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Reviews in Project: Because My Tears Are Delicious To You (411)

Endless Seasons

The Many-Colored Land  (Saga of Pliocene Exile, volume 1)

By Julian May  

22 May, 2022

Because My Tears Are Delicious To You

9 comments

Julian May’s 19811 The Many-Colored Land2 is the first volume in May’s four-volume Saga of Pliocene Exile.

Earth has been absorbed into the Galactic Milieu. Planetary society has been rationalized, humans have been provided with an abundance of worlds to settle, and peace reigns. Utopia all round (provided one was not too attached to the languages and religions that the Milieu suppressed as superfluous to need). 

In the early 2030s, Theo Guderian made a fascinating discovery. Various factors unique to the French city of Lyon make it possible to send objects six million years into the past. However, retrieving objects from the past to the present day ages them almost instantly by six million years. While robust materials like amber could survive a round trip, living plants and animals could not. His time portal thus appeared to have few practical applications.

It fell to Theo’s widow to arrive at a use for the portal: not everyone is happy with the world as it is in the 21st century. For them, a one-way trip into the past is the only escape possible from the Galactic Milieu. At first covertly, and then officially sanctioned, exiles set off for what they expect will be a pristine and empty Earth3.

Surprises await!

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At Least It Was Short

The Star Dwellers  (Heart Stars, volume 1)

By James Blish  

15 May, 2022

Because My Tears Are Delicious To You

12 comments

James Blish’s 1961 The Star Dwellers is the first volume in the Heart Stars Duology. The Star Dwellers is a young adult novel. 

Humanity has long pondered questions like:

  • Are we alone in the galaxy? 
  • Are amicable relations between aliens and humans possible?
  • How does a novel this terrible not only get published but remain in print for twenty years (more than sixty in the UK)? 

The Star Dwellers answers two of those questions. 

Although he is only seventeen years old, Cadet Jack Loftus has benefitted from educational philosophies far superior to those of the 1960s, ninety years earlier. Good thing for humanity, as Jack will be playing a central role in its destiny.

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A Fateful Trip

The Man Who Counts

By Poul Anderson  

1 May, 2022

Because My Tears Are Delicious To You

4 comments

Poul Anderson’s 1958 The Man Who Counts is a science fiction novel. It’s one of the Nicolas van Rijn novels, which are set in Anderson’s Polesotechnic League timeline, which itself is part of the much larger Technic setting. 

Master star-trader Nicolas van Rijn is one part Falstaff, one part merciless trader, entirely Dutch Indonesian. Not everyone likes the merciless trader part. One such enemy must have planted the bomb on van Rjin’s starship. While the bomb failed to kill van Rijn, it did maroon van Rijn, Lady Sandra Tamarin, and engineer Eric Wace on the giant world Diomedes. If they stay there, they will die slowly. A quick death due to bomb might have been preferable.

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All The Single Ladies

Ringworld  (Ringworld, volume 1)

By Larry Niven  

17 Apr, 2022

Because My Tears Are Delicious To You

21 comments

1970’s Ringworld is the first volume in Larry Niven’s Ringworld series, which is set in Niven’s Known Space universe. 

Louis Wu’s teleport-booth-tour of an inexplicably backward-spinning 29th century Earth1 is interrupted when the ancient man is waylaid by Nessus, a Pierson’s Puppeteer. This is an unexpected development, not least because the Puppeteers have not been seen on Earth since they fled Known Space in the 27th century. 

Nessus is determined to hire Louis. The alien has just the right currency with which to purchase the ancient human’s time: a precious commodity that the bland, homogenized world that is Earth of 2850 cannot offer Wu: novelty.

Mind you, the chance to flee a doomed galaxy does not hurt. 

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The Beast We’ll Never Bind

Hunter of Worlds  (Hanan Rebellion, volume 2)

By C J Cherryh  

10 Apr, 2022

Because My Tears Are Delicious To You

3 comments

1977’s stand-alone space opera Hunter of Worlds is the second of Cherryh’s two Hanan Rebellion books. It is set in the same continuity as Cherryh’s Alliance/Union works, but takes place long after the main A/U sequence. 

Thousands of years ago, the iduve bestowed interstellar civilization on the amaut, the kallia, and no doubt others as well. Five centuries ago, the iduve vanished from the civilized worlds. Why they left is unknown, but few were sad to see them go. Now the iduve are back. 

Kallia Aiela Lyailleue is unfortunate enough to be useful to the iduve. Chimele, Orithain of the vast starship Ashanome, demands his service. From the perspective of his relatives, this is effectively a death sentence. From Aiela’s point of view, it is a life sentence. 


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Life in Plastic

Mutant 59: The Plastic Eaters

By Kit Pedler & Gerry Davis  

3 Apr, 2022

Because My Tears Are Delicious To You

12 comments

Kit Pedler and Gerry Davis’ 1971 Mutant 59: The Plastic Eaters (in other editions, Mutant 59: The Plastic Eater) is an environmental disaster thriller. Although thematically and creatively related to Pedler and Davis’ television show Doomwatch, Mutant 59 is not part of that continuity. 

Calamities strike in near-earth orbit (Apollo 19), in the sky (BEA Flight 510 from Paris to Heathrow), in the sea (the nuclear-armed sub HMS Triton) and on land (Lionel Slayter’s computerized learning road system). Why these transport vehicles or services have been destroyed is not clear. At first. There is a trait that they all shared. What that is won’t be clear until London is in ruins and civilization is imperiled. 


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Fables

The Cyberiad: Fables for the Cybernetic Age

By Stanislaw Lem  (Translated by Michael Kandel)

27 Mar, 2022

Because My Tears Are Delicious To You

11 comments

Stanislaw Lem’s 1965 The Cyberiad: Fables for the Cybernetic Age is a collection of humorous science fiction stories. The 1974 English translation is by Michael Kandel. My 1976 Avon paperback has illustrations by Daniel Mróz; I cannot tell if this is true of other editions. 

Friends Trurl and Klapaucius are rival constructors,” always seeking to outdo each other with their marvelous inventions. Their ingenuity is only rivaled by their indifference to unforeseen outcomes.

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Things I Once Enjoyed

And Having Writ…

By Donald R. Bensen  

13 Mar, 2022

Because My Tears Are Delicious To You

4 comments

Donald R. Bensen’s 1978’s And Having Writ… is a stand-alone comedic alternate history novel. 

Due to mechanical failure during re-entry, first contact between humanity and the crew of the starship Wandererseems certain to come in the form of a high-velocity impact near the location known to humans as Tunguska. This catastrophe is avoided, thanks to skillful piloting and cutting-edge tech. The Wanderer is able to divert and set down in the Pacific. 

On board: Captain Dark, Recorder Raf, Metahistorian Ari, and Integrator Valmis. 

Explorers have been given strict non-contact guidelines, but these do not take into account being marooned on alien worlds. The guidelines particularly do not cover this particular case: primitive locals, having retrieved the extraterrestrials crewing it, accidentally sink the starship in the Pacific. 

If Dark, Raf, Ari, and Valmis are to get home, they will need to use local resources to do so. Local resources are, alas, currently insufficient. 

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