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Reviews in Project: Doing the WFC's Homework (55)

Tomorrow is My Turn

Siren Queen

By Nghi Vo  

17 Jan, 2022

Doing the WFC's Homework

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Nghi Vo’s 2022 Siren Queen is a stand-alone novella.

A Chinese-American girl passes by a moving picture theatre, the Comique, as she walks from home to school and back. This is her first exposure to the magic of the movies, still in their infancy. Presented with the opportunity to work in film, if only as an extra, she jumps at the chance. 

Movie magic is very literal magic. It can cost movie folk everything, even their birthname (as is the case with the protagonist). But the actress the world came to know as Luli Wei was willing to risk everything to become a star.

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Heavenly Kingdom

Gunpowder Alchemy  (Gunpowder Chronicles, volume 1)

By Jeannie Lin  

7 Jan, 2022

Doing the WFC's Homework

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Jeannie Lin’s 2017 Gunpowder Alchemy is the first novel in her Gunpowder Chronicles.

1842: Chief Engineer Jin Zhi-fu’s final service to the Chinese empire was to accept all blame for the empire’s disastrous defeat by the Western powers. The emperor being perfect by definition, no blame could be placed on his orders. While not supported by mere facts, Jin’s guilt serves a higher purpose. He is executed for his unforgivable crimes.

Eight years later his family is living in disgrace in an obscure village. Jin’s daughter Soling is desperately trying to keep her opium addicted mother alive and supplied with the drugs she needs. She also must keep her younger brother Tian out of back-breaking servitude. When necessary, she sells family heirlooms. Now she is down to her final treasure, a puzzle box. 

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Unto Eternity

Persepolis Rising  (Expanse, volume 7)

By James S. A. Corey  

31 Dec, 2021

Doing the WFC's Homework

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2017’s Persepolis Rising is the seventh in James S. A. Corey’s Expanse series (which is now up to nine books and finished). 

Thirty years after the events of Babylon’s Ashes, the thousands of colony worlds reachable through the alien ring network are dominated by the Transport Union, which controls the slow zone, the pocket universe linking all the stargates. Vexed by planet Freehold’s repeated violations of safety regulations, President Drummer dispatches James Holden’s gunship Rocinante to inform Freehold that they are cut off from interstellar trade for three years. Since Freehold is not self-sufficient, this is a death sentence.

The Rocinante is a heavily-armed gunship. Freehold’s colonists are a collection of heavily-armed, government-hating libertarians. Can even Holden overcome such formidable opponents?


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Howl at the Moon

Squad

By Maggie Tokuda-Hall & Lisa Sterle  

17 Dec, 2021

Doing the WFC's Homework

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Maggie Tokuda-Hall’s 2021 Squad is a horror coming-of-age graphic novel. Illustrations are by Lisa Sterle.

Becca has been dragged to upper-class Piedmont by her divorced mother. A moment of charity saves her from a pariah existence as a socially awkward stranger at her new school. Marley, to whom Becca handed a spare tampon, is a member of the school’s elite clique. Because Marley takes an immediate shine to Becca, Becca joins Amanda, Arianna, and Marley in their squad. 

It’s a dream come true, except for the serial killing. 


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The Nights of Wild Distress

Terra Nullius

By Claire Coleman  

10 Dec, 2021

Doing the WFC's Homework

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Claire Coleman’s 2017 Terra Nullius is settler science fiction. 

In the land Europeans called Australia, Jacky flees in a bid to escape rural slavery at the hands of the Settlers. Not only is this unacceptable because Jacky’s flight denies the Settlers the fruits of his labour. It is unacceptable because if Jacky succeeds in escaping the life specified for him by the Settlers, other Natives might follow his example.

Jacky’s odds of escaping are dismal. They are not helped by the fact Jacky has no idea where exactly he is going.

There’s no way to discuss this without a fairly large spoiler. 

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Ghost of You

Mem

By Bethany C. Morrow  

3 Dec, 2021

Doing the WFC's Homework

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Bethany C. Morrow’s 2018 Mem is a stand-alone historical science fiction novel. 

Professor Toutant’s marvelous invention liberated the wealthy from the burden of unpleasant memories. A simple visit to the professor’s Montreal facility — the Vault — and one’s trauma can be off-loaded to an another being. Now relieved of the memory, the rich can go their way, while their Mem remains in the Vault. 

Despite appearances, Mems are not people. They are automatons, who will reenacting a moment in time over and over until entropy claims them. The single exception is Dolores Extract No. 1

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My Baby Shot Me Down

Our Violent Ends  (These Violent Delights, volume 2)

By Chloe Gong  

29 Nov, 2021

Doing the WFC's Homework

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2021’s Our Violent Ends is the second and final volume in Chloe Gong’s These Violent Delights duology. 

To paraphrase the Bard:

Two households, both alike in dignity,
In fair Shanghai, where we lay our scene,
From ancient grudge break to new mutiny,
Where civil blood makes civil hands unclean. 
From forth the fatal loins of these two foes
A pair of star-cross’d lovers (…) 

The two households in question are the Scarlet Gang and the White Flowers, the two gangs that hold Shanghai in their grip. The two star-cross’d loves are the Scarlet Gang’s Juliette Cai and the White Flower’s Roma Montagov, both as smitten with each other as they are high in the councils of their respective families’ gangs. 

When last we saw our leads, their rekindled love affair hit a minor road bump. As far as Roma knows, Juliette murdered the White Flower’s Marshall Seo in cold blood. Outraged, his love turns to hate. Now Roma is determined to kill Juliette as soon as the opportunity presents itself.

At least, that’s what he tells himself.

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Waitin’ For the Day Your Ship’ll Come In

Far from the Light of Heaven

By Tade Thompson  

19 Nov, 2021

Doing the WFC's Homework

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Tade Thompson’s 2021 Far from the Light of Heaven is a stand-alone science fiction novel. 

Starflight is challenging but routine. Michelle Shell” Campion’s father may have made the history books by vanishing mysteriously in space; but Shell does not expect to earn even a footnote. And why should she? Shell may be second-in-command on Ragtime but this is a sinecure. Starship Ragtimes captain is an infallible AI and there will be no need for human input. 

Shell’s expectations are too humble. She makes the history books, in the worst way possible.

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Have You Ever Seen the Rain?

& This Is How to Stay Alive

By Shingai Njeri Kagunda  

12 Nov, 2021

Doing the WFC's Homework

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Shingai Njeri Kagunda’s & This Is How to Stay Alive is a standalone fantasy novel. 

When Nyokabi’s brother Baraka commits suicide, Nyokabi sees only way to go forward: become the responsible surviving sibling. She will make sure that her brother’s funeral is done properly, as her grief-stricken mother cannot manage. 

It is not the only option open to her.


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