J. Bayley 

6 Oct, 2014

Special Requests

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Although I think of Barrington J. Bayley as a charming oddity from the 1970s, I see his career actually began in the 1950s and continued into the Aughts. Still, of the sixteen Bayley novels of which I am aware, nine are from the 1970s and only three date from later than the mid-1980s. Apparently he was influential on a number of higher profile authors, all of whom will probably be happier with me if they stop reading now.

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Discontentment in utopia

Don’t Bite The Sun  (Biting The Sun, volume 1)

By Tanith Lee 

5 Oct, 2014

Because My Tears Are Delicious To You

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1976’s Don’t Bite the Sun is apparently the first volume in a trilogy but while the second book, Drinking Sapphire Wine, saw print in 1977, the third volume was never published. I only just discovered there was even supposed to be a third one and I have no idea what it would have been about. My copy is the first printing of the mass market paperback and I read it in a way a reader coming to it could not today, on its own and without reference to the sequel. I am going to tried hard to replicate that experience here.

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Love and engineering; a recipe for armageddon

Devices and Desires  (The Engineer Trilogy, volume 1)

By K J Parker 

2 Oct, 2014

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Mezentia, queen of the industrialized cities! Also the only industrialized city of note thanks to its habit of closing guarding its secrets through all available means, up to and including casual genocide; it is a very bad thing to give Mezentia the impression some of their intellectual property has fallen into your soon to be extremely and brutally dead hands. 

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fantasies light and dark, from and about Japan

Phantasm Japan:

Edited by Nick Mamatas & Masumi Washington 

1 Oct, 2014

Translation

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For some reason the cover says this was edited by Haikasoru” but that is a stand-in for Nick Mamatas and Masumi Washington. As explained in Mamatas’ introduction, the intention here is de-exoticize so if you’re looking for something to reinforce an impression of Japan as Other and Enchantedly Unknowable, look to other works for support in that endeavor. 

Washington for her part makes a point of thanking the translators; they often go unnoticed (and I think in at least one book I am considering for review, uncredited) but anyone who has read a bad translation next to a superior one will know how crucial they are. Lesser publishers could learn from Haikasoru. 

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